It’s an easy question. There’s a lot of money spent by companies here on the look of their new website. Thousands spent to get the right visuals and that elusive wow factor. Design is often carefully crafted by professionals, with lots of meetings, proofs, mockups, exactly the same process as was common with the old company brochures in the 80s, just an online version now. But is this huge investment in the website look and branding actually worth it?
A big part of succeeding online today is getting lots of traffic, then converting that traffic into sales. Certainly you must have a website that is fast and works well with clean coding that the Googlebots like.
This was part of a discussion with a large eCommerce client of mine this week. In a year with his updated WordPress shop site, we had managed to increase the traffic to his site 5x and sales a similar amount. He’s delighted of course. Yet has concern was always around getting more traffic, which when we started was poor.
There’s a lot of hype around content marketing today. The new messiah to getting traffic and leads. Popular sites like copyblogger.com talk of it endlessly. Certainly adding new, fresh content to your site will get you noticed by Google, since google likes busy websites with good, original, relevant content and may often reward you with more traffic too, (assuming your website structure and SEO is fine).
For many years Magento and ZenCart have lead the ecommerce race. The preferred open source software platforms to setup professional online stores for businesses of all sizes. But Magento (used mainly by developers) and Zen Cart (used more by amateurs), have recently been pushed off their number one and two spots by WooCommerce, a WordPress shopping cart plugin. (Chart, right)
WordPress is a big force when it comes to online. The dominant website application software that runs over 20% of all new websites worldwide and growing every year. Sites build by both novices as well as expert developers and coders. It’s a platform for the people, easy to establish, low in cost and simple to update are the key benefits. Most hosting platforms provide tools to setup a WordPress instance in just minutes and developers have provided them thousands of themes to change the look and countless plugins to add features from shopping carts, sliders, galleries, through to online learning options.
We run a lot of websites, on lots of different host company servers. I prefer clients run the site I build on my own local setup, but often for their own reasons, they like to stick with their own provider. They have a ‘relationship’ or got a ‘great deal’.
I’m in the midst of a linkedin discussion on Pagerank being the original website quality score Google generates. Pagerank (PR) was something I followed closely several years back, but these days with all the changes at Google, I believe is now largely irrelevant. I don’t know what my own Pagerank is for my sites and now don’t really care. Yes, you can still get a Pagerank figure for your site, but a high figure doesn’t guarantee you’re be found in a search. Jim Stewart, my SEO mentor in Melbourne has shown this many times.
Using content and articles to promote yourself or your business isn’t unusual. Companies have had advertorial articles written up in magazines for decades. But magazines readership if falling whilst online readership continues to climb. The most popular online publishing system without doubt is a WordPress blog. Established in 2003 this platform has continued to grow in power and popularity, the technology behind 25% of all new sites going live in the US. In terms of market share WordPress is now way head of all competitors.
Google is moving the goal posts, again. For years there was a major focus upon keywords and backlinks in order to get ranked in a search page result. But from October 2013, both article/directory backlinks and even keywords are becoming less important.