What is the process for getting a website?

Getting a new website for the first time or even totally redoing an existing one, can be a daunting task for many businesses. What most people want to know is what is the process? Am I going to have to dedicate a lot of time that I don’t have?

At HotsWots we break the process down into manageable parts so that it isn’t overwhelming for our clients. Full consultation and support with the client happens at each stage.

  • If there is no logo or colour scheme, that’s where we will start. HotsWots has an easy questionnaire that is fast to fill out and will prompt you about such things as colour, tagline, symbols, icons etc so that we have a starting point to start to understand your requirements and preferences. If you require complete branding for your business, we can also assist with this service.
  • Next, planning.
    • What are your objectives e.g. do you require a membership site or are you selling products.
    • Who is your target audience?
    • Review of your current site if there is one and what is working and what isn’t.
    • General Sitemap. What is going to be included so that the most important messages are covered on the home page and navigation is quick and easy around the website.
    • Remember the 8 second rule: Every website needs to answer in the first 8 seconds if their visitors are to stay, engage and take action. These are: Why am I here (i.e. – What is your website about); Why do I care (i.e. – What’s in it for me?); What should I do now (i.e. – A clear call to action)
    • Planning the content – images, videos, writing for the Internet, writing for the search engines.
  • Design – HotsWots provides another easy to answer questionnaire to help work out what your preferences are. Unless of course, you are already clear about what you want.
  • Development – once design has been agreed to, development process begins.
  • Content – HotsWots offers a copywriting service for those wishing to have their content written for them. Having professional copywriting is certainly worth the money as not only is it written for the Internet but also for the search engines. HotsWots will also do image searching and sizing as an extra service if required.
  • Google submission – Analytics, Sitemap, Webmaster Tools, Google Business Page & Map all helps for your website to be found in the search engines.
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimisation is the final part to the process if you want your website to found in the search engines. HotsWots implements a combination of onsite Meta Data (what Google crawls for your website to be found in the search engine) and offsite linking.

HotsWots is a website design & development business with personal customer service that combines the latest designs with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing. Whether you’re brand new to the web or your online presence needs an upgrade, we’re here help you take your next step. Contact us at info@hotswots.com today.

How Can I improve my Website’s Loading Speed?

In this fast paced world we live in, no one wants to wait for anything – think fast food, breaking news via social media channels, 24/7 support, and online shopping on our mobiles. Your website is no different. Your visitors will not stay around and wait for your website or website pages to slowly open and Google will penalise your ranking which will affect organic traffic. Google also thinks it’s important for your visitors to have a good experience so your website loading speed should definitely be a part of your SEO strategy.

So, what can you do to improve your website’s loading speed?

Reliable Hosting
Server speed is all about how quickly your server responds to requests from your visitors to view the website. The quicker the server responds, the quicker the website pages will open. Make sure you have great hosting and if unsure, speak to your website developer. This will also include having a package that provides your site with adequate bandwidth and data.

Reduce the Size of Images
This is probably the single biggest reason that contributes to a slow website especially now that all the up-to-date websites are visual with lovely images including large banner images. PNGs are generally better for graphics (don’t go overboard on the number of different colours) while JPEGs are better for photographs. Then they need to be compressed for the web. Loading images that haven’t been resized for the web is not recommended.

File Compression – CSS, HTML & JavaScript files
Optimise your code by removing spaces, commas, and other unnecessary characters and this will help to increase your page speed. Also remove code comments, formatting, and unused code.

Install a Caching Program
Browsers can cache a lot of information so that when your visitors return to your site, the browser ‘remembers’ and doesn’t have to reload the entire page. If you have a WordPress site, there are several plug-ins that are good and will help your site to load quicker. Also check if you have an expiration date set for your cache and how long you want that information to be cached. A year is generally a good time unless your website design changes more often.

Incompatible Plug-ins
WordPress and other great CRMs means that people can now manage their own websites once they have been built. We see many websites that are having loading as well as other huge issues due to the number of plug-ins added and the fact that they can often be incompatible with each other.

Too Many Ads
Not only can too many ads be annoying to your visitors, but they can also slow down your loading time.

There are some great tools, free and paid, around the Internet to help you determine your speed time. If you think your site is performing badly, then try some of the tips above to improve your website speed. If not, your website developer will be happy to sort it all out for you.

HotsWots is a website design & development business with personal customer service that combines the latest designs with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing. Whether you’re brand new to the web or your online presence needs an upgrade, we’re here help you take your next step. Contact us at info@hotswots.com today.

What is a responsive website?

What is a responsive website and should I have one?

Responsive website design means that the website has been designed to be viewed easily on every device, no matter what the screen size, without having to have different versions for all the different mobile devices that are available now and for new devices continually coming onto the market.

According to research approximately 2/3 of all Australians now use a smart phone for all their online requirements which means your website needs to function properly on every device.

Some interesting implications for business is the fact that increasing numbers are using their smartphones to research businesses (including local suppliers and services), purchase products via their mobile device, and to research goods and services at home as well as while out and about.

Mobile devices are often constrained by display size and require a different approach to how content is laid out on the screen. Not only are mobile phones being used but so are a multitude of different devices including ‘phablets’, tablets, iPads, iPods, desktops, game consoles, TVs, and even wearables like watches – all with different screen sizes.

So can businesses afford to have a website that isn’t optimised for mobile? These screen sizes are always going to be changing, so it’s imperative that your website can adapt to any screen size, today or in the future.

Responsive layout, including navigation, changes, based on the size and capabilities of the device. For example, on a phone, users would see content shown in a single column view; a tablet might show the same content in two columns. The responsive design responds to the needs of the users and the devices they’re using.

Google rolled out its mobile friendly algorithm in April 2015, which means that Google will “ boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages — pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices — in mobile search results worldwide. (Conversely, pages designed for only large screens may see a significant decrease in rankings in mobile search results.)” (Ref: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/faqs-april-21st-mobile-friendly.html) This all means that Google likes mobile friendly websites so much that they will rank them higher in their search results.

So, when you ask – should my website be responsive? The answer is a resounding YES YES YES!

HotsWots is a website design & development business with personal customer service that combines the latest designs with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing. Whether you’re brand new to the web or your online presence needs an upgrade, we’re here help you take your next step. Contact us at info@hotswots.com today

To-do list for a healthy website

Do you want to start off 2014 with a healthy website?

You may wonder what a healthy website is and why should you care?  Websites require ongoing maintenance for everything to work well and to limit the chances of it being hacked.  Without being too anxious about it all, there are a some simple things you can do to make sure your site has had a basic maintenance overhaul to start off the new year:

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Tips for a great website – #8 keyword research

Tip 8 – keyword research & getting found

This is an important area you will need to do some research in but briefly this is all about how potential customers and visitors will find you on the internet and the words they will type in to search for your site. Keywords are the meaningful words and phrases related to the topic of your page. Google offers a great tool for websites owners to find relevant keywords:

https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal

This tool also gives you a feeling for advertiser competition on a particular keyword. You can search either by using a thesaurus style function or by typing in either your website or a website in a similar industry area.

Without going into too much detail here, you should be using these words and phrases throughout the body of your website and your web designer will also know to include them in specific places such as your title and description tags as well as headings and various other places so that the search engines will ‘pick them up’ when they crawl the web. However, it is very important not to ‘over stuff’ your website and blog posts with keywords. Google and the major search engines consider this to be spamming and you can be penalised for this. Keywords and keyword phrases also need to be totally ‘relevant’ to your website page and the more relevant they are, the better you will do in the search engines.

You should select the most relevant 10-20 keywords/phrases to target and these should be balanced between some of the more popular and a few niche keywords that you believe you can dominate. If your industry is very competitive e.g. website design, you may want to concentrate on including some pages around your niche e.g. WordPress websites or Joomla websites as long as they are relevant to your content. Keep all of your research because it will continue to be valuable if you explore paid advertising or wish to broaden your optimisation at any time.

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. If you would like our copywriter to write your content so that it includes the best keywords or you would like us to do some keyword research for your niche or industry, contact us at http://www.hotswots.com

Tips for a great website – #7 offer value

Tip 7 – offer value

If you want your visitors to buy from you, or even to leave their details as discussed in Post 6 in this blog series, you need to make sure you are offering them something of value. Think about what your visitors are searching for – more information or a particular product or service. Remember, offering value doesn’t have to equate to the cheapest deal!

Your value proposition should be:

  • clear and simple – you want your visitors to know in a matter of seconds what your website is about.
  • about the benefits of your products, information or services – people buy on emotion and ‘what’s in it for them’.
  • about what differentiates you from your competitors.
  • aimed at your target market.

Your visitors will shop around and they will look at 4 – 5 other sites before they make a decision. Think carefully about what sets you apart from your competitors and what is important to your target market, for example some ways you can set yourself apart are:

  • Australian based and owned – state it on your website if that is important to your target market
  • your prices may be more expensive on your products but you offer support and contact details so that your customers can reach you
  • you offer a free consultation for your services so that your potential clients can get to know you before they commit to your service
  • free shipping
  • weekly/monthly specials
  • money back guarantee
  • white paper attached with explanation about what your customers should be looking out for to get the most suitable product for their needs

Remember, adding value and giving something of value encourages your visitors to reciprocate and you want them to do this by leaving their contact details which gives you permission to contact them again or by purchasing your product or service from you. This act of reciprocity is how you start to build a good relationship. Today’s customers aren’t easily seduced. This is all about building a long term relationship – you are not looking for a one night stand!

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. If you would like us to check your website and help you convert more visitors, we will give you a FREE appraisal. Contact us at http://www.hotswots.com

Tips for a great website – #6 database

Tip 6 – capture your visitors’ details

Building a database of people who are interested in what you have to offer on your website should be a vital part of your website strategy. These are often referred to as ‘warm leads’. These people may not be ready to buy immediately but by building a good relationship with them via email marketing or newsletters and staying in touch with them, they will remember you when they are ready to buy!

Many business owners do not realize this, but the real value of their business is actually the list of customers they have built up over the years. After all, your customers are the backbone of your business, and a business with a big list of customers can “tap into” that backbone at any time. You may have a ‘special’ that you want to offer or a new product or service.

So how do you get people to leave their details or ‘opt-in’ to your website?
The best way is to offer your visitors something that they would like in exchange for leaving their details – some tips around the subject of your website that they have searched to find you; some free advice that will allow them to make a more informed decision about the product or service that they want; a free consultation so they can ‘try before they buy'; or regular updates in a newsletter. You may have to test some different strategies before you get one that works well for you.

Then how do you collect your visitors’ details?
We recommend some good email marketing software like MailChimp or Aweber. There are many good softwares around and you just need to do a bit of research to see which one works best for your requirements. At HotsWots we use MailChimp for a lot of our clients – it is free to set up, you can import an existing database, and we can design branded newsletters for you that are easily editable by you for your updates.

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. If you would like us to set up a ‘capture form & database’ on your website, contact us at http://www.hotswots.com

Tips for a great website – #5 testimonials

Tip 5 – use plenty of testimonials

When people don’t know you, and you’re trying to get them to do something, there’s nothing better than third-party endorsements to do your selling for you. It not only increases your credibility but it makes your prospective customer feel like they’ll be in good company by doing business with you.
It’s great to include a Testimonials page on your web site but don’t make your visitors click around to find information that is going to help you in your ‘call to action’ – you may lose them totally from your site or they may not click back to where they were.

It’s always a good idea to include at least 1 strong testimonial on your Home page. Another great way to get 3rd party endorsements is to include the logos of businesses you have sold products or services to – especially if they are well-known businesses or corporations. Make sure you get permission first to put their logo on your website and if you are unable to adjust the size, get your designer to do it for you so that the logos are relatively uniform and look good together.

Many clients complain to us that they ask for testimonials but don’t receive anything back. Your clients are just as busy as you are and sometimes those requests can fall in the ‘too hard basket’ or ‘I’ll get around to that when I have finished more important work’! Make it easy for them. Ask them for a testimonial and offer to write something for them if they prefer that they can just approve. You will find that it can be a win/win situation. Remember to include anything special you did for your client that was above and beyond what was expected and try to keep them varied on different aspects of your business.

Another tip is to share your testimonials from clients in your social media as well. Get endorsements and recommendations on LinkedIn, Twitter and your Facebook Fan Page and be sure to ask your clients if you can include them on your website.

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. If you would like us to check your website and help you convert more visitors, we will give you a FREE appraisal. Contact us at http://www.hotswots.com

Tips for a great website – #4 solve problems

Tip 4 – problem solving

People visit websites because they are seeking a solution to something they are searching for – a product, service or information.

Focus on your visitors’ problems and needs first and NOT on the features of your business. Many websites focus on their features and often, in a blatant attempt to self-promote, use exaggerated sensational claims and language. Use simple, straightforward, honest language and focus on the benefits your customers will get from your business. Your visitors are not really interested in you, they are only interested in solving their own problem.

solve your visitors' problems“People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons” – Zig Ziglar.
Business to business sales is no different. Do you think business customers are more practical and won’t listen to that kind of rubbish? You are wrong – think again! Everyone makes emotional decisions and then justifies them with logic. What are they really looking for? Majority of people want to save time & money, or they want to make money. How do they want to spend their extra time? With the family; playing golf or going to the beach? What do they want to spend the money on? A new house; investments; back into the business?

Remember the 8-second test we mentioned in Tip 2 Website attraction – what is this website about, what’s in it for me, what should I do next. Your visitors don’t really care about you, or your products or services. They only want to know if you can solve their problems.

Learn to solve your visitors’ problems and you will find that you will start converting more traffic to sales.

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. If you would like us to check the 8-second rule on your website, we will do a FREE test for you. Contact us athttp://www.hotswots.com

Tips for a great website – #3 purpose

Tip 3 – be clear about the purpose of your website

Branding websites aim to build the “brand” of a business – to create brand awareness and generate brand loyalty. This kind of advertising is like what you would see on TV or in magazines. The theory is that if a customer sees your “brand” enough times they will eventually buy something from you.

Direct response websites (like direct response ads) are designed to get people to respond right away to a call to action whether it is to contact you, leave their details on your site for more information or for a free give away, to buy something, subscribe to a mailing list or phone your business… or any other action you want your visitors to take. The focus is on taking action NOW.

Web sites should work like direct response ads if you are interested in building your database and making more sales! Make sure you use a strong call to action so that your visitors don’t have to guess what you want them to do.

Most important is to have your strongest call to action above the fold (so before your visitors need to scroll down the page) but you can have another call to action below the fold near your footer or at the bottom of your sidebar (if you have one in your layout). This way, you are directing your visitors to take some kind of action no matter where they are on your page.

Remember to measure and test to see which call to action works best for you and your website. Try a different call to action on different pages or you can make a uniform call to action but change it after a period of time. Keep your eye on your Analytics and you will soon see what brings the best results.

HotsWots is a website design and development business with personal customer service that encompasses cutting edge design with technical expertise and an understanding of online marketing & SEO. If you would like to get more conversions from your website, contact us at http://www.hotswots.com