14 reasons why people leave your website

You have written the best copy for your website. The images are amazing, the graphics are polished but somehow, your not getting the sales.

You are also ranking on Google and getting traffic, but somehow these are not converting into sales, and it’s starting to worry you. 

Why is this happening, and what can you do about these insufficient sales numbers? Why are these visitors who come to your site leaving quickly? Unfortunately, there is a vast difference between online traffic and actual sales. Getting people on your site to buy from you is an art and a combination of many factors. There are so many mistakes, and stuff-ups you can make that turn people and potential customers off. Missing these sales is a lost opportunity, so you must make sure that you address all on-page website issues that could be hampering your conversion rates.In this article, I want to address why people leave your site without purchasing or calling you.

1) Old website design

Forbes tells us that: It is clear that a high-quality brand website is now an integral component of any effective digital marketing strategy and that consumer standards for web design are higher than ever.Consumers, shoppers and web browsers, according to Statista, daily mobile internet consumption is set to increase to 155 minutes in 2021.The above means that people are used to seeing the latest web trends and styles online. If your website isn’t up-to-date with the latest plugins, features, and looks, people might trust the site less. They will look elsewhere with the flick of a finger. It’s that easy. Browsers and your potential customers are all conditioned by the multitude of sites they see. If you haven’t updated your website in the past couple of years, it’s time to give it a complete overhaul. Outdated web design is a primary reason why people will leave your site; get it fixed quickly. You can see how a site refresh for Doolan Wagner ( one of our web design clients ) gave customers a better user experience. And, as a result, inquiries have skyrocketed. View the case study here.Hopping Mad Designs Tip

: best give it to a web design agency with experience in customer conversion rates. There are free DIY web templates online where you can save money, but this is not a good idea.

2) Your website’s content is challenging to read.

Have you taken a close look at your website and noticed how hard it was to read? Are the fonts too small, is there a mix of clashing colours and are the graphics simply too complicated?For the best web design experience, you want users to find what they are looking for quickly. Sweor explains that; the best (and only) way to get rid of snap judgements on your homepage is to improve its design.There are some easy ways to fix the readability of your website.i) increase font size – people don’t want to have to squint to read your site.ii) line-height – don’t keep spacing between lines too small. Make browsing large chunks of text easy.iii) contrast between text and colour background – try to make it white background with black text – never a light colour text on a pale background.iv) narrow lines – it’s far easier for customers to read narrow lines than long lines, which are 2 to 3 sentences.v) use subheadings – breaking long paragraphs up with subheadings so browsers can skim the content easily and find what they are looking for quickly. A rule of thumb is a sub-heading every 2 to 3 paragraphs.vi) use bullet points – a great way to highlight points as breakouts from the text – perfect for lists or summarising details.vii) use real-life images – avoid overuse of stock images as they tend to be cheesy. Users can spot this a mile away, and it can break down the authenticity and trust of the website.viii) short snappy sentences – long sentences can lose people. Remember, attention spans are sort online as The Guardian reminds us: keep page content short and punchy and split any detailed content out into secondary pages if applicable.ix) new paragraph every 3 to 4 lines, making content more digestible and easier to find critical points.x) keep graphics to a minimum – don’t overcompensate your site with too many graphics. People cannot absorb all that information.

3) Your site relies on outdated plugins

The last thing people want to do is install a plug in to visit your site. I don’t care how great your site is or how fantastic your service is; people will not spend the time ( even if it is for a couple of minutes ) to download some plug in to view your site.

Here are some signs that you’re a plugin hoarder.

-You have no idea what your plugins do. Your developer installed them years ago, and you can’t even remember why. The worst part is that all these plugins take time to load, which can slow down your website load times, harming your internet rankings through higher bounce rates.

-You cannot update your WordPress site because of these old plugins. Old plugins can stop you from updating newer ones because of compatibility issues. All WordPress sites need the latest plugins for security and the latest features which your clients expect to see. Not having this represent a massive roadblock and a chance for customers to leave your site, especially if it’s a shopping cart.

-Your site has more plugins than content which means your web design team has gone to extremes in adding plugins that you will never use. Again, delete them.

-You have a few large heavy-duty plugins that take ages to load, and you hardly ever use them. 

Hopping Mad Designs Tip: The best way to fix these plugin issues is to conduct a complete website audit and prune outdated plugins with no benefit. It’s easy to do with the click of a mouse.

4) You’re bombarding people with ads

If your revenue model has ads on your website, trimming these ads might not be an option. But if you have a B2B or B2C website and there are ads on the site, consider removing a good percentage of these.The Harvard Business Review tells us that; Amazon features shopping ads throughout its site, making product recommendations based explicitly—and often conspicuously—on individual users’ search data, without seeming to draw any consumer ire whatsoever. If adverts target consumers based on their browsing behaviour, this might be OK, but bombarding them with ads can distract them from their immediate search goals. If you must have ads, then display them below the fold, near the bottom of the page.

5) Videos on your site auto-play.

Just imagine you at work, and you’re doing some research or shopping online, and a video automatically plays. Most people scramble to hit the back button to exit that page as the video begins playing loudly. It’s a pain and is a substantial contributing factor for high bounce rates. Videos are great for customer conversion rates, but never make them autoplay. 

6) The navigation structure is confusing

A convoluted, confusing, top-heavy navigation structure like a maze is terrible for the customer experience and an SEO killer. How many times have you gone to a website only to find that it’s impossible to find your way around? You get lost, you’re constantly hitting the back button, and eventually, you give up and leave. It’s so frustrating, especially if you like the brand and want to make an inquiry or buy something.A clean navigation structure makes the browsing experience far more enjoyable and helps search engines like Google crawl the site easily & should be the cornerstone of your on-page SEOThe rule of thumb for your website’s navigation should always be looking to enhance the user experience. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see if you could quickly move around the site and find what you were searching for. What pathways did you go down to find what you wanted? Did you end up at a dead-end or on a page that was irrelevant? If the journey on your website is difficult, it’s time to rearrange your site navigation. Search Engine Watch tells us how this is done in: A guide to redesigning a website without affecting SEO.Now I’m not saying that you have to redesign your site, but you should take all the on-page elements into account when changing site structure not to affect your current Google rankings. The main feature you have to note is the 301 redirects from the old URL structure to the new one. Redirects can get complicated for the lay business person, so Id suggests leaving it to a professional web team. Or, check out what Ahrefs has to say in their 301 Redirects for SEO: Everything You Need to Know.

7) Your registration requirements are complicated

When people want to buy or engage with your business online, the last thing they want to do is jump through complicated hurdles in the signup process. It kills conversion rates and is another main factor why people are leaving your site before making a purchase. If you make it compulsory for users to sign in or fill out a registration form, keep it as simple as possible. CrazyEgg tells us that: for each form field that we removed, signups grew by about 10%.So bear this in mind on your next registration form. Try to keep it simple and limit it to say 3 to 4 fields.

8) You have a cookie-cutter style website

The problem with many websites nowadays is they lack any personality or unique selling point. They are unfortunately homogenous where you t tell one site from the next. With the rise of free web templates and cheap websites such as WIX and Squarespace, they have flooded the internet with cookie-cutter style sites that all look the same. I’ve personally seen some shockers where you can’t tell what the intention of the website is. It could be a plumbing website, or it could be a lawyers website. You don’t know about these templates and what the consumer perceives. Fully Charged Media explains this in greater detail on their blog: 5 Reasons Not To Use Wix For Your Website.Hopping Mad Designs Tip: If you engage the user with a decent looking website that reflects your companies brand, image and style, you will earn trust and loyalty from your customer base. And, if people like what they see, they are more likely to buy from it. I’ve also written about this here: Signs that it’s time to redesign your website

9) Slow load times

Here are some page load statistics that you need to get your head around as they are mind-blowing:

  • 1-second delay reduces page views by 11%.
  • 1-3 seconds load time increase the bounce rate probability by32%
  • a whopping 79% of online shoppers state that any performance hiccup ( especially slow page load times) will make them stay away from an online store

You can check the load speed times of your website here at Pingdom. Check your score and if it’s low, make sure you do something about speeding up your website. You can learn more from Google Page Speed Insights.

It’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. I won’t wait for sites to load. If they are slow, my finger is on the back button within 3 seconds.

You can also add the SEO factor into this as slow websites will not rank well on Google – that’s a fact according to Moz, who states that Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages.

Moz makes perfect sense; why would Google rank a site that was delivering a substandard user experience? They wouldn’t as they’ll only deliver results in the SERP’s that offer the best customer experience.

10) Poor call-to-action buttons

Can you believe this statistic: 70% of Small Business B2B Websites Lack A Call to Action, according to Small biz trends.Users need to be able to get to where they want to be on your site. They need to know where to call, buy and sign up. You can’t let them wander around your site without a clear call to actions. Like street signs, they direct people to critical pages throughout the site.If you don’t have clear and distinct call to actions and people are left stranded on your site, expect them to go pretty quickly.

Here are some tips for improving your call-to-action buttons on your site.

i) Use a strong verb in your message to get their attention. With an eCommerce site, use words like ‘buy now’ or free ‘delivery’. These are strong call to actions that prompt users actually to click the button. And, if you’re promoting a service, use words like ‘click here for more information’.

ii) Use words that entice an emotion – be creative with your use of wording such as ‘buy now and get 40% off!” Wording like this triggers powerful buying signals as people love discounts and sales. Also, add an exclamation mark at the end to highlight your point.

11) All hype & no substance

If you have hyped up your home page with fabulous images and promises that do not eventuate, people will exit the site. Many eCommerce sites will promise things like free delivery and guarantees on their products, but once you drill in and explore these further, they don’t live up to this. It’s a massive turn off and is a huge reason people don’t buy from the site.Be honest and upfront, and don’t oversell. Many businesses are guilty of this by using clickbait titles and heading to engage users. Bold headings, exaggerated promises are all part of the clickbait ethos, and it’s rampant online. Don’t be part of this trend if you want to keep customers loyal.

12) Your site isn’t responsive.

Oberlo tells us that: as of February 2021, 55.56 per cent of all web traffic comes through mobile phones. If you have to read that number again, do it and note that this figure will only grow. All you need to do is look at people and see what they are doing. They all have their heads down, looking at their phone. And they are all browsing the internet or on social media. Catering to this market in 2021 and beyond is a must to drive sales and capture a mobile audience. Therefore your site has to be mobile responsive and offer these mobile users a fantastic, seamless online experience.Google even tells us that they now mobile responsive sites are a massive ranking factor in their ‘rolling out the mobile-friendly update‘. Having a responsive site is a win-win; for your customers and your Google rankings. If you have a WordPress website, all you need is a couple of days with a decent web design agency.

13) Try using exit-intent technology.

Have you been on a website lately, and just before you were about to exit, a popup window appeared with a promotional offer? These popups are known as exit-intent technology and are a great last attempt to keep users on your site. Think about employing this great bit of technology and see if engagement or sales levels increase.Campaign Monitor is bullish about this technology, and here are a few things they have to say:

  • Email list growth: exit-intent popups that ask for an email address can encourage 4% to 7% of your site visitors to join your list. That could lead to two new email addresses for every 100 site visitors.
  • Improved conversion rates: average conversion rates are 3.09%, but the best popups can have conversion rates from 10% to 60% if you optimize them properly.

14) Your website’s been hacked

OMG, this is the absolute worst and will drive anyone away from your site in less than a second. Hacked sites with adult images or links to gambling sites are horrible. And ACS tells us that Australia is one of the world’s most hacked countries. So, the best way to avoid hacking is to engage a company to monitor your site against hacking and update your WordPress plugins frequently.


Just because you have noticed a decrease in sales leads from your website, this doesn’t mean that you can’t fix the problem. The above are helpful tools and tips to help you repair your site’s user experience, SEO rankings, and website performance. While some of these may or may not apply to your websites circumstances, areas like the design and graphics of the site are a pretty common problem that needs addressing. Even if you feel your site is working well, you should give it an audit as there are always areas for improvement.


What does Hopping Mad think makes a good packaging design?

When holding a product you’ve never used before, the first thing you do is judge it by the packaging.

You admire the design, the look, feel, style and even the packaging texture. It all comes together to form one neat unit that’s screaming buy me!

It’s that state of mind where the product is so appealing that it sells itself, which we as packaging designers try to achieve for our clients.Our goal is to create an emotional connection between the product and the consumer via the packaging design.In the super-competitive online & retail world of shopping, big brands throw so much money and spend so much time trying to get consumers to notice their products over their competitors. It’s a race to have the best possible packaging design to tempt the consumer to buy.Hopping Mad is a branding company and packaging design agency that follows these principles to create unique and outside the square thinking packaging design.

1) Creative Design

The design has to be creative, simple as that. In the saturated supermarket shelf space, the design about 7 seconds to capture the shopper’s attention. According to Retail Minded; Brands have, on average about 7 seconds to make a good impression before the customer moves on to the next option.For any brand, the connection it has to make with the consumer is the same. Lose their interest, and they’re off walking down the aisle to the next product. So, you have to know your target market and design packaging that appeals to them. For example, if your selling pharmaceutical cough medicine for children, then the packaging needs to align with this market; as you can see from this case study, Hopping Mad just designed for Little Coughs.

2) User-friendly

Why create a beautiful package design if it’s hard to open or cumbersome to hold. Design agencies like us carefully think all these details through to give the consumer the best user experience. All you need to do is walk into your local Apple Store to see their gorgeous and super user-friendly packaging. So many people keep the packaging because it’s so lovely. Some people go so far as to feel guilty about throwing away the packaging. I know we do when we get our new iMacs or iPhones for the office. Perhaps you won’t have the type of budget Apple has for their pack design, but you can get close with creative thinking by our superstar designers. You can read Apple’s packaging strategy in this pdf here.

The power of Apple’s intelligent brand packaging

3) Simple Messaging

The message is simple; keep your packaging information to the point and clear. Don’t make it too wordy or cluttered. Consumers want to know what the product is, its ingredients and if it’s safe to use. The latest packaging trends on Pinterest shows that minimal graphics has become the newest fashion. Wander down any Coles aisle, and you will see how quickly the uptake in minimal design trends has becomes. You’ll be surprised how minimal packaging designs stands out over cluttered designs with information overload.

4) Copywriting

The words on your packaging can have a tremendous impact on whether the shopper picks it up or not. Messaging is the critical emotional connection you’re looking to create between your product and their behaviour. A few simple words could mean the difference between the sale or not. As a full-service packaging design agency, we use our copywriters to develop catchy sales triggers to capture the buyer immediately. 

The copy will have a huge impact on how consumers behave. What they read will have a massive impact on their buying decision.

5) Honesty

A no-brainer, but don’t oversell or make promises of what’s inside the packaging that is simply untrue. It’s far too easy for consumers to leave negative online reviews of products that didn’t cut the mustard or live up to the consumer’s expectations of what was detailed on the box or carton. Too much hype and little substance is a sure-fire way to lose customer loyalty and get a swathe of bad publicity.Note that there are rules and regulation regarding what you can say on the packaging, but we will tell you these at our first briefing. Take a quick look at the Food Labelling Laws in NSW.

Your product’s packaging has to just through a few hurdles before it can be sold in NSW

6) Be Authentic

Make sure you stay true to your messaging, product and brand story. Don’t try to mimic or copy another brand which is why the team at Hopping Mad Designs can create a completely bespoke brand and tailor-made for your business.Authenticity in all facets of the packaging design process creates big brands that consumers love and are super-loyal! Think Lululemon, Rip Curl, Addidas, Apple, Lego and more. The list goes on, but all of these brands have one common thread; they are 100% authentic in design and key messaging.

7) Shelf Impact

Marketing Mag tells us that; Our research and development (R&D) have identified that packaging is one of the top three drivers of purchase, so it pays to ensure your pack has a strong impact and presence on the shelf.People browsing aisles at Coles, Iga, ALDI or Woolies don’t see an individual product. They see a whole bunch of colours, messages and call to actions. The only way you will cut through to the shopper is on fundamental scientific principles such as the ones we discuss here. Get it right, and you’ll be selling more products than the competition.

8) Futureproof your product

You can’t think that you will have one product, and that’s it. Just imagine you have a range of products in the future based on the success of your launch. Or perhaps you are launching a family of products that require consistent messaging. You need to get it right from the get-go if you’ve got any chance of success on the supermarket shelf. Colours, branding, messages, copy all need to reflect the style and range of the products. So that as your range grows, all you need to do are a few simple tweaks and presto, you have a new product SKU.

9) Common sense

Get the message and design is one thing, but what about all the other practical issues involved with getting the product into the consumer’s hand. Your designers need to know about other packaging contingencies such as:

  • How does the product stack or hang on the shelf?
  • Is it easy to transport?
  • What’s the weight of the pack, and how will that affect supply and delivery costs?
  • Does the product need to be in a freezer, and how does this affect the ink on the box?
  • Is it easy to handle and transport?
  • If it’s a fragile product, will the packaging protect it?
  • Or, will it fit neatly into the SUV or car?
  • Can the product be refined later on if need be? Remember the tomato sauce bottle with the screw cap and how that’s evolved over the years. A job for industrial designers, but the packaging has to grow with this.

Designers need to address all these nuances on top of the packing design. It’s not as simple as it would seem!

10) Unique Selling Point

How ell does the packaging communicate the products USP or unique selling point? The USP is where everything comes together nicely; the critical message, branding and the graphics. The effort you put in conveying the USP will have a ripple effect on sales. The ROI will be huge. 


As a trusted packaging design agency in Sydney, Hopping Mad Designs considers all these crucial elements in our packaging design process. Our senior creative, Joanna Basile, has had years of experience in the packaging design space and will give your product the professional edge needed to stand out and sell.

About the author

Joanna Basile
Jo is the founder of  Hopping Mad Designs, a brand agency with 22 years of experience working with brands to position them for growth. Jo has extensive experience working with corporate, retail, food, pharmaceuticals & beverage clients.

Digital Marketing Trends that will Dominate 2021 & Beyond

2020 has been a crazy year. Everyone is still reeling from the pandemic, but business continues evolving in the digital space. 

As we all adapt to so-called ‘new normals’ in 2021, people stuck at home have set the tone for seeing an absolute explosion in digital marketing trends.

The only way many businesses have connected with their customer base is online and selling to them via eCommerce. While we have always had eCommerce, 2021 is the year it will rocket.We’ve seen big-name brands and smaller businesses adapt to new government regulations, and adjust their marketing in some new and refreshing ways. It’s been evolving almost weekly, and the following are five stand out digital trends we see for 2021 emerge.

1) Trusted Brands Rule!

Everyone was hit hard in 2020, and we are just recovering. Like a bad hangover, it’s lingering on and on. The whole COVID dilemma has somehow led to a shift in consumer behaviour where local is becoming the buzz word. People tend to shop locally from sustainable brands, give back to the community, and are trusted. So you have to start adjusting your branding to reflect this. Ask yourself these questions: is my business giving back to the community, and what environmental footprint is it leaving. If you feel that you are doing the right thing for your community and the environment, scream this out on your website and let everyone know about it. Why?The Australian Retailers Association says: Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents said they’re currently buying more environmentally friendly products than they were five years ago, and 81% said they expect to buy more over the next five years.And Forbes states that;  81% of millennials say they want to support brands with corporate citizenshipThese figures are enormous and should be a wake-up call to all traders in Australia wanting to grow their market share. You have to start remodelling your brand ( you might even look at some graphic design tweaks to your logo, website, social media accounts, blogs and email campaigns) to reflect the taste in consumer buying sentiment.Next Steps: 2021 is the year you draw a line in the sand and make those changes. Work on your branding with a new mindset. Critical elements for your business mantra need to be the environment, corporate responsibility, equality and community. Check out these sustainability projects you may want to get involved in.
Implement these changes in 2021, and you’ll be attracting a whole new customer base for the next couple of years.

Corporate sustainability is the new buzz word for businesses. Photo Credit: Corporate Sustainability Reporting in Australia

2. Update your website

When was the last time you updated your website? Is it a relic of the past? When was the last time you spoke to the agency that built your WordPress website? I bet it wasn’t recently. Online business is booming in 2021 as more people are at home browsing the web looking for things to buy in between zoom calls. You have to make sure that your site equipped with the latest must-have features.If you offer your customers a fantastic user experience, then they are more likely to buy from you. Get it wrong and ignore your site, and you’ll be left well behind by the other big brands and online businesses that invest in future-proofing their website.Next Steps: Look at your website critically and ask yourself this question: ‘Would you buy from it?’ If not, then it’s time to invest in a new website ASAP.

3. Dynamic & agile business survive

2021 is the year businesses will have to adapt and be highly agile to survive. Those that are quick to respond to change and adjust their business models to suit market conditions will be the ones that come out of this more robust than ever. Next Steps: Audit your complete online digital strategy such as your SEO, Adwords, Social media, the whole shebang and see what needs fine-tuning etc. You might find that you need to spend more on your SEO to cement your online rankings for the post-pandemic world or refine your social media to reflect your new company ethos regarding corporate responsibility.

4. Ramp up your digital marketing

Aussie businesses can’t survive if they ignore their digital marketing. Relying on word of mouth or one marketing channel is no longer a viable option. You have to be going hard on all digital platforms. As this pandemic continues into 2021 and 2022, businesses must realise that the online space is the only place. Improving your online visibility through SEO, Adwords, content marketing, social media will become a necessity as time rolls on.Nest Steps: Make the call to a digital or web agency and start looking at all your marketing options. Set aside a decent budget for this and be prepared to commit to it for the long term. By this, I mean at least the next 12 to 24 months.

5. Consistency is the key

The new normal, which could be here for the next couple of years, is a mix of work at home and a few days in the office. People are now so used to zoom meetings and work from home, which has also impacted their buying behaviour and consumer patterns.They are at home and browsing the internet to buy a pair of shoes, a new top or jacket for winter or the next painting for the wall. Perhaps they have decided to do a bit of home decoration? They are certainly not travelling for the next year or maybe two, so why not splurge on something else? Hence online shopping and the need for trades has skyrocketed and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. You are at home and staying local for the rest of 2021 and probably 2022 – get used to it! Businesses need to understand the situation and marketing to this captive, stay at home market. And, the only way to do this is to pump up the SEO and digital marketing. It’s the only way forward, and you have to be consistent with this. In times of fear and uncertainty ( think the end of Job Keeper ), businesses like to rein in advertising budgets. But this is the wrong mental approach. SEO is the perfect medium for you to take the lead and be proactive during uncertain times.People are still buying, and they will always be shopping, so give them what they want.Next Steps: If you’ve been on the sidelines with SEO or have stopped marketing your business, now’s the time to be aggressive and look at investing for the future. Get cracking, as things look like they will be this way for a few years at least!

Make 2021 the year you do something serious with your internet marketing!

For this to happen you need to be working with the right team; simple as that! At HMD we have worked closely with all our clients to help them navigate through these times and guess what? They are doing really well. Check out the 300% increase in organic traffic for Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers over the last 12 months. Or, the 287% increase in consumer engagement for Motorola over the last 6 months.

About the Author


Steven Waldberg is one of the directors of Hopping Mad Designs and has been helping Australian businesses with their marketing for over 22 years. You can read more of his marketing insights on the HMD blog.


Why your business must be blogging in 2021

Blogging is awesome for your Search Engine Rankings!

Blogging is a great way to get your message out there online and if you can get your blog designed by a qualified team, combine it with unique & well-written content, then your online rankings will be soar.

Blogging is now considered a huge factor when it comes to digital marketing. Known as content marketing, regular updates to your blog will keep the search engines interested and in turn will boost your overall rankings MASSIVELY! According to HubSpot: Blogging is such a scalable and affordable approach that it’s the third-most-common content marketing strategy for businesses. And, marketers that prioritize blogging see 13-times the ROI of businesses that don’t. 

Hopping Mad Designs can help with all of this. We are able to design your company blog – help you with writing and publishing great content and integrate this with your social media – it’s an all-around package, fully intended to generate A LOT of interest and traffic to your website.

What is a Blog?

A blog allows you to publish your own content or message online. There are many types of blogs but the most common ones sit on your website as an extension of your URL.

The actual word ‘blog’ comes from a combination of web and log.

Blogs, generally allow readers to comment on what you have written and is a great way of communicating and interacting with people of similar interests. This engagement is what differentiates blogs from standard web pages.

Blog Designers in Sydney

Blogging has become such a common practice that having a well-designed blog is essential for making your business stand out. Like a website, you should not be settling for a standard template which unfortunately is common practice. Instead, you should be wanting a graphic design agency preferably in Sydney to design and build you a blog that looks great.

The theme of your blog should be in harmony with the design style of your website so as to avoid confusing your customer base and readers.

Using a studio-like Hopping Mad Designs for your blog design will give it the edge it needs PLUS:

– maintain your brand’s integrity by incorporating your corporate style. Most of the best well know blogs have a certain design edge to them.
– be designed to so people will remember it and be more than happy to return
– targeted to your particular audience
– easy to work out – we use the WordPress platform for blogging, which is super easy to maintain.
– built for easy download speeds
– be extra search engine compatible. Blogging is the new SEO and if done correctly, you should be able to blog about your business all over the internet.

Advantages of Blogging for your business

Blogs are very affordable. Your web designer should include a blog as part of the web design package. But, if you already have a website and need a blog attached, the setup cost is minimal. There are free blogging platforms online, but ideally, you should be getting this professionally done. If you are on a very tight budget, then blogging is a cheap and immediate way to reach your readers.

Blogs are simple to use and understand. Blogs that are integrated into your website can be accessed through your content management system. All you need to do is write the article, and presto, your blog is live for the world to see.
Blogs are a great way to keep your readers informed. By having RSS feeds on your blog, your clients can automatically be alerted when a new blog has been posted.

Search engines love blogs. Dominate your online landscape with fresh new content, that will get indexed regularly by Google. If the content is unique and worth reading, then it will have prominence on page 1. Keeping your blog updated on a regular basis shows the search engines that your blog is active and in turn, they will keep coming around looking for new content.

Ways that Blogs can increase your Business Search Engine Rankings include:

– having tittles that your readers will be searching for.
– put appropriate keywords in the content, but be careful not to overstuff the blog with repetitious keywords.
– include links from your blog to other pages within your website and other social media sites. Google will reward you big time for these actions.

Blogging is a great way to market your business. If you have something new to say or have an important announcement, then a blog is the perfect vehicle for this.

Users coming to your site can access this new information simply by heading to your blog page. It keeps your business relevant.

Other Reasons Why Blogs are So Popular

> You are the master of your domain. You can publish content whenever you like and target any market you want.
> You can engage with like-minded people, who will appreciate your input and commentary.
> you can access news as it happens. It’s very immediate and blogs can easily be linked to social media platforms for greater reach.
> Blogs have become the new magazines and newspapers for some people.

Who Reads Blogs?

Blogs are read by everyone. They have become quite fashionable and user uptake and blog readership is skyrocketing. Blogs have no specific audience, age barriers and market. They are used by each and every person who uses the internet.

Why Sydney Businesses Should Be Blogging.

Blogs in the past, have been used by travel writers, authors and other educational institutions and have generally been ignored by the business community.

It is only recently that businesses in Sydney have begun to understand the power of blogging and its full potential.

Over the past 24 months, we have seen a huge shift in businesses attitudes towards blogs and blogging in general.

As blogs are so easy to use and because of their popularity with search engines, corporate business blogging is now massive. In fact, some companies will have a team of bloggers and copywriters working for them writing content and articles on a regular basis.

Having something published by a newspaper or magazine is now very ‘old school’. Blogging circumvents this whole outdated process with the click of a mouse.

Some Useful Tips to Successful Blog Writing

> Know your audience and write for them. Your business is probably in a niche market, so your blogs should cater specifically for this.
> Write unique content. This may be difficult in some cases, but if you can write blog copy that covers your area of expertise in your style, then, you will get a wider audience.
> Try to blog at least twice a week. Again, this may prove difficult, but if you are time poor then you may like to contract this out to a web copywriting team who can do this on your behalf.
> Don’t worry if the comments you get back are negative. This is an opportunity to engage with the public and repair any damage. If you are sincere in your replies, in most cases you will win over new customers.
> Make sure you post your blogs on Google +, LinkedIn and Twitter. Search engines look for new content and these links will trigger this search.
> Never hard sell with your blog posts. Over time, and through gaining trust,  your audience will buy from you. Blogging is all about informing, not hard selling.

So, Where Do I Get My Blog Ideas From?

This is a good question as finding interesting blog topics can prove difficult. But, if you think about it and look carefully blog topics can emerge from many places, including:
> Your customers. See what interests them and write blogs about it. Perhaps even encourage them to write a guest blog about their business and publish it. This may sound odd, but believe me, most people will jump at this promotional opportunity.
> Look at what your competitors are blogging about and see if there is a common theme. If you read something you like, then you too can blog about the same topic as well.
> Share real-life working experiences you have. If you are in business, then write about parts of your business that you like/don’t like. Anything of interest is fair game. Even go behind the scenes of your company and share them with your blog followers. Add pictures and video for real effect.
> Blog about something current. Perhaps a news item that is relevant for your audience. A great example would be a home loan broker blogging about the latest interest rate cuts.
> Speak to professional content experts who can create an editorial calendar for the year.
> Conduct an interview with a contractor, supplier, staff member, family member or even a friendly business rival.

How Long Should a Blog Article Be?

Some blogs can be short and snappy, whilst others can be many thousands of words. Blogs are generally tailored to the audience and will therefore vary in content size.

Basically, enough to keep the readers interested. Developing a blog relationship with your readers takes time and loads of effort, but if you are able to keep them reading your blog, engaging them through online dialogue, then you will over time work out the best blog length for your business.

6 Stress Free Steps to Recover from a Google Penalty

A Google penalty is probably the worst thing that can happen to your business online – essentially it completely suppresses your website’s rankings on Google – it is a business killer!

Things your SEO company may have done to trigger a Google Penalty.

Low-Quality Links

The most common thing your SEO provider would have done would be to buy backlinks from a range of very low-quality websites. Many cheap SEO agencies who have no clue about SEO will buy these very low-quality backlinks en masse. Once Google indexes these spammy links, a Google penalty will follow.

Poor Content Marketing Strategy

Another common SEO technique used by so-called SEO companies is to get articles written at $2 per article and submit these to article sites. A big issue with this is that these article submission sites are allowed to resell published articles meaning that the articles that your website appears on will be open for anyone to use. They are scraped by other websites and your articles are reused. This means that the article which has your business name on it and this links back to your site could have very quickly gained hundreds if not thousands of links. This is classic over optimisation, in strict violation of Googles guidelines, and will certainly trigger an alert and in turn a website Google penalty. You must also be aware of the hazards of placing your link on blog comment sites. This is very easy to do and if the anchor text has been repeated on too many blog sites, then this will be perceived as trying to manipulate your page rank authority. Gaming the system in this fashion will also be a likely cause that could have penalised your site.

Spammy Articles

Lazy SEO companies wishing to impress you with fast rankings will get articles written by the truckload for your business. As stated above it costs next to nothing to get 500 words written but the issue is; what are they writing about and how unique is the article content? Google will know if the content is duplicated or if articles are very similar. If your business has had unprofessionally written content chances are that most of it is very similar and will trigger an alert within Google.

Toxic Backlinks

When contracting out an SEO supplier, most businesses will know very little or are quite naive about what is involved in the process. All they know is that they see their main competition on page 1 and they want to get there by any means available to them. The brief to the SEO company is just that: get us to page 1 and get us there quickly. Trying to impress the new client, backlinks are placed on websites with no value or relevance and they are placed by the thousands. The big issue here is that there was absolutely no audit carried out on the actual website itself to see if it passes the strict guidelines put in place by Google. Rather than rushing off and link building, the SEO team should have done a thorough site audit and made ‘on page’ site recommendations. Failure to do this means that the site might not comply with basic web standards and rules which may be the issue – bad web design can harm your SEO efforts.

Many business people are so concerned about saving a few dollars in the website design phase of their business, that they give the job to the company that can do it for the cheapest. Even worse they use open source platforms and try a DIY web design. This is where the problems begin. There is no thought given to site mandatories like site architecture, programming, web copy, speed, titles and headers, and what small amount they save at this stage is going to cost a whole lot more once the site has been hit with a Google penalty.

Be aware of Reciprocal Link Building. This is where one company promises to put a link on their website in return for a link on your site. Most times you provide a link to your high page rank homepage for an internal page link on their website. You end up with a bad end of the deal. These practices are frowned upon and were common practice in days gone by. Be aware that links to your website could be on other very dubious sites that may themselves be penalised.

How to Lift a Google Penalty

1. Stop Stressing

The first rule is not to panic. If your SEO company is not answering the phone, returning email messages or is denying all responsibility then you must stay calm. Going into a meltdown will only inflame the situation and you may end up doing things that you regret.

2. Google’s Webmaster Tools

Log into your webmaster tools account (if you haven’t got one sign up and create one) – it is here that you will see if there is any correspondence from Google regarding your site. If there are messages similar to what was posted above at least you know what the problem is.

Google webmaster tools will tell you if you have a penalty and if it’s a manual action or algorithmic penalty. Photo Credit: Google

3. Link Profile

You need to get an idea of your link profile. There are online tools that will do this for you, but if like most business owners, you have no idea about SEO or link building then this is going to perhaps be an area that will confuse you.

At this stage, it’s best to look at engaging the services of a professional company like Hopping Mad who can check your backlinking profile and see what the issue is. Given the Penguin and Panda Google updates it is more than likely that you are going to have to get all these links removed. You might think doing this is easy, but this is a huge task and is fundamental to getting out of the penalty. The owners of the websites that your links appear on, need to be contacted and asked to have these links removed.

This has a 50/50 success rate.

Sometimes website owners are happy and agreeable to remove your links BUT there is the other 50% who are either uncooperative or cannot be contacted. Many of these sites have no owners and try to see the site owners details but you will find that they are hidden. In this case, you are left with no alternative other than to hire a takedown team that specialises in link removal.

Once all this has been done and there are still some toxic links remaining you can use the Google Disavow tool which tells Google to ignore those remaining links and not count them as part of your linking profile. This is the last step and should only be done once you have proven to them that you have made every effort to get rid of the backlinks.

Tips for dealing with Google

Once you feel that you have done as much as you can in deleting backlinks and looking at all your on-page work you may write to Google by filing a request for reconsideration through your WMT account. This is the only way you are able to contact Google so make sure that you adhere to these rules in the Reconsideration Request.

  • Be specific and don’t ramble. Google will be getting thousands of emails every day so they do not want to read tons of information that is irrelevant.
  • Be as honest and as upfront as you can be. Never lie, and it’s best to let them know the names of the SEO companies you were working with. Being honest is the best tactic. Google wants to display websites that give the best search results and if your site is one of them and has been penalised due to factors beyond your control then they will know this and be a bit more lenient.
  • Take very specific notes about all the actions you have taken since receiving the penalty notice. Make note of all links and articles removed and clearly write them down in a spreadsheet.
  • File only one reconsideration and wait for the response. Sometimes this can take weeks but you have to be patient. Spamming Google with emails demanding answers is not the way to go. If you get a negative response from Google and they feel that you still have too many inorganic links then start all over again. Look at what links are still active and ask the takedown team to be more heavy-handed. You must continue to remove each and every backlink that you possibly can and never give up on this process. It’s really your best artillery in the battle against the penalty.

4. Website Design & Structure

You will need to look at your ‘on page’ website content and structure. As this was never taken into consideration by yourself or your web developers this is now a priority and needs addressing. Get them to look at site title tags, headers, links, and content. There might also be issues with link duplication or links that just don’t point anywhere, over optimised site content, keyword stuffing and wrong URL structure. All these points need to be looked at carefully and you might even end up trashing your current site and look at getting a new site designed and built for you properly from the beginning.

As you probably paid next to nothing for your original site these funds should happily be written off. This is an option you may want to consider and it might be easier for you to do this than make changes to an existing site that needs a lot of coding amends and restructuring. Compounding this, it might be impossible to make changes to your site if there is scrappy programming or if there is a proprietary content management system that you are unable to get access to or even understand. Many CMS systems are the domain of 1 particular company and making amends is next to impossible.

5. Stop all SEO efforts

Stop all SEO work that has been going on. In the case of a company that has disappeared this has been taken care of but if you are still in touch with your provider tell them to stop all work immediately. If you are under a contract with them then see out the contract but they must cease all work. If they are any good at what they are doing they will offer to help you out but since they are probably the culprits that got you into this position then you should look at cutting ties ASAP. Saying this they should provide you with a report of all their activity and everything that they have done for you, including each and every backlink so you can give this to your Google penalty recovery team.

6. Be smart and get a new SEO agency

Engaging a new SEO firm to help you get out of a penalty will mean that you now have to be looking at a new SEO strategy. This, however, cannot commence until you are in the clear. Be as honest as you can with your new SEO partner and take their advice.

In conclusion

This is really the first stage in getting your business out of the Google Penalty. If you have done nothing wrong and you believe that this has been the result of negative SEO techniques then you should be fine.

What you MUST not do is to try this on your own.

This article is intended only to give you some peace of mind that there are credible and proven solutions to a Google penalty.

If you feel that your website has been subjected to a Google Penalty and would like to work out a strategy to get your rankings back get in touch with one of our Google penalty removal experts.