Websites that don’t connect with other sites within the network will be forgotten by the network!
Websites that don’t connect with other sites within the network will be forgotten by the network!
Best Case Scenario.
The best links are naturally earned.
To receive such links would be the result of you being:
Congratulations you have achieved link nirvana.
But I am guessing that we are not quite there yet!
That’s okay, because now we have a target – right.
To get there will require some application on your part and maybe a strategy or two.
This is going to require some serious thinking!
Okay, so let’s go right back to basics:
Why do we want links to our site.
Good quality links = traffic to your site.
Not solely because people click on the links and arrive at your site.
SEARCH ENGINES SEE QUALITY LINKS AS VALIDATION OF YOUR SITE AND YOUR SITE WILL CLIMB UP THE RANKINGS!
What we DO NOT want
We are not interested in getting links from a websites “links page” buried within dozens or hundreds of other links. This is seen as being in a “bad neighbourhood” because these pages will take links from anyone regardless of trust and authority and bad links are very contagious.
This type of link will do you more harm than good.
This is what we DO want!
Contextual (relevant) Back Links.
A link that appears naturally within a passage of text and linking back to you. That link being on a website highly relevant to your sector and having a good deal of trust and authority.
Okay, so how do we get those?
Here are your options
Pitching the idea of contextual back links, in the form of guest posting, to owners of high ranking websites in your sector.
getting them naturally, without having to ask!
The second option sounds great but that is not going to happen any time soon.
In both cases what you need is a reputation, the best one you can lay your hands on!
So how do you build our reputation?
CONTENT = REPUTATION
GREAT CONTENT = A GREAT REPUTATION
FANTASTIC CONTENT = A FANTASTIC REPUTATION
That all sounds great and kind of poetic but seriously if you can produce fantastic content I guarantee doors will start opening for you.
Here’s my post on writing better content – What the best website do.
However quality posts are not written in 10 minutes, better to post 1 quality informative post a month, that may having taken you 2 days to write, then 15 quickly cobbled together posts containing your thoughts of the day.
Tip: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to build a huge library of posts. Before you even build your site think along the lines of “this site is going to have 6 pages and 12 posts the titles of which are …… “. Write those posts one at a time. When you have your 12 posts go back to the first and update/add/improve it.
Now you are adding quality not quantity and you don’t have rack your brains to think of new content.
Does that sound like a strategy you can handle?
Your site will naturally get better.
SO WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?
You have to produce better content
and you going to have to get your work out there.
Adding content to your site and telling your friends on facebook is not going to get you anywhere.
You are going to have subject your content to true scrutiny and accept the consequences – remember when you make your website successful – you will have no one to blame but yourself!
You may not realise it but there are lots people out there openly inviting others to submit guest blogs to appear on their sites.
This is a win win situation.
They get content and you get a profile boost.
You may or may not be allowed to link back to your site and just end up with an author credit but if your name appears on sites with lots of trust and authority this will have a positive effect on your standing.
However it has to be said that certain conditions of quality have to be met for your guest post to be published.
Which is fine because I have and will continue to bang on about quality of content.
Putting words like quality and great in front of the word content is not going to be a deal breaker, is it?
In this section I am going to give you my take on guest posting and show you how easy it is to found places to post and what conditions we are required to work under.
Then I am going to back that up by adding links to resources from experts in the field. These guys, in my opinion, create fantastic content, so there are two reasons to read it.
They have not asked me to post these links – they don’t need to – as their content and reputations are unquestioned.
By me adding a paragraph and introducing you to them is adding value to this post.
But first – let’s search for someone accepting guest posts
So lets pop over to Google – other search engines are available – apprarently!
And enter the subject that we wish to post about and then adding “Guest Post”
Hey Presto a likely candidate.. that’s the easy bit done..
So let’s pop over to their site and have a look
Okay we all need to know where we stand and know what is expected – that saves a lot of time later.
A quick look at their trust level to make sure that all our work will be worthwhile.
This comprehensive 8 step guide will show you a raft information on guest blogging. I would recommend reading it over a number of sittings. The Ultimate guide takes you from the conception point of your idea to commenting on your comments.
On your first scan through you can be forgiven for thinking that you have bitten off more than you can chew but the best guides, like this, give you the whole process and break it all down to bite sizes pieces that you will have no trouble digesting.
Traditional publishing could easily turn these types of guides into 300 page books at £30 a pop.
Big one page post is what it is all about.
Fantastic content = Fantastic reputation.
Do you know what?
I feel incredible guilty for listing Brian Dean’s Definitive guide after The Ultimate guide – somehow I don’t think that Brian would care one jot. This gentleman is truly raising the bar and we simple follow in his wake. Some faster than others.
I am new to this game but I can now spot Brain influence in many places – and that is the whole point.
You need to know them, research them and embrace them.
Keywords can be a single word, 2 or 3 words or a phrase.
Keywords are the words that you think/hope/want to be typed into search engines to find your site.
Sounds straight forward, right.
So far so good!
So we put these keywords into the titles and content of our webpages on our site and all the visitors will find us.
Remember each page will have it own set of keywords.
What could be simpler?
All we need to do is:
1/ To hope no one else has thought of that.
2/ And for everyone to enter our keywords correctly into the search engines.
3/ Bingo, we’ve cracked it.
High fives and fingers crossed all around.
Which do you want first the good news or the bad news
The good news
That thing with those keywords, someone else had already thought of that.
And the bad news!
People didn’t type exactly what we wanted into the search engines.
Gosh, people they never do what we expect. Can you believe it?
And it get worse
All those big companies with the huge budgets – they seem to have the whole market stitched up all for themselves.
All of it?
Ah, some good news at last
What we have here is a niche. We’ll call it 1.3428% until we can identify it.
How to identify your keyword niches
Okay folks this is going to take some creative thinking and some research and will involve you
knowing your audience
knowing your market
knowing your product
Appropriate, targeted keywords are how search engines and therefore potential clients, will find your website. The wrong choice of keywords will result in the dreaded “bounce rate”, when visitors find your site but then depart immediately.
The more often a keyword is used by searchers, the more attraction power it has.
You will need to use strong keywords in your titles and your text; these brief words should describe each page realistically and succinctly.
Search engine algorithms are sophisticated – and strict.
They will notice keyword stuffing so please avoid doing this as you don’t want to risk your website being ignored or even penalised.
Relevance is vital, too and keyword must reflect the subject of each page.
We’ll show you how to research keywords that your customers are the most likely to use when looking for your products or services.
Bear in mind, though that you’ll need to repeat this exercise for each page.
Individual pages, if appropriate keywords have been included, will appear in search results, giving your future customers more access to your business.
Assuming that a web developer or designer is putting your website together, we would urge you to do some homework before giving him or her the content, primarily focusing your preparation on keywords.
Concentrate now! You’ll need to match your keywords and keyword phrases to what your potential clients are most likely to be looking for.
To help you, an excellent free tool is http://www.googlekeywordtool.com/, which is easy to use and as it’s supplied by Google, it’s highly likely that the main search engine out there (er, Google) will approve of a good choice.
Make sure that your content is closely related to the keywords and that only keywords which reflect that content are included – we’re talking relevance here, in other words. Don’t talk about parrots if you run a dog grooming service.
Do not overuse keywords. We’re repeating ourselves here!
Your keywords will need to be in the:
Keyword can appear naturally in
Alt and captions of an image only if appropriate.
They is no need to force keywords into content
Types of Keywords
Keywords/keyword phases fall into four different categories
If you’re still not sure, don’t sit there stumped. Contact us and we can help.
With us so far? Try using this handy tool. This will give an instant report on how your keywords are being used on any page on your website. Assuming you can change its content, you can make amendments and see an instant improvement.
What’s holding your website back – let’s have a look.
This post includes practical examples of improving on-page SEO for WordPress users.
However all the SEO information is highly relevant to all websites.
You may need to download and install Screaming Frog
Search Engine Optimisation.
I’ve met hundreds of website owners in my time on the networking circuit, smart people who are experts in their fields – mention SEO to them and you can soon imagine them with lit touches descending on your house in the middle of the night…
…and can you blame them!
There is no denying it – SEO has a bad reputation. Countless horror stories of website owners being ripped of by the snake oil salesman.
Well things have changed and YOU can make gold out of your website.
There’s a formula but it’s not magic – it just requires a good deal for application.
On-Page SEO on its own is not going to bring you success but it can give you an edge over your competition and give the search engines a greater understanding of what your webpages are about. Sound Good?
This is not rocket science, it’s all common sense stuff mixed up with a little bit of tender loving care.
You just need to know what is required and how to put that in place.
You will need to go under the hood however WordPress will makes that a lot easier for us.
Firstly lets look at Brain Dean’s [ Backlinko.com ] fantastic infographic. Which lays it all out beautifully.
Then we will go through each item and show you how to implement them on your WordPress site! Sound Good?
Click Image to Enlarge
Source: On-Page SEO: Anatomy of a Perfectly Optimized Page – Infographic
When creating a new page or post in WordPress, before you hit the publish button (okay to save as draft) of your brand new webpage you need to decide what your keywords are.
Ideally you should know before you type a single word, however in the real world we don’t need another excuse not to start writing our next post, do we!
Clearly the keywords should include the subject matter but you are going to need a bit more than that.
Hopefully your post/page solves a problem, is actionable or educates so this needs to be pointed out in the keywords too.
The following information is meant to supplement the information giving on On-Page Seo: Anatomy of a perfectly optimized page for WordPress website owners.
When we create a Page or a Post in WordPress, the name we give it, will (hopefully) become part of the address of that page or post.
If your WordPress site behaves like the example above all you need to do is think about your keywords.
Short and Sweet(friendly) is the general rule.
The URL is what appears in the address bar of browsers.
If your copy of WordPress is not producing short and readable URLs then we need to change how WordPress is generating them.
On the dashboard of your WordPress site: Go to Settings > Permalinks
Now we can see the options that WordPress has.
With a new install of a WordPress site this should be one of the very first things that you do, certainly prior to creating any content.
Signup to my mailing list to receive a tutorial on what is required for those changing this setting after content has been published.
…they appear as the first line on the SERP (search engine results page).
WordPress out of the box will use the text that you enter into Site Title (your brand) and Tagline as the title for your home page. So choose these word carefully.
Google uses 60 characters so it is vital that you use all 60 to their optimum.
So looking at our 2 examples here the top one (home page) has used 59 characters and the
“writing good page titles” has only used 40 so I have 20 characters left to use.
This page has been published so I can add text to the title here without it changing the URL.
…but the main thing is it
Adding a video clip from YouTube will require the copying and pasting some code.
You need to click on Share > Embed
Now return to the page editor. However there is no handy button the helps us embed video, code needs to be pasted into the page using the Text mode.
For some readers pasting in the code in Text mode will not be a problem.
However I understand that some of you will be uncomfortable working in Text mode and finding the right spot, within all that code, to place the video link might be a problem.
So I will show you an alternative way which minimizes your time in Text mode.
Firstly you need to switch to Visual
Then scroll to where you wish to insert the link embed code.
Click the cursor at the location where you want the video – making sure you have a space above and below. This will help us identify our code.
Press Ctrl and V to paste the code.
Now switch to text mode and you should see the code – we just need to make a slight amendment to it.
We need to get rid of bits at each end of the code to make it work correctly.
The < at the front needs to be <
The > at the end needs to be >
Switching back to the Visual Mode should show you the video that we have just successfully embeded. If not leave the page/post without saving.
The much overlooked outgoing link.Most think the sole purpose of an outgoing link is to reciprocate an incoming link.
However what they are overlooking is that fact that an outgoing link can assist the search engines greatly.
By verifying exactly the contents subject. A link to a wikipedia page or a .edu site does this nicely.
So for those that don’t know how to insert a link into a WordPress page I will show you.
Firstly let’s go to Wikipedia and find a suitable page to use (for demonstration purposes only).
This is the wikipedia page I have selected, It’s subject matter is WordPress so it should make a good outgoing link from a page of this site relating to WordPress.
We do this by moving the cursor into the address bar and clicking. It should highlight the address to show that it has been selected.
Now we copy it pressing CTRL and C on the keyboard or right mouse click and selecting COPY.
Now we need to go back to the editor of the page that we wish to insert our link into.
You may wish to select the Visual option so you don’t have to deal with any code.
You will need to click into the space that you wish to insert the link.
The visual mode gives you tools to use. You are going to need the link tool.
Depending on which version of WordPress you have this small tool bar may appear or..
..or the full options box appears.
Note that you a list of site pages and post appears.
Meaning that this is also the place for creating internal links (link within the site).
Google is always very keen to establish subject matter of your pages.
As it’s reputation depends on delivering good search results.
So the keywords appearing early within the content should not be to difficult to archive.
And of course it would be re-assuring to the visitor to see that they have indeed been delivered to an appropriate page.
We don’t care that the site we are momentarily waiting for is hosted on the other side of the planet.
The most common issue is image size. As a website owner you are going to have to understand a little about images size.
It’s simple: images are most often measured by pixels the more pixels the bigger the image.
The screen you are looking at now is measured by pixels.My laptop screen is 1366 pixel wide and my smart phone, on it’s smallest camera setting takes a picture 1600 pixels wide. Bigger than my laptop screen therefore much wider than my website at max-width!
At most I insert images of 600 pixels wide so they fit nicely inside a normal size web page.
But your images are not bigger than your site.
Maybe they look the right size because WordPress is displaying oversized images at website proportions.
Big images made smaller doesn’t sound the most efficient way to do things does it.
Something has got to give.
Unfortunately it will be your visitors giving your site the cold shoulder.
If we want an image to fit into a space 600px wide ideally the image should be that exact size.
Fortunately WordPress can re-sample the images on your site already.
They belong in another place and serve a different purpose.
The top ranking sites have post of an average of 300 words and pages of 1900 words.
However it is a combination of factors that get them to that position.
Writing a post of great depth on a subject will easy take you past those marks.
Padding it out to make it longer is not a good idea – at the end of the day – visitor engagement will decide.
At the time of writing this posts’ word count stands at 2706.
So let’s assume:
that the definition of a successful website is one that
We all know that the amount of traffic to your site is important.
So what are your options:
Let’s just imagine:
that one of the above options is in place and thousands of visitors descend on your site on a daily basis.
That’s great, well done.
So the next thing we are going to find out, pretty quickly too, is whether people think your website sucks or not.
If you are found guilty of having a site that sucks then it was the on-Page SEO that convicted you.
It’s Official – your website sucks!
Everything that appears on your site is an on-Page SEO element.
If it causes visitors to leave, which is recorded by Search Engines, because you haven’t made it to its optimum level then it is a Search Engine Optimisation issue.
Let’s go back to basics:
Search Engine Optimisation comes in 2 flavours:
Keywords (to be found in)
Utilising all SEO opportunities,
Off-Page SEO comprises:
With the Off-Page SEO there are two roads that you can go down:
White Hat, legitimate techniques and practices that Search Engines approve of.
These will stand you in good stead.
Black Hat, techniques and practices that Search Engines don’t approve of.
Can give you short term benefits but may turn nasty at any moment leaving your site out in the wilderness.
Not to be recommended.
…that you are a Search Engine and you have to rank all the websites out there. Okay the ones that pay the most money to you go straight to the top.
Then the ones that are able to drive lots of traffic and hold on their visitors on their sites come in just behind.
Then its the best all the rest. That is going to be a big number.
So how do you sort them out.
You raise the bar.
Which solves two problems. It’s in your interest as a Search Engine that the general standard of websites improves.
Your product as a Search Engine is Search Results and the better the quality of your search results the longer you maintain your position in the Search Engine Sector.
So you raise and continue to raise standards.
Coding standards are set by W3C. However Google and Bing have much more control over standards as they have the biggest carrot and the biggest stick. They can control website traffic. So when they say jump…
Back in the 1990 you could get away with having website like a one page leaflet (stuffed with keywords). These days it has to be of university dissertation quality.”
Most web page consist of
your web pages.
You may have been surprised by the “listen to” popping up right at the end there. Which brings us nicely onto the subject of
Access for all
You are probably unaware that the EU and the US have created regulations on Access for all despite physical ability, in relation to electronic communications. So who do they turn to to make that happen with regards to the internet. Yes those carrot/sticky people.
Blind and partial sighted people use Screen Readers, which read out all the text on a web page. They move through the elements using the tab key. So screen readers don’t have to tab through the menu of every page. Website are required to have an option to skip the menu.
…they appear as the first line on the SERP (search engine results page).Wordpress out of the box will use
Google uses 60 characters so it is vital that you use all 60 to their optimum.
So looking at our 2 examples here the top one (home page) has used 59 characters and the
writing good page titles has only used 40 so I have 20 characters left to use.
This page has been published so I can add text to the title here without it changing the URL
…but the main thing is it
Don’t forget to sign up for updates at the bottom of the screen.
There are 2 things that all successful websites do:
They produce great content – then they promote that content really well.
Producing well written informative content will make your site so much more engaging, which is fantastic.
Promoting that content with the aim of drawing your audience back to your site, via newsletters, is all fine and dandy if you can get tens of thousands to visit.
Here’s the tricky bit:
However there is one element that lots of site owners and content writers side step, sweep under the carpet or fake a heart attack in an attempt to change the subject at the mere mention of – and that is “content marketing”.
Marketing your content to your peers in your sector with the aim of getting backlinks is what it is all about.
Backlinks contribute hugely to your credibility, authority and trust – and are the fuel to propelling your website up the rankings.
Nothing else is going to do that like Backlinks from your peers with in your sector.
Sounds good, so what’s the problem
No problem, it’s that people just don’t like rejection.
Randomly sending out hundreds of emails to all the “info@” email addresses in your sector is not going get you very far. As some people do.
However finding out who has a history of linking to content like yours is a better way to proceed.
You may have to start by building one link at a time.
We will cover this in a later post.
So sign up to my mailing list so you don’t miss out.
First things, first.
So with that I am going to change the subject away from content marketing.
(Didn’t he just scorn others for doing that! – Yes I did)
Let’s talk about producing better content because you need to do that first, right.
is to help you produce better content.
is to then move forward from better content to great content and then onto remarkable content.
Your probably thinking:
But what to write about?
There are thousands of blogs/websites out there already covering my subject/sector.
How can I write anything new and original.
Yes the internet is huge, massive and it is a sea of content – it’s everywhere.
I am going to let you into a secret.
Most of it is rubbish – poorly written – poorly presented – out of date – abandoned – forgotten about – lost, just drifting aimlessly until its life support (usually the hosting) is switched off.
So if you decide you are going to have twelve posts that would cover all aspects of your business.
Stick to that number and keep adding to and improving them.
Make your website better not bigger.
Suddenly the problem of what to write about becomes much smaller.
Your website will remain manageable and understandable – to yourselves, your visitors and the search engines.
In time that quality content will become shareable bring you those all important links.
There are a lot of ideas and information that you can gather – write it up and re-present it.
The originality that you are going to introduce is – Your angle, your point of view, your niche, your voice, your style.
Here’s my angle
I am attempting to produce content on SEO – how many others are doing that! – my angle is showing people how to apply it specifically to WordPress sites.
I sell website hosting – most of my clients use WordPress – I want them to have successful WordPress sites so they renew their hosting accounts.
There’s not much mileage in talking about website hosting itself – but all my clients want Website Success.
As for it being Good Content – you have to be the judge of that!
Remember the internet is huge but the audience is even bigger.
Solve peoples problems – This is the problem – This is how to solve it.
Make your post actionable – delivering an action that the reader can easily put into effect.
Don’t hold back on giving away trade secrets (this is great content) some people may try and do it themselves – most won’t and will just want you to do it for them. Remember it is all traffic to your site.
Content writing pointers:
Stick to one subject and one subject only in a single post.
The length and depth of your post should match.
Spend as much time as you need to produce something of quality.
You first sentence should be the best sentence (take time to get this right).
Craft an irresistible lead to entice readers.
Kill the hype – keep it real.
Your closing line is as important as the that first compelling line.
Plain writing is best.
Edit Edit Edit.
Other Content Ideas
If I sold insurance – I would talk about preventing accidents – uninsured drivers – home security – 50 things people didn’t insure and then something totally unexpected happened etc.
If I was a steam cleaning business – how many different bugs can be found in carpets, beds and furniture – those people you see on TV who never clean and the other extreme, obsessive compulsive cleaners – how to clean red wine out of your sisters hamster after a party (that never happened – to me anyway).
If you are really struggling to come up with any ideas to get you started here is a list of article styli content ideas that could be useful to most sectors.
Plus always keep a constant look out for relevant content for ideas.
There is a lot of good content out there that you can be inspired by.
There’s what I do:
I find a number closely related articles.
First I will scan read them – I am looking for headlines that peak my interest.
If I see some then I go over them again and again and again.
Then with all that information still fresh in my head I start to outline my new article (in notepad++) then, once I am happy, I will flesh it out and post it!
I’ve done the research, learned the stuff and then written it up. Just like they taught us at school, right.
Leave it for a few days – the fallow period – then read it again.
It will look totally different. Like looking at it for the first time. I then correct my many many mistakes.
Personally I will post an unfinished article. Then I know for sure I will get back to it. Files in a DEV folder just don’t seem to get opened to often, but that’s just me.
There’s another idea:
Brain Dean of Backlinko.com coined the phrase “Skyscrapper technique” where you find the tallest of those lists that you see all over the place – 20 ways to climb Everest blindfolded – the target then is to make a taller list – 24 ways etc. working on the theory the tallest list will ultimately get to the top spot on Google.
Makes sense to me. Then everything Brian says makes sense. You should Google him.
Whenever you do send out a newsletter campaign ideally your site should look fresh and new. That’s easy to do if you have enough content that you can move around.
Change some images on the home page.
Change the order that the post excerpts appear.
We are doing all this hard work to get people to return to your site.
If it looks the same every time they visit how inclined are they going to be to stay and read other post or pages.
This also gives us a great reason to tell the search engines that you have changed your content and they should come and check it out. More about that later.
Once you have had your content out there for some time and added additional information.
Remember to keep revisiting adding and amending.
Ask yourself if that content could reasonably be turned into an infographic.
Inforgraphics are great a way to get a lot of information across in very short time and are highly shareable.
This is a excellent way of breathing new life into a old post that has involved into a substantial document.
The things you have to do to make your website successful!
It’s a huge topic. I’ve tried to reduce it to down to the fundamentals with this post.
I hope it is of some use to you.
Cooking time: indeterminable
Take one website.
Make sure that all the pages have correctly written titles, descriptions and headings.
Check this with Screaming Frog
Marinade with well written, relevant and informative high quality content.
Use some keyword rich menu items. (Google only reads first link to a page and that is usually the menu!)
Sprinkle your content with internal links but don’t over do it.
Add an external link to authoritative sites from pages and post. i.e Wikipedia or .edu sites, defining subject matter. Outgoing Links
Place your photographs/images, adding ALT text, title text and decorate with image size attributes. So that you content doesn’t jump around whilst images load! (Usability)
Add a Skip to Content Link before the menu so Screen Readers don’t have to tab through all menu items!
Place your “Call to Action” above the fold so it is easy to find.
Add some site maps, HTML for visitors, XML for search engines.
Ensure that your site responds (is responsive) to different screen sizes. Check site out on as many mobile devices, tablets and laptops as you come across.
Season your website with a good pinch of optimisation for:
Quality (broken links, server errors)
Accessibility (access to all regardless of physical ability)
Compatibility issues (usable on all platforms and devices)
Privacy (US CAN-SPAM Act 2003 and/or EU Privacy Regulations 2003)
Search Engine Standards (Google, Bing and Yahoo guidelines. Best Search Practices)
Code Validation Errors (W3.org HTML and CSS validation)
Usability (user experience)
Test 10 pages for these factors here(click link and enter your website address into the input box on the right hand side)
Many sites rank well without these – but a good habit to get into and a good introduction to these types of issues. There is a beleif that these factors will become far more relevant for gaining website success in the future.
If additional media, such as video, flash files or infographics, is to your taste add a transcript so that the search engines can get a flavour of them as well.
Whist online, take out of the refrigerator your previously prepared strategy for driving traffic to your site.
This could be gathering email addresses for newsletter distribution or article writing.
The best strategy is to market your content, content marketing, to your peers in your sector to get links back to your site. Building your authority and trust.
Now roast gently!
Remember if the content was not good going in it won’t be better coming out. Nothing but the best will do! Set for gas mark “remarkable”.
Let everyone know what you are cooking up via social media, email marketing and even good old fashioned business cards at networking events.
Whilst your site is online keep checking Google analytics and Webmaster Tools at regular intervals and for the more sophisticated palate. Re-submit your XML site whenever you add anything to your site.
Keep returning to old posts and add to and improve them, adding more information adding better images if required. Then promote again at an appropriate time.
Keep tasting your site by checking all the pages and its functionality.
Get to know it inside out.
TIP. Remember for website success:
You are not promoting your business you are promoting your content.
So that has to be as unique, as original and as interesting as possible otherwise no one will share it.
That’s what will set you apart from your competition.
Once all that has been done, pour yourself a drink in anticipation of the arrival of your guests.
Here’s to your website success!
Don’t blow all that hard work by not being open and honest about who you are.
Call me old fashioned:
but I want to know who I am doing business with.
Five minutes ago I had never heard of you.
Now you want me to hand over some of my hard earned cash!
That’s like proposing on a first date…….Taxi
And it gets worse:
Not a single picture of a human being on your website.
Don’t forget it’s all about:
Getting KNOWN, LIKED AND TRUSTED.
So making it clear exactly who you are as quickly as possible is a probably a good idea, right.
From the very first moment that visitors land on your site you should be focused on building trust whilst being aware that you have to do this for two different audiences.
Your site visitors
Many websites owners think that this can be achieved by displaying a “money back guarantee” and some highly dubious testimonials.
Referrers that continually repeat a company’s name are a dead give away as fakes. Written by the business owner. People don’t talk like that.
Building trust is really straightforward – just be straightforward.
AND THE BEST BIT IS
it’s great for business.
All you need to do is to work on your PERSONAL BRANDING and display a body of work that proves that you KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.
That’s not going to be a problem for you – is it?
Firstly here is a very quick guide.
Followed by additional information about Personal Branding.
Later we will talk about Search Engines and trust.
Builds trust, breaks down barriers, keeps it real, provides a source of content and eases visitors wariness when first arriving at your site.
Fancy some of that?
Personal branding is not an ego trip, it can really help your business and removes that giant leap of faith (from your prospect) that might be required when making that all important initial purchase.
I highly recommend that any business with a website takes a serious look at personal branding.
You may not be the next Richard Branson but if you were, like Richard, you would be paying close attention to your personal brand.
Personal branding is not a short term proposition, for some ideas for developing a strategy, you should have a look at Neil Patel’s
Also there is Luigi Centenaro who has created a great Personal Branding Canvas
Below is a search engine friendly version of the building trust infographic shown earlier. Because it is an image file the search engines can not access its content so it is a good idea to add a transcript. The same applies to any videos that you might add.
SIMPLE WEBSITE METHODS FOR BUILDING TRUST (transcript)
|Simple website methods for building trust|
|Visitor Want||So you should|
|Introduce yourself. Properly||Have a professional photo. Selfies are for amateurs|
|Visitors are naturally wary when visiting a new site.||Showing yourself relaxes visitors.|
|On all pages of your site, who knows where visitors will land?||Don’t save yourself for the about page. They may not get there.|
|Your Visitors want to relate to you.||Keep it real.|
|having shared values and goals builds rapport||So tlak about yours – you need to find 2 things that you have in common.|
|Show that you’re accessible, have time for others and that you are not totally focused on sales.||Ask visitors to comment on your posts then respond in a positive manner.|
|Do this consistently||Demonstrate your reliability|
|Guess what? being seen relaxing has a relaxing effect.||Be professional , but let your hair down too, on Facebook ideally.|
|Talk is cheap. Showing that you have a track record of delivering on your promises is simple. If you say you are going to help people with something, prove it with really good content about that subject.|
|“This is what we do and we are going to continue doing this for you.” is much more powerful than “Give us some money and then we will do it.”|
Building your mailing list – back to basics:
If you don’t have a mailing list, so you can contact the people visiting your site, you really need to read this post.
Many traditional business practices are relevant to website strategy.
In business I have failed more times than I have succeeded. Fortunately I’ve learned as much from my failures as from my successes.
The most important thing that you need to do in business is to get in front of people.
Then, when you are in front of people you need to, at least, set up the next exposure to your business or ideally get an appointment.
If you can not get appointments or set up the next exposure you are going to struggle.
What’s that get to do with websites?
If you have a website the first thing that you need to do is to get your website in front of people and then you need to set up the next exposure to your website.
If you make no attempt to do that it’s easy to assume that you will not see that visitor again, ever.
Or does your plan involve hoping that they will remember you and return one day?
This is how it works:
People have to be exposed to your business several times before they buy.
Within that process you have to build rapport,trust and get liked.
So if you make that exposure to your business a pleasant experience then people are far more likely to buy.
Sounds like we are going to have maintain contact with and to be nice to people – can we do that – yes, of course.
So what’s the plan?
We can start by giving away something for nothing.
People are always looking for something for nothing, right.
How about some free knowledge, that will give you a great opportunity to prove that you are useful to know, builds rapport, builds trust and could lead to the next exposure to your website.
That seems to tick a lot of boxes.
Next thing you know you will be asking people to sign up for your mailing list, so you can tell them about more free knowledge that you are giving away.
There’s the best bit:
IF they like the free stuff you gave them – they will sign up.
Now that sounds like you are on your way to getting yourself a direct marketing channel. Well done you.
Here’s the bottom line:
Building a mailing list to reach out and draw visitors back to your site when you have added something new and interesting is going to be your trump card.
It’s importance can not be understated.
A mailing list is traffic in your back pocket.
It’s also your existing client base, who might refer your business to others as you continue fostering your relationship with them.
It’s is also a list of potential clients who have expressed an interest in your product but are not ready to buy yet.
I was on SitePoint.com mailing list for 2 years before I made a purchase with them.
The repeated exposure to their site made it very easy to buy when the time was right.
There kept telling me about new articles (great content) that showed off their knowledge of the subject I wanted to learn.
Then one day they offered me a book, containing in-depth knowledge (a content upgrade). It was exactly what I needed. I didn’t hesitate. I am sure they also had plenty of data regarding my responses to their newsletters and my activity when on their website. Helping them to suggest the most appropriate title.
Are you beginning to see how this works:
I have since made 30+ purchases and now pay a monthly subscription to them.
Their newsletter kept drawing me back and engaging me and making sure their site didn’t become a dim and distant memory to me and most importantly – built trust.
It’s was all about getting their website KNOWN, LIKED and TRUSTED.
A great newsletter (repeated exposure) will do that for you with clients. Plus the search engines will see that you can reach out, draw in and engage an audience. Happy days!
The first thing you have to take on board when reaching out to your audience is:
You are promoting your website content.
More of that free stuff that you are giving away, that’s what they signed up for.
You are not promoting your products.
Of course you are selling something, people get that, but if that is your only message it’s all going to be a bit dull and they will unsubscribe.
Give and you shall receive:
Keep giving good free information (keeping the exposures going) and people will more than likely buy from you, when the time is right, that’s something I’ve also learned about business, it’s all about getting the timing right.
There may be a time when the customer needs what you are selling.
So keeping in contact, keep being around and when the time is right (no one knows when it is going to be) you are going to be in far better position to make that sale, leaving your competition – no where – is that what you are looking for.
Time for a quick re-cap
In an earlier post we talked about improving visitor engagement.
Now we see the benefits of having a mailing list (staying in contact with visitors/customers/prospects).
What about the bits in between?
So it is very easy for me to simply say “start building your mailing list” and glossing over how that is actually done.
So I will show you
So where to start:
Well it’s pretty difficult to look past SumoMe
WordPress users can use a plugin (no code required) to install and connect to SumoMe.
In the admin section of your WordPress site:
Plugins > Add New > type SumoMe into the search bar > Click intstall
Other website owners will have to copy a code snippet into the header of their sites.
Within minutes you will be able to deploy various sign up forms:
A Welcome Mat (full screen)
Smart Bar (bar at the top or bottom of the screen)
Scroll Bar (appears when page scrolled a preset %)
These are available by clicking on the Sumo Store option and then selecting a sign up process of your choice.
All this and much more comes with the free version and of course there are various pro versions available once you have created an audience.
Anyone who is serious about their website should check out this platform.
All I would say is start collecting email addresses – even if writing and producing a newsletter is a dim and distant thought for you.
No one will complain about not receiving a newsletter some time down the line.
Just get that mailing list started – sooner rather than… oh to late
These are the headlines regarding WHY, WHEN and WHERE
Carrot content – bribing visitors with free stuff, you would be a bit worried if people signed up for no good reason!
Landing pages – big call to action above the fold.
“Happy” buttons – change the default button text from “Sign Up” something more original “Yes I want to be a design guru”.
Two-step opt-ins – cuts down on fake email addresses.
Entry pop-ups – timing is everything.
Exit pop-ups – last ditch attempt.
“Painful” buttons – sarcasm.
End-of-post forms – if they are still there that has to be a good sign.
In-line forms – placed within the posts.
Sidebar forms – left or right, sticky or static you decide.
Contact forms – never miss an opportunity.
See 11 sign up strategies for depth information on all of the above.
Having a newsletter for your website is a good business decision.
So get that sign up form up front and center on your website and see if you can collect some email addresses.
Here’s the bottom line:
You have to offer something in return. Clearly I am offering these Website Success tips and when new tips come online I will attempt to bring traffic back to the site with the offer of some engaging and informative content.
The pay off:
This is a legitimate way of generating traffic to your website even better it is also targeted traffic and it will help your business in so many ways.
1. Drives traffic to your website.
2. Generates engagement signal for search engines
3. Maintains contact with existing clients
4. Re-establishes contact with potential clients.
5. Gives clear indicators of your content quality.
6. Provides a clear strategy for expanding your business.
If you don’t get any takers review what you are offering. Either way you will be a step closer to website success.
How to keep people on your website:
This is so simple I guarantee you will be using this first tip straight away!
Q: What’s the best way to keep visitors on your website?
A: How about showing them what they want quickly and clearly.
Your very first target is to:
Hold the visitor on any given web page for 10 seconds – but that is not your ultimate goal, far from it.
Here’s the problem:
Visitors rapidly hitting the back button to get away from your site is known as a “Bounce”
A high bounce rate is the quickest way of getting your site to drop like stone down the rankings.
If your visitor gets past 10 seconds that is a good start but what you really want is to hold them on the page, they landed on, and then for them to click through to another page.
Staying on your site for several minutes at least!
Easier said than done!
Let’s take a moment to think:
What’s the worse thing that you can see when you land on a web page? You don’t have to answer that question!
For me, it is being presented with a huge block of text to read.
What I want is a clear indication that I am going to find what I am looking for.
We’ve done the search (with the search engine) and now we are expected to search again through loads of text!
We’re not interested in wasting time looking any further.
Next site please.
So answer me this:
You’re still here, right?
Why are you still here?
Before you got here I promised you information on ‘Improving visitor engagement’
Then, upon arrival:
But you probably noticed:
That the normal rules of grammar have been ignored!
I’ve broken up the text to make it very easy for you to read.
You’ve been able to quickly read through and see that there just might be something useful here.
People are not going to give you much time so you have to get on with it.
They will be scanning your web pages very quickly.
So we need to be making everything as easy as possible for them.
Tell me that I am wrong:
I promised you a way of improving visitor engagement and now I’ve got you engaged!
Apologies to any English teachers reading this but when you have only a couple of seconds to get peoples attention something has got to give. In this case text formatting.
So you might be wondering:
No, it gets better:
As well as adding spaces between lines (yes, I know you’re impressed!).
You can move your visitors along with some attention grabbing “Bucket Brigade” lines (keeping the water coming by passing buckets from one fireman to the next).
They’re lines like these tried-and-tested classics:
Here’s the deal:
Why does this matter?
What’s the bottom line?
You might be wondering:
This is crazy:
I must be crazy:
No, I’m serious:
It gets better/worse:
But here’s the kicker:
Want to know the best part?
I can’t emphasize this enough:
The bottom line is…
Plus: Don’t tell everyone but:
you are allowed to create your own Bucket Brigade classics. Designed by you to keep your website visitors reading.
So here’s the deal:
Follow these tips and you WILL get better website engagement which in turn will reduce your bounce rate.
It gets better:
That will send a strong signal to the search engines that people like your website.
They will become more confident about sending visitors to your website because it is fulfilling the search criteria.
What does Google’s like to deliver the most?
GOOD SEARCH RESULTS
Here’s another thing:
As you know, a picture paints a thousand words – it also makes your web page more engaging.
and we like the sound of that – don’t we?
It’s a proven fact:
That content that has at least one image included in it out ranks content with no images.
Makes sense, right.
However there is no evidence to suggest adding more and more images helps to increase rankings further.
I guess Google just doesn’t like blocks of plain text with no images, who does?
Clearly I am no Picasso, but I have created the images on this page myself using Canva.com and it didn’t cost me a penny!
And there are no issues concerning copyright (There are premium elements available which have a one time use stipulation. $1 per instance that you use them. You will have to read their terms and conditions regarding that point).
If you are serious about enhancing your content I would recommend that you took the time to check Canva.com out.
It’s all drag and drop stuff and once you have worked your way around creating images is easy. Here is a tutorial and there are plenty more on YouTube for you to check out.
Are we done yet?
No, of course not!
Try a recommended for reading banner that highlights a related article. This can be placed at any relevant point within your page. It is not to replace text links rather supplement them.
This is simply an inserted image with a link attached. A tutorial showing you how is further down this post.
At the end of all posts rather than having the standard “previous” and “next” buttons why not, insert our own links to relented posts with an image attached.
This will prove to be far more engaging and increase the chances of visitors clicking through to continue reading.
Then click the Select Option
Now you need to navigate to where your required image is on your computer.
Once the image has uploaded – Go to right hand pane (scroll down if required)
Select Custom URL and remove the http://
Add the address of the page we are linking to by pasting it in. CTRL (Control) + V
That should paste in the address that we copied at the start of this process.
Click Insert into Post – you now have a picture link to the required page.
For those still standing:
Here is a relevant image that shows the elements to a more engaging page page layout.
All that I have shown you is straight forward stuff that can change your web pages radically. Nothing to technical and you should be able to do it yourself without too much trouble. Happy to help if you need it.
You should always end a post with a compelling last line so here it is.
The effect of making your webpages more engaging will filter through to the search engines and it with give you the edge over your competition today. So what are you waiting for.
Everyone is in a rush and everything needs to be delivered yesterday, including your website content!
So if you want your WordPress site to be the fastest gun in the west.
There’s my list of 20 fixes you can do today to speed up your existing WordPress site.
I’ve listed them in order of ease. The simplest being first.
Cut the number post revisions stored in the database.
You may or may not have noticed that:
If you write posts and pages directly into WordPress as drafts proir to publication WordPress saves a copy whenever you hit that update button.
Left unchecked WordPress will store every single one of these drafts, forever!
Well, over a period of time you would end up with a huge unwieldly database for WordPress (and more importantly visitors) to deal with.
You might need a couple of revisions just in case you make a mistake.
Not 30 or so that is just plain crazy!
SO: get yourself a revisons plugin
Click Plugins > Add New > Search “Revisions”
and take your pick.
Disable revisions completely.
This is for those that are comfortable with getting your hands dirty and happy to change php code.
To disable Post Revisions, (access to your hosting is required for this).
Add: define(‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’, false); into wp-config.php
If the above means nothing to you – not to worry – just use the plugin version.
Turn off Pingbacks and Trackbacks
Here’s another quick and easy one.
Click on > Settings > Discussion – Locate: Default Article Settings
Pingbacks and Trackbacks attract a lot of spammers……
It’s a shame to have to do this as this is a well intentioned idea, unfortunately not everyone using the internet is well intentioned so this will simply attract hordes of spammers.
Apart from the fact that large image files contributes greatly to the sluggishness of a WordPress site, they also consume bandwidth too. Images are a good candidate for optimization.Using the free WPMU DEV WordPress Smush API, the WP SmushIt plugin will help you reduce the size of these images without compromising their quality. I use this plugin and find it amazing how much it reduces image sizes.
This is done off-site using a programme such as Photoshop or GIMP. Ideally you just want your image to be the exact size that they need to be, so that there is no need for the server to resize a large image to fit into a small space. As it has to render (display) the image in it’s original size first. Usually this can be done Under the IMAGES section of the programme.
Advanced lazy load.
Only loads images when coming into view.
Really effective if you have many many images.
A photographers portfolio
WARNING I FOUND IT DIDN@T WORK WITH PHP 5.2
See my PHP version post
Demo page Demo Page
Monitors images that are entering into the screen view and then adds the “src” attribute. Can be coded without use of plugin.
There is a huge choice of caching plugins
I’ve gone for the one with the most reviews (always a good sign) and with a high rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5)
W3 Total Cache
When us humans write the code and scripts for websites, spaces are required to make them readilble to the human eye.
Computers are not so fussy and can read code as one long string without spaces.
However the spaces that we need make the these files bigger as the complier has to move through the spaces looking for the next character.
So removing the spaces isa good idea.
So lets MINIFY with WP Minify
That’s 3 ways to speed up your site with one plugin. Meet me half way and allow to claim that as two!
so a zipped up version of your site downloads and is unziped. Sounds like a lot of work but iseffective.
In simple terms, site compression is like turning your entire site into a ZIP archive. And when any of the pages of the site is requested for, a client’s browser acts like WinRAR and unzips the archive and then show the contents. Even though this sounds like an extra work and would slow things down, trust me, it doesn’t.
Even though W3 Total Cache is well known for caching, it can also be used in site compression. You can enable this feature by going to: admin page -> Performance -> Browser Cache -> Enable HTTP (gzip) Compression.
Home page is a great place to start.
Remove sign up forms
Remove Contact forms
use widgets sparingly
Emulate with html?
Replace PHP with static HTML, when necessary
This one is a little bit advanced, but can drastically cut down your load time if you are desperate to include page load speeds, so I included it.
I’d be doing this great post injustice if I didn’t link to it for this topic, as it taught me how to easily do this myself, in a few minutes.
So go there and check it out, it wrote it out in plainer terms than I ever could!
WordPress often auto-saves almost everything. This includes: unwanted revisions, trackbacks, pingbacks, trashed items, unapproved comments, or comments marked as spam.
Just as your hard drive can become fragmented, your WordPress database can also suffer from a similar problem. However, you can use the WP-Optimize plugin to optimize your database, or WP-DB Manager which enables you to optimize your database and as well as schedule dates for regular database optimization.
Add an expires header to static resources
This way can cut your load time significantly for your regular users.
You need to copy and paste the following code in your root .htaccess file:
ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000
The above numbers are set for a month (in seconds), you can change them as you wish.
Optimize your homepage to load quickly
This isn’t one thing but really a few easy things that you can do to ensure that your homepage loads quickly, which probably is the most important part of your site because people will be landing there the most often.
Things that you can do include:
Show excerpts instead of full posts
Reduce the number of posts on the page (I like showing between 5-7)
Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the home page (include them only in posts)
Remove inactive plugins and widgets that you don’t need
Keep in minimal! Readers are here for content, not 8,000 widgets on the homepage
Overall, a clean and focused homepage design will help your page not only look good, but load quicker as well.
Good use of Plugins
CloudFlare or Nginx for example
CDN automatically caches your static files closer to your visitors while delivering your dynamic content directly from your web server.
This method reduces the number of hops (servers passing data) used to deliver your content to Sydney, Australia by haveing already availble on locally.
Only required if you wish to have a global reach.