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Understanding bounce rates

Understanding bounce rates

Anyone who has delved into the world of Google Analytics will probably have come across the phrase 'bounce rate'.

This, in basic terms, is the number of people who visit your web site and then disappear again, after only viewing one page.

A high bounce rate is a bad sign that something is wrong with your web site or search engine optimisation because visitors who are not interested in your web site are finding it.

Reasons to avoid free web site builders

There are a raft of companies out there offering free web site builders. Some and better than others but generally in life, and it's true with web site as well, you get what you pay for.

Yes, of course you might say that we would be bias but if you ask our customers you will know that we offer help to anyone and will never try to 'push' a sale. We're open and honest about what we do and unfortunately, lots of people out there are not. If you're still cynical then keep reading as I'm sure we can convince you...

With each of the free web site builders there are of course downsides. Nobody is offering the tools for you to build a web site for free without getting something in return.

SEO tips to get you started

SEO tips to get you started - URLs

URLs are the specific addresses used to link to content. For example, the URL for this page is http://www.whitstabledesigns.co.uk/seo-tips-to-get-you-started-urls and can be seen in the address bar of your browser.

Search engines (Google, Bing and others) prefer URLs that are short, accurate and static. What does all of that mean? Let me show you...

Short URLs

Regardless of the way your web site has been built, whether it's a static site or it uses a content management system like Joomla or Wordpress, you should have some control over your site's URLs. Unfortunately if you have used a web site building tool like Wix, you will probably not be able to do much about your URLs. By the way, we have put together an article about why Wix and similar sites are not great for search engine optimisation over here.

Search engines will favour a URL that is shorter so find out how to manipulate your site's URLs and change things that look like this:

mywebsite.com/category/blog/posts/february/my-article-about-healthy-eating to mywebsite.com/healthy-eating

What we've done here is remove any information from the URL that is useless to search engine and to visitors of your site. If it's not needed, get rid of it.

SEO tips to get you started - part 1

For some businesses, search engine optimisation (SEO) can be started in house. We always recommend this before spending any money on SEO with a company like ours because it's free and if you're the only company in your area doing what you do, you may find that you can easily get to the top of the Google search results without spending any money.

Obviously for others that do not have the time or have competitors in the area, you may want to consider hiring someone to do your search engine optimisation for you but why not give it a go yourself first?

Below are a few tips to get you started but please remember that there are lots of x factors with SEO - doing all of these below will not guarantee that you appear at the top of Google. It depends on how many competitors you have, what system your web site is built on, how well your template is programmed, how good your content is, how much content you have...

Google Adwords and search engine optimisation

Google Adwords - a cautionary tale

One of the services that we offer our customers is Adwords account management. Everyone is familiar with the adverts that Google put at the top of their normal search results but getting your business advert on Google can be a difficult and costly move, if not done correctly.

If you are interested in advertising your business online, it is worth considering Google Adwords. There are pitfalls and in some cases, there are better ways to spend your advertising budget, which we’ve discussed before, but they do have their advantages as well. As with most things, a hybrid approach is best and part search engine optimisation, part Adwords is, for most people, the best approach.

One of our customers, Steve, has had a web site with us for a couple of years now and he runs a window cleaning business over in Surrey. We took over the running of his web site for him because he wanted to focus on the business, whilst we took care of the coding, updates and security of his site.

As time moved on, Steve wanted to grow the business and would occasionally set up Google Adwords adverts, to run short-term promotions. Unfortunately he only dabbled with Adwords and because he did not do his research, he ended up setting adverts that were not targeted at specific geographical areas.

One of the Adwords that he selected ended up meaning that his advert was displaying in towns 50 miles away from his usual area of business. Because he would have to charge mileage to make the job worth his while, the price of a window cleaning job for customers that far away from his house was too expensive - a local window cleaner would have been much cheaper.

The cost

With Adwords, you pay each time someone clicks on your advert. It does not matter whether they buy from you or not, that customer has just cost you money. Because Steve’s advert was concentrating on his local area, his advert was being seen miles away and customers were clicking on it, costing him money.

Steve got in contact and asked us to look into the problem for him as he was spending hundreds of pounds a month on adverts but not benefitting from it. People were visiting his web site, realising that he was not close to them and then moving on to another window cleaner’s site.

We did some investigation and targeted each of his adverts for him, meaning that only people in his local areas would see the adverts. This dramatically reduced his advertising spend and gave him a higher click per sale ratio. More money in, less money going out.

 


Mobile web sites as standard

Sometimes, when we do something day in and day out, we get so immersed in the subject, we develop a new language or way of understanding.

This is something that is particularly prevalent in education. Anyone who has worked in a school will go into the job without a clue about what the terms LA, GRTP, PGCE or TPS stand for. However after a while, everyone picks up the different meanings and then they slip into your own vocabulary, so much so that you start using them in general conversation with people outside of work, and then you suddenly realise that they are looking at you blankly because they are now in the position that you were not too long ago.

The same is true in all professions, including web design. Not only does the ‘language of the job’ creep into conversations and e-mails with customers, we also forget that not everyone is as up-to-date with the latest technologies or developments.

One of those areas, is mobile friendly web sites. These are something that have been around for many years now and as web site designers, we naturally ensure that any new site that we build is mobile friendly. Around 65% of people using the internet use mobile devices to view sites. In fact, you’re probably using one right now to read this.

Mobile friendly sites are industry standard now, so much so that we forget to mention to customers that their site will work on desktops, tablets and mobiles but it’s a question that almost always gets asked - ‘will my site be mobile friendly?’

As with education or in fact any profession, we should always remember that the language that we use on a day-to-day basis in our job is not always understood by people outside of the profession. In the same way that I would not understand what a car mechanic was telling me if he did not make it easy for me, we too should make more of an effort to see things from a customer’s point of view.

So, do we make mobile friendly web sites? Yes, as standard!

 


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