These days, it seems like everyone is surfing the web on their smart phones and tablets. However, as this is quite a recent phenomenon, many business websites are not equipped to offer a good user experience for smart phone users yet. In this article, we’ll review the options available to business owners wanting to ensure a good user experience for their mobile visitors.
Mobile optimised websites are becoming more and more common these days, however they still cost more to design and develop than standard desktop websites. A responsive website that resizes automatically for mobiles and tablets can cost around 30% more due to the time required to develop, design and test the website on different devices. Existing website may even require a complete redesign, or alternatively the creation of a separate mobile website. For many small businesses, the question is: “Is it worth it?”
It is becoming increasingly common to have a blog for your business, and with good reason: Blogs can have major benefits for search engine optimisation and social media engagement. Here are the top 5 benefits of having a blog on your business website:
At the end of May, Google rolled out a major update of their search algorithm. The update was named Penguin 2.0 and can have a strong impact on search engine rankings for local businesses. Here are the main points to be aware of:
Google’s Matt Cutts talk about the Penguin 2.0 update, Google’s most important algorithm update this year. It’s worth watching if you want to get an idea of how Google’s changes may impact your search engine rankings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xQmQeKU25zg
If you have Google Analytics installed on your website (which you should!), the first thing you’ll see when you login is the Audience Overview report. If you’re mystified by all the numbers and graphs, here’s a primer on how to read and interpret them.
I’ve been using Google AdWords for years, but as I am now managing more and more client campaigns I thought it was time to take the exams and get an official certification by Google.
If you have a website, you’ll know how difficult it can be to attract enough traffic to it. Driving traffic to your website should include several tactics such as advertising and email marketing, but there is no doubt that search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important things you’ll need to address.
Inbound Marketing: Get found using Google, social media and blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah Forget about traditional marketing techniques involving big wallets and pushy messages that interrupt people’s lives. Inbound Marketing promises to deliver customers to your doorstep (read: website) when they are actually interested in your product or service. Over the last couple of years, this book has become a classic that belongs on the bookshelf of every marketer and small business owner.
This is a great video of a talk by Shawn Achor at a TED conference. Shawn is a positive psychology researcher, and in his talk he challenges the idea that we should work harder to eventually achieve happiness – according to him, this is backwards. Happiness should come first, and greater productivity at work will follow.
Google has just released a major change to the way AdWords will work: Enhanced Campaigns. Yesterday I attended a seminar in Melbourne held by Google to explain these changes to agencies managing AdWords campaigns for their clients. Enhanced Campaigns is already available if you do a manual upgrade, and within the next 4-6 months all campaigns will be forced to upgrade.
Part 3: Search Engine Marketing This is part 3 of a 4 part series on how to increase bookings for your B&B, hotel or other accommodation business. In part 1, we looked at online reviews as a way to get your customers to spread the word for you. Part 2 outlined considerations when listing your business on booking websites. In part 3 of this series we look at using search engine marketing as a business development tool.
5 telltale signs it might be time for a revamp Websites have come a long way in the past decade, and if your website hasn’t had a redesign in the last 3-5 years, it will show. Having an outdated website is like not bothering to fix the broken letters in your neon business sign above your shop. A neglected website tells your customers that your business and products may also be outdated.
Most modern websites are built on content management systems (CMS), which allow you to change the text and images yourself, rather than paying your web designer for every minor update. However, there are some pitfalls, particularly when it comes to the images on your website. Photos from your camera are too large for the web The images coming from your camera or even from your phone are likely to be far too large for the web, and you’ll need to prepare them before inserting them into your website. Uploading images directly from your camera will slow your website down as the file size is extremely large (commonly 2-6MB per image). Image resizing tools There are many tools that allow you to resize your images, including Microsoft Picture Manager, Picasa, iPhoto (Mac), and if you have the budget and need the advanced functionality, Photoshop. In addition there are many free image resize tools available on the internet. Pic Resize is a simple to use, free web based tool that allows you to resize and crop your images to prepare them for your website. Define your image size in pixels Image size on the web is measured in pixels. To give you an idea of scale, many websites are around 960 pixels wide. Therefore, images that are used to illustrate a page on your website will often be no wider than 200-300 pixels. If an image spans the entire width of your page or sits in a photo slide show, it may be larger, e.g. around 800px for some slide shows. Depending on your camera, your photos can easily be 4000 pixels wide – far too large for the web, so you may have to reduce the images size by 90% or more. Image resizing tools allow you to define a target size for your image, so you can simply type in the desired width and the rest will happen automatically. Reduce your file size The images I take on my camera are over 5MB in size. On a website, images should ideally be kept under 100kb in size. Sometimes a large image may have a bigger file size, and this can be addressed by reducing the image quality. However, quality comes first, so make sure your images look good, even if they exceed the ideal file size. For a larger image used in a slide show, up to 300kb is ok. Generally, the smaller the file size, the faster your website loads. This is not only good for the users, but also for search engines as they prefer fast websites over slow ones. When you resize your image to a smaller size, the file size will automatically reduce. However, some image editing tools such as Pic Resize allow you to specify your desired file size directly. Choose the right file format Your image resizing tool will give you a few different file format options. Here is a rule of thumb to help you choose: JPG – best for photos PNG – best for any graphics, as well as images that include transparent areas GIF – best for simple graphics without gradients, as well as for animated banners Happy resizing! I hope this post was useful and will help you prepare your images to keep your website running smoothly.
Part 2: Booking websites This is part 2 of a 4 part series on how to increase bookings for your B&B, hotel or other accommodation business. In part 1, we looked at online reviews as a way to get your customers to spread the word for you. Part 2 of this series looks at using external booking websites to increase your sales.