Have you noticed how some URLs start with HTTPS and some with just HTTP?

And do you know that when you visit an HTTP site, the information you enter on that site is not necessarily secure?

Google takes web security seriously, and that is reflected in their commitment to “naming and shaming” unsecured websites as outlined in the Google Security blog post.

As of January 2017, HTTP sites that require passwords or credit cards will be marked as non-secure in Chrome.

non https site marked not secure in Chrome

Non HTTPS sites will be marked not secure in Chrome

With Chrome constantly gaining in popularity as a browser, this is going to have a huge impact on businesses that are not ready, willing, or able to make these changes to their websites.

And there’s more…

In following releases, we will continue to extend HTTP warnings, for example, by labelling HTTP pages as “not secure” in Incognito mode, where users may have higher expectations of privacy. Eventually, we plan to label all HTTP pages as non-secure, and change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle that we use for broken HTTPS.

non-HTTPS sites to be marked not-secure

Now, that is going to put people off visiting your website!

Google also suggests that over time, they will regard HTTPS in a positive light when servicing search results.

Now that you realise the importance of delivering you website over secure connections, you will need to know how to go about it. The good news is that you DON’T have to spend a fortune on web certificates, in spite of what people may tell you!

We can do the whole thing for you – particularly if you have a WordPress website. Not only that, but the methods we use also speed up your website (another Google ranking factor) AND secure your website from malicious hacking attacks.

Please Contact Us Today to find out how we can help you beat the Google “Non-Secure” site penalty, boost your search rankings, speed up your website and secure your site from malicious attacks!

 

 

It is pretty much a given now that all businesses should have a website, whether they are international corporates, or one-man operations. And to be fair, most do. BUT DOES YOUR WEBSITE WORK FOR YOU?

During my extensive career in web design, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. But all too often, they are built more as an ego-site, or as a business card that gets thrown into a drawer, than as a useful client/sales generating tool.

After all, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? A website is generally built to generate leads that turn into business.

So where are businesses going wrong, and what can you do to change that? If you have a website already, see how many of these critical errors you are making, and if you don’t have a website for your business:

a) you need one, and;

b) make sure you have these bases covered!

Let’s take it from the top!

Have you heard of then expression “above the fold”?

In print terms it is what is seen on the front page of newspaper that is folded in half – the branding, the headline and most likely an eye-catching photograph.

In website terms, it is what you can see as soon as you visit a site, without having to scroll down. Given that the average visitor will only give a website 3 seconds to impress them, it is essential that you grab their attention straight away with the content that is “above the fold”.

  • The logo – your brand is important. And it should be the first thing they see!
  • Navigation – should be clear to the visitor how they can find the exact information they require
  • Headline – just as in the print world, a headline is super-important on a website. It should be a clear message conveying what the website is about and it should encourage the visitor to look deeper into the site.
  • CALL TO ACTION – strangely, this is probably the most overlooked aspect of websites for SMEs that I have encountered! You visit the page, love the content, want to contact the company to either make a purchase, or hire them… And you can’t find their contact details! One of the largest complaints about websites is how difficult it can be to find contact details!

OK, let’s now assume that you have everything in place above the the fold. What else do you need to know?

IS YOUR SITE MOBILE-READY?

This is HUGE. With 80% of local website traffic coming from mobile devices, is your website viewable on mobiles and tablets? f course it is, you might say. But is it readable. How often do you visit a website on your smart-phone and have to squeeze and zoom to read what’s on there? If that’s your site, guess what. People will not give it the time of day. Oh, and they probably wont find it in thne first place anyway. As of April 21, 2015, Google began rolling out their “Mice” update. Effectively, any site that wasn’t ready for mobile would NOT show in the search results performed on mobile devices. So these sites could be missing out on thousands of visitors, and potential business.

There are two options really. Firstly, you could have a separate site for mobile devices that would automatically be displayed when viewed on mobiles. A little coding on the site recognises the device being used to view the site and it automatically delivers the correct version of the website. This has its limitations since it would generally mean that you need to maintain 2 websites. You desktop site and thne mobile site.

The other option is to make your website mobile-responsive. This basically means that the site is in a readable format, and will resize and rearrange according to the device used.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN VISITORS LEAVE YOUR WEBSITE?

It sounds a bit daft, but have you considered what happens to visitors once they leave your website? The answer is pretty simple really. Normally they will forget everything they know about your business, never come back, and more than likely take their business somewhere else. It sounds terrible, but that is the harsh reality!

So what can you do to make sure that doesn’t happen?

COLLECT THEIR DETAILS!

It’s well known in sales that you generally need 7 “touches” before you convert a cold prospect into a buyer. And it’s the same with buying online. So, collect contact details of as many visitors as possible and keep in touch with them. in this day and age, it is simple to offer a free gift, or bit of advice, or quote in return for an email address. It is also simple to set up a sequence of emails to send the visitor over a period of a few days or weeks. And that keep you at the forefront of their mind and encourages them to return to your website and/or hire you!

DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY VISIT YOUR WEBSITE, AND HOW DO YOU MEASURE THE TRAFFIC?

OK, so you’ve got the perfect website. It looks lovely on all devices, it has calls to action, you have a mechanism in place to collect email addresses and phone numbers, the navigation is clear. In fact it’s the perfect looking website!

Now all you need is for someone to stumble across it and take a look!

TRAFFIC is essential for the survival of any website. It’s the lifeblood, and it saddens me when I see small businesses struggle to pay for a magnificent website, only to let it sit un-visited, unloved and unwanted.

Search Engine Optimisation is a whole new subject, and there are thousands of considerations, but I’ll narrow it all down into a few basics that should help.

A 1 MINUTE GUIDE TO SEO

  • Meta Data – this is the under-the-bonnet code that helps visitors and the search engines understand what the page is about. Include the “Title” and “Description” meta tags and make them unique to each page
  • Sitemaps – The main search engines EXPECT to see a site map – it doesn’t have to be visible to the viewer, but it should to the search “bots”
  • Page headlines – should include the keywords you want to be found for. It may also help to include a location if you trade locally.
  • Keywords – should appear in your content, throughout the page, but certainly in the opening paragraph
  • Links – links in to your website and links from your website all couunt in the eyes of the search engines.
  • Images – use “Alt” tags to describe the image and include keywords.
  • Schema – to increase visibility and the chance of being indexed, in particular by Google, you should try to use the correct schema for various aspects of the website and “rich-snippets” for data such as Company Name, Industry, Address and other contact details. And While I’m on the subject of addresses, you should keep your company name and address 100% consistent across your own website AND directory and social media websites to increase its visibility.

Now you are getting traffic, how do you measure it?

Google Analytics is always the answer! Yes, you can get traffic details or hit counts with on-site tools, but Google Analytics goes WAY beyond what you can measure with these other tools. Not only ca n you find out how much traffic you are getting, but you can find out HOW they found you. WHAT THEY WANT and were searching for. How they maneuver around your website. What pages they enter your site by, and where they leave. All this is essential information if you are going to develop your site further. In my opinion, Google Analytics is THE essential tool to help you learn about your audience!

A few other things to consider…

At the very least, your local business should have company pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google my Business. And all of the name, address and contact field should be filled in EXACTLY how they appear on your website.

You might also consider advertising your website on local business directories – when I say local, they may be national, even international, directories, but they will be arranges so that visitors can search locally. For example yell.com, yelp.com, foursquare.com, thompsonlocal.com etc. There may well be genuinely local directories and directories specific to your industry.

Many of these local directories will also allow visitor and clients to leave reviews about your business. Many people are scared by this, as they only believe people leave reviews when things go wrong. This is not the case and the benefits far outweigh the cons. And let’s face it, if you see a load of great reviews, and one bad one, you’re OK with it IF you can see that the business or business owner has done something to rectify the issue. These sites give you a platform to show that you care!

It’s been a bit of a whistle-stop tour, but I hope that you have found a few little nuggets within this article that will help you build or change, and BENEFIT from your business website. And, of course, I am always happy to help, be it with your website, search optimisation or making the best use of social media for your business.

Dave Offen
Wide Blue Consulting

W: www.wideblueconsulting.com
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)1424 531150

Back in January 2015, LinkedIn introduced a “commercial use limit” on search.

On a positive note, it meant that free account-holders could see the full names on 3rd degree profiles, something previously not allowed. But it came at a price. A search limit that, if reached, indicates to LinkedIn that you’re likely using LinkedIn for commercial use.

And for that privilege, they really want you to pay, which is understandable.

You’ve reached the commercial use limit on search

The limit is very hard to actually pinpoint. Some months I get a “You’ve reached the commercial use limit on search” message after a few days, other times it takes far longer. But when you reach the limit, although you’ll still be able to search, your results will be severely limited.

However, all is not lost! I found a brilliant tool that is free to use.

http://recruitmentgeek.com/tools/linkedin/

The LinkedIn X-Ray Search Tool allows you to search with no restrictions as it accesses public data available on Google. You can use Boolean logic in the searches, and in my experience with this tool, you get decent results back. There do seem to be differences between the results you would get from LinkedIn itself and LinkedIn X-Ray searches, but not so much as to worry about too much.

LinkedIn is a business-focused social networking site. And with most of its 400 MILLION+ members being decision-makers, if you are not building your presence on it, then you could be missing out on a lot of business opportunities. Whether you are promoting a new product or service, looking to hire, new employees, or simply marketing your business as a whole, LinkedIn provides you with a plethora of tools and resources to use to help you accomplish your goals.

And creating a captivating LinkedIn profile is probably the most important step to take. So let’s break it down into bite-sized portions, and at the end of this brief guide, you’ll have a profile that attracts potential clients and encourages them to engage with you.

IMPORTANT: Don’t just dive in and list your skills and achievements. Take 30 minutes to think about who your ideal prospect would be. What are their problems? How can you help relieve their pain? Make your profile come across as a personal message to them. Don’t follow the norm and create a profile that reads like a CV that does not attract connections. Make it about THEM. You’ll find that conversions of profile views to connection requests will go through the roof!

1. Your name – I know, it seems obvious. But LinkedIn have been clamping down on false names and names with additional information (keywords?) in them. So stick to inputting your name ONLY – ie John Doe, rather than “John Doe Real Estate Agent”. Failure to comply COULD result in the closure of your account.

2. Headline – This is where you can add extra details about what you do and how you can help other members. Take time to consider what people are looking for when they are tracking you, or similar businesses down. What are their pain-triggers, how can you help, what keywords/phrases might they use? This headline will appear below your name in the “People you may know” listings, so it is important that it draws people in.

3. Place your business in the correct category – LinkedIn members will be using the site’s search functions to look for businesses.

4. Add a Summary section – this is often overlooked and normally under-utilised. It represents your best opportunity to sell yourself to potential connections and business. Don’t make it all about you. Make it about your perfect connection/prospect. Ask questions. Try to find their pain or problems and show them how you can help them. ADD A CTA (Call to Action), giving clear instructions as to how they can connect with, and contact you, be that email, phone or directing them to an optin page on your website.

Try to include TESTIMONIALS in the summary to add credibility. You will no doubt receive LinkedIn recommendations, but in the summary section, you could add testimonials you have already received from happy clients.

NOTE: Are you familiar with LIONs? Not the furry kind with big teeth, but the LinkedIn Open Networkers. These are people are open to any connections and will not “IDK” (I Don’t Know). If you are open to adding anyone to your network, Add a paragraph stating that you are a LION and do not IDK, or spam connections.

5. Experience – Once again, this offers a great opportunity to stand-out from the crowd. most LinkedIn members list all of their previous jobs and skills here. But the savvy members will add entries for each of their current products and/or services as well. For example, I offer LinkedIn Training, Profile Writing and consulting services. I could have had a boring entry such as “Social Media Consultant” and listed everything out in that one entry. But, instead, I have an entry for each. Not only is this good for SEO purposes, but it helps visitors see, at a glance, the services I offer. Each entry also includes a clear CTA. you should also try to include rich media in your experience section. This could be in the form of a portfolio, or photographs of your work. Videos are particularly effective these days!

6. Complete the remainder of your profile as fully as possible -.LinkedIn grades profiles by their “completeness”. It should be your aim to produce a contact generating “All Star” profile.

The Additional Info has a section that specifically tells visitors the best way to contact you. Make sure you add a web address, email address and a phone number if you wish.

7. Add Articles – regularly adding articles in LinkedIn will add impact to your profile visually, especially if you include a powerful “hero image”, but more importantly, it will help to establish you as an industry leader. It also helps to expand your reach to potential new contacts.

FOLLOW UP – Suffice to say that you should always follow up with new connections. Don’t be pushy with a “Thanks for connecting. I am an expert at…” message. Just be friendly. Ask them questions. Offer to help. But don’t be salesy. Can you imagine how dreadful a party would be if everyone said “hello” and then proceeded to tell you all about how brilliant they are at their job right away. Begin a dialog. Make friends with your connections and the work will follow!

That’s it for now, but do look out for more LinkedIn hints and tips from me in the future.

And of course, CONNECT with me right here on LinkedIn. You’ll find more useful hints and tips in my profile.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/daveoffen

I’m a LION, and I never IDK or Spam my connections.

With nearly a half a BILLION members, mostly decision makers, LinkedIn offers a MASSIVE opportunity to build a huge network and connect with potential clients. But all to often, I hear…

I tried LinkedIn, but it doesn’t work

I joined LinkedIn right near the start, and while it was the “in thing”, I managed to make a lot of connections, and I got business from these connections. But then things started to tail off.

So I got “under the bonnet” and really tried to find out where I was going wrong. I created pages, groups, sent connection invitations out left right and centre, and it all worked to a degree. I particularly like the Groups, as you are able to manage your own network and send regular notifications.

But while all of these things worked OK, to a fashion, it was something so obvious that I figured out was wrong with what I was doing.

It was my PROFILE that was not working for me!

Seriously, it was that simple.

Like so many people on LinkedIn, I was listing out all my experience and previous jobs, but my profile just read like a Curriculum Vitae. It was “as dull as dishwater”! And it did not encourage anyone to delve deeper into what I had to offer. I mean, it was the same as millions of other profiles out there.

What I should have done was simply what professional copywriters do all the time. put myself in my target audience’s head. Work out what “pain” they were suffering, and offer a solution. But not in a “salesy” way. But more like a friend having a chat!

Once I realised this, it was a simple job to rewrite my profile in such a way that it actually encouraged people to connect with me, and more importantly, actually contact me. And I started to give people a clear CALL TO ACTION.

It’s amazing how people will contact you, if you offer them the opportunity and the means. My daily messages almost tripled, just by adding the simple line…

Please feel free to contact me at [email protected], or call me on +44 (0)nnnn nnnnnn if you would like to know more about what I did, and maybe what I could do to help you make the most of LinkedIn.

So please, if there’s one thing that you can take from LinkedIn today, let it be this.

Don’t write your profile like a CV, write it like a personal letter to encourage CONTACT.

If you would like to comment on this short, but (I believe) valuable post, or have me check out your LinkedIn profile to make the most of LinkedIn as a serious tool in your marketing locker, please feel free to contact me at [email protected],

And of course, please connect with me right there on LinkedIn!

 

If you would like to know more about our LinkedIn Profile Writing service, please click here

Google My business is the ultimate business directory with relevant business information accessible to customers instantly. Many businesses will already have Google My Business pages, but not know they have them. Google regularly generates new pages based on what its “spiders” find online. There are distinct benefits to claiming your listing if you have not already done so…

  • Your business may be seen in Google Maps as well as “normal” search results.
  • All information is clickable, including your phone number and website address.
  • The information is optimised to look great on any device, including smartphones.
  • Local and online businesses can use it.
  • You can post pictures and videos to your page to showcase your products or services.
  • You have access to metrics to see how many people are looking for and finding your site.
  • It drives traffic to your business website.
  • Customers can read and add reviews. Unlike unclaimed business pages, you can monitor reviews, helping you protect your online reputation.

Maybe you don’t have the time, or are not confident about claiming your Google My Business page. If that is the case, we can do it all for you for a VERY small fee.

Please click here for more details

Google MICE slap, April 21, 2015Google’s latest update, due on 21 April 2015, is set to have more impact than many of it’s well know predecessors.

The general gist is that Google will ONLY display mobile-ready sites in the search results of users on mobile or tablet devices.

The worry is that almost 50% of all searches are now done on these devices, and mobile search is set to exceed desktop searches this year.

While this update is good news for smartphone and tablet users, it is a major concern for businesses who have non-mobile-friendly websites. After April 21, websites that are not deemed mobile-friendly will lose rankings on Google’s mobile search results, in turn negatively impacting traffic and conversions.

Wide Blue Media are ready to help you avoid the latest Google slap. Get in touch and we will assess your website and make recommendations as to what you need to do to prepare yourself.

No charge, but obviously, we’d like to help if you’re not able to do the work yourself.

 

 

 

So you did your research, read our previous post on the 5 reasons your business needs a mobile site and you understand the importance of building a mobile web.  That’s great.

You are truly ahead of the game when it comes to the world of online marketing.

Now you need to know how to build the most effective mobile site possible.

And, no, it is not the same as building a traditional website.

A mobile website is a new brand of site, and it involves a unique set of considerations.

Content.  

You’ve most likely heard the phrase, “content is king.”

However, mobile web design relegates content underneath navigability.

Mobile site design, Hastings, East Sussex

Mobile sites

Sure, it is still important that your content is accurate, relevant, informative, and easy to understand.

However, the most important thing is that your content is short, concise, and free of any unnecessary verbiage.

A good rule of thumb is that it should all fit on one page (and on a tiny mobile device screen, at that).

And you should consider the type of content you are going to display!

Typically, mobile users will want to know how they can contact you and buy from you.

They wont be so interested in your last 10 blog posts!

Graphics and navigation buttons.  

Keep the touch screen in mind when designing a mobile website.

Any good mobile site should have thumb-friendly navigation buttons.

Additionally, other graphics should be kept to a minimum.

Single column layout.  

You don’t want your site visitors to have to work to view your page.

It should not be necessary to zoom or scroll to fit your site’s content on the screen.

The most effective way to display your mobile website is in a single column, which will be compatible with most smart phone screens.

Use the mobile device’s inbuilt functionality.  

This refers to all of those things a mobile device can do that a desktop or laptop can’t do – phone calls and GPS, for example.

To aid the user experience, provide a way to access these features so that your site visitors can call or locate your business with just the touch of a button.

Navigation layout.  

In addition to having simple, large-scale navigation buttons and search boxes,

you should also arrange your site’s navigation tools in a way that integrates well into the column format.

You may opt to stack them, put them in a drop-down menu at the top or bottom of the page, or present them as the home page.

As you can see, mobile web design is a whole new ballgame.

It is important to keep all of these factors in mind if you are to build an effective mobile website.

If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you with our fast and affordable mobile site packages, please get in touch.

A mobile website is more important to your business than ever. Here are five compelling reasons why

A mobile website is just what it sounds like – a website specifically designed to be viewed on mobile devices.

So, why does your business need a mobile website if its traditional site is doing just fine?

Aesthetic appeal.

Mobile v desktop comparison

We got it right for Knight!

You may wonder why people can’t just view your existing traditional website on their mobile devices.

The truth is, they can.  The other truth is that your traditional website simply doesn’t look very good on a mobile device.

Do this: shrink the view on your web browser by zooming out until you have to squint to read the text. Or scroll left and right just to read a single sentence!

Not a good viewing experience, right?

The statistics.

smartphone stats
You can’t argue with numbers.

Basically, more people today use their mobile devices to access the Internet than they do their desktop or laptop computers.

As a matter of fact, many people accessing the web today ONLY do so through their mobile devices.

Can you afford not to cater to this considerably large market sector?

Data transfer costs.  

Many mobile users must pay data transfer fees.

Traditional websites have much more data than mobile websites, and therefore can cost a lot of people a lot of money to view.

How often are customers willing to pay you to market to them?  Enough said.

Navigation.  

As previously mentioned, traditional sites are much smaller on those tiny mobile device screens.

That means site visitors must do an awful lot of scrolling to take the whole site in . . .

and let’s face it, web surfers don’t want to have to work to read a web page.

Also, it can be nearly impossible to hit navigation buttons on such a tiny screen when the website hasn’t been optimized for mobile devices.

Today’s web audience.  

The fact that most people access the Internet via mobile device also means that most people use their mobile devices for any of a

wide variety of things – shopping, searching, entertainment, and more – and these are all aspects you could add to your mobile website to increase your reach and broaden your customer base.

As you can see, there are a number of very good reasons to build a mobile website for your business, and as soon as possible.

Wide Blue Media provide a cost efficient service to get your mobile site up and running – often within 24 hours!

Contact us today to see how we can help you.

Business Tools On Facebook

Facebook offers tools that you can use to help build your business. These include:

Social Ads
Pages
Beacon
Insights
Platform
Polls

Each of these is designed to help you build your brand on the site and get customers and clients. Your first step is to learn about these tools. In the next section, you’ll learn how to tie all of this together so that you can find your success on Facebook.

You can take advantage of these features further by visiting http://www.facebook.com/business.

SOCIAL ADS

Social ads are a unique feature because they interact directly with the News Feeds of the people on your friends lists. This means that anyone who has you added as a friend will be able to see information about your business directly in their profile.

This also means that you can directly control who sees your ad and achieve targeted traffic rather effortlessly. When it comes to making sales, targeted traffic is what you want.

FACEBOOK PAGES

If you have a business, you should create your own Facebook Page for it. This is the same as your profile. By having a page for your business, you take full advantage of the site by allowing people to interact with your business. It also helps build your brand.

When someone on Facebook participates in your site, you know that you’ve won their support and potentially their business. They treat this page as they would any of their friends. People can write on the wall and participating in the experience of your page or profile.

It’s your job to encourage this interactive experience by adding applications, quizzes, games, starting a group, etc. Basically, you need to pick the activities that make sense for the brand you’re trying to build.

FACEBOOK BEACON

This is another service that Facebook offers that can help your business by promoting it to your Facebook friends. Beacon allows Facebook to interact directly with your site by posting news about your business on your friends’ news feeds. For example, you may specify that you want your friends to know when someone purchases a product or when a new product is released. In order for it to work you need to paste some code to your site.

This feature works because it helps enhance participation with your Facebook Page, with your company’s site, and with your brand. It can also help increase the word-of-mouth potential for your company, service, or product.

Are you afraid this will affect the user’s privacy or your business privacy? The people on your friends list have the option to deny the updates. This helps protect your privacy as well as their’s.

FACEBOOK INSIGHTS

If you want to run a business and use Facebook as a tool, it’s natural that you’ll want to know some statistics as to who is participating in your Facebook Page and clicking on your Social Ads. This is exactly what Facebook insights are. It’s a tool that gathers data so that you can determine if your campaign is successful.

Once you gather this data, you can determine if your business, product, service, or brand are spreading virally or not. Facebook is powerful because of the word of mouth aspect. Facebook Insights helps you gauge just how successful your attempts truly are. Not only that, but it also helps you get data concerning demographics, which can help you target your promotional campaign even better.

FACEBOOK PLATFORM

Facebook Platform allows your programmers to design applications that will interact with the site and help enhance the user experience. In order for this to work, you have to make an application that will be fun for people to use. The idea is that they’ll enjoy the application and pass it along to their friends, which will give your business more reach and expand your user base.

There are different kinds of applications you can design. Quizzes, games, and interactive tools are all popular. For ideas, visit the Applications page on Facebook to get a feel for what designers are coming up with and which applications are the most popular. Whatever you design, it needs to help build your brand on the site.

FACEBOOK POLLS

Facebook Polls is a valuable tool that you can use to determine certain things about your business. For example, if you’re thinking of launching a product that can target a certain demographic, you can give a poll to those who pertain.

This feature works because you have access to the demographic information such as age and marital status if the users are on your friends list. You can use this information to focus your efforts on only those who are relevant.

Taking advantage of these tools can be an advantage for your business.