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Michelle Goodisson

Voice Search is the New SEO Marketing for brands, with the rise of smart speakers and mobile phones with 5G

Voice Search Is The New SEO Marketing For Brands

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The use of voice search and smart speakers for SEO marketing is fast-becoming an opportunity for brands to target consumers in a new and convenient way at home. We are a leading SEO agency in Surrey and we believe this article will be a key subject to consider.

Command and be in demand – its the SEO of Content Marketing.

Voice Search is completely unique but it expands the potential for brands to connect with consumers in a way that is tailored to their verbal search behaviours. 

With technology and analytics has come an ability for marketers to drill down into the data. They can create marketing strategies that are specifically designed for consumers and their needs.

It’s a smart SEO approach that generates results and with the smart speaker industry likely to quadruple by 2022, marketers are going to have even more scope to reach new people.

Voice Search being used on Alexa, it lights up in a purple room

What is Voice Search in Marketing?

Voice Search began in 2011 but was limited to Google Chrome. It wasn’t till 2014 that Google then made a 5 language rollout and by now most countries are included.

Nowadays adopting a voice search strategy could be one of the biggest things marketers could do at this moment in time. Why?

We have many choices of voice search with Siri on mobile and Ipad, Google Home, Amazon Alexa + Sonos Smart speakers. They are now extremely clever devices and are present ever more in the living room or also in bedrooms.

Voice Search being used with iPads, Mobiles and Google Assistant

They allow marketers to create strategies that are tailored to each customer age group, helping to build relationships and brand loyalty. 

With the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant both being able to differentiate between voices, they can deliver insight like never before. They have the ability to provide information about specific users and that means that personalised messages and content can be delivered at the right time.

Furthermore, brands can take a natural approach when it comes to interactions, and that seamless relationship aids retention and loyalty.

Voice search in marketing is also quicker and it provides convenience too, especially for those who are looking to do things quickly. What this means is that those brands that utilise it are more likely to deliver satisfaction.

Top brands have worked closely with smart devices to create intelligent appliances that can speak with customers, answer questions, and provide useful information at the same time.

Is Voice Search Being Used?

Absolutely. This new form of searching for things online is becoming a new norm for consumers because it’s simple and convenient.

Users no longer have to pick up their phone and input their queries by hand. They can now let their chosen smart device do it for them.  

With 5G approaching, mobile use and voice will be used with greater frequency and higher consumer expectations.

Research has found that around 48% of people are now using voice in order to carry out general web searches while 39% are now using smart speakers. That least study was taken back in July 2019, so you can assume 2020 was even greater (Lockdown!) and 2021 will continue to grow.

What Makes Voice Search Important?

Google is constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing demands of users. As a result, voice technology is slowly becoming the face of SEO.

This is down to the fact that users are submitting queries that are no longer text searches. As a result, it means that businesses can now implement longer keyword phrases into their content.

Furthermore, voice searches are made mostly of full questions which means that brands can also use relevant question keyword phrases that mirror what they are asking. 

What this means is that brands should consider adopting a voice search strategy if they do not want to get left behind.

It’s not just important for ensuring that customers can find your website but it’s also crucial in helping people choose your brand over your competitors. 

If your competitors have a voice strategy and you don’t, then they have a higher chance of being found easily by searchers as a result of a more effective SEO strategy.

Voice search technology is still relatively new but it’s not going away any time soon and so, this is your chance to make sure you can get ahead of competitors.

Brands Embrace Voice Search With Smart Speakers

Brands now have an opportunity to embrace smart speakers and use them to enhance relationships, loyalty and sales.

Smart devices rely on skills and actions and that means that it can give customers the opportunity to tailor their purchasing experience to their needs. 

Users are now turning to smart devices to take care of many elements of their lives and that can include asking for news, obtaining bank updates and setting reminders, it’s fair to say that they can carry out almost anything we ask of them.

This has meant that brands like Domino’s have been taking advantage of skills and actions that allow people to order pizzas without needing to pick up the phone.

This can be done in as little as 6 spoken words, after you download the Domino’s Skill. Here’s their YouTube video.

(C) Dominos

This goes further because even cleaning brands are now taking advantage of this technology. As a result, consumers can follow step by step instructions to help them remove stains.

Gaming brands such as Trivial Pursuit Tap from Hasbro, can be played on Alexa. With the addition of Echo buttons which light up for player interaction.

Brands are providing recipes, pollen counts and even information about dog breeds that can help people to purchase the right food for their dogs.

This is building brand affinity, a relationship and delivering a uniquely tailored experience.

Everyone is driven by convenience and control because that’s what consumers want and need. 

Informational Voice Search Queries

Users are seeking convenience and if they are not purchasing then they need information.

Brands such as Capital One are now making it possible for customers to keep on top of their credit card balance. Despite this, the process is slightly long-winded and as users still need to provide their sign-in details and a pin, it might seem more of a hindrance than a help for many.

This clearly highlights that perhaps the use of voice search isn’t yet the right fit for brands.  Clearly, your thumbprint and face identity is still quicker via the credit card app on the phone.

As a result, brands are going to need to think more strategically when it comes to utilising voice search with skills and speakers.

Rather than give customers the ability to do things that they can already do, why not take an approach whereby they consider their needs and concerns.

This requires a wider approach that’s not so direct and more subtle. If a person asks Alexa “what is heartburn?”, which is a problem many people suffer from but it isn’t just a search that’s informational.

This is because the user might have a follow-up question that asks “how do I prevent it” and this is where brands can really take advantage.

Despite this, brands are going to need to own the right to operate at this level due to competition.

These informational voice search questions that are being asked are the perfect opportunity for brands to use smart speakers as an avenue for customer acquisition.

They can then build on this because it’s not just about using this as a way of offering a solution but also promoting other products. They can then begin to divert users towards products that are more valuable and trade up.

Who is the Consumer Target for Voice?

Voice Search or Voice Control with smart speakers are now becoming mainstream at home. It’s a new technology that has become particularly popular with the younger generation using voice.

They can turn homes into smart homes, keep people connected and offer a vast amount of convenience – something that millennials, in particular, are looking for. 

Furthermore, people are now using smart speakers to enrich their lives in ways that were once unknown.

They can create shopping lists, add previously bought items to their basket or just automatically order again.

Smart speakers also provide access to music streaming, once again, providing brands with an opportunity to build profiles based on their listening choices and the purchases that they are making.

It’s a generation that prefers to do things in an automated way instead of having to click through websites to make purchases.

Through targeted marketing, businesses can monitor their food choices, delve into their most cooked recipes and even identify interests. All of this data can be pulled together to create a detailed profile of almost every user. 

So, although smart speakers are available for everyone, it could be fair to say that those who are possible under the age of 40 are more than likely going to explore the full functionality of them. 

Don’t forget those 55+ or those even older who find it hard to type or even use a computer. Voice control could help bridge the digital canyon.

Voice Search SEO Tips

How can you be found on voice search? This begins by incorporating structured data using speakable markup, as almost 40% of voice search results will come from pages that have schema markup structured data.

Of course, many people carrying out voice searches are looking for local businesses so your Google My Business listing will need to be optimised. This involves making sure that all data is up-to-date. Do not underestimate this.

Google Mobile-First indexing and the number of “near me” searches are now making it extremely important to have a mobile-friendly website. 

You need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly because voice search and a mobile-friendly website go hand in hand. Hand-held devices will be used more often for voice search especially now with 5G being introduced.

We detail in this article how to optimise your website which is very relevant for voice search, it will open in another window.

Finally, you will need to make sure that all of your content is optimised for voice search queries. The average length of a voice search is 29 words, so you should place a focus on long-tail keywords.

Use this SEO for Voice search combined with solid website optimisation practices + content and you will be competitive. 

So, with all of this in mind, brands are now looking to target users in a new and immersive way. With the ability to tailor strategies on a personal level, it is undoubtedly shaping the future and the way in which brands and consumers connect.

CONTACT US

For any advice to increase the ranking of your website for voice search, contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448 / Mob 07855 356393

animated visual showing two sites back linking, and why they improve SEO

Why Backlinks Help Your Website To be 10x More Juicy!

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Will Backlinks Help My Website?

If you have heard that backlinks help your website then you might be wondering what they are?

If you want your business to thrive online then backlinks will be the missing piece of the jigsaw that you have been looking for. 

Despite this, it’s important to understand that backlinks will boost your SEO rankings and help your business to grow. Whether you’re a start-up or an established small business that is looking to expand, you might think that backlinks are only for those who have a significant online presence or run a large, multi-million-pound business. 

They are critical for any website, so if you want to benefit from backlinks, it helps to understand how they can underpin the success of your business.

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are one-way external links from one website to another.  These links can take the form of a keyword link or a full URL displayed link within a page of another website.  For the receiving website, this inbound link is essentially the Backlink.  When clicked on, users will arrive at the other site.

However, the benefits are not just the extra referral visits to your website, rather it’s the vote of confidence you have gained from another site.  The more the merrier, because search engines love them and see them as verified support for your content.

Think of it like going for the leader of a political party.  You need the support of Members of Parliament.  Each supporting MP provides a vote to increase your ranking in the party and % share of the vote.  

That was just an analogy to explain how backlinks help your website and how it gains authority and rank within your larger universe/niche.  

Backlinks help your website as they increase organic search
Ref Ahrefs. Domain visibility increases with Backlink numbers

Backlinks Boost Your SEO and Help Website Authority

To improve rankings with search engines, your business has to get noticed and there are many SEO factors that feed into this.

The SEO industry agrees that backlinks help your website, it’s simply that they create authority and this can be compounded by the QTY of them and varying degrees of authority the links come from.

Research has found that over 99% of the top-ranking websites have at least one external link that points to their website. And these are not just business directory links, but solid relevant links.

Backlinks can take many forms but when Google comes across a backlink it makes a number of decisions. 

The first is to see if the link is relevant, i.e. is the link on a spammy blog website, is it simply placed on an irrelevant website with many other backlinks for other websites. If so, it could ignore it or it will penalise your ranking because it will consider it as manipulative. 

However, you can earn links whereby businesses naturally link back. This is where your website is used as a relevant reference to back up their article topic, these are considered blog backlinks.  

This will work in your favour if the linking website is authentic, relevant to your sector, and has a stronger SEO value. The SEO juice will flow onto your page and search engines will see that vote of confidence.

There are many strategies available to earn backlinks but ultimately, if you get it right, it’s likely that your business is going to rank well and that could be the difference between being on the 1st page of search or page 5.

Despite the influence that backlinks have on SEO, there is more to them and that’s why they are so important for your business.

Backlinks Are Clicked By Potential Customers

Backlinks are so much more than just links that connect back to your website. Of course, they boost SEO score and that helps organic search, but there is more to it. 

One of the most significant ways of increasing traffic and e-commerce profits is through potential customers clicking on backlinks.

If your website’s front page or your blog post has been linked to from a high-quality site then you are more than likely going to see a significant spike in traffic. 

Backlinks help your website only when from high-quality, popular sites, this drives traffic.

These sites have a large number of users and readers and so, the content that they provide is informative and useful. What this means is that readers are likely to click on backlinks and the traffic you receive is real. 

What’s more, the people who have clicked on the link to your website are feeling positive about your business or brand. After all, the publication that they have been reading has recognised you and that means that they trust you – it’s the reason they clicked the link. 

Users now become potential customers who might want to purchase your products or services.  These customers are now way down the marketing funnel, near the purchase intent phase.

Backlinks Help Your Website Long Term 

It can take time to create backlinks that work effectively.  But once you have high-quality backlinks they will always work hard for your business. 

This means that as long as backlinks are trustworthy, reliable and authoritative they will help your website rankings continuously over time.

It doesn’t matter whether this is weeks, months or years, mature backlinks have been around for many years and still successfully contribute to your ranking.

Once the content is out there on the internet, it is always reachable, readable, and relatable and that means that the long-term benefits are there to be seen.

If possible, it could be worth researching how to carry out link analysis on some of your posts that have seen the most success. This is regardless of whether they have been posted on your site or external sites.

Backlinks Help Your Website by Creating Trust

The way in which consumers behave and the decisions they make are mainly based around trust. 

It doesn’t matter whether you are a b2c small garage or a major b2b print company, there are going to be many other businesses out there doing exactly the same.

Therefore, consumers will do research and will choose the right brand based on whether they trust them or not. It’s vital that you do all you can to stand out from competitors.

The smallest % gains of originality with backlinks will stand you above the competitive set.

If potential customers see that you have been featured with backlinks on top, widely recognised blogs and news stories then trust is going to increase.

The reality is that consumers are always looking for a reason why they should use a brand.  When it comes to their priorities, trust is high up the list. 

The more people that trust your brand and business, the more they are likely to purchase from you. Along with this, complementary businesses are going to want to suggest business opportunities and partnerships. 

Furthermore, you might gain a lot of attention. Publishers might want to know more about your business through an interview, giving you more reach. They may also take more notice when you request a guest post or fire out a press release.

How To Get Backlinks

As we have mentioned, if you do things the wrong way, backlinks can work against you, so it simply isn’t worth cheating. Doing it the right way can prove challenging and you might need assistance but it’s worth the effort but how do you get them?

Make Use of Reputable Directories

It’s possible to place your business on human-edited directories as this will increase the number of backlinks helping your website.

While there are some useful free directories out there, you might find that you will need to pay to take advantage of trustworthy sites.  The results are wafer thin but should be considered as a minimum you can achieve yourself.

Create Backlink Bait That’s Effective

Creating Link Bait online to increase for backlinks to help your website

If you can create and publish content that is engaging, informative and well written then you are going to increase the likelihood of achieving backlinks naturally. 

The reason for this is that content that is considered to be of high quality, is likely to be shared and linked to.

To find success through this route, you should consider thinking about your audience and what they want to read as well as those within your industry. 

The content should be well written and easy to digest while ensuring you come across as an expert with your own research and findings. 

Build Backlinks With Guest Blogging

Guest blogging can be a highly successful way of achieving quality backlinks. However, one thing to remember is that you never pay to be a guest blogger. 

To do this successfully, you will need to make sure that you are involved with the targeted blog. You should comment where necessary and share posts that you believe are interesting. 

Essentially, the aim is to build a relationship with the blogger and when you are given the chance, you should make sure that the content you create is engaging and informative. If you do it the right way, guest blogging can prove to be extremely beneficial. 

The downside is that you have given up a quality piece of content for your own website.

You shouldn’t duplicate something you had written about before.  However if sacrificing it delivers the backlink from a better site than yours, then your SEO will improve.

Some journalists for example don’t allow backlinks. It’s best to watch a few sites for a while and study what their pattern of reciprocation. If a select few are backlinking, then approach them.

The guest site can provide a link to your website in the footer of the article or you could agree with them to allow, what is called a contextual link, deep in the body of the text.

Create Backlinks to Other Websites

Now, this approach must be used with caution, yet if the analysis is done correctly you may be fine.  This is basically like back-scratching or widely known as Link Exchanges.

From your website, you can link out to other websites, giving them a little help with Google and their ranking. If you do this and it becomes recognised then you are going to find that they might give you something back. This is one of those situations where you gain backlinks for doing something helpful. 

Also known as reciprocal linking, you will need to do it in moderation. So, avoid linking out to as many sites as possible just for the sake of it because it won’t always generate the response or the results you expect. 

What’s more, you will be losing a lot of authority in doing so and if a large portion of the websites link back to you then it could get picked up by Google, which could lead to you being penalised. What this means is that Google could deindex your website.

With algorithm updates comes new best practices for website owners, and the Google Penguin update put the nail in the coffin for manipulative backlinks.

How do I check for Backlinks for free

Log into your Google Search Console (GSC), click on Links 2/3 thirds down on the left.  Then review Top Linking Sites to see all visible back links to your website. 

Here you will find all your Business Directory listings, and backlinks to sites you were completely unaware of.  Contact site owners if you feel the backlink was unnecessary, ask them to delete our re-edit the links to ‘do not follow’.   

Keep monitoring backlinks from this page of GSC so you can keep track of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some links can be toxic and they will drag your site down. 

There are many free backlink search tools out there, looking for you to subscribe, but you can get some minimum value from them, such as Moz, and SEMrush.

Simple Advice for Creating Backlinks for your Website 

We’ve written a fairly limited post and we hope it gives you the backstory on how backlinks help your website succeed.

Backlinks are clearly an important part of ensuring your business is getting recognised and noticed online.

It’s a highly competitive world and improving your search engine ranking could see you significantly increase traffic at the same time. 

There is a fine line between getting it right and getting it wrong.  Which means you might want to consider using a professional service to ensure that you reap the rewards.

Backlink packages are expensive because, to be honest, it does take time approaching website owners or journalists for approval to work with them.

Your best approach for backlink building is to continue releasing original content via blogs, spreading your content across social media, and building your website authority to eventually get backlinks for free. Make sure your website designers have these functions built-in.

However, you can contact Cream Soda Media and we can show you how to check competitor backlinks, another level of understanding your competitors SEO.

CONTACT US

For any advice to increase the ranking of your website, contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448 / Mob 07855 356393

Website maintenance is shown on a diagram as a mechanical digital engine

Website Maintenance – Learn 8 Reasons Why It Wins Big!

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Website Maintenance is like Car Servicing

It’s common for businesses to think that once their site is up and running that they can step away and ignore any website maintenance. However, your website is something that evolves with your business but also your customers and the ever-changing demands of search engines. 

We are a web development agency in Surrey with much experience in this area. If you choose to leave your website as it is then you are going to discover the common problems that arise as a result of not carrying out regular maintenance duties. 

You must not forget about the site once it’s up and running. Think of it as a digital engine compared to a car, one which needs its battery, tyres & fuel checked and at times replaced.

A car engines working parts are being maintained and this is similar to website maintenance

There are many different elements that feed into the overall performance, appearance and security of your website and all of that works collectively to help it achieve its goal.

As a business owner, your website is your shop window and so, the benefits of website maintenance cannot be ignored but failing to carry out maintenance will only result in it working against you.

With this in mind, what are the dangers of not maintaining your website, and what is a website maintenance plan?

Why Should You Always Maintain an Existing Website?

There are many different reasons why this has to be done. It’s important to look at it from a security perspective because security is constantly changing with risks.

Furthermore, customer retention is vital. As a result, updated content, repaired links, better content and functionality as well as speed all contribute to the user experience and satisfaction.

What this means is that a modern website is never truly “finished” and should be seen as work in progress. 

What Dangers Do Business Face If They Fail on Website Maintenace?

It’s quite clear over the years that a website services list is one that has to be followed. However, if businesses fail to maintain their website regularly they are going to experience a range of problems.

These oversights could be a thorn in their side and result in losing customers and profits. So, what are the dangers?

1. Missing out on Software Maintenance Updates

When you run a website, it’s likely to run on a specific platform. As an example, a large number of websites around the world are built on WordPress and so, that means that they are likely to need regular updates.

In WordPress, the core software that runs websites needs regular updating and these updates can be rolled out at any time. If these websites are not applied rapidly then websites functionalities might be lost as a result.

Furthermore, plugins require updating too as well as themes and on the whole, there is around one WordPress update each month.

The entire performance and functionality of your website will depend on running updates to the core software and any plugins that you might use.

This is a relatively simple process but is one that can be carried out quickly with the results being instantly noticed while helping your website to avoid future problems.

Check your CMS platform every day and watch out for any notifications for update notifications. Update and Activate the new file version.

However, make sure your site is backed up prior to updating the main WordPress software.

2. Failure to protect Customer Data without Website Maintenance

Website maintenance for security has to underpin everything you do as an online business. Believing that the security you have in place is enough is one of the biggest mistakes you could make.

Cyber threats are ongoing and as quickly as hackers are looking for new opportunities, security companies are finding solutions.

This means that a website that is considered secure today could be insecure tomorrow or even next week. It’s something that you have to take extremely seriously because these risks are a risk for your business but also your customers and users.

Hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities within your site and they often do this by finding vulnerabilities in code. They will attempt to take advantage of this and will spend huge amounts of time exploring sites that might be exploited.

However, you can avoid or reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime by ensuring you carry out maintenance on your website in relation to security.

If you are using a platform such as WordPress then you might want to consider updating plugins. If you have your own server then you will need to make sure that all of the relevant patches are installed.

Website maintenance statistics prove that security maintenance is probably the most important element of all and you need to keep on top of it.

Should you get hacked then you will need to remove the virus, clean up your website and then carry out a restore, all of which takes time but will also put your business out of action.

Also, remember that it’s important to consider your users. Their personal details are at risk, so it’s really important to make sure you are protected.

3.Content Goes Stale Without Website Maintenance

It’s not just about updates and security when it comes to your website maintenance services list.

Your content is key to engagement and you have to make sure that you engage with users. If you keep your content the same then what incentive do they have to return?

Below is a snippet from our client’s Google Search Console graph, who signed up to a content plan and a monthly competitive keyword tracker. Their site from the beginning of October rebounded and started to deliver with e-commerce sales.

Google Search Console graph showing website impressions increasing due to website maintenance package

Users are now looking for a fresh experience whereby they can access the latest products, news, or information. Outdated information is not going to prove helpful and you will also be giving the impression that you are a business that simply doesn’t care or isn’t around anymore.

Whether it’s a new look or regular blog posts, keeping content new and intriguing is all part of keeping your website relevant.

4. SEO Eventually Dilutes Without Website Maintenance

Search Engine Optimisation is ongoing and it is something that needs to be actively managed in order to experience the benefits of website maintenance.

SEO is all about ensuring your website is set up and ready for search engines to recognise it.

Site optimisation is wide and varied and can include many elements such as keywords, exploring competitors, streamlining design, and ensuring visitors stay on your site.

Search engines are extremely intelligent and they have the ability to rank your website based on all of these factors. Keeping keywords fresh and ensuring they target your customers based on what they are searching for will ensure your website ranks well.

Without up-to-date SEO, your website will simply slip down the rankings and that means that people won’t find you. That will result in reduced traffic and fewer profits.

Maintenance plans can include regular reporting from your Google Search Console and Analytics, to help pick up on Mobile errors, downgrades in Impressions.

Plans also maintain broken external page links, which can harm page SEO score.

5. Fail to Back Up, Prepare to Fail

One of the most crucial elements of website maintenance is to make sure you are prepared should anything fail.

Over time, your website will evolve. But if you are making backups months apart then you are going to lose vast amounts of data should you be relying on a past backup to get your site back up and running. 

Regular backups can be undertaken by website maintenance software but it is something that you should place a focus on.

Is your Web Hosting provider backing up every 2 hrs? Is your host provider giving value? These are features you can talk to them about to make sure these plans are scheduled.

Is your database also being backed-up every 24 hrs? Question the impact of such failure in accessing key data and what that does to your operational efficiency.

6. Miss Out on New Features That Maintenance Delivers

The technology that drives websites is evolving at an impressive rate and these features can help you to align your website with the needs of your users.

You might miss out on enriched social media integration features that can help your business reach new users and engage with current users.

SEO plug in’s rival each other and evolve to improve their interface, you may lose out on how to improve your DIY SEO for posts and new page updates.

Read what the updates are for every plug in or other software. Make sure you understand how they can help elevate your impact on the website.

Furthermore, you might also miss out on free security features such as an SSL certificate that helps to encrypt communications keeping user information safe.

7. User Experience Will Suffer Without Website Maintenance

The image of your brand will be reflected in your website and it is your website that will generate that first impression. It will be influential when helping people to determine whether you are a business worth trusting.

With a website that doesn’t function correctly, is slow and laborious it’s common to see people leave and go elsewhere. You will need to take a look at page speed and broken links but also ‘page not found’ errors and poor grammar or spelling errors.

Making sure maintenance is in place will ensure the user has an experience that leaves them engaged and keen to find out more.

8. Websites Not Maintained Won’t Reach Every Client

Think that a desktop website is enough? Think again because mobile devices are taking over and now search engines are considering this to be a crucial factor when ranking websites.

You might need to run regular updates to ensure that your mobile users have a seamless experience. With new devices and 5G technology comes a need to consider your website with active maintenance that keeps your website visible online.

Google runs new updates several times a year, if you don’t stay on top of these to maximise efficiencies you will slide in the rankings for your keywords.

Are Website Maintenace Packages Worth it?

If you were unsure how to do website maintenance or wanted to know what does maintenance packages include then now you have an idea.

Website maintenance is absolutely crucial to the success of your website and you have to keep on top of it. You can learn to use your chosen platform that allows you to run basic updates yourself but a plan of action can help you work through the list and avoid the problems listed above.

If you get it right, you can have confidence in your website and make sure that it is working hard for your business and delivering satisfaction.

Cream Soda media starts website maintenance packages off at £60 to £100 per month for the majority of small to medium-sized businesses and does scale up for more critical cloud-based hosted sites.

CONTACT US

For any advice for your website, contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

chatbot for websites are they good for my business?

Using A ChatBot For My Website – Great For Business?

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Whether you embrace chatbots on your website or not, technology that automates much of what we do is taking over.

When it comes to customer satisfaction, consumers want exceptional levels of communication and they want more than just the ability to pick up the phone and make a call. They want answers at the click of their fingers and the solution around that is to opt for chatbots.

What is a Chatbot?

We see Chatbots on social media accounts, website contact pages, but what are they? A Chatbot, which is short for Chat Robot, is an artificial intelligence program that interfaces and interacts with consumers online, whereby they can ask common questions to funnel down queries for internal customer service departments. Using pre-defined scripts they are a smart way to access human behaviour and common feature on many websites.  

They are now so good that many people might think that they have actually spoken with a real person due to the natural way they respond.

They work by responding to questions and answers which means that a human is not required to sit and respond to messages. The aim is to streamline the process of helping consumers find what they need and that means that they can provide answers and point them in the right direction.

Most of us use a Chat Bot every day, either on an Amazon Alexa or via Apple Siri.  As 5G grows and mobile phone online search expands, voice search will be a bigger factor.  Siri and Google Assistant will come more into play for the average user.

Why Should You Use a Chatbot on your Website?

The benefit of a chatbot becoming the online face of your brand or business is crucial because consumers need to feel as though they are receiving a personal experience.

Chatbots Improve Customer Engagement

When businesses appear faceless, consumers are known to look elsewhere but a chatbot helps to overcome that problem and engage with them.

With a chatbot that is set up to answer questions about products or services, it enables consumers to feel as though a business is considering their needs and actually values them.

Chatbots Deliver Lead Generation

A chatbot is almost a form of lead generation because when people use a chatbot they might not yet be a part of the sales funnel. With the correct level of interaction and guidance, it’s possible for chatbots to encourage users to take action. 

Chatbots Improve Customer Service

Along with this customer service is also an imperative part of running an eCommerce website. Even customers who have a complaint can be turned around and become loyal with the correct customer service.

Customer service is about understanding and identifying the needs of consumers and a chatbot has to be exceptionally good if it is to excel.

While many businesses are still opting to use human interaction as part of their customer service more are spending money on implementing chatbots to elevate this. 

Chatbots can scale up your business, reach a wider audience, effectively answering queries that you otherwise missed or delayed in responding to on emails & phone calls.

Could Chatbots Be Bad For My Website

Despite all of this, it’s crucial to remember just how much damage a chatbot can cause to your brand. Even the most advanced systems cannot handle a change in direction of conversation or pick up on the tone or users and react accordingly.

These are crucial elements that are lost when businesses switch from human interaction to chatbots. If a chatbot fails in delivering a satisfactory solution then there is no doubt that consumers are going to look elsewhere. 

With your pre determined script, you must always assume the customer wishes to phone or text a real person after a few minutes with a chatbot.

Chatbots Can Not Handle Complicated Consumer Queries

Most users of this technology get on fine when the question is direct and the answer is simple. But you will find that still, over 50% of customers do want real contact with you.

Every customer has a different query, complaint, or buying request. You must be flexible to pick these opportunities quickly.

You as a business owner or your customer services team should be there on the phone, to take on which is essentially a pre-filtered caller.

If you are marketing to an older demographic chatbots may not be the ideal solution for your website. A more traditional solution, yet more labour intensive, will be required.

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Chatbot?

If businesses want to enhance customer satisfaction then providing them with information when they need it is vital.

This is where a Chatbot can help and so, they could be seen as an investment. Despite this, they are clever, and with that comes the cost of developing one that can work for your business. 

So, as with anything, there are different types and they range from basic to brilliant. 

A simple chatbot online is basic and responds to basic commands but if any questions are typed beyond the capabilities of then it will fail. 

An advanced ai chatbot uses artificial intelligence to communicate effectively. They can understand language and communicate using suggestions without relying on phrases or keywords being pre-programmed. It is this type of chatbot that can leave visitors feeling as though they have communicated with a real person.

In terms of cost, they can range from free to over £1,000 per month and this all depends on their capabilities.

Therefore, it’s possible to create a chatbot in-house with a basic function. Next, you could choose to blend your time with software to create a chatbot that works well and feels almost real but this will increase in price.

Finally, you could find a chatbot agency that takes care of creating and maintaining chatbots allowing you to benefit from enhanced communication capabilities with customers. However, this can cost several thousands of pounds per month.

For small businesses, we recommend the Chatbot with IBM Watson. An easily integrated plug-in for WordPress websites.  However, it’s very basic and does lag a little, read the reviews carefully.

If you want to start off somewhere it’s a fine place to go.  Cream Soda Media can however build you any bespoke platform that can fit with your brand personality, maintaining UX and Responsive Design of your site

Where Can Chatbots be Used?

What makes chatbots so unique is that they are completely adaptable to a range of scenarios and situations. 

The capabilities of chatbots are wide and varied.  You can discuss products, arrange a meeting, and even find love with a sex chatbot, it’s a very diverse piece of technology.  

In fact, would you believe that during our keyword research for this article ‘dirty chatbot’ and ‘sex chatbot’ were one of the highest searched for? OMG!

Twitch broadcasters are now using chatbots, allowing them to post automatic timed messages about their other social media accounts, and enabling users to chose different types of music whilst viewing the video.

E-commerce shops are also investing in Facebook Chatbots, providing order delivery updates, order tracking, and even showing you another item you may like to buy.  These are clever AI-based programs which can be your motivated salesperson 24/7.

Ultimately, wherever there is interaction with consumers and users it’s possible to use bots and chatbots. So, this can be utilised in relation to food orders, product suggestions, customer support, arranging meetings, and even looking for a particular service.

As technology evolves, more businesses will have the scope to benefit from it.

What Large Websites Are Using Chatbots?

The desire to implement chatbots is growing and now a vast percentage of businesses and brands are turning to the technology to help grow their brand and awareness.

However, if you think that chatbots are used by small businesses then it’s time to think again. In fact, they are used by a vast array of brands, some of which are the biggest in the world.

Estee Lauder  – This brand might be leading the way in the cosmetics industry but they are also leading the way when it comes to chatbot technology. Example below:

A Chatbot on the Estee Lauder website responding to a customer order query

They have paired it up with augmented reality to allow users to try products before they purchase. It’s a very clever yet unique way of giving consumers even more power over the decisions they make.

Match.com – One of the biggest dating services in the world and yet, you might wonder how it would want or need a chatbot?

The truth is, they’re using this technology to help singles find matches. Known as Lara, she is actually helping people by asking them questions using a conversational approach to determine what they are looking for.

KLM – A big player in the airline industry, KLM uses the technology to help its employees, making it possible for people to find flights. It actually has a cheeky personality but helps take the effort out of booking flights and more.

How Do You Measure the Success of a Chat Bot?

The process of measuring the success of a chatbot is one that is hugely important when determining whether it is adding value to your business.

The activity volume alone will tell you whether people are using it and that is a good indicator. However, it is also worth noting that the time it takes for dialogue to take place is also a clear sign as to whether it is working.

Consider whether users are voluntarily using or are using it after being prompted to use it. 

Bounce rate is commonly related to websites and those users who leave a site without taking action. The same measure can be used for Chatbots. Consider the number of sessions that do not end with a satisfactory outcome. The higher the rate, the more that your bot is not doing the job you want it to.

There are many other considerations to make when measuring success. This can include conversation length, questions per conversation, usage distribution by the hour, and even the retention rate.

Ultimately, all of this data will provide a clear insight into the impact your chatbot is having.

Is a ChatBot the Future for your Website?

It’s a technology that is evolving at an incredible rate and one that is going to change the way that businesses interact with consumers.

As artificial intelligence improves, chatbots are going to become more efficient at dealing with consumers and their problems or queries.

However, at the moment, they are not a complete replacement for human interaction as that is vital for businesses if they are to retain consumers and build brand loyalty, both of which can help them to stand out among competitors.

CONTACT US

For any advice for your next project, contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

Website Headers are key for user experience and SEO page value

5 Top Reasons Why Website Headers Are Vital

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Website Headers are things you have heard about but not understood correctly? Let’s make it easy to comprehend and put into practice.

Heading the ball is now being discouraged at kids’ football training.  Chances are now lost in front of the opposition net, whilst it’s our children’s long-term health we want to protect, they are missing open goals.

What’s the link to Website Headers then?  

Headers are a key element of every single website page and subsection on your website.  So many website owners leave out vital consumer call outs and search engine keywords for these sections.  

This is like a missed open goal.

Headers are key SEO elements every website owner should understand, it’s child’s play SEO and is simple to establish on your web design.  In this article, we will explain what are H1 and H2 headers and how they should be used. 

Essentially what are the main Headers on a website?  H1 Headers are the lead text at the top of each website page, used once, and are approx. 24 – 26 pixels in size. They headline the page, informing the user and search engine on the page topic. H2 Headers will divide the article body up into chapter headings, used multiple times, which improves user experience and keyword optimisation. 

After that, there is a sliding scale of authority for smaller headers ranging from H3 to H6.  These can be useful for Call To Action links or, sub-chapters in the article body of a blog.

Lets focus on H1 Headers first.

Why Does My Website Require Headers 

Visitors enter your site from various pages, not just from your front page.  They might arrive via 

  • A search query which led them to a blog 
  • Linking from another site (backlink) to a particular page, 
  • From a YouTube URL link in the description copy.

Therefore the H1 header takes a leading role in indicating what page the user is on.  Users flick from one page to another fairly quickly, and an easy to read, large heading above the page confirms their destination.  

Website owners should plan for a key phrase in this header, otherwise, users might not believe the page is relevant to their search.

If there is no header present, users will be lost within your site structure and will ultimately leave. Thus increasing your bounce rate, lowering your SEO score, and rankings suffer.

Why Do Page Headers help My Page Ranking

For Search Engines to spider your page and understand the page topic, you will need headers for exactly that.  

It’s easier for search engines to source content that is labelled and written in a structured way.  If successful the pages will be indexed and ranking positions will be set.  

Each page should only have one H1 (1 x topic) visible at the top.  

A search engine will scan the page for one H1 tag. If there is more than one then the page Header hierarchy will be incorrect, the search engine will be confused just like a user.  

Each page should publish unique content focusing on 1 subject and consist of one H1 Header describing that content. 

Why Website Headers Improve User Confidence 

Users typing in search queries will see your site appear with the Page Title, Header and Meta Description on the results page.  When clicked users want to know straight away that the page they are visiting is relevant to their search.  

Page Titles for Blogs are actually the H1 headers for your page, so the user will see the same header both in the SERPS (search engine results page) and website page.  

For your other services/commercial pages, you don’t need to match the page title, just re-enforce that key phrase with a similar meaning to elaborate and pull in the reader.

Website Headers Improve User Experience

We go into detail on H2 headers below, but they play a major part in user experience.

H2 headers allow you to set out page sections into easily readable chunks, users will naturally skim-read the page to find the most relevant piece.  

This breaks up a long consistent body of text and allows users eyes’ to breathe in-between content.  Imagine reading this article without chapter breaks on a mobile phone, it would become very draining. 

Most Website Builders will enable the Header to have a Responsive Design, meaning it will flex and fit different screen sizes and devices. Remember it’s a key phrase, not a sentence, so keep word length limited so it can be read in an instant.

How To Use H2 Headers On My Website

Whilst your H1 is the main Header, your H2s are essentially the chapter headings throughout the page. In this article, you will notice it is split into sections using H2s.  

This particular section has an H2 header labelled “How do I use H2 Headers for my website

Unlike H1 headers, H2 Headers can be used as many times as you wish.  The key thing here is to maintain relevancy to the page topic, which is governed by the H1.

Let’s use this example below, showing how H3s could be introduced.

A layout of page content showing the hierarchy of website Header tags and how use them

As you can see, Headers are like the scaffolding of your content.  Build your copy around them whilst helping users and search engines discover quickly what your page is about, whilst helping your on-page SEO

CONTACT US

For any Content Strategy assistance please get in touch, even for just some free advice, we are happy to provide.

Contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

A mobile phone uses 5G to search the web. 5G will increase mobile use and websites need to change and be more responsive

Look out! Now 5G Forces Change On Web Design

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5G is going to force change in your website design. Whether you are currently lacking responsive design or you have been eager to introduce hi-spec user experiences – the opportunity is here to improve.

While many people will consider the introduction of 5G connectivity as a mobile advancement, many people might not have thought about the way in which it will impact the way in which websites need to be designed. 

Ultimately, 5G means greater data transfer speeds (1Gbps+) and lower latency which opens up a whole world of possibilities for businesses and consumers.  

However, the design of your website is very much dependent on speed and 5G is going to influence design in one way or another.  

Initially, you will be pushed if not already to design for mobile first and stick to SEO principles. As a leading web design agency in Surrey, trust us, this subject is important for your web development.

What Is the Difference Between 5G and 4G?

An Iphone showing 5G signal full strength, before searching on a website suitable for mobile

5G or fifth-generation networking is going to replace 4G but there are major differences.

There is no doubt that 4G made a significant difference to the way in which people browsed and streamed on the move.

However, 4G with maximum speeds of 300Mpbs is now reaching its limit and technology has advanced to the point where 5G, with potential speeds of 1 Gbps+ (Gigabit), is going to change how we use our data. 

It will enable us to utilise the ‘Internet of Things’ and industries and cities will become more data-driven.

Ultimately, 5G will offer higher speeds, less latency, and will enable more devices to be connected with greater efficiency and interference.

5G Will force change on mobile web design 

-5G mobile device use will soar

We now live in a world where network connectivity is key.

Users are now accessing from remote locations using their smart devices to carry out a wealth of tasks online. So before we get too excited with 5G, we need to set you some boundaries.

If you are a business owner with Google Analytics, you will notice mobile sessions by device at 60% and potentially higher if you are direct to consumer.  Be advised that they will be the main search and control device of the future.

screen shot of Session by Device in Google Analytics, showing Mobile views at 67%

5G Mobiles will be more voice search ready, with phones now being more trigger ready, used more frequently and consumers expecting faster search speed. 

5G is going to increase mobile device use in general due to their ever-expanding processing power for controlling the home i.e. heating systems, home lighting, doorbells and entertainment such as music and gaming.  

In fact, it’s free to play mobile gaming that is driving the huge growth for game developers.

5G may lead as a preference over home wifi as some neighborhoods still struggle for decent fibre broadband.

Making sure your website is therefore mobile ready is paramount.

-So Embrace Web Design Changes & SEO Basics for Mobile

Websites design must tick search engine optimisation boxes that Google requires.

Whilst 5G may permit more embedded video, JavaScript coding or other clever design transitioning effects, you must adhere to 

Responsive design and UX (user experience, i.e. friendly). This includes, and is not limited to, clear spacing around buttons and videos /image’s within the screen viewable limits.  

Think of scalable fonts, and spacing for fingers and thumbs with no zooming in and out required.

As mobile search continues to increase and to score highly for SEO you still need content (copy/words!), therefore loading your site with just more video and effects will not help your rankings.  

Designers and developers creating sites for 5G must strike a balance with aesthetics and content.

5G is going reduce website rankings for those not mobile ready.  Web design could see some of the most significant changes it has seen for some time.

With greater speeds comes more possibilities but it will mean that your web designer will have to change their approach.

How Will 5G Enhance Web Design

5G is not just going to change the landscape for image-heavy sites because there are many tools out there that designers use to optimise images for 4G usage.

While web designers will be able to incorporate more images, they’ll also be able to consider video and many other new technologies that transform user experience. 

Loading times and speed have governed web designers in some way because ultimately, the speed and connectivity of 4G has meant that they have had to consider keeping the design safe. 

Being user-friendly and ensuring a good experience is key to ensuring users get what they want.  Whilst still adhering to the search engine criteria is all part of ensuring websites remain within the boundaries of 4G connectivity, 5G pushes boundaries and creates new opportunities.

With this in mind, what will web designers be able to achieve with 5G powering the web and connectivity?

Designers will have the scope to implement high-resolution images but 4k video is likely to be one of the biggest changes we see. As 5G is geared up for faster speeds, it will mean designers will be able to implement 4k video content that creates an immersive experience for users. 

5G Will increase the Opportunity for Voice Search 

Voice search has already become a part of our daily lives but 5G enhances scalability which means that web designers and SEO managers need to consider how web design can incorporate voice search.  

Siri for example could see its use increase 10-fold as phones become faster.  

Searching with voice will also become more natural due to the increase of Smart Watches, Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices.  

A grey Apple Watch showing installed Apps on the screen, with responsive design ready for 5G

Combine this with any more people working from home, the temptation for a faster answer by ‘asking’ a search query will increase. 

Web Content Must be Ready for 5G Voice Search

To have your website in contention for the 1st query in voice, you will have to focus more on snappier answers to queries in your content.  

Similar to the way content experts target Google snippets, the answer must be complete in one sentence.  

Your copy will also need to focus on more long tail keywords and read more conversational in format.  

Users will tend to use 10 words in their voice query, this will include the main keyword and long-tail variants. As stated before, the website design must have a responsive design and load fast.  

Voice search tends to provide retailers or suppliers near the consumer on the map, so focus on your local SEO if you want 5G to benefit your business.

Users will expect ‘Easy Street’ Search With 5G

Users want simplicity and they’re eager for 5G technology to take the hassle out of searching for things online.

Whether it’s searching for specific products, discovering information in an FAQ section or asking a website to search for something specific, designers are going to need to discover how the systems work and that includes identifying key phrases so the system can be integrated seamlessly.

Augmented Reality (AR) in Web Design will Advance with 5G

Man in black T-shirt uses 5G speed to enhance his experience with a VR headset

Augmented reality is another advancement that’s been knocking on the door.

It’s been held back by a lack of capacity on a wider scale. Up until now, 4G has made Augmented Reality a technology that has been unreachable but now 5G allows designers to roll this out.

Designers will be able to create new experiences for users, offering the ability to explore their physical shops, carry out property viewings and even see how they look wearing clothing before making a purchase.

The possibilities that 5G brings are almost endless when it comes to creating new experiences for users on the move.  

If you are involved in VR then embrace it, the better processing power with cloud-based computers will enhance VR’s portability in headsets for example. Up to now, they have had to be connected to PCs.

Statista.com says the global market for VR will increase hugely by 2025.  “..increase by over 195 billion U.S. dollars, increasing from roughly 3.5 billion in 2017 to over 198 billion U.S. dollars in 2025.”  

More Freedom With Lower Latency

When it comes to web design, the increase in data transfer is a game-changer.

One of the main benefits of using 5G is that users will benefit from faster speeds and lower latency but for designers, this opens up the door to more freedom when designing.

Latency is the time taken for data to transfer between 2 points.  5G expands the capacity of data being sent at one time and also the speed.

As mentioned, certain parameters have held designers back because they have had to forfeit their freedom in design for optimisation and fast speeds.

As every second passes, the bounce rate increases but with 5G web design, these kinds of restrictions will be reduced.

So Can Web Designers Go 5G Crazy?

Cream Soda Media’s SEO team, still agrees that mobile speeds still count regardless.

However, some designers might use HD images wherever they wish as loading times will not be impacted, creating a seamless and more exciting experience for users.

They might believe they have no boundaries when it comes to streaming videos, apps, and content and all of that makes for a completely unique experience for users.

Be very wary of the above, whilst 5G may have launched, its distribution may not be as widespread as you think.  

It will be similar to the 4G rollout, mainly in cities.  So keep in mind that full-blown experiences might not come that quickly for a number of years. 

5G will Impact Advertising and Ecommerce 

There is no denying that 5G is going to transform advertising. It’ll enable you to implement new and exciting strategies that harness the power of 5G with the implementation of 4k videos and Augmented Reality. 

The entire marketing journey for users will become more immersive and engaging. Your website will likely become more interactive and users will be able to explore new features and new possibilities. 

With successful advertising comes sales and it’s expected that e-commerce is going to grow exponentially. With faster, more reliable speeds, browsing becomes more accessible to most and that means shopping will become easier. 

Designers will need to consider building websites that are easy to access and capable of handling increased traffic.

However, to enhance the customer experience, it’s likely that artificial intelligence is going to play a significant role in both design and the customer journey. 

Chat bots are growing in popularity via desktop but 5G will allow them to become more accessible and smarter too on mobiles due to lower latency and faster speeds.  

Consumers expectations on page design and user experience will move to those with holograms or Virtual Reality advancements.

Security will be another factor you must adhere too.  This means a minimum SSL certification for your site and GDPR compliance for all customer data.  

What Does 5G Mean for Wearable Devices

We have all seen the growth in wearable devices but as these devices become smarter in order to align themselves with 5G, it’s likely that web designers are going to need to change website design so they can be accessed.

An Apple Watch checking in for a flight using 5G for connection

It’s no secret that user habits are going to change as a result of the improvement in wearable devices.

Users will expect content to be accessible in a matter of a split second. This is likely to become the main focus for designers, much like it became important to make websites mobile-ready.

Despite the current usage of wearable devices, this is only going to grow and designers are going to need to adapt to ensure users can benefit from using websites on smaller screens.

5G Will Improve Progressive Web Apps

One significant change for website designs is the use of Progressive Web Apps or PWA technology.

This technology makes it possible for 5G web designers to utilise this software in order to create an app experience that is diverse and engaging.

It allows for greater levels of customisation options for their online content. What this means is that eCommerce apps are going to be revolutionised.

Will 5G Expose Weaknesses in My Web Design?

With faster speeds and greater expectations comes the potential for problems.

The reality is that your website will need to instantly impress users and with that comes a need for responsiveness.

As speeds increase so will use and more users will turn to their mobile devices to browse the web.

With this becoming more prominent, it could lead to users becoming exposed to problems with your website. It might not be responsive, icons might not appear right or users will be unable to experience the website layout. 

Actually they may not be exposed to it, because you will not rank in the first place.

These weaknesses will result in users looking elsewhere.

If your website is not responsive or providing an excellent user experience then Google and other search engines are going to pick up on this.

With higher bounce rates and reduced user satisfaction, it’s going to mean that your ranking will suffer.

Don’t Expect 5G To Make All Web Design Work

You might think that with greater speed comes more potential. You might add more high-resolution images or videos but that doesn’t mean it’s a universal answer.

Web designers are going to need to find that perfect balance through testing to determine where the tipping point might be.

It’s also important to remember that users are not going to want to be bombarded with masses of content just because you can make use of it.

Ultimately, the user experience is going to drive what happens when 5G comes into play.

Sure, they want high-quality images and videos but if their device isn’t set up for that kind of thing then they are going to suffer and that can also have a negative impact on how they perceive your website.

What Businesses Need to Consider with 5G

There is no doubt that the arrival of 5G is going to open the door to amazing possibilities in usability and design. However, this comes with challenges that need consideration.

One thing to remember is that while network providers might claim that 5G has arrived, that doesn’t mean it is widespread.

It is slowly being implemented across the UK and it is going to be a while yet until it is mainstream.  Partly due to the delays of banning Huawei technology in UK infrastructure. The US is currently the only country with decent penetration.

The implementation phase of the technology is still in its infancy and that means that it is only going to be available in major towns and cities which immediately makes it inaccessible for many.

Along with this, technology is going to need to adapt and users are going to need to make the switch to 5G devices, such as the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S20.  

Many carriers are still implementing the infrastructure required to deliver higher speeds but web designers should consider preparing for a time whereby the majority of UK mobile users have made the switch. 

This is a case of timing because should designers create a website that is 5G friendly too soon, they will only succeed by pushing away their current 4G users and that could be hugely damaging.

So, businesses are going to have a lot to think about. When it comes to selecting a web designer, one that has an excellent reputation is going to need to understand the importance of evolving and adapting.

They would have done this several times throughout the years and this would become another process for them. Despite this, they are going to have to understand the true fundamentals of web design in an era where 5G and faster speeds are pushing boundaries like never before.

Our Conclusion On 5G Website Design

Our advice is to make sure your website has a responsive design and works as fast as it can, whilst maintaining some design flair. When 5G finally emerges you will simply ride on the back of increased traffic and rankings.

CONTACT US

We can give FREE advice to get you going, contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

A Childs illustration to show the history of the google logo

The Historical Change Of The Google Logo

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The Google Logo – What Is The History Behind It?

The Google logo is everywhere and marked in history. Whether we’re working at a desktop PC or searching for the nearest restaurant while out and about, it’s safe to say that there is no getting away from it.

It has become a part of life and although there are other search engines out there when someone mentions the words “Search Engine” almost everyone thinks of Google.

Unbelievably, Google is now in its third decade of existence which is incredible when you consider that it’s only in recent years that it has become the go-to search engine.

In fact, back in the day when search engines were relatively new, it had to compete with the likes of Lycos, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo and many others. It effectively came out on top, so it must have been doing something right.

While many choose to use the search engine for its ability to return accurate results, there is something about it that we all notice instantly – its logo.

It’s now one of the most recognisable logos out there but there is a history to it. 

While Google might lead from the front in all that it does, it has certainly led from the front when it comes to branding and brand evolution. Since its initial inception in 1998, the logo has constantly changed. 

There is no denying that the logo is extremely simple. There is no play on design just a simple word that is matched with simple colours but the two together make it one of the most powerful logos in the world but what is the history behind it?

What Was Google’s Beginning

The story of Google dates back to 1996 where Larry Page and his business partner Sergey Brin founded a brand new project known as BackRub. This was a web crawler that was quickly renamed to Google after the misspelling of Googol.

The pair were Stanford students and so, that provided them with the ideal platform from which they could test and trial their new project. 

The first example of the latched Google logo from 1997 which includes the Stanford search bar

So, as 1997 began, the Google logo as we know it today was born. Of course, back in 1997, digital design was not where it is today which means that looking back, the logo was very primitive although this was not the case at the time.

Little did we know back then that this logo was here to stay and would become a household name. 

Essentially, the two PhD students downloaded the entire internet and developed a search program that would allow users to search for anything they wanted. 

1998 – Google’s Logo, The Beginning Of The Beginning!

It was in 1998 that Google really took off because they Brin and Page both decided to launch Google on a global scale. With a new launch and a new beginning came a new logo and the Google colours that we know and love came to life.

In fact, they even placed an exclamation mark after to mimic the design of their competitor Yahoo! 

an example of the 1998 google logo with a new exclamation mark

The logo was actually designed in Microsoft Word which might be a surprise but back then, there were not a lot of options in the way of digital design so they made use of what they had.

Despite this, they quickly moved onto GIMP which was an image editing package and here they started to let their creative juice flow. They used the Baskerville Bold font and opted for a green G although this was quickly changed.

After considering different options, a year later in 1999, they had some assistance with the design.

Google Logo Evolves Moving On To 1999

As the end of the century was fast approaching, Google started to gain traction and was starting to become the go-to search engine for many internet users. It continues to baffle many businesses that want to rank well.

Despite this, it was still very much in its infancy which meant that its branding wasn’t quite on point or where it needed to be according to Brin and Page.

They were not totally on board with the look of the logo and felt that a change in direction and some professional assistance would help to transform the brand and take it in a new direction.

This meant that they called on the expertise of Ruth Kedar, a Stanford Assistant Professional to help develop logos. 

She worked on several designs, made tweaks and changes, and began to shape the brand logo that we know and love today.

While the initial ideas hinted at the basic design of the logo, it seemed as though the introduction of colour really changed the look and feel of the brand.

Marketing is driven by an injection of colour and many of the most successful campaigns around the world have hinged on the appeal and attraction of colour and so, it seemed as though colour was going to become a part of the logo. 

They went through eight designs, with each design bringing them closer to the finished look.

They played with designs that incorporated magnifying glasses although that was removed due to the feeling that Google was going to become more than just a search engine – the seed had been sown. 

One of 8 designs of draft google logos which Ruth Kedar created.

Eventually, after tweaking designs and introducing quirks, it was decided that the basic logo was the one they wanted.

A New Google Logo in 1999 – A New Era

Google new logo from 1999

Amazingly, this logo was the one that remained in place for 16 years. It was minimalistic yet playful and enticing. It appealed to the masses and that was seen in the way that Google instantly started to evolve and grow. 

As audiences and trends changed, in 2010, the new logo that had been in place for just over ten years had a change. It was a slight change nonetheless but involved the removal of the drop shadow.

A minimalistic logo became even more simplistic but the colours we enhanced, making it even more appealing.

2010 Google logo with the drop shadow removed from the font.

2013 Came With More Changes To The Google Logo

Staying true to the brand, 2013 saw that further changes were required in order to keep the brand on-trend and up-to-date with the ever-changing technological landscape.

Smart devices were becoming more prominent which meant that Google needed to step it up and become optimised for mobile devices.

As a result, further tweaks were made to make sure that the logo was easily readable and so, it was given a flat shape design. Simple, yet highly effective.

A new flat font for the google logo from 2013

2015 – The Beginning of Google As We Know It Today

Up to this point, the original Google logo had been standing firm for 16 years, proving that Ruth Kedar really did get the logo right.

However, a new era was beginning and the digital landscape was changing and in Google fashion, it evolved to work with all devices.

They still retained the famous colours but it became more of an animated design whereby the font was changed from Catull to Product sans. This gave them the scope to be able to alter the logo whenever they needed to.

In fact, the new logo gave Google a more informal appearance.

the New 2015 Google logo using Product sans font

With the number of devices and platforms growing, Google realised that one logo was not enough so several versions were released. This again was centered around mobile devices with the now famous ‘G’ logo being used on their apps.

Again, this streamlined logo might have been stripped back but there is no denying the fact that it’s instantly recognisable due to the colours.

Google New Smart devices 'G' logo incorporating the same colours within.

As smart devices started to become smarter, Google decided to create a dynamic logo that would work seamlessly with voice searches.

Again, the four flowing dots have retained the colours but move during the voice search process. It gives Google more of a relatable feel, making it almost more personable and almost life-like in a digital way.

Seasonal Changes of the Google Logo

Its those annual seasonal festivities such as Christmas, Easter or historical “in this day” anniversaries, in which Google excites us with new temporary logos and even interactive Google Doodles.

It still makes browsing the web and searching fun. Google Doodles have now become a part of everyday life almost. It all started with the ‘Burning Man Festival’ Google Doodle back in 1998 and they have continued to use it ever since.

Recently for Halloween, we had this Doodle to play with, by chasing little ghosts away.

Google Halloween Interactive Doodle from October 2020

18 Google Doodles from 2020

In fact, Google Doodles has surprised us many times through 2020 (we needed it!) and it should continue into 2021. Below are some of the other creative changes to the Google logo.

Showing the history of the google logo by displaying 18 different Google Doodles

The Google Logo Is An Iconic Symbol

Google has evolved in many ways since it started life back in 1997. It now has a huge array of products and now almost single-handedly drives the whole internet.

The Google logo is still hugely influential in the online world and there are not many people across the globe who will not recognise it.

It’s up there with some of the most influential brands in the world such as Apple, Nike and Adidas but they all have a vast amount of history behind them, proving that Google really has made great strides in getting to where it is today.

A global brand and a logo that is as recognisable as some of the longest running brands in the world. So, we might not see a complete change to the logo any time soon but it’s quite likely that we will see some tweaks because that’s what Google does.

And Hey Google, how about this as your next Google Logo Design? Excuse the chocolate lollypop on the desk!

#homeschooling #futuretalent

With over 3.5billion searches a day, Google is the only search engine you really need to rank for. If you need help with dedicated SEO strategies from an experienced SEO Agency then do get in touch. Don’t miss any SEO opportunities for your business.

For Google Help – Contact Us.

We can give FREE advice to get you going, contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

©2018 Google LLC All rights reserved. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC.

London skyline of business with many missing key SEO opportunities

SEO For UK Business – Are You Missing Opportunities?

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Overlooked SEO Vitals For UK Business

On-site SEO is vital for websites of UK businesses.  The path ahead for the UK in 2021/ 22 will become ever more digital and your competitive SEO talent as an entrepreneur of a small to medium-sized company needs to focus even more on this area.  

Here we give you 7 bites at the SEO apple, some serious SEO advice that you can control.  If you are reading this then you have experience in running your UK business website, writing blogs, and selling via e-commerce, but you have never employed an SEO expert because of the costs.  

If you read the below for 10 minutes you might save yourself £30 – £50 an hr for an SEO consultant.  Most on-site SEO is simple once you follow the same practices – don’t think of SEO as confusing jargon, it’s easy as DIY, depending on your preparation.

My Web Designer Did Not Code in My SEO

Web design has changed considerably in recent years, especially when you consider that WordPress does all of the hard work for you. This has removed the worry about HTML and so some independent freelance Web Designers put the ownness on SEO plugins.

SEO plugins do not solve your Google ranking, they just direct you, they are a handy interface but certainly are not the winning formula.  Don’t be left thinking the plug-in’s fix past mistakes.

Web Designers should have a basic SEO understanding when setting up page structures and menu’s, but they lack experience with Google savvy Page Titles and Headers.  Our digital marketing agency, Cream Soda Media, goes mad when we review company websites in Surrey and London, who have been ditched by designers and left high and dry with no credible back end SEO code. 

You will notice as a UK business owner, that a huge amount of skill is still required to create websites. The tools available enable ALL developers to fine-tune any design to ensure that they fulfill the requirements of search engines, ultimately enhancing SEO.  Right now you can be the designer/developer – stick with us.

Your Web Site SEO Code Matters

Google considers code to be a crucial part of your web design but there are certain elements that you should consider.  The following bites used to be part of HTML, but all of this can be done from the dashboard of your WordPress site or any other CMS platform.

  1. Title Tag
  2. Header Tags
  3. Meta Descriptions
  4. Canonical Tags
  5. No Follow Links
  6. Internal Links
  7. Anchor Links

1. Business Name – Title Tag

The title tag is the piece of text that appears in the browser and even though many browsers use tabs, it means that the title tag is no longer visible but they are still crucial. Therefore, you should look to consider a title tag that is up to 55 characters and describes the content because this will tell search engines what the page is about. 

Title Tags are the No.1 priority for any website because Google uses this as the main decider as to what the page is about, and ultimately whether it should be included in the results page.

Each Page of your website should have a unique page title, with your main page being the main description of what you offer.  

For example, the Google Search result below for Protein Powder shows the Title Tag for the main page of ‘My Protein.com’ – describing what the business is all about.

SERP for My Protein website showing its Page Title

Title Tags should also be used for Secondary Pages and Blogs. The below shows an example for ‘My Protein’s’ Secondary Pages Page Title “Protein Shakes, Protein Powders & Blends“. Whilst Healthline.com shows a blog Title for “The 7 Best Types of Protein Powder”.

Google SERP showing orange highlighted areas to display where a Website Page Title is positioned

While it’s a relatively small thing to implement, any UK business owner managing their own site can master this as you create a new page.  It is well worth spending time on title tags as they will create context and help to make your page appeal to searchers.

Check right now your Main Page Title and other pages.  Make sure they are descriptive of each page and to the point.  Imagine writing a headline on a poster for your local village fete visitors– use the same thinking.

2. On-Site Page Header Tags

Header tags are also vital SEO elements and these are known as H1, H2 H3, etc. They provide readers with an indication of what each section of your site is about.  These come into play even more if you are an avid blogger.

The headers allow readers to find what they are looking for. What’s more, search engines use them for context and it helps them identify what is included in your web page as well as help to identify important topics. This then makes it possible for Google to provide results that meet the needs of users.

The tags also come with different weights which means that some are more significant than others. The H1 tag is the most important and is considered to be the main heading of the page. H2 tags are secondary chapters within.

A view of the WordPress dashboard showing how to select H1 headers for a page

It’s vital to remember that these headings are useful for both search engines and users. Htags with keywords work as context indicators for search engines while they will catch the eye of readers, luring them into spending more time on your site, certainly for blog writing.

Imagine writing a headline for a tabloid news article, you will require an eye-catching writing style to pull in the reader.  As a business owner, you need your marketing hat on for this.

What Makes H1 Tags So Important?

As clever as search engines might be, one of the problems they have is understanding the context of a page. In order to do this, they need to identify data using different signals and this is where the H1 tag comes in.

Search engines crawl the content on web pages and they read the HTML code in order to identify which sentences are contained with heading tags. As a result, H1 tags can help search engines to determine what your page is about. 

A screen shot of a webpage which as a stand out H1 header on its blog page

Along with this, these tags also make life easier for users as it makes it possible for them to see what a page is about first without having to read too much.  

H2 headers allow readers to skim down a long blog to find a relevant piece for them.  In SEO terms the Header for this paragraph “What Makes H1 Tags So Important?” is H2.

Do not overload any Header with keywords, or your SEO score will be reduced.  Write it effortlessly and naturally in a way that appeals to your target audience.

3. What Are Meta Descriptions 

Many business owners discuss META tags and META keywords with vigorous enthusiasm but there is one thing to remember – META descriptions and keywords held within do not impact the SEO or ranking of your website.

However, they have an impact on click-through rates. Essentially, they become the sales pitch to the reader for your UK business because search engines will use them in your listing. So combined with your title tag, you can lure in searchers to visit your website.

Meta Tags are around 150 characters long and ‘Yoast’ or ‘All in One SEO’ plug-ins, do provide an easy way to write these.  We use both plugins but prefer Yoast.  If you want your business to stand out and rank well on Google in the UK, it’s time to look at this and get in control.

These are not the only tags available because you can also consider things such as link titles and ALT tags. However, getting people to visit your site is about providing them with a reason to do so.

4. Are Canonical Tags Confusing

A canonical tag is a small piece of HTML code (rel =”canonical”) that helps to identify the main version of content when you have content that is similar and available through different URLs.

The content can be duplicate content, near-duplicate content, or similar. A canonical tag can be used to identify which version of content is the original and should be indexed.  It stops the confusion for Google as you may be posting a lot of business articles about similar themes.

Having duplicate content can significantly damage your SEO and can cause problems for search engines as they will not be able to determine which content is the right one to choose. This means that they will not know which page to index nor which version to rank for relevant queries.

They will also struggle to understand whether they should consolidate link equity on one page or split it between several versions.

If you have too much duplicate content on your business site, then this will cause problems for your crawl budget. This means that Google is likely to spend too much time crawling several versions of the same page as opposed to identifying content that is important within your website. 

Using canonical tags, you’ll be able to avoid these problems and inform search engines which page they should index and rank. If you fail to do this then you will find that Google will make the decision and that could mean that they choose the wrong version.

5. Google Don’t Go There – NoFollow Links

Google considers trust to be a huge factor when ranking websites because your UK business & brand has to build trust in order to rank well. However, when it comes to SEO, NoFollow links have been given a bad reputation as they are considered not necessary, but we find this untrue.

Despite this, one of the key metrics that Google uses to identify trust is NoFollow links as well as sponsored and UGC links. A sponsored link will inform Google that you are paying for a link because it is an ad, something which is considered important, and surely if you’re a genuine, trustworthy brand then advertising is something you would do naturally. 

So, with NoFollow links, you’re actually informing Google that you are a legitimate business and the link is your ad copy. All Google has to do is consider the anchor text and determine how it is relevant to your website and credit you for it.

picture of the WordPress dashboard showing a page link being selected as NoFollow

There is proof that NoFollow links are beneficial. Many of the sites ranked at number 1 in a range of niches have an average of around 40% NoFollow links that point to that particular page. In some cases, the figure is higher.

So, NoFollow links were considered to have a negative impact on SEO yet it can be found in a range of sites ranked number one. 

6. Creating a Linking Structure – Internal Links 

If you want your content to rank for UK target consumers, then internal linking is an absolute must.

When you have links within your website, it makes it easier for Google to find your business or brand posts and pages. Therefore, internal links will connect your content and give Google some kind of indication about the structure of your website.

Throughout this article, you will have seen bold blue text and these are examples of internal links to other Pages and Posts.

Internal links allow you to create a hierarchy so you can ensure that important pages have more link value than other pages. Therefore, an internal linking strategy is crucial.

An internal link is a link that goes from one page within your website to another page. These links are useful to both users and search engines as it allows them to navigate around your site with ease. However, search engines also use them to navigate your site and with no links, they won’t find your pages.

In terms of web design, internal links are not just those links that go from your homepage or blog but they are also contextual links. These links are ones that point users to content that might be of value to them.

Along with this, they make it possible for Google to identify what content is on your website and how it is related and they then value the content.

When an important page receives a number of links, it will become more important to search engines and as a result, internal links can add a significant boost to your SEO.

While Google gains an understanding of the relationship between content, it also takes all of the links on a web page and divides the link value. In many cases, the homepage will contain the most links and so, this will have the greatest link value – the value will be shared between every link found on that page. 

Finally, the link value that is given to the following page will then be split between every link that is positioned on that page. So, if you want to increase the link value of your latest blog post, it makes sense to link to it from your homepage. This means that Google will find it quicker.

A solid internal linking strategy can help to improve your site’s SEO. Through the correct internal links, you can ensure that Google understands the relevance of pages, the relationship between pages and the value of pages.

7. Anchor Links Explained

Anchor links or Anchor Text Links will inform search engines about what your business is linking to. Essentially it is clickable text that takes a user to another website but it can have a significant impact on SEO.

Google has clever algorithms that will use the anchor text to determine what the website is about but there are several different Anchor Links to take advantage of. This includes Exact Match, Partial Match, Branded, Naked Link, Site Name, Generic, and Images.

This Anchor Text will help search engines index your pages and they will use it to determine how people visit your page as well as determine the context. 

It’s important to keep Anchor Text and links consistent throughout your page and that means that links should be around the same length while the text should be relevant to the linked page. 

You can improve your page ranking if you keep the text relevant to the page you are linking to. With related content, you can send strong signals to search engines that you are legitimate and trustworthy.

Again, throughout your SEO content, you will have naturally placed keywords that are used to help your site rank well but remember that you don’t have to link every keyword to another website. If you do this then Google will become suspicious and that will mean that you will get penalised. 

Finally, even though Generic Anchor links can be used, it’s best to avoid them where possible. Generic links could include “Click Here” or “Try This”. These are too vague and provide no further information to your users and more importantly, search engines as to what the link is about. So here is an example of a partial match to an authoritative website on Anchor Links.

What Can You Take Away?

SEO coding plays a huge role in the way in which your UK business website is perceived by search engines. We only covered 7 options, but they are the ones reachable for the average website owner.

Making simple coding errors can have a negative impact on your search engine ranking but the good news is that some simple fixes or changes to your coding will ensure that search engines take notice.  

You as a UK business owner can do the majority of what we have outlined.  You can of course speak to our expert SEO team if you need that extra level of help.

CONTACT US

We can give FREE advice to get you going, contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

Strong Web Design Improves SEO & Rankings. How?

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Web design is crucial to your website’s SEO performance. It’s a quality score factor in the way search engines view your website. When hiring a web designer or developer, you need to think more about the technical aspects that go way above keywords alone.  While you might think that SEO is all about content, you might be surprised to find out its more about user experience, speed, and device compatibility.  Google is a smart cookie so let’s look at what type of design it considers to affect SEO.

Why does a strong website design improve your SEO and search engine rankings? Google takes the view of your site from a visitor’s perspective. Rankings improve if a site has a responsive design, easy navigation, loads fast with optimised images and back end technical SEO.

Responsive Web Design for Mobile Improves Rankings

We are a web development agency in Surrey and we live in a world where more people are now browsing websites using smart devices more than ever before.

In fact, more people now use smart devices than they do laptops and PCs. As a result, Google released its Mobile-First update or the Mobilegeddon update as it is also known. This update now continues to analyse websites to determine how responsive they are.

For those that are considered to be mobile optimised, they will be ranked higher. Essentially, Google now considers mobile responsiveness to be one of the most crucial factors when ranking a website.

Mobile devices are varied and they come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. When you consider that users use tablets, laptops and smartphones to view websites, it’s imperative that your website responds to the devices that people are using.

Users don’t want to have to zoom and pinch the screen when trying to find information and buy products from eCommerce pages. What you need to remember is that a responsive design allows users to connect with your website and read your content with ease. If they have to work hard to read your content then they are going to look elsewhere and as a result, Google will penalise you.

Any easy way to check is to view your own site from the mobile, note any misalignments or oversized pictures & copy and go back into the site’s dashboard and amend picture widths & fonts, and re-center module headers. Those are the common culprits.

Around 58% of all search engine traffic now comes from smartphones and naturally, Google will make sure users have the best possible experience on all pages when using these devices. You must think Mobile-first.

As a result, Google will rank your website higher if you place a focus on responsive design while your users will also be grateful for the smarter design if they can easily navigate around it. This will mean bounce rates drop and users will spend longer browsing your site, all of which will also help to improve your SEO.

Improve Your Website Ranking Infographic: 4 Text Book Solutions

An infographic showing the steps of website design to improve SEO and Google Rankings

Parallax Scrolling Website Design Lacks SEO Benefit.

Parallax design is where the entire website is displayed on one single page. The background of the page can also move slower than the foreground, giving you that floating effect. This kind of design has become highly popular in recent times. They offer smart menus that allow users to intuitively move to other parts of the page while pages are broken up using headers and taglines.

Here is an example Parallax site we created for a London based PA, who required a very simple website for her business identity (i.e business card). The menu on the left automatically descends as you scroll down.

picture showing an example of a parallax 1 page website design
www.samthepa.co.uk

Despite websites that adopt a Parallax design being simple to use, they don’t offer much when it comes to SEO. One of the reasons for this is that crawlers will consider the website to consist of one page and even if the website utilises multiple keywords, this kind of design can cause problems when it comes to keyword optimisation.  Consideration here is required to rectify any potential keyword stuffing.

There is no denying that strong web design and SEO work together and if you want your website to rank high then you need to get your SEO right. However, Google considers user experience (UX) to be crucial when it comes to ranking and that means that your website has to be well designed and laid out with a good link structure.

An elegantly designed website ensures that Google sees you as a legitimately, across more than one page, with content and authority in its niche. 

Use Image Optimisation To Earn SEO Points

Your website consists of many different elements and all of those can have an impact on your SEO rankings. However, you might not realise that your images are also recognised by search engines and this includes how they are uploaded to your website, such as how you name them, the tags, and even their size, all of this plays a significant role in your Google rankings.

There are some easy development tasks that you might want to consider in order to ensure that your images are optimised. 

  1. The image name (name.jpeg) has to be identified by relating to the actual image and therefore, it must not be misleading. Keep this simple without too many keywords. 
  2. Alt-text is vital as it tells Google what the image is.  Use again limited keywords to describe the image in front of the user.
  3. File size can slow your website speed.  You need to consider improving the file size of the image because if you make it too large Google won’t consider it to be user-friendly. File size of approx. 30kb is fine, but watch out for image quality and adjust if required.  Adobe Photoshop can help with this process by adjusting High to Low Jpegs sizes and picture scale.

Social media also plays a role in image optimisation because it provides users with the ability to share images via their social media platforms to improve rankings. Despite all of this, image optimisation is not difficult but small, simple tweaks can improve SEO and help your website to rank better.

Optimising Website Page Content Improves Overall Design and SEO

Strong Web design also includes the content that you use on your website. In the world we live in, information and content is everything and so, it’s really vital that you get it right. Never overlook the importance of optimising your content. 

Every single page on your website will be crawled by search engines and that means that content should be clear, concise, engaging and useful. This stands true regardless of how insignificant you might think the page should be. Whether it’s the contact page, sales page or about page, they all have to provide valuable information.

As a result, every page has to be completed with a Call to Action, using the right keywords with Headers, Titles, and Meta Description locked down.

Ultimately, your entire website is more than what you can see on the surface. Web design is not just about a sleek design or layout and it’s certainly more than the colours and brand message. Of course, all of these things carry a significant weight but if you want your website to stand out then you have to make sure you tick every box. 

Be wary of overloading your site with plug-ins you don’t research first. They can be web developers/designers fastback way to bring the site together. It’s not really the QTY of plugins that are the issue, more like the bad ones. It only takes one to slow you down, so review their ratings and testimonials before you install.

For a detailed read on Page Speed, click over to Moz.com, their definition below.

Page speed is often confused with “site speed,” which is actually the page speed for a sample of page views on a site. Page speed can be described in either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server).

https://moz.com/learn/seo/page-speed

One oversight can significantly impact your Google rankings and that can result in searchers completely missing your site. As a result, traffic will drop and that in turn will affect rankings again and ultimately, conversions will reduce. It’s a never ending spiral.

Is Your Design & SEO Up To Speed?

Ensure your website is up-to-speed with strong web design and back end coding. We will talk about coding in a future article. The front end (customer view) and back end (your dashboard) support each other hand in hand.  Spend time getting it right and understanding what is required and you will improve website search engine rankings.

Search engines are demanding more, they behave this way because they understand how important it is to online searchers to find what they are looking for with ease.

CONTACT US

For a casual chat or just some free advice – (we do give it!), contact Cream Soda Multimedia at support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

 

New Website Checklist of critical items

Easy As 1-2-3! New Website Checklist

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How-To Steps to Begin Your own Website

Here we provide the ultimate business website checklist to start your very own website, which will be the gateway to your business.

Without it, people would not be able to understand who you are, what you offer, or whether you are right for them. However, developing a website correctly is not just about the technical process because there is a lot more than that to consider.

Before you even start the design of your new website, you need to begin the process of thinking of what you need. All of this will feed into the overall finished project but getting there requires a ‘checklist’ type of approach that will help your website stand out and rank..

What Domain Name Should You Consider?

Once you have decided on your company’s consumer offering and competitive positioning, you can start with the first objective, your website domain name (www.yourdomainname.com).

The domain name is also known as your website address and it is this address that people will use to get to your site. While this can be absolutely anything, it is not as simple as that. You have to ensure that it follows several steps to ensure it is fully optimised.

To begin with, you’ll need to make it fairly short, simple to spell, and memorable. Along with this, you should also try to ensure that it has the right domain extension such as .com. If you want to rank for more traffic from your home market, then go for .co.uk.

We advise you to buy both domain extensions (.com & .co.uk) so no one copies your Intellectual Property.

Check each domain extension for similar urls world-wide, make sure you are differentiated from anyone else broadly in the same market.

You should also try to avoid difficult numbers and characters in the name, as these can be hard to remember. Also, consider how it can be used in the future should your business expand. You might begin selling artist pencils and choose the name Artistspencils.com, but you might then opt to sell other items that make your domain name redundant.

Finally, try to create a domain name that actually says what you do as this will make it SEO-friendly. Add a keyword into the name, and then this is Step 1 ticked.

Where To Host Your New Website?

It’s all well and good having a website that looks great and does everything you need, but if you have unreliable website hosting then you are going to have problems. Therefore, there are several things to think about when it comes to choosing your website hosting provider, checklist step 2.

Think about speed and whether you want a shared server or a dedicated cloud server. The former will mean you share a server with others which could mean slower speeds while the latter will cost more but you’ll have faster speeds. Read our other article on the pitfalls of cheap hosting.

A shared server realistically is fine unless you are a business expecting +100k visits a month, or huge inbound traffic during any moment in time. For these short term fluxes, some hosting platforms can be flexible for you. We have experienced a great relationship with Siteground Hosting, who provides just that.

You’ll also need to consider support via chat or email and how easy they are to contact, while the server interface needs to be easy to use.

Finally, don’t forget about security. If you have data lost or stolen, it’s going to take time and money to get things back up and running. So, you should be looking at backups, ask about regular security maintenance and what they do to keep your data safe.

We recommend SiteGround as a suitable hosting platform for your new website. Here you will find good speeds for a website under 100k visits per month. There is Free SSL protection (security) and their communication is 10/10. You can click this banner below to investigate and click Web Hosting.

What Is The Right Content Management System (CMS)

If you want a hands-on approach to the management of your web content, then you need the right content management system (CMS). If you’re not technically minded then you need a simple, intuitive system but you might be governed by your budget too.

There are many to choose from such as WordPress which is the most popular CMS in the world and one Cream Soda Media use’s to design customer sites. With over 35% of global websites using WordPress, its a recommended option for your new website checklist, step 3.

There are others such as Wix, Square Space and Drupal and they all offer the likes of templates when it comes to managing your website. A caveat though, whilst Wix and even GoDaddy may seem an easy option, they lack the ability for original design to enhance the user experience.

These platforms are mainly ‘drag and drop’. You can tell by looking if a site has been made by Wix, they are very similar. Another issue is that these CMS software platforms are not open source, you are not permitted to transfer your website off their hosting platform, if you so wish to upgrade and expand your site. Wix will own your site, not you!

If you are unsure on how to start the design then speak with a reputable website design agency and don’t get persuaded to agree to a monthly fee for the design. Some agencies offer >£100 per month for all the design and hosting. Don’t get locked into such a plan, budget for your site and buy it outright, stay in control. Start by selecting a good Web Designer and Web Developer.

Consider The User Experience

The user experience (UX) is one that can make or break your website and its success. Visitors to your website will expect a slick experience otherwise they will disappear to one of your competitors.

website page layouts on a desk, determining the best user experience
Consider where your call to action (CTA) will be best placed.

You should consider page speed and loading times while you don’t want to overload them with too much information. People are on the move and when they need to find a product or service, they want to be able to locate it on your website with minimal fuss.

Along with this, consider the navigation. Make your website design easy to use and your visitors will enjoy the experience. Sites that have clear menu structures and easy-to-find information will win them over.

You’ll also want to consider using stunning graphics and fonts that are easy to read but make sure they are compressed so they don’t cause problems with the loading speed.

Front page of a website using graphics and CSS code
Cream Soda Media uses CSS Code for it’s front page

It can also help to take a look at your successful competitors as this will enable you to gain inspiration but also see what works and what doesn’t work. Along with this, you can also carry out research to determine what your target audience wants.

Keep the branding consistent, make ‘call to actions’ clear and you will find that your website stance a chance of converting visitors.

Don’t jump into a design and rush the development. Think from the eyes of your end consumer, what do they wish to see? Add this to your website checklist, step 4!

Optimise Your Website For Search Engines

While your website might look great and do everything you want, if it does not satisfy the search engine criteria then people are not going to find you.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a set of rules that you apply to your website in order for it to rank well. Once you do this, search engines will crawl your website and it will compete with other websites that have similar content. 

This is a vital add on for your website checklist, your step 5. To get everything right, you will need to carry out keyword research to determine what language people are searching for and what works best before implementing them into the content of your website. Along with this, your code will need to be optimised, pages titled and Meta Description enhanced with loading speeds being fast. 

What is especially important is ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly as search engines now consider this to be one of the most important factors when it comes to ranking your site.

Attempt to introduce high-quality backlinks from publishing blogs, use internal links to keep people clicking through your site and make sure that all of your content engages and resonates with your users.

SEO is not something that you do once and forget about, it is something that you have to constantly work at to ensure that you stay on the first page of search engines. Read this article for the initial steps to rank on Google.

Create Frequent Quality Content

It’s imperative that you keep your website fresh. Search engines consider this to be extremely valuable to users, so create a plan that motivates you to keep your website updated with new content. This never leaves your website checklist and this is your SEO secret, step 6!

You will need to create content regularly and publish consistently through blog posts on your site and on external sites that can link back. If you want to engage with users and keep them returning, then embrace social media or create an email subscriber database.

If the content is stale and not enticing, they will go somwhere else to find what they need. To rank well and to continue to fulfil the needs of search engines, new and relevant content is going to hit the mark.

While static page content and articles can work wonders, it can also help to include testimonials on your site. This is a simple yet effective way of posting new content that will also make your business feel more authoritative.

Always make sure that the content you produce is well-written, enjoyable, and informative.

Don’t Overlook Google Analytics

Analytical tools or webmaster tools are a must and form part of the process of running and maintaining a website. Checklist, Step 7

Data is vital to ensuring your website performs in the way that you expect it to. What’s more, it will also allow you to make better choices to ensure that your website is doing everything to keep your visitors interested.

This data will help you understand and analyse traffic as well as how your site is performing. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide a better understanding while Bing Webmaster Tools can also help.

All of this will enable you to track visitors to your site on a daily, weekly and monthly basis while it will provide you with the number of views each page receives.

What’s also important is that it provides insight into the bounce rate which is the percentage of people who visit your site, view one page and then leave. 

You can identify any crawl errors that search engines find, enabling you to put them right as well as repair any broken links and identify backlinks to your site.

There are many YouTube videos on the subject, but what is also important is the ability to understand your web page download time. This can help you to optimise any large images which are usually the culprit.

All Websites Need Maintenance

Your final item for your new website checklist, step 8. Running a website is an ongoing process, therefore, a maintenance plan can help. Spend time checking the back-end Dashboard webmaster tools and traffic data as well as ensuring all software (WordPress, plug-ins) are updated.

You can run split testing to enhance performance and carry out security scans.  You should always keep an eye on your competitors too as this will ensure you are one step ahead on new keywords and clever call to action.

Log into your hosting platform every few weeks and check for any security news alerts and to make sure your server has not been moved to a new IP address!

This can be rare, but shared servers can move sites around, meaning your domain name is left pointing to the old server. Make sure you maintain Email communication preferences on with your hosting partner to stay on top of any pending changes.

Conclusion

The technical side of creating a website is not the most important thing to get your website right. You have a lot to consider initially with your market positioning and initial branding.

Then actual web design, its user experience, keywords, whilst publishing content that appeals to the layman. Depending on who you are targeting, content should match their level.

It’s an ongoing process that takes time but everything that you do will add percentage gains. The correct planning will enable you to follow a process whereby you do everything necessary to ensure that your website and business is seeing high traffic numbers and conversions.

A summarised checklist for your new website is below

  • Domain Name.
  • Versatile Hosting Provider.
  • A strong CMS like WordPress.
  • Creative Web Design with great User Experience (UX).
  • SEO credentials and overall clear web development.
  • Calendar of content publication with lead generation.
  • Google Analytics integration to review problems and progress.
  • Site maintenance for plug-ins and CMS updates.

CONTACT US

For a casual chat or just some free advice, do contact Cream Soda Multimedia on Email support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448.

A website without SSL Cert will lose rankings

Why Is My Website Not Secure? How To Fix It

By | Insights | No Comments

Security for your website matters

A secure website is an important thing to consider if you have recently designed or are planning to develop and website in the future. It is easy to forget about security when developing a website, but the importance of keeping your users and their information safe cannot be overstated.

If your site is insecure, you will be putting visitors at risk, and this can not only harm your traffic levels, but it can also make it very problematic should anyone try to take legal action against you for not taking the necessary security measures.

Online and database security is vital if you want to make sure that you can provide your customers, readers, or general site visitors with a safe and useful platform through your website. If you cannot do this, your website will suffer in Google and Bing page ranking, and you will find it hard to get on the front page.

Even if you do get on the front page, your traffic may be limited due to visitors at the site leaving quickly if they do not feel safe. Thus, if you want your website to succeed, no matter what your goals may be, you need to ensure that your website is secure.

There are a few key things to consider if you fear your website is not secure and there are also some simple things that you can do to provide a safe environment for visitors.

“Your Connection Is Not Secure” as a Visitor.

You will know if your site or any other site that you visit is not secure as Google does a good job of telling you straight away. You will usually get a “this site is not secure” message next to an information icon in the address bar. This is telling you that the site is not offering a secure connection, and you are at risk of security threats.

This usually means you are accessing the site via an HTTP link, rather than an HTTPS one. This may be due to the way you have typed in the address if the site does not offer a default HTTPS link, or it may be due to the fact that the site does not offer a secure connection at all.

If it is a site that you use frequently, you may wish to get in touch with the site administrators to see if they can change this, as if not you will be at risk of being hacked, losing valuable information or getting a virus on your computer. So, if you ever come across a website that you don’t fully trust that says it is not secure, you should stop using that site immediately.

How do I Make my Website secure i.e. HTTPS

SSL Certification to improve your website security.

The best way to ensure that you can provide a secure website for your site visitors is by obtaining an SSL certificate. This is a Secure Sockets Layer, which essentially acts as an encryption method that protects all of your users’ information and keeps the connection secure.

It requires no extra work on your part or on the part of your customers, and so you don’t need to worry about doing anything with it when you get it. 

The cost of SSL certificates is fairly low, and so it is not a big investment on the part of the site owner. With SiteGround hosting, they actually provide it for free. However, it is essential that you have it on your website, so it displays the classic padlock icon in the search bar that tells your visitors, readers and customers that they are on a secure website.

The absence of a valid SSL certificate can thus have a drastic effect on your page ranking and decrease your traffic and potentially your revenue as a result. 

Benefits of HTTPS / SSL Security for your Business

SSL security encrypts all of the data being transmitted through your site, be it payment data, credit card information or simply email addresses. This means it cannot end up in the wrong hands. It also ensures that your visitors are connected to the right server, and they are getting what they are asking for. 

It is useful if your site involves file sharing, and it will ensure that nobody downloads any unwanted viruses alongside their content.

It can also be used to secure connections between servers and even email exchanges. It is also vital if you are using file transfer protocols (FTP) to edit the base data of your website.

SSL certification is useful for securing any cloud-based activity using your site, and it can also be used to make sure that all login credentials, if applicable, are kept secure as well. 

HTTPS is an SEO search engine box tick, one in a line of many general SEO practices. Google likes trustworthy sites and will start to show you in the rankings, based on your site’s relevance to the search terms vs the competition.

PPC campaigns will also be improved as your quality score is upgraded and cost per click is reduced. Your click rate response to the ad should increase because visitors also trust the site – most users are savvy to safe and unsafe websites.

If you are running an ecommerce website, then you will be taking payment details from your customers that are buying your products, alongside personal information such as email addresses and billing addresses as well. Thus, you are handling some very sensitive information that could end up in the wrong hands if you are not careful. You must provide trust to the end consumer.

Payment information is valuable to hackers for obvious reasons, and thus it is your duty to protect your customers from these threats. But it is not just e-commerce sites that need to keep their customers safe.

If you are running a blog collecting email addresses for your email list, it is also your duty to make sure that none of those email addresses end up in the wrong hands too.

Regardless of which type of website you have designed or plan to develop, you need to make sure that your users are not subjected to threats of any kind. Even just having an insecure platform with no data collection requires security. If you don’t have it in place site visitors could end up getting viruses indirectly through your website.

Enhance Your Website with Anti-Malware CyberSecurity

You don’t just need to install SSL certification on your site to make sure that it is secure for both you and your users, there are extra steps you can take that will lock things down even further.

One of the most common ways to make sure that your site is secure is by using anti-malware software to ensure that there are no threats lurking on your site that you cannot see.

You should also make sure that any passwords that you use yourself are strong, and you should also perhaps implement the enforcing of strong passwords for your users if you plan to use a member login system.

You also need to make sure that your website, and any plugins or extra software you plan to use, is kept up to date as well. Using out of date software is a sure-fire to invite viruses and hackers onto your website by exploiting security imperfections in older versions of web software.

Check your Website Blog Comments  

If you use a comment system on your website, where users can leave comments as long as they have a registered account, you may wish to manually check each one to make sure that there is no malicious content being shared in the comment section.

This may take time, but it will be worth it for the long-term security of your website. Hackers know that comment sections are vulnerable to attack, as all they need to do is make an account with your site.

You should also make sure that you keep your site backed up, just in case anything drastic goes wrong, you want to be able to fix things as fast as possible.

Other good practices involve making sure that only people you trust have access to the back end of the website, and you should only ever get or use content from trusted sources.

A key thing to make sure is that you only ever upload images that you take yourself, or that you can be sure come from a trusted source. Images are one of the most common ways that hackers can compromise websites, and so locking these down from the very beginning is one of the best security measures that you can take as a website owner. 

Conclusion

There are many reasons that your site may not be secure. It could be down to the software that you have used to create the website, or simply that you have not kept that software up to date. The site may have unsafe content or images being displayed, that could present security threats to your site’s visitors.

Or, most commonly, you may not be using SSL encryption to ensure that your site is displayed as a secure website, keeping your visitors on a secure connection.

SSL security is a simple thing to use as a web developer, but the advanced technology that goes into the SSL encryption process makes it a powerful tool against hackers and viruses.

You can get a hold of SSL certificates for your website fairly cheap, but you can also spend a lot of money, so you are best to do your own research before you buy.

You will find plenty of hosting providers out there on the market, so you have a lot of choices. You don’t just need to be collecting sensitive data to require an SSL encryption certificate and no matter what kind of website you have you should get one.

Do everything you can to ensure that your site stays secure. This can be as simple as updating your site regularly, to making sure you only ever use trusted content. No matter how you do it, keeping your website secure is the best way to ensure the safety of your customers and site visitors and to ensure that you keep getting high traffic to your site. 

CONTACT US

For an immediate review please contact Cream Soda Multimedia on Email support@creamsodamedia.com or Tel +44 (0)1276 490448