Find Your Dream Web Designer, Get Your Dream Website

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Find Your Dream Web Designer, Get Your Dream Website

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So you’re building your personal brand. You have a checklist – a long tally of things you should and shouldn’t do in order to brand yourself successfully and promote a profitable business. One thing that is prominent on many “should do” lists is the idea that your product or service must be the star of the show. 

Your offering should indeed be a main focus, as it is what you provide your customers and clients, but there is so much more to you and your brand! There is a person there, with hopes and dreams and ambitions. There is someone who put in the time and work to create something wholly unique and present it to the world. There are intentions, and though the cliché says the chief goal in business is profit, for many of us, that simply isn’t true. 

 

Making A Match 

Rather, like many businesses, and small ones in particular, the intention is to provide the universe with something that helps and supports others. A fridge magnet may not seem like a huge offering in comparison to a customised prosthetic limb, but they both help people. If someone sees your magnet every time they go to make breakfast and it makes them smile, your art has served its purpose. You have done them a service by brightening their day and they have supported an independent artist, based on shared values of art, or humour, or authenticity. 

That connection goes even further, to a degree, with services. With most services, be it counselling, product printing, harp lessons, legal aid, or any other of the billion possibilities, both sides of the contract must work together. A relationship must be formed, and while that may be said of all business partnerships, I’m talking about something deeper. 

What I want to highlight is the value of a connection between both parties; a relationship that has been formed based on shared intentions, values, and beliefs. It is one that is nurtured, not only through common goals, but shared drive and passion to reach said goal. 

Just like a romantic relationship, it works best when you both want the same thing for the future. If one person dreams of marriage while another is just looking to date around, it’s very unlikely that their relationship will work in the long run. On the other hand, if all parties are working towards building a family, buying a home, and settling down, their future together looks much more promising! 

 

Finding Your Fit 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that it will always work out, in romance or business. Sometimes we want the same things, but it just isn’t the right fit. Working towards a shared goal in opposing ways may not offer you that same connection as striving for an end with someone whose behaviours, views, and values match your own. 

That isn’t to say that opposites can’t work together! But working with someone who gets you? The joy and ease that come from working in tandem with those on your wavelength makes the relationship-building all that much more worthwhile. I follow this idea myself when I seek to attract dream clients. Finding those who share my outlook and energy not only allows my clients and me to connect on a professional level, but often, we end up becoming friends. This is invaluable, as the relationship is built on trust and understanding. 

 

In It For The Long-Haul 

Another benefit of a soul-aligned business partnership? It can, and often does lead to long-term partnerships. Nurturing relationships with your both your business partners and clients assures them that you aren’t simply in it for profit. You aren’t just jumping from one option to another, hiring, firing, and cutting ties, looking for the cheapest way to get stuff done. Instead, you are actively working with someone you trust – who trusts you – building loyalty for future projects together! 

 

An Online Relationship 

So how does this relate to your website specifically? Well I’m glad you asked! 

If I haven’t said it enough already, a website is integral to to the growing business. It’s an invaluable tool and necessary platform for most, if not all companies. Your site should work for you and your customer. That means it should have a simple but comprehensive structure, follow efficient navigation pathways, allow for easy and accessible use, and provide website users with all important information. 

Besides good, solid bones to structure your website, typical pages, widgets, and forums, and extras like an online shops are expected and often necessary. Just as important though? Having a website that truly represents you and your business, inside and out. Besides the basics, ie. product info, service description, layout etc., offering something more to your clients can help build that aforementioned (and undeniably valuable) personal connection. 

 

Falling Head Over Heels 

Basic isn’t bad! Simple is sought after! But when someone offers you something more, something that makes your heart sing, you remember it. Rather than presenting yet another “basic” website to the world, adding your own heart and soul into the mix makes a world of difference. 

Showing the world what your all about – your goals, your hobbies, your passions, your energy, even your pets – lets people see the real you, allowing for those with the same interests and ambitions to find you and reach out. Making yourself visible to others, showing transparency, and inviting people into your life shows that you are open to building relationships. You’re trusting the world to get to know you, and in turn, taking action to attract likeminded entrepreneurs. It’s active manifestation! 

 

We Need To Talk 

Having a web designer on your wavelength bolsters this in many ways. It’s the first step in transforming your business from just another shop or service, to something built on a foundation of trust and communication. Clear communication is paramount to any personal or professional relationship. 

In a romantic relationships, things fall apart when lines of communication aren’t open. Why would it be any different in business? If you are asking for one thing, and you web designer is pushing for another, and neither can compromise, that isn’t simply because one or both parties are stubborn. There are reasons behind our actions, and it is likely that your designer is steering you in a specific direction for a certain purpose. But if you don’t understand why, and they are unable to elucidate, there is likely a break in communication. 

Moreover, if they can actually explain it to you, but you still can’t see eye-to-eye, the issue may not strictly be communication, but a lack of deeper understanding. Yes, they might get which colour-palette you chose or what option you want in your drop down menu. But if they can’t see the intention behind your endeavour or relate to the needs of your clients, the work they put in may not reflect that deeper purpose. 

 

Making It Work 

To the unengaged contractor, your website is just another project. You’re just another means to an end; that end being a paycheque. But when you connect on a deeper level, the work becomes so much more than just a business interaction. It isn’t about money, or even the success of completing a project. It’s about building and nurturing a relationship with someone with whom you want to continue working. You’re in it for the long-run. 

And this isn’t just true of web designers. Your graphic designer, manufacturers, printers, producers, staff; it all matters. This isn’t some one-off print job, but the beginning of a long-term relationships. And work with graphic designer who really gets your vibe and shares your energy? The difference it makes is visible, almost tangible, to your and your customers. 

This is about more than success and profit. This is about working with those who share your vision. This is about putting something into the world that you can be proud of. Cheap options and cutting-corners might save you a bit of capital, but if it’s at the sacrifice of your ideals and integrity, it isn’t worth it. 

Another positive aspect? The opportunity to meet likeminded entrepreneurs. A solid trusting partnership with one fellow business may lead you to meet others on your level. It creates a network of possibilities that will only continue to grow. 

 

A Dream Come True 

From your logo, to your website, to all your marketing, it pays to have someone who understands you. When you share the same goals, have the parallel values and intentions, and put the same energy out into the world, it’s way more likely you will produce good work, because you are on the same path. From both the business side and a personal standpoint, you’re working towards the same thing.

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Is Your Website Giving Your Ideal Client The Wrong Vibe?

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Is Your Website Giving Your Ideal Client The Wrong Vibe?

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An Intro To Energy

People are reading your energy. That might sound kind of woo woo, but hear me out! Every person you meet exudes some kind of energy. Whether it’s their level of pep, a metaphysical essence, or simply their attitude, on a subconscious level, people register the energy of others. 

Think about the feeling that is so present at a concert or live sporting match. There is a buzz in the air, an excitement that radiates from the crowd, and though it is intangible, it is also undeniable. You can feel the energy shift as soon as you step into that excited atmosphere.

Were you to suddenly walk into a contrasting venue, say a bank, you certainly wouldn’t feel that same excited energy! In fact, your own energy might drop to match. And if it didn’t and you stayed excitable, those around you might find issue with your buzzing demeanour. And who could blame them? They are opposing energies!

Stepping away from the positive/negative dichotomy, no one energy is better than another. A laid-back, esoteric type who values inner-peace over profit might not have the right energy to run a Fortune 500 multinational corporation, while the take-no-prisoners A-type with a super-strict schedule might not exude the right vibe for a yoga teacher. 

That’s not to say it’s impossible. Perhaps the ambitious hippie type is a successful online entrepreneur, while the enterprising career woman has a side hustle teaching acro-yoga. Anything is possible! 

More often than not though, people gravitate towards energy that matches their own. In careers, in relationships, in friend groups, heck, even in neighbourhoods! If you want a quiet lifestyle, you’re  much more like to enjoy the countryside than the city centre. For others, being surrounded by tall buildings and bright lights brings them inspiration. The hustle and bustle energizes some, but drain others.

I may be repeating myself but I want to make it clear that it isn’t “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to energy. Different things work for different people.

 

Like Attracts Like

It’s true, they often do. But there is an argument here for like-attracts-like. As shown in many comprehensive studies, when we are with people we like (or people we wish would like us!) it is common to mimic them subconsciously. We may match their stance or copy their behaviour. Or we might try to get on their level, altering our attitude to reflect their mood. 

Besides this psychological aspect, on a more conscious level, we seek out others who share our view of the world. We choose universities and like institutions of education that share our mindset, outlook, and life views. We hunt specifically for jobs with companies that share our values. We decide where to live based on our hobbies, lifestyle, and need or distaste for close community. Why wouldn’t it be the same in business? Like attracts like, yes, but moreover, like works with like.

 

Your Website + Your Energetic Vibes

You’re a soul-centered entrepreneur, walking the walk and talking the talk. You’ve got the business side on lock and a vibrant spiritual world, striking a perfect balance between work-life and the need for something deeper. Your clients know this; they know you. And while your work, or your mindset, or even your social media might reflect this balance, your website simply does not!

While that may not ring true for all of us, there is something to be said about authenticity. When your website isn’t a true representation of your energy, it can send the wrong message, leaving your clients confused and not sure of who you really are; a feeling that won’t really make them feel ready to jump in and work with you.

 

Authenticity

On a spiritual level, when you are your authentic self, you don’t have to worry about consistency because everything you do, say, and feel, along with your words, actions, beliefs, and values will be consistent across all aspects of your life and your being. Same with transparency. When you are living your truth, you aren’t censoring who you are and what you believe in. Everything is real. Everything is authentic.

On the web side of things, authenticity, again, is key, and active consistency and transparency are just as important. Your website isn’t just a part of your business but an extension of who you are, and an entity outside of your internal realm. It’s important to take the extra step to ensure that the vibe of your website is consistent with the energy you put out into the universe.

As a more tangible step? Ensure your products and services, your website, social media, and online presence, and your in-person energy are consistent. Show who you really are and what you really stand for, across platforms. This leads clients to see the real you, and the ones who share your vision find you.

 

Your Ideal Client

What is a soul-aligned client? It is someone whose intentions, goals, dreams, values, and energy match your own. They are the long-term clients; the ones who you are excited to work with! The ones whose work stirs up your passion and drive; whose values reflect your own.

This isn’t just a one-time, quick-turnaround contract, but an actual relationship you’re building. These are the clients you want to hold onto, and the ones who will be compelled to work with you.

 

Don’t Miss Out

Depending on what products or services you offer, clients may react differently to different energies. For example, if you’re selling custom rockabilly kitchenware, your chief audience likely expects a loud, lively, high-energy website, whereas if you’re a spiritual life coach, clients would likely lean towards are more esoteric, peaceful vibe.

Of course you need to know your audience, but it is just as important for your audience to know you.

If your website doesn’t reflect your intentions and values, it may not resonate with clients that share these same views. This, in turn, can lead to missed opportunities, as these clients are the kind of people who seek to work with those on the same wave-length as they are.

Designing your website to reflect who you are – that is, to reflect your intentions and values, and the energy you put into your work – will benefit both you and your dream client. First of all, it will attract clients who are living on the same plane as you. You are on the same wavelength, working towards the same goals and seeking the same results. You understand each other. That is a soul-connection. That is your ideal client.

Having the opportunity to work in tandem with someone who shares your worldview allows you to produce work, products, services, and offers that provide the same positivity and objectively necessary energy to the universe. 

 

Feel The Energy

What makes a soul-connection? The feeling of sharing goals, beliefs, values, and interventions.

Shared energy lends itself to reaching shared goals, and the existence of shared goals begets shared energy. It’s a symbiotic relationship in the best kind of way.

Soul-aligned clients, those are the ones you want to work with. In turn, they are the ones who don’t just want, but need to work with you.

Your vibe attracts your tribe! So make sure your website is congruent with your energy and everywhere else you’re showing up online. 

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The Value of Analytics: Knowing Your Key Performance Indicators

Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

The Value of Analytics: Knowing Your Key Performance Indicators

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Analytics are an integral part of any marketing campaign, digital, print, or otherwise. In order to be successful in email marketing, you must understand your audience, and to understand your audience, you must understand your data. And how do you obtain said data? By measuring your email marketing campaigns! Wait . . .

It might seem like we’re going in circles here and that’s largely because we are! The marketing process is a cycle in which one thing relies on another, particularly once you’ve got a solid handle on optimisation and analytics. The process allows you to learn from past campaigns in order to improve upon new ones. While results may not be anything to boast about in the beginning, one notable goal across all campaigns is growth. A growing subscriber list, an increase in click-rate, and higher conversions all imply campaign success.

 

Go For It

While it’s true that you have to start somewhere, the first step (generally speaking) is to just go for it. Of course you will want to plan, edit, review, fine-tune, and perfect your first email before you send it, but if you’re just starting out, you may not have any data to guide you. While web analytics may prove useful in producing your first campaign, a compendium of email insights will streamline the production process. Until then, use what data and knowledge you have available to conceive and produce engaging content for your clientele. 

 

An All-Inclusive Array of Utilities

Nearly all email service providers offer analytics included at no cost. That means once you start email marketing, you will have the initial tools freely at your disposal. One email and you’re off! Okay, it isn’t quite that simple. You will need a second email to compare with the first one. And a third email after that, and so on. 

While you can use a complementary analytics program, some may choose to splurge on something more comprehensive. Don’t feel pressured to pay crazy fees just to view your data. Unless you are a multinational corporation or you are researching something excessively specific, it is very unlikely that you will need to email pay for analytics. But whether you choose a free or paid service, once you start measuring, you’re ready to go!

 

The Key to Successful Marketing

Certain metrics called KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are considered essential to marketing analytics. Any campaign (digital or otherwise), any website, tv show, or product that is delivered to consumers has specific KPIs used to measure success. In many cases, specifically product marketing, product sales themselves are a common KPI. Comparing overall sales growth this year to last, for example, might give you an idea whether your advertising is working. It’s valuable information, useful to any retailer.

Email marketing is no different. There are main KPIs you want to look at, no matter where you are in your marketing journey. Check out the list below for an informative look at common, crucial, and unexpectedly consequential performance measurements.

 

Key Performance Indicators 

Open Rate: The percentage of individual emails opened.

Why is it important? ‘Cause you want people to open your emails of course! When someone opens your email, it might indicate a legitimate open; an action taken out of genuine interest from your subscriber. On the other hand, the open may be a mistake. Or perhaps they simply wanted to remove the unread email notification. 

That being said, if a subscriber does open your email, it is a (potential) indication that you’re on the right track. For example, subscribers may be opening your emails because of the sender name (ie. you or your business), which they correlate with your reputation or the relationship you’ve built with them. Or perhaps your subject line was so interesting, they couldn’t help but open! Either way, a high Open Rate is the desired outcome.

Clickthrough Rate: The percentage of individual subscribers that open links in the body of an email. 

This measurement is the simplest way to track the success of an email, given its basis on subscriber interaction. Unlike Open Rate, which only indicates whether or not an email was opened, CTR tracks user engagement. 

As noted in the above definition, anyone might open your email, but if they aren’t engaging with it, the open may be irrelevant. Again, it could be a mistake or the act of marking an email as “read”. Or perhaps they really read your email all the way through, but couldn’t find anything of interest. If they’re clicking though, that indicates that your content is compelling and ultimately reaching the right people.

Click-To-Open Rate: The percentage of emails that are both opened and clicked-through.

This metric measures the rate at which subscribers both open and click links and CTAs in your email body. A high CTOR illustrates the success of both the subject line and content of an email. 

If subscribers open your email, but don’t click the links? Either the open was a mistake, the content didn’t resonate, or the offers and CTAs did not appeal to your subscribers. And if your Clickthrough Rate is high but your Open Rate is low? It’s likely that your subject line did not land.

Conversion Rate: The percentage of subscribers that follow through on an email’s Call-To-Action.

One of the fundamental purposes of email marketing is converting leads. A lead is any individual that has the potential to become a future customer or client. Whether you are marketing a product for purchase or providing subscribers with a How-To Guide, the action of clicking your CTA, and subsequently following through with your request, increases your Conversion Rate.

Tracking your Conversion Rate is absolutely vital, as it directly informs you whether or not your subscribers are engaging and interacting with your emails. Additionally, noting which CTAs convert will inform you which offers and content most appeal to your audience. 

Bounce Rate: The percentage of emails that cannot be delivered.

If your emails are bouncing, they aren’t being delivered. And if emails aren’t being delivered? Something is wrong! A bounce, in email marketing, is when an email has been sent but not delivered, due to one of a number of different circumstances. These circumstances fall under two categories: Soft and Hard.

A Soft Bounce means that the email is temporarily undeliverable, generally due to a full inbox or server issues. A Hard Bounce means that the subscriber email does not exist. This may indicate that an email is out-of-service, misspelled, or fake. As internet users (as a whole) change, create, and close email addresses so often, keeping your list up-to-date is imperative. In fact, subscriber lists degrade annually by over 22.5% on average. It is essential that you remove these bounced addresses from your subscriber list. Otherwise, they can affect Deliverability.

Deliverability: A score out of 100 that rates the value of an email based on a sender’s reputation.

While it may just seem like another term for Bounce Rate, since both metrics measure whether or not emails are delivered, it is actually something different altogether, albeit, not separate. As noted above, a high Bounce Rate indicates that emails are not being successfully delivered. Internet Service Providers monitor email behaviour and track bounces. A higher Bounce Rate docks you points, lowering your reputation, which may send your emails directly to a subscriber’s junk mail folder.

Other tracked factors that might lower your score? Irrelevant content, poor grammar and spelling, fake or pushy sales, inbox inundation, and anything else that resembles email spam. And of course, emails that are intentionally marked as spam by recipients (see below) have a huge impact on your Deliverability rating.

Subscriber List Growth Rate: The percentage by which your subscriber list grows over time.

While it is a self-explanatory definition, this metric is integral to long-term marketing research, measuring your overall success over a specific period of time. Essentially, you want your list to grow continuously, but it’s a matter of quality over quantity. A large list seems great, but a bunch of bounced emails and fake addresses won’t lead to any conversions. 

List Growth isn’t a straight line either. While an increase reflects positively on you and your content, external factors like time or location ought to be taken into consideration. For example, a personal trainer may see a large increase in subscribers in January due to New Year’s fitness resolutions, while in March that list may dwindle (once we realise that we’d rather eat crisps on the couch than hit the gym). In this case, your numbers may drop, but even a negative change in rate allows you to observe user behaviour and engagement. In turn? You have a better understanding of your audience.

Unsubscribe Rate: The percentage of individual subscribers that have ceased their subscription.

This metric is key, as it is the biggest indicator that something is wrong. If people are actively unsubscribing from your list, especially all at once, it is imperative to discover the cause. Is it poorly written content? Useless offers and irrelevant information? Excessive email blasts? Or perhaps you said something controversial or negative that struck a chord with your audience. 

Whatever the reason, unsubscribes are unavoidable. Knowing you audience, optimising your content, testing email performance, and reviewing your data will help you maintain subscribers and increase List Growth.

Spam Complaint Rate: The percentage of spam complaints received, per email.

Ideally, you want your Spam Complaint Rate to be zero. While that is possible, it definitely isn’t probable. There will always be someone that finds your once-a-week emails just too much, or forgets they signed up, only to be shocked when their inbox is speckled with a plethora of online shopping promos. 

That being said, if you’re finding that complaints are up, it’s worth investigating. Did you promise readers one thing, then provide something unrelated? Did you offer something free, only to charge down the line? Or have you added addresses to your list without express permission? Don’t forget: That is illegal! And while you might not end up in jail, it is considered bad practice and can get you blacklisted.

The best way to avoid complaints? Transparency. Give subscribers what they expect, on top of what they want.

 

Ready To Start?

While the list above isn’t comprehensive, it puts the “key” in Key Performance Indicator. Tracking these metrics is of benefit to any business, large or small. And when the necessary tools are provided (read: free!), why wouldn’t you? Get tracking!

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A mini guide to email marketing

A mini guide to email marketing

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Let’s Start Off with the Basics

 

There are so many amazing how-to and reference guides on email marketing. Whether you’re just starting out or simply need some clarification, having that kind of resource is invaluable! These guides are extensive, which is a positive in the long run, but what if you just want the basics? Sometimes you just want a quick bite-sized answer to your question. 

 

This mini-guide will provide you with all the basics of email marketing, in a short-form format for easy digestion. And if you’re looking for a full how-to? Well have I got some great resources for you!



Parts Of The Email

 

Email marketing has a formula. With personal mail you can do as you like; send a block of text, fill your content with emojis, or forget the sub-topics line. In marketing however, every email you send is made up of absolutely integral parts, specially curated to appeal to your audience and convert readers into leads.

 

So what makes up a marketing email? We might know what a subject line is, but why is it important? What the heck is a lead magnet? Check out the index below for a full rundown of key email components, from top to bottom.

 

Sender Name

 

The name or pseudonym of the sender of an email.

 

Pretty self-explanatory. This is the name people see in their inbox when they receive an email. Often a senders first name, it can include individuals or groups (businesses, associations, clubs, etc.). While it may not seem as important as the content itself, choosing the right Sender Name makes a difference.

 

Using your companies full name has its benefits as it clearly states who you are and confirms your credibility. On the other hand, sending emails from the desk of a real person within your organisation provides a personal touch and an authenticity that appeals to some audiences. A/B testing (see below) will allow you to find which method best represents you and your business.

 

Subject Line

 

Text describing the contents of an email. Often shortened in your inbox preview to save space.

 

This is the first point of reference regarding the content of an email. Aside from the sender, the subject line is the first thing people look for when judging the value of an email. And judgement can happen in a split-second, so it’s integral to optimize your subject line.

 

It should be clear in its purpose. That means no clickbait or dishonest marketing. While a bit of mystery in a subject line has its place, promising an audience one thing and directing them to another is frowned upon.

 

Your subject line should also be captivating. While it is only a preview of the content, it should compel people to open and read your email. This can be tricky, as you only have so much space. Try for something that is punchy and concise, but be sure it gets the message across.

 

Tip: When appropriate, personalise your subject line with each subscriber’s name to boost open rates.

 

Lead

 

A potential customer or client who has subscribed to your email list.

 

When someone subscribes to your email list, it is the beginning of a relationship, with equal give and take. You provide information, offers, and other desirable content (Lead Magnets) in exchange for their prospective patronage.

 

Lead Magnet

 

A marketing tool in which you supply subscribers desirable content in exchange for their contact information. 

 

It isn’t as nefarious as it sounds! It’s part of the relationship you’re building. Your readers subscribed to your list for a reason, and you are giving them content they expect, paired with the offer of something they may want. It isn’t pushy or demanding; it’s up to the reader to decide if they are interested. 

 

Whatever you offer, it should be true to you, your business, and your brand. Don’t try to push something that isn’t related to the products and services you offer. Make it relevant to your readers. Provide something they can use; something that offers a solution or improves their life. And don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you offer something, and you don’t deliver – well that’s just poor practice!

 

An example of effective lead magnets:

  • Ebooks
  • Guides
  • Resource Lists
  • Videos
  • Workbooks
  • Checklists
  • Templates

 

Check out Christina Perricone’s ultimate email marketing guide and Kevin McGrath’s comprehensive lead magnet list for a more in-depth look at various lead magnets.

 

Body Copy

 

The main content of an email. 

 

Engaging copy is key to any email marketing campaign. The body of your email should convey your message or offer clearly and succinctly. It is integral that your content is relevant and enticing. If your readers don’t find it interesting, they may unsubscribe.

 

Images

 

The visual content of an email. 

 

Again, pretty self-explanatory. Choosing exciting, eye-catching images is to your benefit, but make sure they are relevant to the written content. If you have an offer or want to promote a product, choose photos of the products specifically. 

 

Very important: only use photos you own or have the rights to. And be sure to give credit! Even if the content isn’t being published on your site, if you use it, follow the regulations. That way, everyone wins!

 

Call-To-Action

 

An appeal of engagement from your readers.

 

Essentially, it’s a small bit of text paired with a button, link, or form that asks readers to take the next step in the relationship. It can be something as simple as a subscribe button. You are requesting action on their part in exchange for something valuable. The action might be anything from visiting your website, to downloading your ebook, to signing up for a course. 

 

What you offer in exchange can vary greatly. It could be valuable information, exclusive membership, a free trial, or a discount on products or services, just to name a few. 

 

For an fun list of effective CTAs, check out this extensive selection compiled by Brittany Leaning.

 

Unsubscribe 

 

A link or button that removes a reader from your subscribe list.

 

Unsubscribing should be easy for your readers. Trying to make it difficult so people can’t leave will only cause frustration and hurt your credibility. Having a clear link or button at the bottom of your email is always a best practice.

 

One big benefit of including the button? You can track when people unsubscribe. This allows you to monitor which campaigns work and which content turns peoples away.



Three Key Email Marketing Practices

 

While each of the following practices stands on its own as an important part of email marketing, they all work together, each one functioning best when combined with the others.

 

  1. Segmentation

 

The practice of separating your subscriber list into different categories, each of which receives specific content. This is the best way to ensue you are sending the right information to the right people, helping you cater further to your audience.  

 

There are numerous factors to take into consideration when deciding how to segment your list and looking at your analytics can help you find the best option. Demographics like age and gender are a good place to start, but really diving deep into your data so you understand your readers is integral.

 

So what else should you be looking at?






Take a peek at Jordie die van Rijn’s blog for a detailed look at the ins and outs of segmentation.

 

  1. Automation

 

As you would expect, it is the process of automating the delivery of emails. But there’s more to it than that! 

 

It isn’t simply a matter of scheduling an email to be sent at an exact time. While that is a benefit, as you can batch-produce and schedule emails months in advance, automation allows for drip campaigns – a marketing campaign that auto-responds to a subscriber after a specific action triggers it to start. 

 

Automation also works concurrently with segmentation. After dividing your list into groups, you are able to automate specific emails, newsletters, and drip campaigns for those designated groups only. This prevents the inundation of your subscribers inboxes with extraneous content.

 

An added bonus? It really does save you time!

 

  1. Personalisation

 

The practice of customising emails to each of your individual subscribers. While this may seem time-consuming, it is actually relatively simple. A lot of the work necessary for personalisation is done through automation and segmentation. 

 

With automation, you can set every email to be addressed to the name given to you by each given subscriber, instead of their email address or a general “Hello!”. 

 

With segmentation, you can personalise the content of a campaign to the interests and demographics of each given segment. For example, if you have subscribers from all over the world, it could benefit you to customise the content to their location. And don’t forget to personalise the subject line! 

 

A fun bonus? Christina Perricone suggests adding your own signature to sign off each email. That way, you readers know there’s a real human being behind the screen, providing a more personable experience!



Consider Your Analytics

 

Tracking you campaigns is essential to understanding what works best for you. Fortunately, most email service providers include analytics. This allows you to learn about your subscribers. Which demographics enjoy what content? Who gravitates towards one lead magnet over another? What kind of people make up your most engaged readers? So many questions! Thankfully, metrics have the answer!

 

There are two main ways to measure your success: Performance Analytics and A/B Testing. The first focuses on the overall success of your campaigns, while the second compares two similar emails that present differently.

 

Performance Analytics

 

Usually just called Analytics, this is the system that tracks and measures all of your emails, whether a simple welcome email or a full-blown campaign.

 

Knowing exactly how people are interacting with your emails is invaluable. From the first email they open, to any time they click on a CTA, your analytics tracks user behaviour to provide you with data you can use to improve your email content and structure. This is of benefit to both you and your readers, as it allows you deliver the content your readers want.

 

What sort of metrics should you be tracking? Some important ones include:

 

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Unique opens by time or location
  • Conversion rate

 

And that is just to name a few! While it can take a bit of time and energy, understanding what works and what doesn’t is integral. And if numbers just don’t click for you, hiring an email marketing professional can be a good investment.

 

Another benefit provided by analytics? You can learn which content resonates with which demographics and tailor your content to those groups through segmentation and personalisation.

 

A/B Testing

 

A form of comparative testing that deduces which of two options performs better with your audience.

 

Put your lab coat on, it’s time for an experiment! While you do have to follow a system, it isn’t quite as complicated as it sounds. A/B testing is simply the comparison of two similar emails with a solitary difference. The purpose of the test is to deduce which email performs best with the observed audience. You can A/B test all parts of your email, from subject line, to colour, to layout, to delivery time, and more. 

 

Much like with any form of research, you are required to have a solid research question, based on testing one sole component of your email at a time. After randomly dividing members of your subscriber list into two equal sections, send Version A to one group, and Version B to the other. Once the results are in, you can compare the data and improve your email marketing based on user preference.

 

Want to delve deeper into email marketing analytics? Check out FulcrumTech’s Email Optimization Guide.



A Little And A Lot

 

Whew, that was more than I thought! And that is just the basics! Considering that this is a whittled-down version, it’s no wonder that email marketing can seem like a behemoth from the outside. But it is a totally tameable animal! Just start with baby-steps, learn the lingo, and begin your journey!

 

Don’t forget to check out the resources provided. If you want to read more, check out these informative (and awesome!) digital experts:

 

 

And hey, if you’d like to get more helpful guides and notes from me now and again, you can sign up for my email list a little further down the page 🙂 see you there!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

The value of email marketing

The value of email marketing

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Speed, efficiency, ease, and impact; email marketing has it all! Not to sound like a salesperson straight off the bat, but when it comes to a tool this useful, it can’t be undervalued. Digital marketing has overtaken traditional marketing as the most profitable and efficient method of promotion, and a large portion of this comes directly from e-mail marketing.

But what makes email marketing so great?

 

Spread Your Message

 

 


Well, for one, it allows you to communicate with the masses. In 2019, research found that over half of the world’s population was using email; a number expected to grow to over 4.3 billion in four years. With so many people online, your audience pool is immense. Email allows you to share information, promote products and services, and communicate with the public on a massive scale; an opportunity that, honestly, is invaluable.

That being said, a substantial email list is only productive if you’re reaching the right people.You’ve heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder”. Building your subscriber list follows this principle. You want quality over quantity. Acquiring a large number of subscribers might seem like a positive, but if they aren’t engaging, it’s a fruitless endeavour. Sending information to readers who couldn’t care less won’t benefit your business. Not only are you wasting your own time and energy, but it can greatly skew your analytics. 

 

Subsequently, if you have a large list, but your emails keep bouncing, this can imply several things. On one hand, your emails may not be reaching their intended targets due to spelling errors or an obsolete address. On the other? You may have been blocked! It is fundamental that your list consists solely of subscribers that want to be contacted. In fact, in many countries there are regulations put in place to prevent companies from subscribing people without their consent. 

 

As long as you are following regulations and not contacting people with unwanted spam, email marketing hits the mark. The long and short of it? Email works, so make it work for you!



Pick Your Pie

 

Or rather, know your audience! Once you have developed a streamlined subscriber list, it’s important to tailor your emails. This can be done through segmentation, an integral aspect of quality email marketing. Segmenting allows you to customise emails, sending relevant content only to those interested in said content. Through the use of analytics, you are able to learn what content intrigues which readers, what topics different groups engage with, and what content can be reworked or removed altogether. Some programs, such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, have their own built-in analytics feature, but other CRM tools such as HubSpot work just as well. 

 

Why is it so important to segment? Picture a pie! Let’s say it’s apple, fresh out of the oven and ready to eat. You slice it up, ready to serve, but not everyone wants apple pie. Some people prefer cherry. Others, pumpkin. How can you satisfy everyone if you only offer one kind of pie? 

 

While it may take some time, by knowing your audience and their preferences, you can learn which pies to bake, or rather, which content to send to whom. Whether you base your segments on interest, engagement, location, or another characteristic, knowing your demographics is integral. What’s more? With email marketing, not only can you segment your emails to reach specific audiences, but you can automate the process. Producing targeted campaigns and implementing automated correspondence saves you time, money, and energy. Get the baking out of the way, automate, and send your readers exactly what they want, when they want it, one slice at a time.



Control Your Costs

 

Like other forms of digital marketing, email marketing can offer an inexpensive, yet profitable form of promotion at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. TV and print ads can run a high bill and may not have the same reach as email marketing, both in terms of numbers and specifics. In fact, in 2019 the ROI on email marketing surpassed all other forms of online marketing methods.

 

 

Even if you decide to contract out marketing and communications, you are still likely to save on cost, and certainly on time and energy. It reduces employee hours and labour, not to mention extra costs related to paper (in the case of print media) while concurrently lowering your environmental footprint. For small businesses, especially those with a lower budget, investing in email marketing just makes sense. 



Measure Your Results

 

Another advantage offered by email marketing is the ability to measure results. Other methods are measurable as well, but obtaining concrete, useful insights can prove difficult. Depending on your alternative of choice, whether it is a television ads or a print piece, data is often estimated. This does not mean it is totally invalid, but it may not be entirely accurate either. 

 

No matter the platform you use, email marketing generally allows for accessible, accurate analytics, often in real-time. As mentioned above, some platforms work in unison with outside insight analytics programs, whereas others have built in analytics, allowing for absolute ease. Either way, they deliver veritable results and useful insights, not to mention detailed information on a variety of select demographics; something traditional media can only estimate. This allows for the aforementioned segmentation and customisation. 

 

Why is this so useful? It allows you to deduce which email marketing practices are the most productive and which you might need to drop. You can find out which campaigns work best, what time people open their emails, and who clicks on what. Which leads convert your readers from curious to customer? Is your CTA effective? And what can you do to improve? No matter your question, there is a high likelihood your analytics can provide an answer. 

 

Confused about which analytics are worth noting? Check out these need-to-know metrics and find out why they are indispensable to your marketing campaign!

 

Get Started

 

I cannot stress enough how valuable email marketing can be! It allows you to communicate clearly and concisely with customers and clients worldwide, using the most productive marketing tactics, without breaking your budget. It is both far-reaching and personal. The opportunity to measure results means the opportunity to constantly improve. 

 

Want to learn more about the basics of email marketing? Hang tight for my upcoming blog, giving you a full run-down of campaigns necessities!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Why does your small business need a website?

Why does your small business need a website?

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Congratulations, you’ve started a small business! After careful consideration, planning, and budgeting, the time and energy, blood, sweat, and tears, all your hard work has paid off! Whether you’re a local coffee shop, a boutique recording studio, or a swim school for babies, you did it. You are now a proud business owner! So what comes next? 

 

Seriously, What’s Next? 

Chances are, if you’re opening a small business, you’ve already thought about a website. And why not? Every other business seems to have one. But, no doubt, you have concerns. Between the time, the cost, the energy, and the risk, is it even worth it? 

In short? Yes. 

There are numerous reasons why a website is integral to a small business, and the pros far outweigh the cons. But what exactly tips the scale? 

 

Everyone Is Online 

Of course not everyone! But a majority of the planet uses the internet in some capacity. A 2016 study noted that 92.6% of the UK population is online. That means there are many eyes that might view your business; eyes belonging to potential customers and clients. 

And while time online is largely spent streaming, surfing, of scrolling, many spend it researching products and services. In the past, most ads were on TV or in print, but a majority are now delivered online. Although this can be in the form of pop-ups, banners, and pre-video YouTube ads, a notable portion comes through content marketing. (Want to learn more about content marketing? Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered!

Whereas in the past a storefront would suffice, the modern client seeks the convenience of a website. No need for endless trips to the shops, as customers can now research products from home. 

The addition of an online shop increases your marketplace presence and, in turn, can lead to an increase in sales, growing both your local and global customer base. An extra point of importance? It offers accessibility to those who may not be able to shop in-person. 

 

Too Legit To Quit 

Studies upon studies have shown that people are more likely to trust a business with a website, and for good reason. The opportunity to learn about a business before buying its products or using its services is both a luxury and a utility not offered by those without websites. It offers a degree of legitimacy too, proving that your business is real and trustworthy. It shows that you are willing to put time, money, and effort into a tool which will benefit both client and company alike. What’s more? It’s expected! Many customers won’t even consider a business without a website. 

A reputable business will have a reputable site. This means that the site is well-designed, easy to navigate, and free of errors. For the same reason a customer may avoid a restaurant that, through the window, looks less than stellar, a customer may avoid a poorly designed website. In this way, a website acts as a window into your business. It is your storefront, your business card, your office, all in one. 

Moreover? It’s a first impression! Research from Stanford shows that 75% of internet users will judge a business on its website. In fact, it only takes 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for users to make a decision about your website. And if they judge it poorly? They will bounce! 

While not having a website is a missed marketing opportunity, having a bad website can be just as detrimental. The solution? Learn some design basics yourself or hire a reputable web design firm to help your create the perfect site for your small business. 

 

But What About The Cost? 

Business requires investment. Whether it is a small business or a large corporation, a certain amount of time, energy, and yes, funding, goes into it. Like any business venture, the creation and upkeep of a website will cost you. There are costs for domains, hosting, and web-building, along with maintenance and incidentals. And if you hire an outside source to design, build, and maintain your website? While a good idea (more on that ahead!), it can definitely put a dent in your budget. So what is the point if it’s going to bleed you dry?!? 

Like other investments, there is always a risk. This risk, however, is worth taking! A small business with a website is much more likely to experience revenue growth, compared to one without. This is especially true when it comes to retail. Worldwide, ecommerce is predicted to grow 19% in 2020. As online retail continues to grow, brick and mortar stores are feeling the effects, as the cost of building a website vs. the cost of renting a storefront is considerable. 

That isn’t to say there is no value in a real-life shop, but the investment in a website can double your marketplace reach, and in turn, your profit. In 2019, 18% of all retail sales in the UK came from ecommerce, a number that is growing steadily every year. If 18% really doesn’t seem like that much, consider the impact of online research on in-store purchases. 

But it isn’t just retail that benefits from online sales. Perhaps your small business offers services as opposed to products. Anything from counselling services, to wedding bands, to web design can benefit from a website. In fact, some businesses don’t even have a physical location, as many careers allow one to work from home. In this case, a website works to present and promote your services in a concrete way. 

While word of mouth is integral to the promotion of small businesses, much of that “word” is written, with links being shared by satisfied customers and clients, not to mention the advent of online reviews and testimonials. As mentioned above, a staggering proportion of people start online to research products and services. Having a website available increases the visibility of your business, directing potential customers and clients your way (whether you have a physical location or not). 

As an additional point, there are often higher costs behind traditional marketing. Whether you are mailing out flyers, buying business cards, or promoting your business on TV, marketing is going to cost you. 

A website can deliver all of those; it is at once a business card, a Yellow Pages ad, and a flyer (if we include email marketing). And while some situations call for more traditional methods of advertising, those are often paired with a website. 

 

Why Can’t I Just Use Facebook? 

You could. Unfortunately, social media just doesn’t cut it. While a platform like Facebook has its benefits, it does not have the authority of a website. It feels less professional and less credible. Anyone can make a Facebook page, and while the content may be unique, they all follow the same template. This means you cannot customise or personalise to suit your brand. And Facebook only reaches a specific audience. The same can be said of any other social media platform. It may complement your website, but it should not be your priority. 

 

Time Is Not On My Side! 

Building a website, especially a good one, takes time. Between the design, the copy, the construction, and all the other little details, it can be notably time-consuming. And that isn’t even including maintenance, updates, and all the other behind-the-scenes work required to keep a website running. 

As a small business owner, adding in these extra hours may not be an option, but there are ways around that. Consider working with another small business to create and maintain your website for you. While it is an extra cost, partnering with another small business provides you with the website, saves you time, and supports a fellow entrepreneur. I may even have a great recommendation for a reputable web designer with experience in designing for small business. 😉

 

Hiring a small business to conceive and implement your marketing plan, create your content, or keep you organised can also be of benefit! Here are some great links if you’re looking for a Virtual Assistant or copywriter.



Up Your Game 

In today’s modern age, the lack of a website can be a huge detriment to your small business. To really make a name for yourself as a reputable company, a website is expected. It’s the easiest way to present your products and services, prices and rates, and contact information, all in one place. Your customers and clients anticipate that the information the need will be available online, so make it so! 

Yes, there are costs. Yes, there are risks. But it’s a risk worth taking. 

For more information on the web design services I offer, check out my services page and see what I can do for you!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Why is it better to send people to your website rather than your social media profile?

Why is it better to send people to your website rather than your social media profile?

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If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know that I always say you shouldn’t let not having a website hold you back from launching your business and getting yourself out there. It’s seriously one of the biggest excuses people use as to why they’re not going all in on their dream biz…

‘Oh yeah, it’s fun, I’ve been in business for a year and a half but I still don’t even have a website, so….!’ (sound familiar?!). 

So in the meantime, if you can’t afford to invest in a website, it’s great to start with social media and use that for building your brand, doing market research, collaborating with others, finding amazing communities, etc. 

But once you know your audience, your offer and are solid with your branding, having your own website is so much better than running your business solely on social media. Why, though?! 



How using your own website rather than relying on social media helps elevate your brand 

I promise this isn’t just another thing to add to the looooooong list of things to do that you carry around when you first launch your business. There’s enough things on there already! And if you aren’t quite ready to invest in your own website yet, this can be some food for thought that will help you know when you are ready to start looking for the best web designer to collaborate with.

 

1. You own it.

You may run your own social media pages, but you don’t own the platforms. Your accounts could get suspended, you could get locked out, they could shut down. The last one is maybe not highly likely, but still…you get the picture, right? You’re renting your space on social media platforms. 

Don’t you think it’s more secure to build your business’s online home on your own website, where you’re running the whole show?! You own all of your content, you call the shots, nothing changes without your permission. It’s all you!

 

2. It looks exactly how you want it to look.

Instead of trying to customise your own page or profile on social media so that it looks how you’d like it to as much as possible, it will still in the end look just like Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, etc. Because that is the platform you’re on. 

With your own website, every single part of it can look exactly how you’d like it to. This is even more the case if you have your branding done already or a really clear idea of what you would like your site to look like.

This even goes for things such as using Linktree in your instagram bio. Do you really want to have Linktree’s branding there when you’re trying to use it as your landing page?! Not really! What’s 100 times better?… using a page on your own website specifically for this so that you have only your own branding. This helps remind people who you are and keep them 100% clear about who’s website they’re on.



3. There’s no competition.

Do you want to constantly try and stand out on a platform with tons of other people doing the same thing as you? Or is it getting a little hard to stand out?

On your own website, you’re the star of the show. There’s no one else there competing for attention. It’s all about you!

You can have your website be more photo based, text based, include a blog, previous work, upcoming events…really, whatever you want. So rather than trying to shoehorn your business into a platform that may not necessarily be the best for showing what you do, on your own website you can show off exactly how you like and in a way that puts you in the best light. Minus everyone else that’s in the same niche on social media platforms who’s trying to do the same.



Having your own website lets you run the show

These are just a few reasons why having a website to show off your brand is better than using only social media.

So much work goes into preparation before the actual site build, and that can all be made much simpler when you’ve been in business long enough to be really clear on your branding, ideal client and goals. Bringing all of that to the table will give you a website you really love that truly represents who you are and what you do, which will make you even happier with your investment.

How about you? Do you only use social media to run your business, or do you have a website?

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Does good web design really help build brand credibility?

Does good web design really help build brand credibility?

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There are many reasons you need an awesomely designed, well thought out website to really help get your brand out there and spread your message. People are so quick these days to bounce away from your site if it doesn’t immediately grab their attention, and it takes them quite a few visits to your site to decide whether they’ll spend their hard earned money with you or not.

 

Not only do you need to grab people’s attention quickly, but you need a website that truly shows your brands essence and properly conveys how you can help your people.

 

Think about it; how often have you judged a brand by their website? Did you decide whether or not you would contact them, book them, visit their site again based on what their site looked like?

 

I think people make this snap decision based on a site’s design more than they actually realise they’re doing it. Personally, I often find a new brand on social media. If they seem interesting or like something I need, I’ll head to their website or Google them. If they sell a product on something like Etsy that’s brilliant, but I like an actual website so I can learn more about them, what sets them apart, how they got started, etc. If I take the time to Google them or look them up and they have no website at all, chances are I’ll forget they exist.

 

So does great web design really make a difference to how your brand is perceived?

 

I understood in principle how important great web design is, but recently found myself in a situation where it became very clear to me exactly how important good web design is to help build brand credibility. 

 

As well as my web design, I’m also a musician and have been for most of my life. I play folk music and have a BA in Scottish Music from the RCS in Glasgow. I’ve performed, recorded, gigged and taught music for over 20 years now, but launched a new brand for my online music lessons (Modern Bodhrán) nearly one year ago. So; not very long ago!

 

I really wanted to get back into teaching again after taking a break for a few years following the birth of my older son; I taught extensively around Glasgow for about 8 years and really loved it. Late last year, I decided to launch some online music courses so I could still teach in a way that worked for me and would allow people from all over the world to learn how to play. Luckily, my husband is a recording engineer and has also just started making music videos so we set up at the studio where he works, recorded and filmed 30 lessons, I built my own website, and I launched! It was such a great learning experience and I’m loving being able to connect with people in a different way like this.

 

I wanted everything to be very high quality and to look good, but I hadn’t thought that much more into how having my videos and website done to such a high quality level would really speak to the general perception of my brand.

 

What was the general impression of my brand?

 

I won’t pretend I’ve launchd and made 6 figures my first year promoting and putting everything into my courses. At this point it’s fun, I’ve got a great group of people who love the courses, it’s enjoyable and very rewarding! In the beginning, I never really thought further of how my brand was perceived by people even though I had people buying the courses without me really marketing them too much.

 

I should also note, while I love what I do and have been doing it for many years and I know I’m good at what I do, it’s not like I’m ‘known’ on the scene and everyone was excited to see my courses come out and rushed off to buy them. 

 

Generally though, the impression of my very new brand was that it had been around for way longer than it actually was. And it turns out, most of this was due to the quality of the website’s design when I launched.

 

Great web design builds trust in your brand

 

The first lesson here is trust: if you have a solid and credible online presence with your website and digital marketing, you will be much easier to trust. Do you think people will want to put their credit card details on a website that looks really old school, isn’t mobile optimised and doesn’t have an SSL certificate? I don’t think so. They likely won’t even enquire about what you’re offering; they’ll just leave your site.

 

When people come to your site and it doesn’t look very good, doesn’t work on their mobiles and is hard to navigate, it gives the impression that you don’t care. Do you want to work with someone who you think won’t really care about you? I doubt it.

 

If you truly want to serve people and share what you have to offer because your work can change their lives, you need to show them that you believe in what you offer, that you care enough to invest in yourself, and that you’ll look after them that well too. If you can’t believe in and invest in yourself, why should anyone else?

 

Great web design builds credibility

 

As much as it would be nice if you had time to get to know people and for them to learn more about your brand, people make snap judgements and don’t have the time to spend forever trying to navigate your website or figure out what you do. There is such an overwhelm of new content, new websites, new businesses, and new products these days; people can’t consume everything that comes across their paths. 

 

The first time I realised my website really spoke to my brands credibility was when I got an email from a lovely player in Germany who wanted to know if I’d ever thought of translating my lessons into German. She thought there was space for me to do really well in Germany if my lessons were translated so that they would be more accessible for people based there to use them.

 

After much discussion, I eventually decided that it wasn’t quite the right time to translate them into other languages yet, mainly as my brand is so new and I feel my time would be better spent in other areas of that brand before starting to offer them in different languages. After all, they’ve been out for less than a year!

 

When I explained I felt the timing wasn’t quite right and I had other ideas I felt would be better explored first since my lessons were so new, she was really surprised; she thought my lessons had been online for at least ten years.

 

The quality of my website and the videos we’d produced were so good, it gave the impression that I had been online and developing them for years.

 

Invest in your web design to build trust and credibility in your brand

 

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know I often say you shouldn’t stop yourself from launching your dream business just because you don’t have the budget to have a website designed. In fact, I think that’s a really common excuse that a lot of people use not to put themselves out there. Investing in a web designer already feels like a big step, never mind dealing with all those beliefs around how scary it feels to put that money behind your own brand and put yourself out there!

 

Taking that step to getting a beautifully designed and well thought out website will go a huge way to building your brand credibility and gaining trust from your followers. Don’t you want people to feel they’d be in good hands with you when they come across your website? 

 

You’re putting yourself out there and have something amazing to offer the world; helping people take that step to investing with you by making them feel sure they can trust you is something you can easily do if your website is up to par.

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

Why is it important to spread out your SEO efforts?

Why is it important to spread out your SEO efforts?

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SEO is a long game. It’s a tool meant to help you reach both qualitative and quantitative web traffic goals. As with any goal, reaching traffic targets takes time, focus, and effort; you can’t just publish a website and be done with it! But there’s more to it than adding keywords to a list.

It isn’t a one-time thing, but an ongoing process that will make your site more visible to your target audience and deliver relevant, high-value traffic to your website. Here are some tips and tricks to improve your SEO game, no matter how you play!

 

Update Frequently

While there are many different methods to increase the visibility of your website, some overarching practices benefit any SEO plan. Updates attract web crawlers that track, review, and analyze your site.

Frequent updates mean frequent tracking. The key here? Ensure the updates are necessary and relevant. Simply updating for the sake of updating may attract web crawlers, but if the content isn’t pertinent to your website, the update may be treated as negative, you may be penalized, and your search ranking lowered.

As long as the updates are relevant and high-quality, they will be counted as a positive vote towards your website, raising your ranking, which, in turn, increases your visibility!

 

 

Be Natural

There are lots of “quick-fixes” you can try to raise your search engine rank. Keyword stuffing, link farming, the aforementioned irrelevant updates, and many other practices can boost your rank quickly, but often go against search engine guidelines.

Basically, anything considered Black Hat SEO should be avoided. Again, if it’s caught by a web crawler, your website will be penalized and your search ranking lowered. 

Bot-run SEO is considered Black Hat. SEO requires real work and bots are an easy way out. Google prefers updates done by humans as there is a level of legitimacy to them. While web crawlers rank human-managed websites positively, crawlers aren’t always accurate. If you do all your SEO at once, it could be misanalyzed as “unnatural”, lowering your rank. A well-planned timeline of relevant updates not only keeps you organized, but signals to Google that a real person is behind them.

 

Give It Time

Reaching goals takes time. You have to constantly work at it. Whether it’s running a marathon, saving for purchase, or playing the bodhran, there is no immediate payoff. You have to train for a marathon, savings add up slowly, and learning an instrument requires practice. In each case, you have to put systems in place to help you reach the goal. Most importantly? You have to devote time.

The same can be said of SEO. There is a learning process. Different websites require different SEO plans and it may take a few tweaks before your plan works for you. As you edit and update your website, SEO best practices evolve and change. Some things become obsolete.

Digital industries are never static, as new technologies and innovations present themselves. You have to be able to adapt and willing to learn, constantly. Investing time, patience, and effort into achieving measurable goals will benefit your website in the long run.

 

Be Patient

As with most long-term projects, you will have to be patient in order to see the results of your SEO efforts. It may take months or it may take years. It can be discouraging to put so much work into something and not see results right away, but if you’re really investing the time and energy, little by little you’ll get closer to achieving your goals!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

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Definitive Guide To SEO Terms

Definitive Guide To SEO Terms

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Search engine optimization is a beast! It’s integral to your website’s visibility, but it  isn’t just the monumental importance of SEO that makes it so monstrous. The various processes and practices, the software, the algorithms! It’s a lot to think about. With so many moving parts, it’s understandable that SEO can seem intimidating at first. 

So where do you begin? Well, a good place to start learning the language. Understanding the language of SEO is the first step in discerning the purpose behind the myriad of different processes and practices that encompass SEO.

Here is a fun, comprehensive list of common SEO terminology to help you go from confused to crushing the SEO game!

Alt-Text

In it’s simplest form, alt-text is a descriptive text associated with an image. It is one of two attributes of an image included in an IMG Tag. Alt-text has several purposes. It communicates what the image contains to search engines, it gives search engines context about your website using keyword (boosting SEO!) and can act as a stand-in for an image when it cannot display. 

Anchor Text

Anchor text includes any words highlighted within a sentence to feature a link. For example, did you know there is a hyperlink in this sentence? The anchor text is the line “there is a hyperlink”. 

Anchor text is one part of a hyperlink. The other part is the destination anchor.

Backlink

A backlink is any link on another website that link’s back to your website. They are important for high-SEO rankings as credible backlinks boost your visibility. That means the anchor text should read as relevant to the content it links (ie. your homepage, blog, article, etc.)

For example, if I write “Check out Jenna Kutcher’s blog and podcast for a detailed look at SEO”, it creates a backlink to that blog, boosting its SEO ranking. (Bonus points if you thought to yourself, “oh hey, the words “Jenna Kutcher’s blog and podcast” are the anchor text.)

Destination Anchor

Where you arrive on after clicking a hyperlink. All links lead somewhere, whether to another page, another section of a page, or another website altogether.

A destination anchor is one part of a hyperlink. The other part is the anchor text.

DoFollow Link

A link that signals to web crawlers to follow it. When a web crawler follows a DoFollow Link back to your website, they track the link as a vote of quality (also known as Link Juice!). All links are Do-Follow by default unless they are given a NoFollow attribute. 

Domain Name

A name unique to each website. For example, my domain is marissawaitecreative.com.

Duplicate Content

The inclusion of two different pages on your website containing similar content. This can affect SEO ranking negatively, as web crawlers may penalize your website for repeating content. 

Engagement

How visitors interact with your website. High user-engagement, for example, can be considered when visitors actively engage with your website, doing things like exploring your website, clicking on links, reading content, and following calls-to-action. 

Keywords

Keywords are the main descriptive words and phrases related to your website and its content. So, for example, if you created a comprehensive list of important SEO terms, your main keyword might be “SEO terms” or “SEO terminology”.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI) 

A quantitative measurement that expresses how a website is performing. KPIs provide data that serves to ameliorate your website. A common KPI is web traffic, ie. the number of unique visits to your site. Other examples include conversion rate, number of return visitors, number of call-to-action click-throughs, length of time spent on site, etc.

 

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

A process used to define secondary keywords relevant to your content. These are words that occur naturally and often in relation to your main keywords. For example, if your keyword is coffee, LSI terms might include ”bean”, ”mug”, ”latte”, as they are words related to the topic.

Link Building 

Link building is the process through which your website gets backlinks. It can occur naturally/organically, when another website intentionally backlinks to yours, or actively, through deliberate efforts, like publishing content on other sites. 

Meta Description

A short description of a given page, as shown in search engine results. The meta description text should include keywords and be relevant to the page and its content but does not have to be included on the pages itself. If no meta description is specified, the search engine may display a section of content pulled directly from the website instead.

Meta Keyword

A list of your main keywords and key phrases. 

Meta Tags

Meta tags express the purpose of a website to a given search engine. Some examples of meta tags include title, keywords, meta description, etc.

Natural Links/Organic Links

All backlinks your page acquires naturally/organically. When another website links back to your website by their own volition, that backlink is a natural link. 

NoFollow Link

The opposite of a DoFollow Link, a NoFollow Link signals to web crawlers to ignore certain links. This prevents the link from being counted as a vote of quality.

Off-page SEO

Actions taken to improve SEO that are external to your website. Example: link building.

On-page SEO

Actions taken to improve SEO that are internal to your website. Example: keyword quality and density, relevant titles, relevant tags.

Organic Search/Organic Search Results

An organic search is the action of putting a search query into a search engine. Organic Search Results are the first results (excluding ads) that appear. 

Note: ads may appear above Organic Search Results but are not included.

PageRank

A Google algorithm that estimates the value of a given website based on website importance, credibility, and quality.

Sandbox Index/Supplemental Index

A secondary index of websites that are not shown in the main search results. New websites and low ranking websites are placed “in the sandbox” until their SEO rankings are considered worthy of appearing on the main results page.

Search Engine

Software that locates information on the internet through the input of search queries and keywords. Google, for example, is the most popular search engine.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process through which to improve a website’s search ranking. SEO encompasses a vast array of different parts (hopefully made clear by this list) that work to increase ranking. From the use of keywords, to variable tags, to backlinks, and more, SEO is invaluable to increasing the visibility and credibility of your website.

Slug

A slug is a section of the URL of a given page, containing keywords specific to that page. It should be short, sweet, and related to the content. It is used for easy navigation, to categorize the page, and to differentiate it from the original homepage URL.

Title Tag

A tag that expresses a page’s purpose to a given search engine. Simply put, it’s the title presented to a search engine.

Traffic

Traffic is the number of visitors landing on your website. A high-traffic website has a lot of visitors, and while you want your site to have a lot of traffic, other important factors weigh into SEO rankings, such as bounce rate (whether or not a visitor stays or bounces from your site) and engagement.

Web-Crawler

Also known as a bot, crawler, or spider, a web-crawler is a piece of software that reviews web content for a search engine, in order to give the website a search ranking. It explores website’s, reviewing all content, including audio, visual, and text content, keywords, tags, and the various web pages and links related to a website

Web Host

The digital space in which your website is stored. All websites have to be located somewhere (not just inside the computer, Hansel!)

Definitive guide to SEO terms

And there you have it! SEO can seem daunting, but once you’re comfortable with the terminology, you can start moving forward to make your website the best that it can be.   

If you really want to up your SEO game, take a peek at my free SEO for blogging guide here to help get you started!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

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