Tag: Web Design

It’s important that your wellbeing website is set up right – with a sound structure, clear navigation, and compelling calls-to-action – to take your visitors on a smooth journey through your site so they can find the information they need and make a booking. Read on to find out more…

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


How a frustrated web designer got into digital marketing

 

Here’s a summary of what’s in the video…

Email marketing with MailChimp

I’ve been using MailChimp since 2006 when I started my first digital marketing agency in Brighton. MailChimp has grown from strength to strength over the years and has built a great brand. They now employ over 100 people and back in 2011 celebrated their millionth user – wow!

Email marketing for your business

Email marketing is the single most powerful digital marketing tool, by a long way! It’s not new and exciting like social media and spammers have also given email marketing a bad name. If you have a WordPress site and you’re wondering what marketing you need to start on next – start with email marketing with MailChimp!

Our top tips for getting started with email marketing

  1. Decide on a goal for your email marketing.
  2. Decide what content is most relevant and useful for your audience.
  3. Decide how often you’re going to deliver your emails.

Not sure how to do this? We can help, just contact us and we’ll book in a Skype call.

Always ask permission

Remember I mentioned spamming earlier? Well, spamming or junk mail is sending people emails they never signed up to receive. It’s best practice to always ask permission before starting email marketing.

Start small

The key to getting great results with your email marketing is by starting small with your close business network; people you have regular professional contact with. Always aim for quality over volume. Email marketing is not a numbers game, it’s about building a relationship. Start with a small high quality list, maybe 50 of your most valued clients or associates, and build on that.

Don’t ever do this!

  • Buy an email list.
  • Email people you don’t know.

How can we help?

Want to get going with your email marketing? We’d love to help. Book a free consultation and we’ll set up a Skype call.

What did you think?

Did you find this video useful? Do you have any comments or feedback? Leave a comment below.


Prepare for a redesign with a website content audit

In my previous post SMART goals for websites and marketing I introduced the SMART framework that we’ve adapted for websites and marketing. In this post we’re going to dive deep into creating a Website Content Audit before you undertake a website redesign.

The first question to ask when facing a website redesign is: Why? Why? and Why? No, that’s not a typo. The 3 whys are a great way to drill down to the root cause that is driving the change. Too often companies change their websites on a whim or out of boredom. Considering that a redesign can cost even more than the initial build its prudent to consider your goals carefully before proceeding.

Identify your goals

Before you embark on a website redesign you should identify your goals: First, identify the key business driver for the redesign. It’s unlikely that the purpose of the whole business has changed. If a new product or service is being launched, is it possible to redesign only a section of the site or add new sections to the site? Is it possible to get away with a design refresh with a change of logo, fonts and colour palette? (assuming you are rebranding your business).

Startups

If you’re a startup though, it may be that you’ve completely realigned your business and are targeting a new audience and even have a new value proposition and new products.

Getting clear on your goals is really important: Check out my post SMART goals for websites and marketing first and then come back to this post. Right, let’s crack on with that website audit!

5 steps to performing a successful Website Content Audit

We recommend the following 5 step process to help you evaluate your existing website content:

  1. Audit your existing website content
  2. Review your site analytics
  3. Plan your redirects
  4. Cull your content
  5. Check for broken links

1. Audit your existing website content

The first step is to take stock of all the content on your existing website. This includes pages, landing pages and your blog posts. With your new goals in mind what content do you currently have that can be repurposed and tweaked? You’ll need a spreadsheet for this task, fortunately we have just the thing!

The Website Content Audit spreadsheet serves two purposes. Firstly, it shows in black and white (green, amber and red actually) what content you currently have. Secondly you can use it as a basis for creating a new site structure. Armed with this information you’ll be able to create a sitemap for your redesigned site which can be used as part of a brief for a freelance web designer or web design agency.

2. Review your current site analytics

It’s a good idea as part of your audit to review your website analytics over a 3, 6 and 12 month period before culling your pages. The metrics you should be looking at are:

  • What content has had the most visits?
  • What are the top landing pages?
  • What content has brought the most repeat visits?
  • What content has had the longest visit duration?
  • What content has brought the most referrals from other sites?

You’ll need to make an informed decision about what to do with this content. If it’s no longer relevant for your business then you can confidently remove these pages but bear in mind this will affect the volume of traffic to your site and depending on how radical a shift your business is going through – you could risk losing a lot of your traffic.

Visitors are not customers

This is not as alarming as it sounds because visitors that are not looking for what your business sells are just that: visitors, and visitors are not customers. You will have to have a solid conversion strategy in place to convert website visitors into customers. But it’s just a fact of life that only a small % of visitors will convert to customers.

A planned drop in traffic is quite acceptable and at this point it’s worth having a think about a relaunch strategy so you can use it to drive new and relevant visitors to your updated site when it goes live. Because that’s actually when the real work starts!

3. Plan your redirects

If you’re getting a lot of referred traffic from pages that are no longer relevant and have decided to remove those pages permanently then it’s best practice to make sure that these pages redirect in a way that is as seamless as possible.

This is so that visitors are not faced with a ‘404 page not found’ error. There is a column in our Website Content Audit worksheet for this exact purpose. If you have a WordPress site then install the plugin Broken Link Checker before you cull your content – this will enable you to see the current state of broken links on your site.

But let’s back track for a moment, what do I mean by referred traffic? Referred traffic are visitors to your pages from other sites. These could be via a google search or someone linking to your content from a page or blog post on your website or a link from social media or email campaigns. It’s worth noting that you have little control over who links to your site content or where they link from. This is another very good reason to review your website analytics before your content cull.

4. Cull your content

If you’ve been running your site for a while or have been creating a lot of content you’ll want to do some housekeeping and cull your content in preparation for your website redesign. Again, use our Website Content Audit spreadsheet to record redundant content first. Then, if you’re using a content management system like WordPress you should unpublish the content by switching its status to draft first (rather than deleting it permanently immediately) and also set up your redirects.

5. Check for broken links

screen grab of WordPress plugin: Broken Link Checker

Once you’ve removed the redundant content you’ll want to check for those broken links on your site to these pages. This will cover any redirects that you’ve missed. Use the WordPress Plugin Broken Link Checker to do this. It’s way more thorough than trawling through your site manually especially if you’ve written several hundred blogs over the years.

Forms

Your website probably has some signup forms for people to subscribe to your blog or download content. (If it doesn’t it should!) You’ll need to check that any confirmation or thank you pages still exist in the new site to avoid those nasty 404 pages.

Social Media Accounts

Your business likely has a presence on multiple social media channels. You’ll need to check that these all link to existing pages on your redesigned site.

How to conduct your Website Content Audit

There are two ways to approach this. First, login to your website content management system. If it’s a WordPress site you’ll see a list of pages in 3 different categories at the top of the pages section.

Screengrab of WordPress Pages

Go through all the pages starting with draft pages first – delete any drafts that you don’t plan on making live. Next scan your list of pages for ones that are redundant or duplicates.

The second approach is to browse your site in the normal way, clicking your way through the main navigation and sub-pages and sections you have. Add all the pages you currently have to the Website Content Audit Spreadsheet.

Using the Website Content Audit Spreadsheet

Screengrab of the Website Content Audit Spreadsheet

There are 3 worksheets:

  1. (Example) Existing site pages
  2. Existing site pages – for your pages
  3. Existing site posts – for your posts

As you can see from the image we’re using colour coding.
Green is for pages you want to keep in their entirety.
Amber is for pages that have content you’d like to repurpose.
Red is for pages you don’t want to keep (bear in mind those URL redirects here). If you hover your cursor over the column headings in the spreadsheet you’ll find some useful comments to explain what goes in each column.

What next?

The whole point of this exercise is to have a good hard look at what content you currently have, but this blog should raise more questions than it answers… In fact the content audit deliberately makes obvious what you don’t have. What sections are missing? How will you relaunch the site? What will your content strategy be moving forward? And the most important question of all: How will you convert visitors into customers?

All of these topics will be covered in our upcoming blog posts. So if you haven’t already, sign up using the form above and get your free Website Content Audit download, plus our monthly blogs delivered straight to your inbox.


SMART goals for websites and marketing

The SMART framework was popularised by modern management guru Peter Drucker. It was initially developed to help organisations set realistic goals that are measurable. But as a framework it can be applied to any project, including digital marketing and website design.

It’s worth noting that there are many different definitions for the different letters and it’s worth adapting the framework to suit your needs best.

Here at Wildheart we use the SMART goals framework as just one of the tools to help our clients:

  1. Define SMART goals for your digital marketing campaigns
  2. Define SMART goals for a website design or redesign

This post introduces our adaptation of the SMART framework specifically for marketing and web design purposes.

Here are our SMART goals for websites and marketing:

S is for Specific

It’s important to set a specific goal because it provides you with a focus for your activities. Goals that are too big are unlikely to get finished. Can you break your project into smaller goals?

M is for Measurable

A specific goal is measurable and if you can measure it you can track your progress and adapt. Be careful of trying to measure too much (a common mistake). What is the single most important metric you need to measure?

A is for Achievable

An achievable goal is realistic – what tactics and strategies can you use to achieve this goal? Think back to S – are you being specific enough or too ambitious?

R is for Rewarding

This step is another great one for checking if your project justifies the effort. Is this the most rewarding goal for you to be undertaking right now?

T is for Timely

If it’s going to take too long to complete a goal it may not be the most rewarding one to tackle now. Setting an end date is a great way of having a deadline to work towards. Can you break down your goal into smaller goals?

Watch our SMART Goals for Websites presentation:

Smart Goals for Websites Download

Conclusion

Remember SMART goals are only one tool to aid your thinking around your marketing goals. If you’re planning a website redesign then check out our next blog post: Preparing for a redesign with a website content audit.