11/22/11
The Technophobes Guide to Websites and Internet Marketing

Getting to grips with SEO, PPC, Google Adwords & Adsense, Google Analytics, Blogging, and Content Managing your Website through WordPress.

Computer FrustrationIf the headline and it’s subtitle appear to be total gobbledegook and fills you with dread, then stop, take a deep breath and read on!! It might appear daunting at first but the learning curve is easier than you might think and will not give you an attack of vertigo!! My story is that of a technophobe who was able to embrace the new technology and now wonders what all the fuss was about!! My story acts as a testament to the adage “that where there is a will, there is a way” and will hopefully instil you with hope and the faith to take up the internet mantle.

Two years ago in November 2009 I was made redundant from a lucrative Marketing job, like many in recent years. By terminating my employment, clearly my employer did me few favours, but what he had done in the previous six months was to enrol me on a series of free Business Link seminars on all aspects and facets of Internet Marketing. This was actually the biggest favour and present that he could have bestowed upon me, because it destroyed the myths and fears I possessed with regard to  the Internet. In the intervening two years since being thrown to the wolves of recession and the cold winds of austerity, these seminars stood me in good stead. They gave me the theory behind SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation ), PPC ( Pay Per Click )/Google Adwords and Google Analytics and all the other IT jargon that we are all subjected to. All I had to do was hold my nose and take the plunge and put the theory into practice!!

Having been made redundant, I decided that I wanted to set up an online public relations / press release writing service. LandingNet built me a basic website, using WordPress and it cost far less than I imagined it would. The key to using the WordPress model is that it allows you to content manage your own site, without relying on other parties, which is imperative because constantly adding content to your website is a must. And with a WordPress driven website it’s so easy, you would not believe it. In terms of rising up through the search engine rankings ( especially Google ), content is king.

Online Marketing MixSearch engines like Google reward websites for constantly adding new, fresh but importantly unique and original content. So constantly add new content to your website and the best way of doing this is through a news section or blog. Whatever you write, make sure you that you liberally sprinkle the article with keywords that your prospective customers will be inputting into Google and the other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, Aol etc. This is what is meant by making your website SEO friendly / SEO orientated. However a salutory word of warning. Make sure your website content is original – do not plagiarise text from other websites as Google will recognise this and ignore it.

Over a period of time you will drive increasing traffic to your website organically through continually adding new content. However if you wish to speed this process up and short circuit the process, you can subscribe to Google Adwords PPC ( Pay Per Click ), where you pay for sponsored listings in a prominent position on Page One for your chosen keywords that your prospective customers will use. If someone clicks through from your Adwords Advert / Sponsored Listing, a cost will then be deducted from your Adwords Account. The cost varies and depends on the popularity of the search term ie estate agent, hairdresser, taxi / cab firm will be more expensive per click than astro physician or neurologist. This is also an excellent way to see which keywords are going to convert into actual business and you can then create more unique content based around those keywords to help you pick up on free traffic that you will know will work for you.

Once your website is established, ask a company like LandingNet to set up a Google Analytics account, which will give you a breakdown of all your traffic statistics, in the most comprehensive and minute detail. If this sounds as dull as dishwater, it’s not. I promise that you will become addicted to tracking traffic sources as a vindication of all your hard work adding all that new content to the website on a regular basis!! Believe me if a “technophobe” like me can become hooked, then you will.

Finally once you have built up a reasonable volume of relevant traffic, it might be worth adding a marketing tool called Google Adsense, whereby the Search Engine will add adverts to your website that are appropriate, compatible and complimentary to the nature of your website, it’s products or services. However be careful that you do not end up with a conflict of interest with competitors advertising on your website!! I recommend that you contact an internet marketing company like LandingNet for more information and assistance, they will talk to you in a language you understand and rather than treat it like a dark art they will empower you to make informed decisions yourself and develop your own online marketing strategy.

I hope that this has helped dispel many of the Internet myths and welcome to the IT Age. Embrace the IT Revolution and learn to enjoy it – it’s here to stay!!

Guest Article written by Simon Sterland who’s company Rhetoric offers marketing services for SME’s

10/28/11
The Importance of Setting a Preferred Domain for SEO

Firstly if you are not using Google Webmaster Tools to help you manage and maintain your site then you need to get it set up straight away. When I sat down to write this I thought about the title and the only thing I could come up with was ‘url canonicalization’, but this is just jargon and means nothing to the layman.

The Problem

In short depending on how your server and site are set up you may find that you have multiple versions of your site indexed by the search engines the www version and the non www version. If you can put http://yoursite.com into a browser and http://www.yoursite.com into a browser then you have a problem. For the more geeky readers you you can read Matt Cutts explanation but basically the search engines will see duplicate content and this will affect your rankings and any work you do to try and get your site to rank higher will be diluted and can split the link juice between pages. Damn there goes some more jargon but rather than reinvent the wheel here here is a brilliant explanation of link juice.

The Solution

Log into Google Webmaster Tools click on Site configuration and then click on Settingswebmaster tools preferred domain and where it says Preferred domains set to either display urls as www.yoursite.com or just yoursite.com. I always go with www but the important thing is not which one you choose but that you choose one. As you can see a very simple step but the benefits can be very far reaching although it will take time for these chamges to perculate.

Lets not forget although we have done it in Google Webmaster Tools there are other search engines out there, and therefore you should also set up a redirect. You can do this by putting the following 301 redirects into your .htaccess file (replacing landingnet.co.uk with your own site name).

www version

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^www\.landingnet\.co.uk$
RewriteRule (.*) http://www.landingnet.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]

non www version

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^landingnet\.co.uk$
RewriteRule (.*) http://landingnet.co.uk/$1 [R=301,L]

If you feel confident enough to do this yourself then ‘bobs yer uncle’ and the net result is to redirect your whole site to your preferred domain (type http://landingnet.co.uk into a browser you will see it redirects to the www version).

If you would like help with any of the above then you can call us on 0843 289 0120 or email us

04/26/11
The Importance of Website Analytics

It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t track the visitors to their site or if they do have access to their website analytics they don’t take advantage of them and just look at the top level number of visitors and fail to analyse the data to help improve their website conversions and boost profits.

A website should be seen as a ‘living thing’ which through a process of fine tuning constantly evolves. It is very easy to become focussed on the bottom lineanalytics manand see an increase in the number of visitors as a success. Obviously an increase in traffic is a good starting point but it is the constant evaluation of your traffic and fine tuning of your website that will bring long term commercial profitability.

There are many different tools for measuring and analyzing website traffic and although we are familiar with most of them here at Landingnet the default that we recommend to all new clients is Google Analytics. This is not meant to be an analytics tutorial but just an overview of the data available within Google Analytics and the way it can be used to help improve your website and your business. If you would like us to setup you website analytics then please get in touch.

There are 4 main sections within the analytics interface which I shall discuss in a bit more detail:

  • Visitors
  • Traffic Sources
  • Content
  • Goals

Visitors

This section allows you to analyze your visitors and see where in the world they are, the type of equipment they used to view your website, whether they are a new or return visitor and the ‘bounce rate’ which measures the percentage of people that enter the site and leave without viewing other pages.

It is exceptionaly important to keep an eye on what technology your viewers use to access your website. the type of browser and screen resolutions of your visitors should always be taken into account and your website should be tweaked as trends change to give people the optimum web experience for their setup. It is not so long ago that the majority of visitors were using screen resolutions as low as 800 X 600. But a quick look at our stats show that this now accounts for less than 0.5% of our visitors with more than 20% of all visitors viewing our site at a resolution of 1280 X 800 thus necessitating new layouts every so often to take advantage of the extra space available.

A few years ago internet explorer accounted for about 90% of all users this has changed enormously in recent years with firefox and chrome both grabbing more market share at the expense of i.e.

Google analytics browser statistics

This information is important as different browsers handle html differently. Any web design company ‘worth its salt’ should design for cross browser compatibility but new browsers are constantly entering the market and of course lets not forget the advent of smartphones. So if, for instance, your site was designed a few years ago it may not look good in Chrome or may not even work properly or in the case of one site I was asked to review recently, may not display at all!

I will cover the other main areas within Google analytics in part 2 but in the meantime if you aren’t using any form of visitor tracking on your site or you need help to get the most out of your analytics then feel free to contact us and we can get you up and running.