Is your Website Really Trustworthy?

You need to establish trust

This is going to quickly put you out of business and the reasons are simple. Your shop looks untrustworthy, poorly stocked and uninviting. The same goes for website. If it looks untrustworthy, then users will simply look elsewhere.

In the online environment, you cannot afford to loose customers. Everyone who lands on your website is a potential sales and they must be encouraged to stay and engage with your site. If it looks dodgy or smells like it’s untrustworthy, you will be found out very quickly. This is suicide online. But, there are ways to avoid this and help improve customer conversion rates.

Quickly impress &engage

You have a couple of seconds. That’s all the time a potential shopper will spend on your website if they don’t immediately like what they see. First impressions in life count, and nothing is more true to this than your website. There are some quick wins to ensure that browsers will like what they see:

> Keep all images very clear and make sure they are not from the cheesy, standard photo libraries. These photos are such a turn off. People see them everywhere and if they are on your site it will reveal a layer of distrust. Why? Because you haven’t gone to the trouble or effort of getting real images.

> Make sure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Go over your copy before posting it.

> Don’t copy from other websites or steal their images.

> Make the website easy to use. Try to make the contact or buy buttons easy to find

> Possibly the worst way to kill the trust factor, is not to have an address or a phone number – having only a PO Box is a bit dodgy, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. A physical address is so much better for establishing trust. If an eCommerce website has no address your customer may have some reservation buying from you in case they need to return the item.

Be as open and transparent about who you are and what you are selling. This is the key to creating trust will anyone who lands on your site.

Show them you’re trustworthy

Think about this scenario. A new user comes to your website for the first time and wants to buy from you or make an inquiry. However, before they do are allowed to do this transaction a nasty pop up window appears, demanding all sorts of private information. The user may or may not decide to provide this but if your website has clear and open details about who they are (address and phone number) then the transaction is more than likely to proceed.

Unless your website is a well known and trusted brand, why should anyone divulge their private information over to you. You must initially get their trust and only in this way will they be happy to give their information over to you. Again, any site visitor should be able to buy or engage with you as a guest without having to fill anything out. If they are given an option, this will build trust enormously.

A great way to enhance trust is to provide testimonials and reviews. Granted you are only going to show the best comments, but this is at least a step in the right direction.

Loud, over the top graphics will also scream dodgy as your customers will think that you are trying to over sell to them. Just like a pushy sales person, you do not want t website hitting you in the face with colourful buy now buttons, music or useless pop ups. If your website annoys the consumer, or hinders their buying process, you will have both shopping cart abandonment, lower conversion rates, higher bounce rates, less sales and eventually a dead website. Make it easy for the consumer, instill trust and you will find that your website will perform much better.

Keep up to date

If you have a sale or promotion on your website and this is found to be untrue, all I can say is watch out. Bad PR or publicity can spread very quickly via the social media sites and this can kill off your reputation very quickly. The best way around this is to keep your website very current and up to date. If someone calls you up and tells you that they say a product is 30% off – you MUST honor this.

Use the latest technologies

Simply put, you need to have a mobile friendly website. Without this your brands credibility can be affected and in turn so can the whole trust factor. Make sure that your website is viewable on all devices as well as the most common internet browsers. If customers see that you have taken the time to make their life easier they will respect you for this.

Web templates are nearly OK

Free website templates are very popular now – after all why not get something if it’s for free? But the danger of this is that you start to look like everyone else. Having your own unique personality online will boost trust. Following the herd and using the same style template is going to destroy trust and can hurt your brand. Your customer base wants to spend their money or engage the services of a business that have an ethos, a set of core values that you can see immediately on their website. If it’s a standard boring ‘same as’ style cookie cutter template, why should they firstly give you the business and why should they trust you?

You have to ask yourself this important question; does my website portray trust or is it simply the same as every other site? Remember, establishing a brand and trust is all about a unique selling point and this MUST be conveyed on your website.

Why SEO is the Best Lead Generator

Lead Generation Experts

All this used to work a few years ago, but nowadays this is just a waste of time and money. Simply put, it won’t work and the kind of leads you will end up with will not be worth the effort. The very best thing you can do to generate leads for your business is SEO or search engine optimisation.

For those who have never heard about this or have never done it before, SEO is all about getting your website, higher up the search results for specific keywords. So for example, if I have a locksmith business in Sydney, I want to be up there on page 1 when someone is searching for locksmiths in Sydney.

So what makes SEO such a great lead generator for your business?

SEO is targeted. Your website will appear for those people that are looking for your offering. People are not wasting time online doing random searches. If they want something they will go to Google and look for it – simple as that. If you are up there on page 1, the chances that you will get that new sales lead are extremely high. This makes is an awesome lead generating tool.

If the leads are targeted, you are not dealing with time wasters. These people have clearly gone online, done a search and are ready to make their purchasing decision.

It is very real time. Your websites main landing page is up there for a specific keyword search so all the information a prospective buyer could want is right in front of them. There is no second guessing. What they see is what they get and this makes your website (when it’s combined with SEO) a very powerful lead generating tool. Think about it, all the information they could ever want about your service is there online. All they need to do is pick up the phone and call.

Let’s compare SEO to other forms of marketing. Radio, TV, print ads in newspapers / magazines, trade fairs are all very expensive and when you compare the cost of generating 1 decent lead, SEO comes in miles ahead. The return on your marketing dollar is so much higher compared to other traditional forms of marketing.

We have to be very realistic about Google and ranking your preferred keywords. Basically, it is a long term exercise but the great thing is that you can look for less competitive keywords, that still have a fair amount of web traffic to rank in the short term that will bring in the leads. If you have a new business and want to start to generate sales, then you can literally start to see the leads flowing in within a couple of months. Granted this is not instantaneous, but this is how it works with Google. Organic, natural rankings take time, but if you are prepared to wait then it will bear fruit….and lots of it.

Having your website on page 1 is a real achievement. You clients will notice this, your competition will certainly notice this, which is great for branding purposes. Having great organic rankings establishes your firm as a market leader which in turn will bring in those leads.

Remember, it’s a trust issue. People know that Google will only display results that are the best for the user and if they throw your website up there, then the consumer will inherently place great value and trust on your site. There is no better lead generating factor than trust and Google does this for you.

How to find the right SEO agency that will generate credible leads?

This is a big area and because there are so many SEO companies out there all claiming to be able to generate leads you really have to make the right choice. Mistakes at this stage can and will only lead to issues. Here are a few tips in helping you, the business owner find a suitable SEO / lead generating supplier.

If they offer unrealistic, very quick rankings or are prepared to do the SEO for free, I would watch out. These tactics are used by many SEO agencies to scam you into signing a contract. SEO takes time and if you want to generate leads for you business in the medium to long term, then you have to play by the rules that Google makes. Go with a lead generating agency that offers realistic timings with proven SEO abilities.

If you want great leads from your SEO campaign then you need to be paying a fair price for your SEO. Looking for the cheapest SEO agency is not the way to go and whilst I know this is tempting, this will only end up with poor results. SEO is priced based on the competitive nature of the keywords you are trying to target. Being very tight with your SEO budget is not going to deliver the kind of results you want. Spend accordingly and you will see those leads pour in. Avoid agencies that are trying to buy your business.

Why Choose Hopping Mad Designs as your Lead Generation Agency.

The answer to this is very simple. It’s because we know SEO and we know how to rank websites on Google. We have worked with countless businesses in Sydney who have all wanted more from their online marketing – and we have been able to deliver. We have been able to take businesses that have had little or no new leads coming in and turn sales inquiries around for them within a matter of a couple of months.

The advantage of working with us is that we can also design dedicated high converting landing pages that sell hard to the consumer. We are able to take these individual pages and rank them on Google. These pages are designed by our team of web / interface designers for maximum lead generation. We know what makes customers click and buy from your site. For any business this is great news. A one-stop-shop where you can get website design combined with SEO to bring in those juicy new sales leads.

So if you are fed up with the phone not ringing and those new leads drying up, please don’t wait till things get worse. Give us a call on 02 9360 8514 to discuss the best SEO options to get things moving again. We know how to generate quality leads more often from the right type of customer.

Does Your Website Need to be Modernised?

Reasons why you need to think about a website overhaul

Your website has flash animation.

Flash banner and flash welcome intros were really popular 10 years ago. I remember the client’s used to love all those flashy images coming in and out on the home page. How times have changed. Firstly, most browsers do not read flash and secondly nor does Google. I will add to this that most people who are browsing on their hand held’s will not tolerate any type of flash.

If you want to have movement on your website and at the same time be Google compliant, think HTML 5. You get the wow factor as well as the rankings.

Have you forgotten about social media?

Social media is a must-have and if your website predates more than 5 years ago, chances are that it does not have any social media links. People like to learn more about you and your business. It’s just the way things are these days and social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are perfect platforms to satisfy this desire for more information. Make sure your web developer has included your social media links on all pages of your site. A point to note here is that you must be active with your posts, tweets and blogs – no point in having links there if you are not active.

Responsive web design

I have written about this more than once and for those that do not have a mobile responsive website, then this article is going to make an impact. Why? Because you should act on this point immediately. If you do not have a mobile website then you are:

  • going to lose customers who do not want to squint if they are viewing a desktop version of your site on their iPhone.
  • You are going to not rank as high on the search engines – Google places a higher priority on ranking mobile site.
  • You are helping your competition.
  • Simply put, getting a responsive website is a no-brainer and if there is 1 thing you should take away from this blog is that you need your website to be mobile.

Long load times and hard to navigate

These are really 2 separate points but I will group them as 1 under the heading of ‘user experience’. That is, what type of experience is the user having when they land on your website. Are they bouncing off it straight away without looking deeper, or are they actually buying from you and engaging with the site? If your bounce rates are high (you can check this in Analytics), then you need to look at your customer experience. Obviously, they do not like what they see – hence they are exiting the website. Ideally, you need to provide your customers with the best user experience if you expect them to buy from you. Just like any retail shop or restaurant if the patrons don’t like the atmosphere they will never come back. The same goes for your website. Quick load times and a great looking website will drastically improve the user experience.

Your website is not optimised for SEO

An extremely common problem with old websites is that they were probably done by a design agency that had no clue about SEO. Also, Google has made that many algorithmic changes that old websites would be non-compliant. This would affect rankings and overall sales and inquiry rates. Let’s say your website was built 8 years ago with flash animation, little content and little attention paid to ‘on page’ compliance ‘must haves’ like titles. This would have an enormous negative impact on SEO and this is probably why your Google rankings are terrible. Simply put – if you want to get a better online ranking, get a website overhaul.

Also read: Can bad web design harm your SEO efforts?

You have thin content on your pages

Boring uninformative websites are going to kill your conversion rates and your lead generation. Websites should be used as a marketing tool and if you are not providing your customers with the information they need, then they will look elsewhere. Add content, keep your customers informed and make sure that your new website has an easy to use WordPress CMS to allow you to get in there and do this.

Proprietary, outdated CMS systems

This is a huge problem and afflicts many businesses that have decided to use a web agency and in turn, have been stuck using their CMS. The issue here is that some CMS systems are very cumbersome, hard to use and make life really difficult for you. By this I mean, any changes you need to make are an absolute nightmare – you have to keep on going back to your web developer for every minute change. This is costly and will waste a lot of your time. Make sure your new website has an open-source CMS like; WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or Magento. Believe me, when I tell you this, moving forward life will be so much easier if your website is built on an open-source CMS.

It is off-brand? What does it say about your business? Does your website make you cringe?

Your business has evolved, moved on and changed. You have taken it in a different direction, added new staff, implemented new products and overall your model has changed. The question here is; has your website changed as well? Does it clearly reflect your personality, brand and ethos? What does your current website tell your customers about you and your business? Does it reflect poorly?

If so, then it’s time to pick up the phone and get in touch with a web design or digital marketing agency that can address all of these issues. Luckily at hopping mad designs, we can look at your website, branding as well as SEO as an entire project and tie them together nicely.

If you are sick and tired of looking at your old, non-performing website – please call us here at Hopping Mad Designs on 02 9360 8514. We will turn things around for you very quickly.

Using your websites landing pages to convert visitors to leads

You need landing pages that convert. Simple as that!

No good having anything less than this as it simply will not work, it’s just far too competitive online and in the digital space.

Basically it’s either 100% effort put into designing a landing page or don’t even bother. And, with landing pages you have to keep on trying. Measure it’s performance, see if it’s working and generating leads and finetune the landing page based on the data you receive either from the number of inquiries or Google analytics.

What is a landing page?

According to MailChimp, landing pages are different from other web pages in that they don’t live in the evergreen navigation of a website. They serve a specific purpose in a specific moment of an advertising campaign to a target audience.

Landing pages are single web pages (on your website) specifically purpose designed to sell one particular message. There will generally be more calls to action on these singular pages, such as ‘buy now buttons’ or ‘ for a fast quote click here button’ or ‘for a 50% discount inquire now button’. It’s focus is getting the consumer to take immediate action and engage with your business online.

The landing page idea is a great way to get new business, but the execution I’m afraid is a little bit more complicated. Having the idea is only half the battle, designing it for maximum conversion is the real challenge.

Following are some tried and tested techniques we use here at Hopping Mad Designs for our client’s landing pages so that they generate quality leads…..and more of them.

Also read: You MUST Construct Landing Pages that Convert

1) Make sure your offers are very clear…avoid ambiguous meanings.

Never send mixed messages on any of these landing pages. Make sure there is 1 clear to-the-point message. If you are going to the trouble and effort of doing this, then be clear and consistent with all your on page messages and calls to action. The use of strong images is also advisable as well as bold clear headings. These should be front and centre and the first thing that everyone sees. If you have strong headings a good idea is to follow these up with single like bullet points – you want it to be an easy read…then right after that have a big call to action. Wordstream goes so far as to tell us that only 16% of landing pages are free of navigation bars. Why is that bad? Because when landing pages are focused and have the navigation removed, companies can see a 100% improvement. One hundred percent!

2) Identify the benefits upfront

When thinking about the copy you want to write for your landing page, ask yourself this question: why has the consumer taken time to come to my website? What are they after? How can I help solve their search questions? The answer is to provide the benefits right up front. You need to clearly explain the benefits of your product or service rather than a description of the product. Think about what most car ads are about, lifestyle. They are selling you the image of prestige, adventure…what ever – very few will mention the actual fuel consumption or engine capacity. It’s all about the benefits and this is how all you landing pages should be structured.

3) Use really good, relevant images.

Let’s be very clear about this images that are relevant to your business and that have been professionally taken will have a greater click through and conversion rate than you standard photo library image. If your unique selling point is that you are the main asset of your business then have photos taken of you and perhaps your team. If you have a really good product that would photograph well, such as a luxury boat then make sure you promote this extensively on your landing page. If this is the main selling feature then push it hard and make sure it is above the fold (the top half of the web page).

If these photos are backed up by ‘big grab statements’ then this is the perfect landing page solution. A great conversion trick is to have an image and right next to it have an inquiry form that users can complete. Offer an incentive for them to complete this form such as a: free giveaway or a discount offering. You will be surprised by how many leads you can capture by simply implementing this type of strategy.

 4) Provide true customer testimonials

Do people visiting your website know your brand? Are they familiar with your service. Why are they going to trust you? Why should they buy from you when there are so many other choices and options. The answer is the testimonial. Get as many of them from real, existing clients and put them on your main landing pages. Honest feedback from past clients will reinforce your brand, massage, whatever…people will be more likely to buy from you if someone else has in the past and they were happy with this. Just a few short snippets on these page is enough to reassure your potential customers.

5) Keep on trying 

While these simple tips may point you in the right direction, the web you will find is a very dynamic and ever changing landscape. What works one month may not work the next. You have to really keep on top of this by looking at your website traffic and number. This is done easily through Google analytics. If you find things slowing down a bit, reexamine your landing pages and tweak them to see if there is any improvement. It is a constant exercise and like everything to do with your business, it can be a matter of trial and error.If you are unable to do this it’s a really god idea to speak with a web developer that has experience in conversion rate optimisation.

If you need help with the design of any of your landing pages or need some minor updates please get in touch with our team here at Hopping Mad Designs – 02 9360 8514 – you will be surprised by what a few small changes can actually do for your conversion rates.

SEO Agency or In-house SEO: Which is the right choice for your business?

Ideally, it would be great to have both; an external SEO agency advising your in house SEO person or even speaking with you on the latest Google algorithm updates and technological advances, whilst you implement everything. This is great if you love to have complete control, but remember, this would be really time consuming and chew up many man hours – not to mention the cost.
Unfortunately, it’s either 1 or the other. You cannot have both. It just doesn’t make sense. So following are the benefits of each option. After that it’s totally your call. With SEO, all decisions have dramatic consequences. Make sure the one you make is carefully thought out.

SEO Agency Advantages

A good SEO agency is a rare thing to find and if you happen to pick the right one you are going to really profit from it. Choose a dud and you will pay heavily.

Most SEO agencies have the experience, know how, and talent within to be able to get your website ranking. This is a great advantage as all you need to do is pay them a monthly fee and you can focus on what’s important; your business. These guys will have all the necessary tools at their disposal to analyse competitors, provide accurate reporting and generally give you the type of service that you are paying for.

All search engine optimisation agencies live and breath SEO. They spend hours every day researching, reading and trying to stay ahead of what Google is about to do next. I can tell you first hand that our SEO consultants will spend between 2- 3 hours per day doing actual research before they implement any SEO work. For them it’s second nature and they actually love doing this kind of research. After all to be any good at something requires this type of dedication. Outsourcing your SEO to an agency with this kind of commitment, devotedness & single-minded attitude is going to be a huge asset for your business. I want to add a caveat here – this only applies to agencies that know what they are doing. There are still a whole heap of duds out there who have no idea about SEO and pretend to be something they are not.

Good SEO companies will generally provide your business with faster results. Why? Because they are in this day in day out 24/7 and know what they have to do to rank your website. They have strategies in place and all they do is follow their proven formula. If their SEO is working for other companies then it will work for you. That’s the logic. They know what works and what doesn’t. Quicker results if Google compliant, is a massive advantage and one that could be a tipping point in favour of outsourcing.

Most business owners are too busy to focus on the nitty gritty and painstaking analysis that comes with SEO. They have their own worries and issues, let alone wondering what Google’s next algorithmic change will do for their business. Leaving it to the professionals and forgetting about it, is worth it’s weight in gold.

Let’s look at costs now. When you outsource to an agency the monthly fee might seem high in some cases. Compare this to employing a full time person (in Australia) and this cost will seem cheap. You don’t have to deal with all the compliance issues that a full time employee brings nor do you have to worry about sick days, holidays, superannuation etc etc. This again, is another huge victory for outsourcing. Also, think about the software and monthly costs associated with these reporting tools that you now have to fund. By working with an external agency these are all included as part of your monthly package.

You actually have to spend the time looking for an in house person and it will be your sole responsibility for choosing the right person. How as a business owner are you going to know what choice to make?

SEO is a very difficult and serious discipline so what gives you the necessary qualifications to make the right choice. People can exaggerate and lie in interviews and if you pick the wrong person, his or her SEO efforts once employed, could have dire ramifications for your business. It’s better to leave it to the experts with a proven track record. How many times have you employed the wrong person for a job? Think about it. SEO is different it is not a matter of simply replacing them. The things they do today can and will affect you in the long term. The realities of this are extremely serious!

In-House SEO Advantages

An in-house SEO person, will be dedicated 100% of the time on your business. This is their focus and if you have made the right choice and they know what they are doing then your rankings should climb. They will have an intimate knowledge of your business and be able to customise and SEO and content marketing campaign just for your company. This is great news if they have the right SEO strategy in place.

If you are launching a new brand or service or even new part of your business, these in house SEO people should be immersed and absorbed in this. They will therefore be able to bring this to market quickly through their online marketing channels much quicker than an agency.

Which Choice Is Right for You?

You own the business it’s totally up to you. But, form the list above I would like to draw your attention to the number of benefits that outsourcing your SEO has over doing it in house.

As this is just a blog where I am providing you with just the advantages of each, I am trying to remain impartial. But, I feel that employing in house SEO staff is far riskier than outsourcing.

You might think that I am trying to promote outsourcing because Hopping Mad Designs provides and SEO service. But, from my experience in this field, all I can say is that I do receive a number of calls every week from businesses that have tried to do it in house and it has failed miserably. The results were disastrous because they chose the wrong person. This is a critical factor and common thread among all the complaints.

It’s your decision….make the right one.