Category: Websites

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Attention grabbing email tips

Incorporating images and links into emails is an easy way firms can increase and maintain client engagement in their email marketing campaigns.

Using images in an email is a simple way to grab a reader’s attention, while also making an email’s design look stylish and consistent. But firms should be careful not waste an email space with useless, generic images. While inserting images does break up email content (making it easier to read), firms who use general images are ultimately directing their readers eyes to something that does not help sell products or convert prospects.

Call-to-action links are another great way to engage clients. However, firms must remain critical when choosing which links to incorporate into their emails. Links essentially take clients away from an email’s message to another page or site. Once clients have clicked on the link, it is highly unlikely that they will return to the email to read more.

Therefore, firms must ensure that these links have a purpose, and direct clients somewhere else for a good reason. For example, instead of directing clients to a firm’s website, a better link would direct clients to a custom designed landing page that speaks specifically to the targeted email audience.

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Elements of modern website design

Modern website design is made up by various elements, styles and designs that change over the years to keep up with user wants, needs and expectations.

Some elements of website design help to explain what a firm is and what it does; others serve to improve how a website looks on a specific device.

While it is not necessary to keep up with every trend by including it on your firm’s website, many do have the potential to improve a visitor’s experience and keep them coming back for more.

However, with so many options of website design to choose from, it can be difficult for firms to know which ones are worth considering and will set their website apart from others.

Here are three elements of modern website design that firms may want to consider including on their websites to improve the site’s performance:

  • Unique typography

Using a unique style of typography can help clients immediately identify your firm against competitors. The typography your website features can indicate subtle hints about who your firm is. But make sure you choose a font that is supported by common browsers and computers; not being supported could result in your website displaying awkwardly on different devices.

  • Large and responsive hero images

A hero image is a large banner image that is prominently placed, usually front and centre, or a website. Responsive hero images can create a strong visual experience amongst readers, encouraging them to scroll down to read more. Ensuring your website’s images are responsive makes for a good user experience. Website visitors should be able to look at different images and get the same experience no matter the device they are using.

  • Card design

Using individual cards on a website distributes information in a visual way so visitors can easily consume bite-sized pieces of content with feeling overwhelmed with information. Breaking up different pieces of content into cards means users can pick and choose which articles they want to expand. This helps keep a website’s homepage feeling clean and organised.

Card design is becoming more popular across websites because it delivers chunks of information for users that are easy to read and understand. The design can help highlight multiple products or solutions.

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Content marketing and SEO

Content marketing and SEO are two distinct disciplines firms can use in their online marketing strategies to build their online presence and improve their search engine ranking.

While the two disciplines do have characteristics that are similar, there are some key differences between the two. Some aspects of SEO are more technical than those of content marketing, such as the use of correct URLs, title and ALT tags and sitemaps.

Content marketing, on the other hand, is broader and isn’t confined to SEO goals i.e. the focus is on publishing excellent content as a way of attracting and retaining an online audience.

Utilising the two disciplines together is one of the most effective ways firms can achieve their online marketing goals. Here are three ways firms can make their content marketing strategy and SEO strategy work together:

Create original, high-quality content
From an SEO perspective, original and informative content can set firms apart from their competitors, as it gives search engines something to index that won’t be found anywhere else online. It can also contribute to achieving a firm’s content marketing goals, as unique, high-quality content has a greater chance of attracting a firm’s target audience.

Conduct keyword research
Keyword research is essential for firms if their content marketing and SEO strategies will work together. While there must be a high-level of quality in the content a firm produces, firms also need to ensure that the content receives the exposure it deserves. To achieve this, firms need to match their content with the search terms that their target audiences are using. Using too many technical terms in articles is risky, as the language may not match what searchers are using. Engaging in some keyword research can help firms find out which terms are popular and match the language searchers use.

Engage in internal linking
Internal linking can help search engines crawl firm websites more effectively, help specific pages rank well for user search terms, and also point online users to the content that is relevant to what they are looking for.

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What are ‘stop’ words?

“Stop” words are words that can negatively affect a firm’s SEO efforts. Words that don’t add any value to a page, such as “of”, “or” and “the” interfere with SEO because they use up valuable character space. The majority of search engines don’t consider these extremely common words in order to speed up search results or save disk space.

For example, when searching for “the accounting firm” a search engine has to make three ‘runs’ to find matches. It looks for matches of “the”, “accounting” and “firm”. Simply looking for the last two words is enough to find relevant pages. Therefore, to save time and disk space, the search engine excludes searching for “the”.

Not including stop words in web page titles is especially important. Page titles should be kept short and concise since search engines like Google do not read any more than 65-70 characters (including spaces). When creating content for a blog or website, firms must also be careful to avoid ‘keyword stuffing’.

Examples of keyword stuffing include:

  1. Lists of phone numbers with no substantial value
  2. Blocks of text listing cities and states
  3. Repeating words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural

Less is often more when it comes to using keywords, so strategically using them every so often in your firm’s content is an appropriate approach to take.

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Optimising for longer search queries

Responding proactively to changes in online user search habits can help firms maintain a strong online presence.

Online searches are no longer confined to basic keywords, with users now relying on longer queries to find what they are looking for. This means that firms need to start optimising their websites for longer user search queries to maintain online visibility.

Instead of relying on keyword tactics, firms should apply long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are topics and extended phrases that people are searching for. “Who is the best accountant in the Hunter Valley” is an example of a long-tail keyword phrase.

Because user queries are more targeted and the web is filling up with even greater volumes of content, it is also important for firms to have a niche. Your area of expertise as a firm should be as specific as possible, and your topics should give very specific answers to very specific questions.

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Google Chrome begins marking non-HTTPS as ‘not secure’

From July 2018 onwards, Google Chrome will begin to mark HTTP sites as ‘not secure’ in a transition towards a more secure web.

The change will coincide with the release of Chrome 68. The move comes as Google has encouraged adopting HTTPS encryption in an effort to make the web safer for everyone.

HTTPS encryption protects the data between your browser and the website you are visiting. This encryption blocks someone from intercepting information, i.e., credit card numbers or other confidential information, or injecting malware into legitimate web pages.

Since Google’s announcement last year, developers have worked to transition their sites to HTTPS with the following progress:
– Over 68 per cent of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
– Over 78 per cent of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
– 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

Google says the new Chrome interface aims to help users understand that all HTTP sites are not secure and will assist in moving the web towards a secure HTTPS web by default.

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Three ways to create better content for your blog

One of the biggest challenges facing firms wanting to up their content marketing efforts in the year ahead is coming up with good ideas on a regular basis.

Starting out in the content marketing game can be easy since a firm can write about anything in their niche. But once those fresh new ideas are exhausted, it can be a real struggle coming up with more.

While coming up with a single good idea every now again isn’t enough, neither is spending hours trying to come up with good content marketing ideas. All that will result in is a huge waste of time, not to mention be a mentally draining and frustrating process as well.

One way firms can counter this outcome is to look out for pieces of published content that are already good, but could be better. Finding already used content ideas on the internet and turning them into something great is a fast and easy-to-use method firms can use to write great content.

In no way should firms simply copy an article; the basic idea behind the process is to read content and think about how your firm could improve upon the piece’s overall angle or idea.

Here are three ways firms can do this:

Make the article longer
While longer articles take more time to read, they can be beneficial from an SEO perspective, since longer content ranks higher in Google’s search. Accountants should be careful not to make an article boring by adding length to it; they need to increase its value through adding more information. For example, if a firm found an article called ‘Seven ways to boost your retirement savings”, they could make it more valuable by adding more details and more options on how to boost retirement savings i.e. “Ten ways to boost your retirement savings”.

Make the article more in-depth
Articles that are already quite lengthy usually lack any real depth. By adding more depth to valuable aspects of each section of the article, firms can add a lot more value to the original content idea.

Make it more ‘readable’
Firms may also find content that has a lot of value but only to certain audiences. Taking the content, and catering it to a different type of audience means firms can write about similar topics, but make them more accessible to others. Firms can also make content more readable by adding pictures, including a good amount of white space, and using a good clear font style.

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What is an SEO website audit?

An SEO audit is a process of evaluating how ‘healthy’ a website is. It involves checking the website against a checklist and suggesting recommendations of what needs to be fixed and what needs to change so that the website’s performance in regards to SEO improves.

Performing a search engine optimisation audit of a website is quite important for many reasons. Firstly, it allows firms to identify problematic website areas that need improving. Secondly, good SEO audits keep a website up-to-date with the latest developments in search engine ranking, keeping them on top of the competition.

Firms can expect the following from an SEO audit:

  • A description of the current state of the website, including a detailed analysis on how the website is performing in regards to search engine rankings, social media and any other information relating to the website’s current state.
  • A recommended list of actions to improve the website.
  • An internet marketing strategy designed to take advantage of all available sources of traffic and opportunities on the internet.

Regularly conducting SEO audits is important as things can change very quickly in the SEO landscape. What is working for your website today, may not be working in six months time. Performing regular SEO audits (at least twice a year) can ensure that a website stays up-to-date with the latest SEO developments.

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SEO checklist for firms

SEO can seem like an overwhelming practice for small accounting firms. Between the various on-page and off-page factors of the online marketing strategy, it can be hard knowing where to begin. What can make this even more difficult, is the fact that you can’t just start anywhere with SEO tasks. Firms who want SEO success must prioritise their tasks correctly.

SEO (search engine optimisation) is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine like Google.

Although there is no exact order to follow, prioritising your firm’s SEO tasks from highest priority to lowest priority can help make the process less more rewarding and less time-consuming.

Here is our list of SEO tasks ranked in order of priority that every firm should follow:

Identify and remove identical content
Duplicate content issues are one of the fastest ways to ruin a website’s SEO. Repeated content confuses search engines, which means the website won’t receive a good ranking. Readers may also view it as ‘spammy’.

Check website navigation
Firms need to make sure their website is easy to navigate around. It is very easy for users to click away from a website that is confusing.

Use a responsive design
Mobile compatibility is crucial. More and more searches now take place on mobile devices, so firms need to make sure their website looks good on both big and small screens.

Complete a preliminary keyword research
Understanding which keywords firms need to use to target and attract their audience can help them learn more about SEO.

Create frequent quality content
Firms need to be consistently publishing high-quality content. This shows a firm’s credibility and gives readers a way to engage with the firm’s website.

Build relationships with influencers
Starting to build relationships with influencers can help get your firm’s name out there in your firm’s online niche community. This practice can also help earn natural links and may result in others resharing your firm’s content.

Follow SEO news
While following the latest news for SEO may overwhelming for beginners, it is quite important if your firm is to stay on top of SEO trends and changes.

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Five reasons why your firm’s SEO efforts aren’t working

Even though search engine optimisation (SEO) is a viable online marketing strategy, many firms continue to fail when it comes to their SEO campaigns. This is usually due to expectations that are too high, budgets that are too low and misunderstood client expectations.

But firms can get their SEO campaigns back on track by simply being aware of where or why things are going wrong. Here are five reasons why your firm’s SEO campaign isn’t producing the results you want:

  • Not setting realistic goals

Setting unrealistic goals for your firm’s SEO campaign, such as planning to dominate on Google for every service your firm offers will most always result in failure. Firms need to set realistic objectives for their campaigns that are more likely to bring success.

  • Not setting a realistic timeframe or budget

Most firms fail to set realistic timeframes or create realistic budgets for their SEO campaigns. Most want immediate results, while at the same time, are only willing to make a minimal investment.

Going into an SEO campaign with a short timeframe and unwillingness to make any necessary investments will most likely fail since you are not giving your firm the necessary time needed to test and make adjustments for a successful long-term campaign.

  • Not using the right keywords

Surprisingly, optimising for the wrong keywords can be quite common, and is often the cause of a firm’s SEO campaign failure. Selecting keywords based on what your firm thinks clients are searching for, instead of basing your keyword off real data, means it is very likely that your firm is not optimising for the right keywords.

  • Not having a professional website

Successful SEO campaigns start with a professional website that engages visitors upon arrival. Visitor engagement is crucial to SEO success because engagement ultimately leads to conversions (which is how firms can measure campaign success) Not having a professional website, therefore, can discredit your firm and reduce your online conversions.

  • Not writing content that clients are interested in

Firms shouldn’t focus their efforts on writing content that only appeals to search engines. Instead, implement a content strategy that answers questions and addresses concerns clients typically have.