Category: Wellbeing Websites

If you run a wellbeing business you’ll need a high performing website that not only showcases your services, classes, courses and events, but also helps you stand out from the crowd and gets your business found by the right people. Read our posts to find out how…

Content Kitchen 10: What should I measure on my website?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

What should I measure on my website?

Website analytics can be a bit of a minefield. Where should you start? How do you know what to measure and why?

This month Guy breaks it down by offering 3 simple tips to help you decide exactly what you need to be measuring in order to gain the most insights from your web traffic. He also suggests how to stay focussed to avoid getting lost in that sea of numbers.

What next?

This month’s video is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to website analytics. In our follow-up post we dive a little deeper as we look at creating a measurement plan for your business. After all, if you’re not measuring it, then it’s not marketing!


Content Kitchen 9: How do I get more enquiries through my website?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

How do I get more enquiries through my website?

This is a question that businesses ask a lot. You’ve spent time and money making sure your website looks great and is packed with the right information, but how can you start generating more enquiries through it?

This month Guy shares his top 3 tips for getting more website enquiries for your business – these are 3 simple things you can do right now. Guy’s 3rd tip is inspired by Don Miller at StoryBrand from something he calls the “grunt test”.

So what are you waiting for? Watch the video, find out what the “grunt test” is and put our advice into action!


Content Kitchen 8: What’s the best way to grow my audience online?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

What’s the best way to grow my audience?

If you want to grow your business using your website, your main focus should be growing your audience. But what’s the best way to do that?

In this month’s Content Kitchen video, Guy shares the proven marketing method that’s 40 times more effective than social media for growing your audience. Plus, he offers 3 top tips to remember when using this form of marketing.

Want to know the No.1 way to grow your audience? Watch the video to find out!


How lean principles can help you grow your website audience

Eric Ries developed a great process in his bestseller The Lean Startup – yes, this is recommended reading! It’s called “build-measure-learn” and by the end of this post you’ll be able to apply these principles to the content marketing on your own website to improve the quality of your traffic and build your audience.

Why lean principles?

Anyone who wants to grow their business today is faced with an almost paralysing array of choices:

  • Your website
  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Paid search engine advertising
  • Paid social ads
  • Business networking
  • Cold calling
  • Paid lead generation
  • And my father’s personal favourite: “Get out there and knock on doors, boy!”

Perhaps you’ve tried one or all of these methods without really knowing what works. It’s the not knowing that’s a killer. You’re just not sure if you’re wasting your time or not. But you have to do something, right?

Time for a sanity check

Well, the lean methodology can provide you with a little sanity, and when done right it provides you with a measurable way of making incremental progress with your content marketing. It goes without saying that building a loyal audience for any business requires time and unwavering dedication to creating awesome content.

Lean Startup

Let’s start by introducing The Lean Startup. The Lean Startup is a bestseller written by Eric Ries back in 2011. Eric shares his personal experiences of working on startups in Silicon Valley and adopting an approach to product development based on lean manufacturing principles.

Build-measure-learn

At the core of the lean methodology is the build-measure-learn feedback loop.

You start with an idea or an assumption, i.e. you think problem X needs solving; then you build what is known as a minimum viable product (MVP) to test this assumption; you measure the results; and then take what you’ve learned and create a new test, restarting the cycle once again.

You continue to iterate through this feedback loop, trying to improve the results from each of your tests.

So what’s the big idea?

The big idea here is that: you think you know what people want, but actually you don’t.

The feedback loop provides an objective way for you to prove or disprove your assumptions.

So how can we apply this approach to content marketing?

The centre of your content marketing

Here at Wildheart we advocate creating regular, original and high quality content on your website to build a loyal audience for your business. We believe this is THE place to start when it comes to content marketing.

Regular blogging is also a fundamental part of content marketing as it helps to position you as an expert in your field and give people a reason to come back to your website.

So, when it comes to content marketing, we can adapt the build-measure-learn model to publish-measure-learn. Let’s break it down.

Publish-measure-learn

Before you start publishing content for your business, there are a number of steps you should go through first. Check out How to choose your blog topics for your business audience to learn the process we use with our customers.

You also want to set some goals for your website. We have a blog post coming up over the next few weeks about creating a measurement plan for your website. So keep an eye on our content marketing blog.

Publish

Your content calendar contains a list of blog topics that you’re assuming your audience is interested in. Publishing these posts, sharing them with your email list and on social media is going to give you something to measure.

If you’ve been creating regular content for a while then you’re in a good place to start measuring the results. If not, then you’d better get busy!

Measure

There are 2 important things to consider when it comes to measuring the success of your blog posts. First, you should be aiming to create relevant evergreen content that becomes more valuable to your target audience over time.

Secondly, your website traffic is constantly changing and your audience today won’t be your audience in a year’s time. You should be focusing your efforts on improving the quality, rather than the quantity, of your traffic over time. By focusing on the quality you’ll naturally increase the quantity.

Measuring the quality of your content

When looking at your top content you want to keep an eye on:

  • Average time on page,
  • Returning visitors to page,
  • Page bounce rate.

Measuring the quality of your visitors

When looking at your audience engagement you want to keep an eye on:

  • New vs returning visitors,
  • Average pages per visit,
  • Average visit duration.

An example of how NOT to do it

Back in 2006 I started blogging for my first agency. As someone who loves art and design, I visited an art exhibition on Constructivism in London and wrote a blog post about it. Over time this became evergreen content on our site, meaning it became one of our most popular pieces of content. Unfortunately, it was completely irrelevant to our audience of business owners needing our marketing services.

My first mistake here was to focus on my own interests rather than on the needs of our potential customers. Now, ideally you want to appeal to both. It’s important to write about what you’re interested in and knowledgeable about, but not at the expense of your business audience. Be disciplined and keep it relevant.

My second mistake was measuring content that wasn’t aligned with our own business goal: to generate business enquiries through our site. It sounds so obvious, but don’t measure what doesn’t matter. Get clear about your goals.

Learn

In this step in the process you’ll want to use the data you’ve gathered to inform what content you’ll create next for your audience. The more times you repeat this process the more you’ll learn about your audience and the better equipped you’ll be to offer them content that’s meaningful to them.

One of the greatest benefits of approaching your marketing using lean principles is that you’re always learning from your audience. This attitude of constant learning is very handy in the ever shifting sands of the modern business world.

Are you ready to transform your business with content marketing?

Start by signing up to our blog and you’ll receive a series of curated emails packed with everything you need to know about content marketing.


Overcoming the curse of knowledge

Our co-founder Guy was recently interviewed for Site Visibility’s Internet Marketing Podcast. The topic was ‘Overcoming the curse of knowledge‘ and you can listen to the full podcast below.

In this post we’ll explain what the curse of knowledge is and share some tips for breaking free of the curse. By the end of this post you’ll be able to transform how you speak and write about your business – so that people actually get it!

What is the curse of knowledge?

Let’s start by defining what the curse of knowledge is. Here at Wildheart we define the curse of knowledge as: “The more you know a subject, the harder it is to write about it in a simple way.”

To become an expert in your field you spend years learning and refining your craft. This creates a knowledge gap between yourself and those who would buy from you.

When you meet someone and introduce yourself face to face you have multiple cues as to whether they understand what you’re saying: body language, facial expressions and conversation. This means you can continually adapt what you’re saying until you know they understand you.

Forget it, let’s dance!

Have you ever been at a party where the music was really loud and someone asked you “What do you do?”

After a few seconds of leaning in and shouting in their ear you can see them looking over your shoulder and eventually looking bored…

If you’re quick you may just grab their hand and say “Forget it, let’s dance!”

What’s happening on your website?

On your website you don’t have those same cues to respond and adapt to in real-time and you sure don’t have your dance moves either!

So, what do you have? Just text and images mainly.

And the text starts with the very first heading people see on your homepage. When a new visitor lands on your website you only have a few seconds to virtually grab their hand and take them on a journey.

The 3 most common symptoms of the curse of knowledge

Take a look at your homepage now and see if you can spot these common symptoms:

  1. Your website copy is all about your business, your services and your expertise.
  2. Your copy includes industry terms and inside jargon.
  3. You’re not clearly asking your visitors to take action or you’re giving them too many choices.

How to overcome the curse of knowledge

Based on the 3 common symptoms above, here are our practical tips for overcoming the curse of knowledge:

This really isn’t about you

The single biggest mistake we see businesses make is writing too much about themselves and not empathising enough with their customers.

You need to position your customer at the centre of your marketing campaigns and web copy: How does it feel to have their problem? And how will it feel if you solve that problem?

Shoot straight!

When reviewing your web copy and marketing campaigns, keep an eye out for industry terms and jargon. Swap these words for more straightforward alternatives.

Even words that seem simple to you might not mean a great deal to your audience. Remember: you’re the expert with years of experience in this area. They’re coming to you with a problem that needs solving and they want to quickly and easily find out if you can help them.

If you’re too close to your own copy, or you’re not sure if it’s too jargon-heavy, try asking a layperson or someone outside your industry to read it and give you feedback.

Don’t make me think

Give your visitors one thing to do on each page of your website. Do the hard work yourself by deciding on the one action you want them to take on each page.

Remember: the more choices you give people, the more friction you create.

Kicking the habit

Unfortunately, you can’t be cured of the curse of knowledge: you simply know too much!

But the curse can be treated. Get into good habits and follow our recommendations above every time you’re planning your marketing campaigns. Make it part of your standard process to actively seek out symptoms of the curse and remedy them.

Have you got any curse busters?

What techniques are you using that help you overcome the curse of knowledge? We’d love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment below.

And to find out more about the curse of knowledge, listen to Guy’s interview on the Internet Marketing Podcast.

Listen to the podcast interview with Guy


10 steps to a sound website structure

If you’re planning a website restructure, this post is for you! Perhaps you’re launching new products or services. Or you’ve had valuable feedback from your customers. Or maybe you just feel it’s time for a change.

Whatever the reason, it’s important that your website is structured in a simple, sensible and user friendly way. A solid structure goes a long way to helping your SEO strategy (search engine optimisation). According to Yoast, “your site’s structure determines whether a search engine understands what the topic of your site is and how easily it will find and index content relevant to your site’s purpose and intent.”

What’s the difference between a restructure and a redesign?

A website restructure takes into account the changing needs of your business and makes use of past website analytics to make changes.

A website redesign (which often takes place at the same time) focuses on the branding, design and layout of your website.

A restructure and a redesign are not the same thing and require different skills and techniques to implement.

How to tackle a website restructure

There are 2 very important ways to tackle a website restructure:

  1. Look back – use Google Analytics to see how your site is performing. Are people using your main navigation in the way that it’s laid out? If not, this is a clue that your navigation is not aligned with the needs of your audience.
  2. Look ahead – where is your business going? What products or services are you rolling out over the next 6 to 12 months?

A website restructure also has 2 important stages:

  1. Planning – deciding what to change and why.
  2. Implementation – this should only happen after the planning stage is complete and signed off.

We’ll take a look at these elements in the next section.

10 steps to a sound website structure

Here’s our in-depth guide to ensuring your website structure is both sound for your business and relevant for your audience.

1. Use your Google Analytics

Start by reviewing your site over different time periods, e.g. the last 12 months and the last 6 months.

These questions should help:

  • What is the top content?
  • Are people using your navigation in the order it’s laid out?
  • Where are your visitors coming from?
  • How long is the average visit?
  • How many pages are viewed per visit?
  • Do your visitors keep coming back?
  • What is the overall site bounce rate?

2. Get off the computer

It’s a good idea to get up on your feet and away from your screen.

Use a whiteboard with markers or sticky notes. Write down the goals of your business and then physically map out your existing site structure. Sticky notes are great for this as you can move stuff around later.

Take as much space as you need – a whole wall if you can. You don’t want to feel limited by space.

3. Always put the customer first

Customer profiles are a great tool you can use to help steer the process here. Check out our post How to choose your blog topics for a closer look at creating customer profiles.

This is not about what Johnny in IT or Linda from HR wants, this is more about your audience and customers!

Print out your customer profiles and put them in the centre of the board. Keep asking yourself “What does this customer need or want from us? Can they quickly and easily find what they’re looking for?”

4. Don’t do it alone

This is really important – if you’re in your business then you’re too close to your business to view it objectively.

It’s good to go through this process with your colleagues or teammates if you can, but even more importantly, use someone outside the business as a sounding board. At Wildheart we have a few trusted customers and friends (mostly other industry professionals) who we regularly reach out to and ask for feedback.

The same applies – and is even more important – if you work on your own.

5. Work in stages

Start by mapping out where you are now, then where you see your business in 6 months’ and 12 months’ time. Any further than this and you’re in the realm of fantasy, so back it up!

Do you need an interim change from where you are now to where you’d like the business and website to be in 12 months? Make sure you capture this, even if you make changes later.

6. Use your phone

We recommend capturing each stage of your sessions with a modern smartphone or a good camera. Remember to free up enough space on your phone or camera before you start.

You can then share these images with stakeholders and others involved in the project, or just keep them for your own records if you’re working alone.

7. Sleep on it

Don’t rush it. You should allow a minimum of 2 weeks to allow the implications of the changes to sink in. Even if it’s just you in your business.

Ideally, this means several planning sessions with a few days in between. This is especially important if you’re doing the implementation yourself. Resist the urge to run in and start changing stuff around willy nilly without properly thinking it through!

8. Document it

Even if you have a small site you’ll want to document your changes using something like our content audit spreadsheet. This is where you capture all your important search engine data, such as page titles, URLs, focus keywords and, most importantly, your redirects. Complete the form at the end of this post for your free content audit template.

Redirect, redirect, redirect!

If you change any of your existing URLs to new ones, it’s very important to set up 301 redirects. These basically tell search engines to permanently redirect all existing links to your new URLs.

For example, when we renamed the URL of the Wildheart blog, we set up a redirect from https://wildheartmedia.com/content-marketing-blog to https://wildheartmedia.com/yoga-marketing-blog. It’s very easy to do this in the Redirects section of Yoast SEO for WordPress.

If you change a URL without a redirect then all internet links that should go to that page will end up with the dreaded ‘404 page not found’ error – eek!

You may not think this matters too much (maybe you don’t have many people linking to your blog), but you’d be wrong. Google’s very own crawler will also spot that a page that used to be there is suddenly gone and it will have a little tizzy! By setting your redirects you’re reassuring the Google crawler by saying “Don’t worry, we’ve just moved this page to over here”. The Google crawler likes things neat and tidy, so ignore it at your peril!

9. Implement it

Once you’ve captured all the pages and posts that you want to change, and you’ve worked out your redirects, then you’re finally ready to implement.

Before you go ahead and make the changes, ensure you’ve backed up your site first so that if anything goes wrong you can roll back to an earlier version. You don’t want to risk losing all that hard work!

10. Testing… testing…

All done? Well, not quite. The final step is to test all your changes, especially those redirects. And re-submit your sitemaps to Google Search Console, so the crawler is kept in the loop.

Everything working ok? Great, you’ve successfully restructured your website to make it easier for your audience to find what they’re looking for, and therefore better for the growth of your business.

To help you capture your important data and work out your redirects during your website restructure, sign up to our blog below and download our free content audit spreadsheet. Both ourselves and our clients find it an invaluable tool.


Content Kitchen 7: In this social media age do I even need a website?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

Do I even need a website?

As the power of social media increases, you could be forgiven for wondering whether it’s still relevant to have a website at all. Well, the simple answer is yes, definitely!

In this month’s video, Guy gives his top 3 reasons why you absolutely need a website in order to ensure the growth, and therefore the success, of your business.

What next?

One of Guy’s reasons in this video as to why you still need a website is to do with ownership. Who owns the content you publish online and how does this differ across your website and social media accounts?

Read our follow-up post Sharing and ownership: 2 keys to your content kingdom to find out more.


How to create awesome cornerstone content

What is cornerstone content?

The term cornerstone content was first coined by Brian Clark. In his 2007 Copyblogger article How to Create Cornerstone Content That Google Loves, he states:

“A cornerstone is something that is basic, essential, indispensable, and the chief foundation upon which something is constructed or developed. It’s what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.”

Cornerstone content is content that provides essential information for visitors so that they can make an informed decision about whether to buy from you. Another way of looking at it is foundational content around which your business and the rest of your website is built.

Some examples of cornerstone content might be:

  • A frequently asked questions page.
  • A beginners’ guide on a particular topic.
  • A tutorial video on some aspect of your product or service.
  • A mission statement about your company.
  • A ‘start here’ page.
  • A landing page for a particular topic with links to relevant articles.

At Wildheart we would classify the following pages of our site as cornerstone content pages:

As you can see, these are the pages that contain the essential information that helps our visitors understand what we do and how we can help.

Why is cornerstone content so important for your business?

Cornerstone content plays a crucial role in your content marketing strategy, whether you’re a seasoned blogger or you’ve just launched a brand new website.

The idea is that you’re creating essential content that’s integral to your business. You can then share and recycle this content over time, linking back to it from your email marketing and social media activity, cross-referencing it from your blog posts, and creating internal links from elsewhere on your site.

Your cornerstone content needs to be in-depth, compelling and integral to your business. As Brian Clark states,

“The first goal of cornerstone content is usefulness and relevancy to the website visitor, no matter how they arrive. The second goal is to make that content so compelling and comprehensive that people are willing—no, make that excited—to link to it.”

So, cornerstone content:

  • First and foremost educates and inspires your website visitors.
  • Establishes a clear picture of the specific problems you solve for your customers.
  • Pulls together all your content on a specific topic in a central place.
  • Creates authority by demonstrating your knowledge around a particular topic.
  • Helps you rank higher in search engines for certain keywords.
  • Attracts more readers to your site.
  • Increases your email subscribers.
  • Helps you get more links to your website.
  • Allows you to highlight your most important archived content.

What’s the difference between cornerstone and evergreen content?

You may have heard these terms being used to describe the same type of content; indeed, many people do use these terms interchangeably. At Wildheart we believe there’s a subtle but important difference. If you’re not sure what we mean by evergreen content, read this post first: What is evergreen content and why should you create it?

OK, so here’s our explanation of the difference between evergreen and cornerstone content:

Cornerstone content provides essential information for visitors to make informed decisions about engaging with your business. All your website content should be built around and should lead visitors to your cornerstone content. The question you should ask yourself is: “Are we giving the right information with the right amount of detail for people to take the next step with us?”

Evergreen content is timeless content that becomes more valuable to your current and future audience over time. It may well include cornerstone content, but in the case of the Wildheart website this isn’t likely, as our cornerstone content is very focused on our packages. Our evergreen content typically consists of blog posts that provide valuable information on topics that are relevant to our existing and future audience.

How to create cornerstone content

Remember: the purpose of cornerstone content is to provide potential customers with the essential information they need to do business with you. In Wildheart’s case, our job is to make it clear to our website visitors what problems we solve and how we do this (with our content marketing packages).

The most important thing is to speak with empathy about how you understand the pain your customer feels: at Wildheart we understand how frustrating it feels when you don’t get the results you need from your content marketing. That’s why we’ve designed packages that dissolve your marketing headaches.

Start by looking at your existing content with new eyes and ask yourself:

  • Are we identifying with how our customers feel about their problem?
  • Are we using the same words our customers use?
  • Is all the essential information clearly presented?
  • Is it simply and logically organised?
  • Is there a clear next step that we can measure?

Then, if your website is relatively new or you’re new to blogging, a good way to create cornerstone content is to start from scratch and write a series of blogs. This could be a course guiding your readers through a relevant learning process, or a series of informative articles with the goal of encouraging them to buy, sign up or book a consultation at the end of the course.

This is a great way to kickstart your new blog, or even to give your existing blog a boost because it keeps your customers at the forefront of your mind.

If you’re already creating regular, high quality content on your site then there’s actually a faster way to creating a cornerstone content page…

5 steps to creating cornerstone content

  1. Decide what keyword or phrase you’d like to focus on and do some research to ensure it’s relevant and makes sense.
  2. Take a look through your existing posts and select a handful that are grouped around this topic.
  3. You should already be using blog categories, which will make this task easier. If you’re not, read our post How to organise your blog categories first.
  4. Then create a new landing page with links to these related posts. If you have an established WordPress blog you can also turn your blog category pages into great landing pages!
  5. You’ll want to make sure your page has an awesome title (check out How to write killer headlines for your blog), with a relevant introduction, and is search engine friendly. So make sure you use your keyword frequently and consistently throughout the page – in your title, in your introduction, and in your SEO data.

The key(words) to cornerstone content

After providing essential information about your business, the secondary goal of cornerstone content is to attract more visitors to your site. Your keywords are important here because they are the key to attracting more links and helping your site appear higher in search engine rankings.

Sites don’t rank, only pages rank

Remember that you don’t optimise your website for keywords, you optimise individual pages. So choose a unique keyword or phrase that’s relevant for each cornerstone content page and make sure you optimise this page – and only this page – for that keyword.

How Wildheart can help

You can now see how important it is to be creating awesome content, whether in the form of blog posts, web pages, or other content on your site.

We get that not everyone feels confident about creating awesome content, though, so why not let us help you? Through our SEO Package, we can help you discover exactly what kinds of content your audience needs, along with the keywords and topics that will get you found online.

 

 


The best way to a faster website

Most businesses today know they need a website if they’re going to get ahead. If you’ve already got one – well done!

It probably looks nice and contains all the essential info you want people to know about your business and what you offer. Again, well done you!

But do you know how fast your website is? And how important website speed is for building your customer base?

Why is website speed so important?

Most people spend a lot of time and money on how their website looks. Some businesses think carefully about their content, and a few think about turning their visitors into subscribers and then into customers.

But none of that matters if people don’t stick around to read your finely crafted, well organised content. This is where website performance comes in.

Think of your website like a car. You’ve spent a lot of money on a shiny new car and you polish it often to keep it looking spotless. You’ve spent time choosing the right upholstery and you know it’s important to keep it clean and tidy inside. You want to show it off to your friends so you invite them over and they’re suitably impressed by the beautiful, gleaming exterior and spotless, stylish interior. You get in the driver’s seat and start the ignition. The engine tries to start but ends up sputtering and conking out. You try again and the same thing happens. Your friends are disappointed and end up walking away.

That’s why website speed is so important – if your pages take too long to load and your visitors can’t get the info they need in a few seconds, they’ll give up and look elsewhere. We live in an impatient world where we expect everything to happen instantly. We don’t have time to wait for slow websites.

Do you know how fast your website is?

The problem here is we’re entering the realm of the geeks and all kinds of techy stuff! But don’t worry, we’ll keep this simple and keep the jargon to a minimum.

You need to benchmark your site before doing any optimisation; in other words, you need to figure out how your site is currently performing. The most important thing you’re looking for is page load time and this doesn’t just apply to your home page – all key pages should be tested.

There are several online tools you can use to test the speed of your website, but unfortunately it’s not quite that straightforward. It depends on a lot of different variables and even running 3 tests on the same site won’t always give you the same answer.

Many experts suggest using Google’s PageSpeed Insights but we say DON’T DO IT! Why? Because it doesn’t actually measure the loading time of your site – which is just crazy!

So we use Pingdom Website Speed Test.

How to use Pingdom to test your website speed

Simply follow these steps to find out how fast your web pages are loading:

1. Go to Pingdom, enter your website URL and the location you want to test from.

Screengrab - Pingdom speed test

2. Click Start Test and wait for the results to load.

3. In the Summary window you’ll see the results for:

– Performance grade

– Load time – this is what matters most!

– Page size

– Requests

Screengrab - Pingdom results summary

4. Record the results and repeat for all other pages on your site.

The most important result to focus on is load time. Ideally, you want a load time of up to about 3 seconds. Any more than this and your visitors will be waiting too long.

Now, for the purpose of this post, we suggest you ignore all the other info that the speed test offers. It will almost certainly highlight other issues with your website, but what we’re after here is the quickest way to get your website performing faster.

So…

What’s the No.1 way to increase your website speed?

Ok, so you’ve established how fast your web pages are actually loading and, the chances are, they could probably do with speeding up a bit, if not a lot.

So here’s the part you’ve been waiting for… the best kept secret of how to make your website faster… and it has everything to do with…

IMAGES

The images on your website are, almost without a doubt, the No.1 culprit for slowing down your site. The key is understanding how images work and making sure you compress them properly.

The problem is, most images uploaded to the web are far too big and therefore take far too long to load, which essentially puts to waste all that hard work that went into your site in the first place. Remember: no matter how great your content, product or service is, no-one will hang around long enough to find out, if they have to wait too long for your site to load.

Add to this the fact that WordPress has its own default image sizes, and themes and plugins can all add their own images on top of these, and you have a whole lotta images goin’ on!

So, what’s the answer…?

Simple 3-step guide to reducing your image sizes

If you want a faster website, all you need to do is follow our simple 3-step guide.

1. Turn off the defaults

Turn off the default image sizes in WordPress, so you can set your own image sizes.

  • Go to Settings > Media
  • Set all the dimensions to 0 pixels.

Screengrab - WordPress default image sizes

2. Resize your images

Resize your images to the correct dimensions BEFORE uploading them to WordPress.

For detailed instructions of how to do this, including a free image resizing video tutorial, check out our post A picture says a thousand words but not if it takes too long to load.

3. Meet the panda!

Once you’ve resized your images, use TinyPNG to compress them BEFORE uploading them to WordPress.

Simply drop your image onto the page and let the panda do his thing, then download the newly compressed image. The file size will be greatly reduced, without losing any of the quality.

Screengrab - TinyPNG

Bonus tip: instead of using the TinyPNG website to compress your images each time, why not install the TinyPNG WordPress plugin? Simply download and install it onto your WordPress site and it’ll automatically compress every image you upload. Just be sure to select the “compress all images” option.

Now go forth and get speedy!

And that, my friends, is the best way to a faster website.

Our final reminder – which you’ll know if you’ve read 4 things you need for successful content marketing – is that website performance alone is not enough. You also need good people, a great product and clear processes if you want to succeed in growing your business with content marketing.

To find out how we can review and improve on your website performance, and so much more, check out our Website Updates Package.

See how we’ve helped our clients


What is evergreen content and why should you create it?

You’ve heard the term evergreen. As in evergreen trees. Trees that retain their leaves all year round, so are always green, hence evergreen.

But what does evergreen mean when it comes to blogging? What is evergreen content? And why does it matter?

What is evergreen content?

Just like evergreen trees, evergreen content doesn’t change. It doesn’t date like news, so it remains relevant weeks, months or even years after it was published.

The great thing about evergreen content is that it actually becomes more valuable over time. By being repeatedly shared through email marketing and across social media, it can bring more relevant traffic to your site, and occupy valuable search positions for extended periods of time.

We first heard the term from Tim Ferriss, who wrote a long blog post on the topic. Since then, it’s become a bit of a buzzword in the blogosphere. Anyone trying to grow their email list knows that evergreen content is key.

How do I create evergreen content?

By its very nature, evergreen content becomes more valuable over time. So how do you know whether the content you write now will still be relevant, in fact will be even more relevant, in 6 months or a year from now?

Well, the truth is, you don’t. You can’t actually predict what content will be evergreen. But you can make a pretty good guess. Think about your business and your industry. What kind of content will your audience find useful time and time again, without becoming out of date?

Here are some examples of content formats that are likely to become evergreen:

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • “How To” guides
  • Tutorials
  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Checklists
  • Glossaries of terms and phrases
  • Lists of tools/techniques/solutions/mistakes
  • “History of” articles

Of course, evergreen content doesn’t only have to apply to blog posts. It can be in any or all of the following formats:

  • written articles
  • images
  • videos
  • infographics

It’s worth noting that evergreen content sometimes comes as a surprise. In which case, you might question whether there’s any point trying to create it in the first place. We believe there is, as any content created needs to fit into a broader content strategy that provides mutual value to both the audience and the business.

Here are our top tips for creating evergreen content:

  • Brand awareness: your content is always about your brand, so align your content to your brand and ask yourself “What do I want to be known for?”
  • Everlasting love: content should appear timeless; it should feel fresh and current, so avoid anything that might seem outdated the following year. Or remember to update it!
  • Get emotional: your content should make people feel something; you want them to appreciate your help and sometimes even be entertained.
  • Leave out the dates: including a date in your article can immediately render it “old” so it’s best to avoid dates if you can.

How do I know if my content is evergreen?

You might get a feel for how popular your content is by the comments and shares it gets on your social networks. But the only way you can really know for sure if your content is evergreen, is to measure it.

That’s where Google Analytics comes in. Once you install Google Analytics on your site you’ll be able to track just about every useful metric you can think of! You can see how many views each page has had, how long people stayed on each page, where they left your site from, how they arrived on your site, whether they were referred to your site from elsewhere, what their geographical location is. And the best thing is, you can track all these metrics over any period of time.

So, if you have an FAQs page on your website, and you’ve also written a blog post featuring a beginners guide to some aspect of your business, you can track and compare these pages to see which is most popular over time, i.e. which has the best longevity.

Finding your evergreen content

If you’ve been running your website for a while you may already have some undiscovered evergreen content. Check out your Google Analytics report for the latest month and take a look at your top content report. You’re looking for a page or blog post that you wrote a while ago that is appearing in your top 10 pages. Evergreen content often brings more traffic to your site than the homepage or blog landing page.

If you have a new site then you’ll need to sit tight and keep creating content for a while. Keep checking back each month looking for evergreen content. It will emerge over time. You’ll begin to notice that some blogs perform better over time. Meaning they appear in your top 10 content longer.

Nurturing your evergreen content

Once you’ve established what your evergreen content is it’s time to start nurturing it. You need to take a good hard look at these pages and ask yourself:

What would make this page even better/more useful to my audience?

  • Perhaps you can add more detail or break up the page into sections.
  • Are there videos or quotes that help get the point across?
  • Can you expand on this topic?
  • Are there related topics that you can write about and then link to and from this page?
  • What images can you add that will make the page more useful?
  • Can you develop this page into a landing page or section of your site?
  • Can you create a download to share with your audience?

How does your evergreen content fit in with the products or services that you offer? Can you add value to your audience by offering them something new? Be very careful about suddenly introducing a sales element to this page as it may put off your audience who may be in browsing or information-gathering mode rather than shopping mode.

Of course you’ll need to measure how your changes affect your audience behaviour. Here are a few things you’ll need to watch out for:

  • What % of visitors leave my site from this page? This is called the exit rate. A lower exit rate is good.
  • What % of visitors land on this page and then bounce? This means that they only visit this page and then leave your site. A lower bounce rate is good.
  • What % of visitors are returning to this page?
  • And finally, are they staying longer on this page as you try to make it more useful to your audience? This is measured as the average time on page.

How Wildheart can help

Creating regular content for your website, and staying on top of it, can be tough. Let alone worrying about whether your content will become evergreen or not.

But it’s the evergreen content that will help to develop your brand awareness, establish authority in your industry and build the reputation of your business. Your content will become more and more popular. And as we know, the more readers you have, the more your email list is likely to grow. And the bigger your email list, the more potential customers you have.

So what next? Why not let us help you with one of our packages:

Monthly Content Marketing Package

Sign up to one our Monthly Package and let us relieve your content headache so you can get back to what you’re good at.

Once we’ve created a content schedule with you, we’ll proofread your copy, upload and format your posts in WordPress, source & resize suitable images, add optimum SEO data, create and send branded email campaigns, and share your posts across your social networks.

We’ll even set up monthly reporting and regular skype meetings with you so you know how your content strategy is performing.

To sign up for one of our packages, or find out more, simply Book a Free Consultation and we’ll walk you through the details.


Content Kitchen 2: How do I get to No.1 on Google?

Brought to you on the first Friday of each month, Content Kitchen is a series of videos in which our co-founder Guy answers your content marketing questions. Why Content Kitchen? Because they’re recorded in Guy’s kitchen of course!

How do I get to No.1 on Google?

This month we tackle a question that we hear time and time again – How do I get to No.1 on Google? Some people are driven, or dare we say obsessed, by this question. They want to increase their search rankings, they want to get to the top, they want to be No.1.

But what does that actually mean? Is it even possible? And are they asking the right question to begin with? You’ll have to watch the video to find out – the answers may surprise you!

 


How healthy is your website?

In our recent articles we’ve been looking at the many aspects of content marketing: blogging, email marketing, social media, SEO (search engine optimisation), image creation and lead magnets, to name but a few.

But this week we’re going to take a step backwards and ask a very important question…

Are you even ready for content marketing?

Before you can get started on content marketing, there’s one very crucial thing you need to have in place. It serves as your bedrock. It’s the foundation that your content marketing is based on. In fact, it forms the very roots of your marketing strategy, and without it you’ll have nothing to grow your business from.

So, what is it?

A healthy website of course!

How do we define website health?

When we talk about the health of your website, you may be forgiven for thinking we mean the state that it’s in, perhaps how up-to-date it’s kept or how popular it is. Of course these things are important, but there’s much more to it than that.

It’s not even about how fast it loads either – that comes into it but it’s actually the last element you should focus on, as we’ll see below.

Gone are the days when a website was an exciting new marketing tool, a way to stand out from the crowd, or to show the world you’re ahead of the rest. In today’s rapidly-advancing technology-driven society, it’s imperative that you have a website. In fact, you probably won’t get anywhere without one. But more importantly, it’s imperative that you have a healthy website.

So, what exactly do we mean by a healthy website?

It must be aligned with your business and your marketing goals.

What’s your business plan? Do you have a marketing strategy? How about a corporate identity? Or brand values? You need to ensure these are consistently represented throughout your website.

It needs to be written for your customers – it must make sense to them.

Who is your audience? How do they behave online? What appeals to them? Your website should be designed, built and written with your customers – not just your business – in mind.

It should be well organised.

Is your main navigation simple and clear? Is it easy to find your way around? You need to ensure pages aren’t hidden too deeply in your site architecture or they’ll never be found. Is your homepage clear and easy to read? Can a new visitor see exactly what you offer within 5 seconds of looking at just your homepage?

Each page should have a clear goal.

There’s no point having pages on your website that don’t serve a purpose. Every single page must have a clear goal, whether it’s to direct readers to the next logical page, to get them to sign up to your newsletter or to encourage them to book a free consultation.

Each goal should be measured.

It’s all very well having clear goals but if you’re not tracking whether these goals are being met, you have no idea if your website is successful.

You should be publishing regular, high quality content.

Google loves changing content. You must publish regularly if you want to keep pushing those search rankings, as well as keeping your audience engaged to grow your email list.   

Each page and post should have an appropriate keyword focus.

We talk a lot about SEO and search rankings, and everyone wants to be No.1 on Google. But No.1 for what? There’s no point being No.1 on Google for “best cook in Bristol” if you run a yoga studio in Birmingham! You need to specify your keywords for every page and blog post so that Google knows what to focus on.

Finally, your site needs to be optimised for speed and performance.

One of the most common things that slows down websites is the images. If your images are too big (and most images are), they’ll take too long to load, resulting not only in your readers getting bored and looking elsewhere, but also a drop in your search engine rankings. Did you know that website performance is one of the many factors Google uses to rank a page? For top tips on how to sort out your website images, check out our article A picture says a thousand words… but not if it takes too long to load! A guide to creating images for your website

In today’s modern world people can be visiting your site from any number of devices with any number of screen resolutions, so your website needs to adapt to these different devices. This is called responsive design. Google can tell when a site is not responsive and this is one of the factors that determines your search ranking.

5 steps to a healthy website

So, how do you put all this into action? Simply follow our 5 step guide to a healthy website:

Step 1: Sort out your navigation

When it comes to website navigation, less is more. The fewer pages you have, the quicker your readers will be able to find the information they need. The trick here is to get the same message across but in fewer words.

Cut the waffle! Can you condense what you’re saying into fewer paragraphs. Fewer pages? As long as the key information is still there, this will actually help to engage your readers more.

What is the minimum number of pages you can feature in your main navigation? Can you cut this down even further? Think about the key message and core details you want to get across. Maybe you can cover everything you need to say in the following 5 pages:

  • Home
  • About
  • What We Offer
  • Blog
  • Contact

It’s common practice these days to have a footer menu in addition to the main navigation, so any additional information can go in here, e.g. FAQs, testimonials, case studies, etc. You might even choose to have your blog in the footer menu and not the main navigation.

It all depends on your business and the information you need to get across. But remember: always keep your customers and potential customers in mind. A good test would be to ask someone who knows nothing about your business to visit your website, navigate around and see how quickly they can grasp who you are, what you do and what their first impressions are.

To help you organise your website and manage the SEO data on each page, we’ve created a Website Content Audit spreadsheet. This is an invaluable tool if you’re planning a website redesign, or just wanting to fill in the gaps of your existing site. And it’s completely free! Just sign up to our blog below and you’ll receive the Content Audit Worksheet via email. And for more info on how to use it, check out our blog post Prepare for a redesign with a website content audit.

Step 2: Create clear calls to action

A ‘call to action’ is a link or button that calls your readers to take some kind of action. Every single page of your website needs one very clear call to action. Some common examples are:

  • “Check availability”
  • “Buy now”
  • “Read our FAQs”
  • “Meet the team”
  • “Sign up to our blog”
  • “Schedule a meeting”
  • “Contact us”

When planning your website architecture, you need to identify a clear goal for each page. You can then create your calls to action around your goals.

Make sure there’s one call to action on each page and make sure it clearly stands out.

Step 3: Set your keyword focus

If you’re using a WordPress website, there’ll be an SEO section for each page. Whether you’re using the standard All In One SEO Pack, Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) or the Yoast SEO Premium plugin, the data fields are essentially the same:

  • Page title
  • Page description
  • Focus keyword

It’s important to fill in this data on every page and every blog post. But it’s the focus keyword that particularly requires your attention. You need to choose a word or phrase that’s not only relevant to the content on that page, but is also relevant to your audience. What will they be searching for?

You might think the phrase “anatomical alignment” is very relevant to your physiotherapy business, but if no-one’s searching for that phrase there’s little point having it as your keyword focus. On the other hand, you don’t want to choose terms that are too popular, otherwise you’ll never get to page 100 on Google, let alone page 1!

The trick is to use niche terms that are relevant to your business, but that people actually search for. This is where the Google Adwords Keyword Planner is invaluable. In a few short clicks it’ll tell you the popularity and competition level of any word or phrase. So you can use this to help you find the most appropriate keywords for your business and for each page of your website.

To help you organise your website and manage the SEO data on each page, we’ve created a Website Content Audit spreadsheet. This is an invaluable tool if you’re planning a website redesign, or just wanting to fill in the gaps of your existing site. And it’s completely free! Just sign up to our blog below and you’ll receive the Content Audit Worksheet via email. And for more info on how to use it, check out our blog post Prepare for a redesign with a website content audit.

Step 4: Install Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the best ways to track and analyse your website. Remember those clear goals we need on every page? Well, now we get to track them. By installing Google Analytics on your website, and linking it with Google Webmaster tools, you can monitor:

  • web traffic
  • behavioural trends
  • page popularity
  • blog categories

Which will give you essential insights into how your audience behaves, where they come from and what appeals to them.

The most important tool in Google Analytics is the goals. Setting up both primary and secondary goals is essential for your monthly reporting.

An example of a primary goal is a visitor clicking on the submit button of a contact form if you run a consulting business, or a visitor completing the checkout process of your online shop.

Secondary goals are also really important to keep an eye on. Some examples include:

  • Signing up for a newsletter
  • Scrolling to a certain point on a page
  • Watching a video
  • Visiting more than 5 pages on your site
  • Staying on your site for more than 5 minutes
  • Clicking a specific link

But remember: you don’t just want to be reporting on your website. You also need to keep an eye on how your email marketing campaigns and social media accounts are performing. At Wildheart we create a dashboard that allows us to track key website, email marketing and social media metrics, so our clients have the full picture of how their marketing strategy is doing.

If you’re not measuring it, then it’s not marketing.

Step 5: Optimise, optimise, optimise!

If you’ve managed to nail all of the above – phew, well done! Now it’s time to optimise.

We mentioned images as being a big factor in slowing sites down, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As websites have become more fancy they require more code to run, and this can have a huge impact on performance.

There are lots of technical and geeky ways to solve these performance issues. We won’t go into detail here, but some of these include:

  • Page caching
  • GZip compression
  • Browser caching
  • Google Font optimisation
  • Minification of CSS and JS
  • Deferred script loading
  • Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

Did you make it through all the techy jargon in that list? Well done! The good news is that getting started is pretty easy: you just need to benchmark your current site performance using these 3 free tools:

Unfortunately, that’s the only easy part of optimising your site! But fear not, if you run a WordPress website then we recommend you buy WP Rocket – a premium caching plugin that speeds up your site. We think it’s worth every penny – or cent, as it’s priced in US dollars and costs just $39. Of course, we can set this up for you.

Need more help?

If you’re still feeling confused about whether your website is fighting fit or under the weather, don’t panic!

Wildheart Media is here to help you. Our content marketing packages are the perfect solution. We’ll do all the heavy lifting for you, ensuring your website is as healthy as it should be, allowing you to concentrate on what you do best.

Why not book a free consultation and we’ll walk you through the details.

See how we’ve helped our clients