‘Beach-ready’ Website Healthcheck Offer

Summer’s here, though not for long, I expect. Still, to brighten the day of whatever temperature, we are offering a ‘Beach-ready’ Website Healthcheck, discounted while were still full of Piriton!

For only £399 +VAT, saving £100, we’ll give your site a ‘Beach-ready’ top-to-tail ‘going-over’, reviewing all the important aspects of your site, ensuring top performance, and making any recommendations that may improve it still further.

You might *think* that there are no problems, but changes to code structure, plugins, links to external sites and social media feeds, all risk failing at some point, because you can’t be sure that other website code isn’t having an impact on your own.

We’ll check:

  • That you are being found on Google and have good positioning
  • That you are visible in the popular social media platforms
  • That your Google My Business site is registered
  • Any broken links identified and fixed where possible
  • Any risky code, or hacking attempts identified
  • A security audit

We can also offer design improvement recommendations, based on building high-spec sites for over 20 years.

Contact us with the form to the right, and we can get on it while you sit in the sun!

Google ‘My Business’

Google My BusinessBye-Bye, ‘Places’; hello, ‘My Business’

Google has today launched a brand new function (well, re-hashed Google ‘Places’) known as Google ‘My Business’. It might be a surprise to existing users, but it looks to have great features and advantages. Here’s a quick summary:

You access My Business by logging into Google via your business account. The new feature is currently accessible for page owners via Places or Google+, but more log in options are likely to come along. Here is a handy guide to the new Google My Business hub:

The Home Page has changed:

Before the changes, finding the Dashboard for your business page meant using the menu on the left. Now your homepage has all the main Google business functions in one place by default.

You now have a Google+ Status share box, Google+ Insights and at last, Google Analytics and Google Hangouts/YouTube all in quick start menus.

Google+ Analytics
Social media managers: you now have some sensible Google+ page analytics that you can actually use to tailor your campaigns

We can now see segmented data showing page views and how they are split, engagement with your posts and Audience (or follower) growth. You can track data from the last 7 days, 30 days or 90 days.

While Google+ analytics data still some development needed, this is a great step forward and one that Google+ sceptics will certainly be happy about. Though it doesn’t quite address the ‘point’ of Google+.

Analytics and Hangouts at your fingertips.

If you co-manage a Google account for a client, this overview feature means that your clients can log into their accounts and view a snapshot of their performance. This means they can quickly access the data that’s important to themto help planning. You might find that it keeps you on your toes!

Additionally, you can launch a hangout from the main menu which is great for those using Hangouts for internal meetings with their team and external catch ups with clients. Hangouts have many possibilities for businesses that stretch beyond the traditional ‘webinar’ set up, so we love this function.

The Google+ status box is a bit of a hinderance, but overall, we think its a great step forward (© Google Product manual 😉 )

Need some help with this? Give us a call

Google Checkout

google_checkout_crashUsing Google Checkout? What to do when it ‘retires’.

You may not be aware, but Google is ceasing support for online payments using Google Checkout. Ostensibly this is to improve support for the Google Wallet payments system, but I’ve a sneaky suspicion that it is also a move to reduce UK tax liabilities, as it stops UK-based transactions. (Author’s opinion may be rubbish – Ed).

Anyhoo. If you do currently use Google Checkout, the recommendations from Google are to migrate to other online Payment systems such as Braintree & Shopify. To save you the bother, we’ve done some preliminary investigations, and although we can’t speak for their quality, their payment structure is far closer to other Merchanting services with a monthly fee and minimum monthly transactions. This would make it far more costly for the small-scale user than the ‘per transaction’ commission levy of Google Checkout.

The primary alternative then is Paypal, either the Web Payments Standard account, or Paypal Professional. Web Payments is a per-transaction fee, and your customers would be making purchases from a Web page. The transaction itself is offsite, on the Paypal system, so while it is very secure, branding and customisation opportunities are limited. Paypal Professional will also allow offline payments through a console, so gives a flexible merchanting service, but with a monthly subscription feel, as well as the Paypal ‘commission’. Professional also requires a SSL certified server, as the owners website manages the credit card information, but at least this keeps the customer on-site for the shopping experience.

There is more information on Paypal, Web Payments Standard and Paypal Professional here:

An alternative is the Brit ‘Nochex’ system, which can be found here: There are 2 types of account, but probably most businesses will want the, account. A setup form is here:

The Author has no connection with Paypal, its affiliates, and is not recompensed for this article. More’s the pity.

Whither Twitter?

Dead_TwitterWhat’s happened to the Twitter feed on my website?

Ah yes – the deafening question from millions of frustrated website owners. The simple (maybe a bit harsh) answer is that Twitter gone broke it. They’ve changed the authorisation needed to collect the Twitter timeline feed, such that the simple method previously employed not longer works. Feeling geeky? There’s more technical information here:

Grrr! What do I do about it

Ok. The answer to that is there is now the need to build an ‘App’ to access your Twitter feed, using a number of authorisation ‘keys’ Frankly this is all a bit of a pain, since the timeline is public access anyway, but, “their house, their rules”, so we’re stuck with it. Yet more geeky information here:

The simplest solution, really, is get us to fix it for you. This would be an ideal opportunity to look at the wider opportunity to check your website maintenance arrangements, since there are going to be changes out of your control such as this cropping up frequently. The more connected we are, the more those connections can fail on us.

Lead-Generating Websites

This is something of a speciality field – most websites are created to provide information to a target user and to create opportunities to advance the sales process. Lead Pages are a different model: in this, the page is promoted via advertising, SEO, maybe Adwords, and is intended simply to create a sign-up for the ‘Golden Carrot’ – a report, free gift, information, trial or whatever is needed to motivate and qualify the prospect.

The entire objective is simply to build a list. Once you have permission to contact QUALIFIED prospects, you can then provide additional benefits, building the relationship until, when the prospect is making a buying decision, your service is the first one they think of, and you are already in a positive relationship.  There are many other aspects to the process – some designed to incline the prospect to make a small purchase immediately (say, a printed book), and then add options (perhaps a CD set, a DVD video version, or a short course).

The ultimate aim is to create a ‘Sales Pipeline’ of products increasing in value, leading up to a product which may be £10,000s. Over time, you will be able to work out the percentage of Golden Carrot’ sign-ups that convert to the full package. The task then is to refine the process so that your conversions are maximised. Tracking of leads to conversions is essential, and it is this feature that is missing from so many websites,leading to a complete failure to demonstrate positive ROI.

The Lead Pages themselves look quite unconventional, but there is a strategy behind this, and the page elements have a particular purpose:

1. Domain

Create a domain specifically for each campaign, and use something that relates to the offer. It will gain some small advantage in SEO, but mainly it allows precise tracking of the campaign response.

2. Pre-head

This sets up the offer, and provides a ‘reason to act’ – time-sensitive, limited quantity etc.

3. Headline

This is the most powerful feature and should be tested with many variants to see which is the most compelling.

4. Body

This outlines the ‘Golden Carrot’ and qualifies the prospect for the offer. It should contain validation, benefits, authority and a call to action.

5. Signature

Essential, and should be in Navy Blue.

6. Hero Shot

Either of the author, or the product. Don’t use a library shot, as this will simply appear false.

7. Response Form

As simple as is necessary to capture relevant information. Don’t ask for a phone no. unless you are promising, say, a telephone consultancy. Don’t ask for an address unless you are sending a package.

8. Response mechanism

Probably a button, but test different colours, shapes, text etc. “Submit” will always get a lower response than, say, “ Send me my Gift”

9. Testimonial

Videos are great, or use quotations from genuine clients (the more identification detail the better. Use facts & dates as supporting evidence, rather than a vague and feeble “I would recommend…”

10. Footer

Include privacy information, any Terms and Conditions that may apply, and in the UK, a ‘real’ address, phone no (this can be a Virtual PS service) and your company registration number. The more you can indicate that you are a ‘proper’ company with a genuine offer, the better the response.