Freelance Web Designer Scott Heron
I'll Give You Expert Level Web Design & Digital Marketing Services Bespoke To Your Needs That Will Turbocharge The Enquiries, Customers & Revenue Your Business Deserves. To Get Started, Simply Call 0131 564 0739 Or Email [email protected] Today!
"RELAX, You've Just Found The Ideal Freelance Web Designer For Your Business!"
“Scott has been instrumental with our success online. Prior to us working together, our website was struggling in terms of search position as well as traffic numbers. After having worked with us on this we are happy to say that now, we are pretty much dominating our target market and our online performance has improved significantly. I highly recommend Scott to any business out their looking to make it online.”Kenny Scott
Managing Director / La Favorita Ltd
“The level of professional website design & digital marketing we have received from Scott has been nothing short of exceptional. We feel that he has without doubt improved our websites visibility for all of our main areas and we at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange are reaping the benefits of all this work. I would be happy to recommend his services to other businesses out there looking to increase their own websites visibility.”
Managing Director / Edinburgh Corn Exchange
“Scott has been managing our website since it was created. He has steadily helped to improve our ranking for the selected keywords, achieving first page of google results and number one positions for us. Since undertaking this activity we have seen the quality of our web enquiries improve dramatically which has in turn resulted in more sales for our organisation. I would highly recommend Scott and his service and already plan to use him for our next website.”
Managing Director / Intelligent Point Of Sale (sales) Limited
“I would like to thank Scott Heron for all the work he has done to our site. Since we started with him our website has come from obscurity to page number one on Google in virtually no time at all. His comprehensive updates plotting our websites progress are easy to follow and clearly quantify the benefit of his services. I would highly recommend Scott to any business wanting to obtain a better web presence.”Derek Gibb
Director / James Gibb Management Ltd
“I employed Scott for about a year, specifically to initiate a design & marketing exercise on our main website. Having agreed a set of keywords with Scott, he set about optimising them in terms of Google searches. Scott’s efforts resulted in several keywords getting onto Google’s first page and a greater number of people hitting our company’s website. This was a successful and thoroughly professional exercise, well executed.”
International Marketing Director / Angus Dundee Distillers
“Xpress Recruitment have worked with Scott for several years now, when we initially decided as a company that we needed to invest in our overall search optimisation and website presence, we decided to consult with several locally based organisations, once we had met with Scott and we had outlined what we were looking to do and achieve – Scott, very quickly grasped the exactly remit and very quickly came back to Xpress with a clear map and solution as to how he could deliver to Xpress what they were looking to achieve in their goals and objectives by working in partnership with him. We have found over the years that this partnership with Scott has indeed been truly beneficial in helping in the continued growth and development of Xpress Recruitment.”Paul Wilson
Director / Xpress Recruitment
“If you are looking for digital marketing services I really can’t recommend Scott Heron highly enough. I found Scott very easy to work with, he handled me exceptionally well, and I can be a very demanding client to say the least! He is very upfront about exactly what he is going to do and what results you can expect. Above all Scott is passionate about digital marketing, and it shows! I contacted over a dozen companies before choosing Scott and now, over a year later, I’m still ranked number one by Google for my chosen keywords and the work Scott did is still bringing in new business. Working with Scott is without doubt the best decision I’ve ever made with regard to boosting my online presence.”Matt Lazenby
Owner / Lazenby PT
“Scott has been assisting our company achieve a top ranking in Google in what is quite a competitive marketplace. We have always been on the first couple of pages of Google and Yahoo, but with his expertise and skill we are now routinely in the top spot in both Search Engines. This is quite an achievement to get and remain in this position and we are now beginning to see the results with a greater number of enquiries coupled to sales is the proof. We can’t recommend Scott highly enough, his professionalism when undertaking this task has been superb, well worth the investment!”Dawn Lawson
Director / 1st Class Secretarial Services
“Thank you Scott for an incredibly productive day of SEO Training, it was excellent. Scott’s knowledge and experience in the SEO industry is second to none. SEO can be a confusing topic, but Scott is extremely patient and clear in his approach and he demystified many areas of SEO. I would highly recommend Scott to any business looking to get their web site ranking highly on the search engine results pages.”Andy Gillen
Owner / The Answer Centre
The benefits of having a website are plentiful.
First of all, a website is something that clients, and most certainly potential clients, expect. As you will know all too well, today’s market is increasingly competitive – without a website, you are effectively compromising your position.
Here are a few more of the advantages a website offers:
- An initial point of reference for new clients. As I’ve already spoken about, the internet is the starting point for the majority of people looking for a product or service. If a person is able to find your website, they will find access to all the information they need about your firm and will be able to make an informed decision about whether your services match their needs.
- A way to get ahead of the competition. A website is a commitment to growth and shows that you are proactive in your efforts to embrace new technology. It also provides you with a much-needed edge over the competition. Where search engines are concerned, to prospective clients a business with a website is always going to be more appealing than one without.
- Added value to clients. Through a website, you will be able to improve the way you interact with clients. Email provides you with an additional point of contact, while consultations and an increasing number of services can be offered over the Web, eliminating the need for a client to have to travel to your premises. As a direct result of this, you can also use a website to …
- Expand operations. Thanks to the internet, distance is no longer the barrier it once was. While local clients will always be the backbone of your business, advice and services can be offered to a wider audience, across counties and across borders.
- Cost-effective promotion. A website is a brilliant marketing tool that can be promoted for free across search engines and social media. Moreover, the more exposure your website gets, the more clients you will get through the door.
As you can see, a website can do so much for your business. However, you can only reap these benefits if your site gives the user what they want.
In an ideal world, you will be able to make a website in minutes and start dealing with new leads immediately.
Unfortunately, it does not work like this – if it did, everyone would be doing it.
While it is easier than ever to get online with a website, enjoying success requires a particular type of site – one that combines aesthetically appealing design with rewarding user experience and informative, engaging content, and then markets it all in a way that encourages not only visits, but also client investment.
Web Design & Digital Marketing 101: Design, content, and marketing – the three fundamental components of a successful website.
You will never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
In Web design, as with anything in life, first impressions count. As a business owner, you have to make a good first impression on a client in order for them to invest and trust in you as a person and your services.
They say that when meeting a person for the first time, there is a seven-second window in which to form a first impression. Web developers would love to have that sort of time frame!
1. The Importance Of Web Design And The Effect It Has On Your Visitor
2. Quality Content On Your Website Is A Must
The Way Your Site Is Designed Can Make Or Break Your Business
So now that you understand why you need a website and the business advantages you will gain from creating an online presence. It is now time to talk a little bit more on effective web design.
I have now looked at the importance of a website and why your business needs one. I also covered, albeit briefly, the three main aspects of an effective website: design, content and marketing.
I’m going to now delve deeper into the wonderful world of Web design, looking closely at why it is important and what goes into creating a site that appeals to users and turns visitors into paying customers.
Your website is like a virtual showroom
The place where people come to look around, hoping to be impressed with what they see and find whatever it is they are looking for. Your homepage is like the reception desk of this showroom – the first thing that the person will typically see when they visit.
Now, the reception is key in making customers feel welcome and comfortable in their surroundings. It is clean, well presented and manned by happy, courteous staff that go out of their way to make sure customers have an enjoyable experience and are able to find everything they need with minimum fuss.
In order to maximise your potential and increase leads and conversions, you have to make your website the best showroom around and your homepage the friendly, cheerful face that greets the customer when they arrive.
Previously, I mentioned the importance of making a good first impression and how time is very much against you in doing this. You only have a fraction of a second to impress a visitor; if they do not instantly like what they see when they land on your website, there’s a strong chance that you have lost them for good – to your competitors.
When it comes to effective Web design, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the words of the late, great Steve Jobs: “Design is not just what it looks and feels like, design is how it works.”
How good your website looks and how easy it is to use is judged, not by you, but by those that use your site. Every aspect of your website, down to the finest detail, has to be geared towards the customer and making that all-important good first impression.
There are ten principles that go into making a website visually attractive, engaging, and easy to use, and each one is critical to a successful product. These are:
- Load time
- Grid-based layout
- ‘F’ pattern design
- Mobile friendliness
Let us look at each one of these principles in greater depth.
You will already know the purpose of your business; otherwise, you wouldn’t have arrived at where you are today. Good website design requires you to take this purpose and give it to customers on the internet.
Business websites are different to social media and entertainment websites in that people will very rarely visit your site randomly. They will be coming to you for a reason – usually because you have appeared in a list of search results based on what they are looking for.
So what are they looking for – information, interaction, transaction? Whatever it is, you have to make sure they find it as quickly as possible.
Every page on your website has to have a clearly defined purpose and be able to fulfil a specific need efficiently and effectively. You need to be mindful of this purpose throughout the design of your site.
Communication is something I will be talking about in more detail later, but it is a principle that cannot be overlooked in web design.
The internet has become an information super highway. People want to digest as much information as they can, as quickly and as easily as possible. Therefore, it is essential that you are clearly able give them what they seek.
The design of your website will play a key role in pointing people towards information. This will be done using menus and submenus, categories and tags. A visitor must always be able to get from A to B in as few clicks as possible, which brings us nicely onto the next principle …
In a study by leading internet-marketing resource, Econsultancy, more than nine out of ten respondents agreed with the statement “good user experience just makes sense.” You can spend as much time and money in creating and commissioning content for your website as you like, but if a user cannot find it, they can’t read it.
Navigation is all about how easy it is for people to move around your website. A visitor does not want to have to work hard in finding the information they need, and nor should they. The more effort they have to put in, the quicker they will lose interest – and lost interest means lost revenue for you.
There is an unwritten rule in Web design that most people follow and that is that a user should be able to get to their desired location within three clicks.
You cannot just expect people to automatically understand how your website is organised, so you need to make it as simple as possible for them to get around. As with communication, this comes from good organisation and the use of primary and secondary navigation, menus, clickable buttons and breadcrumbs, which allow a user to retrace their steps from the homepage to a page they are currently viewing.
When considering navigation, it is important that you are not too hung up about your homepage. If your site has multiple pages, then there’s a good chance search engines will rank these pages simultaneously, meaning people can access your website in many ways. Because of this, every page will need to be well organised to encourage further exploration.
4. Load Time
Most people that use the Web are notoriously impatient, and that probably includes you and me. A website that does not load quickly is a huge turn-off – one that is guaranteed to result in lost revenue.
Forty per cent of people will abandon a webpage if it takes more than three seconds to load, and the change in a website bounce rate spikes when a page takes four seconds or more to load. If people are made to wait for eight seconds or more to explore your page, the bounce rate increases further still!
Just a one second delay in page response can result in a seven per cent reduction in conversions. Slow websites create a poor user experience and a poor user experience is basically free advertising for your competitors.
Loading times will also affect an AdWords Quality Score and search engine ranking. Page Speed is included in Google’s ranking algorithm on both desktop and mobile and can be the difference in how two websites of equal authority and relevance are listed in search engine results pages.
However you look at it, there is no place for a slow website. In order to ensure a page loads quickly, all images must be optimised in size and scale, and hosting servers must be efficient and reliable.
Colours influence us all; warm colours such as red and yellow invoke reactions of cheerful optimism and excitement, while cool colours such as green or blue promote honesty and peace.
Colour certainly has a psychological effect on the user and this is something that every website must take into account. Colours should always be chosen in a way that suits the subject of the website, always with the mood of the user in mind.
A well thought out palette goes a long way in helping to enhance the user experience. If you look at some of the most successful websites, they all use colours that create harmony and balance. White space is often used to create a modern, orderly look, while contrasting colours for text and background are essential in promoting a positive reading experience.
Some colours, such as those linked to emotion should never be overused. These work best when used sparingly on buttons or to encourage a call to action.
Colour is a very powerful weapon in Web design. The colour of a website is the first thing a visitor sees and the last thing they remember.
‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ – an overused phrase, I know, but how you use images on your website will have a significant impact on its success. The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text and 40 per cent of people respond better to images, so embracing them definitely makes sense.
The use of images and their benefits as a type of content is something we will look at in greater detail later, however, the use of photos in prominent positions on your website can help greatly in appealing to your audience.
The best way to sell anything is to give it the opportunity to sell itself. Say for example, your business sells kitchens. A striking photo of one of your kitchens fitted in a customer’s home featured prominently on your homepage will sell more than any description. That is why so many e-commerce websites – eBay and Amazon being good examples – are image heavy.
Good corporate photos of you and your team can also be hugely rewarding. A customer is much more likely to trust a business if they can put a face to the name.
On average, 95 per cent of a website is filled with content. Typography is the art of displaying this content in the best possible light.
For obvious reasons, typography is often used interchangeably with font. However, while both are equally important in Web design, typography is much more of a science – one that requires the correct choice of typeface, colour, line length, point size, layout, and design integration.
However, it is not all about creating the prettiest designs. Typography has a huge influence over the way a visitor will judge a website. Think about your own internet habits … Whenever you visit a website, you can often tell from the first glance whether the message is fun, serious or corporate, simply by looking at the typography.
In a world where first impressions count for everything, websites are defined by the logo or heading at the top of the page. The way in which typography is used can be the difference in a customer sticking around or hotfooting it over to the competition.
Content, as I will get into more detail later, is hugely influential in building a great website. Nevertheless, it is nothing on its own. It has to be well presented and look attractive to the reader.
Great typography cannot turn bad content into good content, but it can work wonders in making the reader feel compelled to read it, by straightening, tidying, and maintaining consistency throughout the site.
8. Grid-Based Layout
Web users like structure; it is cleaner, tidier, and easier to digest. Content that is spread randomly across a site is a huge turn off and gives an unprofessional impression. A grid-based layout is the most commonly used, and, indeed, most successful, Web design technique.
A grid-layout offers visually appealing simplicity. People like to view content that is arranged into columns; this has been proven over the years with newsletters, photographs, and movies formatted for widescreen viewing. Columns encourage the user to focus on the content.
A grid layout can be created before any of the content is added to the site, allowing the dimensions, columns, and horizontal elements to be designed in advance. This allows a site to maximise its potential in terms of navigation and allows the most important content to be positioned so that it can be viewed without scrolling.
9. F-Pattern Design
Successful Web design always puts the needs of the user first, and this means building a website that gives in to their natural viewing behaviours. In studies of eye movements, scientists have identified that people scan computer screens in an ‘F’ pattern, with most of the content seen featured at the top and left of the screen.
Your website should never try and force the visual flow of the viewer; instead, it should work in harmony with their natural behaviour in ensuring information is displayed from left to right and top to bottom in order of importance. This is why so many websites you see feature sidebars at the right side of the screen.
Most visitors & users will not read each and every word on a page. If you have something to say, say it at the top.
10. Mobile Friendliness
Seven in ten people in the UK own a smartphone and almost two-thirds own a tablet. Mobile is a platform you simply cannot afford to ignore.
How you appear on mobile will be a determining factor in your success. 48 per cent of users say that if they arrive on a business site that is not working well on mobile, they take it as an indication of a business simply not caring.
Another telling statistic is the fact that 46 per cent of mobile users report having difficultly interacting with a webpage and 44% complain navigation was difficult.
This indicates two things: that businesses are not trying hard enough on mobile; and that there is an opportunity for you to outperform the competition.
Mobile websites can be built from the bottom up or, more commonly, rebuilt using responsive web design – a process that involves developing one site that automatically adjusts to suit the platform of the user.
Forty-eight per cent of people cite web design as the number one factor is deciding the credibility of a business and 94 per cent cite the design as being the reason they mistrust or reject a website. These ten principles can be used to help craft a website that appeals to your target audience, increasing traffic and engagement and, ultimately benefiting your bottom line.
And with the design in place, thoughts can begin to turn to the holy grail of successful business websites … content.
The Importance of Website Content
Lets now take an in-depth look at content and how it can help your business realise its online potential.
So far I have discussed Web design and went over, in depth, each of the elements required for building an effective website. By implementing each of those elements, you will have everything in place to create the perfect user experience for your visitors, in terms of aesthetics, navigation, and design consistency.
Spending time building a website is great, but all of that hard work is only worth it if you invest as much time into creating content.
People that come to visit your business online will be encouraged by a fast loading website and eye-catching typography, but that’s not why they are coming.
Nobody visits a website simply to marvel at your use of an image slider or to see whether you have opted for a three or five-pixel bevel. They come in search of information.
It sounds a bit ruthless, especially given all that we have covered so far, but without content your website is nothing.
Back in 1996, Bill Gates wrote what is arguably the most influential sentence in the history of the internet – “Content is king”. Today, that sentence is cliché, but you should never dismiss it because it’s true.
Content is king and delivering great content is one of the hardest thing to do.
While a website is vital in ensuring a pleasant user experience, content is the real driving force behind any successful online business. It is central to your internet marketing campaign and is almost single-handedly responsible for driving traffic, building trust, enhancing reputation, and positioning your business as a leader in its niche.
When it comes to producing great content (I keep mentioning ‘great’ because, as I’ll get onto soon, anything less is not an option), there are two paths you can go down: produce the content yourself or outsource it.
You might choose to produce your own content, and I’m definitely not against you doing so – it is cheaper, and who knows your business and its products or services better than you, right?
However, you need to be very confident in your ability as a writer – knowing how to speak to your audience in a way that engrosses and compels them, with words that encourage them to invest in whatever it is you have to offer.
If you have even the smallest bit of doubt in your mind – outsource. Find a writer or agency with a proven track record of producing content that gets results.
Writing is easy, writing well, is not. Content writers are familiar with what words to use to grab the attention of readers and know exactly how to structure content in a way that drives traffic and increases leads.
Whether you intend on creating your own content or hiring someone such as myself, it is still important that you know what is required to make content stand out.
When I was discussing Web design, I looked at the ten essential elements needed to create an effective website. Well, creating effective content has a few key elements too – nine of them, in fact:
- Strong headlines
- Actionable content
Content, particularly that which is written (around 95 per cent of your total content, on average), must embrace each one of these ingredients in order for it be considered great. Let us look at each element, starting from the top.
If you can produce original content, search engines will be more than happy to reward you for your efforts. Google has a no tolerance approach to duplicate content and makes it very clear that it will penalise any website it finds guilty of plagiarism.
With every Google algorithm update comes greater focus on quality, and those falling short of the search engine’s increasingly high-standards will pay the price.
Originality is not just about producing content in your own words, though – it is about producing content from your own ideas.
If you do not have anything useful to say, don’t say it. Repeating the same concepts is not going to get you anywhere – people will become bored in a hurry.
Be original, be creative, and do not be afraid to make a point … as long as it’s useful!
2. Strong Headlines
Headlines are pivotal to your content. In one of many famous quotes, advertising godfather David Ogilvy once said:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
What he means by this is that you should never overlook the title of your work. Spend as much time as it takes to craft the perfect headline.
The following statistics from copywriting advice resource Copyblogger, back up the point Ogilvy was making:
- 80 per cent of people will read your headlines;
- Only 20 per cent will read the rest.
If you are reading this then chances are you make up the 20%. As much as it hurts me to know that the time it has taken myself to research and write this guide, the majority of people who download it wont read it.
But its not all doom and gloom as the 20% that do read your material will be a lot more receptive to your marketing efforts and will become a better customer for it.
Headline copy is one of the most impactful elements for lead generation and it is essential that it’s able to draw in readers.
A good headline needs to:
Be value-centric – Featuring a central message that piques interest and promotes the benefit the reader will get from reading more.
Be specific and upfront about your accomplishments – If nine out of ten people recommend your product, tell the reader. However, do not think about lying; people can smell a rat from a mile way.
Use Sub-Headlines – These are brilliant for adding detail and clarity to the headline. Sub-headlines can also be used effectively throughout content to break up segments and concepts.
Summarise the content that follows – headlines have to let the reader know what the article is about. Do not use a headline to tell a reader one thing and proceed to talk about something completely different in the article.
Be Compelling – Always give the reader something to be curious about. Capture their attention with the headline and use the rest of the article to convince them.
People will decide to read content based on the headline alone. Do not disappoint them.
If you need to find the answer to something, how do you do it? If you are anything like me, most likely by typing the question into Google.
It is the search engine’s job to produce answers and it will do this by providing the user with a host of links, images, and videos. You could be one of those links.
If someone is clicking through to your website in search of answers, they will want to find them fast. Your content will need to do this by being clearly laid out and easily digestible.
The information you provide must also be factually correct, otherwise the answer a reader is looking for will be of no use – which brings us nicely on to the next element…
Writing informative, engaging content is the best way to build your reputation online – people gain knowledge from your articles and begin to trust you as a thought leader.
Now, imagine you published a blog post that wasn’t completely accurate. Think of the impact this could have on your company, the damage it could cause.
Every piece of content you produce is a reflection of your brand – people will judge your entire company on the quality of your content.
Every quote or statistic that you publish must be able to be verified with a highly respected source. Quality sources from authoritative websites will go a long way to helping you build trust, and the more you are able to backup what you write about, the more respected you will become.
5. Actionable Content
Great content gives users the information they need and provides them with advice on how to use it. If you are able to demonstrate your expertise on a particular topic, telling the reader what to do will not degrade them – it will help them and they will respect you for it.
As your reputation grows, people will come to you to learn and better themselves.
Actionable content can be applied across articles, blog post, videos, social media, pay-per-click – anything.
An effective article or blog post is one that is able to capture the attention of the audience and have them hanging on your every word. Each sentence must provide a gateway to the next so that readers are compelled to read on.
Engaging an audience starts with what you write. The topic of the post must be relevant to your industry and in line with current trends. Engaging content will typically leave the reader with questions. Not in a way that confuses them or leaves them feeling unfulfilled, but in a way that makes them reflect on what they have just read and ponder how to put their newly gained knowledge into practice.
You need to hook readers immediately with a well-written and hard-hitting introduction. People that read beyond the headline will typically make their mind up about whether a blog post is of interest to them within the first few sentences.
Make them count!
Make it immediately clear what you are writing about and tell readers why they will benefit from sticking around. A good way to do this is by weaving an anecdote into your post. People love a good story – they are engaging and brilliant at getting a point across.
The end goal is to create content that encourages interaction. The more comments and shares you get, the greater the exposure for your business. In addition, Google loves popular content.
Long blog posts have been shown to perform better when it comes to lead generation, but a high word count does not always make great content.
As I have already mentioned, people like information fast – they do not have time for a rambler, especially one that continues to digress from the main point.
The best performing content is that which eliminates the fluff. Writing filler just to push an article over the 1,000-word mark does not work. What works is a post that is brief and to the point. Keeping an article short is often a more difficult task than stretching it out, but getting rid of the bits that are not needed will certainly serve you better in the long run.
Word count doesn’t matter, particularly in a market that is increasingly dominated by mobile Web browsing.
Ninety per cent of shoppers at a major online retailer’s website said they find video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions.
According to the Online Publishers Association, 80 per cent of people recall watching a video on a website they visited in the past 30 days.
But wait, that’s not all …
- Forty per cent of people respond better to visual information than plain text; and
- Viewers spend 100 per cent more time on pages with videos on them.
In the Web design section, I mentioned a fact: that the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. This probably gives you some idea why visual content is so popular with users.
While the written word will always be at the forefront of your content marketing efforts, you would be a fool not to incorporate visuals.
Whether you use videos, pictures, pie charts or infographics, everyone benefits from visual content. Looking at endless blocks of text on a computer screen is uninspiring for the reader – throw in some relevant videos and images and your content will instantly become more valuable.
Regardless of what you are writing about, there is always a piece of visual content to suit.
The most effective websites are the ones that use blogs to publish regular content. The more good content you publish, the more successful your business will be. It’s as simple as that.
Now, committing to a blog takes a lot of effort. Far too often, businesses will create a blog with the best of intentions, only to abandon it after a few posts.
If you cannot write regularly yourself, employ somebody that can. Keeping a blog updated is great for attracting new readers and turning them into customers. Not only this, search engines appreciate regular content and will promote them over sites that neglect blogging duties.
How often should you update your content? That’s really up to you. However, you should definitely make an effort to publish more than once a week.
Types of Content
Companies that blog get 55 per cent more traffic and generate 67 per cent more leads than those that do not.
Therefore, it makes sense to keep things ticking over nicely. To keep things fresh you should explore as many different content types as possible when creating your blog. The variety of content is endless, but here’s an idea of the types you should be considering:
Infographics are everywhere at the moment and are liked and shared on social media up to three times more often than other content. If you are not familiar with the term, an infographic is basically information presented in a visual way. The viral potential of this content type is huge, but you will need the skills of a graphic designer.
Social media loves memes. They are simple to make, humorous and, most importantly, viral. Memes are not ideal website or blog content, but they are perfect for Facebook and Twitter.
Guides are long and very detailed articles that are designed to teach the reader. For example, ‘A Consumer’s Guide to Buying a Second Hand Car’. They can be extremely popular and are great for helping to promote thought leadership.
A good way to promote guides is to offer them as PDF downloads, maybe bundled in with newsletters for subscribers.
Reviews are simply you giving your take on something such as a book, movie, or new gadget. These are also great for helping to establish yourself as a leading authority in your particular niche.
A carefully researched and well thought out opinion post is wonderful for engagement. Everyone has an opinion; some will share your viewpoint, others will not – that’s the beauty of this type of content. If you want comments and shares, don’t be afraid to rant.
Identify a problem and provide the solution – that’s the idea of a how-to content. The long tail search potential of these posts are excellent, but that’s something we will save for later.
‘5 Ways to…’, ‘10 of the Best’ – everyone enjoys a list. You really can’t go wrong with this type of content. Whether it’s a list of three or a list of 100, people will always be tempted to read more.
This content is designed to explain what your product or service is, and show how it has helped a client. If you are selling to other businesses, a case study can be a real deal closer.
Free ebooks are another great way to get people to sign up to mailing lists and can help to strengthen your authority in a field. You need to make sure you have enough content to make it book worthy, which can be challenging, but the benefits are plentiful.
A press release is a written statement to the media. If you have a new product or service to promote, or have some exciting news regarding your business, you should say it with a press release. These are a fundamental part of PR and a great way to gain press attention.
Finally, and we couldn’t end this presentation without giving it one final mention – videos. We have discussed the benefits – make them happen.
Content is the driving force behind your business and will have the biggest say in whether you succeed or fail in your online endeavors.
Nevertheless, simply producing content is no way of guaranteeing success. People have to read it, and for them to do this takes marketing.
Not Investing In Website Marketing? Enjoy Becoming Extinct …
Hi, good to see you’ve made it this far. Thanks for sticking with it; I’m confident that you will have learned a lot of new stuff from the previous sections that will give you the knowledge needed to build an effective website and fill it with hard-hitting content.
Before I dive head first into this next section, let us look at where we are at so far.
In the first section, I spoke about the need for an effective website and touched upon the what key fundamentals of creating one are. In the second section, I focused on Web design and what elements are required for putting together a website that appeals to both humans and search engines, and which covered functionality, aesthetics, and speed.
In the third section the theme was content. In that guide I covered, in depth, the essential ingredients needed to create quality content and what types of content work best in resonating with readers.
With a website and content in place, your business has everything needed to achieve online success. Now all you need to do is market it.
I’m sure you are already well aware of the importance of marketing a business – you may have even already had some success in promoting business offline, in the real world. As more and more businesses choose to take their operations online, internet marketing becomes increasingly influential.
The digital marketing industry is currently worth well over $62 billion and continues to grow at an exponential rate. Embracing it is critical to your business success.
The potential of online marketing knows no bounds. Let us look at some of the reasons why it is so important to your business.
The whole reason for internet marketing is to increase product awareness. People that visit search engines or social media seeking a product or service as the ones offered by you will come across your name and logo and become interested in what you have to offer. Through various types of marketing, your brand can been seen by people from across the world and immediately associated with a company that can be trusted.
You have built a website and filled it with content so that people can find your products and services online.
Your website is the station and internet marketing is the train that brings the passengers – the more people that you have passing through your station, the better the likelihood of you attracting interest and closing sales.
Speaking of closing sales, that is your ultimate goal. By marketing online, consumers are given a more convenient way to shop. By taking away the need to physically visit a physical location, people are more likely to buy on impulse, which means more money in your pocket.
As a small business, you may not have the money to spend on glitzy television adverts or giant billboards. You need to be a little more mindful of your marketing budget and a little more strategic in how you invest your cash. Internet marketing is one of the most cost-efficient advertising methods there is. You do not have to spend a penny marketing your business online if you don’t want to. Organic listings in Google and social media – the two most influential marketing platforms – are both completely free.
Unlike your brick and mortar premises, a website makes you available to consumers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means that buyers are not restricted by store opening times and lifestyles that prevent physical shopping.
Through your website and social media accounts, it becomes easier for customers to keep in touch. It also gives you a new way to reach consumers and build stronger relationships.
If someone is searching for a business online, he or she expects to find a website. As I’ve already mentioned, not having a website in this day and age is unacceptable. Maintaining an online presence through good marketing allows you to keep up with the times and cater to consumer needs round the clock.
So that’s the importance of internet marketing summed up; now how do you set about implementing a strategy?
There are dozens of ways to market your website online, but every method and technique must be built from the solid foundation of the three fundamentals:
- search engine optimisation
- content marketing
- social media marketing
Get these foundations in place and you will be well on your way to establishing your website as a leading performer in its niche.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation, or SEO, transcends internet marketing. When people think about promoting their business online, SEO is usually the first thing that comes to mind.
It is also the thing that marketers will spend the most time trying to perfect, and for good reason.
The top spot of Google is like the summit of Everest – everyone wants to get there, but only a few ever will.
In the first guide, I mentioned a statistic: 93 per cent of all online experiences start at a search engine.
That stat alone sums up why SEO is so influential, but here’s a few more just reaffirm the point:
- The top listing in Google’s organic search results receives 33 per cent of the traffic
- 75 per cent of users never scroll past the first page
- 70 per cent of the links clicked by users on Google are organic (unpaid)
- Search is the number one driver of traffic to content websites, beating social by 300 per cent
- SEO leads have on average a close rate of 14.6 per cent, while outbound leads such as print advertising have a close rate of 1.7 per cent.
As these statistics clearly show, SEO has to be at the forefront of your marketing efforts. Fortunately, by providing great content, you are already well on your way to reaching the peak of the Google mountain.
A solid SEO strategy is built around good content structured to include relevant keywords, and by this, I mean keywords that are related to your business.
In the past, search engine rankings were based on keyword placement, density and how many times a keyword was used to link to a page. However, Google’s algorithm updates – first Panda, then Penguin and most recently Hummingbird – have changed how keywords are used.
Using the old methods, people were easily able to manipulate the search engines and produce content that was stuffed keywords but had little or no relevance to the reader. Google’s new focus on quality does not allow that.
Keywords now have to appear in content naturally, rather than being shoehorned in. The content must always appeal to the reader first and the search engine second.
If you are producing the sort of content I talked about in the last section, there is a good chance that most of your articles and blog posts will already feature the necessary keywords without you even having noticed.
Google’s main objective is to deliver results that best match the users search. Hummingbird has allowed it to do this by understanding the relationships among topics, videos, and themes, and how these all relate to each other. Search is more sophisticated than ever, so stuffing and density have become irrelevant as a result.
Keywords today are more conversational in nature. They are now the tools used to discover and uncover user intent, and every word in a query is important.
Performing keyword research to identify what users are searching and what terms you should be targeting is still important, but your focus should be on creating content that addresses issues and solves problems.
Produce good content on a regular basis that is easy to read and encourages sharing and backlinks (links your website receives from other webpages to indicate its popularity), and search engines will reward you for it.
In terms of placement, you should look to place keywords in titles, descriptions, and alt tags in images – just make sure that you do it naturally.
SEO can be a time consuming process at first and it can be a while before you see the sort of results you expect, but it is important that you stick with it.
Content marketing has been used to great effect in building brands and inspiring confidence long before Tim Berners-Lee was even born. Newspapers and magazines have been using this marketing technique to great effect for years. As sales of old media diminish, these very same newspapers and magazines are putting their skills to good use online.
Content marketing used to be all about the promotion of articles, but the field has now expanded to include everything from blog posts to videos. Remember all of those different types of content I spoke about in the last section? All of those can be included in a content marketing strategy.
When it comes to promoting your content online and having people trace it back to your website, there is one fundamental rule: quality.
This is the fourth section in this guide now and I’ve mentioned quality in every one. Quality is everything in content marketing. Readers will not accept anything less and if humans do not like something, search engines definitely won’t.
Content marketing is all about putting together the sort of error-free, factual, engaging copy that I introduced you to in the last section.
One of the most effective way of doing this is through guest blogging.
Following Google’s Hummingbird update, many marketers began to move away from guest blogging, fearing that a history of low quality content aimed solely at attracting backlinks had ruined it for everyone.
This was a mistake.
Yes, Google’s Matt Cutts has told everyone to stop guest blogging for SEO purposes and his company has waged war on aggressive marketers, but Google has never said anyone should stop producing content for guest blogs. Rather, make sure that the content being marketed is valuable and featured on reputable websites.
Guest blogging, and indeed content marketing as a whole, needs to be done for exposure, branding, increased reach, and community.
Forty-six per cent of people read blogs more than once a day, so if you can identify highly reputable websites in your niche that allow guest blogging, by all means approach them with some top-notch content.
Social Media Marketing
The third and final foundation of successful internet marketing is social media.
Social media is what brings search engine optimisation and content marketing together and it has quickly become the most popular way of sharing content.
Whatever type of content you produce, social media should be the first place you go to share it. Google now uses social network popularity as a ranking factor so having a healthy presence across a range of different sites will help push your website towards that cherished number one spot in search engine results pages.
Research shows that people are more likely to trust content that is shared from a person they know, and on social media, people know a lot of other people. Sharing your content with ten people can easily result in it being seen by ten thousand – the audience potential of social media knows no bounds.
Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are the big three sites to be on, but do not limit yourself to these channels. Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, and Vine all encourage sharing.
In order to market your content effectively you will need to take the time to interact with your fans and your community. Too many marketers get caught up in the belief that success is based on how many followers you have; hence the reason why countless services have sprung up offering to sell you 10,000 fans.
Effective marketing is a case of quality (there’s that word again) over quantity. You have to show the people that do follow and like your page that you are accessible and willing to answer questions or deal with complaints.
Run your social media accounts in a professional manner and people will soon begin to trust you. Additionally, you should make sure the content you share is interesting rather than promotional. If you have something to promote – which I have no doubt you will at some point – make sure you do it in an interesting way.
So, those are the three fundamental elements that a solid online marketing strategy must be built on. Understand and use these as the groundwork of your campaign and you will be able to effectively market your website.
With those elements in place, let us look at a few other useful ways to market your website.
Pay Per Click
Pay Per Click, or PPC, advertising is paid advertising that can be used to great effect to bring relevant traffic to your website. PPC ads are those advertisements that feature on your Facebook wall or at the top and to the right of Google search results, as well as on selected websites in the Google Display Network (websites that are affiliated with Google).
PPC works by you paying a fixed price for every click your ad gets in the search engine. Your goal after that is to turn a click into a conversion. Google AdWords & Facebook are the most popular PPC platforms and has no minimum spending requirement. You simply choose your keywords and phrases and they will help get your ads in front of your audience.
Retargeting ads make use of tracking cookies to place ads on search engines and websites to encourage visitors to come back to your site. This marketing tactic works best on people that come to your site but leave without having purchased anything and gives them a gentle reminder of what they are missing.
Ninety-eight per cent of your traffic consists of people that visit your page without converting. Email marketing is used as a way to engage those people and give them a few compelling reasons why your products and services can benefit them. This type of marketing is one of the oldest internet marketing tactics there is and has been used for years with great success. Show people what they are missing and provide them with a reason to come back.
YouTube not only harnesses the power of video, which I spoke about in each of the previous sections, it allows you to advertise on other people’s videos by targeting ads that are relevant to your business. A video does not always have to go viral (although that certainly does help); as long as it includes a call to action and a link to your website, the traffic will come.
So there you have it. It has been a long old journey, but hopefully a beneficial one. From not having a website and knowing of no reason to invest in one, you now have all the information you need to create an online presence and successfully market your business on the internet.
Thank you for staying put for so long and I hope that this guide will help play some role in the future of your business.
Web Design Edinburgh 101: Closing Thoughts
First of all, I would like to thank you for making it this far, you deserve a pat on the back!
As an Edinburgh web designer and digital marketing professional and I’d like the opportunity to address the benefits of WordPress web design for your business, whether you currently use WordPress or some other content management system (CMS).
In fact, what I want to share with you is applicable for websites that don’t use a CMS at all:
Sites built with WordPress get results – but only if they are designed properly!
WordPress is, by far, the most popular CMS on the market…
…It’s used by business owners, bloggers, non-profits, and just about every kind of entity you can think of.
You should be using it too if you want a website that is easy to maintain but still capable of getting excellent results.
For the record, 74.6 million websites around the world were powered by WordPress as of 2014. Those sites generated 37 million keyword searches per month.
Is your website among them? If not, it should be. And I can help make it happen.
As a freelance web designer and online marketing consultant. I can help you achieve your online goals by working with you to create a WordPress website capable of generating a lot of traffic and subsequent sales.
The hard-core web coders insist that building a website with WordPress is not real web development…
But so what?
Your goal as a business owner is to have a site that reaches your customers and sells your products or services.
How you get there is irrelevant.
it’s irrelevant EXCEPT for the investment in time and finances required.
The big problem with hard-coded websites is that they cost a lot of money to produce – money you may not have as a small business owner…
…They also require you to keep paying a web development company for expensive regular updates.
WordPress solves both of those problems!
Using WordPress to build your site from scratch saves time because everything is built on databases and CSS templates.
There is no hard coding involved. Anyone who can use a word processor can put together a very nice WordPress site with very little effort.
Updating is just as easy…
…I can build your WordPress site from scratch and then turn over all maintenance and updates to you.
if you prefer, I can handle everything entirely. The point is, it will be cost effective because we are using WordPress rather than hard coding everything.
We Will Work Together
You are the ultimate owner of your website, not me.
Therefore, you need to be involved in the process of designing and maintaining it…
…In essence, we will work together to create something we can both be proud of.
For the record, I’m not a newbie with limited experience in a few WordPress templates.
I’m an experienced online marketer, SEO provider, and freelance website designer with years of experience working with companies you may already be familiar with.
I would be honoured to add you to my client list.
All we need to get started is a great idea and a willingness to see your business succeed…
…We can work with an existing template or create one from scratch.
Moreover, we can choose from literally thousands of plug-ins that can enhance your website with everything from chat boxes to interactive polls to automated SEO tools.
Your Website Will Benefit And So Will Your Business!
As an experienced online marketer, freelance web designer and SEO expert I know that the only thing that matters to you are the results.
Your website will benefit from experience-driven WordPress design.
Check out the following:
- More Traffic – WordPress sites already generate tremendous traffic. A well-designed site with built-in SEO will do even better.
- Better User Experience – User experience is key to keeping visitors on your site. Together, we can create a WordPress site that maximises user experience.
- Better Conversion Rates – WordPress is ideal for managing content that directly reaches your customers. When content is managed well, conversion rates go up.
- Customer Interaction – WordPress is also the ideal platform to encourage your customers to interact with you. I can teach you how, whether you hire me for maintenance and updates or do them on your own.
- Ease-Of-Use – There is no guarantee you and I will work together forever. The best thing about WordPress is that it’s so easy to use. Even if we part ways, you will be able to keep using WordPress just as you would a word processor. it’s just that simple!
You want results.
Otherwise, you wouldn’t be wasting your time trying to put together a website.
The truth is, we have something in common. You want results … and I know how to produce them with WordPress.
don’t let your current website continue to languish due to poor design and functionality…
…Let us upgrade your site with a unique WordPress design that fits your company to a tee.
If you don’t have a website yet, let’s build one from the ground up. In no time at all, you’ll be reaching your target audience and growing your business.
Not Sure WordPress Really Works?
It’s understandable that you might think what I have to say is nothing more than fanciful marketing claims designed to get you to commit.
I would never do that, but I don’t expect you to take my word for it. So check out the following FACTS:
- WordPress is five times more popular among business sites than news sites
- As of June 2013, WordPress had been downloaded 46 million times
- WordPress boasts more than 29,000 plug-ins
- The WordPress.com website gets more unique visitors than Amazon
- WordPress sites account for 22% of all new domain registrations
The fact that so many individuals, businesses, and organisations are using WordPress should say something.
It does. In fact, it says a lot.
WordPress is extremely popular because it’s designed for people like you and me…
…It’s intended to make building a great website as easy as possible so that you’re not spending ridiculous sums of money you don’t need to spend.
You might be wondering how a WordPress site can be as good as one hard-coded. Well, it comes down to the underlying code.
The same code that powers the expensive hard-coded website also powers WordPress.
it’s just that WordPress is a CMS that delivers that code already in place.
Designing a new site is about inputting the information your users will see. This saves you time and money across the board.
Think of it as the difference between riding a horse and driving a car…
…Plenty of people resisted the car at the turn of the 20th century. After all, horses did the job just fine. But why stick with the horse when a car accomplishes the same thing faster, more conveniently and less expensively?
I choose to work with WordPress because it lets me help my customers while not charging them a fortune.
My customers love WordPress because they get quality websites that achieve results, at a fraction of the price charged by web design agencies.
Look, if WordPress didn’t work as well as hard-coded websites for business purposes, there would not be nearly 75 million active WordPress sites now in existence.
So Here’s What I Can Do for You
My WordPress web design service is focused on achieving your goals as a business owner…
…I want you to succeed online. Moreover, my goal is the same whether you need a new site from scratch, or you want to update an existing site.
When we work together on your site, I will:
- Design a site that is visually attractive
- Design a site that is productive
- Be ready to receive your input at every step
- Work with you to implement your vision
- Answer your questions quickly and accurately
- Keep you in the design loop
- Teach you to handle updates, or handle them for you
WordPress is a CMS that is as simple to use as anything on the market. That said, there is a slight learning curve.
The advantage of working with me is that I’ve already learned how it works.
By allowing myself to become your freelance web designer of choice, you will get a stunningly beautiful designed WordPress website which will meet all your expectations without draining your bank account.
You will start seeing results for your business within a very short time.
I know, because I’ve seen results myself.
Let’s Get Started Today
As I’ve mentioned multiple times here, working with WordPress for your website saves money by saving time. I want to save you as much as I can as a new and valued customer.
My rates right now are very competitive compared with other WordPress web designers & web design agencies;
They are much better than the rates for hard-coded sites.
If we get started on your website within the very near future, I can promise you will get my best possible rate.
Nevertheless, that rate may not last.
As demand increases, I need to raise my prices to account for all the extra business.
If you want to save as much money as possible, we need to get working on your WordPress website as soon as we can.
Your Customers Are Waiting
The data clearly show that online business is no longer a small segment of the overall economic picture…
…Online business is growing by leaps and bounds every year; it will eventually dominate all other forms of commerce combined.
You need to get on board as soon as possible. After all, your customers are waiting to find you online.
The sooner we can get your site up and running, the sooner your customers will be able to find you and your business.
Once they find you, the content we create will keep them coming back time and again.
Then it’s up to you to provide the products and services they want. If you succeed, they will tell their friends.
To that end, I can include SEO, online marketing, and social media integration with your website. Trust me; all of it’s necessary to effectively compete. Even so, I will still not charge you an arm and a leg for integration services.
There is no time to waste in the highly competitive online marketplace. If you are not online yet, you need to be. If you are, you need to make sure your website is optimised for the best possible results.
As your hired freelance web designer I can help. I want to help.
Contact me right away, so we can discuss your WordPress website in more detail.
I need to understand your goals as a business owner; you need to understand how my web design service can benefit your business.
Fail to Act and You Could Lose
I don’t mean to seem alarmist here, but destiny, karma, or serendipity landed you on my website.
Now is the time to act on what you’ve learned about WordPress.
If you fail to act, you could lose out to the competition.
All across the UK there are business owners who are simply unwilling to move into the 21st century.
They are still riding horses while the rest of us are driving sports cars.
And guess what? They are slowly going out of business – one business at a time.
If you don’t act today, it’s not likely you will be closing the doors tomorrow. However, every day you wait’s another day lost to the competition. String enough of those days together, and you may eventually close your doors for good.
Be part of the internet age with a superbly designed WordPress website that provides functionality, productivity and, most of all:
In Summary …
Both of us know you need an effective website to compete in the digital business arena. You now also know how effective a WordPress site can be when designed by someone with experience. The obvious conclusion is:
You and I need to get together and start planning your WordPress website as soon as possible.
The internet and your customers are waiting. don’t keep them waiting any longer.
Let’s get to work on your new website and hire me as your freelance web designer today!
I’d like to thank you once again for digesting all the information in this Web Design Edinburgh 101 guide, I really appreciate your time!
If you need any help or advice regarding the subjects covered, do not hesitate to get in touch.
I offer free consultation sessions to Edinburgh business owners and I would be more than happy to take some time with you and your requirements with regards to your web design and online marketing.