So, securing your website used to be as easy as SSL and now TLS.
But now it’s when we deliver your site as HTTPS as opposed to HTTP.
Well, that’s just another bunch of acronyms. In English, please?
Every Business Needs a Website, Right?
Of course, we are going to say that, aren’t we? We’ll tell you that you need funky business cards, glossy brochures, a nice prospectus, cool flyers, wicked posters, eye-catching bumper stickers, a shiny new website and some SEO and PPC services thrown in to boot, right?
Well, yes. We do all that. And more. We are Clever Marketing.
But we are not going to advise your business to do everything, especially if, in our experience, we can see it’s not an essential for you. Not every business will need brochures and flyers, posters and stickers.
However, every business needs a website, right?
Cast your mind back 25 years…
It’s 1992. John Major is the British Prime Minister, the Sierra is still Ford’s family car, Diana is going through that rocky patch with Prince Charles and the “rave scene” is in decline as the country’s moral champions tackle the corruption of our youth (despite Mr Blobby riding high in the UK singles chart). The Black Wednesday stock market crash is real, a pint of bitter costs just £1.31, petrol is around 48p per litre and you can still buy a house for around £40,000.
You need a plumber. Where do find one?
Easy – You’ve got a big fat copy of The Yellow Pages or the blue book called the Thomson Local that sit in the cupboard or shelf under your telephone. You look up “P for Plumber” and you browse the ads, both text-only and graphic, for the purveyors of plumbing principles that somehow attract your attention. You ring around, you get quotes and then you decide upon which one meets your criteria. Job done.
Back in 1992 that was the best option you had of finding a business, almost the only one. That local phone book was quite a large volume, whilst today’s tome is a shadow of its former self and there’s a very good reason for that…
We’ve seen online directories come and go. They were once where the Internet saw the future of business being – hard-coded lists of firms in a flat HTML site. But directories are no more. Even the once-mighty DMOZ is dead now.
Yellow Pages and Thomson both migrated from analogue to digital. But ask yourself this – if you want to find a business, what do you do? You “Google it”, right?! Or are you the sort who likes to “Bing and Decide”?
And so, if anyone is going to Google a product or service, where do you think you need to be?
For your business to have any credibility in today’s world, you need to be on the web and you need your own website.
As a business, you will already have an address and a telephone number but those alone don’t work in 2017. Potential customers will be looking to see who you are and what you do as a business. They will want to take a good look at your “shop window” but, without the constraints of High Street opening times, they will step right in and browse. In addition, potential clients can see reviews and case studies, check out your portfolio, read testimonials and get a really good understanding of how and why you are the right business for them.
A phone number and an address don’t do that. A half page ad doesn’t do that.
A web page, however, does ALL of that and more. A LOT more.
You can show off your products, provide information on everything you do, sell goods and services 24 hours a day and even allow interested clients to register for updates and receive your regular email newsletter.
Web addresses are everywhere these days, showing just how significant websites are to businesses in the 21st century. You’ll see www addresses on the side of vans, posters, bus shelters, TV ads, on business cards, even hear them on the radio.
So, if you want to have a business that can provide information and services 24 hours a day, that can collect information from prospects and save enquiries to a database whilst you’re busy or away, then you’ll need to get your website in order.
Web Design Trends. 2017 is an exciting time for the web industry with technology and customer needs moving at pace. Of course, the digital landscape is continually changing so we all need to evolve with it to ensure we remain ahead of the curve. With this in mind, we take a look at the top five web design trends we think you should be looking out for in 2017.
Focusing on content is nothing new, after all, the old adage that content is king is still true. Content is an essential part of the marketing mix and your content marketing strategy enables your company to show they are experts in their field but more importantly drive web traffic. While social sharing, sign-ups and pop-ups remain a key way to drive leads, content will continue to be significant.
Similarly, animation is being used more regularly on websites these days. It’s of particular importance when there’s a need to show meaningful content or demonstrate how to do something. Video is a great way to communicate and it’s easily shareable across platforms such as YouTube. GIFs are also becoming more sophisticated so we anticipate an increase in these over the coming months also. However, don’t overuse GIFs: they are good up to a point but we don’t want to go back to the crazy GIFs of the late 1990s!
With content becoming more refined and ultimately more shareable, it’s likely we’ll see a rise in landing page design. Of course, all websites need a home page but there is a need to provide visitors with pages that are more targeted and best meet their search query. Content marketing is a great way to drive traffic to a website with tailored pages created to increase those conversions, feeding your social media output.
With so many users accessing web content via mobile and smartphones, there’s a need for navigation techniques that provide a good user experience (UX). Gone are the days of complicated navigation with the majority simplifying their content. Keeping navigation to a minimum also helps put the focus back on content, relevant to the visitor’s needs.
Creativity is all about showing a brand’s personality and more imaginative techniques may result in the end of flat designs. Shapes, lines and patterns certainly took off last year and it’s likely we’ll see this trend continue in 2017. Equally, basic heading styles are being replaced with more innovative options like overlapping text and images or bold typography. More experimentation is taking place and some are even going back to basics with simple, straightforward text. There’s also been an increase in illustrations and hand-drawn elements such as icons, fonts and graphics. Again this is bringing a unique look and feel to website content.
With the industry changing at such a quick pace, we cannot wait to see these (and other) web trends develop over the course of 2017. If you’d like to speak to someone about your website design, please contact Paul Mackenzie Ross at Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341 or feel free to fill in our contact form.
The New Year is all about re-evaluating and that means it’s the perfect time to refresh your website. A lot can change in the space of 12 months so it’s a great opportunity to ensure you’re attracting and retaining the right kind of customers. January is an ideal time to review your website and how it’s performing so it’s in line with your business objectives. Here are our top tips to refresh your website so you can position yourself ahead of the competition.
Your first port of call has to be an audit. Think about your target market, how you attract new clients and encourage repeat or lapsed customers. Consider what clients and prospective clients visit your website for.
Review the content on your website to see what copy, images or keywords should be updated. Links should also be looked at to ensure none are broken and functionality must be tested across all browsers. Consider how you drive traffic to your site, generate leads and whether your website accurately reflects your business goals for 2017. This might also include updating case studies, asking clients for testimonials and creating an editorial calendar for blog post content.
If you need professional assistance with an audit, we can perform a free website audit to assess your performance, mobile-friendliness, SEO and security,
Once you’ve undertaken a review of your website, you need to take a look at the typical customer journey. Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective client and imagine what information you might be looking for.
Is your website easy to navigate from the landing page or will prospects need to hunt around for what they require?
They might click away if they’re time short. Ask colleagues and friends who are not familiar with your website to review the customer journey too. More often than not they’ll spot things which could really improve your website usability. Your website should always be refreshed with your target audience in mind. At the very least, they will want to know what your approach is, whether you have the necessary expertise and how knowledgeable your team is.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is fundamental to the success of your website. As search engines refer users to websites that have the most relevant information, content, performance and authority really are critical. Consider the text, titles and descriptions on your pages, the speed of your website and how easy it is to navigate.Authority is also a key factor – are you considered an authority in your field and does your website reflect this? As a specialist, you’re expected to reflect that level of expertise and, if your site has enough in-depth information, it can be considered an authority site.
Authority is also a key factor – are you considered an authority in your field and does your website reflect this? As a specialist, you’re expected to reflect that level of expertise and, if your website has enough in-depth information, it can be considered an authority site or at least have authority pages and these URLs are the ones that top the search engines results pages (SERPs).
One example is this page about cycle tyre sizes – Written by the former CTC’s technical officer, it was often remarked about as “being far too long” and “nobody’s going to read that” but then it was their top traffic page for years!
Many of you will have reviewed Google Analytics data on an ongoing basis. At this time of year, it’s important to understand how your website has performed over the last 12 months. This should include the number of visitors and dwell time plus how many pages have been visited, most popular pages and conversion rates. This information can help drive your content moving forward.
Using Analytics you can segment your visitors to see:
Look at what has changed over the past year, you’ll probably notice that mobile traffic is on the increase. This will give you insights into where you need to channel your efforts in order to stay customer-focused.
Before you embark on a website refresh, it’s essential you conduct a competitor review so you can identify your point of difference. Consider how each competitor is positioned, how easy their websites are to navigate and how up-to-date the content is. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t as well as noting specialisms and location. You can also get a feel for what they’re like through case studies, a blog and social media channels.
Again, if you were thinking of performing a website audit on your own site, see if you have time to audit thecompetition. A professional audit can take time, so consider outsourcing the task to your friendly local design agency…
Once you’ve reviewed your website, you’re ready to refresh it for the year ahead. If you have any design, digital or search requirements, feel free to contact Woking web agency Clever Marketing on 020 3146 4341. We are more than happy to do the heavy lifting and be your digital marketing department, providing expertise in SEO and PPC to increase your visibility and boost your traffic.
Many features go into creating the best landing page design. Once you know who your target audience is, planning what features you need to include on your landing page is very straightforward.
Of course, visitors to your website will vary but your objective is to appeal to the majority of those you want to attract. We all know a landing page must have enticing copy, attention-grabbing imagery and a strong call to action, but what are the essential characteristics you need to incorporate to be head and shoulders above your competition?
When a company visits your website, do they get the same brand experience as they would across your other digital channels? What about offline – is the branding of your brochure or print campaign consistent with your online branding? Brands never want to be predictable but when it comes to marketing strategy, consistency really is essential.
It raises brand awareness giving your company a personality and identity. It reinforces your position in the marketplace, therefore driving authority. It helps attract new customers. An inconsistent message can create confusion and could be seen as a sign a company cannot be trusted. Companies are often time short so how can you ensure brand consistency internally and externally across all touch points all of the time?
The building blocks of a consistent brand identity include messaging, tone of voice and design guidelines. While these must be specific to your company, these are the main elements that should be considered.
A brand message should clearly define your positioning. Think about your logo and rules for using it with or without a tagline too. Consider how it will be applied and if you need different versions (ie; a logo with a transparent background might be a requirement). If your branding agency is designing a new brand identity, consider how it will translate across all touch points. Will one logo suffice or does it need to be scalable?
Brand design is not just about a logo, design guidelines are a fundamental part of the mix. Typically these should include a colour palette, font type and weight, photography and illustration styles as well as other visual elements. Consider how the colour palette will work online and offline, checking colour matches in programmes such as PowerPoint. It’s worthwhile including guidelines for your website (ie; banners, buttons, web fonts) and print (ie; specifications for the most used collateral). Your brand design agency can help with this.
As well as the look and feel, tonal values are just as important. Consider how your tone of voice will be applied on your website and in print but also across your social media channels. Think about the personality of your company, what kind of impression you want to give and how should you communicate. Cover off best practices like grammar, punctuation and spelling with your branding agency as well.
Once your brand guidelines have been finalised by your brand design agency, it’s worthwhile considering a cheat sheet featuring the most used elements too. It’s a great way to have a quick point of reference while ensuring brand consistency. Clear brand guidelines should provide everyone internally with a framework to implement activity across all channels.
If you require help with your brand identity or brand guidelines, feel free to contact us on 020 3146 4341 today.
A well thought through creative brief is where a successful project begins. It builds excitement around a forthcoming project and it’s the best way to inspire your graphic designer or graphic design agency.The outcome is more likely to result in a solution that’s interpreted the way you want it to be and within budget.
The outcome is more likely to result in a solution that’s interpreted the way you want it to be and within budget.
Depending on how well you know your graphic designer or graphic design company, briefings are most effective when conducted face-to-face. The information provided in your written brief forming the basis for discussion.
Regardless of whether you need a logo, a brochure or website design services, often sharing more information in a creative brief is more beneficial than not enough. But what are the essentials?
Here are Clever Marketing’s top 7 tips to get you started.
Imagine your graphic design agency has no knowledge of your business and what you do. Rather than assume what they might know, supply them with everything they need.
Thinking about where you are now, provide an overview of your business and your proposition. Consider the benefits of your products or services and your Unique Selling Points (USPs).
Within the marketplace, outline your positioning, your competitors and how your business is perceived. Depending on the scope of work, a SWOT analysis may also be beneficial.
Outline to your designer or graphic design company what you want to achieve from your project – lead generation, brand awareness or driving traffic may all be factors.
Think about what you want the call to action to be and how you’ll measure effectiveness.
You’ll then be able to set up your Key Performance Indicators to later guage how effective the campaign has been.
Once you know what your goals are, you can consider how to get there. What do you believe the scope of work is ie; a rebrand, collateral or a new website. If you’re unsure of all the elements, your graphic designer or design agency can help you. However, do outline exactly what you think needs to be done. It might be a 24-page brochure in full colour with an online version for your website for example.
Think about print quantities and who might do the printing – can your graphic designer or design agency organise this for you. Consider whether more than one version is required. For websites, think about the customer experience and how quickly visitors can get to the information they require. Consider the journey you want to take them on and how you’ll keep them there.
Think about your audience and what types of people you would most like to talk to.
Describe what they’re like professionally and personally including specific socio-economic classifications where relevant.
Does this audience know your business already or are they prospective clients?
Is there a need to design more than one version or create a separate page on a website?
Think about what will appeal to your target audience and why they should believe what you’re saying.
Before a new project commences, a budget must be agreed with your graphic design agency. The estimate should provide a detailed understanding of what’s included for the duration of the project. Payment terms should be agreed before work starts. Should the brief change once work has begun, additional costs can be incurred.
This is why it’s important to get the brief right from the outset. If printing is a requirement, this should be included in your budget along with any other extras like envelopes. For websites, consider how you’ll drive traffic to your new site. Do you require SEO services or social media support for example?
Think about the messaging, style and copy for the task in hand. What look and feel are you going for? Can you draft any outline copy? Take into account colours and fonts as well as examples of what you do and don’t like. Any mandatories and constraints should also feature.
Share your brand guidelines if you have them to maintain brand consistency. Always supply your logo as well as images you’d like to feature unless these are being sourced. Consider too the tone of voice that should be used to identify with your target audience. Existing collateral can be referred to as a style guide. For websites, also take into account the keywords you need to include.
Realistic timings are essential before commencement of any project. A timeline should be drawn up which include key stages from briefing to delivery. Actions should include who has responsibility for what and by when. Where the requirement includes printed collateral, print lead times should also be incorporated. The same applies to any internal sign off procedures.
Although this might sound like it’s a lot to think about, you will know much of it already. After all, you know your business better than anyone else. But by sticking to these steps, briefing your graphic design agency will be far more effective!
Briefing your graphic design agency is a really important starting point to every project, so getting it right from the beginning is key to a smooth and successful campaign. Once you’ve got your brief in place, give us a call on 020 3146 4341 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss your next venture.
When it comes to designing or indeed re-designing your website, it’s easy to focus on the aesthetics. However there are a host of things to consider before forging ahead with your web design strategy – there’s the domain name, web hosting and technology to take into account with functionality, user experience and mobile friendliness just as important.
Clever Marketing takes a look at what to consider before undertaking a website design.
A domain name should reflect your brand and if it’s easy to spell your website has a higher chance of being discovered in search results too. Ultimately if prospective clients can find your website online, you’re more likely to generate new business.
On the technical side, think about the type of content management system you require. Also, will your website design be media-rich and require regular updates? Think about expertise and resource too, if this is available internally or whether you require a web design agency (Who can also do all your digital marketing too).
Also consider what you need from your hosting partner in the way of technical support, back ups and website security.
The objectives of your website design must align with your audience.
Think about the kind of visitors you want to attract and what makes you stand out from your competitors. Conduct a website review to understand the navigation and design of your competitors’ sites.
Also, note down any ideas and what these companies are doing that’s particularly interesting or innovative. This will help you understand how you compare and what you need to do to make your business website design really stand out.
When a prospective client lands on your website, it’s crucial the information they require is easy to locate. Consider how visitors will interact with your website and what the user journey might be.
How will they get back from each page, can they get home and are social media channels visible?
Keep the structure of your navigation simple and accessible from the top of the page. Remember to include a search box and call to action with contact details.
With more and more users accessing websites from tablets, smartphones and mobile devices, it’s essential your website design is mobile friendly.
Google now penalises websites with low search rankings that are not mobile-friendly too (See the article 54 days to be mobile friendly)
With a responsive website design, the content is automatically resized to fit the dimensions of a device. This also ensures you provide visitors with a consistent experience regardless of how they’re accessing your website.
An eye-catching website design that’s user-friendly is most likely to provide a positive user experience. Visitors need to focus on the content without being distracted by unnecessary graphics. Keep it simple by not using too many colours and keep the typeface consistent so it’s easy to read. Think about how you’re going to draw visitors in so they see the most important information.
While you’re considering the design, take into account the content requirements for each page. Credibility goes a long way so be concise and honest about what you do too. Make sure you think about how you can keep the site fresh with new content.
When it comes down to it, your website design must be created with your end user in mind. Consider the budget and resource required before starting a website design project, creating a timeline with realistic deadlines for each stage.
Websites are continually evolving so don’t forget it’s an ongoing process.
Considering a new website build? Get in touch with Clever Marketing, Woking’s premier digital marketing agency, today and see how we can help you with our web design service.
If you believed everything you read on the internet, you’d think that mobile phones are taking over the world.
In a way, though, they are – last year for the first time mobile traffic exceeded desktop traffic, reflecting the momentous shift that’s been happening in consumer browsing habits for some time now. Namely that we now use our mobiles for everything. Checking social media, browsing the news, shopping – our mobiles are never out of our hands.
And this is why brands with mobile optimised or responsive websites have been enjoying the spoils of higher traffic and increased conversion. A lot of companies are trailing behind when it comes to making their website pleasant and easy to use on mobile. Where does your website fall on the spectrum?
To help you make boost your mobile conversion rates, here are five ways to improve your mobile website.
First things first; is your website responsive, or do you have a mobile optimised version? If the answer to both of these questions is no, then don’t read the rest of this blogpost and get yourself a responsive website!
If you need help checking to see if your website is mobile friendly, visit Google’s Mobile-friendly test and enter the URL of the web page you need to test.
If you’re still relying on the desktop version of your site to carry you through, your conversions are likely to be suffering. The standard of mobile websites is so high these days that consumers have little to no patience with pinching, scrolling and squinting in order to just read content or perform an action. If your website acts this way, it’s likely to be slow to load and will also make you appear dated and old-fashioned in comparison to competitors.
We all have pretty high standards when it comes to mobile browsing these days, and will quickly lose interest and move on to something better if any process becomes too difficult or takes too long (our attention span is only getting shorter – we can only spend a few seconds on any one webpage now without giving up). Consider one click ordering and guest checkout options to encourage conversion.
Consumers will also be put off by payment forms which are too long. Keep questions rudimentary and also consider features such as a postcode finder and numerical calendar to make things as user-friendly as possible.
Put simply, you have a lot less space on a mobile screen than you do on a desktop, or even a tablet. There’s less room for distractions, such as pop-up ads or external links. Padding out your content with too many added extras will make your pages look cluttered and visually unappealing to a consumer.
In addition, if they’re too busy being distracted by ads and banners then they’re less likely to be doing that one thing you’ve brought them to your website to do: convert. Keep your mobile webpages as clean and simple as possible and only prioritise the most relevant content in order to see the highest conversion rates.
Are you noticing a theme emerging here? To be successful on mobile, you basically need to serve up a cleaner, more streamlined and simplified version of your website.
For starters, your navigation menu should be collapsed to allow a user to expand it and explore their options with one tap. Secondly, present them with only the most essential layers of navigation to prevent confusion and the possibility that they’ll get lost in your website and leave out of frustration. Bring your product pages to the forefront and reduce the number of clicks it takes them to reach the checkout.
We’ll say it again – mobile screens are (comparatively) small! To make sure a user doesn’t miss anything, (remember, they’re likely to be commuting, watching TV or chatting away to a friend at the same time) make your calls to action as big and as inviting as possible.
Don’t be afraid to use large or colourful buttons to draw attention. There’s a dual reasoning behind making your calls to action even more prominent than on desktop – users also need to be able to click them easily with one tap. Too small, and we’re back to that pinching and scrolling issue which leads to nothing but frustration – and a failed conversion.