Mistakes Most Businesses Make When Choosing a Digital Agency

Don’t make the mistake of choosing an agency based on price.

Cheap deals are a recipe for disaster.

There are a lot of players in the market all saying pretty much the same things. They are all promising that they can get your website to page 1 of Google, they say that they are experts in user interface design and have the ability to make your website conversion focused. They basically talk the talk, but can they actually do what they say.

Unfortunately, we see far too many businesses spend way too much money with digital agencies because they believe the hype and stories they are told about how they are able to turn their business around, get their phone to ring and increase sales leads…..ALL THIS IS FAKE AND YOU WILL GET ABSOLUTELY HAMMERED ONLINE if you choose the wrong type of agency that is simply looking out for the next sucker to come along.

So, I thought I would detail in point form some errors of judgement businesses make when selecting their digital agency.

Most businesses want to be on page 1 of Google. Let’s face it. It’s the best place to be. The issue here is that most businesses when searching for an SEO agency type the words “SEO” or “SEO Agency’ into Google and they quickly click on the first 3 businesses they see. The error with this is that those first 3 SEO companies are the ads and choosing any of these companies is what I would consider an extremely grave mistake. Why? Because they have paid money to be in this position and this is not what SEO is about.

SEO is all about getting your organic rankings NOT paid listings. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of SEO and these guys know how to play the game. They put really catchy, too good to refuse, attention-grabbing headlines in their ads like: ‘ PAY WHEN YOU REACH PAGE 1’ or ‘ SEO FOR 1 MONTH FOR FREE’ or ‘PAY ON PERFORMANCE SEO’ or the very worst one ‘ PAGE 1 GUARANTEED RANKING’.

Forbes reinforces these pay on performance scams by telling us Why The Best SEO Firms Don’t Offer Guaranteed Results. They go on to say that “SEO & Guarantees Have an Abominable History” – Scams offer guarantees, which by itself means you should be on your guard about any firm offering a guarantee. So you have been warned not only by me but by other credible sources about these scams.

All these headings are right there in your face (Google designs it this way), and most people click on these ads. They are in a hurry and they click the first thing they see. Once they are in contact with the SEO agency they are then handled by seriously good salespeople that will promise anything to get the sale. It’s a real con job and they even lock you into 12-month contracts which are really hard to get out of. Fancy a legal battle? Then go with any company that has PPC or paid ads when it comes to SEO agencies. These guys will do nothing once you sign up and will use the money you pay them to refinance their ads. It’s a scheme and it works really well. Most people cannot see the difference when they are looking quickly online and this is the trap this is what you need to be aware of so you avoid this.

As soon as you complain or try to get out of the contract, they will start proceedings against you. How do I know this? Because I have to take phone calls from so many people who have been ripped off in this fashion.

All I can say is make the right decision when choosing your SEO agency; DON’T EVER go with companies that have paid adverts there. Golden rule = if they cannot rank their own website they are going to do nothing with yours. They will swear blindly that they prefer to be there as paid ads as it’s too expensive and too much time and hassle to rank their own website What a load of rubbish. They would kill to be there. See what Google has to say in their article Do you need an SEO? Here they tell us about choosing the right type of SEO agency.

They choose a so-called digital agency that talks about customer conversion rates and being able to get customers to buy from your site better than anyone else. Don’t fall for this. Most of these agencies do nothing more than change a banner on your home page and make you believe they have moved a mountain. It’s complete and utter rubbish. If they talk about conversion rates and increase in site traffic make them show you examples. remember it’s easy to throw these terms and buzz words around to try to fool you into thinking they are experts in this field.

Also ReadHow to Increase the Sales Conversion Rate of My Website?

My advice here is to work with an agency that can show you an extremely strong web design portfolio. Given there are so many free website templates out there it’s important for the success of your business to partner with an agency that will design your site from scratch based on a brief. NOT some crappy free template or a recycled template that they have used before. If your website is going to work for you then it must be a fully customised design that takes many online digital variables into account.

You base all your decisions purely on cost. If I had a dollar every time someone said to me: ‘ we are starting our business and we are on a very limited budget’ or ‘ the other guy is charging me $x for this, what can you do?’ or ‘ what types of cheap SEO packages do your offer’, I would be a rich man.

Basing your marketing decisions on cost, especially when it comes to Web and SEO factors is a really bad start for your business. Why? Because there are too many people out there who are more than happy to cut their rates to buy your business and in turn deliver absolutely nothing. THAT’S RIGHT. They will take your money, do nothing with the SEO and if you are lucky you might get your website ( which will all be done offshore) in 6 months’ time.

Cutting corners, reducing marketing budgets and going with the agencies that are prepared to do your work for next to nothing is another serious error. I totally agree when businesses are looking to shop wisely for the best value on offer. But bear in mind that there are sharks out there circling looking to make as much money as they can. They know all the tricks and shortcuts and you’re business will be the one that loses.

You get cold-called by an SEO or digital agency that says they have gone through your website and can see a lot of mistakes. They assume you must be doing some form of SEO and will fabricate an issue with your site or in your SEO strategy that is complete BS. I personally have had other SEO agencies contact some of my clients and tell them the most ridiculous stories and lies when it comes to their SEO, backlinking and on page compliance. All lies, all bull, designed to trick you into believing them. Once they have you locked into their contract you are stuffed – this is why at Hopping Mad Designs we never lock you into any type of contract.

OK, you have read these 4 mistakes that most people make and yet you may still be a bit confused about the role a digital agency can play in your company, and what can go wrong if you choose unwisely. If so, please give me a call at 02 9360 8514 and I will be more than happy to show you what a credible, reliable, established and proven digital agency with a strong focus on web design can do to generate more sales leads for your business through our online marketing capabilities.

15 Point SEO Checklist for Launching New Websites

They tell me it’s so tough out there online where everyone is trying to outdo each other on Google and attract more customers.

It’s a battle and if you do not have the right equipment and tool from the beginning (the design, build and launch) of your website.

You will fall behind. No two ways around it.

Even if you have a website and it’s been live for a while make sure you implement these changes as they will help. If you find that this all sounds like mumbo jumbo, then call me and I will be glad to run things through with you. Remember, if you cannot be found on Google, you are losing business. According to StatCounter, Google owns about 93% of all Australian searches so it’s critical that your business is front and centre on page 1, even higher, if that can be achieved.

If SEO & Google rankings matters to your business then you need to follow these steps.

1. Research your keywords and write copy that reflects these.

People are searching using keywords. If for example, you are a cosmetic surgeon specialising in liposuction, make sure you have a dedicated landing page all about liposuction. Make sure you write very specific content around this that is not only factual but also a good read. Again, you don’t want to bore the pants of the reader. Remember they are not doctors and don’t want to read a whole lot of medical information. They are on your website to be sold to. They are there looking for a solution to their issue ( fat reduction) so make sure your copy addresses this. Make it a tad sales focused with information about why people should use your service and why you are simply the best in the business. Keep a copy at around 1000 words. It’s a bit of an ask and an effort to write, but Google really rewards good copy.

2. You need to write catchy title tags & meta-descriptions that correspond to the page content

The title tag and the description are what the public sees when they land on Google’s page. For this reason, it needs to be unique, relevant and sales are driven. Using the liposuction example, your description may read something like this: ‘ Need Liposuction Help? Call Dr XYZ Now.’

For the description, you can be a little more flamboyant and descriptive as you have around 25 words to really sell yourself. HINT: Look at what your competition is doing and write something different. Being creative here is a really good idea.

3. Make your on-page heads ( H1) easy to read

This is really a no brainer. The easier your headings are to read the more likely the consumer will stay on the page. Content needs to be broken with large headings. Reams of information, without appropriate headings to break up the information, are just going to increase your bounce rates and you will start to see people exiting your website very quickly.

4. Write for your customers

People often tell me when we discuss what to write on their website: ‘ all we need is to put our keywords down and everything will be fine’. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you think that you can help the SEO process by stuffing keywords into the copy, you are wrong. It will just annoy the reader and Google will not rank it. So the golden rule here is to write for the customer. Pretend they are reading a company brochure and write copy for it. Keyword stuffing is so 10 years ago.

When writing content, be informative, but be aware that the consumer is on this particular page because they have searched online for something and your page is the one they have landed on. For this reason, the copy should sell to them in a subtle way. Make sure you are always reminding them of why you are the best and only choice.

5. Forget duplicate content

Google will find out. This is not something worth risking. Google has the algorithms that can detect duplicate copy and if your website is guilty of this plagiarism watch out. Not much more to say about this except Google rewards new fresh content. If you are stuck for things to write get in touch with a web and SEO copywriter – even better call us as we have the best copywriters in the business.

6. You need internal links

Link relevant text within pages of your website. This adds structure and logic to the site and will help with your overall SEO strategy. Again, with the liposuction example; there may be an internal link from this main liposuction services landing page to an internal blog article you have written about post-operative liposuction exercises.

7. Images need alt tags

Google will not read images and alt tags about the images will tell Google what they are and help in the SEO process.

8. What’s your website’s URL structure like?

I have seen some real URL shockers. Ideally, you want to have the description of your service in the URL. This is all about website logic and having an SEO friendly URL structure that screams logic will be one of the best things you can do for your internet and SEO marketing. For the liposuction doctor, a good URL structure would be: www.drxyz.com.au/services/liposction Sydney

If your current content management system (CMS) doesn’t allow for this, then it’s seriously important to ditch the current CMS and get your website built on an SEO friendly CMS like WordPress. Why? Because WordPress creates really SEO friendly URL structures automatically.

If you are locked into a CMS because you are using a web agency that has built your website using their proprietary CMS systems – get rid of them fast. Trust me when I tell you this…WordPress is the best for SEO.

9. Make sure you have your Analytics set up

Why bother with SEO if you cannot measure the results. Analytics, if they are set up properly will allow you to see so much juicy information about your website. A number of visitors, how long they have stayed, which pages they have gone to, bounce rates etc etc. It’s such a useful tool that your SEO agency can make on-page amends based on the information they receive.

10. Register your site in Google WMT, Google My Business or Webmaster Tools

You have to do this. If you are unable to, speak to us as this is an essential step in the indexing process.

11. 301 Redirect old pages

So many people forget to do this and they wonder why their new site is no longer ranking. Basically, if you have an existing site and it’s been around for a while it would have built up some authority with Google. These old pages’ authority needs to be redirected to the new pages. That is, they need 301 redirects. This really important step is often overlooked or forgotten when new sites are launched. To maintain existing rankings and to pass the SEO juice from the old to the new, 301’s are mandatory. Ahrefs in their article 301 Redirects for SEO: Everything You Need to Know goes on to explain that a 301 redirect indicates the permanent moving of a web page from one location to another. And, is there evidence for that? Yes, Google (re)confirmed PageRank as a ranking signal last year.

12. Is your website mobile friendly?

Known as responsive web design, Google now ranks mobile sites higher than those that are not. Also, mobile sites make the browsing experience so much easier. So, if you want to keep customers happy and keep them coming back ( especially for eCommerce sites) make sure it’s built so it’s mobile compatible. Nothing affects shopping cart abandonment, bounce rates, and wasted opportunities more than a non-mobile website. You can test to see if your website is mobile-friendly here.

13. An XML sitemap is important

Have one of these in the footer of your site. This way it will be a lot easier for Google to crawl and index each page of your site.

14. Enhance page speeds for optimal performance

Ever been to a website that takes ages to load? Does your site take more than 3 seconds to appear? Are there large images on your website? Site speeds are critically important for those businesses wishing to keep clients on the site. So for this reason as well, Google will penalise sites that are too slow to load. There won’t be a penalty there will just be a preference to rank quicker loading sites. In many cases this is a simple fix – so whatever you do, do not let your website’s speed and load times affect your SEO rankings. Again, if unclear of what to do, let us know and we can run some site speed tests, work out the problems and fix them for you. You can check your website page speed here at Pingdom.

15. Lastly, pick the right SEO & web agency

The best thing that you can do is try to find an agency that can handle all your web design and SEO together. The best type of agency for this is a digital agency and the good ones are extremely hard to find. Make sure you pick wisely or else you will end up getting smashed by rip off con artists who like nothing better than to take your money without producing any results. Shop around speak to as many people as you can and at the end of the day the choices you make now will impact your business.


Seriously, How Expensive has Adwords (PPC) become!

Adwords are seriously way too expensive for most SME’s.

I also checked some other keywords and the cost for the top of page 1 position for the following keywords goes something like this:

Web design $29.00 per clickLawyers Sydney $18.00 per clickCosmetic surgeons $56.00 per clickRubbish removals $40 per click

If you think about it, that means that every time someone clicks on your website for that keyword you are going to drop some serious coin. If we look at the average daily budget this means that most of these businesses to stay competitive and be right at the top on page 1 they are going to have to drop roughly $1000 per day. If you think this is unrealistic or I am making these figures up, well….you are mistaken. I have actually spoken to people in each of these fields and I know exactly what they are spending on their Adwords campaign and the figures are starting to become frightening.

Now just suppose you are starting out in business and are looking to get some new leads to get things going. Where are you going to advertise? Google of course. But this is where the issues start and this is where most small businesses run into a brick wall. They simply cannot afford to be competitive on Google unless they are prepared to outbid the more established companies with deeper pockets. Unless these SMEs are will to risk everything and drop many thousands of dollars then an Adwords campaign is basically useless and not the answer.

Also Read: 5 PPC Mistakes That Are Ruining Your Campaign

Let’s be really honest here, if you are going to be on Google you have to be right at the top. And, if you are going to be relying on Adwords, then you need to be in the TOP 3 positions. Sure, you can be on the right-hand side but no one really clicks there. You may get the odd 1 or 2 people clicking on your ads but you really miss out on all those juicy new leads that tend to focus on the top 3 ads or the top 3to 5 organic listings. Basically, you are wasting your time.

Also, I just want to throw ‘click fraud’ into the mix here. That’s right! People or generally your competition clicking on your Adwords or getting their friends and family to do this as well so you go through your daily budget. This is a real waste of money and it happens all the time. I have spoken to people who have dropped over $1000 in a day on Google and received 50 clicks BUT not 1 lead, It’s that bad and that much of a problem for many businesses. Just imagine your hard-earned money being clicked away into oblivion. It’s such a horrible feeling. If you complain to Google they really don’t do much about it so basically, you are stuffed!

So what’s the solution to the problem of overpriced Adwords on Google?

There are 2 solutions; 1 really good one and the other terrible. Let’s start with the latter first.

What you can do is look to spend your Adwords money on long-tail, less expensive keywords. These are generally suburban or locally based such as: ‘cheap rubbish removal companies Balmain’ OR ‘ ‘liposuction cosmetic surgeons Sydney. These keywords are going to be a lot cheaper to get to the top 3 positions on Google, but there is a catch; they will have a very low search volume. That is, no one is really typing these keywords in. Yes, you may be up the top, but there is no traffic. There is nothing that can be done about this unfortunately and this is what makes the main core keywords for competitive niches so expensive.

The other better option rather than hemorrhaging your money on Adwords is SEO or search engine optimization. This is where you rank organically on Google (as we do at Hopping Mad Designs for all our main keywords – especially web design – see screenshot). Once you have established the right keywords you want to target and once your SEO campaign starts to gain traction and the results start showing you can ditch Adwords for good.

3 organic listings on page 1 of Google!!!


This is the beauty of SEO and this is why all SME’s should be thinking about starting an SEO campaign so they don’t waste all their money on Adwords. The other really positive thing about SEO is that people tend to click on organic listings rather than paid ones. You will find that you get better quality leads, more often. Please note that SEO is a long-term strategy and not for the type of person that wants instant online rankings – they just don’t happen when it comes to ethical SEO practices.

We have found that the tire kickers and price shoppers go for the glitzy sales pitches on Adwords, whereas the more committed and serious customers tend to click on the organic listings.


If you have the money and you are prepared to throw it all away and take a huge risk, go for it. Put it all on Adwords and see what happens. Be prepared to sell really hard as you have to make each lead pay for itself. Alternatively, you can be smart and start your SEO campaign now, give it 6 or so months and watch all the benefits start to flow.

The trick is finding the right SEO agency that will do the right thing for your business. The SEO landscape is full of dodgy brother operators who will fleece you blind and make Adwords look like a cheap option.

If you need some help or advice regarding the best digital marketing platforms you want to try Pay Per Click or SEO, please get in touch with us here and we can offer you constructive advice.

The Advantage of Blogs for your Business

Blog your way to the top of Google and dominate your niche

Businesses will swear blindly that blogging is helping them attract customers.

They have been able to write informative articles which their customer base has found useful and in turn, are attracting a loyal client base that keeps on coming back to the website for a good read.

Blogging works.

It’s as simple as that and if you are a business that relies on its website for lead generation and sales, then blogging should be a key component of your marketing mix. If you do not have a blog on your website, get one and do it fast. If you have a blog that’s been lying dormant for months or worse never been used, then you should start posting as soon a possible.

Having a blog on your website is such a great marketing tool. It instantly connects you with your audience and if you blog often enough you will by the very nature of blogging start to dominate your niche.

Related article: 14 Tips for Writing Killer Blogs for your Business

Having said that, what are the next steps and what are the advantages of blogging for your business?

Provide readers with current information

If you are able to provide your readers with current, topical information they will keep on coming back to your site for more juicy bits of relevant news. It’s a way of neatly establishing your website as a ‘go to’ resource for information they need. Relevance is the key so make sure your articles are up to date and on topic. Over time as you gain confidence writing and you begin to get more inquires from your site, you will become more of an authoritative in your field. People, customers and clients will reference your site and your customer base should grow organically. This is the power of blogging and this is the main reason you should be actively doing this weekly.

Blogs are great traffic generators

If you want to bring in new business then SEO and Google are a great way to get to the top of the rankings. But, Blogs also have their place as they are able to rank organically without any SEO. Sure you might not be targeting really competitive keywords, but if you blog enough you will start to see traffic and sales inquiries increase. Blogs mean that you do not have to rely purely on SEO.

Blog adds personality

People want that bit extra. Before they buy or engage with you they may read what you have to say on your blog. If it is written with a bit of personality or flair then the chances of it engaging the audience are far greater. In the online world, you must have a point of difference. You need to set yourself apart, offer something different and a blog is a perfect platform that allows you to express your opinions, views or thoughts. The more colour and life you can add to your blog, the more it will resonate with the reader and this is the ideal situation. Glam it up, add some spice, have strong opinions and watch your engagement peak.

Promote yourself as a serious market leader?

Your business blog is a great platform to sell yourself even further. If for example, you have a legal practice and you blog about an area of law you specialise in. Why not finish the blog off with a paragraph on why your business is the best in this area of law and why the reader should use you. Obviously, you do not want to do this for very blog. But try to find some space within your article where you can give your company a bit of a plug.

For those that have never written a blog before here are some pointers to get you started in the right direction.

  • Write for your audience? There is no point in being too clinical with your blogs if it’s just going to bore the pants off your readers. You want them to be engaged, excited and interested in what they are reading. Also Read: How to Write a Blog Post: A Step-by-Step Guide [+ Free Blog Post Templates]
  • Keep the tone friendly and keep it in line with your brand. Your tone or style shouldn’t be aimed at the younger market if you have a conservative audience base.
  • Make your headline attention-grabbing. This is what people are going to read and this is what will draw their attention. Catchy titles will get their eye.
  • – Have fun and don’t treat it as a chore or else you won’t be able to sustain the process. Remember it’s your business so everything your write will be beneficial to you if it gets more business. If you have fun and make the writing process enjoyable you will see the benefits.
  • Don’t repeat the same titles of your blogs in the hope that they will help with your main keywords getting on page 1 of Google. Far too many businesses will blog about their main service in an attempt to further enhance their rankings. This is spammy and will work against you. Keep the blogs real and keep them natural. This is really the best advice I can offer from a person who does this regularly. Moz tells us that the goal of the headline is to stop readers cold and draw them into your post. You can’t do that if you use cute, clever or confusing headlines.

What’s next – how do I start blogging?

If you have an open-source CMS such as WordPress your blog should be easy to set up. If you are keen to get the process going and want to capture new clients, get in touch with us here at Hopping mad designs and we will help you set up your blog and even provide some help with your first few articles.