Why Fixing Broken Links Is Important For Your Website

Identify those links that are broken and change or remove them. This should be done on a regular basis...

What is a broken link?

Many people and companies who have their own website do not check for broken links. But you really need to know why fixing broken links is important for your website. The internet is built on hyperlinks. Linking between web pages is a fundamental feature of it all and is one aspect of keeping a strength to your website. When all is well and good, every link on your site will lead exactly to the right place.

But sometimes links don’t work. A page may be deleted or unavailable. An image might not load or be missing. A site or resource you link to might disappear. Someone who you have linked to might move a post or page and not update others which link to it. A particularly regular problem will be linking to online magazines. Most articles will eventually get deleted and that can lead to lots of broken links.

What could happen?

When someone clicks on a link on your site and it doesn’t take them to its intended destination, the following can happen:

  1. It’s frustrating for the user.
  2. It shows that you don’t do regular housekeeping.
  3. It can harm your credibility as an authority in your field.
  4. It could affect your website conversion if it’s on a sales page.
  5. It can definitely hurt your SEO and page rankings.

The worst result for the user clicking on a broken link is to be sent to a generic browser 404 page. Then the user has to click the “back” button to return to the previous page. We know that this is really frustrating, so we are sure your customers would too!

Ideally we want to identify those links that are broken and change or remove them. This is basic housekeeping of your website and should be done on a regular basis.

Linking to external websites

It is a great idea to link to external websites. It actually helps to strengthen your own website slightly. However these links could always stand a chance of being changed or deleted; then you may have a problem. It will be your website that suffers, if they haven’t redirected this page somewhere else. And this happens so much!

However, this is a really easy fix to make. There are plenty of free broken link checkers online today that are so easy to use. Just add in your URL and they do the work for you. They tell you which pages have broken links and even the section of the page that is broken, along with the source code. Broken Link Check is one such website. We have just done a test on our own website and sure enough there was a broken link from one of our customers. They had moved a page and not redirected it.

Just keep up to date with this – always make sure there are no broken links! Here you have found out why fixing broken links is important for your website. Go to our blog to find out other tips and advice.

Thanks for reading!

Cyber Security and understanding more

I went to a really informative Cyber Security event last week in Hailsham. It was presented by Andy Rawlinson from the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) and sponsored by the Hailsham Chamber of Commerce and Astec Computing (UK).

We see a lot of companies in our day to day work, who don’t really have a lot of understanding of the dangers of the internet, or even the importance of having a reliable, secure IT infrastructure.

I think people and businesses just think they will be OK. However, listening to the presentation this morning, they clearly won’t be!

Some of the elements I understood more than others as we see them all the time, like Phishing, Denial of Service Attacks and Website Hacking.

Cyber Security

Some of the key elements I took away with me were:

Anti-Virus

Make sure that any device you have that connects to the Internet is running an up to date anti-virus system. These don’t have to be expensive, there are some really good free ones; but you have to use something. Keep this up to date and make sure that it is working properly, as well as regularly scan your devices.

Also use something to detect Malware on your devices. Malware is the malicious software or programs that are harmful to your devices; it’s these that actually do all the dirty work.

Firewalls

A firewall is your first line of defense. It’s a protective barrier that sits on your PC or router and protects you from unwanted access to the system. You can change the security settings on your firewall to suit your requirements, making them specific to you.

When you add new software or apps to your PC, you will need to change the permissions on your Firewall and you will probably notice requests to do this. You can also review what software/websites have access to your system. Setting up your firewall properly is important.

Secure Offsite Backups

Make sure you have an effective back up of your computer data. If you can get a backup of your system files that’s even better. This will make it easier to get things working again if your security is breached. Also do your best to understand how the backups work and what is actually backed up. As well as this, you need to know how to restore the backed-up files.

Backups should be offsite. Whether that’s in the cloud or on a drive that you physically remove from the office after the backup is completed. You may not want to trust a cloud backup, but they are generally pretty good and make a lot of sense.

If you don’t have time to do this, or the inclination, then it makes sense to find an IT company who can help you create a backup plan.

2FA (2 Factor Authentication)

These days most online systems that require you to login with a password also give you the option to set up 2FA. This basically means that when you login with your user/password it will also send an authorisation code, usually to your mobile phone. To gain access you will need to have access to the phone and enter the code that is sent to you.

We build a lot of WordPress websites and we have been starting to implement 2FA on the CMS (Content Management System) so that you can’t login and make changes unless you can authenticate properly. This is relatively simple to do so ask your developer to help you.

Email security

This is something that affects us more than most of the others on a day to day basis. We manage email for most of our clients and security and strong passwords are very important. We also see quite a few Phishing emails which we regularly speak to clients about. Spotting a dodgy email can be hard enough especially as they are so well disguised, but it’s really important that if you have any suspicions then you must not open an email.

As a rule of thumb, large companies, banks and government bodies won’t ask you to login to your account via an email. If you are worried call them instead. Phishing emails will try and push you, by adding a sense of urgency to the request, but again if the request is unexpected or urgent and you don’t know what it is then it’s probably not from who you think it is.

Having a good password won’t stop you opening a phishing email, but it might stop someone using your email account for a different purpose. Hackers can use your account to attack other businesses, sending thousands of emails to slow and cause their systems to crash. DoS (Denial of Service) attacks may not be focused on you but if you are part of one, even unwittingly, it can lead to your mail account getting blocked and much more.

Create a business wide policy in regard to handling suspicious email, so that as a group you understand how to handle these as well as how to deal with them.

Password Management systems

Having good quality passwords is very important. Ideally of 14 characters or more, with upper and lower case text plus numbers and special characters. Unfortunately, the better you make them the harder they are to remember.

Another good idea is to create a pass phrase, so three sets of words that you can remember but that aren’t linked or obvious… something like “RelaxingFriendsSkiing” might be a good one for me. You can then juice this up a little by making some of the characters numbers or using special characters; “#Rel4xingFriends$kiing”.

But creating and remembering lots of good passwords is still going to be hard, so you could try using a password management system. These store and remember all your different passwords with you using one good pass phrase to access the management system. A lot of these can also remember and log you in automatically to systems that you use regularly. But only do this on devices you trust and manage and of course make sure you use 2FA.

Some simple steps to take

OK so here are the basics of what we have said above:

  • Make sure you use a good anti-virus and keep this up to date and working
  • Combine this with a good Malware package to illuminate malicious software
  • Back up your critical business systems and understand how to restore the back up if anything goes wrong
  • Use 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) whenever possible
  • Use business email and make sure your passwords are strong. Also have a policy within your business for dealing with suspicious emails
  • Invest in a good password manager

For me the single most important thing to do is get help. Speak to an expert about your Cyber Security and work with them to do as much as you can to prevent access to your systems. This is definitely worth spending money on as it potentially can save you EVERYTHING…

As well as publishing some great blogs, you can really showcase your work by explaining about some of the historical work you have been involved in. By writing case studies. It isn’t always easy to get time to do this. We, as a company are really guilty of that! You spend all your time helping your clients and then forget to market yourselves! But case studies are a really great way to do this. Within this platform, you can promote what the brief was, the challenges that could have occurred, how you got around them and what the outcome was.

Obviously, case studies are similar to blog posts. You can use a similar format and then once live on your website, they can help to bring in more traffic, with ultimately (and hopefully) more business. What case studies have over blog posts, however, is they show potential clients exactly what you can do for them.

Getting started

Case studies can seem like a bother to put together; especially if you’ve never written one before. How do you decide which clients to feature and what details to include? Just getting started can be a challenge.

While there’s a bit of a learning curve to writing a good client case study, it’s not as difficult as you might think, and the benefits of case studies far outweigh the effort of creating them. Good case studies should be engaging, visual, and effective.

Case studies speak directly to potential clients

Your blog posts are probably well-written and informative, but are they compelling? Readers are busy, and if your latest blog post doesn’t speak to their current needs, there’s a good chance they won’t read it.

Case studies, on the other hand, are more likely to grab readers’ attention. People love reading about situations like their own. If you can tell a potential client a story about how you helped a business similar to theirs, they won’t just pay attention – they’ll remember you later.

Case studies can do everything blog posts can do

Your client case study doesn’t have to be a dry, boring wall of text. It can inform, entertain, and inspire readers. You can share useful findings or advice in a case study, just like you would in a blog post. Case studies are also ideal for displaying your skills and positioning you as an authority, which is what blog posts should do, but often don’t.

Case studies build credibility and trust 

Your perceived trustworthiness is a crucial factor in whether people decide to work with you or not. Most people would hesitate to work with a company that didn’t have any examples of their past work on display. Case studies give clients a way to evaluate your competence before they commit to working with you.

Case studies make you stand out from the competition

Case studies are a bit more specialised and challenging to write than blog posts. Which means that not everyone writes them. If you want to look more professional and put-together than your competitors, writing case studies can give your image a boost.

And remember to keep it relatable. Don’t just rattle off a list of stats your client wanted to improve. A compelling case study will also be entertaining and enjoyable to read.

Ask your customers for testimonials

Anyone can posts a case study, which could have elaborated on the truth. However, if you name the customer you have worked with, link to their website and then add a testimonial, this is a pretty powerful endorsement. And can be one of the best ways to promote your work. In most cases, your customers will be only too pleased to write you a testimonial. Especially if you have overcome and difficulties they were having. But make sure you still make them look good and avoid giving away anything they don’t want to be public knowledge!

Sokada Ltd have set up my company Creative Tailored Therapy so I can now be found for local searches. They made it really easy to understand and have answered all my questions so well. Really pleased and would highly recommend them, which I already have!
Catherine Simmonds

Provide great advice

An effective case study doesn’t just make you and your client look good. It also provides information or advice that anybody can use, whether they decide to hire you or not. You don’t have to give away the key secrets of your trade, but don’t be stingy either. Share some of your methods, your knowledge and anything interesting you learned in the process of helping your client. Give the reader something they can take away and apply to their own work.

This isn’t as counterproductive as it might sound. Being open about your work will help build valuable trust with potential clients. And even if you’re completely transparent about your methods, most people who aren’t marketing experts will still opt to hire you instead of doing the legwork of implementing your strategy themselves.

Can we help you?

Ensuring the companies we work with have consistent effective case studies is a large part of our online marketing and will continue to be so. If you are struggling to work out how to promote your business online, then please get in touch today. Either by email, calling us on 01435 817226, or please fill in our contact form and someone will get back to you.

 

Ever since I can remember, when I talk to businesses about their websites, they ask me the same question “What’s more important – website design or marketing?” Up until recently I have always replied with the same answer… actually, they are both equally important. But is that changing?

 

The designers view

Most website design companies will want to sell you a new website design. It’s all about the design, because that’s how they make their money. They will usually find issue with a previous design and explain how you can change this and how that will impact on your business.

They often do have a point, as the design is usually the first thing a visitor notices. It is important to get the look and feel right; so yes, the design is very important. It will also impact on how a visitor perceives your products and services; if the design is poor then it is assumed that the services and products are equally poor.

A clear and obvious call to action is also very important and if this is well considered and designed properly, it should mean that you will get more enquiries. Especially if your visitors like what they see.

From a marketing view

In the same way that a designer wants to sell you the design element, a marketing company will want to sell you marketing; no surprises there. There are a wide range of marketing opportunities available and all can be used to promote your website. A marketing company will say that it is all about the data they add and positioning your site correctly. They usually tend to try and baffle you with terminology and statistics, SEO, PPC, analytical reporting, trends…

Actually, they aren’t wrong. All of these are important but are they more important than the design of a website?

As always, I like to look at these and apply a good level of common sense. If your website looks bad this will affect sales and enquiries, so it must be good. In all fairness it doesn’t have to be amazing, on trend or completely out there. It has to make a user believe in the quality of your services enough to allow them to contact you. But, if a user can’t find your website on a search engine, then it doesn’t matter how beautifully designed it is, you won’t make sales or get enquiries.

What you can see and what you can’t!

But it is now becoming more and more important that you consider another element; a much maligned and forgotten part of the process – the code and how the site is built. Yes, this is the geeky bit; the element that no one really understands. How your website is built is rightfully very important.

Site speed: If your site loads slowly because it’s been poorly coded or has a bloated theme with lots of plugins, this will have a negative affect on your search engine position. Google wants it’s users to have a great experience; slow loaded and badly structured websites will be penalised. Slow websites will also have a higher than average loading time, giving you a higher bounce rate, causing your rankings to be lowered further over time.

Code structure: Code structuring is important when it comes to ranking efficiently in Google. Structuring titles, content & images are all major factors in the search engines. An example of this is header tags. Your page could have multiple H1 tags, causing issues when it comes to Google identifying your focus keyword. You could also have a lack of key headers like H2 & H3s, also giving you a negative effective while ranking.

Page & Site builders: The question we hear a lot is “can I go onto Wix and create a website and be ranked in Google” The answer is yes & no. Yes, you can create a website. However it’s highly unlikely you will ever get a good search engine ranking using this method. Page builders and site builders like Wix & Divi actually struggle to get ranked against websites with a great coding structure. This is because builders like Wix add bloated code to factor all websites on their platform. An example of this is our average home page design comes with 500 lines of code. All this code is relevant to the page you are viewing. Therefore loading fast and allowing Google to dissect relevant information. An average Wix homepage is 5500 lines of code; 5000 lines extra of bloated code calling in all web fonts and unnecessary scripts, causing website speeds to be extremely poor and having irrelevant code for Google to dissect.

Mobile Friendly: Ensuring your website has been coded to support mobiles & tablet devices is crucial. The mobile market is currently taking the lead when it comes to browsing websites. Mot supporting mobile means Google will not rank a website on a mobile or tablet device, if the website does not support it.

What’s the answer?

Well the answer is that there is no individual element that is more important. Each project needs to be looked at with fresh eyes and a plan devised that will enable the right website to be created. Beautifully designed, well optimised and purpose built to enable the website to be found on a search engine, this will give the user enough confidence to contact the owner about their services and products.

When you are looking for a company to build you a website, you need to make sure that they have the skills to enable them to create the website that you need. They shouldn’t try and sell you one particular service, but help you understand why they are all important.

If you have a project you want to discuss in more detail please contact us, we would love to show you how we are different.

What are you waiting for?

With Instagram being one of the most visited social media platforms, it is imperative that your business cuts through all that noise.

And if you have a shop, then why on earth are you not on Instagram already? Having Instagram shoppable tags on your posts now make it even easier for your customers to buy from you. And what is great is that you can actually see where your customers are coming from (with reporting facilities such as Google Analytics).

So what are you waiting for?

Shoppable tags (or product tags) are like tagging a person in a post, according to Facebook. Once you’re set up for product tagging, it’s a one-click solution to highlight new items for viewers to purchase.

Instagram Shoppable Tags

Make sure you have a Business Profile

First off, make sure your Instagram page is a business profile.

  • Go to your settings
  • Tap the Sign up for a business profile
  • Tap convert existing account
  • Connect your Instagram to your Facebook page
  • Navigate to set up your Business profile & review your contact information
  • Invite your contacts to like you!

How to set up Instagram Shoppable Tags

It really is very easy to set up and can increase the ways in which your customers can buy from you. Instagram should be linked to your Facebook business page, where you can set up your shop. You can only do this if you have physical products to sell.

A bit of Facebook Housekeeping First

You will need to agree to Facebook’s merchant agreement where you will be prompted to add a payment method. “Check Out on Facebook,” “Check Out on Another Website,” or “Message to Buy” are three standard options — or you can build it out by connecting with an existing Shopify or BigCommerce account.

Having set up your products in the Facebook shop, you then need to make sure your Instagram account is connected to the Business Manager associated with your Facebook page. Once you have connected the two you need to create a new catalog or identify an existing one so that you can use these products with shopping on Instagram.

In Business Manager, view the large menu via the top left button next to the Facebook logo. Select ‘all tools’ if you don’t see the full menu, navigate your mouse over to the assets section and select catalogues. You should see a list of catalogues containing all the products you’ve added to the Facebook shop. If not, you can add one with the ‘Create Catalogue’ button to the top right of the page and add products this way.

And then onto Instagram

Once you fulfill the above requirements, your account is reviewed for access to the feature. This may take a few days, but you should eventually receive a notification to turn on product tagging in your Instagram Settings.

The final step in the process is to select the product catalog in the ‘shopping’ settings in your profile. Once you have done this you should be able to start tagging. If you don’t see the ‘shopping’ option, your account may still be under review.

So now you’re ready to start tagging. Simply start to draft a post – add the caption, effects and so on. Don’t forget all your hashtags – find new people who want to follow you!

Then tap the products in the photo you want to tag and share away!

Be creative

You can afford to be subtle. All shopping posts will have a little tote bag in the lower-left corner that confirms for the viewer that at least one thing in the post is for sale. So your product doesn’t have to be the main focus of the image. Be subtle or be bold – your choice!

If you are not used to using Instagram, then please see our previous post on how to be succesful.

 

What is a Featured Snippet?

It is a daily struggle to keep up to date with everything that is Google. Updates are published that only the most tech savvy have a clue of understanding. Different text boxes, images and links pop up at the top of Google on a weekly basis! One of the features that has been around for a while now, however, is the Featured Snippets section. It is an “answer box” for questions when they are asked online. An ideal way to get a quick answer and they are great on mobile devices. But who gets to have their links listed as answers to these questions? Here are some ideas on how to get seen on Google’s Featured Snippets, what you could do that would work well with your own website.

If you are searching for an answer to a question, then the chances are the answer box that may show up could be Wikipedia. This, along will other major websites will most probably take precedence. However, if your website ranks well and you include questions, bullet points, videos and images that are relevant to someone’s question, then you stand a slightly better chance of being seen. And this power is great for getting people finding you online. You only have to start showing in Featured Snippets and this will increase the strength of your own website.

How to Get Seen on Google's Featured Snippets

Keyword Research is a MUST

If you rank in the top ten for your keyword search, then this will definitely go in your favour. So find a way to gain loads of great longtail keywords that may not even be that competitive – a great starting point for ideas on what to write about as well!

And research shows that it will be a concise answer to a question that will help to get you seen. A paragraph of text that answers the question asked. So think about the sorts of questions that will be asked for something in your industry and answer them well.

But don’t think you post or page must just be one paragraph. Google is clever and will spot an answer within your text. Ensure that you have the question as your sub heading and you have one paragraph for the answer. Try and keep this in mind with all your content writing. Google loves a question and answer, so be innovative, be clever and keep writing about what is relevant for your products and your market.

Videos also do well

Videos will work well on Google’s featured snippets, but not so much with images. Below is an example, (this is a weird analogy for an example we know) – it was the first thing that popped into our heads! (After how to tie a bow tie…)

How to Get Seen on Google's Featured Snippets

Is your SEO effective?

Ensure you have all your SEO (search engine optimisation) in great condition. Make sure you have relevant SEO titles, meta descriptions, labelled images and lots of lovely strong keyword within your text. But do not stuff the text with irrelevant wording – this won’t help your website at all! You bring your ranking up with a great online marketing campaign and this will go towards being seen in so many ways.

“People Also Ask” Section

This is yet another section that Google have introduced, which gives you variations on your search enquiry. If you click on one of the questions, then it will keep offering other listed ideas. So just because you may not appear in the top Featured Snippets Box, does not mean that you won’t appear. If you have lots of relevant information on your website, appertaining to what you do then you will become a great knowledge in your field and potential customers will keep revisiting.

How to Get Seen on Google's Featured Snippets

How to Get Seen on Google’s Featured Snippets

A summary:

Our easy ways and suggestions on how to get seen on Google’s Featured Snippets are as follows:

  1. Keyword rich blog posts and pages
  2. Title your posts with something relevant
  3. Use sub headings that are keyword rich
  4. Keep your answers concise, interesting and informative
  5. If possible, include videos within your website
  6. Always ensure your SEO is at the top of it’s game

As with all that relates to organic marketing, sometimes whatever you do doesn’t quite hit the mark. But keep going, as your knowledge will grow and you become more and more experienced in what you do. Product knowledge for what you are marketing will shine through on your blog posts and people WILL return to see what else you have written.

As we say, Google is always updating what you see, how you search and the way it formats its answers. It is no wonder people get confused! The whole aim of what we write at Sokada, is for people to understand these changes, in an easy to read way. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments about what we write. Thanks for reading!

 

Here are our top 5 easy link building strategies. Not all are that easy and they can be pretty time consuming. But it is definitely worth dipping your toe in the water and having a go. If there is anything here you don’t understand then please get in touch with us and we will help you through this. Our aim, at Sokada, is to educate our clients to get the most out of their website. We work with many clients on a regular basis. We carry out these strategies and keep them up to date. However, if you are marketing your website on your own, then a few extra tips from us could be cool.

5 Easy Link Building Strategies

 

Broken Links on your website

Some businesses who have access to the back end of their website like to keep everything nice and tidy – so they delete unused pages! However, there may be pages that influential websites are linking to and this could lose you valuable strength to your website. Reclaiming broken links is a great way to get back links in a short amount of time, with very little effort. Always make sure that if you remove a page, then you direct any strength to a new page by adding a 301 redirect. This will push the authority of the page elsewhere. Ensure you are set up on Google Webmaster Tools and you will be able to see the errors you have.

Sponsor a charity!

There are some amazing local charities around. Why not sponsor an event or part of the charity. But always ask them for a link to your website! Another very easy way to get an inbound link.

Who is talking about you?

You may have been mentioned on lots of other websites. However, not all businesses see the value in linking to you. Always worth asking them though. This is an easy link to gain…

Local listings

Make sure you are up to date with all your relevant information on any local listings. There are lots to find. Not all are as good as each other, but still worth a look. Make sure your name, address and telephone number (NAP) are always the same. This should give you a number of links into your website.

Work you have already carried out

Whatever business you are in, there must be clients you have worked for. Ask them to add a link on their website to you. Whether it is on their supplier page, in a blog post, or perhaps a case study. Anywhere that a link can be added, as long as it is in the right context, will mean you get a bit more strength to your website. Unfortunately, many businesses do not have access to their website, but it is always worth a try to ask them.

Next steps

These are just 5 easy link building strategies. There are many more, but we are hoping these will all be achievable for you. If, however you want more help, then please get in touch with our marketing team at Sokada. Either fill in the contact form, email us or call the office on 01435 817226. We look forward to helping your business grow…

Just seen this on Social Media. Sums this up nicely for a Friday afternoon!

The lighter side of GDPR

1. Excited for the day after GDPR deadline day when, if I understand it correctly, no one is legally allowed to talk to me ever again.

2. My mum is leaving it awfully close to the GDPR deadline to ask if I want to opt in to receive her emails, calls and texts.

3. The kids haven’t responded to my GDPR requests so I don’t think I’m legally allowed to tell them when dinner’s on the table.

4. Just to be GDPR safe I’m gonna text everyone in my phone contacts list and tell them I hold their phone number and email address and ask if they want to continue receiving texts from me.

5. My Nan just emailed to confirm I’d still like to receive:

  • Birthday cards
  • Dove sets
  • Phone calls about nothing
  • Updates on who died

6. Do you know a good GDPR consultant?

  • Yes
  • Can you give me his e-mail address?
  • No.

7. Just received an email from a wealthy Nigerian Prince. He told me that he doesn’t have any fortune to share with me at the moment but he would appreciate if I could let him know before May 25th if I wish to continue receiving emails.

Happy Friday everyone!