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Should 2018 be the year you update your website? Yes, it probably is.

2018 is around the corner and it’s time to look forward! In today’s world, it’s important for a business to have a user-friendly, mobile responsive website. The days of looking a company up in the phone book are behind us, and today people are looking you up on the internet. What will they see when they find you?

If your website hasn’t been redesigned within the past 2-3 years, it is considered out of date. Visitors tend to use companies with an updated site. Why? It shows that they are continuing to grow and want to keep up with their company to improve customer experience and service.

Cell phones, tablets, desktops, etc. How does your website look and respond to each of these devices? This is incredibly important today. 80% of internet users own a smartphone. That is a high percentage, and that means you need to be ready for them to visit your website from that phone. Mobile first web design is becoming a staple at Webfoot, and we strive to ensure user experience on all devices is smooth and friendly.

What is your business model? If your website has not changed in 5+ years, there is a strong chance that your website no longer reflects your business properly. Redesigning your website gives you the opportunity to give visitors a fresh take on who you are as a business and what you can offer your customers. A very important thing to consider is that your website is less about you, and more about your visitors and potential clients/customers. Build your website with them in mind.

Content is king, however, too much content will push your visitors away. Once someone lands on your website you only have a few seconds to capture their interest. Interesting bullet points and dynamic images need to be front and center. Consistency in design and content will keep users on your website longer improve your chances of that visit converting into business.

Lastly, consider security needs for your website. Any site is at risk and can be hacked. With that said, old sites have old code and that code is more susceptible to attack. Consider a screen door leading out to your backyard. When it’s new, the screen is strong and taut. You never worry about any bugs getting through and you are able to enjoy the fresh air worry free. After time, the screen weakens a bit and a small hole begins to develop. You notice little gnats making their way into the house so you put a patch over the little hole. One day, you notice a small cut in your screen and now mosquitoes and flys are getting into the house. You continue to patch the screen, but now it looks terrible and the patches don’t stay on very well and the holes keep growing.
This is your website. You can patch the site and hope that the bugs won’t get in, but unless you replace that screen, you’re going to continue to have issues. By redeveloping your site every few years, you are not guaranteed to keep all bugs out, but you are definitely making it more difficult for them to find their way in.

Let’s work together to start your companies year off strong. We, at Webfoot, look forward to working with you on your new site, and helping your business to grow.

 

Understanding the Key SEO Checklist for New Websites

seo-checklist-webfootA new website has many problems to overcome. First, everybody else is way ahead of you, so you are going to have a mountain to climb just to get noticed. Second of all, there is the issue of SEO and simply not appearing anywhere on the radar. You may have even sat and thought about your potential budget, and yet there are often fears that it will not be enough to make a difference.

So, how do you deal with this situation without getting too depressed about it all?

Well, for us, the first port of call has to be establishing the appropriate SEO checklist for a brand new website. Yes, we just believe that there should be a number of different things that you do to really jump start your SEO campaign even though it may potentially be some time before you notice any difference in your rankings.

  1. Set Up Google Analytics.

To kick things off, we strongly recommend setting up Google Analytics. This is where you will be able to look at all kinds of useful information connected to traffic and also conversion rates. This can be done even before your website is fully launched, so if there is a landing page, then get it added so you can get to grips with the data that you will then be receiving.

  1. Google Search Console Verification.

Google search console is a completely free tool, so as it is going to cost you nothing then there is no reason for you to not go and sign up to it. By doing so, you will then be able to see how the different search engines actually view your website allowing you to then tweak your SEO campaigns in order to be viewed in a more favorable light.

  1. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly.

Google is pushing mobile friendly websites, and if you are unsure as to whether or not your website is fine, then you might want to check out their mobile friendly test. This is available via the webmaster tools on Google, so you are going to need to sign up there and run your site. It will let you know if there are any issues that you then need to tackle before Google penalizes you.

  1. Check Out Your Page Speed.

Page speed is not only a huge factor when it comes to SEO, but also in the way that people view your website with there being a reluctance to hang around while something loads. This means the bounce rate for your website can be high, so it makes sense to counteract this as much as possible. For this, look at using Google Page Speed Insights via their developer tools, and you are going to ideally want to have something rated at 80+.

  1. Get to Grips with Your Keyword Analysis.

Keywords remain a huge part of any SEO campaign, so you need to make sure that you understand the role played by keyword analysis before you go any further. Search for niches, use Google Keyword Planner, and even check out the likes of Quora and Wikipedia for additional ideas of keywords. Also, remember to check the competition as this can determine the phrases that you will be aiming for due to the potential costs that will be involved.

  1. Learn About Title Tags.

Even with all of the different changes to the search algorithm, one of the things that Google still loves has to be the title tag. With this, you need to include the keyword to really make it count, but at the same time it still has to make sense and relate to what comes below or else you lose the power that it held over the page.

  1. Think About Outbound Links.

Outbound links are huge when it comes to SEO, but at the same time there is a very real need for you to be aware that the type of links and where they point to are just as important. You want to focus on authority websites as much as possible as you get more ‘juice’ in return for those links, so don’t fall into the trap of just linking out to anywhere or you could be wasting your time.

  1. Study the Backlinks of Your Competitor.

Finally, backlinks are important as they do largely determine where you appear on those search engine pages. However, you can be clever and spend some time studying the backlinks that your competitors have managed to accumulate allowing you to know the number, and also where they are pointing to. This information will then prove to be useful in any SEO strategy as you will know what you are up against in order to then beat them.

There are a whole host of different options and things that a new website should be prepared to do as part of their SEO campaign. However, there are certainly enough things to go on at this moment in time, and if you successfully implement them, then you can perhaps consider moving onto other areas to improve your position even further.

Consider and Understand the Importance of an SSL Certificate

Your website security is important to you as well as your visitors. In today’s world of cyber-security, adding an SSL Certificate to your website can help protect you, protect your visitors, build trust, and as a little bonus – give you a little SEO rankings bump.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encrypts data to allow secure connections from a web server to a browser. The SSL helps to keep prying eyes from seeing the conversation between you and the website you would be doing business with. In the past, an SSL was commonly needed to protect credit card information, social security numbers, bank accounts, and any other personal sensitive information. It is always expected that any online store, bank, job application, or doctor’s online patient forms have the well-known green lock displayed next the website URL.

But there is nothing sensitive on my website. Why do I need an SSL?

There are added benefits to an SSL Certificate, as they are becoming more popular in today’s web. Customer experience is vital to any company. By adding an SSL to your website, are you building immediate trust with your potential clients. The moment someone visits a website that is proudly displaying the secure lock next to their URL, the visitor can see that you not only take your site and your security seriously, but you also value theirs.

Google recognizes the need for more vigilant cyber security and have started giving increased SEO rankings to those that are utilizing the tool. Google SEO standards are another can of worms, and this one step may not launch you from page 7 to #1, but using this tool that improves your site security and gives you a little boost in SEO is an easy win-win situation.

Here at Webfoot, we utilize the SSL certificate for many reasons, and we encourage everyone to do the same. We will soon require all clients hosting with Webfoot to have an SSL on their website.

The Continuing Boom of E-Commerce

Webfoot EcommerceIt is difficult to imagine this, but there are still some companies and individuals out there that have not bought into the concept of e-commerce. Now, they may very well have their reasons for this, but there can be little doubt that they are indeed the ones that will be missing out on a whole lot of business.

The e-commerce market is just not showing signs of slowing down. It even continued to grow while so many different industries were struggling for years due to the financial downturn. In truth, it made a number of people look at e-commerce as a potential way to increase their income. However, they failed to learn the appropriate language and approach to business leaving them scratching their heads as to how exactly they managed to fail.

But what if you are already involved in e-commerce? Are you satisfied with how things are going or would you prefer to understand the market better than you do at this moment in time? Well, we have a few important points that you may wish to dwell on for some time.

  1. People prefer technology to humans.
    • Studies have shown that people prefer to interact with technology on an e-commerce website over and above dealing with a sales person. This may be surreal to many, but at least 55% of consumers say that this is what they prefer. It may very well be time for you to invest in an automation service as that is going to help really convert more potential browsers into individuals that spend money.
  2. People hate shipping costs.
    • People have some different opinions when it comes shipping. While they are quite happy to go ahead and pay for express shipping, they do get put off if they discover that they are paying money for shipping that is going to take forever to get there. However, the best thing is when there is free shipping as that is always a winner in the eyes of most people. In all honesty, you should look at trying to include free shipping wherever possible simply because of the way in which it does attract more buyers.
  3. Detailed product information is absolutely key.
    • It has once again been shown by researchers that consumers are more likely to go ahead and purchase products if the information that is supplied with the listing is detailed and able to really help them to build their understanding of what they are about to spend money on. If you thought that it would be just the one line or a brief note, then you would be wrong. With there being so much choice out there it just means that people are aware that they have options. You need to provide them with what they are looking for and if that means adding in more content with your listings, then you best get used to adding in more information.
  4. Buy online, pick up in store.
    • If you have an actual retail outlet, then one area that is really increasing in popularity is the idea of people buying online and yet they then go ahead and pick up the item in the actual store. Of course, this is going to save you on delivery costs, but you do have to keep a close eye on your stock levels and deal with any order that you get online. If you have never thought about doing this up until now, then it is time to change because more and more offline stores are about to start doing this and it is best that you join them.
  5. Loyalty really does count.
    • The final point that we are going to mention is the importance of loyalty. However, the problem with this part is that only 40% of companies selling online are actually taking into account the importance of keeping those customers happy. People do like to be loyal to companies, but they have to be rewarded for it as a direct result. If you have never thought about a loyalty scheme, then our advice is to look at how to go about setting up one and there are certainly a number of options available online if you get the correct type of help.

The one thing that you must always remember is that the world of e-commerce is continually evolving. If you are involved in it, then you need to make sure that you keep up to date with what is going on because it can make a huge difference between making that sale and the person abandoning their shopping cart. Do not automatically assume that you know it all. Look and learn from others and see what you can incorporate into your very own e-commerce business. Your profits depend on it.

Incorporating SEO Into Your Blog Posts

If you either already operate a blog or are intending to do so, then you may forget about using SEO in order to boost each and every post that you write. However, if this is indeed the case, then you are not alone and the difference that it could make to the exposure that your posts would then receive is astonishing.

This becomes an even bigger problem when the blog part of your website is not even the main reason for it existing. People will tend to focus on other aspects of the website and all of their SEO work will go on the home page and even the ‘about us’ page. The blog is left alone, but then even if you are planning on changing how you approach it and incorporating some optimization, how do you do it? Well, it is all too easy to go wrong if you are not careful.

1. Focus on just one or two keywords.

The first thing to consider is that you should not overdo the keywords that you then focus on. Instead, it is best to look at concentrating on just one or two keywords and no more. You can then have slight variations in how they are included in your post so you can play around, but the actual core keywords should be limited.

Trying to include too many different keywords is only going to lead to your post looking rather disjointed and it will be difficult to keep it on track if your mind is pretty much entirely focused on trying to include those keywords.

2. Consider long-tail keywords.

One thing that has changed is that people are becoming better at searching using rather extended terms. This means that they really do know what they are looking for and they seek to get as precise an answer as possible. It used to be the case that people were often rather generic when they were searching.

From your perspective, you should take those one or two keywords that you have decided to focus on and look at the ways in which people are using them in order to carry out searches. It is then in your best interest to look at how to incorporate them into each and every blog post. Remember, this is going to really boost your organic search results for each and every topic that you are blogging about.

3. Remember the images.

A lot of people also include images when they are writing their blog posts, and if this is what you are doing then you should not miss them out when it comes to SEO. For this, you have to go ahead and make sure that the ALT Image tags are included since even that can boost the way in which people pick up your posts.

You must remember that search engines cannot really search for those images directly and they focus on using words as tags. If you do not do this, then they will not be able to pick up on them and you will then be missing out on some extra traffic.

4. You can include the meta tags.

If you are using the likes of WordPress, then you will have the option to include some plugins that help with SEO and you need to go ahead and use them to your advantage as often as possible. Yoast is certainly one of the most popular and this has been shown to help boost awareness of blog posts and yet the crazy thing is that a lot of individuals might install it, but they will then not bother actually doing it.

This is sheer madness because all you have to do is basically complete the different boxes that come with each page or post that you are creating and it pretty much does everything for you. Now, if it is that simple then why would you want to just not do it because of being lazy?

Blog posts are knowing to play an important role in the development of a website and increasing awareness of what you are all about. More and more businesses are being tempted into running a blog as a direct result of this and we are not just talking about major companies either. Anybody can do this and your blog posts do not even have to be that long. However, regularity is certainly important so even if you do one post every single week then you are going to benefit from it.

At the end of the day, drop that idea of just putting up a post and leaving it for anybody to find. You have to take the post to those people that will be most interested in what you are talking about and how are they going to find you in the sea of posts that are out there on the Internet if you do not give them what they are looking for.

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