Design Blog - General Art Attack
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Art Attack’s Communications Director, Fiona Morsink-Ryan has been invited to present at the inaugural Sydney Women’s Network Business Retreat and Conference on Saturday, March 13.
Fiona wil be speak to business owners about online marketing, specifically how to improve your website content and natural ranking – what works and what doesn’t. She will also present information on Spam legislation and email marketing tips.
For more information, visit www.sydneywomensnetwork.com.au
… that updating your website regularly makes a big difference to your natural search engine rankings?
One of several key factors in how highly a search engine ranks your website is how current it is. If you don’t update your site regularly, you will quickly slip down the rankings compared to others sites who do.Â
So try to update something on your website at least monthly, if not fortnightly or weekly, depending upon your industry. Your content should always be fresh and up-to-date – particularly prices and dates. It could be as simple as adding a short ‘latest news’ item, monthly special or blog article on the first of every month. Make it obvious that your material is current so visitors can trust what they read is correct, and so have more trust in your business.
If you don’t touch to your web content for 6 or 12 months, you will simply go to the bottom of the search engine list and those visitors who do find you will quickly see your information is old and move on to your competitors.
So if your website’s ranking is important to your business, it would be worth considering a Content Management System (CMS) to easily update the text and images yourself whenever you like. It will cost a little more initially, but it will give you full control and flexibility over how often you update your site without ongoing maintenance fees, so will probably be more cost effective.
Norwest and Hills businesses should look for Art Attack’s new specials postcard in their mailbox over the next few weeks offering great discounts for Spring only.
Over 5000 businesses in Castle Hill, Dural, Baulkham Hills, Bella Vista, Winston Hills, Seven Hills, Kellyville and West Pennant Hills will receive the special offers for website, e-marketing and logo services as a local promotion.
The offer is available to our online visitors too – just ask us about our Spring Specials for up to $100 off web packages, $200 off logo packages or half price set up for e-marketing available until 1/12/09. Conditions apply.
Art Attack’s stall at the Sydney Women’s Network Hills Expo on August 19 was a huge success. Along with many other SWN Members, Art Attack showcased our products and services to the general public in the Hills and Norwest areas, including our new Art of Email e-marketing product which was extremely well received by visitors.
Art Attack’s Paul and Fiona at the SWN Expo.
- Subject line – make sure your title is short, clear, simple and punchy so the receiver immediately knows what your email is about.
- Introduce yourself – if you don’t know the person well, reintroduce yourself, reminding them of where you met or how you got their email, to improve context, create familiarity and improve your chance of a good response.
- Write politely – emails are still a form of writing, not speaking, and it is very easy to offend or sound abrupt, even if you know the recipient quite well. How many emails have you received that don’t even use a basic please or thankyou, or that have come across as rude? Read the email from the receiver’s point of view before you hit ‘send’.
- Keep it brief and to the point – effective emails are short and get the message across. If your message is long or complex, maybe you should consider ringing or another method of communication to make sure it isn’t lost in translation between everything else they are doing.
- Use bullet points or lists – each idea should be a separate point for ease of reading. Your message will have a much better chance of being read and actioned.
- Don’t use ALL CAPITALS – IT”S THE SAME AS SHOUTING! If you need to emphasise a word or phrase, use bold, italic or underlined text sparingly to aid readability. Overdoing any of these makes your email hard to follow, lose impact and also sounds rude.
- Don’t use tabs or soft returns – Your receiver will most likely have a different size window setup to yours and tabs just become ugly and uneven gaps in your text making it very hard to read. Use a normal return (‘enter’) for a new paragraph and single (or double if you must) spaces between words only. There is no use aligning text visually at your end.
- Fonts and colours – Don’t go to town with fancy fonts, multi-coloured text or a variety of sizes. Use a font that is clear and easy to read, and that is standard on most computers. Non-standard fonts will just be substituted at the receiver’s end and usually look pretty bad. It’s also best to stick to one or two easy-to-read colours, like black or dark blue, to aid legibility. More than a few colours, especially bright ones, and lots of different sizes tend to look very tacky and will reduce the chances of your email being taken seriously. In fact, they will look like spam.
- Using reply all – Only use ‘reply all’ if your comments will really be of interest to all recipients, otherwise it is usually best to reply only to the sender or selected relevant people.
- Graphics – be aware that electronic signatures, graphics and attachments may be blocked by firewalls or result in your email being marked as spam. Keep the number and size or these to an absolute minimum and always confirm that important emails have in fact been received if you don’t receive the anticipated response.
Â©Â Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia (www.artattack.com.au).
You need permission, or your e-marketing is illegal!
Spam is any email you send to someone who hasnâ€™t given you their direct permission to contact them on the topic of that email. Spam is a serious problem for all businesses who communicate with their customers via email and for all internet users.
Australia’s Spam Act of 2003, requires three things when sending commercial emails:
â€¢ You must have consent to send the recipient marketing via email or SMS, and if requested,Â be able to prove this.
â€¢ You must identify who is sending the message (i.e. who you are) – your name and physical address
â€¢ You must have a free, automatic unsubscribe option on the email.
Australia has some of the strictest anti-spam legistation in the world with the Spam Act and two CodesÂ of Practice. The benefits of ‘permission marketing’ to your business are that it legitimises e-marketing, ensures better targetted results and boosts confidence by your recipients in email as a business tool.
What kind of email addresses can you send to?
To send a commercial email to anyone, you must have clearly obtained their permission, such as via:
â€¢ An email newsletter subscribe form on your website.
â€¢ An opt-in checkbox on a form. This checkbox must not be checked by default, the person completingÂ the form must willingly select the checkbox to indicate they want to hear from you.
â€¢ If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact themÂ if it was explained to them that they would be contacted by email AND they ticked a box indicatingÂ they would like to be contacted.
â€¢ Customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years (not just enquired).
â€¢ If someone gives you their business card and you have explicitly asked for permission to add them toÂ your list, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a bowl at a trade show or lunch,Â there must be a clear sign indicating they will be contacted by email about that specific topic.
Basically, you can only email anyone who has clearly given you permission to email them specifically about the subject youâ€™re contacting them about. Some might have given you their email address, but whatâ€™s missing is permission to email them commercial messages. Blasting promotional emails to any of these people wonâ€™t be effective and will more than likely see your email marked as spam by many of your recipients. It will actually paint your business in a bad light and they wonâ€™t want to buy from you.
What content MUST you include in your email and how is spam tracked?
â€¢ A single-click unsubscribe link that instantly removes them from your list. Once they unsubscribe, youÂ can never email them again.
â€¢ The name and physical address of the sender (or your client if you are sending on their behalf).
All Internet Service Providers have spam reporting systems. If you donâ€™t have permission and someone marks your campaign as spam, it is reported back to the ISPs and you can be blackbanned and fined. This is most likely to happen if you send bulk emails via your normal email account rather than through an online marketing tool which checks and tracks spam filters and blackban lists automatically.
In the end, itâ€™s really common sense. Take off your marketing hat and put yourself in your recipientâ€™s shoes. If they donâ€™t recognise who you are or arenâ€™t interested in what youâ€™re sending, theyâ€™ll think youâ€™re a spammer. Itâ€™s that simple. Using a reputable online marketing product will ensure your emails comply with the law, look professional and enable you to easily track opens, clicks, unsubscribes, etc.
For further information about Australian spam laws or to make a complaint, contact the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) at www.spam.acma.gov.au
For further information about Art Attackâ€™s online marketing product, Art of Email, call 1300 88 40 14 or visit www.artofemail.com.au
What makes up the search engine ranking for my website?
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is a real buzzword at the moment. But what is it, and what does it mean for you and your website? This is quite a complex area, so we have broken the answer into a series of topics.
What is SEO?
Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN find and rate websites when you enter a search term and SEO refers to maximising your website ranking for specific searches. Obviously, the point of having a website is to be found on the Internet, drive traffic to your site and generate sales leads if you are a business.
But firstly, all the traffic in the world will nott help your sales if your website is poorly designed, difficult to navigate or your information unclear. This is addressed in some of our other articles. Once you have this right, the next step is to generate traffic to your site.
It used to be enough just to have a website. These days, with the amount of information on the Internet and the way search engines work, that alone is not enough to be found. Each month, over 61 Billion web searches are conducted worldwide (see our “Online Business in Australia” article) why should searchers come to you? You need to make sure people can find your website, or you have basically wasted all your time and money.
Recent studies show 80% of users don’t go past the first three pages of Google, so your ranking is a critical part of your online success.
How do Search Engines work?
There are literally thousands of different search engines and new ones starting every day, so it is virtually impossible to cover every base. Each one calculates the relevance of your website to a particular search term differently, and most of the larger ones, especially Google, change their secret algorithms every month or two to stay one step ahead of those trying to beat the system.
There are however several industry standard and proven methods which Art Attack uses to rate your website higher for search engines terms relevant to your industry, which we will outline shortly. A word of warning though – beware of anyone who guarantees you a certain search engine ranking as there are simply too many external factors involved for anyone to guarantee anything in this field. There are also many ‘illegal’ ways of cheating the system which could land you, the website owner, in a lot of trouble and do a great deal of damage to your business.
The larger sites such as Google are constantly looking for websites which try to beat the queues and ‘black band’ them. And getting your website off Google’s black ban list is harder than making it to their front page in the first place! So be wary of anyone who guarantees you a certain ranking as this is near impossible and you will wear the consequences.
Natural versus Paid Rankings
There are quite simply two types of search engine rankings – one you pay for and one you don’t. For example, the entire right hand column results and the shaded panel at the top under “Sponsored links” in Google and “Sponsor Results” in Yahoo are both examples of paid rankings. “Sponsors” pay anything up to thousands of dollars per month for the top ranking competitive terms in these paid rankings such as Google Adwords, which can be highly effective for the right search terms.
They work on a ‘pay per click’ system where you pay up to a certain amount every time someone clicks on the link to your website. This is ideal if you want fast ranking results, have very specific search terms for your industry, or have the budget to do this for certain search terms. Keep in mind that you will need to pay for each search term you want to rank for, so it can add up very quickly and will be an ongoing cost. This can be a very fast and effective method of advertising if you have the budget and target your terms correctly. Unless you have plenty of time and really know what you are doing, it’s best to leave ‘pay-per-click’ to the experts.
Some users might also choose not to select the sponsored links, knowing that these companies have paid to be there, and prefer to choose from the ‘natural’ rankings. If you are considering the paid option, talk to us to see if it is right for your situation. Art Attack has packages to help you target keywords based on researching specific search terms relevant to you.
‘Natural’ or ‘organic’ rankings are unsponsored results based mainly on the relevance of keywords and content of your website to a search term using complex and secret algorithms which change regularly. In Google and Yahoo these are listed in the unshaded part of the left hand column. Of course the ideal is to be listed in the first few natural rankings of any relevant search terms, whether or not you are paying for sponsored links too. This way you show that you are what the search engine considers the most relevant to a particular search term and are easily found without having to pay ongoing costs for the privilege. There are proven ways to move up the ‘natural’ rankings and Art Attack can work with you to maximise your efforts.
So what makes up a website ranking?
Based on the way Google and the other main search engines calculate natural rankings, there are currently four main factors that make up the result (note there are others also, but these cover the main categories our clients should know about as we see them):
1.Build of the website – the website should be built in such a way that it is ‘search engine friendly’, meaning that the background coding of your site is labeled and structured in a way which allows search engines to easily assess and read it. The more easily the search engines can access the information, the higher your ranking. Art Attack ensures all our websites are built according to current industry best practice regarding search engine friendly coding.
The build also includes the size of the site (generally, sites with more pages are seen as more relevant), how images are labeled, whether you have blogs, forums, newsletters, downloads, etc. and many other ‘technical’ factors that enhance your ranking.
2.Relevant keywords – when a website goes live on the internet, one of the first things search engines look for is the list of ‘keywords’ or search terms entered into the background code to determine relevance. These are critical to the ranking of any website. Although there are no limits to the number of words or phrases entered as keywords, their relevance to your website is important. Note that you should ideally use different keywords for every page, and these words should be repeated in the content on that page between approx. 4-6 times, depending upon the term. You should also note that the search engines are clever enough to know when you are using a phrase or word too many times and this becomes ‘spamming’, putting you at risk of penalising your ranking or black banning you.
In general, short phrases appropriate to each industry or topic are now becoming more popular and effective than single words, as long as they are targeted and well thought out. This is not surprising, as with more information on the Internet, users are becoming more specific with their searches to filter their results.
Much of this part involves much trial and error over time. With a little knowhow and a lot of patience, we have had many small clients achieve a surprising amount of success with their rankings doing it themselves in a short space of time with some very competitive search terms. Of course, you can also pay to have this done for you, but again be wary of any guaranteed rankings!
3.Relevant and current content – the content on your website is also very important to your ranking success – both the relevance based on the words you use, and how current the information is. It is vital that you use your most important keywords throughout your website where relevant, and in particular on your home page repeated as appropriate. Each page should be different and targeted. Keep in mind there are limits to repeating keywords both from a legibility and a search engine point of view as mentioned above. Search engines are well aware of websites which repeat terms far more than normal usage and use things like ‘ghost text’ to try to improve rankings unfairly. These can again result in penalties such as black bans. It will also annoy your potential customers to the point that they will leave your website in droves, so ensure your content is still easy to read and those visiting can find the information they are after. Search engines are important, but your audience is still more important!
The other important part to the content equation is how current it is. Search engines also assess when the content was last updated, and alter their assessment of your site accordingly. Putting it in very simple terms, when a website goes live, the search engines assess the site. They might then come back a month later and assess how much, if anything has been changed. If the content has been updated, they might for example, come back again in two or three weeks, and if more relevant content has changed, again in one or two weeks, which gradually improves your ranking. If however in the first month nothing has changed, they might not return for two months, and if still nothing has changed, three or four months, which steadily drops your ranking in comparison to everyone else. This is why keeping your content current is so important, and why it can take six months or more to gradually move up the rankings, even if you are doing everything right. Weblogs (or “blogs”), discussion forums and newsletters are fast moving up the scale of importance for a website for the same reasons, as the search engines see them as a way of improving dialogue on the internet, showing a website is current and relevant.
4.Links – Links are also fast becoming a vital part of a website ranking. Links from your site are rated, but ‘quality’ links to your site from other ‘quality’ websites are viewed even more highly and boost your results more quickly. The more numerous, relevant and highly ranked the individual websites that link back from their site to yours, the more positively the search engines view you in relevance and popularity, and your ranking will improve accordingly as your number of links and their search engine rankings improve. Note that good links coming into your site now even outweigh those going out. So it is worth negotiating with suppliers and complimentary products and services to work together using reciprocal links to improve both your rankings.
So how can I improve my website ranking?
With all the above information in mind, there are many ways you can improve your website ranking, with various costs, timeframes and amounts of effort on your part involved. Your strategy may include any combination of these, and Art Attack can help you decide on the most effective option for your situation.
1.Paid rankings – this is the fastest and easiest way to improve your ranking in the ‘sponsored links’, but it also likely to be the most costly and these costs are ongoing. Generally using this option depends upon your expectations, timeframes and budget and is great for specific search terms in specific industries. Note that different terms have different costs, so the most competitive terms will also be the most expensive. So you need to have a good advertising budget, or to do your homework which can lead to ‘niche’ terms that can be very effective for you. Art Attack can research specific search terms, or show you how to do it, to ensure any paid online marketing is targeted to the most effective keywords for your website if you decide on this option.
2.Ensure your website is built correctly – obviously a website built correctly in the first place will save you a lot of trouble and costs in the long run. Generally, as in any industry, you get what you pay for. A site built by a friend’s teenage son for some pocket money might have been fine when you first started out as a backyard business, but at some point you will need to invest in a properly built and supported website if you want to succeed online and be professional. With nearly 20 years in the industry, Art Attack has the knowledge and experience to do it right and be there to support you as technology changes into the future.
Increasing the size of your website by adding pages, and extra features like blogs, forums, downloads, galleries, articles, and the like all help, as do correctly labeling all you images, etc.
3. Use the right keywords – using the most relevant keywords and phrases for your website is vitally important to your ranking. You know your product/service and industry best, so do your homework on what your customers are looking for and what terms they use to search. This research can be with existing customers initially and with online search reports that give lists of commonly used search terms and alternatives. Use different (relevant) keywords on each page and use them in the content of that page. Keep changing and updating your keywords, as this is a continual process the web is constantly changing.
For a as little as $A199, Art Attack can generate a full report on your website using specialised software, including a keyword search of nominated terms to see how popular they are and give you a list of suggested terms to help improve your ranking.
4. Relevant and current content – making sure your website’s content is relevant to what your customers are searching for, reflects your keywords and is kept us to date is also important. Again, you know your product/service and industry best, so the content needs to start with you, although Art Attack has various ways to help you develop your content if you need this service. From sitting down with you in an informal ‘interview’ situation to gather information about your business and write it for you, to ‘massaging’ content you have developed yourself, we have services available to suit you.
Keeping your content up to date and changing it regularly is also important, so consider a ‘content management system’, or CMS, which will allow you to update text and graphics on your website as easily as using Word usually without specialised software or ongoing costs. Most of Art Attack’s web packages now include a CMS so you can update your site as often as you like. We can make changes for you once your site is up, but this will involve an hourly rate or a maintenance agreement, so you need to consider what changes and how often you will make them before we build your site. Consider also adding a blog, newsletter, relevant downloads, handy tips, discussion forum, etc. to your website to keep people coming back to see what’s new (See our “So you have your new website, now what?” article for more ideas on marketing your website).
5. Get linking – Linking to other relevant websites, and even more importantly, getting them to link to you, can quickly boost your ranking. The more sites that link to you, and the higher their ranking, the more you can benefit each other if the search engine considers your businesses relevant to each other, so it is worth talking to suppliers, business networks, etc. about working together. Art Attack links all our clients to our website automatically, so you have the benefit our ranking immediately!
Want to know more?
Call us on 1300 88 40 14 or email email@example.com if you would like to talk to us about specific ideas for your new website or optimising your existing site. Our SEO reports on existing websites start from $A199 and our experience and advice – priceless!
Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia (www.artattack.com.au).
What you should know before you choose someone for your website.
With limited industry regulation and thousands of people out there claiming to be â€˜web designersâ€™ or â€˜web developersâ€™ ranging from large advertising agencies to students working from their bedrooms, how do you pick one that will be right for your business? Here are some tips if you want to be sure your website and your web designer to be professional:
- Industry experience â€“ the web industry is relatively young, but it also didnâ€™t start yesterday. Make sure your designer has been around for at least a few years as so many donâ€™t last long enough to support you once your site is up, or even before it is up!
- Experience in web design, development and usability â€“ websites are a combination of good looks, technical build and flow of information. Make sure the company building your site has a balance of graphic design and technical skills, as well as knowledge about how people navigate and search online. In most cases, a team with these individual skills creates the best outcome together.
A â€˜developerâ€™ usually has a programming or similar background which means that your site will work well technically, but look unprofessional, lack impact or be very â€˜techyâ€™. On the other hand, a web designer with a graphic design background may make the site look professional, but often lacks the knowledge of the correct way to build the site for search engines and other technical issues which may cause problems later or restrict how you use the site in the future. Usability or â€˜information designâ€™ is not something most web design companies know very much about. It is about understanding how your users will navigate and find information on your site and putting their needs first. Ideally, look for a company with in-house graphic design, web development/programming and usability skills available who all work together on your website.
- Size of the company â€“ so many clients come to us when they have lost everything to do with their website. They have paid a one-man-show to develop their site and the person has then vanished overseas when they have problems with their site, or even before it is up. If ongoing support is important to you and you donâ€™t want to risk losing your whole site, make sure the company you use is not a single operator who could leave you in the lurch should anything happen to them.
- Range of clients â€“ your web company should be able to provide you with a list of clients and references they have worked for in a broad range of industries. The broader the range of industries, they broader their range of experience they can bring to your work.
- Portfolio â€“ the company you choose should be able to show you a portfolio of their work and explain the background and reasoning behind the designs.
- Industry accreditation â€“ Accreditation and industry association membership is not widespread in Australia, but it does indicate that a company is committed to certain standards and ongoing professional development. Check if your web company is a member of a recognised organsiation such as the Web Standards Group (WSG), Australian Web Industry Association (AWIA) or Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA).
- Clear processes â€“ Does the company have clear, documented information on how your project will proceed, what they will do and by when?
- Expectations – Do they have a Customer Service Charter or an outline of their commitment to you? What are their expectations of you as the customer and what you need to provide before and during the project?
- Listening – Do they listen to your needs? Are they asking questions that make you feel comfortable that they what to do what you need, not what they want or have done before? Are they really listening to you?
- Clear & Simple – Do they explain everything in clear, simple language you can understand? The web industry is full of jargon and technical information, but there are simple ways to explain things without taking down to you.
- Advice – Do they offer advice and information or are they a bit â€˜secretiveâ€™?
- Information – Do they have free planning guides, information sheets, etc. which you have access to?
- Support – Do they provide ongoing support? Do they have options for different levels of support you may want in the future?
- Training – Do they provide training and written instructions with their products, particularly with any content management systems (CMS)?
- More for later – Do they provide options to add â€˜modulesâ€™ to your website later as your business grows, such as e-marketing, a photo gallery, a Blog or more to full e-commerce?
Â©Â Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia (www.artattack.com.au).
Tips for getting people to your website.
So your new or updated website is finally up and running. Yippee! It looks great and works really well for your customers, staff and suppliers thanks to all your planning, and to the Art Attack team. But just because you have a website doesnâ€™t mean everyone in cyberspace will automatically find you!
Netcraft claims the total number of websites worldwide now exceeds 182 million (11/08). Of course depending upon what you do and donâ€™t include, this number could be disputed, but of less dispute is that the figure has almost doubled in the past two years. Last year in the Asia-Pacific region alone, 258 million unique searchers conducted 20.3 billion searches monthly. So with all these websites and searches, how can you ensure some of that traffic is directed your way?
Well, it may sound basic, but all the marketing fundamentals still hold true. Here are some simple things you can do before you even start looking at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) for your site:
- Tell people about your new website â€“ tell customers, staff, suppliers, potential customers, family, friends, networking groups, local businesses â€“ tell everyone!
- Make sure your web address is prominently displayed on all your marketing material, stationery and signage â€“ on brochures, letterhead, business cards, newsletters, email tags, signage, cars, everywhere. Nobody will find you if they donâ€™t know your address and you donâ€™t remind them on everything. The launch of your website is a great time to update your marketing material to ensure everything is current and directing traffic to your site. Everything you hand out which doesnâ€™t have your web address is a lost promotional or sales opportunity.
- Get some publicity for your new website. Write an article for your newsletter, send an e-newsletter, contact the local paper about a story, make up a banner, hand out flyers or do some advertising giving people a reason to go to your website. Make sure there is information they will find really useful on the site and keep the content fresh and current so they keep coming back. Even better, give them a special offer only available online.
- Send an email newsletter or email to your database of business contacts with a link introducing the new site. Include a special deal or offer here as well to encourage them to have a good look around your site.
â€¦And Keep Them Coming Back
Here are some other ideas for generating repeat visitors to your website:
- Use a â€˜Whatâ€™s Newâ€™ section or page to keep customers up to date with developments in your products or services, company or industry. Ask if they would like to be notified of updates which gives you permission to contact them.
- Establish yourself as an expert with regular advice columns, information sheets, handy hints or information your customers will find really useful. It makes their visit to your site worthwhile and gives you credibility by showing you know your stuff.
- Free stuff. Everyone loves something for nothing! Try to give away something only people interested in your field would be interested in so that it is relevant to your target market. Make sure your logo and web address are on whatever you give away, be it screensavers, shareware games, utilities or PDF downloads of information. Something downloadable saves on handling and postage costs. Change your freebie regularly and let visitors know how often you do this to keep them coming back to your site. â€˜New free downloads every weekâ€™ or â€˜Click here to receive email notification of new downloadsâ€™ work really well. A â€˜Tell as friendâ€™ option spreads the word even further.
- Free samples may work for you if you have a product your customers wonâ€™t be able to resist after trying. A small sample in exchange for an email address allows you to follow up, test customer reactions and hopefully take an order.
- Coupons or discount vouchers which ban be placed on your website and printed off can make your customers feel they are getting an extra special offer. Customers are beginning to expect free extras or a cheaper price if they are shopping online. â€˜Coupon banner adsâ€™ for your product or service on non-competing websites with the same target market also enhances your SEO through links. Have a reciprocal arrangement where you exchange linking banner ads to benefit both of you. Make sure you have a short expiry date on the coupon to encourage customers to act quickly, and think about a â€˜Send this coupon to a friendâ€™ option too.
- Consider a special promotions section that you update regularly.
- A calendar of events keeps visitors informed of what your company is up to, whatâ€™s happening in your industry and also reinforces that your content and company are â€˜up to dateâ€™.
- Regular contests and competitions build traffic to your website. Answering a few simple questions to enter a contest allows you to gather information from your target market for research or to add to your database (as long as you ask permission). You can use the â€˜tell a friendâ€™ method or encourage customers even further by giving them an extra entry for every so many friends that sign up.
- A â€˜Tip of the Dayâ€™ or â€˜Site of the Dayâ€™ may help with repeat visits.
- An employment opportunities page may also encourage job seekers who are interested in your company or industry.
- Encourage visitors to bookmark your site or relevant pages which are regularly updated â€“ â€˜Bookmark me now!â€™
- Useful links from your site adds to the usefulness of your site as well as your SEO. Make sure visitors must move through at least part of your site before clicking away from you though.
- Online chat sessions are becoming increasingly important for getting your product or company name out there, so invest some time in relevant online forums.
- Bulletin boards or Blogs encourage interaction form visitors all over the world and are also becoming more critical to a websiteâ€™s success every day.
- Short surveys allow visitors to provide feedback and interact with you. Make sure they are short, simple, donâ€™t include sensitive material and gather some relevant facts for you. Be clear on what you will do with the information, give a deadline and make sure you post the results if they are of interest to your audience.
- Add some fun to your site with a cartoon, joke or some trivia as long as it is still professional and in keeping with your image. Donâ€™t use anything which could offend your customers, but not being too serious could set your website apart.
- More websites are using fun activities or games to keep people interested.
- An email reminder service for updates or special events makes sure customers keep you in mind more often and visit your website more regularly.
Â©Â Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia (www.artattack.com.au).Â
Further Reading â€“ Internet Resources
- Bring â€˜em Back for More
You shouldnâ€™t just work to get visitors to your site, you should also work to keep them coming back again and again. This site has tips on how to do just that.
- Stimulate Repeat Traffic with Bookmarks
An article about using bookmarks to increase your chances of repeat traffic.
- Bring â€˜em Back for More
Here are a few facts about the World Wide Web to get you thinking:
- The Web turned 15 years young in April 2008.
- In 2007, over 61 billion web searches were conducted every month worldwide.
- The Asia-Pacific region had the most searchers â€“ 258 million unique searchers conducted 20.3 billion searches monthly.
- Netcraft claims the total number of websites worldwide now exceeds 182 million, which has doubled in the last two years.
- 2008 e-commerce revenue is expected to total $230 billion in the US and $166 billion in Europe.
- 2008 Australia/New Zealand e-commerce revenue is expected to reach $56 billion.
- E-commerce revenue are expected to continue rising by at least 25% annually over the next 5 years worldwide.
- Australians are the third largest online shoppers in the world behind only the US and UK.
- Australians spent 38% more buying products and services over the internet than a year ago.
Depending upon what you do and donâ€™t include, some of these figures could be disputed, but the online market is clearly huge and growing rapidly. What experts do not disagree about is:
- Most commerce will be e-commerce someday very soon â€“ i.e. the majority of transactions will be technology-based, so companies without a strong web presence will fall further behind.
- Businesses without websites are already missing out on customers. More people every day routinely search websites for phone numbers, company and product information before contacting anyone. If you arenâ€™t there, they will find your competitors!
- Having a bad website is even worse that having no website at all! If your website looks bad, is confusing, or isnâ€™t what your users want, they just wonâ€™t want to deal with you.
So how can you justify not investing a big part of your marketing budget on your website?
Â©Â Article by Fiona Morsink-Ryan, Communications Director, Art Attack Web & Graphic Design, Sydney, Australia (www.artattack.com.au).