Jacques Designer Bathrooms is a long standing eSterling client, having been with us since 2001. Over the past 10 years the web has changed dramatically, but eSterling has ensured that Jacques has been able to move with the times in order to outshine their competitors. The most recent development was put in place last year when Jacques had a new website designed by eSterling.
The new website features a simple layout with the emphasis being on the quality of Jacques Designer Bathrooms’ products and services. The overall function of the website is to be a platform for enquiries, as the bathrooms in which Jacques specialises need to be seen in person at their showroom to be fully appreciated.
To launch the new site an advanced SEO service was put in place to target a wider range of keywords. The work carried out by eSterling has produced excellent results for Jacques as many of the keywords, such as ‘designer bathrooms’, are ranking on page one of Google.
Jacques has also branched out from traditional SEO techniques and have used our press release service to drive traffic to their site. This also gave their rankings a boost, proving that this is a great technique to grow the profile of a business.
Bringing traffic to the Jacques Designer Bathrooms website is important for the development of the company at this stage, as potential customers are sure to want to take advantage of Jacques’ prices on designer bathroom suites and installation.
Managing director David Jacques said that the company’s pricing structure ‘is more competitive than ever’ so now is a great time to order a luxury bathroom. David also commented; ‘eSterling’s ongoing commitment to achieving results for my business has ensured that my site is visible online, even in difficult times for the industry.’
Twitter is a social media platform that is growing in popularity, with over 300 million users ‘tweeting’ on a regular basis. Our customers often ask me about Twitter, and with this series of blog posts I hope to explain how you can use this social networking tool to your advantage.
Firstly, you need to get familiar with Twitter and understand the way it functions. Twitter is known as a ‘micro-blogging’ website because users post updates, known as ‘tweets’ in 140 characters or less. This doesn’t give you much room to get across what you need to say – so you need to be savvy with the Twitter techniques that you will find below…
You type your tweets in this box.
*Top Twitter Tip – If you use Facebook for personal use, it’s helpful to think of Twitter as being similar to the Facebook newsfeed, with a tweet being comparable to a Facebook status update. Your followers on Twitter can be compared to your friends on Facebook.
- # – this symbol is called a hashtag and converts text into a link.
e.g ‘eSterling provide web design and SEO services in #Birmingham’
Twitter users can then click on #Birminghamto see other tweets related to this topic.
- @ – use this symbol to reply to another user, or mention them in your tweet.
e.g ‘@eSterlingGroup Thanks for helping me with my website today.’
or ‘Just ordered my new website from @eSterlingGroup – can’t wait to see the results.’
The user you mention will be notified of your tweet.
- Re-tweet – forward another user’s tweet to your own followers. You can do this by hovering over the tweet and the selecting ‘re-tweet’. This will then appear in your followers’ timeline.
- Links – use your tweets to link to your products and services, which is the ultimate goal for using Twitter for business.
e.g ‘Take a look at our blog post about web design and SEO: https://blog.esterling.co.uk/2011/11/15/web-design-and-seo-go-hand-in-hand/’
Twitter will automatically shorten any links you include in your tweets.
Once you’ve mastered these basics, you will be able to construct tweets that your followers will find interesting and helpful. And this will in turn gain you followers and spread the word about your business. In the next Twitter blog post, I will be discussing how to gain followers and keep them – so don’t forget to check the eSterling blog next week to find out more.
Currently one of the hottest buzz words in the web development space, Gamification, is beginning to supplant old favourites like social media in mindshare. Gamification, as its name implies, typically involves bringing the mechanics and innovations of game design into web design. The purpose of this is to improve the users’ experience and increase their engagement – to make a website have the enveloping effect of the latest gaming hit. Gamifying a website doesn’t necessarily mean to create a game but to apply the ideas games have of dynamics, mechanics and design in an appropriate way.
Seeds were planted for Gamification to become one of the next big things when social media websites like Facebook partnered with companies such as Zynga – famous for Farmville – who sought ways to increase the engagement of users with the use of points, levels, badges and more to capture interest. The benefit for Facebook was users kept coming back to the site for more, each looking for gratification by increasing their scores and piles of virtual goods. Other companies have boarded the bandwagon early and introduced their own game elements. Foursquare, for instance, challenges people to earn badges and status amongst their peers by ‘checking in’ at locations and events.
While a relatively new term the concepts behind Gamification have been around for a long time in the e-commerce space. Auctions websites such as eBay use a form of Gamification wherein goods are placed for sale and customers ‘compete’ to win the offer. Amazon has extended this thinking to ‘Black Friday’ deals whereby the first set number of customers will win the offer and gives hints and clues as to what the potential deal may be so you can be first in line.
The success of social gaming lies not with avatars or virtual goods and farms, but with the communication between users. This is where a positive feedback loop can be introduced. By personalising the site to the needs of the customer you can create relevance and interest. By giving your customers choices you can improve the chances of them taking positive action – adding items to their basket or purchasing those items – which leads to further collection of data to better improve the personalisation. By providing a great feedback loop you can improve the chances of successful interaction between the customer and website.
Of course it is clear that there has to be a reason for your customers to be playing, beyond just handing out an achievement badge or adding points for the sake of it. These are elements that cannot just be introduced because it is the hot new thing. It may well be that your customer base is not appropriate and more sober approaches should be taken.
In this case a more appropriate response may be the introduction of personalised elements to the site. The idea that the homepage and layout of the site should be the same for every visitor is archaic. If you think of Amazon you will note that when you return and are identified by the site you are directed to items that may be of interest to you rather than the standard ‘our selected items’ that are presented to each visitor.
In addition further recommendations and related products can be tailored to the behaviour of the customer. Why be showing samples of everything you stock when the customer only sticks to one particular category of item? The potential for improvement in conversion and user engagement by targeting customer behaviour is huge. In an increasingly crowded marketplace of e-commerce stores, the ideas Gamification brings to the table can help distinguish you from the competition and make your website hugely enjoyable for your customers.
eSterling is looking for a self-motivated, focused and passionate PHP Developer to join our busy Development Department.
The role is ideally suited to a Computer Science graduate (or similar) with a few years experience in developing content managed websites. You should have a keen attention to detail and the ability to uphold your work to the highest standards.
The ideal candidate will be able to slipstream into the team with a minimum of training, bringing their experience into the mix to deliver high quality coding work.
You’ll be working directly with our clients, so being confident in presenting your work and talking in a non-technical manner is a must.
If you’re someone who isn’t deterred by a challenge and has a passion for new web technologies, you’ll fit right in.
We’re looking for someone with the following skills, experience and interest:
• Must be adept at coding PHP to a high standard
• Experience of working with version control systems
• Interest in ‘programming the web’ and web services
• Degree or equivalent in Computer Science (or a related field)
• Experience with ASP.NET/ASP is advantageous but not essential
Call 0121 766 8087 today or email us at email@example.com to grab this exciting opportunity!
Here are some simple ways to increase you ROI via conversion rate optimisation.
1. Be Relevant
Your ad text or meta description should always be relevant so the user will know what to expect when they arrive on your website. There is no point making wild claims that are not reflected on the site as this will just lead to poor bounce rates. Make sure that you use the keyword in your H1 title as this will help with both users and search engines. Perhaps one of the most vital points to consider in term of relevancy for the user is to use an accurate image. All to often I see generic images used on eCommerce sites, this will do nothing to improve sales. Always use your keywords in crawlable areas of the page as well utilising keywords in the domain if you can.
You must quickly and simply portray your business proposition to your customer, frame the product or service in your opening text, ensure you prioritise your key features and benefits, consider the best way to get your point across – text, image, Video? Next try to see it from your customers point of view, see if you can handle any objections or concerns they may have about purchasing from you. One final point to consider is not to overwhelm the the user, do not be tempted to bombard them with too much information – an alternative may be to include downloadable demo, white papers or fact sheets. Always use a call to action.
The more trust your site can instill in the user the more sales it will make. This statement is so true for on-line shops. This can be done by the site itself as well as in the promotion of your company brand and the product/service brand. Your main enemies here are scepticism brought about by lack of information, not including reputable 3rd party ratings/awards and badges, and not have an SSL or payment system from a good provider. Try to use trust inspiring text, for example point it out if you have secure check out system, include testimonials in either text or video format. In terms of the web design you need to have a clean and tidy looking site, it should look professional and not rushed or cheap.
4. Understand User Intent
Try to find out what your typical customer responds to, try varied approaches and stick with the one that works best. You could try a softer call to actions or a harder approach, you may wish to experiment with different web designs and ways of presenting data, perhaps you will convert better if you can engage with the customer in a phone call? The key with all the things you try to is to ensure that you have a tested it in a fair way and to measure your success. Once you have a good amount of data you can choose the best way to proceed in terms of your customers intent.
5. Remove Distractions
Remember that the more obstacles you put between the moment a user enters your site and the point of sale the more likley it is that the sale will not complete. Your sales process should be simple, linear and as easy as possible. Common issues are including global navigation on your PPC landing pages, not using technology’s like JQuery to stop users from leaving the sales funnel by utilising tabbed pages of JS overlays to keep users on the page, off topic text and distracting images, asking for too much information from the user just to make the sale.
To find out more about conversion rate optimisation, get in touch with us here at eSterling.
Many of you know that when it comes to new technologies I like to figure them out before I believe in them fully. Twitter is one of the things that I’m beginning to see the benefits of for use in the commercial realm.
For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, it is a social networking site that is often referred to as a ‘micro-blogging’ platform. This is because Twitter users issue tiny updates to their followers that are no more than 140 characters – this is called a ‘tweet’. Other users can reply to a tweet, or forward it to their followers by re-tweeting it. In other words, a single tweet can be interacted with and passed on to others – and this is where Twitter has value for your business.
Once you have set up your Twitter account and you have gained a few followers you will be amazed at the snowball effect. More people will begin to follow you – especially if you can offer something of worth. This is especially evident for companies that use Twitter to offer exclusive discounts, promotions or competitions, as your followers will be more likely to re-tweet your messages.
Twitter has 200 million users so it makes sense to promote your business using this medium. It doesn’t take long to set up a Twitter profile and eSterling can help you to customise it so that it really stands out to your followers. All you have to do is get tweeting!
I have long way to go until I’m fully Twiterate (Twitter literate that is!) but I believe that if something might benefit your business then you should go for it!
As we approach 2012 many of you will be looking to get a new website to go into the New Year with a virtual bang. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you all the benefits a website has to offer as a place to showcase your products or services. A new website is no doubt a good move, but what if it can’t be found?
Your customers need to be able to find your site when they are searching for your products or services, which is where SEO comes in. SEO stands for search engine optimisation and it’s the behind the scenes stuff that gets your website noticed in Google. Without it, your website is like a shop with no signs – not good!
There will be some of you that already have SEO covered and your old website has brilliant Google rankings. Your customers are finding you, but when they get to your site they don’t like what they see. This is something we internet types refer to as ‘bounce rate’ – if your bounce rate is too high it means that too many customers are bouncing straight off your site using their metaphorical internet space-hopper. One way to make sure your customers stick around is to upgrade your website to something more modern, slick and shiny – a website to be proud of.
Whatever category you fall into, you need to be aware of the ways that SEO and web design can work together for you. A good internet solutions company (like eSterling of course) can help you with the complete package, making sure your website attracts visitors and keeps them interested.
Web design and SEO go hand in hand like fish and chips or gin and tonic… I just wish the web designers would learn this and make the SEO team a cup of tea once in a while!
This week Google have launched a new feature on Google+, called Google+ Pages. This allows businesses to set up Google+ accounts as a way for them to interact with their customers through Google’s social network.
Up to now Google+ has been purely a people-to-people social network, but this is the internet giant’s first attempt at using the network to connect people to businesses.
The pages are similar to company pages on Facebook and will work in similar way. Customers can already +1 your page providing you have a +1 button on your web site, but now they can also add you to their “Circles”. This means they will be kept up to date with whatever you put on your Google+ pages.
If you want to get your business on Google+ or wish to discuss any aspects of using social networks to connect with potential and existing customers give us a call and speak to one of our social media experts.
CMS stands for Content Management System and is a way of editing your website without the assistance of a web developer.
The key benefit of a CMS is the separation of design, content and structure which allows advantages throughout the lifecycle of your website. Each section can be amended independently, which allows you to change content without jeopardising the front-end design. This separation creates the flexibility of a CMS, allowing the editor to safely create content, add images, multimedia files and much more….
- Consistency of design is preserved.
Because content is stored separate from design, the content from all authors is presented with the same, consistent design.
- Designed with non-technical content authors in mind.
If you can write an email, you can add content to your site! Absolutely no specialist knowledge required.
- Decentralized maintenance.
You can edit anytime, from anywhere with an internet connection
- Configurable access restrictions.
Users can be given certain permissions that prevent them from editing content which they are not authorized to change.
- Navigation is automatically generated and adjusted.
Menus are generated automatically based on the database content meaning links would not point to non-existing pages.
- Content is stored in a database.
Central storage means that content can be reused in many places on the website
Encourages efficient and effective updates.
If you think you would benefit from having a CMS for your website please get in touch for a competitive quote.
In our quest for constructive feedback from our clients, we often come across requests to scale a website down so that the whole page fits within the screen size. When a client asks for their site to appear ‘above the fold’, we always explain that this isn’t such a great idea and I’ll explain why…
New viewing mediums
With the web now extremely prominent on mobile phones and tablets and even HDTVs, the way the site can be viewed will be different on each platform. Users will also have a variety of different resolutions on their monitor and each browsers visible screen size will be different depending on the size of the toolbars. This means there isn’t a specific ‘above the fold’ point where all of the content must be.
Negative impact upon the design
If you scale down a website by around 300 pixels then the design of the site will significantly suffer. The original design will no doubt include plenty of white space around the design so the user can ‘breathe’ when looking through the site and everything is clear and easy to manoeuvre around. However, once that is removed and many of the elements are bunched up, the site will be a lot more difficult to scan and will probably result in the user either not noticing key information or not bothering to explore the site further.
Users are willing to scroll
Research has suggested that although the user will naturally spend more time looking at the top of your website, they are more than happy to scroll down to view more, especially if the site is designed to be scannable. In research carried out by ClickTale.com it found that 76% of users scrolled and that a good portion of them scrolled all the way to the bottom.