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Why First Impressions Are So Important ?

Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 10:08:19 AM EST by Joshua Tregenza

Professionalism is portrayed in your first impression.

A few weeks ago I spent four days at my son’s school mentoring a group of grade 11 boys. The basic premise of the week is to expose the boys to running their own business, in a fun environment. The business faculty divides the entire cohort into 20 groups of about 10 boys each.

So I had to mentor 10 sixteen year old boys. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Their task for the week was to run a computer simulation for four days, inputting 10 quarters of financial data, develop a TV commercial, present an oral report to shareholders based on the results of their simulation, develop a new product to take to market and on the final day produce a trade display to showcase that newly designed product.

Each segment attracted points and the 20 teams were pitted against each other to see who would win. You could imagine the fierce competition between the boys; it was grand final day meets Wall Street.

They elected a CEO from the group, broke the group up into the various segments based on their tasks and with the guidance of their mentors began their four day journey.

It struck me, as I moved about the school for four days, that these sixteen year old boys were going to great lengths in order to create a good first impression.

In almost every aspect of their presentation, they were trying to impress.

Firstly, almost without exception, each boy turned up on Monday in business attire, some in a full suite; not the normal thing you would expect from a sixteen year old boy.

As we moved through the four days you could see that the majority of boys had really taken to the task. Teams were diligently inputting their financial data into the simulation programme, creatively preparing their TV commercial, writing their oral report to shareholders and preparing their trade show presentations, for their newly created product.

But it was one group’s trade show presentation that really struck me.

These boys really worked well together, it was a great mix of natural leadership, hard work and creativity that culminated in them coming second overall.

Their trade show was a classic case of pure professionalism.

The clincher for me was this particular group of boys managing their trade show with great professionalism. They were handing out well designed brochures with a working QR code that linked to an online version of their brochure. To add to their professionalism, the boys had no hesitation in given that QR codes are a relatively new technology, explaining to judges and guests alike how this new technology worked and what it was all about.

First impressions are so important because they portray your professionalism. Whether you’re at a networking event or giving a seminar, you only have a short amount of time to convey how professional you are. Give your professionalism the best foundation possible. Ensure you give a fantastic first impression.

Please feel free to leave any comments or stories you have about first impressions below.

Is you website hindering your first impression?
Contact SiteZero today! 

Richard NorrisAbout the Author : Richard Norris.

Richard  is the CEO of SiteZero , an Australian based Digital Marketing Services organization.
Richard loves technology and is the Ecommerce evangelist at SiteZero.
You can connect with Richard on Google + , Linkedin  or at the SiteZero Facebook Page

Richard Started his first Business in 1985 and entered the online world in 1998.
He’s a bit like “The old man and the sea” of digital Marketing
Richard Norris  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Google Plus
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8 Tips for Website Maintenance

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 at 1:24:08 PM EST by Richard Norris

8_ball1


A guide to website growth.

People are often lost when it comes to sitting down and figuring out what to do for their website on a day-to-day basis. If you do get stuck we have provided 8 things that you can do day-to-day that will help the results of your website.

1. Write Relevant Content. Regularly and Consistently.

With all the updates Google are doing there is one main focus, relevant content. Therefore, to be found on Google you need to be producing relevant content regularly and consistently. This aids both Google and the visitors who read your website and to extract as much information as possible.

2. Get Customer Feedback.

Approach some customers and ask them for constructive feedback on your website. Ask specific questions:

  • Was it easy to find our contact details?
  • Could you easily subscribe to our newsletter?
  • Was it appealing to look at?

These questions should reflect the goals of your website. If you want people to subscribe to our newsletter, it needs to be ridiculously easy for your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter and not have to click a dozen buttons and fill out a handful of forms.

3. Blog

Blogging is a great tool to get regular, relevant content up on your website. It also encourages your visitors to offer feedback on your blog post. Especially if you have asked them for feedback and your blog answers some of their concerns.

4. Sourcing/Taking Appropriate Images.

It is far more beneficial to your website to use your own images. Imagine if you saw one of the photos that are on your website, on a competitor’s website. You both bought it legally so you both have the right to display it on your website. Sourcing or taking your own images removes this situation entirely.

5. Navigation

If your navigation is difficult to follow your visitors won’t end up where you want them to go. Your navigation, especially to your key pages, needs to be easy to follow and you should be able to get there in as few clicks as possible. Your contact us form should always be no more than two clicks away from any page.

6 Create a Page For Each New Product or Service

This is by far the most obvious thing you can do to your website on a day-to-day basis. Whenever you get a new stock item or start a new service there has to be a page for it on your website. Take advantage of its recency and put a button on the home page saying “New Product”. This will draw traffic to that product as well as generate interest about it.

7. Identify Where Your Target Market Is Online.

Your target market has to be realistic and also specific. Now find out where they are online.

  • Are they on social media? If so, which one?
  • What forums do the visit?
  • What blog are they subscribed to?

All these things help you generate relations with your target market and this also gives you an opportunity to present your business as an expert.

8. Know Your Analytics

What is the point of doing all this work if you can’t measure if it worked or not. You need to get familiar with your websites analytics. You don’t need to become some analytics nerd but understand the fundamental areas to which you, as a business owner, need to pay attention to.

This could be things such as conversion rates, bounce rates, landing pages and exit pages.

We hope this post was of use to you. Do you have any thoughts or ideas , if so make a comment below and let us know what you think.

Please offer us some feedback so that we can continue to improve and bring you relevant content regarding web design.

Richard NorrisAbout the Author : Richard Norris.

Richard  is the CEO of SiteZero , an Australian based Digital Marketing Services organization.
Richard loves technology and is the Ecommerce evangelist at SiteZero.
You can connect with Richard on Google + , Linkedin  or at the SiteZero Facebook Page

Richard Started his first Business in 1985 and entered the online world in 1998.
He’s a bit like “The old man and the sea” of digital Marketing
Richard Norris  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Google Plus
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Engendering Customer Loyalty

Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:21:44 PM EST by Richard Norris

Businesses survive through repeat customers.

So what strategies can you employ to ensure that you are bringing in repeat business?  Reward those who do come back.

Rewarding your customers is a proven way to ensure repeat business.  From small business to international franchises, rewards systems are an efficient way to get a customer coming back time and time again.

Here are three types of reward systems you can employ at your business to get customers coming back for more.

1. Repeat Purchase Strategies.

This is one of the most common.  Customers are rewarded after a certain amount of purchases. Subway is a great example of this type of strategy.  When I buy five subs I get the sixth sub free. Boost Juice Bars also have adopted a similar strategy as well as numerous coffee houses.

A strategy like this is useful for businesses that have essential consumables, such as ink cartridges or packaging material.

2. Referral Strategies.

Referral strategies encourage your clients to share with their friends the experience they have with your company.  SiteZero use this strategy.  When an existing client refers a new client that signs up with us, the existing client receives a reward of 10% of the income we receive from the new client every month.

This form of reward strategy is useful for those companies, like SiteZero, who have a subscription model built in to their products. Gyms are known to use the referral strategy.

3. Time Based Reward Strategies.

This strategy is suitable for businesses that don’t necessarily fit into one of the previous strategies.  The time based reward strategy rewards customers based on how long they have been associated with your business.  You would set certain milestones, for instance 12, 24 and 32 months, then for each milestone reward accordingly.  The first milestone could be that your next order is half price and the second milestone is that your next order is free, and then the third milestone is a dinner at a really nice restaurant (not Sizzler) or a weekend away.

Remember to reward based on your clients activities.  If they spent $75 000 with you over twelve months, a $500 weekend on the coast is a worthy investment.

Rewarding your clients ensures that they have a reason for coming back to you.  Often people will pay a higher price if they know that they will be rewarded for it.

Please feel free to leave any other strategies that you have used to reward your customers in the comment section below.

For an easy to use website with Zero Up Front Cost, Zero Locked-In Contracts and Zero Risk, contact SiteZero today.

 

Richard NorrisAbout the Author : Richard Norris.

Richard  is the CEO of SiteZero , an Australian based Digital Marketing Services organization.
Richard loves technology and is the Ecommerce evangelist at SiteZero.
You can connect with Richard on Google + , Linkedin  or at the SiteZero Facebook Page

Richard Started his first Business in 1985 and entered the online world in 1998.
He’s a bit like “The old man and the sea” of digital Marketing
Richard Norris  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Google Plus
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Why it is important to have a good looking website.

Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:21:13 PM EST by Richard Norris

webdesign_blog_graphic
When it comes down to the visual principles of a website design, you have to make sure that your website’s aesthetics reflects the way you want your business to be showcased.

Having a website that reflects a negative image of your business can remove any chances of your website's future success. If your website looks remotely un-appealing to the user, it's highly unlikely that the user will remain optimistic and not judge the rest of the content your website has to offer. In other words, they will probably move onwards to other websites; most likely your competitor.

Take this comparison as an example.

Imagine that your website is a rental property due for inspection. The tenants have made sure that their entire property is free from mess, clutter and looks overall rather neat. They do this in order to give the notion that they are reliable and decent tenants that can handle the responsibility of looking after a property. The inspector judges and makes an evaluation whether they make the cut.

This goes the same for website design.

The owner of the website (tenant) must make sure that their website looks professional, clean and, overall, is functional for the delivery of its content. The user (inspector) makes an evaluation on your site from the very instance they click on the link to get there. This can take a matter of seconds before the user decides to stay and browse your website or to check out other sites (your competition).

The ways to avoid this conundrum is to simply make your website reliable, professional and easy on the eyes. Remember that your website is an online portal for your users to experience an insight to your business. This experience is what it all comes down to. If an Inspector has a negative experience evaluating a rental property by witnessing messy lounge rooms, cluttered dishes in the sink and perhaps native wildlife eating leftovers from the bin; it's a no brainer on what the inspector will do next.

You simply have to give your users a pleasant experience as they view your website. If you provide your users entertainment through relevant content, supply comfort with an overall attractive aesthetic and offer an ease of use functionality, you will see your online business become a grand future success. Catering for your users through these methods is the only way to guarantee this, after all your users are doing you the favour by initially clicking your link; it's only polite to give back.

Richard NorrisAbout the Author : Richard Norris.

Richard  is the CEO of SiteZero , an Australian based Digital Marketing Services organization.
Richard loves technology and is the Ecommerce evangelist at SiteZero.
You can connect with Richard on Google + , Linkedin  or at the SiteZero Facebook Page

Richard Started his first Business in 1985 and entered the online world in 1998.
He’s a bit like “The old man and the sea” of digital Marketing
Richard Norris  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Google Plus
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How to use Google Analytics to identify oportunities on your website.

Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9:57:39 AM EST by

If you're in charge of a website, Google Analytics is a wonderful tool that can help you. It gives you details on how visitors to your website interact with your website.

However, many webmasters struggle to work out how to translate this valuable information into actionable tasks. If you are a novice when it comes to Google Analytics, you're not alone. If you're in this category, this article is for you! Read on for pointers on starting to get some benefit from Google Analytics.

Business Intelligence the Easy Way!

You probably receive an email every week with a report from Google Analytics. Sure the graphs look pretty, and hopefully the numbers look good. But what are you actually supposed to do with this information?

Firstly, I'd recommend actually getting into the habit of logging into your Google Analytics account. This way you can interact with the data, something you can't do from a PDF report.

Next, you need to identify what particular areas you want to monitor and track. If you're new to Google Analytics, you might want to consider these simple metrics:

  1. Where do your visitors come from?
  2. Where on your site are they arriving?
  3. What keywords are people using to find your website?

Let's look at how you can track these, and also why you want to.

1. Where do your visitors come from?

To view this data in your own Google Analytics account, log in (www.google.com/analytics) and select Traffic Sources > Sources > All Traffic (refer to image below).

googleanalyticsnavmenu  

This will give you a detailed view on where your visitors find you. See the screenshot below - yours should be similar.

googleanalyticstrafficsources

(If your screenshot looks slightly different, you may want to try the new version - there will be a link at the top the page giving you this choice)

This screenshot shows that the top source of visitor traffic in this instance, comes from Google. Furthermore, it shows that specifically this is organic traffic, which means it wasn't driven by paid ads. The second highest source is direct traffic, which is visitors typing in the website address directly into their browser. Some of the other sources show where traffic is coming from 3rd party websites that contain a link back to the website we're tracking.

How is this useful?

There are a few ways in which this data is useful. Firstly, as a business owner, you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket. For example, the image above shows a really large percentage of visitors are coming from Google Search. While this is great, relying on any source too heavily can backfire if it ever dries up. While I don't expect Google search to dry up anytime soon, Google does change their algorithims on a frequent basis, and you may find your search rankings drop unexpectedly.

The screenshot above demonstrates the need to diversify the sources of incoming traffic. The best way to do this is getting more links from other sources. Although you'll find not many links will compete with the volume Google search provides, collectively many links can reduce the reliance on Google. Ironically, gaining extra links often aids your search rankings, but that is another post for another time.

This also give you an idea of how well various paid directory links are working for you. In the screenshot above, one of the sources is from a website for a well known telephone directory. Often, these listings are paid for, so tracking the number of visitors from this listing can aid in making an informed decision when it comes time to renew the listing.

2. Where on your site are they arriving?

Knowing what pages people are arriving at is really useful information. If you assume that everyone lands on your home page first, you'd be mistaken.

To find out what pages vistiors are landing on, go to Content > Site Content > Landing Pages (refer to the image below).

landingpagesnavmenu You might be surprised what pages on your site visitors are seeing first. Sure, you're home page might look fantastic, but more than likely a significant portion of your traffic arrives at other pages. What first impression are you giving these visitors?

To demonstrate, here is a screenshot of our top ten landing pages according to Google Analytics.

sitezerolandingpages 

Sure, the bulk of the visitors arrive via the home page, but in total 25% of our traffic arrives from other pages. Often, the figure is much higher.

So ask yourself, what pages are people landing on that need improvement? What pages are people landing on that I don't want them arriving at first? Using the intelligence from this section of Google Analytics allows you to implement necessary changes to improve the experience of visitors and to improve the results you get from your website.

3. What keywords are people using to find your website?


organickeywords

Identifying and using keywords that are relevant to your business is good practice. When done properly, this helps you to focus your web content in a way that makes it easier for both visitors and the search engines to use your website.

There are a few different methods to do keyword research, but one often overlooked method is using Google Analytics to see what keywords are already being used by visitors to find your site in the search engines.

You can get this information from your Google Analytics by going to Traffic Sources > Sources > Search > Organic (see the image to the left).

A few questions to ask yourself about the results you get are:

  • Are the keywords relevant to my business and the goods or services I provide?
  • Do I have a page on my website for each relevant keyword that specifically discusses the subject?
  • Are there any good keywords that I'm not getting traffic from?

Depending on how you answer these questions depends on what tasks you need to take up. Obviously, the goal is to ensure you are focusing on keywords that are relevant to your business. Over time, you can actually measure the effectiveness of various keywords, to determine which keywords tend to be more profitable.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool. Although it is fairly easy to use, it can be intimidating to the novice user. This is just scratching the surface of what business intelligence you can glean from Google Analytics. But it is a start, and something you can action. Keep an eye out for future articles outling some other usefuls things you can do with Google Analytics.

Please feel free to leave any comments below, or contact SiteZero for more information today.


Stephen Hamilton is a Search Engine Marketing Consultant at SiteZero.

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Things To Do Before You Get a Website

Posted: Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:20:32 PM EST by Richard Norris

Our goal at SiteZero is about getting your business to a point of success through the use of a website.

That’s the journey we want to guide you along.  But where do you start? What do you do before you even sign up for a website?  In order to answer these questions I have asked the various departments within SiteZero, ideally what a client (you) should have ready before we begin the process.

Jonathan, who heads up sales, is very easy to please. The only thing he would like a client to have is a willingness to do some work to achieve a good result.

Stephen who looks after Pay-Per-Click and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a bit more demanding but that’s because SEO is an art form that needs to be considered and researched vigorously.  “There are few things I like more than meeting with a client who has a clear understanding and vision of how their business interacts with their customers online”, Stephen answered.  “This means they understand what the goals are, and also what some of the key steps are to reach those goals. I often talk with clients about macro and micro conversions. A well-prepared client may not be familiar with these specific terms, but they are well acquainted with the concept”, Stephen continued.

“A macro conversion means the main goal – a sale, appointment, quote opportunity etc.  It is whatever the primary purposes of the website are for their business. Conversely, a micro conversion is a smaller goal that enables the customer to progress towards the primary goal – something like downloading an eBook, subscribing to a newsletter, or commenting on a blog.  These are early forms of information-gathering and engagement that, when handled appropriately, often result in the customer progressing to fulfilment of the primary goals”, he explained. “A clear understanding of their own customers and market, combined with an understanding of this process means working with our clients is usually much more successful for everyone”.

Our Account Manager, Richard, had the same underlying message as Stephen in that he would like a client that has clear defined goals of what they would like the website to achieve.  Richard also stated that “It does not need to be a grandiose goal necessarily, but rather a clear idea of what they would like the website to achieve.  Of course, it’s obviously best if the website goal is in alignment with the larger business goals so that the website is assisting in achieving the overall business goals”.

Our Chief of Support, Rachel, is looking for the more technical aspect of your website.  You may need to consult an IT expert to obtain this information.  “If a client would like SiteZero to host their email they would need to know what mail service they would like, Small Business or Business mail.  Then I would need to know all the required mailboxes.  If a client doesn’t want SiteZero to host their email I would need the IP addresses of their preferred email provider.

“I would need to know the client’s domain details such as the relevant name servers. I would also need to know if they would like to have SiteZero manage their domain for them. If yes, I would need the registry key to initiate the domain transfer”.

In order to prepare yourself before a scheduled design meeting with Scott, our Design Guru, it might be best to get a better picture of what you are wanting by drafting up your own website on paper.  Not only does it help Scott know exactly what kind of template to create for you, but it can also help you out by supplying a view on how a website functions.  However if you feel you’re not a very creative person to draft up a website, simply draw up a Site Map in something like Microsoft Visio.  Jonathan can help direct you in this process. This can assist Scott astronomically through setting up a core plan within your website.

Michelle the wonderful Accounts Secretary would like the client to submit a signed Payway form (you would get this from Jonathan in the sales process) and to keep a copy for their own records so that they are aware of when their payments are going to start.  Bank account or credit card details must be current and have sufficient funds each month for the direct debit to occur.  There must be a functioning email address for clients to receive their invoices & correspondence.  If the client wants to register a domain name when they sign up then they must be able to provide an ABN, registered company name & address and contact details (person, phone, email).

As for me, I look after training so I would like a client to be able to commit to one training session a fortnight at our office (alternative means are available for long distance clients) to learn the best way to use your website.  I also look after CommunicationPac’s.  This service is for those clients that want to have up-to-date blog posts and also an email newsletter.  Ideally a client would have a clear understanding of why they want a blog and the purpose of that blog. Secondary to this is an understanding of the sort of client they would like to attract to their website.

This information will be of great benefit to you regardless of your choice of website provider.  

Please feel free to leave any comments below or alternatively contact SiteZero for any further web design questions.

Richard NorrisAbout the Author : Richard Norris.

Richard  is the CEO of SiteZero , an Australian based Digital Marketing Services organization.
Richard loves technology and is the Ecommerce evangelist at SiteZero.
You can connect with Richard on Google + , Linkedin  or at the SiteZero Facebook Page

Richard Started his first Business in 1985 and entered the online world in 1998.
He’s a bit like “The old man and the sea” of digital Marketing
Richard Norris  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Google Plus
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