The Website Marketing Group Blog

About The Website Marketing Group Blog

Michael Doyle - Managing Director of The Website Marketing Group

After 14 years of working in this industry, every day is a new learning curve which is why I love the job.

Here are some of our findings on the “best of the web” to keep you up to date with the latest news in the Internet business strategies.

From small businesses to Australia’s leading brands across multiple sectors and disciplines, this means we know what works and what doesn’t, allowing us to deliver tangible results that benefit your business where it really matters.

Whether it is a new brand identity-logo design, a social media marketing,  a complex website, an email marketing campaign or all of the above and more, our team can deliver the solution for your business.
Contact us today on 1300 911 772.

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Congratulations to the TWMG Team ! The Website Marketing Group has been successful in making the Smart50 for the SmartCompany Smart50 Awards 2011.

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Customer Journey Mapping Guide

“Stories have defined our world. They have been with us since the dawn of communication, from cave walls to the tall tales recounted around fires. They have continued to evolve, with their purpose remaining the same: to entertain, to share common experiences, to teach and to pass on traditions.”

However, storytelling is not just a tool to engage users. It is also a powerful way to teach organizations more about their customers.

Most organizations are reasonably good at gathering data on their users. But data often fails to communicate the frustrations and experiences of customers. A story can do that, and one of the best storytelling tools in business is the customer journey map.

What Is A Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map tells the story of the customer’s experience: from initial contact, through the process of engagement and into a long-term relationship.

It may focus on a particular part of the story or give an overview of the entire experience. What it always does is identify key interactions that the customer has with the organization. It talks about the user’s feelings, motivations and questions for each of these touchpoints.

It often provides a sense of the customer’s greater motivation. What do they wish to achieve, and what are their expectations of the organization?

A customer journey map takes many forms but typically appears as some type of infographic. Whatever its form, the goal is the same: to teach organizations more about their customers.

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It will come as no surprise that marketers often use customer journey maps. But more and more digital professionals are adopting them, too.

Why You Should Create Customer Journey Maps

A customer journey map is a powerful tool.

If you are a designer, it will help you to understand the context of users. You will gain a clear picture of where the user has come from and what they are trying to achieve.

If you write copy, it will help you to understand what questions users have and how they are feeling.

It gives managers an overview of the customer’s experience. They will see how customers move through the sales funnel. This will help them to identify opportunities to enhance the experience. The map will show how enhanced customer service can differentiate the organization’s digital experience.

For the user experience designer, a customer journey map helps to identify gaps, points in the customer experience that are disjointed or painful. These might be:

  • gaps between devices, when a user moves from one device to another;
  • gaps between departments, where the user might get frustrated.
  • gaps between channels (for example, where the experience of going from social media to the website could be better).

Most of all, a customer journey map puts the user front and center in the organization’s thinking. It shows how mobile, social media and the web have changed customer behavior. It demonstrates the need for the entire organization to adapt.

It encourages people across the organization to consider the user’s feelings, questions and needs. This is especially important with digital products and services.

With so many benefits, a customer journey map makes a lot of sense. But where do you start?

How To Research A Customer Journey Map

The process of creating a customer journey map has to begin with getting to know users.

Many organizations already have some information about users. In fact, you might meet resistance from those who feel that repeating this exercise would be a waste of time. This is why gathering existing research is a good start. Often, this research will be out of date or buried in a drawer somewhere.

By gathering existing research, you will see what the organization knows and how relevant that information is. This will placate those who are resistant, while potentially saving you some research effort.

There are two types of research: analytical and anecdotal.

1. Analytical Research

You can turn to many sources for data about users. The most obvious is website analytics, which provide a lot of information on where users have come from and what they are trying to achieve. It will also help you to identify points in the process where they have given up.

But be careful. Analytics are easy to read wrong. For example, don’t presume that a lot of clicks or long dwell times are a sign of a happy user. They could indicate that they are lost or confused.

Social media are also a useful source of data. Tools such as SocialMention tracks mentions of a brand and whether those mentions are positive or negative.

Search data also provides valuable insight into what users are looking for, revealing whether your existing website is providing the right information.

Finally, consider running a survey. This will help you build a more detailed picture of users’ questions, feelings and motivations.

2. Anecdotal Research

Although data can build a compelling case, it does not tell a story by itself. For that, you need anecdotes of user experiences. You can get these by speaking to users in interviews or on social media.

You will also discover that users volunteer experiences by posting them to social media. Be sure to collect these mentions because they will be a useful reference point in your final map.

Speaking to front-line staff who interact with customers daily, such as those in support and sales, is another useful way to understand customer needs.

The detail of the research will be constrained by your time and budget. If your organization has many different user groups, then creating detailed customer journeys for each might be hard. Therefore, focus the research on primary audiences.

You can make educated guesses about the customer journeys for secondary audiences. Do this by workshopping solutions with front-line staff and other internal stakeholders. Although this “quick and dirty” approach will not be as accurate, it is still better than nothing.

Be careful to make clear what has research behind it and what does not. Making many decisions based on assumptions is dangerous. Once management sees the benefits of research, they will be willing to spend more time on it.

With your research complete, it is time to create the map.

Presenting Your Customer Journey Map

As mentioned, there is no right or wrong way to produce a customer journey map. Normally, it will be some form of infographic with a timeline of the user’s experience. But it could just as easily be a storyboard or even a video.

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The goal is to ensure that the user’s story remains front and center in people’s minds. Get a designer to produce the graphic to ensure it is as clear as possible and grabs people’s attention.

Whatever its form, the map should contain both statistical and anecdotal evidence. It should highlight users’ needs, questions and feelings throughout their interaction with the organization.

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Don’t make it too complex. It is easy to get caught up in the multiple routes a user might take. This will just muddy the story.

The graphic is not meant to map every aspect of the customer’s experience. Rather, it should tell a simple story to focus people’s attention on the customer’s needs.

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Think of the customer journey map as a poster pinned to the office wall. At a glance, people should be able to see the key touchpoints that a user passes through. It should remind them that the customer’s needs must always be at the forefront of their thinking.

7 Common Mistakes When Creating Content For Mobile Users

mobile pitfallsThere is a basic underlying principle in mobile computing. First and foremost, we have to be clear in our understanding that mobile is a different platform. Although it is supposed to display the same value of information as the regular desktop, the mobile phone is a very different equipment compared to regular PC. It’s not just the small display.

Several factors key in making the mobile device an entirely different animal. The way mobile phones are used, the time of the day they are most likely to be used, and most important, the type of information accessed through it, all these are differing factors that directly and indirectly affect each other.

When making a mobile version of a website, most companies fall into the regular pitfalls can be easily avoided once we understand the basic underlying principle. This principle is the fact that mobile is a different platform. Once we understand this truth, then we can avoid the pitfalls.

Here are the seven most common.

1. Landing page – for desktops
This mistake is very basic and yet a lot of websites out there do this over and over. Basic truth: mobile display screen is small. You created a responsive website but you forgot to include an optimised landing page. How basic is that mistake? Who would want to scroll sideways, on a mobile?

2. Unreadable and tiny fonts and links
Again, the basic truth. Mobile screen is small. There is a huge limit for the user in terms of visual space. Add the fact that the user is most likely not using a pointer mouse but rather, his or her own forefinger in browsing the web. Mobile content creators should be wary of these limitations. Make the text and links bigger and easy to read.

3. Menus that sticks
Since the mobile display is already small, more spaces should be reserved for content. That is the reason why menus are hidden and only display when users access them. Users want to see the content and if the menu is blocking the view, users would most likely leave the site. Make sure the menus are out of the way, or can be easily closed by the user.

4. Popup Windows
Popup windows are already irritating on a desktop. In mobile, they are infuriating. Take note that users’ patience are already thin on a desktop. In mobile, that short patience becomes even more shorter. If you have to do popups, if there’s no way around it, at least minimize it.

5. Missing content and features
What’s available for the desktop should be available for mobile too. Users find it frustrating if they cannot access certain sections of a site when using a mobile device. Especially if that section or app is available when viewed through a fancy desktop. And users know this and they become frustrated. They see it as discrimination.

6. Non-accomodating messages
There’s nothing more infuriating for a user than seeing a message in a site that says: “Please use a 1080 x 736 desktop for maximum viewing experience.” You can almost hear them answer,”Yes, I’d do that except that I’m on subway and using my mobile phone.” It’s already clear that the mobile device is not going away. Forcing users to use a desktop is tantamount to turning them away.

7. Slow Pages
Mobile users are most likely browsing with 3G connection. Add that to the fact that the mobile device’s OS is not as fast and sturdy as a PC. In lieu of this, pleas make sure that all the mobile content are optimised for mobile display. For what use is the information if it cannot be accessed?

In sum, all these pitfalls can be easily avoided. Given the right understanding of what users want displayed on their mobile devices gives us the upper-hand. It is now up to us if we want to convert users or turn them away.

A Guide To Pricing For Our Projects

pricingPricing demands a lot of experience and perspective. It is perhaps one of the most difficult stages in every project. It cannot be just a business negotiation, for a major mistake in pricing often determines the success or the failure of any project.

There are many types of pricing, all of which involve time and scope: scope of the project and number of man-hours to do it. Even experienced business negotiators sometimes err in this very important and delicate decision. The important thing to remember is that every aspect of a project is variable, and can either be directly or indirectly dependent on each other.

Here are some pricing methods that can help you get pricing perspectives.

The Fixed Package

When the project has a fixed-price, both the client and the agency agree up front on the cost of the project. Usually, we arrive at the amount by estimating the number of man-hours necessary to complete the project and multiplying the figure by the hourly rate. The cost arrived at will be what the client will pay, regardless of the actual time spent.

The variable factor here is defining the scope of work. Clients’ objective is to get the most deliverables that they can get and they push hard for this while ours is to finish the project as fast as possible. Less time spent for us means greater profit.

But what if the client keeps on pushing for add-ons and other extra stuff, which may not be included in the original scope of the project? Clients tend to ask for such things. From a business perspective, it is their right. Unfortunately, sometimes the extra stuff they request can be unreasonable, in terms of additional man-hours. To prevent this, it is necessary to: (1) put a strict timeline on the project; and (2) define what’s included and not included in the project.

Since the project has a fixed price, we already know how much cash is coming in. And that will help us in pretty much defining what we are required to do. Again, it is necessary that at the beginning of the project, we define the actual scope and boundaries of the project and make it clear to the clients what they are getting for their money.

Hourly Rate

As the name suggests, hourly rate simply means we get paid by the hour. In our line of business, hourly pricing connotes that what’s really being paid is not so much as our deliverable but more our service and expertise. This means the work is finished when the client tells us.

Since clients pay by the hour, their tendency would be to question if what they are making us do is worth the money they are spending. So the hard decision of deciding what to do falls on the client. We, on the other hand, just work by our hourly rate. The longer and bigger the scope of the project, the more profits for us.

A big disadvantage to this method or pricing is we can only earn as much as our hourly rate dictates. To get more profits from clients, we need to increase our rate. Another problem with this method is that since the budget is normally not an issue for the client, they will not be in a hurry to complete the work.

If the project is delayed due to the clients’ inability to come up with decisions, then our work is interrupted and we lose money. Again, this must be defined clearly at the beginning of the project in order to avoid loss in terms of project delays.

Periodic Rates

This is similar to hourly rates but with a distinct difference. If we are being paid by the week or by the month, clients pay the same amount regardless if there is an actual work done in the project. The good side of this method is that most companies operate by weekly or monthly project deadlines. We, as contractors, are incorporated in the clients’ schedule. That simply means the clients include us in their working schedules. If clients don’t work on weekends, they will make sure we get enough work to do.

Working on the same page as the clients makes cost estimation easier. We are encouraged to work as efficiently as possible since our weekly or monthly rate is already covered.

Value of Work

Value pricing is perhaps the most difficult to establish. This is where lots of perspective and experience come into play. This is almost always a fixed price. The difference is that unlike in fixed package pricing, where the client pushes for more deliverables, the value pricing puts a price on every piece of work that the clients ask, limiting the clients’ options in making us perform works that are clearly not on the project scope.

All in all, the value pricing is perhaps the best method of pricing a project. It clearly defines what is to be done and what is not. By having a checklist of the tasks on hand, with corresponding prices for each, our work is clearly defined for us, with minimal loss as to the hours spent by the staff. This method allows us to properly delegate tasks to our employees who are best cut out for the project discussed.

In summation, pricing can be tricky. But with proper planning and perspective, we will be able to pin down the correct price for every work we do.

Remember: Pricing can determine the success and failure of every project so it is best to get it done proper at every start of the project.

5 Ways To Make Your Call to Action Effective

hey youIn every effort we commit, our highest hopes is to convert. For us marketers of the digital age, conversion is the ultimate objective, the end goal of all our endeavours, the mecca of everything that is commerce. It is the sole subject that gives justification to everything that we’ve been doing up to this very moment.

How do we convert?

First, we call, we announce, then we cajole. We convince customers that what we are up to is a big deal for them. This process, this act of cajoling potential customers into buying, is called Call To Action.

First and foremost, what is Call To Action? As the name suggests, a “call to action” (CTA) is an instruction from us for the site user to do a certain deed. This may be to submit his or her email address to subscribe to some trendy marketing program, or simply to click a button to download apps or other brochures.

To make it even simpler, a CTA is where we convince the audience to buy whatever it is we are trying to sell. It is the path leading to our virtual check-out counter. From a marketing perspective, a user who follows the CTA is a conversion.

Simply put, your website must have a CTA. Your conversion rate, the very life of your business, depends on the effectiveness of your CTA. Below are some of important techniques gathered and compiled from experiences and testimonials of several marketing experts across the globe. These tried and tested methods will help you create an effective CTA.

1. Create the need

Creating a need is a basic rule in advertising. It’s like laying the foundation of commerce. It puts the user in a position where he has virtually no choice but to belong to those who are in need of your product.

Techrepublic.com makes a very good example in their site by providing a statement beneath an email submission field that says: “No, I don’t want to stay on top of my game.” Users will think twice before ignoring this statement. It will help them think that they need to subscribe to be “on top of their game.” What follows is that users input their email addresses and click the submit button.

2. Create urgency

This is also a basic advertising technique that has been used by sellers all across the world for many years. Like the creation of need, where users are made to believe that they need your product, this follow-up technique makes them think that they need your product NOW.

By using phrases like “limited offer”, “expiration date”, and “order now while supply lasts”, users are made to believe that their urgent action is needed; that the sooner they act, the better it would be for them. An effective CTA would make the user believe that they have to act now, or there is no more hope for them.

3. Make it visible

A good CTA can be seen right away amid all the content of the page. Overloading the page with information and putting the CTA in the midst of all the content clutter will only make it hard for the user to see it.

The point is making the CTA separate from other content, so it calls the user’s attention immediately. Consider placing the CTA above the fold of the page. By doing this, it calls the attention of the user even before the user begins scrolling down. Consider also putting some white spaces around the CTA for it to get more attention.

4. Offer some extra stuff

A little extra would not do any harm. In fact, users will feel encouraged if they feel they are getting free stuff in the process. It makes them think they are getting the upperhand in the deal, that they are not getting ripped off.

Consider this copy: Sign-up and get a FREE tshirt! When users see this deal, they are most likely to sign-up just because of the free tshirt alone that you are offering. To us marketers, it kind of speeds up the process of conversion.

5. Use distinct color

For the CTA to stand above all the content, it is necessary to use different colours from the one being used in the page’s theme. It doesn’t have to be an opposite contrast of the overall colour theme. On the contrary, even though the CTA must be different from the rest of the content, its colour should also complement the overall palette being used.

Aesthetically, it must not hurt the user’s visual discipline. A lot of resources in the Web offer colour palettes that will help us decide on the right amount of combinations that we can use when designing the CTA.

“Website is my name. Conversion is my game.” 5 Tips To Improve Your Site’s Conversion Rate

cro

Having a website that showcases products is useless if customers don’t buy the products. In fact, we have no business calling them customers if they don’t buy. Because the rule of business is: we sell, they buy. 

What good is a website if it just sits there in the cyberspace, taking up space and waiting for the domain and hosting to expire? Unless this is the original intention, which I’m sure it is not, then a website is not really a website in every sense of the word. To use the analogy of a once great leader, “Your website is less useful than crap.”

Conversion rate is the percentage of site visitors who actually buy the products and services being offered. The higher the ratio of customers, the higher the revenue. That is how this game is played. Revenue is the name of the game, and conversion is the rule of the play. Websites must convert users, plain and simple. Site visits must have ROI for without it, businesses are doomed. 

Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO comes into play. CRO is the process of maximising the efforts of making site visitors take action. It takes time and lots of research and resources. In short, CRO is a costly venture. Big firms spend lots of money hiring other firms that specialise in CRO. For indeed, there are firms and agencies dedicated solely to CRO.

But what about the small and medium businesses that have no budget for CRO? Good news then that the Internet is a level-playing field. And it being a platform where SMEs have an equal footing with the big boys, the power of CRO can be harnessed DIY style.

Here are some tips you might want to consider to raise your site’s conversion rate.

1. Conduct Split Tests

This reliable method has been practiced ever since the beginning of the business era, when ancient galleon trade merchants studied markets and sold products based on their conclusions. Split testing, sometimes called A/B testing, is the process of creating two different versions of a landing page and testing it to two sets of users. Whichever converts better, we go for it. Below are particular sections that we need to focus on.

2. Call To Action

Call to Action, or CTA is the button or link that we want users to click. It is simply where the action is going to take place. Every click on the particular button is potential revenue.

That being said, make sure that you place the CTA where users can see it immediately. Meaning, above the fold or on the upper section of the page, before the users even begin to scroll down. Placing the CTA above the fold is strategic simply because users see it right away before they change their minds. 

But this does not mean that we skip the CTA at the end of the page. Some users would want to read first before they take action. So if they don’t click on the upper fold, they continue to read the content sandwiched in the middle, then they can still take action at the end of the page. A website or a landing page can have many CTAs as long as they are strategically placed and lead to only one action. 

3. Make it Clear

The purpose of CTA is to lure potential customers. You don’t want potential customers to get lost in all the content and finally leave the website. Or worse, get carried away with the aesthetics and art, and forget that we are actually selling something. Your CTA, as the name suggests, must drive the user towards your goal. In design-speak, that means proper layout and fonts. Avoid using artsy fonts and elements that make the headline hard to read. Keeping it simple often works better.

4. Forms

Studies show that users have little patience with step-by-step actions. Modern users who are most likely using a smartphone or tablet instead of a laptop or PC, have little patience in filling-up forms. With this in mind, make the forms shorter and concise. There’s no point in making it complicated for the user. Think: we are about to convert! The user is already filling-up our form! Instead of adding additional steps for him, by all means, let’s carry him on our shoulders all the way to the check-out counter if this would convert him to become a buyer.

Take note: studies based on years of experience state that a lot of potential customers walk away just because of the failure of captcha images to load. What a shame!

5. Testimonials

People tend to believe in products and services especially if they see other people buy them. That means “people”, not “celebrities”. You don’t need celebrities endorsing your products. First of all, you don’t have the budget to do it. In fact, using famous people is not a testimonial but a commercial. Testimonials are the exact antithesis of commercials.

Consumers have outgrown product endorsements from celebrities. People tend to believe people who are on their same level. Small and medium businesses would want to see other small and medium businesses saying your products worked for them. People don’t want to see stock photos but actual pictures of people proclaiming your product rocks. Testimonials breed trust.

 

There you go, folks. CRO presented DIY style. Your goal is to convert without spending too much money in hiring experts to raise your conversion rate. These simple tips would help you get started. 

Now convert! And forever make your website useful.

Enough Is Enough! Five SEO Myths Every Marketer Should Avoid for Good

To say that SEO has changed a lot especially these past few years is an absurd understatement. SEO, as any marketer know by now, is a continuously evolving and developing animal, not much different from any carbon-based creature in its ability to adapt to the changes in its environment.

As search engine giants continue to refine their algorithms for maximum user experience, so as the diligence and creativity of online marketers to circumvent the new rules arising from algorithms updates. Ignoring the fact that the best way to gain page ranking is by delivering relevant and engaging contents, most online marketers focus on improvising “schemes” to bypass the search engine rules to create a “fake” page ranking, and bombard users with unsolicited content.

But as I have said, search engine algorithms continue to evolve, weeding out these marketers and punishing sites that violate search engine rules. Through the years, these marketers have developed a lot of tactics to counter new algorithms and updates. Some of these methods have long been exposed by Google, Yahoo and other major search engines. Keyword stuffing, frenzy link building, Meta tag spamming and other black hat tactics use to work before but since the release of Panda and Penguin, Google’s new algorithms, the old-school tactics no longer work. These practices have long became myths.

But myths still persist. And practices and strategies are still being formulated based on these myths. Here are of five of those myths that every self-respecting marketer should avoid in 2015.

1. Link-building is archaic

By archaic I mean old and no longer works. But this is a myth. Some marketers are claiming that making backlinks no longer works because of the improved search engine algorithms. On the contrary, backlinks can still be considered as a major page-ranking utility. If lots of users link back to your site because of the quality of the contents, then backlinks are good. What doesn’t work are frenzy link farms perpetuated solely to avoid the parameters set by search engines’ algorithms and cheat on page-ranking.

Links should be earned. Users should link back to your site voluntarily and with no strings attached.

2. Social Media is #1 in SEO

The general belief since last year is that Social Media is the new platform for page ranking. Not true. Google itself admitted that it doesn’t use social media in page ranking. The only time Google use social media is for personal search but only within Google’s social community which is the Google Plus. Engaging in social media for the sake of SEO is wrong. Social media has no direct effect towards brand marketing.

However, being able to engage thousands of users in social media helps the marketer build a better brand and this would eventually help in gaining links from web publishers, bloggers and other users. With this comes better page ranking.

3. Submit URL to search engines to be indexed

In the olden days when Internet was young, we fill-up forms to submit to search engines, informing the world of our presence. Nowadays, although the practice is still being done, it doesn’t do your site any good in terms of page ranking. Site submission does not guarantee anything. Even without submitting your site’s URL to any search engines, web crawlers will eventually discover your site and index it.

4. More indexed pages, more page ranking

Some marketers believe that the more pages our site have, the more chances for our site to gain page-ranking. More pages mean more content. More content is more page ranking.

Again this is utterly false. Google and other major search engines does not rely on the quantity of the content but rather on the quality. Users who are happy with your site’s contents would link back, repost, comment and share your site’s information. That’s how you build your site’s credibility. Search engines can detect credibility the same way that they can detect bogus and duplicate contents within your site.

Focus on the quality, not the quantity.

5. Pay Google to get organic page ranking

Nothing could be farther from the truth with this belief. First off, organic search results are based on the relevance of the content being matched by the search engine upon users’ request for information. Organic search results are free and has nothing to do with Google AdWords. Proper keyword placement, internal linking and better content will get you page ranking.

There are other myths out there that are still being practiced by many marketers. Some myths as absurd as the next one. The five mentioned above are by far the most common SEO misconceptions. It is up to the marketer whether to believe them or not.

A better solution is instead of focusing on how to get higher page ranking, focus instead on delivering high-quality and engaging content. Page ranking is sure to follow.

Content is the true path to righteousness. Relevance is the true path to better page ranking.

Tips to Improve Your Website in 2015

tips to improve

Now that the holiday is over and a fresh new year looms ahead, consider it a great time to give your company’s site a facelift. If you want to improve your site’s performance, now is the time to attack this challenge head on.

1. Improve the Design

Minimalism is the way to go based on current design trends. Gone are the days of animated gif and scrolling texts that do nothing but eat bandwidth and distract the user from the main content. Flat designs are replacing the old habits. This means eliminating the gradients and the shadows and replacing them with bright minimal color for better user experience. This also help pages load faster and conserve bandwidth.

2. Mobile Responsiveness

The Internet is no longer monopolized by desktop pc users. To assume that most users still use fancy desktops every time they view websites is a very unproductive assumption. A great number of users are now using their smart phones to surf the Internet. These users demand content that is viewable in their small screens. To neglect mobile responsiveness is to turn away a huge number of potential customers. To adapt with the mobile revolution, make sure that your website is responsive.

3. Improve Your Layout

Imagine a homepage brimming with information overload, information that is otherwise presented in an overwhelming manner to create “relevance” or at least a projection of it. What is the usual users’ reaction? The user’s usual initial reaction to a busy homepage is to leave. The user’s brain and patience can only take so much information. Overloading the user with content will just force the user’s brain to shut down and refuse any more information being offered. Add the fact that the user is most likely using a smartphone with a small screen, the content overload is just too much to take. Consider placing your content in a manner that enhances user experience rather than overwhelms them. Consider placement of white spaces to give the user breathing rooms. This is particularly useful for mobile users.

4. Social Media

Most companies nowadays use the social media to engage users and build brand recognition and credibility. The purpose of engaging in social media is to get people to visit your site. This they do when you engage them enough in the platform where they feel most comfortable, which is social media. If your company has no presence in social media, then it is losing potential customers simply because the customers are on social media while your company is not. Having a website is not enough. An effective social media presence is what drive the users to visit the site.

5. Content Is King

In this age of SEO, page rankings and link exchanges, nothing delivers more traffic and conversion than true and relevant content. The key to website performance is the delivery of fresh and unique contents that would make your users voluntarily share them to other users. The promise of a high-quality content would make the users return to your site repeatedly. This is what gives a site better page ranking and hence, higher conversion rates.

5 Terribly Important Things We Tend To Forget Before Launching A Website

5 things

To website developers, like us, launching an online presence is often not a big deal. We do it all the time for our clients. Sometimes, the act becomes so “automatic” that we forget how big of a deal it is for the client.

From where clients stand, launching a website is, indeed, a very big deal. It is especially a big deal to those who are embarking their online presence for the very first time. To them, the act is not “automatic” but rather “ritualistic”. Think of this process as a young lady celebrating her sweet 16, with all the candles and the gowns. And we’re “catering” the affair.

It may seem simple website creators but to the client, its a major step toward business development.

We need to be reminded, from time to time, of the significance of the process. Not because it’ll affect our bottom line. This is more about being better at what we do–every single time a Web development project comes our way. So as you sit your cramped cubicle or living it up in your swanky studio space, consider how we are the so-called “caterers” of every sweet 16 party.

Here are the five important things that slip our minds when launching a website.

1. The Browser Issue

Cross-browser testing can be a headache. Sometimes, most of us don’t bother doing it at all, content on the thought that nobody uses Internet Explorer anymore, or Netscape for that matter. That’s where most of us are wrong.

We tend to overlook that some of the guests or maybe even the debutante herself, are vegetarians. Yes, in the real world, some users still use the old browsers. There are so many browsers in the Web and it is wrong to assume that we all use the same one. So make sure to test every site in all browsers.

2. Responsiveness

Gone are the days when people visit sites using their PCs and laptops. Today, most modern consumers own a smartphone and they surf the Web using these small but handy gadgets. Thus, these users demand a mobile-compatible site. One that doesn’t demand heavy sideways scrolling.

There are lots of online sources that tests websites for mobile-compatibility and these services are often free of charge. Responsinator.com is one of these sources. Go check it out.

3. Meta Descriptions

In order to get the maximum possible hits for search engines, make sure to put proper meta descriptions on every article within the site. Think of it as directions to the event where the party is happening. What good is a birthday bash if nobody shows up because they don’t know its location?

Meta descriptions will help Web crawlers and spiders track your site, page by page; thus, creating heavy traffic. Putting meta descriptions is not hard. Sometimes, all it takes is a proper page title for every page.

4. Favicon

A favicon is a 16 x 16 or 32 x 32 pixel icon, which is lodged up there in the address bar beside the page title. It is literally a small thing, but yes, it is very important because it adds identity to the site. And if it adds identity, then it is SEO-related.

To some designers who fall short on the technical server-side of things, there are a lot of tutorial sites out there with step-by-step instructions on how to set-up a favicon.

5. The 404 Error Page

This is often overlooked. Basically, the error or 404 page takes care of the broken links in our sites. Two of the most popular blogs like Blogspot and WordPress have included the 404 setup in their platforms so there is no more excuse even for bloggers not to set-up the 404.

Think of this as a way-finder signage for lost guests. We don’t want the guests wandering outside of the party perimeters, do we?

The Real Value Of Facebook’s Audience Network

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As social media continues to play a bigger role in people’s lives, companies are looking to take advantage of the media channel.

In order for businesses to get the most out of their social media efforts, however, brands must understand how to best leverage each platform. Fiksu, a mobile marketing company, has announced the release of a new report titled “Facebook Audience Network Investigation – Value Beyond CPI.”

The report delivers insights into the performance differences between Facebook Audience Network ads, traditional Facebook News Feed ads and other display networks. Also included in the report are side-by-side comparisons of app marketing data from Fiksu clients that ran both Facebook and display ad campaigns.

Fiksu found that the revenue per purchasing user on Facebook’s Audience Network was $3.64 compared to the News Feed’s $1.63 and display traffic’s $0.15. The report also details that while click through rates on the Audience Network are consistently lower than the other ad sources, the conversion rate was nearly 10 percent higher than that of the News Feed and 25 percent higher than display ads.

“The research proves that the latest addition to Facebook’s mobile app ads, Audience Network, can be successful across a range of apps, thanks to the comprehensive tools they provide for segmentation and targeting. As our report indicates, it makes sense for marketers to spend more per click on Facebook properties since the ROI will be significantly better due to value of that segmentation, context and timing”, said Craig Palli, Fiksu’s chief strategy officer.

Google Viewability Report Is Now Available For Advertisers

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Google has announced another report on viewability of all its advertising programs. However, the company still need to give more proper explanation, so the industry understands what “viewability” really means.

Google’s vice president of video and display advertising, Neal Mohan, announced that Google would be offering the reports to inform advertisers whether video ads were seen or not and help them measure “what truly matters”. Furthermore, he stated that the viewability report will help to “turbo-charge” on video advertising.

The viewability reports will be available to all advertisers who use Google’s DoubleClick platform including the DoubleClick AdExchange. It will soon roll out to reserved inventory on YouTube and Google Preferred, including desktop and app views. In a few months, Google will offer the ability to target viewable impressions and buy only viewable impressions across its display network. Down the track Google plans to add reporting for audibility, and the total amount of time an ad was viewable. The company revealed that more than half (56.1%) of ads served on its platforms are not viewable.

The IAB in Australia is making viewability a priority this year, and is working on a set of guidelines and how to roll it out appropriately in the Australian market. However, there is a tricky point in viewability: just because an ad is not viewable, it doesn’t mean it’s not seen, or valuable and should be paid for by an advertiser. It just means that it hasn’t been measured.

It’s also worth remembering that no advertising medium has 100% viewability. The defining thing is that not measured, doesn’t mean not seen, but a lot of people in the industry view not measured as not seen. Viewability is the right way to go and it’s right for the industry, yet there is still so much that we’re learning about it. It’s really important for us to make sure that roll out happens in an appropriate way and everyone understands it.

Google’s is sticking to the US industry definition for video viewability as set by the MRC and Making Measurement Make Sense, which means 50% or more of the video being on screen for two seconds or longer. Mohan stated: “Viewability, though, is just the starting point, not an end in and of itself. With the confidence that their ads can be seen by a real person, marketers can then go on to strive for–and measure–what really matters, impact and engagement.”