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You need to redesign your website

It’s the first thing that most website companies will say to you; it’s the easiest thing to do and they will make the most money from starting again… don’t get me wrong I’m fine with people making money, it’s just that isn’t always the best solution.

There are times however when that very definitely is the right thing to do!

Website Review

Understanding what you have

You don’t always have to redesign your website, it’s just not as simple as that; understanding what you have and how to improve it is the key to developing your website properly. The first step towards this is a website review and if it’s done well, the information you gain will help you make the right choices about your website.

There are several key sections to your website that influence how people find you and how they use your website. Then within each of these there are elements that you might change to improve or maximise the potential of the site.

You may for instance get loads of traffic to your website but no one ever contacts you; this could be down to poor image and styling which may mean you need to think about that redesign. A really good conversion rate between the numbers of people visiting your website but low traffic numbers may mean that your site looks great but isn’t marketed well.

Why request a Website review

As a business owner your website is probably the single most important marketing tool you have; you know your products and services well but do you know how to get the most from you website?

That’s where we come in; we understand these key sections of your website, the design, the structure and the content within it and we can advise you on how best to make improvements. We can review your site and tell you what is good about it and what really needs fixing.

We also won’t sugar coat it, we will give you an honest opinion backed up by years of experience, delivered in a non-techno way; so you understand what we are telling you.

What do you get from it?

We reviewed a client’s website in April 2016 and agreed to work with them to change how their site was structured. The design was fine but we needed to make a few things more obvious. Between June 2016 and October 2016 that client saw an increase of 110% in the traffic to their website over the equivalent period in 2015.

So we think there are some really great benefits to having your website reviewed.

What do we get out of it?

About a third of the businesses we do reviews for ask us to help them make the changes we have suggested; so basically we get work from it. Even if it doesn’t lead to work, the businesses we do reviews for have all said how useful the exercise was and how much it helped them.

How do I request a website review?

Just click here to email us and we will send you a questionnaire, don’t worry it’s just 7 short questions that will give us the information we need to properly review your website.

If you would prefer to discuss a review with us that’s fine just call us on 01435 817 226 and we can answer any questions you may have.

How do I Know?

You may already have a website; it sort of works for you, but there is lots that you now don’t like. There are still bits of the design that are good but the site isn’t working as well as you want it to. So what do you do? You ask yourself “Do I need a completely new website or can I make some changes to what I already have?”

Google Analytics

Do I Need a Completely New Website

Well first of all, do you actually know how many people visit your website? 10, 20 100+ every day? Which pages are they finding first or “landing” on? What is working for you and what is not? These are all important aspects of what you need to know.

You don’t want to delete pages that are well written and potential customers are actually finding; but you also need to think about the pages that are not actually working for you. You can then make a decision about the pages that aren’t found, or that people jump away from as soon as they do see the page.

Using WordPress

Your website needs to be structured properly; the foundations need to be strong so that it can grow. Using WordPress is very easy and the way it is structured will enable you to add new pages and optimise them properly. Some web companies use their own bespoke platforms which they would have you believe work in exactly the same way as WordPress but they rarely do. They can be hard to manage and the way they are structured can actually prevent you from optimising the content properly which is a BIG MISTAKE!

Adding a blog to your website is also a great way to market your services and products. Search engines like Google love new information, so the more you post articles, the more they will visit your website. You could use your blog to make offers, write articles that are relevant to the pages within your site and give your viewers more information about what you do. All websites should have a blog these days, but you must be prepared to write new posts regularly. There is no point having a blog if it has not been updated since 2012!

Does Your Website Sell You Enough?

Is your website shouting enough about what you do? Are your services or products hidden away in the bowels of your website never to be found. This is something we come across time and time again. Businesses regularly approach us, saying they already have a website but it is not doing and saying exactly what they want it to do; it just isn’t working for them.

You really need to be clear about what you do and then shout about it. There are so many others doing the same as you and if they shout louder then who will be heard first? Probably not you…

What Can You Do About It?

There is always a compromise between marketing and design, if you want to optimise your website to the maximum, the design will usually suffer a little, and if you want it to look amazing then you may not be able to add that keyword rich title.

There are occasions where the design is actually fine but the content isn’t displayed properly; your website might get loads of traffic but no one ever buys anything or makes an enquiry because the design is awful. Not everyone has a bottomless pit of cash to spend so understanding which bits to keep and which to upgrade is important.

Here are a few sites that we have recently been working on, we didn’t design any of them; we discussed the websites with the owners and explained how we could improve them and made changes.

    1. SR Nutrition, is a great example; the design of the site was fine but it just wasn’t clear what services were actually being offered. Their stats have soared since they started to shout more about their services online. Take a look at their success story.
    2. Tinker & Toad already had a good looking website, but it just didn’t do what they wanted it to. They needed to encourage people to visit their high street shop so focusing everything on an online shop wasn’t the right approach. We suggested a few changes to the message they were giving and some restructuring and now their website is found better online and people are staying on the site longer to see what products are being sold.
    3. Sway Allstars Orchestra wanted to update their site to WordPress, make it responsive and be able to make changes easily. We made lots of updates, added a blog and they can now show potential customers what they really do!

Are you asking yourself “Do I Need a Completely New Website?” would you like to improve your website but don’t know where to start! Why not contact us, you can call on 01435 817 226 or fill in our enquiry form. We can give you an honest review of your websites, giving you the information you need to make your website more successful. We look forward to hearing from you…

One of our 2016 Projects

Earlier this year, we were approached by Charlotte Stirling-Reed about her website, SR Nutrition. She wanted to be able to really highlight what she actually does as well as increasing the enquiries for her commercial work. She was busy but wanted to be really busy!

Rise in Google Analytics for SR Nutrition

So we took a good look at her website. The design was already great and sometimes to be honest you really don’t have to invent the wheel! It was already in WordPress – a great platform and she already had Yoast SEO, another plus point. And there was already Google Analytics, so we could see how many visitors she was getting and to which pages. She is also extremely active with her blogging and social media, which is ideal for her type of business.

What we did

Whilst discussing how we could promote the specialisation of “Child Nutrition” we realised that it really wasn’t clear that you could actually hire Charlotte; that she offered a wide range of services related to this and other nutritional areas. Charlotte specialises in child nutrition, but also wanted to promote herself more for corporate work as well as media projects.

So we created design templates to include quicklinks to pages that were important to her. The home page has now been adapted to really highlight the  main areas of what Charlotte is all about – where she works the most and what she has to offer. There are also drop down menus to ensure the navigation on the website is really clear for her visitors. We also broke down further what she specialises in, based on the keyword research we carried out. She has taken all of this on board and was a pleasure to work with.

Rise in Google Analytics for SR Nutrition

How it has helped

The website has now been live since June with the updates we made. We took a look at her stats last week, which is why we wanted to shout about this project. June to date vs last year for the same period, Charlotte’s visitors to her website have gone up by 110.96% – 12,295 vs 5,828, with users also being up by over 100% and page views being almost doubled. We were astounded at how much of an increase there has been.

She also emailed us at Sokada, as she was so pleased and to say that her media work has also increased, which was our main goal. Obviously it helps that she is brilliant at what she does too…

You really don’t always have to have a complete redesign of your website. Sometimes, all it needs is a bit of tlc and a professional to take a look and realise exactly what you are trying to promote through your online presence.

If you think you could benefit from having something similar, then please call us on 01435 817 226 or make an enquiry and someone will be in touch.

New, fresh & vibrant

We are pleased to publish today, a new website design for Heathfield beauty salon Blackdoor Beauty. A very well established local company based in Station Road, Heathfield, who have many therapists and are extremely well thought of in the East Sussex area for facial treatments, massage as well as other body and non surgical cosmetic treatments.

What they had

Old Blackdoor Beauty Website

Blackdoor have a good number of visitors to their website on a daily basis; having previously carried out a local marketing campaign with us, but the original site was looking dated, not easy to navigate, as well as not being responsive. Customers were finding it difficult to see the information on their mobile devices, leading to them leaving the website, rather than browsing for longer to find out about new treatments available.

The old website had a black background, bright yellow as well as white writing; which can also make for difficult to read text, making the whole user experience ineffective and not necessarily the most pleasant for this genre of industry, where it is all about beautiful things.

What they now have

The new Blackdoor Beauty website is bright, fresh and lively. It is now so easy to navigate, which is one of Sokada’s beliefs, when designing a new website; and it really showcases the offers, what treatments consist of and what you get for your money.

new website designIt is effective on mobile devices, has a clear call to action and looks vibrant and inviting.

Sokada look forward to hearing about all the new clients they will gain now the new website is live.

If you are looking for a new website design or perhaps would like some online marketing added to your website and would like to talk to us about it, then please either call 01435 817226 or fill in our enquiry form and someone will be back in touch.

 

You have your website; so what’s next?

You have your website: you have written content for it and now you feel your work is done – right? Wrong! You need to keep working on it – a great website is always a work in progress and the best ones get updated as regularly as possible. At Sokada, we are just as guilty as anyone else at not adding new information to our own website, it is all down to the number of hours in the day and you can always be busy with something else.

But here we thought it would make a nice little Friday afternoon blog, to give you some tips on how to write an effective blog post for your own business. One that will help to inspire your clients as well as potential customers, keeping people on your website longer and encouraging them to pick up the phone or email you.

How do you get inspiration?

how to write an effective blog postWell the best thing to do is write about what you know. Don’t try to cobble something together based on other articles. Writing about what you know means that you will write with passion and keep your article interesting. Think about what is current, what is happening in your industry and what people will find interesting to read. Is there an event coming up that you can talk about; a new product coming out; a change in circumstances or perhaps something you just want to chat about.

Whatever it is, spend a bit of time researching it to get your facts right as well as be informative for your audience, but always write about what you know.

How to start writing your blog

Write yourself some key points first, think of your blog post as a “short story” and what the message is that you are trying to get across.  Is there an effective start, middle and finish to your post? Write some notes and points that you want to make and then elaborate from these.

  1. Make your blog post interesting, to keep people reading
  2. Think of a title that people may be searching for online, to encourage them to find you
  3. Don’t write too much text – long blog posts can make people switch off. If you think it is going to be too long, then make it a series of posts. Probably between 300-800 words are ideal
  4. Use paragraphs for readable amounts
  5. Include some relevant images to break up the page
  6. Add in some short titles that will draw people to read further
  7. Don’t make each paragraph too long – this will make your customers switch off!
  8. Use bullet points to highlight a list of things to do
  9. Add links to other pages within your website to encourage people to venture further
  10. Add external links if you are referring to a different company, but make sure you always set it to open a new page so the reader doesn’t lose your website
  11. Use your keywords to get seen online
  12. Don’t forget to share your blog post on social media. That way you will grow your audience further

Keep trying; don’t give up!

These are all great ideas and points you should adopt for any blog post you are writing. It can be a challenge knowing how to write an effective blog post and these will be a good start on getting you seen better online. Some blog posts will be extremely technical, but always try and write for your industry in the format your readers will accept.

So get started. It is said that everyone has a book in them – make this the start of your own chapters…

If you still don’t feel that you are able to write your own blogs, then please contact us at Sokada and we will chat with you about the options you have for writing blogs and other content, to ensure your website is consistently updated with new information, news and products. This is vital to make sure Google keeps going back to your website and crawling through it.

Good luck with your writing!

The importance of 301 redirects

So you’ve had a great new website designed for you. Lots of lovely new information and pages have been added and with some very visual calls to action. You think it’s going to be a winner – right? Wrong!

A lot of web companies do not realise the importance of using 301 redirects. These will carry the strength over from each page of your old website and keep the links coming through to your new one. So any link or follower that was attached to the old site will now come straight through to your new web pages.

New Website but Lost Strength

“A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect which passes between 90-99% of link juice (ranking power) to the redirected page. 301 refers to the HTTP status code for this type of redirect. In most instances, the 301 redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on a website.”
Moz

 

How will this affect my business?

If you have this procedure carried out when your new website goes live, then you should see no drop in enquiries, no drop in visitors to your website and no loss in people linking to you.

But if your web company does not deal with the redirects when the site goes live, then you will need to start from scratch, building the strength back up in your new site, dealing with the daily struggle of getting new people to link to you and coping with the general apathy that can be there with gaining new interest in your work.

You must ensure that all the pages redirect somewhere on your new website, even if they are no longer active – so if you reduce the number of pages, then they must still point somewhere – very important!

Ensure you include the important information

Another point you must think about, is pages that worked for you on your old website should most probably be carried over in one form or another. Some web companies may not think about this, but if a “services” page works on your old website and is found well on search engines; bringing you in new business, then you must ensure this is repeated through to the new website. Many forget this and then wonder why their phone has stopped ringing!

Any good web company who knows about online marketing will do this as a matter of course; as well as setting up Google Analytics, so you can still check your statistics.

So if you have a new website but it has lost strength, then this is possibly the reason. Make sure your new web design company knows about online marketing! Otherwise you may be looking at a new business…

Many potential customers we meet, do not understand the different values you can put on a website.  And there is quite frankly a massive scale as to what you can pay for online services.

A lot of companies will charge completely over the top for their services, providing very little else than their name and “big chat”. Some then will offer you the world for £250! And at both ends of the scale you really should consider carefully before dipping into your pocket.

what level website you needSome businesses will see a website as an unnecessary expense; they feel they should have one, but don’t really understand why they need it. They also do not realise that they need to keep working on it to make it actually work for them. They are under the impression that once it is up there and online, that it will bring in business and no further action is needed. So a nice and cheap one is all you need – right?

Or there is the other end of the scale – a complete new branding campaign with fantastic website, online marketing, perhaps even Google Adwords, maybe Google Shopping to ensure you get seen online straight away; an all singing, all dancing website plus a marketing campaign…with bells and whistles! This can then stand the chance of being a money pit and you will need to understand that a lot of time and effort will need to be put in, as well as money spent, in keeping it up to date as well as monitoring the results and understanding whether it is giving you a good return on the investment you are putting in.

And many businesses do not realise that actually they do need to put some time and effort in, even if they are paying an outside agency to handle their campaign for them.

The Companies We Want to Work With

You may however be a local business – a medium sized company who wants a website design that will actually work for you. A site that is easy to navigate, with easy calls to action and perhaps easy to buy from. It also needs to be found online, whether nationally or locally. And it really is as simple as that. You need to know that what you put in will reap rewards.

You must still understand, however, that there will be a constant need to add new information, new images and new ideas for pages, blog posts and perhaps case studies. Even if you aren’t always found online for a specific search term, you need to be reassured that your website backs up what you are telling your customers and that you can actually do what you are claiming to do. Think of your website as a showcase for your work. Anyone can check it out so it needs to really promote what you do. Your website should be up to date and really show off what you do – make sure it is informative, truthful and relevant, so people feel reassured to buy your products or services.

Your website doesn’t always have to be the best online; leave that to the big boys, but what it does need to be is easy to navigate, easy to read and easy to buy from. The cheapest is not always best in the long run, but find your spot, in the middle of the road and be consistent…

Talk to Sokada on 01435 817226 if this is what you want for your business.

New clients Sway Allstars Orchestra are a London based band who have spent many years perfecting their skill.

They have played for some extremely high profile people, from the rich & famous to royalty from all over the world. Top of their game and a really great bunch of people.

We started chatting with them as they had a website but it wasn’t working for them. It had very little information on it and had not been updated for a while. They wanted to keep their website up to date, through search engines as well as social media, confirming that they really know what they are doing and to really showcase their amazing work.

Sway Allstars Orchestra

What we are working on

So the guys at Sokada suggested a few changes which is already making a huge difference to the number of visitors coming to and finding their website:

  1. We transferred it into WordPress, which is an ideal platform for marketing a website
  2. We updated the home page, making it look more current and welcoming
  3. We made the navigation simple, showing potential customers everything that the band does
  4. Added a blog – A definite necessity and just take a look at where they have been!
  5. Set their website up so we could actually see how many people are visiting them and the stats that Google Analytics gives
  6. We are in the process of adding new pages, showcasing the type of work synonymous to Sway Allstars Orchestra
  7. We have added a gallery – they have so many photographs of where they have been, who they have sung for and what they have done that we had to show it off!
  8. We are being consistent with their social media, regularly updating Facebook an Twitter and finding new people to follow the band
  9. We now write regular blogs for them, based on some of the amazing gigs they have done
  10. We are also going to break down the line-ups for the band as they offer so many variables

Sokada are looking forward to a great ongoing relationship with Sway Allstars Orchestra. This is what David Brooks has to say: