Contact me if you need help with website development or online marketing. Telephone: 07810 098 119.
Did you know that non profit organisations can advertise on Google without having to pay a penny? If not, it is something worth knowing; this is not a small token gesture from Google. If you were to pay for this level of advertising through their standard Adwords program – it would cost you thousands of pounds a month.
Google runs a nonprofits edition of their Adwords program to help nonprofits promote their initiatives. If you are an organisation with charitable status, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
To be eligible you need to:
The above details are only a quick guide, if you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity you need to read the guidelines on the Google’s own site and make an application via the Google Ad Grants website. Get in touch if you need help setting it up.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the commissioning group were spread across the UK, and Jim is in Scotland, the project was completed efficiently and on budget.” Richard Brine, CoLRiC Committee Member
Image by Henripontes (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
The following is a list of some of the main readability and usability issues:
Aligning text to the left, ragged on the right, increases reading speed because the straight left edge helps to anchor the eye when starting a new line (Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity by Jakob Nielsen).
There seems to be little agreement on the best length length for optimum reading speeds. The most commonly advice is that limiting line length to 9 or 10 words can increases speed and comprehension (based on the assumption The eye can only focus on about 3 inches of a page at a time).
However reading speed and user preferences is not a simple matter, consider the following conclusions by by Melissa Youngman and Dr. Lauren Scharff (1998)
“Users read faster when line lengths are long, although they tend to prefer shorter line lengths. When designing, first determine if performance or preference is important. If user performance is critical, use longer line lengths to increase reading speed. However, if user preference is critical, use shorter line lengths. Usability.gov
Set the leading larger than the default – as a rough guide 1.3em of leading (130%) will make a big difference to the readability of a web page. Leading and line length however are related; the longer the line the bigger you need to make the leading.
Newspapers have very short line lengths and very little leading – so they can fit as much text into a small space as possible. However, given the variable nature of the devices people use to view web pages, we can never be sure what the line length will be for the user.
Choose a font that is suitable to your subject matter. If you use more than two fonts on a page and it can start to look like a ransom note – distracting the users attention from the content. Off-line, headings are commonly set in a sans-serif font, with body text set in serif. However, on-line, sans-serif are often used for both headings and body text; the cleaner outlines of the sans-serif fonts tends to make them easier to read on low resolution screens. Don’t mix serif and sans-serif fonts in your body text, as it rarely looks good.
Avoid using italics for small text sizes: the problems of screen display of outline fonts has not entirely disappeared. Italized fonts look particularly bad at small sizes – as italics do not easy to render using a square pixel grid. If you must use italics, avoid using them for large blocks of text.
Don’t use all caps for bodytype – or even capitalise all words in headings. The uniformly of size and shape of capitals make them harder to read than lower case letters.
Readability is increased if only the first letter in a heading is in capitals; each capital – being less recognizable – acts as an interruption to the eye as it scans across the text.
Ensure good contrast between the text colour and the background colour.
Make it easy for visitors to understand what is a link and what is not a link. Don’t rely exclusively on mouseovers to identify links, as this can be confusing and reduces usability. (From Usability.gov)
For Service based website in particular, arrange your text for ‘scannability’, i.e have lots of headings, provide the most important ideas at the start of paragraphs, and use lists rather than dense passages of text when appropriate.
Contact us; we can help you create accessible, usable websites.
“LCIL has won a Breakthrough Independent Living Award under the Information category for the LCIL website and the Grapevine Online service. The judges were particularly impressed with the website and asked for the name of the person who designed the website.” Catherine Garrod Information Co-ordinator Grapevine, Disability Information Service
This is the time of year to make plans; freshen up your website, reach more people; try to do things more efficiently. 🙂
Here are some ideas to that might get you thinking. Click the appropriate link for information about those activities you are interested in:
Give me a shout if you want to chat about any of the above. Tel: 07810 098119
All the best,
We provide a search engine optimisation service to help drive more traffic to your website. We concentrate only on what is called, ‘white hat’ SEO, i.e. legitimate long-term and robust audience building and nothing that will cause you problems with Google.
Legitimate SEO is very labour intensive and it takes about 3 – to 6 months to see noticable ranking improvements. Building links too quickly and doing lots of SEO type activity at one time is noticed by Google and tends to be penalised; so the work has to be done consistently and on a regular schedule.
We carry out both on-site and off-site SEO (i.e. link building) and only use techniques that are endorsed by Google themselves.
When you sign up for the SEO service you get access to a SEO control panel with analysis tools, access to keywords editing and quarterly reports.
The cost is £99 per month. The minimum signup is for three months and after that you can cancel any time (i.e. at they end of any month). Billing is quarterly. Being able to cancel anytime after the first three months means you can get started without having to worry about having to make a large financial commitment up front.
Our experience in this area is that it’s not worth just doing a bit of tinkering with keywords on a site; what is needed is consistent work over time – both on the site itself and off-site targeting link building.
At the start of 2014 we redesigned the ORRO Contemporary Jewellery website and we were subsequently commissioned to provide search engine optimisation for the site. Since then traffic has steadily increased and ORRO has received significantly more business as a result.
Some of the work carried out included:
We provided guidance with suggested tasks ORRO themselves could work on – here is a an example of guidance provided to Orro:
“Write content pages for each of the chosen phrases. The idea is that each section page has links to related content pages and there are links from those content pages back to the main sections/category pages. For example write a page with the title, ‘Contemporary Jewellery Glasgow’. This could be about your thoughts on contemporary Jewellery design – or about you and how you got in to the business of selling contemporary jewellery. As long as it’s readable and includes the phrase ‘Contemporary Jewellery Glasgow’ at least three times on the page.”
If website owners are not comfortable writing their own content we also provide an affordable copywriting service.
Given the visual nature of ORRO’s products we also suggested heavy use of Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter to encourage ‘word of mouth’ sharing and to help spread the word about ORRO’s stunning jewellery designs.
If you want more traffic to your website get in touch today; we can help.
Google Analytics is a free, immensely powerful tool that helps you track and understand the way visitors interact with your website. If you are embarking on a search engine optimisation (SEO) campaign – you are going to need Google Analytics (or a similar tool) to help you understand if your campaign is working or not.
Google Analytics tells you:
And much much more….
You can even track how people move through your site; what page they enter first, where they go from there and which page they exit from.
Using Google Analytics allows you to fine tune your website so that visitors do more of what you want them to do – whether that be filling in your contact form, registering for your newsletter or buying more of your products. For example if Google Analytics tells you what your most popular page is and your goal is to get people to fill in your contact form then you can, either add a form to that page or make the link to your contact form much easier to find on the page.
We can install Google Analytics for you and help you use it. Get in touch now.
Millions of new websites get built every year by business owners who haven’t thought very deeply about why they want a website; what it can or cannot do for them.
And after it’s up and running those same business owners silently accept that their website gets very little traffic and attracts very little business.
That’s not going to be you! In the course of this article we will take the time to figure out just why you should have a website and how you can design it to do a job for you.
“97% of shoppers research local products and services online. Your website stands a good chance of being a prospect’s first impression.”
A definition of marketing for service based businesses:
“Marketing for service based businesses: the entire process of building the relationship between your business and your customer or potential customer.”
To market your business successfully – you need to:
It is just another tool you use to meet your marketing aims. Think of nothing else when designing or redesigning your website; it’s not just about how it looks (that’s is very important as we will see later – but you aren’t creating visual art, or a set of magazine pages) and it’s not a vanity project to make you look good.
You website needs to:
In short – you need to
The action you usually want them to take is to register for your mailing list or get in touch via phone, e-mail or your contact form.
You are doing this so that you can keep in touch with them and build a relationship that shows you in a credible light. Remember —we said marketing was about building relationships.
Ok — so let’s take each of these things in turn and look at examples
Ideally you should be able to express this in no more than a couple of paragraphs. It should be easy to read and easy to understand.
It should also identify your niche, your target market and what makes you special.
Exercise 1: ignoring for now your target market and your unique selling point: write a single paragraph (or at a push two) that says exactly the service or products you provide. This should be written is such a way that it could become the introductory text on your website.
How do you make it sound like choosing you is the only logical choice? Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
Exercise 2: Write down the thing that make you stand out. Your unique selling points.
Be clear about who and where your potential customers are. If that’s clear you can:
If you have identified your target market to be time-starved small business owners and you run a virtual PA service, what would be the appropriate content for your website?
Clearly there will be the basic stuff; services you can provide; your rates, contact details etc. But there should also be content that is on there because you have a very clear idea of your target market.
Perhaps publications you have written? For example, you know small businesses are always worried about costs — so you could write some publications that address exactly that issue:
Exercise 3: Write down who your target market is and how you can ensure the content on your website is targeted at meeting their precise needs.
If you don’t look trustworthy; no-one will hang around long enough to give you their email address or purchase your services. Looking credible is central to the success or failure of your website.
Exercise 4: Brainstorm ideas for content you can add to your website to demonstrate and build upon your credibility.
Visual design is very important: but website design is not about providing cool graphics; it’s about solving problems, usability, readability, accessibility – it is about standing out
There is a study titled “Trust and mistrust of online health sites.” In it 15 participants review health sites that they find via Google. 94% of the factors mentioned for mistrusting a website were design related.
When talking about trusting or mistrusting a site, design related issues were mentioned 15 times more than content issues.
Specific problems included:
Poor design means people don’t hang around for long – which means they don’t buy-in to your service.
Good design = trust = more conversions = more money in your pocket
“As aesthetically orientated humans, we’re psychologically hardwired to trust beautiful people, and the same goes for websites. Our offline behaviour and inclinations translate to our online existence.” Dr. Brent Coker, who studied the impact of attractive websites on human behavior.
Attractive well designed websites look professional and inspire trust in site visitors. In short, design matters.
Attracting new customers: your website is the central hub of your sales funnel
Your marketing funnel is the system that draws people to your website and channels them towards your contact form or newsletter subscription form.
Encourage signups using:
Keeping in touch via a regular newsletter; that after all is why you attracted them to your site in the first place; so you could get them on your mailing list – and develop a long-term relationship, this allows you to demonstrate your expertise.
Marketing for services based businesses is all about building and maintaining relationships with customers.
The aim of your website is to get that relationship started; to do that you need a site that inspires trust. Ideally to the point where visitors are happy to register for your mailing list, email you or fill in your contact form.
If people visit but don’t get in touch then your website is not doing its job.
Nonprofits that have been using Facebook for a year or more consistently comment “OK, Facebook is great, but how can we take our Facebook Page strategy to the next level?”
Below are 3 advanced Facebook Page strategies in response to that question:
Advanced strategies require advanced tech skills. If you know html and have a good graphic designer, then you can use the Static FBML App to create and completely customize Tabs on Facebook Pages.
If you don’t know html and want customized Tabs for your Facebook Page, then you have two options: 1) Hire someone who knows html and Facebook. 2) Get in touch and we will help you add a tab to your Facebook page.
Most nonprofits send immediate thank you emails to online donors and signatories of petitions. Make sure to add a simple “Become a fan of [Organization Name] on Facebook!” into your email.
Ask your text alert subscribers to fan your Facebook Page, but make sure you link to the mobile version of your Facebook Page. Most nonprofits haven’t even begun to think about mobile tech, but mobile Web usage is on track to hit 3 billion+ users in 2011.
“97% of shoppers research local products and services online. Your website stands a good chance of being a prospect’s first impression.” (Research by BIA/Kelsey)
I recently wrote an article about how to create an effective marketing website for service based businesses.
It occurred to me this morning that it might be of interest to other sectors as the principles are the same.
Here is a link to the article: Your website is part of your marketing strategy.
This is the time of year to make plans; freshen up your website, reach more people; try to do things more efficiently.
Here are some ideas to that might get you thinking:
Or phone to talk over your ideas: 07810 098 119.
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