A guide to planning your digital strategy

Planning Your Digital Strategy.

Have you thought about your website lately?

Was it a passing thought or did you sit down and really think about it?

If you are starting a website, blog, social media or planning to update your current site then you should take some time to think about what you want it to do. Do we want more traffic to the website? Do you want to increase the amount of leads it generates? It’s time to start to build a great digital strategy and get your website working for you.

Most people get websites designed and opening social media accounts with no plan. It is because everyone else is doing it. If you are a business owner you are not running your business because it’s trendy. You do it because you have a passion for what you do. Make sure your website reflects this.  Don’t just get the website built so that it soon becomes an afterthought.

When we are thinking about our digital strategy today we have so much more to think about. Because people no longer just use PC’s and laptops to search online. They are using their phones and tablets as well. Do you know if your website is responsive? Does it work on a smart phone? If you haven’t updated the website in the last two years the chances are it is not mobile ready. People are searching for things differently and are using social media to find products and services.

Your digital strategy should be a combination of

  • Content
  • Website
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Social media
  • Pay per clicks
  • Web analytics

When we combine the points above we are on track to create a great digital campaign. The content is the most important thing to any website or social media campaign. It needs to be relevant and engaging? SEO will get us to the top of the search engine rankings. This will take time so we can use Pay Per Click (Google Adwords) to increase our position. Then we use analytics to track our website. We have lots of data to help improve the content. We use this data to build up a following using social media and start to engage with our customers.

If you are missing any of the points above then you need to start thinking about your digital strategy.   Over the next weeks I will step you through the process. We will look at how to create content, choosing a web designer, what social media suits you and all the other points.

If you follow these steps then you will be on your way to creating a great digital strategy.

 

Author: Paul Murray

5 basic elements for effective websites

5 basic elements for effective websites

If you already have a website for your business or you are looking for a new website then these are a few tips to help you work with your web designer. These are basics but I am still amazed at the amount of websites that lack these very basics of web design.

1.     Content

In web design the content is the most important aspect of the website. A website can look amazing but if the content is not written well and to the point then you will lose traffic. When people visit your website they want the information as quickly as possible. You literally have seconds to keep visitors on your site so the information must be clear and concise. Your homepage must have a good introduction explaining exactly what you do and then clear links to other pages. Try using content that describes your customers common problems and how your product or service can help remedy this. The content must also contain your keywords so that the search engines can find your website. There are plenty of keyword planners to help find ideas.

2.     Images

Images are important to your websites. Remember “a picture can tell a thousand words”. Try to use your own images as much as possible as this will give a personal feel to your website. A picture of the owner or staff at work is far better than some stock image of a model who doesn’t work there. Hire a photographer for a half day to get some professional images done.  This will not break the bank and will make your website stand out. If you have a tight budget then try using images taken with a smart phone. By using a little imagination you can be very effective in the way you use these images.

3.     Title Tags

This is really up to any good web designer to have relevant title tags. I have changed titles on web pages and it has instantly improved SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) rankings. Make sure that they are the correct length, 70 characters, and with keywords. Don’t put your business name directly at the front. Only well known brands will get any advantage from this. Use well selected keywords based on what you do and your location.  So if you are based in Cork and serve that area then use the location with the keyword so that people using location based searches will find you.

4.     Social Media

This is a minefield and the first thing people do is open a facebook account and add the link to the website. Social media needs a strategy and a plan. Think about your customers and what social media they might use. A Linkedin profile could be far more relevant especially if you are targeting professionals.

5.     Analytics

Every website should be using analytics. If you are not using analytics then you have no idea how effective your website is. By analysing your website regularly you will be able to see the traffic to your site; you will see the affect of any changes you make to your website. These can be positive and negative but by having the information you can at least act on it. If you don’t understand your analytics ask your web designer for help.

 

Websites that use these basic methods and tools will be far more effective at driving traffic to them. By having a solid foundation you can build a really great website that will be a benefit to your buisness. An effective website will help your business and increase sales. Ask your web designer for help or hire an SEO expert for recommendations. Contact me for more information.

 

Author: Paul Murray

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5 basics elements for effective websites
Article Name
5 basics elements for effective websites
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By using these basic components in your websites you will make them far more effective and help drive traffic to your websites.
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WWD Blog

Old v New Traditions

This week I started work on a website for a company that have been making hand-made sweets in Cork since 1928. It is a family business, run by a father and son with the third generation now working there.

Shandon Sweets

Father and son at work at Shandon Sweets

It is a wonderful experience to get to spend time with them, to see how they make the sweets the same way their grandfather did. They are skilled at their work and you can see the passion and enthusiasm they have.  But being a web designer working in an industry that changes so much, so quickly, it is refreshing to come across traditions that can adapt yet remain true to their origins.

For Dan and Tony the way that they make sweets will remain the same but it is how they sell sweets that is changing.  People will drop by for a packet of clove drops but the internet is a way of opening their market, which  can be nationwide or international. They have seen this and are started the process of going digital and this is a challenge for them.

Being a web designer I get to tell their story, which is something that I am proud to do. I want to represent their business as best I can and get the chance for people all over the world to know about them. But this has made me wonder about modern technology and the web. It is all so new and changing so fast that it would be hard to pass on a tradition like this. What I  learnt a year ago is fast becoming obsolete and I have to constantly re-train and keep up to date with current trends so that I don’t fall behind. The part that hasn’t changed is the storytelling aspect and perhaps this will be the tradition that I get to pass on to my children.

This has made me realise why I enjoy being a web designer so much. It is a chance to see what other people do for a living and to tell their story. By using words and pictures I get to bring their business to the web and have the potential for hundreds, maybe thousands and perhaps even millions of people to look at their website.

Author: Paul Murray