10 Reasons Why You Should Invest In a Mobile App This Year

man checks his phone at work

Mobile apps are taking over; and not just TikTok, but also in business, shopping, and commerce. 

Investing in mobile app development for your NZ business is essential for its growth. Here are ten reasons why.

1. Most users' time is spent on mobile apps

Users spend 90% of their daily screen time on apps and just the remaining 10% searching the internet. If you're struggling to get users to visit your website, building an app might be your next move.

2. Reach a global audience

Nearly everyone has internet access, and most internet traffic comes from mobile devices.

Mobile application development enables you to reach a global audience and connect with customers all over the world, promoting market expansion and increasing opportunities for business growth.

3. Increase users' accessibility 

Having a website for your business is great, giving customers a place to learn about your business, make purchases, and more.

However, investing in mobile app development will let you virtually put your business in their pocket. Mobile apps allow customers to access all they need about your business in one tap, anywhere and anytime.

4. Millions of people download apps every single day

In 2021, there were over 600 million daily app downloads. Make yours one of them.

4. Increase customer retention

New customers are difficult to acquire, existing customers not so much. Build an app for customers and offer exclusive content in the app to keep customers coming back time and time again. 

5. Build trust 

Having a mobile app makes businesses’ products or services more trustworthy for customers. 

96% of the top 50 online retailers in the UK and 94% of top 50 retailers in the US had at least one mobile app.

It also makes businesses more professional, as most companies nowadays have mobile applications.

6. Build a community

Building a community is one of the greatest ways to strengthen your brand image, improve customer retention, and increase average lifetime value.

Add features like posts, forums, and in-app messaging that allowing customers to interact with each other, discuss & review products, and help build an active community centered around your product or service.

These community members will then become ambassadors for your business in their own social circles, increasing your presence even further.

7. Increase customer engagement

Mobile apps give consumers a seamless, all-in-one experience with your business, putting your business right in the palm of their hand.

Rather than them continuing to visit your same website, create new, engaging content in the app to make them active daily users. 

8. Offer a better customer experience

A good mobile app should provide customers with everything they need to know about your products, and an easy way to learn more if necessary (customer service, FAQs, etc.).

Consumers will be able to make mobile transactions, get notified about offers and announcements, view product reviews, and so much more, all without entering a single store.

9. Increase sales & mobile conversions

Thanks to services like Amazon, eCommerce is growing faster than ever.

According to an Internet Retailer case study, adopting a mobile-focused marketing approach for 500 companies resulted in an 80% increase in sales, with 42% of mobile sales coming from applications. 

If you’re looking to grow your business, developing a mobile app is essential.

why do people use e-commerce apps

image source

10. See what users like

Market research is essential to good business.

Mobile apps can quickly and effectively collect consumer data and consumer preferences. Learning what content users most interact with will help determine the future types of content to develop, using data to drive content strategy for your app and other channels.

 

Activate Design has a firm understanding of the application design and development process and can help you maximise the opportunities this new exciting media has to offer your business.

If you're looking to build an app for your business, get in touch with us today.

 

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Posted in Mobile Apps

11 Web Design Principles (and 3 Bonus Tips) to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rate in 2022

Along with pricing, market fit, and the product itself, web design is one of the primary factors that determines whether or not a potential customer makes a purchase on your website. 

Great web design is not just a beautiful website. Great web design also persuades users to take action through various principles, colours, shapes, and words. 

And ultimately, web design is largely responsible for how many products you sell on your eCommerce store. 

First, we’ll dive into eCommerce conversion rates, then we’ll get to how you can design your website to improve. 

What is conversion rate in eCommerce?

Conversion rate is the percentage of users that convert on your website, calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the number of visitors

In the case of eCom, your store’s conversion rate for purchase events is often the most important conversion rate metric. That’s because this purchase metric ultimately determines how much money your store makes. And because it’s the most important, it’s the one we’re going to focus on here.

Just as a note however, there are other conversion rates to consider such as how many people signed up for your email list after viewing a pop-up or registered for an event after being shown a splash page. 

What is a good eCom conversion rate?

Generally speaking, a “good” eCom conversion rate is generally between 2% and 4%.

However, certain industries have higher or lower average conversion rates. Similarly, different traffic channels have varying rates. For example, email marketing often converts at a higher rate than other channels such as SEO.

What impacts conversion rate?

There are so many things that affect conversion rate. In addition to web design, factor such as pricing, product to market fit, shipping times (and costs), lack of social proof, and so many more influence conversion rate.  

Why is web design important to conversion rate?

As mentioned earlier, eCommerce web design is not just about building beautiful websites. It’s about building functional sites that make people want to buy your products.

With poor web design, all of that time & money you spent to acquire users with SEO, Google Ads, email marketing, etc. will be wasted.

But with good web design, those users will convert again and again.

So without further ado, consider these 11 design principles when designing your eCommerce website.  

11 web design principles to increase your eCommerce conversion rate this year (in 2022)

1. Keep it simple

Oftentimes, web designers get carried away with web designs by trying to show off their skills. This is rarely a good thing.

Instead, great websites are easy to read, have plenty of space, and organized in a way that guides users to a specific action.

2.Clean up the main navigation and other menus

If users are looking for something, they’re going to start by looking at the main menu. So make sure that the most important links are present: products, contact information, about page, etc. 

If you have a lot of products, make sure they’re sorted in easily identifiable collections/categories which users can easily locate in a drop-down menu or by using filters on product pages. 

If users have trouble finding something, they’re going to leave your website. 

3. Add social proof

People rarely want to be the first to purchase something. Put them at ease by displaying reviews & testimonials from previous customers. 

Eliminate their doubts and they’ll purchase almost instantly.  

4. Reduce friction in the checkout process

This is one that a lot of eCom brands get wrong.

If someone has already added a product to their cart or is ready to checkout, don’t try to slow them down.

Eliminate any unnecessary steps between the add to cart action and the complete purchase. 

Capture only the important information (billing, shipping, etc.) and use up-sells and cross-sells sparingly to increase average order value (AOV). 

5. Use clear CTAs

Be explicit about what action you want users to take on your website.

For product pages, try using creative & actionable CTAs like “Get it Now” rather than just “Add to Cart. ”

For limited-time sales or events, try something like “Don’t miss out” or “Act now before it’s too late!”

Make your CTAs stand out with larger fonts, bigger buttons, and brighter fonts.

If you take away anything from these web design ideas, let it be this. Too many websites miss out on conversions because their CTAs don’t stand out. Don’t be one of them. 

Design your high converting eCommerce website!

See what we did there?

6. Use high-quality images & video (and optimise them)

Avoid using stock photos & videos at all costs.

Not only are other brands using them too, but they’re generic and won’t help improve your conversion rate. 

Use high-quality photos & videos that make your brand stand out.

Photos are great and have a rightful place on any website, but videos are the future. It’s no longer a question of “if” your brand should use video, it’s a question of “how.”

And the answer to how? Short and sweet.

The average human attention span is just 8 seconds, meaning you have less than 8 seconds to capture a viewer’s attention before they keep scrolling or leave your site.

If you’re creating video content for your eCom website, keep it under 8 seconds. If you’re creating long-form video content, make sure to change ideas every 5-10 seconds to keep viewers engaged. 


BONUS: Compress your images before uploading them to your website to reduce file size and improve page speed, another important aspect of UX & web design. There are plenty of free tools available online to compress images without sacrificing quality. 

7. Use channel-specific landing pages

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve clicked on a paid ad only to be taken to a brand’s generic product page, or even worse, their home page. 

Take them exactly where they want to go. Don’t make them do any of the work. 

If users are entering through a paid channel, make sure the landing page matches the ad headline & copy that they clicked on. Otherwise, they’ll leave your site and you’ll have wasted money on the click. 

If they’re entering from an email campaign about a new product or collection, make sure they land on a well-crafted product collection page. 

8. Upgrade your product pages

I’ve seen way more bad product pages than I have good. Fortunately for you, it’s incredibly easy to level up your product pages.

Sell the benefits, not the features

This is a timeless copywriting trick. 

Consumers don’t care about the features, they care about what it can do for them and how it will make them feel. 

Let’s say you’re selling weight loss supplement…

Consumers don't care that the supplement contains all the necessary daily vitamins or that it only has 10 calories.

They care that it's going to help them gain self-confidence, take their shirt off at the beach, and improve their quality of life.  

Again, sell benefits, not the features. 

And if you’re really looking to upgrade your product descriptions, pitch your customers like friends, not strangers

Use simple language and sell them as if you’re chatting with a friend. 

Use better product photos & videos

We already talked about optimising photos & videos on other pages of your website, but the ones on the product page are arguably the most important.

Again, avoid using any stock photos or videos from manufacturers or online marketplaces. They look generic and won’t help you sell your product.

Swap these stock images & videos for user-generated content (UGC). UGC is great because not only is it unique to your brand, but it’s another form of social proof that shows potential customers exactly how previous customers felt about the product. 

Consider asking your top customers to submit UGC. Or, if you’re still in the early stages of building your customer base, ask some friends if they’ll model for you. 

Potential customers want to see people like themselves using the product. So make it happen and watch your conversion rate skyrocket. 

9. Use pop-ups

Digital marketers & web designers alike are often split on whether or not to use pop-ups.

On one hand, they argue that users find them distracting and will exit the site once they see a pop-up.

On the other hand, they’re incredibly valuable if used properly. 

Let’s say you’re looking to build your email list so that you can notify subscribers about brand news, upcoming product launches, sales, and more. 

Displaying a pop-up that only asks for their emails is a poor user experience, which is what we’re looking to avoid. 

Now let’s say your pop-up offers them 20% off their first purchase if they subscribe. Now you’re more likely to add that user to your list and they’ll continue to shop so that they can use their discount. 

And be sure to test which pop-up offers have the highest signup rate. For example, try A/B testing 10% off vs. $10 off (adjust those as needed for your company) to see which has a higher subscribe rate. 

10. Apply urgency

Online shoppers purchase products out of urgency all the time because they don’t want to miss out.

Create FOMO by showing a countdown timer for when a sale is ending or a notification for a low stock warning .

11. Test, test, test!

All of these principles are meant to increase your eCom conversion rate. But unless you’re constantly testing what works for your audience and your products, you’re missing out on revenue. 

Test different video lengths & formats, different CTAs, and landing page designs to determine what works best for your brand. 

And 3 bonus tips that will maximise your conversion rate


Bonus #1 - Offer free (and fast) shipping

Consumers are accustomed to free (and fast shipping). In fact, 25% of potential customers abandoned their cart due to high or unexpected shipping costs.

If you can’t offer free shipping without destroying your margins, just raise the product price.

Once they’ve made a purchase, make sure to ship their order as soon as possible. 

Bonus #2 - Reclaim potential customers with email marketing

Speaking of abandoned carts…

Don't miss out on a potential customer just because they abandoned their car or browsing session. 

Use automated email sequences to send emails to those potential customers telling them that they "left their cart behind" or "Hey, we saved your cart for you."

These sequences are the gifts that keep on giving.

Bonus #3 - Increase AOV with cross-sells and upsells

Upsells and cross-sells are a great way to increase not only your eCom conversion rate, but also your AOV. 

By offering a similar product to the one they’ve already added to their cart or bundling similar products together at a discount, you’ll increase AOV and conversion rate. 

Put these tips into action (and test them!) and watch your conversion rates climb.

Or, if you're not feeling up to it, get in touch with our web design team and we'll build you the eCom site of your dreams. 

How to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly (2022 Guide)

Of the 100,000 Google searches that occur every single second, 60% of those occur on a mobile device. That means that every second, 60,000 people around the globe are using their phones to search for a product, a service, an answer to a question, or something else. 

This means that the majority of people are no longer using their desktops to search, but phones instead. And if you’re designing websites with only desktop users in mind, you’re already at a loss. 

Not to mention, Google’s mobile-first indexing means that the mobile version of your site is used to evaluate the relevance of a page to a search query, not your desktop.

So if you’re looking for a sign to make your website mobile-friendly, this is it. The majority of your website visitors are searching on their phones and Google is crawling the mobile version, and you need to accommodate both parties. 

It might sound daunting, but we’re here to make it easy. Here are 10 actionable tips to improve your website’s mobile experience in 2022. 

10 Ways to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

1. Make it Responsive

A responsive design is just that, responsive. So whether a user loads your website on a desktop or a tablet or a mobile, all of the content will be shown properly to fit their screen.


Most website builders and content management systems (CMS) have responsive design built into their platforms already, but they can be buggy at times still. 


At Activate Design, we design beautiful mobile-friendly sites that your customers will love (and ours aren’t buggy). 

2. Keep it Simple

With a smaller display size, you can’t cram the same amount of text, images, and CTAs on a mobile as you can on desktops & tablet devices. It will look crowded and offer a poor user experience, and visitors will leave your website.

Basically, you’re going to eliminate some clutter. 

The best way to do this is to consider the main action you want users to take on each page, and design the mobile page to force users to take said action.

A great example is a booking page. If you offer a service that requires users to book on a certain time or date, the only thing that page should focus on is the booking, especially on mobile. 

Use a simple form, only capturing the necessary information (users don’t like long forms). 

3. Think Like a User

As a business owner or web designer, there’s a lot you want to tell users about your company. Oftentimes however, users don’t care that much.

They’re seeking certain information, and you need to provide it to them.

If you own a plumbing business, your website visitors want to know how to contact you and discuss their needs. For this reason, your address, phone number, and a link to your contact form need to be clearly visible on mobile.

Conversely, if you own an eCommerce business, visitors are searching for your products. Make it easy for users to browse & shop your products by adding a call to action (CTA) on your homepage. 

4. Use a Larger Font and Shorter Content Sections

Off the same thought as the “Keep it Simple tip, mobile screens are simply smaller than other devices. And for that reason, you need to use larger fonts and avoid text-heavy content sections.

The obvious advantage of larger fonts is that they’re easier to read without users having to pinch & zoom. And depending on page layout, users are quickly drawn in by larger fonts, especially headlines.

After drawing users into certain sections, you have to keep their attention. They don’t want to read long paragraphs. They want to quickly browse & scan for the information they seek. If it’s too long, they’re going to leave your website.

5. Make Your Buttons Bigger (and move them around)

It is so annoying to scroll through a website on mobile only to be forced to zoom in just to click a button. 

Don’t make this mistake on your website. Make your buttons bigger and easy to click, your visitors will thank you. 

Make them brighter too. After all, you want them to click on them right?

Remember earlier when we said to think like a user? You’re going to have to do that again.

If you want users to click on a button or CTA on a certain page, make it accessible. In other words, “think with your thumb.” Place the button in a location where users won’t have to switch hands or zoom in just to click the button.

6. Eliminate Pop-Ups & Text-Blocking Ads

As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid using pop-ups and text-blocking ads on your mobile website. They’re annoying and prevent the user from reading your content, which is what you want them to do!

For many businesses however, pop-ups are a great way to collect customer information for email & SMS marketing. So there are some exceptions if you must use pop-ups.

Delay the load so that it only appears when a user has scrolled more than 60-70% of the page and make it small & simple, so it doesn’t cover the whole screen.

7. Seriously, Get Rid of Flash

It’s 2022, get rid of flash.

It’s not supported by iOS (Apple) or Android devices, so mobile visitors won’t even see it.

Not to mention, it slows down pagespeed and is an SEO nightmare. 

Get rid of it. 

8. Add the Viewport Meta Tag

The viewport meta tag tells the browser that the width of the screen should be considered the full width of the page.

If the tag isn’t included in your HTML, the site will load on mobile the same as it loads on desktop, meaning users will have to scroll to the side to see the content. 

Fortunately, this is a super easy fix. Just add the following HTML snippet to each of your pages. 

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0″>


9. Focus on Pagespeed

Pagespeed is critical for both users and Google, so you have to take care of this. 

There are so many tasks that you could do to improve pagespeed such as minifying code, eliminating render-blocking resources, leverage browser caching, and more. Unfortunately, if you’re not very tech-savvy, it’s best to avoid these tasks.

Fortunately, there’s one quick & easy way to speed up any website. And with minimal technical experience necessary, anyone can do it.

It’s called image compression.

Image compression can literally compress images such as JPGs and PNGs by as much as 80%, reducing their file size without sacrificing image quality. 

Smaller image files equal faster load times.

Use a tool like TinyPNG to compress your images. 

10. Allow Users to Switch to Desktop View

We’ve talked a lot about how mobile users want things to be simple and clear, but that doesn’t mean all users feel the same way.

There might be users who prefer to browse a desktop version of your website, even on a mobile device. Maybe they’re familiar with the desktop version and don’t want to spend time browsing around the mobile version, or maybe they just prefer the functionality of the desktop experience. 

Either way, you have to cater to these users as well. Add a button or link that easily allows users to flip between the mobile and desktop versions. 


If you’ve taken these 10 steps to make your site more mobile-friendly, you’re in good shape. And to be sure, check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Just enter your URL and the tool will do the rest. 

If you’d rather leave it to the professionals, we’ll build you a beautiful mobile-friendly website in our easy-to-use, custom CMS. Contact us to learn more! 

What is Technical SEO? The Complete Guide

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your website to rank higher in search engine results for target keywords, thus improving the quality & quantity of traffic to your website.


And typically, it is loosely categorised into three types: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.


If you’re familiar with SEO, you’ve likely heard of different on-page factors such as keyword research & metadata optimisation or off-page factors such as link building. Oftentimes however, technical SEO is overlooked because “it’s too complicated.” 


We’re here to make it easy. So let’s get to it.

What is Technical SEO?

As the name suggests, technical SEO involves optimising the technical components of your website such as site infrastructure, pagespeed, Core Web Vitals, and more.


More specifically, it involves making your website functional, user-friendly, lightning fast, mobile-friendly, and discoverable by search engines.

Why is Technical SEO Important?

The truth is, SEO is a three-pronged approach. Even with great on-page and off-page SEO, a website with poor technical optimisation will struggle to rank in SERPs. 


Think about it. Would you want to use a website that loads slowly, is hard to navigate, or isn’t mobile-friendly?


Absolutely not, right? So let’s dive a bit deeper and learn how to set your site up for technical SEO success.

10 Most Important Technical SEO Factors

1. Implement SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)

SSL is a security protocol that provides a secure channel between two devices operating over the internet. Often used interchangeably with Transport Layer Security (TLS), the newer version of SSL, it protects user data from hackers and serves as a vote of trust between users & search engines.


In fact, over 50% of first page results are protected with an SSL certificate.

How Do I Know If My Site Has a Valid SSL Certificate?

It’s pretty simple actually. 


If your website’s domain begins with “https://” rather than “http:, ” there’s nothing to worry about. Your site is secure!


Another quick way to check is to look at the URL bar or address field and see if there’s a padlock icon to the left of your domain name. If there is a lock icon present, it indicates that there is a secure channel between users and the website. Otherwise, you'll see "not secure" to the left of the domain, like the example below.

ssl icon

vs.

ssl bad example

This is one of the quickest technical SEO improvements you can make to your website, and should be at the top of your to-do list.


If your website was built by us, then no need to worry, we already took care of it! Your site is secure.

2. Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

Over 80% of internet users are mobile users. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on A LOT of customers. 


In fact, Google’s “mobile first” approach to indexing means that Google is crawling your mobile site first, so it needs to be properly optimised. 


A responsive website design automatically detects which device is being used, and adjusts accordingly. 


At Activate Design, our websites are built for a beautiful desktop and mobile experience, and with technical SEO at the front of mind.

3. Use a Fast, Reliable Hosting Provider

Site speed is one of the most important technical SEO factors, and it all starts with fast, reliable web hosting. 


But what makes a hosting provider so good? Well, a few things…

Lightning Fast Speed

Website users value high-speed websites, preferably under 2 seconds. And trust us, users definitely take notice of slow websites.


As page load time increases from one second to 10 second, mobile bounce rate increases over 120%


With fast web hosting, you won't need to worry about missing out on traffic or losing conversions.

Location

Though everything through the internet appears to happen instantly, that’s not quite the case.


To provide your customers experience fast load times, your web hosting servers need to be as close to them as possible.


So if your customers are in New Zealand, make sure to use a New Zealand-based hosting provider.

99.9% Uptime

A fast website is useless if it’s never working.


Choose a reliable hosting provider with a high uptime rating, greater than 99%. Otherwise, you’ll have to explain to your customers why your site isn’t available.

4. Build a Simple Site Structure

As your business grows, your website will grow too. This means more pages and more to keep track of.


But with a well-defined structure and understanding of best technical SEO practices, it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming.

Flat Site Architecture

Whether it’s a service page, blog article, or contact page, every page on your website serves a purpose. Thus, you don’t want to hide any of these pages unless absolutely necessary (more on this later). 


As your homepage is generally the top landing page for users, all of the other pages on your site shouldn’t be more than 2-3 clicks away from the homepage. You want to make sure users can quickly navigate through the site.


This is what we call a flat site architecture.

Internal Linking

You can’t include every page on your website on the main menu. It wouldn’t look very good.


Instead, use internal links to connect sub-folders & sub-pages to develop a consistent hierarchy. 


As well, you should avoid creating any orphan pages, or those that don’t have any incoming internal links. 


Take a look at this site architecture.

flat site architecture

The pages highlighted in green are only 2-3 clicks from the home page and are easily navigable by search engines.


Now notice how the pages highlighted in red which are orphaned or 4+ clicks away from the home page are not crawled. This is poor technical SEO practice.

Consistent URL Structure

An often overlooked piece of technical SEO, consistent URL structure can make all the difference. 


Both users & search engines like simple URLs. They don’t want long, complex URLs with tons of folders and complex symbols. It needs to be easy to read.


Keep URLs short, sweet, and consistent. Let’s take a look at two examples for this page's URL below:

  • Bad Example - yourdomain.co.nz/blog/SEO/Technical/what-is-technical-seo-the-complete-guide/

Long and difficult to read right? Instead, opt for a simpler URL like the one we’ve chosen. 

  • Good Example - yourdomain.co.nz/blog/technical-seo-guide/

Typically the shorter the better, and be sure to include keywords in the URL as well!

5. Create an XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps are files that help search engines to better understand and crawl your website. In a way, it’s like a roadmap to your website, and an important component of technical SEO.


And within the roadmap, you can tell search engines information like which URLs are present on your site (and which are most important to crawl), when a page was last modified, and more.


And remember when we said that you might need to hide certain pages from users and search engines? Here’s what we meant.


Mark Pages As Noindex

If you have any pages that require an opt-in or a form to be submitted before viewing, you don’t want search engines suggesting those pages in search results. If they’re present, users may navigate to them without completing the opt-in or the form, rendering their page visit useless. 

The same applies to a “Cart” page if you own an eCommerce site. Obviously you don’t want users navigating to the cart page from search results without adding any products. 


Use a tag on pages that you don’t want search engines to crawl. 


As well, don’t include any pages in your sitemap, as that will confuse search engines, possibly leading to unintended URLs getting indexed. . 


Again, if you build your website with us at Activate Design, we’ll take care of your XML sitemap so that search engines may properly crawl your site.

6. Avoid Duplicate Content with Canonical Tags

One of the worst things you can do for your website is have duplicate content. If crawlers identify two identical pages on your website, they may mark the incorrect URL as , hiding it from users.


Adding canonical tags is a quick & easy technical SEO fix to avoid any situations like these.


Canonical tags (rel=”canonical”) are used in the head section of a page’s HTML to prevent duplicate content issues, indicating that only one of the duplicate pages should be indexed.


To do so, add a tag in the header to the duplicate page(s) and point it towards the canonical page, or the page that you want search engines to index.

7. Identify 404 Errors and Implement 301 Redirects

404 errors are bad for user experience.


In simple terms, a 404 error occurs when a link, whether internal or external, points to a URL on your website that is broken or no longer exists. These pages have no content on them and display “404,” along with a warning message on screen. 


If a user clicks on a broken link and it leads to a 404 page, odds are they’ll just leave your website. It looks unprofessional and you’re missing out on potential customers. 


Fortunately, these errors are super easy to fix. Once you’ve identified the error, simply set up a 301 redirect to the proper URL. You can use a free tool like ScreamingFrog to identify these errors.


Now, when users click on the broken link, they’ll be redirected to the proper destination. Problem solved. 


These are a super easy technical SEO fix and take little technical know-how to implement.

8. Reduce Load Time

Faster sites provide a better user experience, and a better user experience equals better rankings


It’s that simple.


Here’s a few things you can do to reduce load time and improve page speed:

  • Enable compression to reduce the size of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files
  • Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML by removing spaces, commas, comments, formatting, and any unnecessary characters in your code
  • Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN) to distribute the load of content delivery across multiple servers
  • Reduce the length of redirect chains (every time a URL is redirected a HTTP request must be completed again)
  • Optimise images to reduce file size

If you’re interested in a beautiful, lightning fast website, contact us!

9. Fix Core Web Vitals

Google’s long awaited Core Web Vitals updated focuses on user experience, benefitting sites that load quickly and are easy to use. Core Web Vitals are broken down three primary metrics:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is a load performance metric that measures when the largest content element on the screen becomes fully visible.


To provide a “good” user experience, your website’s LCP should be below 2.s. Between 2.5s and 4.0s “needs improvement,” and greater than 4.0s is considered “poor.”

First Input Delay (FID)

FID measures a website’s interactivity. Or essentially, how quickly users can interact with the website as it loads. 


To provide a “good” user experience, a web pages FID should be less than 100ms. Any time between 100ms and 300ms “needs improvement” while anything greater than 300ms is considered “poor.”

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

CLS is a visual stability metric that measures how much a page shifts when loading. If a page is loading and you click on an element, but the site shifts as you do, that’s a poor CLS indicator. 


Unlike LCP & FID, it is not measured in time, but a good CLS is less than 0.1, while any shift between 0.1 and 0.25 “needs improvement,” and anything greater than 0.25 is considered “poor.”


If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry. Our experienced web developers will build your site to meet the “good” Core Web Vitals standards.

10. Connect Your Site to Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster

If you’ve made all these changes, congratulations!


But you’re not done yet.


As your website changes and search engines evolve, you’ll need to monitor your site for any ongoing technical SEO issues.


Fortunately, search engines provide tools such as Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools to monitor any technical or performance changes to your site.


If you’re working with our SEO team, we’ll monitor these tools so you don’t have to worry. 


And if you’re worried about your website’s technical SEO,  contact our SEO team to speak about sorting you out. 

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On-Page SEO: The Beginner's Guide

What is On-Page SEO? And Is It Important?


On-page SEO is the process of optimising website content for both search engines and users. It includes elements such as metadata & heading optimisation, image compression, URL structure, and more.

All everyone seems to talk about these days are backlinks. So if you’re wondering if on-page is even important, think again.

On-page SEO is fundamental to the success of your search engine strategy. Even with successful technical and off-page elements, your website will struggle to rank without the proper optimisations.

What’s the Difference Between On-Page and Off-Page SEO?

Unlike on-page, off-page SEO refers to optimising for signals that happen off of your website, such as backlinks. 

Similarly, technical SEO differs from on-page in the fact that it refers to elements such as pagespeed, robots.txt files, indexing, and more.

So let’s get into it. Find out how you can level up your SEO with these 10 on-page SEO tips..

10 On-Page Optimisations You Can Do Today

Whether you’re an expert or totally new to SEO, here are 10 on-page items you can take care of today to improve your position in search rankings and drive more organic traffic to your website.

Keyword Research

You’ve done your keyword research. Great!

Now what to do with it?

Use Your Target Keyword in the First 100 Words

This principle has withstood the test of time in the world of SEO. 

Use your primary keyword at least once in the first 100 words of your blog article, product/service page, and all of the other pages on your website.

Just as users read top to bottom, so does Google.

Just imagine you were writing a blog about the best flavour of ice cream. Imagine not mentioning the term “best ice cream” until halfway down the page. Wouldn’t make much sense would it?  

Keyword Density

Now that you’ve mentioned your keyword at the beginning of the page, how often should you use it in the rest of the article?

Keyword density is the amount of times a specific keyword appears on a given web page.

In the early days of Google, most SEO “experts” were cramming their primary keyword onto a webpage as often as possible, a practice known as “keyword stuffing.”

Nowadays, this is considered bad practice. Most experts agree that the proper keyword density is around 1-2%, meaning that your primary keyword should only appear 1-2x per 100 words.

Title Tag

Your title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO factors. It gives users and search engines a high-level overview of what your page is all about. 

Let’s stick with the ice cream example.

If you’re writing an article comparing different types of ice cream, you wouldn’t title it “Chocolate v. Vanilla: Which is Better?” right?

Without reading the article, someone looking at the title may think it’s about cake or protein powders or anything else. They’d have no idea if it was about ice cream, and they’d never click on the search result.

A better title would be “The Best Ice Cream Flavour: Chocolate v. Vanilla.” 

In short, include your primary keyword (or a close variation of it) in your blog title. And similar to your copy, try to place your keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible.

And though you may want to write a long, descriptive title, it’s best to keep it short and sweet. Keep your title under 580 pixels in length, as Google will cut off any characters after the pixel limit. You want users to read the full page title in search engine result pages (SERPs) right?

There are several tools online that help you check optimal title tag length, such as ToTheWeb.

SERP showing title tag & meta description for best ice cream christchurch

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are snippets that appear in SERPs directly below the title tag that allow users to understand what your page is about.

Though meta descriptions aren’t a direct ranking factor with Google, they’re still important to your on-page strategy.

To write a well-optimised meta description, include your primary keyword (towards the beginning if possible) and write a description that makes users want to click on your page. Using persuasive language that inspires the user to click on your page gives your page an indirect SEO boost.

And similar to title tags, meta descriptions also have an optimal length. Keep your meta descriptions under 920 pixels in length. 

Headings

Headings provide structure to pages, enabling users to quickly scan for the information they seek.

Take this page for example. It’s full of H2s, H3s, and H4s which help structure the page and make scanning easier.

As such, the headings differ in size, ranging in size from largest (H1s) to smallest (H6).

H1s

H1s serve as primary headings, and offer insight into the rest of the article. It’s important to include your primary keyword in the H1, and use persuasive language that makes them want to keep reading.

In this blog, for example, the H1 is “On-Page SEO: The Beginner’s Guide.”

H2s

H2s typically are reserved for main topics covered in your blog. In this blog, some of the H2s are “What is On-Page SEO? And Is It Important?” and “10 On-Page Optimisations You Can Do Today.” 

Though not as important as H1s, it’s important to use keywords in these subheadings. 

H3s, H4s, and More

Use these subheadings to further structure your article, and draw attention to supporting topics. 

Notice how in this section, “Headings” serves as the H3 and “H1s,” “H2s,” and “H3s, H4s, and More” serve as the H4s.

Image Optimisation

Images are great. They add a pop of color to your pages, and add plenty of design value when used properly.

Unfortunately, images are resource-heavy elements. They take a long time to load on websites, and pages that load slowly do not provide a great user experience.

But with proper sizing and compression, you can strike a balance between beautiful and fast.

First, you’ll need to convert your images into the proper format. Google recommends WebP (a next-gen format), but WebP files are not supported on Safari browsers. Instead, convert your images to a JPG or PNG type. These file types work just fine as well.

With the right file type, you’ll now need to compress your images. There are plenty of online tools for this process. One of our favourites is Tiny PNG. Tools such as these can compress images up to 80% of their original size, without sacrificing quality.

Sometimes, an image doesn’t need to stretch across the entire screen. Take your image : optimisation a step further by resizing the image to only the necessary size. A smaller image requires fewer resources to load.

Image Alt Text

Alternative text, commonly referred to as “alt text,” is used within your HTML code to describe the appearance and functionality of an image.

Alt text helps visually-impaired users better understand the context of an image, and search engines use it the same way. 

Just as with other on-page elements; it’s great to include keywords in your alt text, but remember to avoid keyword stuffing.

The purpose of alt text is to describe the image, and including keywords is a bonus.

So if you’re using an image of a child eating chocolate ice cream, don’t just define the alt text as “ice cream.” Try to be more descriptive: “child eating chocolate ice cream on a hot summer day.”


BONUS TIP: Save your image files with descriptive names (with keywords if possible). This can help Google better understand your images. 

Internal Linking

Internal linking is an underrated element of on-page SEO.

Internal linking is the practice of linking from one page on your site to another, typically a related page.

Linking between pages helps users and search engines better understand your content in a contextual sense by knowing which pages are related to each other.

To best structure your internal linking, link from high-authority pages to low-authority pages to increase the low-authority pages and make your entire website more authoritative as a result. 

And when linking between pages, be sure to use keyword-rich anchor text. This provides context to search engines about the link. You’ll notice a few keyword-rich internal links scattered throughout this blog. 

External Linking

Internal linking is the process linking between two pages on your website. External linking on the other hand, is the process of linking between your website and another website.

You may be thinking “why would I want to link to another website? They’re just going to click the link and leave my website.” Well, you’re not alone in that thought.

However, external links to related pages, especially authoritative pages, improve Google’s understanding of your page.  

URL Structure

Though URLs aren’t quite present “on-page,” they’re still considered an on-page SEO factor.

There are two things to remember when creating SEO-friendly URLs:

Keep them short and sweet
Include a keyword in every URL slug/extension

It’s that simple.

Let’s take a look at the URL for this blog:

url structure for on page seo blog

It's short, sweet, and includes a keyword.

Here's a few more examples for good measure:

  • Blog - www.icecreamcompany.com/blog/best-ice-cream-flavour/
  • Service Page - www.icecreamcompany.com/ice-cream/vanilla

Write High-Quality Content

Now that you have the page laid out, it’s time to write great SEO content.And though you may be a great copywriter, you may not be an expert SEO writer (yet).

To write content that ranks, it must be unique, valuable, and optimised for search intent.

Unique

If you publish an identical article to one that is already ranking #1 in SERPs, not only is it plagiarism, but it also won’t rank.

Why, you might ask?

Because it’s not unique. If it were this easy to write great SEO content, everyone could do it.

To make your content unique, you have to add more value than the pages that are already ranking.

So whether it’s a new tip, more authoritative resources, a new case study, or something else, your content has to be better and more unique than the ranking content that already exists.

Valuable

There are billions of websites on the internet, and millions of people writing similar content to yours. To stand out from the crowd (and search engines), your content has to be more valuable than the rest.

To add more value than your competitors, add more details, use newer (and better) resources, cite case studies, and include images/infographics that support your writing.

Search Intent

Your content may be unique and valuable. But if it doesn’t satisfy search intent, it’s effectively useless.

Your content has to satisfy the searcher’s intent, otherwise it won’t rank.

Generally, search intent can be broken down into 3 main types:

  • Informational - the user is looking for information, whether it be about the weather, recipes, or something else
  • Navigational - the user is looking for a specific website (for example, Facebook)
  • Transactional - the user is looking to buy/purchase something online, whether it’s a product or service 

You’re all set! Take these 10 actionable on-page SEO tips to your website and start growing your organic traffic.


And, if you’re looking for a full SEO strategy to boost your keyword rankings, contact us to speak with one of the SEO Specialists at Activate Design. 

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Posted in Marketing

7 Steps to Your Dream Website | Activate Design

a web design team discussing how to create the perfect website

In addition to yourself and social media profiles, your website is often the face of your business. That's why, at Activate Design, we want to build you something beautiful. 

Through the entire process, we'll work with you on everything from copywriting to web design to hosting and everything in between. 

So let's dive in, and you can see for yourself how easy it is to build the website of your dreams.

1. WEBSITE CONSULTATION

We'll first discuss your goals for the website: necessary features & integrations, target audience and more. We then propose a site that would suit you. We have developed our own CMS (Content Management System) which is the background system that runs a website, and we have created this to meet the needs of clients who need a user-friendly website that will allow them to make changes to their website themselves with ease and efficiency.

Types of Websites Available

A Simple, View-Only Website

If you just need to provide information about an upcoming event, product launch, or store opening, a simple view-only website is the perfect solution. Additionally, it can serve as a landing page for Google Ads or social media ads. 

Advanced, High-Performance CMS Website

Our most popular option, a new, high-performance website can be the facelift your business needs. Once completed, our CMS interface makes it easy for you to add new pages, blogs, and more. And don't worry, we'll provide in-depth training on how to use the CMS so you can edit your website confidently. 

eCommerce Website

If you're looking to sell physical or digital products online, you'll need an eCommerce website to do so. With the same high-performance features as our popular websites, our eCommerce solutions allow you to add, edit, and remove products, descriptions, stock levels, and more, directly in our CMS.


2. WEBSITE PLANNING

We want to build you the website of your dreams, and doing so may require a few meetings with our team to get things right. We need to determine how you want your site laid out, which colors you want to use, and more. Once we've mocked up your site, we can get started on the build.

 

3. DOMAIN NAME

Your domain name is your website's unique address on the internet. If you don't already own your domain name, we can help you pick one that fits your business. If you launch another business, or need a second domain for any reason, additional domain names can be added at any time.

4. WEBSITE DESIGN

With a domain name and a better understanding of your brand, our designers can get started on your website. Our talented design team will make your site come to life with a beautifully designed header, buttons & images that jump off the page, and more. 

And if you're looking to further upgrade your website with a new or improved logo, our designers can help with that too. 

 

5. WRITTEN CONTENT

A beautifully designed website is just the beginning. In order to grow your business, customers need to understand your business.

We'll introduce you to our copywriters, who will get to know you and your business inside out. They will then put pen to paper (figuratively), bringing your website to life with words. 

Our copywriters are seasoned SEO writers, meaning your content will be optimised for search engines, so that customers can find your business online. 

*Our copywriting services come at an additional cost, and are not included in the cost of building a website, unless discussed previously.*


6. PUTTING THE WEBSITE TOGETHER

Now that the designers & copywriters have created all of the written & visual content for your site, our programmers put it all together, ensuring consistency & functionality.

Down to the last detail, our programmers will properly size images, align navigation elements, and optimise your site to make sure it looks great on both desktop and mobile. 


7. WEBSITE LAUNCH

Congratulations! With the final touches on your new website in place, you can celebrate.

With the help of social media, email marketing, search engines, and other marketing methods, you can start driving traffic to your new website and attract new customers. 

 

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5 Reasons Why You Need to Hire a Professional Designer

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

6 Things to Add to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Posted in Website Design

5 Reason Why You Need a Professional Web Designer

professional web designer NZ

Professionally developed websites are a powerful tool that any business can use to connect with customers and provide a positive experience for them. Sure, there are many build-your-own website building services out there, but they are only a ‘platform’, and the quality of the end result still depends mainly on your input and design skills.


Retail businesses employ professional shop fitters to design and build their store to ensure their goods are well displayed and enticing for customers. Why wouldn’t you want the same for your website? Whether you’re a consumer-facing or B2B business - your website is your ‘front door’ and usually the first interaction a customer has with your company.


When done well, a professional website can convert a casual browser into a valuable customer. However, some businesses still balk at the idea of paying for professional web designer services. But here’s the flip side—how many customers are you unknowingly losing because your website is turning them off? 


Read on as we offer five reasons why you should leave your website development in the hands of an expert.


#1: Good design attracts more customers

In many ways, maintaining a retail website isn’t that different from running a physical store. To make sales and become a profitable business, you need to attract customers. Brick-and-mortar establishments do this by investing significantly in merchandising.


An eye-catching window display will entice people into your store. They get a good idea of what you’re selling, and the attractive display draws them in for a browse.


People browsing your website are looking for a similar experience, namely:

  • An attractive layout
  • Products or services that are easy to find
  • A professional-looking business


#2: Web Developers make the browsing experience more user-friendly

In the same way as store layouts are designed to maximise sales - a professional web developer employs design techniques to keep the user browsing your website. A well-functioning user interface (UI) and a good user experience (UX) are two essential elements in a successful website. A good UI will provide users with good UX and ultimately encourage them to act, whether submitting an enquiry or making a purchase.


In addition to being easily navigable, your website should also load quickly. Research conducted by American content delivery network Akamai shows that 53% of users abandon visits to a website if a page takes longer than three seconds to load on mobile.


Your website should also be responsive across both desktop and mobile devices. Sites that are not mobile-friendly lose a significant percentage of users who primarily use their smartphones and tablets to browse and make online purchases.


#3: Good design improves recall

We’ve already talked about how you can use good web design to make a lasting first impression. Well designed sites also create a consistent experience for the user, which helps build trust and improves brand recall.


Take Facebook as an example. Both the website and the mobile app use the same dominant shade of blue—it’s become a recognisable trademark in its own right. When we see that exact shade of blue against a white background, many of us would instantly recognise it, even subconsciously, as the Facebook colours.


Here at Activate Design, our team of professional web developers includes a graphic designer. We can create a complete aesthetic for your business and apply it across your website, logo, letterhead, in-store experience and anywhere else your customers interact with your brand.


#4: Good design projects your credibility

Online, the adage about not judging a book by its cover is flawed by default. In most cases, users only have ‘the cover’ to go on, and 75% of them make judgments about the credibility of your business just from the way your website looks. This judgment may seem unfair, but it’s one of the realities of the digital marketplace that you must address.


An outdated website gives the impression that whoever is running it isn’t up with the play. Likewise, inaccurate or poorly-researched content can make users question your products or doubt the legitimacy of your business. Regularly updating your website will help you rank better on Google - this means keeping up with blog posts and refreshing your look from time to time. Generating good shareable content attracts more visitors to your site and lends your site more authority, which is good for SEO.


#5: Professional web developers optimise your site for SEO

Just like a TV commercial or a print ad, your website is an important marketing tool. Developing the site is only part of what a good website developer offers. To get your website seen by your target audience, you need a combination of strategies, including:

  • SEO Optimisation
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Social media promotion

Many DIY websites perform poorly in search results because they’re built on a standard template and are not optimised for SEO. Embedding keywords in your content is only one of many tools web developers employ to make sure your website is well recognised by search engines.


Many of these SEO techniques require coding expertise and up-to-date knowledge of SEO trends. Professional website designers engage copywriters to craft content that is rich in keywords and highly readable for the user.



The ongoing global pandemic has highlighted the importance of an effective online presence for companies, so they can continue to operate and adapt to changing circumstances. E-commerce has become an essential service, and you need the support of a professional web developer to ensure you deliver the best possible service to your customers.


Paying for a professional website designer might feel like a significant investment at first, but it will pay for itself again and again. With a well-designed website, you can showcase your brand’s best qualities, while differentiating yourself from your competitors.

 

If you are considering hiring a web designer for your website need —talk to the team at Activate Design. We do web design, graphic design, app development, branding, content marketing and SEO optimisation. We’d love to hear from you.

 

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Posted in Website Design

6 Things to Add to Your Digital Marketing Strategy

The internet has drastically changed customer behaviour, and with it, the marketing landscape. With millions of people spending hours online every single day, it’s patently unwise not to develop and invest in a digital marketing strategy.

One of the best ways to start is to create your own website. Once you’ve established your address on the world wide web, you can more easily explore other digital techniques.

That said, here are some crucial components of a robust online marketing strategy:

SEO

SEO or search engine optimisation, is arguably the most important part of any digital marketing strategy. Why? Two things. First, most people nowadays spend their zero moment of truth (ZMOT) on search engines. ZMOT, simply defined, is when the consumer looks for relevant information before buying a product.

Second, a significant percentage of internet users don’t go beyond the first page of search engine results. Thus, the higher your ranking, the bigger the chance that the consumer will see your brand name and click on your link. The further you are from the first page, the fewer opportunities you’ll have..

This is why your website is only the first step. After this, you must invest in good SEO services so you can boost your lead generation, and hopefully, conversion numbers. SEO is especially important if you’re in a highly competitive industry, such as e-commerce.

Blogs

Content marketing, which usually comes in the form of blogs, helps immensely with SEO. With a blog, you can establish your brand identity, industry authority, and credibility. You’ll also have a platform to cultivate a relationship with your customers. All of these can contribute to your brand being interpreted by search engines as a credible entity.

What’s even better is that you don’t need a separate website for a blog. If you already have a website, you can simply host it there as a dedicated page. For some topic ideas, start with insightful discussions about industry trends and how you’re applying these as a company. You can also consult your SEO strategy and find some keywords to write about.

Social Media

During its earlier years, social media platforms were almost devoid of brands. They were instead used to interact and connect with friends and family, or even strangers who shared the same interests. Soon enough, however, companies saw the benefit of engaging their consumers where they’re already active and receptive to engagement.

Nowadays, a social media strategy is a big part of digital marketing campaigns. Remember, though, that you don’t have to be present on every platform. The most important thing is to understand how each site works and if it can help achieve your brand’s goals.

You should also engage in what is called social listening. This way, you’ll know what people are saying about your brand and address issues. You can also discover the topics most relevant to your audience and thus engage in more meaningful conversations.

Email Marketing

Unlike social media, where you’re essentially trying to talk to thousands or even millions of consumers, email is more direct. This gives way to more personalisation, which greatly increases the potential for conversions and more genuine connections.

Email marketing is especially useful for e-commerce businesses. Through newsletters, you can easily announce the arrival of new products, your latest promotions, and other offerings. You can even send personal greetings and special discounts to customers during their birthday! Doing all of these can keep you top of mind, which is important in a highly competitive space.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is an increasingly popular advertising model, wherein a brand works with content creators like bloggers and vloggers to promote products and services. When a consumer performs the intended action (e.g., to avail the product or service or download an app), the content creator gets incentivised through commission fees.

This is an effective way of increasing your reach. If you’re a brand, you can tap the content creator’s fan base to expand your market. If you’re a content creator, you can add to your income stream and boost your reputation.

Online Advertising

The online space is a big one and unless you’re an equally big brand, it can be difficult for you to get noticed. This is where online advertising comes in. You can choose from a wide variety of options, including keyword advertising, boosted social posts, video ads, and more—it all depends on your goals.

For example, if you want to help maintain your presence in search results pages as you work on your SEO, you can opt for keyword ads. If you want to promote a certain piece of content or product, you can create a social media ad and then direct those who click on your website. If you want to target a certain audience, consider placing display ads on niche websites.

Remember to keep track of the ads that perform well so you can reallocate your resources when necessary.


The most important thing to remember is that there’s no singular formula to a successful digital marketing campaign. You might need just one, or maybe you need a combination of several. Having concrete goals can certainly help in deciding which ones are the best for your brand. 

Posted in Marketing

8 Things to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

 

As a business owner, you should be aware that it will take more than word of mouth to attract customers. Indeed, nowadays, the success of a business also relies on its digital assets, primarily a website.

In order function well, your website must be more than just beautifully designed. It also needs to perform well—which a web host can help with. 

When creating your website, whether for a blog or e-commerce function, you need to carefully evaluate the web hosting requirements. Web hosting is a crucial consideration because this is where all your website’s files will be stored. Everything that appears on your live website will be kept in and maintained by the web host. With poor web hosting, your customers will have a hard time viewing the content on your website. 

This is why you need to select the best hosting services that will help your website work efficiently. Don’t just choose the first web host provider you see. Rather, you must first understand the needs of your business and website.

Here are some things you need to consider before deciding on the web host provider:

Average Uptime

An important aspect of the performance of your website lies in the average time your website stays up within a given period of time. This is called average uptime, and it can determine how much traffic your website receives. You won’t get much traffic if visitors can’t access your website, which can lead to the loss of potential customers. 

If you want more people to be able to access your site, you need to have an average uptime that is as close to 100% as possible. When selecting a web host provider, make sure you get one that offers an uptime of 99% or above.  

Page Load Time

Web pages that load slowly can be frustrating for viewers and they’ll likely abandon the website completely—which can again be considered as a loss of potential sales. Similar to uptime, the page load time affects the traffic that goes to your website. Ideally, you should select a web hosting provider that will ensure your web pages load within 3 seconds or less. 

Data Security

You need a web host provider that can protect your website’s content as well as your visitors’ data, so look for security features such as DDoS protection and SSL certification. In addition, find a web host that offers an information redundancy system and constant backups. This way, in case of any problems or unforeseen issues, you can rest assured that your website will still be online and operational.

Price

As a business owner, you want value for money in each investment you make. It’s the same with your website’s web host services. Although affordability can help narrow down your decision, it shouldn’t be the main factor. Remember, a lower-priced service doesn’t always mean it is bad; a more expensive option doesn’t guarantee quality, either.

It’s best to evaluate what exactly your website needs and look for a plan that will work both for your budget and your business requirements. Try to explore different offers from the various website hosting services. Some of them have special discounts based on the length of the plan you choose. Usually, longer web hosting plans have lower prices.

Technical Support

Aside from providing a high-performing and secure website, your web host provider must also offer reliable tech support. This is a key factor business owners need to consider because it can make a lot of difference when you are dealing with a crisis. Imagine how relieved you will be if the web host provider can efficiently assist you in resolving a quick issue compared to the frustration of dealing with your website being offline for a couple of hours.

To ensure the web host provider has excellent technical support, check if they have different contact channels available. Also, see if you can easily send them an email, chat with their representatives, or connect to their toll-free phone number. Remember to select a provider that puts customer support as part of their priority.  

Storage

When selecting storage, keep in mind to choose a service that will best match the way you will use your website. For example, you will need ample storage space if you’re going to post a lot of videos. Therefore, you need to find a web host provider that can offer not just enough gigabytes but also a bit of wiggle room.

On the other hand, if your website doesn’t require a lot of storage, you can opt for a more affordable plan and save some money. If you come across a service that offers unlimited disk space for a reasonable price, then you have nothing to worry about. 

Customer Reviews

Reading through customer reviews is one of the best ways to learn more about the web host services you are eyeing. Aside from the feedback written on the provider’s website, check blogs and social media sites to find out what their current and past customers are saying about them. See if they respond immediately when an issue has been reported or if it’s easy to contact their support team. 

Scalability

As a business owner, you are always planning for the future of your company. Hence, it’s only practical to build a website that can keep up with the growth of your business. This includes evaluating if the hosting provider fits your future plans. For example, your web host provider might be able to adequately support a standard blog-type site but it might not have the capability to support e-commerce requirements.

See if the provider you choose can accommodate your business growth plan or if scalability will become an issue. It’s best to prepare now rather than deal with the challenges of transferring from one host to another in the future.


An efficiently performing website can attract new clients and help grow your business. Thus, it’s important to have a reliable web hosting service. Keep this list of considerations in mind before selecting a web host so you can make the right choice and set your company up for success. 

Effective SEO Techniques to Boost Your Ranking

effective seo techniques to boost rankings

SEO remains a vital tool to help you rank well in search engine results (SERP’s). There are many “experts” giving plenty of advice on how to optimise your website for Google, but what does good SEO website design look like?


Many designers think they understand SEO strategies, but opinions and facts can easily get entangled, confusing business owners who need to know what is best for their business. In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about SEO.


The Big Three SEO Techniques you need to know.


When designing a website for SEO, there are three fundamental techniques to employ:

  1. Keyword research and placement
  2. Making your site search engine friendly
  3. Building links


Keywords and key phrases are the backbone of search results. There are many online research tools to get you started, but you mustn’t use keywords indiscriminately and diminish the quality of your content. Original visual content, including photos, videos and infographics, can also boost your site’s traffic and encourage content sharing.


Your web designer will ensure your website is easily indexed and searchable. Descriptive titles, meta tags, headings and alt-text are all opportunities to make your site more search-friendly.


Once your site is live, the ongoing SEO work begins through link building. Backlinks are links on other sites that send traffic to your site. Having high quality inbound and outbound links helps establish your site’s authority with Google and other search engines. So that’s a brief intro to SEO; now, let’s explore the subject a bit further.


See: Activate Design offers Search Engine Optimisation or SEO Services

 

With SEO, Everything IS Black and White…

But the only SEO techniques worth using are White-hat SEO.

These are the safe and long-term result producing techniques that the major league search engines recommend as part of good web design. Here are a few of what we think are the main White-hat SEO techniques:

 

1. Content is KING

There’s no point in having a website with poor content. A search engine is like a nightmare editor: it will catch you out on poorly written work. The best way to optimise your site for search engines is to produce excellent writing. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft endorse websites that are the most appropriate for any given search. Google’s new Rankbrain algorithm rewards websites that provide compelling content—the longer they browse your site, the better your rank prospects. Your content needs to get to the point quickly and encourage users to keep reading and clicking links.

 

See: Looking for website content writing servicesSee what Activate Design has to offer for Christchurch-based businesses.

 

2. Mark-Up Matters

Semantically structure your markup to help search engines understand the content of your webpage. Keep it simple! Search engines like proper heading and titles. Use CSS to separate design elements from your content and make it easier for search engines to find what they’re looking for. If your titles are declaring certain content, make sure you deliver. Make your title and description tags more compelling by browsing the Google Ads that appear at the top of search results. Use these keywords and phrases in your meta tags to generate more clickable SERP’s. 

 

3. Keyword is Key


You’ve got to create your website with well-researched keywords and phrases in mind that you think your customers may use to find your particular site. Keep in mind that single words are not the most effective. Instead, try multi-word phrases that are more specific to your product/service and use them effectively throughout your website. Not sure what phrases to include? Reddit is an excellent resource for finding search phrases. Just search your topic and scan the threads for phrases that keep popping up. Another great source of keywords come courtesy of your high-performing competitors. Type their URL into a keyword research tool, and you’ll learn what keywords they rank well for. Incorporate the relevant keywords into your content.

 

4. Make the Link

The rule here is Quality over Quantity. You want links from other web pages that are regarded highly by search engines and relevant to the content of your page. The amount and quality of inbound links to your site affect how high up the search engine your site is placed. Talking about quality, make sure your content is easy to read and broken down into bite-size chunks. Remember, most users are browsing on their phones and don’t want to read great blocks of heavy text.  Keep your URL’s short and descriptive.

White-hat SEO’s evil twin, Black-hat SEO, uses techniques that are disliked by search engines. Unfortunately, websites that employ these techniques can suffer a number of punishments ranging from ranking penalties to complete removal from the index. Some websites can be banned. For the love of Google, do not do the following:

 

  • Hide-and-go-Seek

Hidden content is the sneaky, underhanded content hiding within the code for a site that is stuffed with keywords. Developers can also hide this content using CSS, ridiculously small text or coloured text on the same colour background. If search engines catch a whiff of this, your website will be penalised or banned altogether. You’ve been warned.

  • Stuffing is for Turkeys


Don’t stuff your site with Meta keywords. Two main Meta tags are used to inform search engines of the content on the page, and when they’re misused, they serve as an alarm to search engines that you’re using spam techniques to improve your ranking. Google is smart, don’t risk trying to fool it.

  • Doorway to Destruction


Doorway pages are designed for search engines and not for your customers. These fake pages are stuffed with content and highly optimised for 1 or 2 keywords that link to a target or landing page. Search engine spiders/crawlers can detect these pages, alerting the powers that be, resulting in being flagged and banned.

  • Farming Saga


The temptation to link all kinds of crazy things to your website to increase traffic is understandable. But, it has the opposite effect. Link farms or free for all (FFA) pages list links of unrelated websites. Trust us when we say they won’t provide your site with an increase in traffic. The only thing you can be sure of is the risk of having your site banned for participating in this scam. On the other hand, having good outbound links to authoritative sites can help establish your website as an information hub in the eyes of Google’s Hilltop algorithm, lifting your ranking.

 

The Internet is a Beast

SEO is essential because it’s all about ranking. A higher ranking will result in more customers, which is imperative for companies that make most of their money online. Good SEO can help these companies improve their organic traffic significantly. As you’ve seen, it’s not about the stuffing. You need an excellent game plan for SEO, and this is where we can help. We know a lot about how search engines work.

The internet is unfathomably large. Without search engines to help us navigate through the approximately 50 billion indexed web pages, we’d be lost in all the disorder. Search engines help find order amongst the chaos by creating an index that directs you to the most relevant website for your search query. Life is moving fast, and this index changes with it. Every day new websites are added, existing pages are redesigned, and new content is uploaded. The internet is fluid, dynamic. And search engines need to stay up to date. Enter the crawlers.

Creepy Crawlers

Search engines use crawlers to create search engine result pages by finding your website via a link from another website or the Add URL page. The crawlers then process this information and index it. When a person enters a query, the search engine analyses their index and generates results of the most relevant websites. Search engines use a ranking system to deliver relevant results. Numerous factors are taken into consideration, and your SEO success depends on your understanding.

Ranking Factors

So, relevancy is determined by over 200 ranking factors. I’m not going to list them all; however, some of the most important factors include:

  • Links: When I’m talking about links, I’m referring to Pagerank, the link analysis algorithm used by Google. It takes the quantities of links into account and essentially translates every connection to a website as a vote for that particular website. Essentially, the more links you get, the higher you will rank, which is why some people lean towards farm linking. Remember when I told you that quality comes before quantity? Well, not all links are created the same. Links from authoritative websites will have more influence than links from less prevalent websites. Keep your links relevant, or suffer the consequences.

 

  • Keywords: The keyword distribution on your page is extremely important as Google checks how often the search query can be found on it. If the search query appears in your domain, URL, and content, for example, your page will be considered more relevant and will thus rank higher. Just don’t overdo it.

 

  • Site Age: Is it just Google who honours the knowledge that comes with age?! Google perceives older websites to be more authoritative than new websites. Take that, you young whippersnappers.

 

  • Fresh is Best: Frequently updating your website is a good idea. It keeps you on Google’s mind. Adding new pages and deleting old ones indicates that your website is still alive and kicking.

 

  • Algorithm Updates: Google’s Hummingbird algorithm uses semantic search to deliver results based on intent as well as language. So while keywords are still important, your page will perform better with related subtopics that are a good match for a user’s search query.

While not an SEO strategy, your website’s load times and usability can significantly impact your ranking. Slow websites will have higher bounce rates, and Google demotes sites with high bounce rates or short dwell times.

If you want your website to achieve greater success on search engines, you’ve got to get your SEO just right. Doing it the wrong way can seriously mess with your reputation and your business. 

At Activate Design, we can help you with SEO and improve website performance.  Learn more about our SEO services and packages.

 

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