Why you should migrate to https

We've been recommending to our clients to move to https for some time now as Google in 2016 made announced that beginning in January 2017, they are going to mark all the non-secure websites in their Chrome browser.

What that meant was Google implemented a feature in Chrome where a warning would display on http sites where there was an entry field of any kind on the page.

The final step is that Google will make that message much more noticeable and will send a clear signal to the user: you risk exposing your personal data on this site, use at your own risk.

The likely effect of this will be negative and turn potential customer away.

Apparently Google is not stopping there, in the several locations in the US they have been testing a way to mark non-secure website in the Google Search results page. This will have a much bigger impact as the likely effort will be potential customers won't even visit your site!

So take action now to migrate your site to https. 

Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads became available for New Zealand business early 2017.

When a potential customer searches for your product a photo of your product, plus a title, price, your store name, and more is displayed.

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You can use Google Shopping Ads to promote your online store and the products you sell through it.

Similarly, to other types of Google Search Ads, advertisers place bids for a limited number of available Ad slots that lead back to the advertisers online store.

If you are interested in using Google Shopping have a chat with us today

What traits does a good website have?

I was writing a presentation for a client the other day and one of the question they wanted answered was what makes a good website.

I think a good website has 4 key attributes:

  1. Easy to use, navigate and understand - this is achieved by considering the information architecture of the site, the way pages are laid out, in regards to the grouping and chunking of information.

  2. Provides direct, actionable information relevant to the users intent - Each page on the site should serve a purpose and have a place on the customer journey.

  3. Is professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers and devices - It needs to be professional and convey your brand, just as a physical store would. With 90% of NZers owning a smartphone and 50% of searches now conducted on mobile, it must be build with mobile in mind and the simplest way to do this is by building a responsive site.

  4. Delivers high quality, credible content - Content is king, after all it is what your clients are seeking out in the different moments (I want to KNOW, I Want to DO, I Want to GO, I Want to BUY).  A site should ideally be designed around the content with an Information architecture that structures the content into logical groupings that are flexible and allows for change. After all, we tell our clients that they should never consider their site, done. It is a living, breathing, thing that needs to be tended to, just as you switch out promotions and stock in a physical store the same consideration needs to be given in keeping your website fresh.

If you're interesting in refreshing your website or getting one for your business, talk to us today.

Why Use AdWords? Here Are 10 Reasons

I was reading WordStream the other day and came across this article about Why Use Adwords? Here Are 10 Reason which was published back in 2012 (updated 21/2/17), it is still very relevant in today's world.
So you don't have to read the whole thing (unless you want to ;-) I've summarised it below:

If you’ve never used Google AdWords before, and you’re wondering whether or not it’s worthwhile, this post is for you. Here are 10 reasons to use AdWords.

1. AdWords Is Scalable

One of the trickiest challenges for any marketer is finding lead sources that scale – meaning, it doesn’t require five times the effort to get five times the leads. Google AdWords is highly scalable, which is why some business spend millions of dollars a year on AdWords advertising. If you create an AdWords campaign that is converting at a profitable rate, there is no reason to arbitrarily cap spend on that campaign. You can increase your PPC budget and your leads and profits will increase accordingly. This makes AdWords highly effective for businesses that need a lot of leads but are short on time and heads.

2. AdWords Is Measurable

Compared to traditional marketing channels like TV and magazine advertising, online marketing is highly measureable, and AdWords PPC is one of the most measurable of online channels

3. AdWords Is Flexible

AdWords provides tons of options so you can customize your campaigns and ads to your particular needs, hyper-targeting the audiences you most want to reach

4. AdWords Is Faster than SEO

For new businesses and websites, it can take months to see results from SEO. AdWords is a great workaround for new businesses because you don’t have to wait around so long to see results. While working on your site’s SEO, you can put resources into an AdWords campaign and start getting impressions and clicks immediately.

5. AdWords Is (Usually) Easier than SEO

Once PPC campaigns are built and in place, we find they require much less effort to maintain than our SEO efforts. Not only is our enormous beast of a website very difficult to keep up to date (which plagues me), but in order to increase organic traffic, it takes a team of 3-5 constantly churning out SEO content, working on optimization and building links.

6. AdWords Is Taking Over the SERPs

AdWords is Google’s baby (it should be – it accounts for about 97% of their revenues), and over time the SERP has changed so that more and more above-the-fold real estate is given to ads rather than organic results. 

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7. AdWords Formats Can Be More Engaging than Organic Results

Google has rolled out lots of new ad formats in the past couple of years, such as product listing ads and in-video ads on YouTube. Google is motivated to do this because shinier, more engaging ads get more clicks and that means more revenue for Google. But higher clicks are good for the advertiser too, so take advantage of these new ad formats and extensions. Organic listings look pretty boring in comparison.

8. AdWords Traffic Might Convert Better than Organic Traffic

Hey, organic traffic is great, we don’t knock it! But there’s some evidence that paid search traffic converts better than organic traffic – with conversion rates up to two times higher. (Conversion rates vary by industry, and as always, this may not be true for your particular business, but you won’t know until you try.) This is probably due to the fact that paid search traffic is more targeted and qualified (due to those targeting options we talked about above), and that queries that result in ad clicks are much more likely to be commercial in nature, rather than informational.

9. AdWords Complements Your Other Marketing Channels

AdWords is complementary to your other marketing efforts. Remarketing is an especially powerful way to use AdWords to target people who have shown an interest in your business. With AdWords remarketing, you can track past visitors to your website with a cookie (these people may have found you through social media, your blog, a click on a product page from a forwarded email, etc.). Your display ads will then “follow” them around the Internet, so your brand stays top of mind. For example, the Land’s End and Priceline ads below are both retargeted – I visited those websites in the past 30 days.

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10. Your Competitors Are Using AdWords

Finally, there’s peer pressure: The old “Everyone else is doing it, so why not you?” argument. Your competitors are likely there in the sponsored results at the top of the SERP. Can you afford not to be?

iDigital are Google Certified Partners – Talk to one of our experts today.

Is it time to refresh your website?

We live in a world of rapid change and the internet is definitely no exception to this. 

A website that was designed a number of years ago may now be out of date and holding your business back from achieving is goals online. 

But how can you tell?

1. Is it mobile friendly?

Smartphones and devices are now part of our everyday lives and we are using them to do many of the things we use to do on a computer. In fact, more websites are now loaded on smartphones and tablets than on desktop computers. Making sure your website can be easily viewed and used on a smartphone is now a must have. 

An easy way to check is to visit your site from your mobile:

  • Is it slow to load when using mobile data?
  • Is it hard to read and use?
  • Do you have to zoom in and out and move the page around to read it?
  • Are there bits missing or things that don't work? 

If you answered yes to any of these question your site is not mobile friendly. 

 

2. Do you have an outdated design?

An outdated design can give the impression that your website and business is no longer active. This will put customers off from continuing further such as calling for service or purchasing a product.  

A fresh, clean, modern site tells your customers that you're open for business and professional to deal with. 

 

3. Poor user experience 

A site that is hard to use, navigate and understand will put customers off. 

A way to tell if you site is not working as it should is checking Google Analytics and assessing your bounce rate and session duration. If the bounce rate is high and session duration low this could be a sign your potential customers can't find what they are looking for and are leave straight away. 

Review your site:

  • does it have a clear customer journey to follow?
  • does each page have a strong call to action?

 

4. Poor content 

Content is really important for a number of reasons:

It informs your customers about your business and the products and services you offer, it persuades them to buy what you are selling. 

It assists with your ranking on Google search. Well structured and well written content helps Google understand your business and what you are selling so your site can appear in search results when people are searching for what you are offering. 

If you are running Adwords it can also effect the amount you pay for your ad clicks, this is because Google has a quality score multiplier as part of its bidding system and poor content will lead to a lower quality score. Most of the other issues mentioned will also lower your quality score too.

 

5. Functional Errors 

If your site has errors, such as missing pages, pages with no content or links and buttons that don't work these need to be fixed, a site with functional errors makes it extremely hard for customers to try and enquire about your services or try and buy your products, but that is only for very persistent customers, most will abandon your site and try your competitors instead. 

Any one of these factors are red flags that it is time to refresh your site, if you have a number of factors you are probably missing out on sales and leads.  

If it time to refresh your site, then give us a call so we can help get your website back on track to meeting your online goals for your business.

BigCommerce vs Shopify

We love BigCommerce, so much it is the only platform we build ecommerce sites on.

Beside a number of reasons we've outline on our site, I came across this really great article that compares BigCommerce and Shopify.

It compares a number of key features and summaries that "BigCommerce offers a much more enriched and fortified ecommerce solution for growing businesses and established companies alike.  The range of native features, available options, and freedom to modify allows you to custom-tailor your website to best suit your specific needs in creating an efficient and effective online retail experience."

If you are thinking about moving to BigCommerce then give us a call, we're a BigCommerce Partner and have build a number of ecommerce site on this platform.

The Rise of AI

At Google's 2017 I/O keynote CEO Sundar Pichai shared more information about the company's 'AI first' future. 

Google is rethinking all of its products for an AI-first world, and this includes Google Search.

RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results, and they are continuing to make improvement to this.

According to Google it’s the third most important factor in determining the results that appear in your search queries. It will be interesting to see how much more dominate RankBrain becomes.

 

You can which entire Google I/O keynote below:

Advertising Your Business On Google Search

Advertising on Google Search is a great way put your products and services in front many potential customers.

You may have noticed when you've searched for a company, their products or services that some of the top listing on the search result page have the [Ad] symbol next to them, these businesses appear here because they have a Google AdWords marketing campaign running. Google AdWords is the world's largest and most widely used online advertising platform. Ads created on Google AdWords appear when someone search on Google Search.

How does it work?

Put simply, you enter keywords that are relevant to the products and services you want to advertise on Google Search and your Ad shows when someone types in a search query with those keywords.

Google AdWords can be a powerful sales engine for your business, but only if it is managed effectively. A well managed AdWords campaign can put your business in front of many potential customers at the right moment, when they are ready and willing to buy. But a poorly run campaign can easily spend your marketing budget without getting a return on your investment.

Why is this? While the concept of AdWords is simple, there are a number of factors that can be quite technical. Getting these right will ensure you're spending your marketing budget wisely:

1. Keyword Research & Optimisation

Keyword research and optimisation is really important, let say for example that have a donut shop and want to advertise your business on Google Search. An obvious keyword would be 'donuts'. If you set this as a keyword then your ad would appear if someone typed in 'donut shop near me'. A great result, but your ad would also appear if someone typed in 'how to make donuts' or 'Homer Simpson eating donuts'

Keyword Research and Optmisation allows your Ad to only show for the relevant searches. We achieve this by using a combination of different keyword match types, different keywords used in combination with each other and negative keywords that prevent your Ad from showing if that keyword also appears in the search query.

Get your keywords wrong and you might find that you are spending your marketing budget on people who are not interested in what you have to offer and you have no money left to bid when people who are interested search.

2. The AdWords Auction

The Google AdWords Auction is done every time someone searches and that search has keywords that businesses have selected.

Google charges you each time someone clicks your ad, how much you pay is determined by how much other businesses are willing to bid for the same keywords and the relevance of your ad.

Relevance is determined by a number of factors, such as the relevance of the search query to your ad, your landing page (the webpage you set when someone clicks your ad) and the click through rate (the percentage of people who have clicked your ad after it has displayed). Google determines this and assigns you a Quality Score out of 10.

The final bid amount is determined by your bid X your Quality Score.

So it is important to ensure your keywords, ad and landing page are relevant to the search query otherwise you will either:

  • Pay a lot more for your ad then other businesses who are bidding in the auction, which can also quickly drain your budget and mean your ad will not displayed for the rest of the day.
  • Or due to a low quality score your final bid may be lower than all the other businesses who are bidding for the same keywords as you and your ad is not displayed.

3. Conversion Tracking

Conversion tracking allows you to better understand the return you are getting from your marketing spend, by tracking how many sales or leads you get from your advertising.

There a two main things to track:

1. Actions that you want to happen on your website such as someone buying a product, or someone completing a leads form.

2. Someone calling your business, to buy your products, enquiry about your services or book an appointment.

By tracking the outcomes you want to have happen from your Ad you can see how your Ad is generating business. This not only help you to understand why return you are getting for your marketing spend but also the value of this advertising for your business.

If you're keen to give AdWords a go, why not talk to us and see how we can help.

 

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

When people use Google to search, they enter some keywords and a list of relevant websites is returned. People tend to visit websites at the top of the search results page, because they appear to be more relevant to their search.

If you’ve ever wondered why your competitors ranking is better than yours, it’s because of a digital marketing technique called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO helps your site rank higher than your competitor’s sites in response to certain keywords when searched.

Its primary goal is to increase the visibility or ranking of your website in organic search engine results over time.

There are many factors that influence a search engine to rank your site, but these can be broken down into two main categories:

1. On-site optimisation: from reviewing how your site is structured, the wording on your site, keywords used, page titles and meta data right through to ensuring it can be viewed correctly on a mobile device.

2. Off-site optimisation: such as how other sites link to your site, including from social media sites.

But it is not just about making it friendly for search engines, but also for people to use too.

SEO is important whether you’ve got an established website or your just starting out. Optimising your site is a continuous process, as search engines are constantly crawling the web, re-indexing and re-rank pages.

If you're interested in SEO for your website then talk to us today and see how we can help