Small Business Websites Melbourne: What Makes a Site Outstanding?

Small Business Websites Melbourne: What Makes a Site Outstanding?

You may find these tips helpful if you have a small business website. These web tips can increase your perceived trustworthiness and expertise. We have identified nine areas or suggestions to make an outstanding website and more than 23 points that you can work towards to produce the best small business website in Melbourne.

9 Tips to make an outstanding website

  1. Fast loading website
  2. Website that clearly shows your offerings
  3. Attractive and error-free website
  4. Excellent user experience — Easy to navigate
  5. Comprehensive and helpful website content
  6. Create a trustworthy website
  7. Transparent vision and pricing
  8. Be authentic
  9. Offer a Guarantee

 

1. Fast loading website

Annoying your users

A slow website can annoy your users to the point that they bounce off and don’t see what you have to offer. According to Kinsta, 40 per cent of website users will abandon a site if they have to wait longer than 3 seconds for your website to load. It is critical to have a fast-loading website, particularly on mobile, if you wish to have an outstanding website.

Ranking first page

If your website is not fast loading, it’s possible it will not rank. The mobile version of your website is assessed for speed by Google. It is now a ranking factor, especially Core Web Vitals. If your site is not fast to load, Google can penalise you by ranking you in the boondocks or not at all. To assess your website speed, test it using Lighthouse or GTMetrix or Webpagetest. Start by looking at what is required to get the Core Web Vitals into the required zones. You may need to pay a developer to fix some issues, but certainly, ask your web designer to design for speed from the beginning.

Core Web Vitals Test Result

GTMetrix speed test

2. Create a website that clearly shows what you offer

What do you do exactly?

Have you ever noticed how many sites don’t clearly explain what they offer? You might not have the patience to read through or search the site for more explanation. The key is to be clear in the Meta Title and to have the Meta Description describe and entice customers to your website in a few words and match the web page’s First Heading and content. Following your content, you need a Call to Action to help the user to know what to do next. This might sound common sense, but it is certainly not always followed.

Once you create the landing page or home page, do some testing. Organise a focus group or even family and friends to rate the clarity of the introduction, title and meta description. The title and meta description are not found on the website but on the Search Engine Results Page and can be set up in the back end of your website. Again, get your designer to ensure these all match from the outset. If you structure these elements this way, you will achieve better search engine optimisation and be easier for your user to understand.

Where are your services?

Make sure your services are spelled out clearly and leave no room for doubt as to what you offer. If your site is clear it is more likely to leave a good impression on your audience and help them buy from you. By adding your services clearly and in the main menu, you are also helping Google bots understand your site. Google bots must understand the keywords and purpose to deliver the site for the appropriate keywords..

Where are your prices?

Having prices on a website is a debatable area. If you sell something online, clearly showing all costs, including shipping, is essential. If your pricing is complicated and dependent on other factors, then perhaps pricing on the site is not appropriate. I always try to put myself in the position of my users and ask if they would expect prices to be listed on the website. If the answer is yes, then make sure you are transparent about what is expected.

3. Attractive and error-free website

Typography

Undoubtedly, we all judge by first impressions when it comes to websites. Sometimes we don’t even know what it is we like about a site, but it has a flavour that appeals. You can break this down by checking the details. What font is used on the main headings? Is it modern and simple, or elegant and expressive? Does it have serifs? Serifs are little feet extending off a font character’s main lines. Some serifs can aid in readability. Serifs tend to be on older-style fonts, but not always. Fonts have a history of usage, which can subtly bring feelings to remembrance. Perhaps you relate a font to a significant brand or an era. Fonts are fundamental to setting the tone for your website. Generally, your web designer will ask for your Logo to start your website’s design, which may contain a particular font. If you intend to change your Logo, be sure to let your web designer know before starting, as this can completely change the style of the pages. Make sure your typography is large enough to be easily read and has generous line spacing, as this will bring more ease for reading.

stencil font example

Imagery

Images, photographs and graphics are crucial elements that make an outstanding website. I was recently asked to look at a website that offered services in the design industry. I was looking to see if there was a reason to trust this organisation. The thing that raised a red flag was the lack of images. Images provide proof, especially in the design industry.

Images add a flavour to a brand, and they also help to explain complex situations. Images can be used to add a break in a large chunk of text and show more about you, your business, and your products.

Consider employing a professional brand photographer to capture your brand and products when looking for images for your business. These images can be an excellent investment and provide a years supply of pics that you can use to display on the website, your social media and other areas of marketing.

You may consider stock images if you need a different picture here and there. They are not as authentic as shooting your own, but they might be sufficient for your purpose. Remember, stock images cost you roughly $16-36 per image. Please choose an image that is the correct proportion for the location it needs to go. For instance, if you want a banner image, this probably needs to be broad and narrow. Don’t choose a vertical/portrait-shaped image or one that doesn’t crop well into the required shape. Also, remember a banner needs to be large enough and of good quality. You will require an image of approximately 1920 x 1080 px for this purpose. The other consideration is if you want the text to go over the image. Is the image too busy to accommodate the text? This might be something you leave to your designer to help you choose. A final thought— it’s required to have alternate text on all of your images to aid accessibility and SEO.

recognisable branding image

Logo

The Logo of your website is an essential feature of the website for branding. You want consistent branding across all your marketing, so your users will identify you quickly and you can gain a reputation. Often a designer will use your Logo to help set the look and feel of the website. If you plan to change your Logo soon after designing the website, then please let your website designer know this detail. It will save you a good deal of time and expense.

One mistake many business owners make when designing their website with their Logo is to make the Logo very large and feature on the page. This is a mistake because your website needs to be focused on your user. The Logo helps establish your identity, but the site needs to be user-focused. The old saying is, “People don’t care what you do as much as why you do it and how you can help them.

Spelling and grammatical errors

Have you ever gone to a website and noticed several spelling mistakes? How does this make you feel? For some people, this doesn’t seem right and sets a bad feeling in terms of the trust. Remember, it might not bother you, but it will undoubtedly irritate some of your users. Try using a spelling and grammatical checker like Grammarly before posting your page.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a big problem for more than one reason. Firstly, it is stealing to plagiarise someone’s else work, but the second problem is duplicate content. Search engines will rank your page poorly if your content is similar or the same as some other webpage. Robots can quickly tell if there is more than one copy of a page and which is the original based on date and domain authority and this can also apply to images taken from other websites.

If you just published your website, you likely have low domain authority. Domain authority is a ranking on the world wide web that positions you in a page order when searched by keywords. It will help if you improve your domain authority by providing great content and value to your users, bringing trust and organic links to your pages. These links are called backlinks or Off-page SEO and are crucial to your site’s visibility on the internet.

Error Free Website

An error-free website is crucial to give that trust factor. When looking for statistics for this article, I found a site that did testing. Still, in the same location, I saw a prominent warning (see image below) that items were missing or broken and errors on the page. Immediately my trust in this site and its proof went out the window. I’ve pasted a picture of the warning message below. These warnings can happen simply on your website because of a lack of web care and diligence. It is essential to look after the maintenance of your website and be sure that errors are not printed onto the page as was this one.

image of a warning that says Missing block of content or error

4. Excellent user experience and easy to navigate

Easy navigation

Don’t you find it irritating when you hunt all over a site to see a particular page? If you lay out your pages clearly and concisely within categories, not only do you assist your users, but you can gain extra points for ranking. Keywords used in a navigation system can also help you rank better.

Pillar pages

Consider creating pillar pages in your menu. A pillar page consists of an over-arching topic menu item and a breakdown of sub-topics listed under this menu item. The sub-topics should cover every area of the over-arching topic, including detailed and helpful information that clearly shows your authority in this area that you specialise in.

Here’s an example using Websites as the over-arching topic. Web Design might be the main menu item with a dropdown list of sub-items such as Web Development, Website Maintenance, eCommerce, Content Management Systems, Hosting, SEO, and Content Creation.

The beauty of this information structure —it is search engine optimised and will help with your authority on Search Engines.

Silo structure pillar post 2022 04 29 at 3.40.19 pm

No hidden items

I was recently on a site looking for a particular form to send a message. I didn’t find the web form, but I found an email. The email owner quickly responded and pointed out that they had a web form on the page. I didn’t see it immediately because they had hidden it with an image that needed to be clicked to find the form. It wasn’t clear to me to click the picture to access the form. This is an example of poor user experience. It’s important to follow standard practices to make it easy for users to find what they want. It also saves your business time having to explain where to go.

5. Comprehensive and helpful website content

Up-to-date and fresh content

Having fresh content is always paramount. This is Google’s number one area of focus for ranking websites, which is very valid, as we should use our websites to assist our potential customers. It is vital to provide them with unique and helpful content.

If you supply prices, ensure they are accurate across the site and have no contradictions.

Consider the burning questions your users might have, write the question on the page, and then answer them. This is an excellent Search Engine Optimisation technique.

Ensure other sites pointing to your website, such as Local Directories and Socials, are also up-to-date.

If you are blogging, and have the date on the post, then be careful to keep your posts fresh. There’s nothing more off-putting than something that’s not been touched for years. It suggests you are not doing much business, negligent, or closed.

Contact details

When visiting a website, it is common to be unable to locate the contact details. If your clients are likely to want to contact you, then put your contact details in a logical place where they can quickly be found. Classically the contact details might be in the menu or footer, or the phone number could be placed at the top of the page. These are three locations where people are used to finding contact details.

As well as this, use social media icons to help your users find further information and gain further trust in your organisation. Make it easy for your users to communicate with you, learn about your services and ultimately buy from you.

contact details page

Clear descriptions of offerings

People want to see what you offer from all angles. That might include a detailed description and photographs of points of interest. People might want to know the size and scale of your product or the colour. They will want to see your product in action, i.e. being used for the purpose it was made. You could use case studies to describe your offering. Without these details, your users may feel apprehensive about buying from you.

6. How to create a trustworthy website?

Fast Site

If your website is not fast to load, you may be flicked before you are even seen. If you are not fast to load, Google can penalise you by ranking you in the boondocks. The websites listed on the first page of Google are considered more trustworthy than those on subsequent pages.

Reviews

Reviews are expected on eCommerce sites today. Without great reviews, you are unlikely to be found in the rankings; Shoppers are looking for those five-star reviews. Find a system to get your customers to review you. If your customers are in the mid-to-late age bracket, you may need to think outside the box to encourage them to use technology and create a review.

Behind the scenes look

Your users want to know who you are. They want to know you are a real person that cares about them. Adding an about section, with images and bios, creates trust with your users.

Secure site

Some simple steps are crucial to take for security on your website. Firstly you need to have an SSL certificate. You can tell if you have one of these if you have a small ‘s’ at the end of the https:// part of your URL. The s stands for security. You can check if your certificate is valid by looking at the small lock at the beginning of your URL (web address). If you click the lock icon, you can see the certificate. This image shows that the connection is secure. When you click the second arrow it tells you who verifies the security.

Your connection is secure

 

this certificate says: security verified by cloudflare There are different security certificates; some cost a bit to provide the appropriate security, while others can be free. Certificates can expire, and it is worth knowing how to discover this detail. You can check if your website has up-to-date security using the Chrome Browser.

  1. Open your website in the browser.
  2. Click on the three dots –ellipses menu at the top right of your browser.
  3. Choose ‘More Tools’ then ‘Developer Tools’ from the pop-out menus.
  4. When the new window opens, choose ‘Security’ from the top menu.
  5. You can then see the first message, which tells you if the page is secure, valid and trusted, or not. (see image below) By clicking the blue ‘View certificate’ link, you can view the actual certificate, which will tell you when the certificate expires. (below) If you have a free certificate, the web host will often renew it for you. Still, if you are paying for a more secure site, you will need to pay and ensure it is up-to-date by the date provided.SSL Certificate-security overview- as seen on chrome developer toolsSSL certificate viewer

Display Trust Icons

Some further steps may be appropriate for you, depending on your website. Some people display trust icons such as McAfee Secure and Norton Secured to borrow trust from an official organisation. There are other trust badges, such as VeriSign Trusted, which have been tested to increase use by 42%. bluefountainmedia

Paypal Verified, or Secure Payment Stripe, may be good badges to display on your shopping cart or shop page to bring a little further trust. You could also consider a free shipping badge or a 7-day free trial icon.

Another great idea is to put your awards on the page. If you have won any awards, add these icons or certificates to your page. Often you see websites display logos of those who have trusted them to provide services. This is a terrific way to provide proof of good service and trust. Your customers would be thinking, and if this big company trusted them, I can also.

Norton, PayPal and McAfee Secure Trust Badges

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

Terms of service and privacy policies are also crucial for assurance and trustworthiness. Privacy policies are required by Australian law on websites that collect customer data, such as via a contact form. And if you are operating a shop using an eCommerce system, Shipping Policies and Terms of Service are all significant features which need to be kept up to date to help users confidently buy from you.

No broken links

Broken links or links that go nowhere do not bring trust. Get your web designer to create an informative and engaging 404 page to redirect your users to where they want to go. By clever communication, you may get them back, but often, they will leave to find someone else. Test your pages with a broken link checker regularly and update the broken links found. There are many such tools on the internet. Here is just one —deadlinkchecker

broken link checker

7. Offer Transparent Pricing and Approach

Again, providing as much detail as possible is essential because there is so much competition at your fingertips. If you have a straightforward pricing structure, perhaps it’s helpful to have it on the page. Consider your competition. Do they have prices, and would your customers feel more comfortable buying from you if the prices were on the page?

When describing services write your approach or vision, not in a way that is all about you but about your customers.

8. Be Authentic

Authenticity is very popular today. With business primarily going online, that personal touch is perhaps missing, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating an enticing persona and brand story can attract users interested in you, your look and your brand. Some businesses have become sensational overnight. They have created a brand that shows many details of their everyday life that draws followers. These followers regularly devour their content. Consider who your tribe is and what they want from you to provide that authentic experience.

9. Offer a Guarantee

A guarantee might clinch the deal, depending on the product. I wish beds came with a guarantee that they would remain comfortable for at least their warranty period! Consider giving a money-back guarantee which tells customers you firmly stand behind the quality of your product. Some businesses offer a 14-day or 30-day money-back trial to assure satisfaction.

100% guarantee customer satisfaction badge

Conclusion

We are an Australian web design company that has organically grown due to providing quality and customer satisfaction, plus our interest in search engine optimisation. Today, over 3000 web design companies within Australia compete for business, ranging from backyard organisations to those offering enterprise systems. So, if you are looking for a web designer, consider which end of this spectrum you want to enter. If you like to look someone in the eyes and talk about what you need, you should look for a local business. Sometimes some situations cannot be easily explained over the phone or face-to-face online.

With the advancement in online video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Join.me, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, and Cisco Webex, to name a few; it is feasible to hire a website builder /designer that operates in another part of the country. If you choose someone internationally, you must consider other aspects such as language or cultural barriers.

The website designer discusses your requirements and gets you to send them any files, such as logos or website articles and images. From this information, they can put together the design required and organise reviews at scheduled times. If you are happy with how things are going, you can approve or discuss changes, and the process can go back and forth until the completion date.

Hopefully, the points mentioned above will help you understand more about what is required for an outstanding website before you begin and help to get your new website off to a successful start.

Don’t hesitate to contact us here if you want us to create your website, optimise it for search or provide website maintenance or content creation. We are more than happy to assist.

How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

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7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

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How to make a website for business

How to make a website for business

If you are looking to take your business online, this information will help you understand the steps on how to make a website for business and choose from the many platform choices available to build a website from scratch.

  1. How to create a website from scratch
  2. Where to get assistance to build a business website
  3. Why choose a professional web designer to assist you in creating a website

1. Create a website from scratch

You may have heard of website builders, such as Squarespace, Wix or Shopify, that make it easy to build a site from scratch. These platforms have been designed to help you get a website up quickly and easily. The question to ask is, “Can I create a website from scratch?” The skills you will need are a little bit of technical know-how to move around a software platform and some design sense. This might not be you. From experience, I find many people start these solutions and get stuck at one point or another. Maybe the design doesn’t look professional. Or maybe they need a functionality that is not offered out of the box, and they don’t know how to proceed to build their business website. But if you don’t mind persisting and looking for solutions, then maybe doing it yourself is a viable proposition. You won’t need to know code to create a website with one of these top-rated platforms.
Your first decision is to choose either a static/brochure-type website or an eCommerce/ Shop website. Next, you will have a choice of design templates. Sites like Wix tend to have more designs, but Shopify leads the market in eCommerce.

Here are three choices of platform types with their advantages and disadvantages and steps to implement.

a. Website Builders

Website Builder platforms offer ready-made designs or templates, including an interface to drag and drop items around the page to see as you create visually. Squarespace, Wix and Shopify tend to be the most popular. However, there are many more in the marketplace.

A Website Builder will allow you to customise each page relatively simply. However, if you don’t have a design sense and an understanding of image sizing, you may still struggle to achieve the look and feel you’re after.

Most builders generally cost a monthly subscription, although some have a free plan that will include the company branding. The good thing about subscribing to a Website Builder is that they manage many aspects behind the scenes. The downside is you will not have complete control over every site element. A Website Builder generally looks after hosting on a server within the subscription cost. Most will also allow you to buy a website name (Domain) with the subscription or use your domain name to get started immediately. Here’s a list of popular Builders:

Wordpress logo

  • Wix — (3rd popular website —2.5% of the world market. Free and paid option with lots of designer templates),
  • Shopify— (2nd most popular website engine, but declining usage to 3.8% of world market currently — $29 per month),
  • Webflow— (21 free templates, free & paid $12-36/ mo),
  • Squarespace— (currently with 2.1% of the world market. Relative ease of use with great templates),
  • Weebly— (free & paid options),
  • GoDaddy— (free & paid starting from $14.95/mo),
  • Site123— (free and premium plans),
  • WordPress.com— (Blogging and Publishing free)

Advantages of a Website Builder

  • Simplified system
  • Some predesigned template designs ( quantity and quality depend on the platform)
  • Payment gateways are easier to initiate
  • hosting is included
  • Low learning curve

Disadvantages of a Website Builder

  • Monthly Fee.
  • Limited ability to extend functionality.
  • Assistance from a web developer could be expensive.
  • Limited control over the site.
  • You may need to register and pay for a domain name separately (Squarespace does not supply every type of domain name. Some names require external management).
  • You may not like the free themes.

11 Steps using a website builder

  1. Choose the website builder that suits your needs and budget.
  2. Research an available unique domain name.
  3. Choose a design template from those available or purchase one.
  4. Gather your images and size them according to your template.
  5. Gather your text copy and any other elements required.
  6. Customise the template to suit your business by adding your content.
  7. Choose any plugins to extend the website functionality (Free and paid options).
  8. Preview and test your website.
  9. Publish your website on the internet and check it on different browsers and devices.
  10. Keep the content up-to-date and relevant to rank as best as possible in Search.
  11. Backup site content in case of a disaster.

Squarespace

Squarespace interface to edit pages

b. Content Management Systems

A keen group of developers worldwide have created what is known as open-source content management systems (CMS). Open-source allows anyone to use the software freely. Some of these CMSs are:

  • WordPress.org      (Highly customisable platform with plugins and themes. Not to be confused with WordPress.com, which is a Website Builder for blogging)
  • Joomla                  (Advanced CMS platform, popular among programmers)
  • Drupal                    (Advanced CMS, popular among programmers)

With this kind of website or content management system, you can create, edit and manage the content without knowing the code (Although that would help). A CMS is perhaps a little more complicated than a website builder, but the advantage is the flexibility to do what you want and need for your website. The platform is free to download and start, but you will find other costs, such as a Domain name, Hosting, and maybe Plugins and a Theme. A Domain name is your website’s name and address (URL). Hosting is the place where your website “lives”. You will pay a hosting company to place your site on their Server. Plugins are extensions to the Content Management System to add additional functionality and flexibility, such as a calendar or a booking system. Some plugins are free to use or have a free plan, but others may require a subscription. Most CMSs come with basic themes (the look and feel), but you may need to buy another theme if you don’t like that look.

Of all the CMSs available today, the most popular is WordPress. 43.3% of all websites on the World Wide Web are WordPress sites. It started as a blogging platform called WordPress.com, a hosted platform, but it has evolved to accommodate all website types on the self-hosted CMS WordPress.org.

Joomla has recently decreased to 1.8% share of the worldwide market, and Drupal has less again. Both of these CMSs are great platforms but perhaps have a steeper learning curve again. For me, the key difference is the availability of resources (or lack thereof). WordPress has captured the imagination of website developers in the small-to-medium market. Therefore, you can find more tools and expertise at a reasonable price than with the less up-taken systems.

Advantages of a Content Management System

  • Most are open-source, free systems to use
  • Flexibility
  • Many designs or themes are available for free or purchase
  • Ability to edit your own content without knowing how to code
  • Easy updates of functionality with a huge range of free and paid plugins
  • It is easy to add further pages as required
  • It is easy to add a visual editor plugin to make designing the site simpler
  • Ability to scale with your business

Disadvantages of a Content Management System

  • Necessary to manage updates regularly
  • Register a Domain name (Start around $13yr)
  • Need a Hosting Provider (Starting around $6mo-$50mo)
  • You may need to purchase a theme or visual editor, such as Elementor or Divi
  • Assistance from a web developer could be expensive.
  • Medium learning curve

c. WordPress Visual Editor Plugins (also called Page Builders)

A Visual Editor is not a complete Platform but an addition to a CMS Platform to aid in designing and updating the site. WordPress allows many Visual Editor plugins to integrate seamlessly. A Visual Editor can be added to WordPress to quickly change themes (look and feel). They provide a drag-and-drop interface to customise the site, usually in a more visual way. Visual Editors can supply a complete look, feel, and functionality for specific industries, streamlining the development process.

A few of the Visual Editors that integrate with WordPress include:

Backend of WordPress - The add a plugin tab

  • Divi by Elegant Themes   (Lifetime payment option)
  • Elementor   (Free and paid designs)
  • Generate Press
  • Beaver Builder
  • Thrive Architect
  • WP Page Builder
  • Brizy Website Builder
  • GoDaddy Website Builder
  • SeedProd

Most of these builders have a free plugin to get started, but you may require a premium plan to have the style and functionality you desire. The price can vary greatly. You might pay just $45 for a once-off use or buy the builder for lifetime use. (Not all that expensive as you might think).

Advantages of a WordPress CMS Visual Editor

  • Speeds up design.
  • Live preview the front-end while you are designing.
  • There is no end to Flexibility and cool features, including e-commerce.
  • Ability to scale with your business.
  • Many hosting companies are already set up with WordPress and Visual Editors.

Disadvantages of a WordPress CMS Visual Editor

  • The Visual Editor or Page Builder may not cover all your needs but may clash with other builders when extending your design options.
  • Once a Page Builder is an active theme, you cannot easily switch it off.
  • Some builders may slow down your site.
  • A low to medium learning curve for beginners

Steps to get started with WordPress CMS & Visual Editor

  1. Firstly, find a hosting company that offers good support, security and speed and sign up.
  2. Then, you must choose a Domain name and register it on the Hosting company site or Domain site.
  3. Next, set up WordPress through the web hosting company. Some do this for you.
  4. Choose a Theme (design) from WordPress or install a Visual Editor/Page Builder plugin (such as Divi or Elementor) and choose a template. (Some hosts, such as SiteGround or GoDaddy, have their own website builder and can set up WordPress Visual Editors).
  5. If you are building an eCommerce site, you will need a plugin such as WooCommerce. WooCommerce supplies the necessary interface for payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe. Payment Gateways can be a bit more complicated to set up.
  6. If not using a Visual Editor or Template, it’s best to plan your design and site structure, including how it will affect the users’ experience (UX).
  7. If using a Visual Editor, customise the template. Your static site will then be up and running quite quickly.
  8. Create pages and content.
  9. Create a navigation menu.
  10. Check that your site looks right on mobile, then test and publish.
  11. Add regular new content to improve your SEO.
  12. Keep backups and regularly update your plugins, themes and WordPress Core.

2. Getting assistance to build a website

Customers getting assistance to build their new website and looking at their design.

If you have already braved starting a site and are looking for someone to improve or progress you in the right direction, you could look in a few places.

  • An online marketplace could be an excellent place to start. You can submit a job request and get three quotes (or more) to help you finish the website.
  • Meetups are a place to learn and meet with other like-minded people about whatever subject interests you. A WordPress Meetup is happening in most states of Australia. You may find you can ask the questions you need and get the help you desire, but it might not be that simple to fit into the speaker’s program. Some meetups go through the backend interface and explain how to use it. This could be perfect.
  • Some organisations teach, with an hourly fee, the steps you need one-on-one.
  • Find a great video and follow it step by step.
  • Check out our FREE easy online SEO courses
  • Call for assistance in completing your website

3. Choosing a professional Web Designer/ Developer

wireframe of website designs
If you understand the advantages of choosing a top professional web designer, you will be prepared to spend some money. A minimal site could start from as low as $650 and go upwards to many thousands for a sizeable eCommerce site.
So what should you expect from a professional that you wouldn’t get doing it yourself?

  • Years of experience
  • Design sense
  • Knowledge of all areas of development
  • Ability to create your website optimised for Search Engines from scratch
  • Experience in User Experience, User Interfaces, World Wide Web rules, Accessibility, Fonts, Funnels, Payment gateways, Personas, Client-Focused Design, Image Optimisation, Browsers, Marketing, Email Marketing, Privacy Policy, Website maintenance and more

Steps to get started on a new website with a professional Designer

  1. Choose the developer that meets your needs and budget and has the ability to listen to your requirements.
  2. Discuss the type of users you wish to attract to your product or service and the functionality required. Show the developer examples of websites you like.
  3. Give the developer your chosen Domain name or ask them to assist you with this.
  4. Choose a host or ask the developer to help with this.
  5. Give the developer all the content, imagery, logo and answers to their questions. Check out—Why content is important for websites
  6. Agree on a payment structure.
  7. Meet at set intervals (online or in-person) to preview the site.
  8. Test and approve the new website.
  9. Organise a contract to work on your ongoing search engine optimisation and website maintenance. See our article on Basic SEO steps

Conclusion

As you can see, many details are involved in web development. But of course, each website design is largely dependent on the type of business you have. Are you selling goods online, or will the site just be needed as a brochure? Will you need ongoing page creation, such as a blog? Do you need your site to be number one on the Google Search Engine Results page so you can win more attention and leads? How much time do you have for learning and developing the site? The cost of a website is largely the same whether you choose a Page Builder or a CMS, but sometimes the cost can be greater doing it yourself, because of mistakes made. If you need support, lessons or web design services, check out our services here or contact us for a friendly chat.

How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

read more
7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

read more

5 Basic SEO steps to start your website

5 Basic SEO steps to start your website

In my role as a digital marketer and web developer over the last ten years, I came to realise that not many people know what SEO is all about. So, “What is SEO?” SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. There are five basic SEO steps that all small business website owners should implement to make sure they get the best website rank in search results. It is not enough to create a website and add the address to your business card, as no one will see your site. By addressing some basic SEO steps, you can improve your chances of ranking on page one of the Google search engine. Hence, your website can become a valuable source of new leads.

mini SEO Training FREE OFFER

Table of Content

1. Basic SEO steps –Keywords and SEO

“If nobody is searching for what you’re writing about,

 you won’t get traffic from Google—no matter how hard you try.” Ahrefs

Before looking for keywords, you firstly need to know what your customers want to know. It is essential to research who your customers are and then what needs they have that correspond to your products or service.

Customers have different intents. Some customers want to find a specific website, while others wish to find informational content on a particular topic. Still, others are looking for transactional content to purchase a particular product. It is critical that you understand the user’s intent, to find the keywords that match this intent. By looking at your Google Analytics data, in particular, the queries your users are making, you can get some ideas. Once you obtain this information, you are ready to investigate the keywords that your potential customers are using to see you.

There are many tools to achieve this. One easy tool is Google auto-complete. As you start to type your keywords into the search box, you will see further suggested words to type that real users have already searched. You can go through the alphabet with each keyword and get new ideas.

Google auto complete keyword tool

Other free tools you can use to find keyword suggestions include: Answer the public, Google Trends, Reddit, Content Explorer, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Podcasts, and even the content section of related books. There are professional tools to aid you in this research and to pinpoint the searched volume of each keyword or phrase.

It is necessary to choose long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are phrases containing three or four words, or maybe more. These are easier to rank for than just a simple keyword and can hone in on your niche.

related searches with visit volume

You can see using the Ubersuggest tool the volume of searches for each keyword. The long-tail keyword “dog groomers ringwood” has more search volume – 210/mo, but has an SEO difficulty (SD) of 41. Whereas, “dog wash lilydale” would be easier to achieve with a difficulty of 14 but has less search volume with just 10/mo.

Once the keywords are discovered—that have ease of ranking and volume of search queries—they need to be assigned to the title tag and heading of your website page and the body copy in such a way that the words flow naturally. After this, it’s essential to test your ranking regularly. All site changes will make a difference to the SEO value. SEO doesn’t stand still because your competition keeps changing and powering ahead.

2. Content for Small Business SEO

The imperative focus of the content on your business website is to meet the needs of your consumers. Ensure that your content is updated regularly and provides value to your potential customers. Identify common user problems and focus on genuinely solving these needs. As mentioned above, by looking at your site search data (on Google Analytics), you can see the type of queries and issues your potential customers make. Create content to serve these queries.

Your content must load fast. Consequently, when you add a graphic or image, it must be optimised, so it doesn’t slow down your website. Tinyjpg is an excellent tool for optimising your pictures quickly.

Videos are another content type that can slow down your website if not handled correctly. Videos loaded onto third party sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia will perform better than videos directly uploaded to your website.

There are other technical aspects of your website that also need to be optimised to assure your site loads fast. You can do a speed test here to check that your site is loading, preferably in less than three seconds. If your website is slow, then look at your hosting to find out if they can optimise your site for speed.

3. Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

Titles are the first thing you see when you search on a Search Engine such as Google. They also appear on the top tab of your browser when you open a new page. The Title tag is one of the most important of the basic SEO steps. It is crucial that the title includes your keywords and that the description below compliments this with similar keywords. Make sure your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are all unique for each page. A Title should have fewer than 60 characters. In comparison, a Meta Description should be fewer than 160 characters to ensure they are not cut off (truncated) at the end.

The primary purpose of a Meta description is to be descriptive and engaging to entice the reader to click through to your page. Once they click through to your site, they should also find that the description matches the content on your webpage.

A tool to aid you in adding the perfect Meta Title and Meta Description is RankMath Plugin for WordPress (Aff). This tool offers far more, in fact it’s considered one of the best SEO tools available. It will give you keyword suggestions, keyword density check, redirection and plenty of ideas to improve your SEO.

4. Image Filenames and ALT Tags

Image file names and ALT tags are basic SEO steps that are often overlooked by website owners. Add images to your website that relate to your product or service. The photos will make the site more enjoyable, but the image file names will create opportunities for you to add keywords that will help your site’s SEO. The process involves naming these beneficial images with meaningful and descriptive keywords. For example, if you are a chiropractor, you might have a photo of a spine to accompany your article on disc bulge. You could title the image “spine-disc-bulge.jpg”. By separating the keywords with dashes as shown, you are making the image readable by robots and hence adding value to your SEO.

ALT tags are another area where you can improve your small business SEO. An ALT tag is an alternate text description applied to the image to provide meaning for search engines and also for screen-reader software. It is necessary to describe the picture, so sight-impaired people can understand what they are looking at on your website. If you are selling a product, the product images and ALT text provide further valuable SEO benefits for your small business.

5. Local SEO

Local SEO is vital for your small business if you operate the type of business that needs local traffic, such as a Pizza Store. The first step for local SEO is to register with Google My Business and utilise all the resources that they offer. Make sure to include your contact details, opening times, reviews, images, and web address. It’s also important to ensure your main details – Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are consistent across all your marketing. This is a way of building trust with your audience and improving your SEO.

How many times have you used your mobile phone to find a restaurant open near you only to find the listing details are inaccurate! This has unquestionably frustrated me. Make sure you keep your details up-to-date. Because most of us seek local businesses via our mobile phones, it is also essential to have a mobile-friendly website. You can test your site here to make sure it is mobile-ready.

Another way to be more readily found in your community is to submit your website to local and reputable business directories. The more good quality neighbourhood guides you have, the more backlinks you will have to your website.

graph of backlinks within search results

You can see the number of backlinks in the image above that the highest competitor has for the “dog wash croydon” keyword. This is what you need to achieve to possibly gain a higher SEO position. Backlinks are undoubtedly crucial elements that are used by Search Engines to determine your authority and popularity on the internet.

Conclusion

This article is just the beginning of the SEO journey. Still, I have certainly covered the five basic SEO steps that are critical when you start a new website. To look at more technical aspects of your SEO for your small business, contact us. We can address issues such as, minifying your code and caching to speed up your site, optimising the structure of your site and links, toxic backlinks, schema, and more. Get a free audit to discover what you need to achieve the best website rank in search results. For more information on SEO, check out our SEO page.

How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

read more
7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

read more

7 Steps to write a blog post

7 Steps to write a blog post

The purpose of the blog post is to offer useful and relevant content to your users to improve their lives. But how do you start? What are the essential elements? I’ve put together a list of 7 key steps on how to start a blog post. As this is the first blog post for this site, I thought it would be good to write about what to put in a business blog post and why.

Blogging requires a few crucial skills—Good content, keyword research, knowledge of content marketing systems, and more, but here I’m just going to list the most integral steps to get you started.

So, answering the question, “Why a blog?” A well-thought-out list of articles added regularly can add significant value to your business marketing and your website. You want as much traffic as possible to come to your site, and the best way to do this is by adding new information aimed at solving your customers’ problems. Not only will your clients be interested, but search engines such as Google will rank your content based on quality and relevance and originality.

1. What do my clients want to know?

Firstly, ask yourself, what burning questions do your customers want answered in a business blog? To do this, you need to know who is your target audience. Subsequently, it’s a good idea to create a persona document to focus on this question. The persona document is a description of a fictional character representing a composite of a segment of your market. Once you have the answer, then start researching a topic that this fictional character would find engaging and informing about the subject matter of your business.

2. Choose a blog format type

Secondly, decide what format your article will take. Select from the most popular types of blog posts that generate traffic such as; a List Article, How-To, Expert Roundup, Case Study, Interview, Product Comparison, or a Downloadable Checklist. You can find out more about these types of articles in this excellent blog post— Elegant Themes.

3. Add images to your blog post

Next, you want to add at least one image or graphic to the blog to generate interest. We are always fascinated by faces, and this is a perfect reason to add positive imagery of successful people. Images with people attract attention, but having an attractive image that adds explanation to the article will also make a difference. You could photograph this yourself or purchase one from a stock library, or create a great graphic to explain your subject. Canva is an ideal tool to create simple graphics.

Be sure to add alternate (ALT)text to the image, describing what it is. ALT text can also serve as a keyword to help your SEO ranking.

4. The perfect blog title

The perfect blog title is integral to gain your target audience’s attention, so they will click and read the article. So how do you design a great title? Firstly, this will depend on the format type you have chosen.

If you have selected a ‘List-Type’, then start with the number of items in the list. This works well to catch the user’s eye. Next, describe your article using your primary keywords.

When researching keywords, think about what people would type to search for a product or service that your business sells. If your blog-post is an ‘Expert-Roundup’, start with the number of experts and think about what question they will discuss. The ‘How-To Article’ starts with How-to and is followed by a succinct description of what it is you are teaching. (E.g. How to build a bookshelf.) The ‘Case Study’ often starts with the problem solved for the client—”How this I.T. startup drove revenue in a crowded market”.

Keep the length of the title short. Aim to have no more than 7 or 8 words or fewer than 50-60 characters to avoid truncation (cutting off the end) in search results.

5. Headings

In all blog posts, as well as webpages, it’s essential to make sure you only have one main heading (H1 tag) followed by subheadings (H2 tag). This is best practice for S.E.O.(search engine optimisation) and ensures your page is hierarchically structured and easily understood by robots and real people alike. Use your primary and secondary keywords in your heading if possible to add meaning.

6. Structure the blog post and use keywords

It is paramount for your opening paragraph to be enticing and captivating, so your reader will read more. Also, try to add some primary and secondary keywords that your article will discuss in this first couple of sentences. You know yourself that if the intro of any item doesn’t grab your attention in a second or two, then you don’t have the time to read on.

Make sure to add the human touch and authentic elements of your story, which will strike up more interest. Of course, it’s essential to give thought to the rest of the article and finish up with an excellent summary. Keep in mind the number of words in your post. Stats suggest that blogs with around 1600-2000 words tend to rank better.

7. Call to action

One of the most important steps to write a blog post is your call to action. Your article needs to finish off with a clear call to action to enable your readers to buy from you. Consider what it is you wish your reader to do next? —Read another article, contact you, fill in a form, leave a comment, or share. Once you have decided this, make sure it comes after the blog post and is a clear and straightforward action.

Conclusion

So that’s it—7 easy steps on how to start a blog post, building an interesting article which can attract attention to your products and services and solve your clients needs. Happy blogging! If you require assistance with any or all of the steps above, get in touch here.

How to find your target audience

How to find your target audience

Knowing who you are trying to reach in business is one of the most important pieces of knowledge to acquire before creating your business website. Without this information, you could be creating a website that you think looks pretty or pleases your taste but does not find or meet your audience’s needs. So here are 8 steps on how to find your target audience?

read more
7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

7 Awesome ways to promote your website for free

If you have never marketed a website or online business before, then it can seem daunting to know where to start. I often get asked for assistance in this space. So, I’ve put together 7 awesome ways to promote your website for free. There are some easy things to do upfront and if your business is in a demand niche, but not saturated in the marketplace, you could do well. Read on to get some terrific tips.

read more