Sunday, 15 July 2012

Is Your Website Content Dynamic or Docile?

This blog is re-posted here with permission from Roger Hicks (fellow Leadership Broward alum, Class XVII), client services director from Electrum Marketing.

Having a website that’s simply an electronic brochure is so 20th century.  With today’s technology, your website has the ability to be a high performing tool for business development, a valuable resource for your clients, and a means to engage the community.

Do you prominently feature current product or service promotions? 
If you’re not promoting yourself, who will?  Place current promotions front and center on your home page.  Make them impossible to miss.

How often are you updating your content? 
It is important to update regularly since fresh content not only helps in search engine rankings, but it keeps customers coming back to see what’s new.  When’s the last time your site was updated?  If you had to think about it, it’s been too long.

Does your content help your search rankings? 
 In 2012, an estimated 3.45 billion local searches will be made, making Search Engine Optimization (SEO) vital.  Even simple changes in text, page titles and URLs can make considerable improvements in search rankings.

Do you use landing pages to increase conversions?
 When it comes to online advertising, don’t throw away all your hard work by sending interested customers to your homepage. Create a simple landing page that picks up right where your ad left off with a very clear call to action. Don’t lose your visitor—and potential sale—by confusing them with unnecessary content.

Is there a mobile version of your website?
Nearly half of all Americans (47%) now own a smartphone, 19% have some kind of electronic tablet and those numbers will only continue to rise.  Based on current trends, mobile internet use will surpass desktop use in a few years.

Does your website generate leads for your sales force?
Do you offer any unique value proposition such as a white paper, free evaluation or coupon you can provide in exchange for a prospect’s name and email? 

Does your website contain complicated animations?
Flash-based animations can be bad for search engine optimization, but they can also complicate the website experience for visitors. Animations can often be slow to load, which slows down the user and can make them abandon your website.

Does your website contain industry jargon?
Write your website copy as if your customer does not understand your industry’s terminology.  Look through your website and highlight terms that are not commonly used outside of your industry and replace them with more common explanations.

Does your website contain excessive images?
Images play an important role in telling your brand’s story.  However, having too many images can slow down the load time for your website in a web browser.  Did you know that search engines consider page load times when ranking websites?

Does your website contain long pages of text?
Research has shown that Internet users don’t like to scroll. A product page that takes several scrolls to reach the bottom is a product page whose information will be ignored.   If you have that much information on a page then you are trying to communicate too many ideas.   Keep each page focused on one topic.

This appeared originally on the Electrum Marketing blog where you can find loads of other great marketing advice. Thanks Roger for permission to share it here!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Watch What you Say on Social Media… You Never Know who’s Lurking!

I’ve had several people lately tell me that they don’t do much with their Facebook profile but that they’ve set it up just to see what people are up to. It’s what you would call ‘lurking’ and it’s fine when you imagine it to be family, friends and close colleagues but it’s a bit creepy when you think about the potential ripple effect.

It’s a well-known fact that there are people out there who use social media for nefarious purposes, like stalking you online (a friend of mine was just freaked out by a guy she had ‘met’ online only a week ago who was proposing marriage and sending rather shocking pictures of himself).

I’ve always been a proponent of not putting anything ‘out there’ on any social media you may be using whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest (which I haven’t truly tried yet but it’s on the To Do list), that you wouldn’t want to wind up in the news headlines tomorrow.
This goes double if you’re using social media for professional purposes (by the way, potential employers are lurking too). Even if you clearly divide your personal and professional interactions (which I strongly recommend) you may still have ‘lurkers’ you don’t even realize are popping by to have a look.

It pays to set your privacy settings to ‘friends only’ (and drill a little deeper down and sub-divide your 'friends' categorically) and check back frequently to make sure the settings haven’t changed. We’re in a world where if you don’t change you get left behind. People complain bitterly when their favorite social network introduces yet another update but it’s really only an attempt to stay ahead of the curve. So, you might as well embrace the changes but always watch your back because… you never know who’s watching you.