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Streeten Blog

Basic Introduction to SEO

Paige Kent - Monday, June 29, 2015

Getting your website high search engine rankings is hard, we know... but there are a few ways that we are going to share with you to make your website more popular. SEO can solve all of your problems, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It uses techniques and methods to increase the number of visitors to your website, obtaining a good status in search results. It sounds very confusing but once you pick it up, you'll get the hang of it!

I am now going to explain some off the key things you need to know about SEO don't worry, I won't go on for too long!

Keywords in SEO

A prime way off getting the search engines to know your website is suitable is to put specific, relevant keywords in your URL (website address) and throughout your website pages. The practice of identifying which phrases are appearing on search engines, and then including them within your site, will quickly attract the people who are searching around these specific topics.

If your keywords don't match up to your website, you could be missing valuable traffic, and that's no good if you want your website to succeed!

Title Tags in SEO

So after all your keywords are sorted we have to think about title tags, which is an important area to getting your website recognised, so read carefully! Title tags are the first step to letting search engines know what your website page is all about.  This is displayed as little preview snippet for a given website in the google results page. If your title tags are relevant and the search engines like them, then they will have a greater visibility which generally means you'll get a higher click-through rate, and that is what we all want, don't worry I'm almost finished!

Meta Description Tags

Meta description tags, aren't quite so relevant to search engine rankings, but that doesn't matter because you still need them to make sure your website is noticeable on the google results page. It is very important for gaining user click-through from SERPS (search engine results page). The short paragraph that you will write is a good opportunity to advertise a paragraph about your website, although you do have to keep it relevant because you need to let searchers know if it's the right information they're looking for.

Also if a keyword is in your metadata, it will become bolded in the search results, successfully calling more attention to your website, and obviously the more people liking, purchasing, reading your website the higher it will go in the search engines, alright we are nearly there now...

Content Title

It's a good trait to include your page title towards the top of the page, as it is beneficial for your readers and a good way for search engines to pick up on this. This eventually attracts more relevance to the overall page. Additionally you should make sure these titles appear in the correct part of the webpage code (HTML - Hypertext Mark Up Language) which tells the robots going through your site where they are!

Links

Links from other websites to your website is a sign that you are credible and worth talking about... and it doesn't go unnoticed by the search engines either. Getting other websites to link your website is not always that easy. If a company says that they will link your site, you should always return the favour, as most of the time it can mutually benefit both of you.

Well, I hope that is enough for you to get started on your Search Engine Optimisation, if you successfully complete all off these points to a suitable, relevant standard, it will help you out a great deal!

Swimming is the thinking mans sport

Roger Streeten - Thursday, March 29, 2012

How running a business is the same as competing in a race.

I was out this week and lucky enough to meet the Gold Medal winning Olympic Swimmer Adrian Moorehouse. He mentioned something that has completely inspired me in business.

As a competitive swimmer in my 'early years' I know the huge amount of discipline that is required to reach a certain standard, and continue on to a high level of achievement. It was only this week that I realised what was happening at the time.

Business is like Olympic training because you need to follow a systematic pattern of processes that result in the final goal. If I want to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics (and unfortunately I never had the burning desire to do so) then I would need to lay out careful plans of ALL the steps to go through that will take me to the final destination.

So...that's what Adrian did.

He worked on every individual area that would come together to be used in the final competitive race. That included things like stamina, diet, mental strength and self confidence.

There is no surprise then that when he applies the same principles to running his business, by focusing attention on every area (sales, marketing, accounts, production etc.) the results are just as impressive.

Think of the goal

By setting the goal of what to achieve, it's then just about sticking to the regime of doing what needs to be done and to a very high standard.

So I now feel inspired to think of my business in the same way. Not to try and win the race right away, but build up towards the ultimate achievement.

"there's nothing else to do except think when you have to swim all those lengths"

Change your business and make it better

Roger Streeten - Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It was just under a year ago that something suddenly occured to me.

To offer the best service to my business customers I should be able to help not only with design, but also the way they ran their business.

Believing I was an expert in business I never thought of getting help from someone else…oh how wrong I was!

Since taking on a Business Coach, our turnover has tripled, systems have been made more efficient, and the general way things are now done has been improved beyond recognition.

The results truly are extraordinary, and although I try my hardest to be cynical about it I continue to be amazed.

So what does this ultimately mean?

Well, its not just about having a successfully business, it runs a bit deeper than that.

If I can get the business into the habits of best practice and keep to them, then the services and products that result will be of a much higher standard.

That means happy clients.

With our business in a cycle of continuous improvement, we can now reassure our customers that the way we do things is based on tried and tested principles.

As the number of website design companies starts to overtake double glazing salesmen…defining your unique service has never been more important.

Good at design AND business is a great combination.

If you want to find out more about the excellent business coach we use, please get in touch.

The best way to get jobs finished on time

Roger Streeten - Sunday, January 22, 2012

One of the biggest challengs we face with website jobs in particular is getting them finished on the agreed time

Realising this was a problem that should be resolved we looked for ways of improving things.

Our solution was to establish a simple, but consistent timeline process for all projects. It doesn't seem like a huge thing to do, but it made a big difference to the general management of work. We had tried in the past using various project management software, but the complexity seemed to take up too much time for something that didn't have to be so advanced.

Keeping to the usual 'less is more' philosophy, we went back to using an excel spreadsheet. It was a good exercise to try and create something that could be applied to any job we take on.

Timeline Solution

The left column had a list of all the stages in the project. The weeks then continue to the right with a column for each week. Filling in a cell with a name/colour shows when each stage needs to be completed by, and who is responsible.

And that was it...Nothing too clever, and nothing especially new, but the difference it has made already is remarkable.

This is now one of the first things we do for every project, however complicated. It means we know where we are, and so do our clients.

Sometimes it's just the small changes that can make a big difference.

Why should I update my website?

Roger Streeten - Monday, December 05, 2011

There are not many businesses these days that don't have their own website

After the initial rush to get online, a lot of people fell into the trap of thinking that was all they had to do.

So why is it so important to keep updating?

The web continues to move at such an extraordinarily fast pace, so there’s no time to sit back and relax when it comes to your online presence.

We try to go through a reasonably major update of our own website at least every year. Even though it is low on our priority list, it has become essential to make sure it doesn’t look out of date. There are certain areas that seem to be continually changing including:

1. The programming technology
2. The most popular social media
3. Adapting to the latest ipad/phone/computer screen
4. What people use websites for
5. Google, and how it ranks you (they put a very high importance on new/fresh content)
6. Fonts/colours/buttons
7. Use of video and sound

Trends and fashions change quite rapidly online, and to make sure you are not still wearing the website equivalent of white socks & sandals, just because its more comfortable, you need to compare your website to the others out there and make sure you are not getting left behind.

So if you have even thought that your website might nearly be a bit out of date, it probably already is.

10 things people hate about web designers

Roger Streeten - Monday, October 03, 2011

I stood up in front of an audience of about 60 people the other day, and asked them what things they most disliked about website designers. In no particular order, they were:


1. They always take longer than they promise.

2. They always promise the earth.

3. They always use too much jargon.

4. They can never specifically back up their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) promises.

5. Getting changes after a job is finished is almost impossible.

6. There is very little difference between all the web design companies.

7. They don't return emails.

8. They don't return phone calls.

9. Prices are so varied for no apparent reason.

10. They sell you things you have no real understanding of.

This was a great learning exercise, and my main focus now is to keep these points in mind at all times.

Maybe one day web designers won't have such a bad reputation?

Facebook Profile or Facebook Page?

Roger Streeten - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In an attempt to clarify the mysterious facebook Pages/Profile confusion, the following is a quick list of what it all means to me:

1. Facebook Profile = Your own personal pages

2. Facebook Pages = Pages to promote your business/brand/identity

And that's it, simple.

Why should I change to a Page for my Business?

• Facebook  requires all businesses on Facebook to use a Page rather than a Profile and can close down Profiles that are used for business purposes
• You can add applications to enhance a page – there are e-commerce applications, music player applications and lots more
• You will be able to use Facebook Page Insights
• A Profile is limited to 5,000 friends whereas there is no limit on the number of ‘likes’ a Page can have
• You can add a customised landing tab that people see when they visit your page. This can contain a contact form to encourage enquiries from customers and links back to different sections of your website, which have good search engine optimisation value. 

How to Change from a Profile to a Page 

So if you set up a Profile for your business, you need to change it to a Page. If you have lots of friends/pictures you may want to transfer them over. This is now possible and not too difficult.

When logged into your Facebook Profile type this address into the address bar of your browser http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate and then complete the page creation process.

When you convert your profile to a Page, your profile pictures will be transferred, and all of your friends will be automatically added as people who like your Page. No other content will be carried over to your new Page, so be sure to save any important content before beginning your migration.

The account associated with the profile you previously maintained will be converted to a business account, which will be the admin of your new Page. 

Do it now before you forget.

My website and email newsletter are not connected

Roger Streeten - Tuesday, July 19, 2011

If you have discovered the delights of sending out an email newsletter, you may have had the problem of how it relates to your website.

The main purpose of our newsletters is to highlight certain pages on our site, and allow people to easily find the information on there. As we already know which are the popular pages (from our statistics), we can direct more people there.

If it’s too difficult to do, it wont get done.
The key to us actually getting it done is that it’s very easy to do.

We are currently using a fully integrated system that works within our website, rather than as a separate bit of software. It’s not till you use something that is designed to work seamlessly that you realise how much more efficient you can be.

There are plenty of email newsletter providers that do an excellent job (mailchimp.com is a great example), but when you are ’updating’ your website, you want to feel like its all happening in one place.

The added advantage is that you don’t have to be particularly technical to manage these things, allowing our clients a simple way of controlling their online presence.

The Hub
For our clients, we are now taking the approach of looking at their website as one unified place where they can manage the entire online side of their business. We have realised that getting them to shift the focus of operating their business online, completely changes the way they relate to their website.

Before it was important just to have the basic information on there, but as so much of our lives depend on being online, the interaction with websites has changed.

Anything from updates made on your facebook/twitter account, to emails that you send to your customers, should all revolve around the central hub of your site. If for example you are sending visitors off to see your listings on a property portal, the important thing is that they return back to you where they feel more comfortable.

Keeping you website as the central hub has never been so important.

Keeping things working
The other really important thing for us is when it comes to upgrading websites. Software can change very often, as the code is being improved all the time. When it comes to upgrading to the ‘latest’ version it can sometimes disrupt all the delicate design work that was previously done.

This is one of the problems we have experienced with Wordpress (a free blogging/cms system), which is otherwise fantastic! Because a lot of the functionality is provided by many different suppliers, getting everything to work on the latest version can sometimes take up a large amount of programming time. We feel that time could be better spent on the overall design and optimisation.

We are big fans of keeping things simple, and if you can get a lot done with as little resistance as possible, you are onto a winner.

How do I keep my website content up to date?

Roger Streeten - Thursday, June 02, 2011

One of the biggest changes in website design in the last year or so is the introduction of affordable content management systems (CMS) for websites.

This means the owner of the website can log in and edit their pages whenever they want. Gone are the days of design agencies holding their clients ransom by charging huge fees to make tiny changes.

So now that a CMS is within everyone's reach, the focus has moved onto the quality of the site's design. The design is not just about the look, but the whole experience of using it.

Efficiency

Following this trend, our websites divide the design and the content into two different areas, and let the website join them together. This means that the website owner can edit the page text, and if needed upload some pictures, but they don't have to get their hands messy with all that complicated code.

The other benefit to this is that if some design changes are required further down the line, we can make the changes to the code, and the content stays the same. A quick revamp, without the long wait.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...but what about updating

Ok, so it wont make your website up to date, but it will make it easier to do. A common reason for website owners not making updates is because 'they don't have time'. If it only takes a few minutes a day to make some relatively big changes, then its worth doing it regularly. Keeping your website looking current and alive is a key element of having an interesting website.

Blogs

An example of this is setting up a blog. If you can add something even just once a week, the valuable content on your site will grow...and grow! Talk to anyone that knows a bit about search engines, and they will get very excited about how important it is to have good, fresh content being added to your site. *hint* google loves it!

Any thoughts, please get in contact...

Thanks

Roger