Making a Website Work for Your Business

Making a Website Work for Your Business
In a perfect world, SEO would be developed while a website is still in infancy. While this ideal situation rarely occurs, the following steps summarise the process as it should occur every time.

Key Phrase Strategy and Website Development Before building your website, you must have a keyword strategy. Select key phrases that are relevant to your business and receive an acceptable level of traffic. It is often appropriate, particularly for smaller / new businesses, to avoid the most competitive phrases where the level of competition you would be up against would be significant. You can always develop to these phrases as your business grows.

Once you have selected your keywords you can begin to develop the website using basic SEO site structure principles. These include the Meta titles, Meta descriptions, linking strategy, clear site navigation, optimised coding and great content.

Web Analytics Try to include some web analytics platform that will allow you to monitor users are coming from and what search terms they are using. One free example is Google Analytics which provides a reasonable level of feedback on the traffic levels and sources to your website. This information will enable you to monitor and update your website to try and achieve the best results possible within your market sector.

Driving Traffic to the Website Obvious really, but look to get your web pages listed in the main search engines as quickly as you can.  You can submit the website, but also look to get your URL linked to from websites already in the search engines. Subscribe to directories and develop a strategy for effective link building. Remember, with links, it’s about quality, not quantity; a handful of links on top-notch sites is worth hundreds of links on irrelevant, insignificant sites.

Incorporate off site and traditional marketing methods. For example, include your web address on your stationary and have it displayed on the side of company vehicles.

Consider employing the services of an Internet Marketing specialist to help with the Search Engine process. At Direct Submit we regularly see clients who have spent thousands on a website wrongly assuming, the traffic will just come, only to find their lovely looking website is not SEO friendly and they have no identifiable SEO strategy in place.

Monitor, Evaluate & Refine After you campaign has run for a time, review and look to assess how the project has been working. Are your keywords receiving the most traffic and bringing in the best ROI, is your website listed in the major search engines and do you need to update /refine the website content.

Internet Marketing by Direct Submit

Social Customer Experience to gain Competitive Advantage

Happy customers are vital to a successful business, and great experiences are vital to happy customers.That’s why, as the most promising route to competitive advantage, customer experience has long been top of mind for many top brands.

Social Customer Experience to gain Competitive Advantage
Now that nearly one and a half billion of us use social media, according to eMarketer, with the most innovative companies are looking to use the social customer experience to gain a competitive advantage. The social customer experience is made up of open conversations between peers in online communities and social networks – and it’s nothing short of a game-changer. Because of social media, consumers are more empowered, connected and vocal than ever before, and they’re disrupting the old order for business

The Chief Marketing Officer Council found 47% of consumers expect service within 24 hours. And according to Jupiter Research, 80% claim they’ll take their business elsewhere if their service expectations aren’t met. Businesses must learn to redefine their relationships with these consumers if they are to survive over the long haul. Done right, the social customer experience can both help reduce operational costs and grow the business through revenue generation.

Three key areas, where businesses are seeing real impact through social customer experience, are customer service, sales, and research and development.

Today’s customers are more demanding than ever. They want instant access to experts who can solve their problems fast. Keeping customer satisfaction high, while maintaining control over costs, is difficult – if not impossible! – in a traditional call centre environment.

Social customer experiences that include peer-to-peer support enable businesses to help customers help themselves. It not only reduces call centre traffic, but also reaches millions of customers instead of just one. Volunteer contributors on a technical support forum for Hewlett-Packard provided more than 50% of the solutions. The forum contains nearly 500 million posts in total, and has helped more than 40 million HP customers solve issues since its inception in 2009. HP says the forum saves the company $50m per year in support costs.

Big, flashy advertising campaigns have long been the main way businesses boost the sales of their products and services. But I believe developing a commerce strategy through social customer experience is a far more cost-efficient and effective way to drive revenue. One reason it works so well is that customers are more likely to trust product recommendations from their peers than the blasts of commercial messages they are subjected to day-in, day-out.

Businesses spend billions on product research – but there are far more effective ways of sourcing this kind of customer and product information than focus groups and surveys. Social media opens up new pathways of communication between a business and its customer base and provides a forum for co-operation and co-creation – one that can produce both small, iterative improvements and large breakthrough innovations.

Social innovation brings to the surface thousands of small but important product improvements as well as disruptive innovations that can bring meaningful change the business or an entire industry. And social innovation is saving companies serious money. Barclaycard’s Ring – which it calls the “world’s first community-designed credit card” – has helped to reduce complaints by 50% and increased customer retention by 25%, resulting in an annual benefit of more than $10m to the business.

Today’s most innovative companies realise the opportunity of investing deeply in their social customer experience strategy.

Through online customer communities and other social apps, these organisations are inviting their customers to play an entirely new role in the company – a role those customers are often eager to fulfil: they readily help each other with common problems, provide tips for better product use and trumpet their enthusiasm for the brands they love. When customers are engaged to help each other in peer-driven support communities, calls to the call centre go down. When they have access to advice and help from other community members, they spend more. When they are asked to participate in creating new and better products, they jump in.

The social customer experience economy is the new frontier of competitive advantage. It’s the place where businesses are not only rising to the challenge of social media, they’re using it to solve complex business problems, fuel business change, and stay ahead of the pack.

Choosing Good Keywords for Your Business

Choosing Good Keywords for Your Business
Single word key phrases are usually a poor choice when optimising the copy on your website, this is because single key phrases / words are generally too broad and very competitive. Most SEO companies will encourage the client to avoid these type of single word phrases / terms for this reason. In general, and based on our experience in optimising web page copy, we find that two and three word phrases are not only easier to rank for, they typically send you much higher quality traffic.

The best keywords are 2 to 4 word phrases that accurately describe what you offer using everyday language that searchers are likely to type in, and which aren’t so competitive that you have no chance of getting on the front page within a reasonable period.

If your keywords are too general then they’ll likely be too competitive, and even if you rank well on them your traffic might not convert well, since searchers are usually looking for something specific. But if your keywords are too specific then few people will search for your terms and you’ll get few potential visitors.

Common mistakes in selection of search terms include targeting include single word terms, terms that are way too broad and not focused to what you offer, terms that are too specialised (e.g. industry specific terminology), or phrases that are highly-competitive and are often very difficult to rank well for.

In summary, the ideal is to find search terms that are highly relevant to what you offer, popular enough so that they result in good levels of traffic to your website, but not so competitive that you can’t achieve good listing in the major search engines.

So how do you find out which key phrases are aright for your business? If you’re not sure how – or are simply too busy running your business and want to leave the SEO to a specialist, then contact Direct Submit Internet Marketing Services and let us make your website work harder for you on the Internet.

Benefits of Adding a Sitemap to Your Website

Benefits of Adding a Sitemap to Your Website
It is extremely important for search engines to have their serch engine index up to date. That is why Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Ask  jointly support the sitemaps protocol. The simplest form of a sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site, along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is relative to other URLs across the site) so that search engines can crawl the site more intelligently.

Sitemaps supplement and do not replace the existing crawl-based mechanisms search engines use to discover URLs. And using the Sitemaps protocol does not guarantee the indexing of all Web pages. However, a sitemap provides crawlers with hints that help them do a better job of crawling the site.

The main benefits of a Sitemap from the SEO point of view are that with a sitemap search engines can crawl pages that aren’t otherwise discoverable and you can give search engines information about pages priority with optional tag in the sitemap. This can help them to order the crawling of the Web site based on priority information

In addition to providing more intelligent navigation for search engines, sitemaps are useful as a secondary navigation aide. Research studies confirm that a sitemap is an important benefit for visitors because it gives them an overview of the site’s areas at a single glance. Besides being dedicated to the visualisation of the information architecture, sitemaps act as a guide to a Web site.

Designing a Company Website

Designing a Company Website
A website redesign most commonly begins with sourcing of a web design company to undertake the project on behalf of a company.  Many companies start the process by assigning someone in the office the task of acquiring quotes from a list of web solution companies, many found on the web, other through local knowledge.

To achieve optimal results from this approach it has been suggested that the following information needs to be thought about ‘before’ the project begins.

1. List the goals and objectives for your business and for your website. Do they align with each other? They should. 2. Who is your target market? 3. List your competitive advantages. Does your current web site highlight these advantages? If not, it should. 4. What kind of feedback are you getting on your current website (if you have one)? What is currently working and what may need reworking? 5. Examine your competitor’s websites. What are they doing well or maybe not so well? What could you learn from their website? 6. What information would make your company stand out from competitors? Promote this information on the website.

A website can help drive new or repeat business.  It can help improve your companies profile and give you a competitive advantage, so it is worth taking your time and getting the design and content just right.

It is also crucial to make sure your web design company understands effective Internet Marketing and how the search engines work. They should know how to set up your website so that it has the potential to list well in the likes of Google and Yahoo for key phrases important to your business. Get this ‘Internet Marketing’ issue wrong and your website won’t be an asset to the business.