Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Things you can do to improve upon your SEO, once the website is live

So, your website is live. You have a great looking design, you have well written, keyword rich content, and you are ready now to “upkeep” your website in order to improve your Search Engine ranking. You now need a plan to continue creating new content because you know that every time you add fresh, engaging content onto your website, it increases your chances of ranking well or keeping your current ranking. What can you do next to ensure that you're taking the most proactive approach in order to do this? Aside from making sure you tend to your website content and ensure you’re keeping it fresh and engaging, you can also take a look at the following:

Creating a Google Analytics account to monitor how many people are looking at your website, where in the world they are looking at it from, what keywords or phrases they are typing in to find you and more… Why is this a good thing? Because you know exactly what areas of your website need the most improvement. Are people filling out your booking form? If not, it may be because they can’t find is easily… Are people looking at one page more than another? Yes? Maybe the one that is not doing so well needs a bit of work. Analytics is FREE to set up and use, so if you’re not using it already, it’s a great tool you are missing out on, with valuable information about your website success.

PPC- You may want to start a Pay Per Click Campaign. PPC is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when the ad is clicked.

Social Media

The type of business you are running will determine which Social Media opportunities are right for you. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, Vimeo, Google+, Blogger etc are all brilliant platforms to market and promote your website and brand. Social media is FREE to use, so again it’s a powerful marketing tool that you can use to drive interest in your website and business services. Not only that, but you can brand your social media pages to be in keeping with your website, engage with your existing customers and potentially gain new clientele. The possibilities are endless.

There are other tools available (Google webmaster tools are great too!) and you should be looking at tapping into them whenever you get a spare moment. Yes they can be time consuming, and you may need to take some of your out of work time to get to grips with it all, but once you’re up and running, you’ll begin to see the fruits of your labor in no time. Don’t forget the power of offline marketing as well! Business cards, Brochures, spreading the word and so on can get your message and branding out there… and it’s a nice professional touch for the business image too.

SUMMARY

The truth is, everyone wants to be on the first page of Google. The steps you take to deserve to be one of the highest rankers for the keyword phrases that are most important to you are going to involve hard work, time, passion and effort. With the right practices, advice from your professional website designer and the multitude of tools and social media platforms that are available to you, you can optimise your website for search engines, yourself.

And once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be telling everybody how easy it is to understand!

We hope our recent blogs have helped and from everyone here at Toolkit Websites, we wish you a Happy New Year. 

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Is your website considered “good quality” by Google?

 

It’s really not that complicated. All your website needs is:

-engaging, rich and regularly updated content
-content that is rich with relevant keywords and phrases
-clear and easy to use navigation
-well crafted design
-well thought out website address
-links to social media accounts and other pages/ websites

There are lots more points that can help when it comes to search engine ranking, but it’s important to stress to you that paying an SEO company or copywriters to provide these elements for you, isn’t necessarily going to get you the results you want. As the business owner, putting your own time and effort into your business website is important. You are the one that knows your business inside and out. Getting a company to organise your copy, keywords and meta data is all very well, but you are simply paying money for something you are more than qualified to do, and that you can do for FREE.

The bottom line is that the more effort and work you put into your website, the more likely you are to have organic success when it comes to search engines. Once you’ve done all the things you can do to successfully optimise your website, then looking at paid for options or extra tools or products should come afterwards, if you are insistent on doing so. This could be online or offline marketing.

And all you’ll need to do in order to make your website successful is make sure that the content is rich and relevant, update your website regularly and keep the content and information fresh, engage your target audience on social media platforms, create interesting and relevant blog posts and provide links on your website pages to other areas of your site…

Your web design company will have made sure your website uses standard SEO practices such as H1 tags for your page titles, making sure you have supplied relevant keywords and phrases per page and more.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hire an SEO professional or copywriter. But if you do decide to go down that route, the idea is that you’ve put the time and effort into what you want your website to say, you’ve done the research and evaluation of what you want your website to do for you, and you’ve taken it upon yourself to understand what SEO is, how it works and how it can benefit you.

The sooner you understand SEO and how it works, the quicker you will realise that you can do a lot of it yourself. Using free tools that help boost your search engine optimization such as a XML Site map, or Google Analytics to name a couple… are also hugely beneficial and you will soon realise that optimizing your site and getting a good search engine ranking doesn’t have to cost a penny!

So, now my website is live and published, what do I do?...
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How to structure your website and content to benefit SEO

 

When it comes to planning your page structure, and writing your website content there are a few things to consider. Firstly, you need to decide what each page will be called (The Title,) what information is going to be displayed on that page (the copy), and how it is reached (Navigation.)

It’s important to know, before you embark on a website project, what size website you’ll need, and to have an idea on how you want the site map laid out. Maybe you'll need 10 pages, each describing a service your business offers, plus basic informational pages like a home page, a contact page, an about us page, and a testimonials page. Or, maybe you’ll need a 5 page brochure style site, with the standard pages listed above as well as an image gallery to showcase your products or services.

When writing your copy, once the page structure is set up, the copy for each page must focus on the keywords that relate specifically to that page. Then when deciding on how to have your navigation set up, it must easily get the website user from A to B on the site with as little effort as possible. Spending time on a site trying to find links to certain information or pages can be frustrating and end up in the user defecting from your website to look elsewhere.

Your Content

So, once you have your business plan, your domain, the site map of your website and the visual design all in place…. what happens next? Website content includes text, images, videos, forms, links, downloads, products and anything else that your website needs to provide to the user.

When writing your content, you need to think about the audience: Would too much text on your website deter visitors from reading your pages? Most probably. Would too little content provide a good quality image of your company? Probably not.

If your web pages are laid out clearly, and your content is to the point and relevant to the topic in hand, the more likely your website will do well from a users point of view which will in turn make your website more successful in search engine rankings.  Web pages with rich content information, interactive videos, social media feeds, links and more increase the quality of your website overall. The user experience is what is most important here. And it is your target audience that you should have in mind when creating your copy.

If you feel you would rather hire a copywriter to provide your copy, that’s absolutely fine. But you know more about your business than they do, and if they are not equipped with the knowledge, the content will reflect that. If hiring a copywriter you will need to work closely with them on what you want the content to say and be involved in how it’s worded, the tone it is written in and the fine details…

So what attributes does your website need, to be considered “good quality” by a search engine?

Oh, and as a side note, Merry Christmas to all of our followers.
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Choosing your domain and how it can help with SEO

 
The best domain names combine 2 factors:
  • They contain a keyword or keywords relevant to your business (so a service or the company name)
  • They are short and easy to remember
Your domain name may simply be your business name, a shortened version of your business name, or a version of your business name that is slightly altered to incorporate a keyword that is related to your business services.

For example, if your business was called TK Company, you could incorporate a keyword or phrase that may be a service you offer, into the domain such as tkwebsitedesign.co.uk

The keyword/phrase here is website design.

You will quickly discover, when you begin researching domain names, that a lot of the shorter or more generic addresses are already taken. Don't give up though, keep trying variations until you find something that really works for you.

You can even use this free tool to see which domains are available.We always advise clients to stick with a co.uk suffix if they're a British based business, but feel free to branch out to the .com .net .biz etc. if you cannot find the availability for the .co.uk.

Normally, we would recommend against adding a hyphen into the website address, because a hyphen is something easily missed. People may type the domain name into their browser by memory, and may not remember that you have a hyphen in the middle of your business name. This could result in them not finding your site, or worse, landing on someone else’s site.

Some people choose to have a domain name that does not include the company name. Instead, opting for the domain to be the main service they provide. For example, the company could be called TK Cars, and the domain name could be www.carrentalservices.co.uk

It depends on whether you feel people will remember the business name in order to search for you, or the service you provide.

Upon beginning a website project with Toolkit Websites, we will register a website address for you. If you are unsure what website address would suit your website, feel free to discuss this with your project manager who will be able to talk you through your options.

How can your content benefit your search engine ranking?
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Website of the Week - R Taylor Plastering Solutions



Name: R Taylor Plastering Solutions
Services: Full Refurbishment, Skimming, Rendering
Location: Sheffield

Products Chosen:
One Page Website
Custom Form
Large Thumbnail Gallery
Lightbox

Why We Love It:

Our Team in Southampton are quite excited about this one as it's a great example of how you can build an entire website with just one page! A lot of companies don't need pages and pages of information and images to describe what they do, they just want a professional looking calling card that allows potential clients to find them on the web and get in touch quickly and easily.

It clearly states the services they offer, where they are based and looks good while doing so. This website is elegantly simple, using modern looking full width panels to separate each section for easy reading. It also has attractive little grooves on each strip, perfect representation for RTP Solutions' line of work and great for standing out from the competition.

With a one page website, you will also get a free Gallery page as well as a Custom Form. Utilising the Large Thumbnails and the Lightbox function, the R Taylor Plastering Gallery can show off nicely the variety of projects that they have worked on in the past. And the custom form, styled with some charming drop shadows and an interactive Google Map, invites anyone coming across the website to easily make an enquiry.

So if you think you need a website, but don't have the need for pages and pages of written content then get in touch with our Team in Southampton to talk about what a One Page Website could do for your business.
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How the website design can benefit SEO

Having an all singing, all dancing style website might appeal to you, and it may look great and appeal to your clients too, however, your goal as the small business owner is to publish a website that is intuitive for people to use, and built in a way that search engines will be able to access.

Visually, the design of your site needs to present your business and showcase your branding. But one of your main concerns needs to be how the site will be used. It needs to appeal to your potential customers, and be easy for them to use and navigate.

This means that your site needs to load quickly, render correctly on all major browsers, the text needs to be easy to read and easily accessible by making sure you use a web safe font… it also means that the key elements of the site are rendered in plain HTML text that search engines can read and understand.

We often have clients come to us, whose existing sites have been built entirely in graphics or Flash animation. Google cannot understand and as a result it is unlikely that it will be ranked well. Images and other functionality such as screen tabs, graphics and more can be used as a great effect on a site if they are treated as embellishments or add-ons, rather than being the main focus of the website design.

Before embarking on a website project with us, do a little research on sites that you like the look of, and sites that you found easy to use, Share these with your project manager in your welcome call, and discuss what it was that you liked about those individual sites. You can take a look at previous designs in our full portfolio or you can do a Google search to see what your competitor’s websites look like, or even websites that are not in your industry that you just like the look of.

If you're working with a professional web designer, like Toolkit Websites, be prepared to express your likes and dislikes, but also be ready to accept the advice and recommendations we put forward regarding usability and functionality. It is our duty of care to make sure your website has all the components it needs, in order to function well. Having a site that can be used well by your users is vital to your success on the web, and at the end of the day, that is there job. To provide a website that not only looks good, but that works well.

SEO is an integral part of a good website. The design of your website must be built using SEO best practices and Google's Webmaster guidelines. Every good web design company will work within these guidelines and rules. A good website is a site that can be used with equal ease by humans and search engines alike.

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SEO for small business owners

 
Our experience and expertise of working with small business owners has taught us that the small business budget is often suited to focusing on one or more targeted phrases for search engine rankings at one time. Your marketing plan needs to be clear, concise and focused on the main area or selling point of your business.

You can't compete with Apple.com for example, without having the same size budget and as powerful a standing in the economy as that company. So while it's great to aim high, it's more realistic to pick a specialised need you can fulfill within your target market.

If the phrases or keywords you're trying to rank well for aren't competitive (for example, you are in a niche business and do not have many competitors in your industry) then getting good placement is fairly straightforward.

However, if your phrase is competitive, such as “Web Designer Southampton” then you're going to need to make your site worthy of ranking well, and to stand out from your competitors. You are not going to be the only person trying to achieve a high ranking on search engines for a more generic or broad set of keywords or phrases.

You will need to do your research and carefully select what keywords or phrases you would like to focus on, that are relevant and will be beneficial to your website.

Getting to the top of search engine results pages means earning it. Google in particular are constantly tweaking their algorithm formulas, so cutting corners, or using black hat techniques are just not going to cut it. In order for your website to rank well, you’ll need to put the hard work, time and effort into the site in order to achieve this.

You can get good rankings by simply building a good quality site. If you are building and constructing your site with search engines in mind, or you are determined in trying to figure out how search engines choose to rank sites, you’re doing your website more harm than good.

The idea is that you build your website with the user in mind. If the user has the best experience whilst navigating and using your website, Google will be able to see this and reward you for it….

So the next question is “How will my design impact the success of my optimisation?”
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You're website is a party, but have you sent out the invites?

We’ve all heard the term SEO banded around, with companies calling or emailing you on a daily basis offering ‘the top’ of this, and ‘number one’ in that. The reality is that the most qualified person to optimise your website…is you!

Not everyone understands the jargon used by SEO companies, and this is part of the problem. One thing we do all understand however, is how to throw a good party!

Stick with us on this, but your website is like a party. You have to make sure that you’ve organised the venue, put on a good spread, provided entertainment, and most importantly, remembered to invite people!

THE THEME

Before you blow up a single balloon, you’ll already have thought about the theme of your party. Maybe it’s fancy dress, maybe it has a seasonal theme?

Your website is no different. You need to define what your website does, and who it caters for, before doing anything else. All your content, needs to focus around not just a central theme (your business or enterprise), but also what people are likely to be looking for.

Defining a set of keywords is essential to focusing your website in a particular direction. That way, you can be sure that the people arriving at your party, are the ones you really want to be there.

THE VENUE

Another important thing you’ll need to consider is the venue for your website. Maybe inviting the entire office to your front room would be a bit of a tight squeeze? The technical setup and reliability of your website is just like the venue you choose. You wouldn’t dream of inviting your friends, family or colleagues to a dangerous building, so why invite potential customers to a poor-performing or slow website?

Getting around your party is important, in the same way that easily navigating your website is. By correctly labelling your content, you’ll make sure your visitors are tucking into the content they’ve been looking for.

THE INVITES

Finally, we get to the most important stage. Forgetting to invite people to your party is going to result in an expensive (and probably quite lonely) evening for you.

Inviting people to your party isn’t an exact science, and it also doesn’t have a black and white method either. Different people and groups, respond better to certain forms of marketing. Luckily, you get lots of attempts at your website marketing, so you don’t have to get it right first time!

With the growth in social media activity across all age groups over the last few years, there have never been more ways for potential attendees to get that RSVP to you.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Google+ are a few of the most popular forms of social media, but a blog is arguably the most powerful. You also have email marketing to consider, as well as the more conventional, offline methods, such as business cards, brochures, and leaflets.

So, in summary, your website will never become like a stale sausage roll, if you just remember to invite people to visit. We offer free and unlimited marketing advice to all of our clients (we also know how to make a good cake too!).

If you’d like to have a chat about your website design, optimisation, or just ideas for your next fancy dress party, give us a call on 02380 633644.


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SEO December, An introduction to Search Engine Optimisation

 

SEO December ~ This month we are tackling the topic of SEO – Search Engine Optimisation. It’s a mean feat, but from our findings on Twitter, Facebook and from interaction with our clients on a daily basis… we’ve found that it’s a topic that has a lot of confusion surrounding it, and we’d like to help iron out any queries you may have.

For a lot of people, SEO is deeply mystifying, confusing or they feel that it’s too specialist a subject for them to get involved in. A lot of people feel that leaving it “to the experts” is the way forward, because they think it’s too complicated or that they don’t have the time to invest in it. People also believe that SEO is something that costs a lot of money.

In the following series of blog posts, we are going to aim to explain what SEO is, how it works, how it benefits your business website and how you do it yourself for FREE

So let’s start off with the fundamental question… “What is SEO?”

Search engine optimisation is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's natural search results.

When a person uses Google, they type in specific keywords or phrases in the hope of finding a website that best fits that criteria.

Whether they are searching for Web Designer Southampton,” in order to view what web design company to hire locally to them, or whether it’s What is a Web Designer? the idea is that the results listed will supply website links worth looking at in relation to the keywords typed in or an answer to the question that has been asked.

When the person types in the query, Google rapidly searches through its database and retrieves the answers it thinks are most relevant to the person's query. (See the example below)

The idea is that the best, or most relevant sites are ranked first in order to fulfil the users need. If Google did not provide the most useful or relevant rankings, users would divert to another search engine instead such as Bing or Yahoo to see if they get better results there.

How does Google decide what sites are to be ranked higher than others?

Google determines the value of each and every page it indexes, based upon its algorithm. The algorithm compares, judges, and values each web page against a set list of criteria.

What does a higher-ranking mean?

A higher rank means more visitors, and more visitors mean more sales, or more advertising revenue. Everyone who has a website wants it to rank highly, because more often than not, the top 10 (or first page of results) are the most likely to be clicked on and visited by the user.

So search engine optimisation is where you can use the tools, guidelines, and practices needed in order to have your website deemed “good quality” by Google, and therefore increase your chances of being ranked highly.

Read our website page “Five Honest Truths about SEO” , or contact Toolkit Websites.

… So how do you get started?(next blog)...

 
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My Work Experience with Toolkit Websites




My name is Hayley Billington and I have been coming to Toolkit Websites for work experience for the past 2 months, working two days a week. I am currently studying media at Solent university in Southampton, where I first developed an interest in web design and development and my experience at Toolkit has only increased this even more.

Before Toolkit, I had a very basic understanding of web development but with what I have learnt during my time here I now feel I have become much more competent. This is mainly down to David Swan and his team who were always so happy and willing to help me if I ever had any questions. The fact that The Toolkit (their very own Content Management) is so manageable, also allowed me to complete many tasks with ease.

Unlike previous work experience I'd undergone before, I was always given something worthwhile to do. Most of my work experience has centred around the content of websites however while I have been working in the Toolkit Office I have been able to observe the project managers and support team at work. It has taught me many things about being professional whilst also working to a deadline.

I was also given the opportunity to see the New Business Team in action which gave me insight to a part of the company I hadn't originally given much thought to. This was while I was working on a research project for Toolkit, sourcing companies that potentially needed our help building or redesigning their website. I completed this task pretty much independently and this responsibility made me feel trusted.


Everyone at Toolkit has always made me feel like a significant member of the team, asking me about my university work and making me feel at ease. I was even invited along to the monthly Toolkit activity - bowling! It's such a great environment to work in as everyone really pulls together as a team to get the jobs in hand completed to the utmost quality.

I would recommend doing work experience at Toolkit to anyone, even if they don't have a specific interest in web development. Being a part of the company's positive work ethic and brilliant customer service gives great satisfaction and it has been a pleasure to have been involved.
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