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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.

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!


Google Adwords Offer

160610 gameon google

As a Google Partner, we have been sent from 'Game On' voucher codes. These give customers up to £90 worth of free Adwords spend.

If you are thinking of starting to use Google Adwords to advertise your business, now is the perfect time. If you spend £90, you will be given an additional £90 free with one of our vouchers.

If you are interested in giving your business a little boost this summer, please get in touch.

The codes expire on 30 June so please be quick!



What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is an umbrella term for a number of different techniques that are used to enhance a web site so that it appears higher up the search engine rankings and to bring more visitors to your web site.

What this means is that when someone searches for your business in Google, it will be found easily. This is quite easy to do as there’s often only a few, at the most, businesses with the same name and only one in your area. What’s more difficult is getting your web site found when people search for your services, without mentioning your business name.

For example, if you run a window cleaning company in Kent called ’Squeaky Clean Window Cleaners’ someone can type ‘Squeaky Clean window cleaners Kent’ and it’s likely that your web site will show up at the top of the search results. If however someone types in ‘window cleaners Kent’, without any SEO work being done on your site, likely come much, much further down the list of results.

The key to SEO is allowing new customers, who haven’t even heard of you, to be able to find you easily.

Most search engines, including Google and Bing, offer their top search result places to paying customers, to advertise their site. Google also deliver adverts on the right-hand side of their page, also to paying customers. Unlike these other methods of driving traffic to a web site, SEO can be done for free.

There are many guides on the internet which can help you if you are looking at optimising your own web site. The problem is that it requires quite a lot of knowledge in various areas and the guides on the internet are often not very detailed. Instructions such as 'link to your social media accounts from your web site' are accurate tips but quite vague if you do not have any knowledge in social media or editing web sites.

Research, research, research…

Whether you decide to go it alone or you decide to pay someone to do it for you, it's a good idea, just like anything, to do your research first. Even if you pay someone else to do your SEO for you, you should understand a little about the process so that you can monitor the work of the company that you're paying. A good SEO company will be happy to talk you through the steps and ensure that you have clear goals. For example, you may want to promote a particular page of your web site or product or you may want to target a particular geographical area. Unless your SEO team know these details, they cannot effectively start work on your site or monitor the results of the work.

It takes time

SEO can be a slow and methodical job. You cannot employ someone for £10 and expect to have your web site at the top of Google in days. It takes time for Google to recognise the changes that you are making to your web site and at the moment, there’s about two weeks between a change being made and Google updating their rankings to reflect this.

It’s an on-going job

Once your web site has started being found in Google search results, your site should stay at the top of the rankings for some time. This is why SEO is better and cheaper, long term, than Google Adwords.

In time though, your site will probably start to drop down the rankings. One reason could be that a competitor of yours starts doing some SEO work on their site. That’s why it’s important to keep monitoring where you site comes in the rankings and do some more work on it when necessary.

Ranking isn’t everything

People often assume that once you’re at the top of the search rankings, the business will come - “if you build it, they will come”. The visitors may come but the sales may not. There are many other things to consider when building your new site. If you’re ranked number one but have an awful web site, customers may look at your site first but then decide to go to the site ranked second - because they may not trust your business. First impressions count.

You also need to make sure that the basics are in place - an easy to find telephone number, e-mail address, customer testimonials etc.

SEO will get people visiting your web site but once there, you need to ‘sell’ your business to them so they make the next and vital step of buying from you.

More info...

If you have any questions about what we've said please get in touch or read more about our SEO packages.


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