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


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

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!

A mini guide to email marketing


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.




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.




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!




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.




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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The value of email marketing

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


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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Why does your small business need a 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!

Why does your small business need a website?


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 reach 27% of global commerce by 2027. 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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Why is it better to send people to your website rather than your social media profile?

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?


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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Does good web design really help build brand credibility?

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?


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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Why is it important to spread out your SEO efforts?

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?


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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apple computer, keyboard and notebook on white desk

Definitive Guide To SEO Terms

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!

Definitive Guide To SEO Terms


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!


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.


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

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. 


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 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.


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.


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 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.


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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Why Websites Are About More Than Flashy Design

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 Websites Are About More Than Flashy Design


A well-designed website can be the ultimate tool to support your business. Good design, however, doesn’t always equate to extravagance!

Your website has a purpose, and very rarely is that purpose simply aesthetic. Of course you want your site to be visually appealing, but going overboard on ostentatious details and graphics can do way more harm than good.

The key is to find the balance between form and function, with the latter taking precedence.


Function Comes First

Function, your website’s reason for being (or raison d’être if we’re getting fancy), is what draws people to your page. People seek out sites like yours with a goal in mind. They want a service you offer, a product you sell, a solution to a problem, or information you can provide. But there are many other sites that offer the same thing. With so many options available, why would you delay? Give them what they want first!


Accessibility Is Essential

Think about design in terms of utility. Following conventional paths and patterns may sound boring, but when it comes to websites, user experience should be easy and straightforward. No one will stay on a site they can’t navigate. Too much choice might distract your audience, while a convoluted site structure might confuse them. The steps they take to reach their goal should be accessible. That is, a homepage should work like a homepage, and any navigation bar, drop down menu, or footer should feel effortless to operate. If innovation can be integrated into the function of a site, fantastic! But it needs to have a purpose.


Avoid Excess

Excessive buttons, links, and pop-ups are another issue. While some pop-ups are necessary and sometimes even appreciated (50% off just for signing up? Yes please!), they can also be obnoxious. Unless your audience is fully invested in reading your newsletter or making a purchase, forcing them to view pop-ups can deter a potential reader or customer.

It is extremely important to use restraint when including extras of this nature. The same can be said of links. While your audience should be able to reach every page of your site easily, a hundred different links scattering your homepage looks messy and unprofessional, while an overkill of sub-topics in a drop down menu is confusing. The key word here is streamline!


Restrain The Razzle-Dazzle

Likewise, too much flair can be a detriment. A website of full of flashy colours and graphics may discourage customers, clients, or readers from staying on your site. You want your audience to land, not bounce! A high-bounce rate shows that people aren’t sticking around. While this could be for various reasons, a web design faux-pas could be the culprit! For one, a multicoloured homepage can prove difficult for some to read.

This is where the value of knowing your audience becomes evident. Vibrant colours may draw in a younger market, but if it’s difficult to read, an older audience may skip the site altogether. As an additional point, consider the inclusion of moving visual carefully. Videos can add interest to a homepage and improve you SEO, but a slow- loading clip does nothing for you or your audience. Do your due diligence and research the best platforms before adding a video so it doesn’t leave your audience waiting.


Analyse Your Audience

All that being said, well-designed doesn’t necessarily mean minimalistic. Eye-catching design can be beneficial depending on the kind of products, services, and ideas your website provides. Bold colours, vivid imagery, movement, and animation may be exactly what your website needs.

Again, this is where knowing your audience is integral. What will make the biggest impact? A stark, white homepage might be the exact opposite of the message you want to send. Research your desired market; learn their interests, their concerns, their wants and needs. Really understand who you are catering towards so you can design site to suit them. As long as design doesn’t takes precedence over utility and it helps you reach your goal, go wild!


Authenticity Is Inspiring

If I could offer any piece of advice, it would be this: Don’t design simply for the sake of design. It’s essential that you stay true to who you are. Flash and flair can be fun, and even useful, but if it’s just for the sake of show, it isn’t a good representation of what you can offer. Keep your design genuine and relevant to you and your audience, and you’ll be golden!

If you need help getting the perfect balance of flair and functionality on your website, get in touch with me to have a chat about how I can help you.

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Are You Creating Quality Content To Boost Your SEO?

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!

Are You Creating Quality Content To Boost Your SEO?


Search engines love regularly updated websites. Fresh, relevant content indicates that your site is “alive”, catching the notice of web crawlers. The more frequently a site is updated, the more often it is indexed, which in turn affects its search engine ranking. But excessive updates and an abundance of content mean nothing if the content isn’t high-value. As with many things in life, its a matter of quality over quantity.

What is high-quality content? 

High-quality content is content that is current, relevant, informative, engaging, and valuable to your audience. Keeping these factors in mind when developing content can help you achieve higher search engine rankings and draw more traffic to your website.

It needs to be current.

When it comes to web content, there is little value to be found in redundancy. Following a set format and staying on topic are key to your brand, but recycling old information over and over becomes cumbersome, for reader and writer alike. Your readers want to know what is happening now!

Sharing breaking stories and industry news is a start, as they can be linked to high-traffic sources and include many keywords, both of which can increase site visibility to web-crawlers. Plus, it keeps your readers up-to-date!

But if news isn’t on brand for you, well-researched, topical, timely posts might be more your style. The key is to make it stand out! What new information can your site offer that can’t be found anywhere else? And if it can be found elsewhere, how is your content different? Another big tip to stay current: keep up with best practices!

Challenge: Choose three subjects related to your blog and brainstorm five different blog titles on each topic. That’s 15 opportunities for new content!


It needs to be relevant.

What is your focus? Whatever content you deliver should be relevant to your website, your brand, the services or products you offer, and the information you share. Many of us have looked for recipes online, only to have 50 paragraphs of story to wade through before the actual instructions. If it isn’t the information your audience is seeking, it can be needless.

Making the desired content the main focus allows readers to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. This can build trust with your audience, as you deliver results without all the song and dance. That being said, it’s a sweet way to personalise a blog and connect with readers, if that is in line with your brand. A consistent brand identity is reliable and easy to recognise.

Content should parallel and support your website objectives. Posting for the sake of posting will serve neither you, nor your readers. While it may boost visibility, if the content doesn’t satisfy demands, scrap it!

Challenge: What is your website’s core message? Compare it to past content, old and new. Does it fit with your brand-identity? Write down what works and what doesn’t, what feels genuine, and what was just for a self-imposed word-quota?


It needs to be informative.

Think about what you are presenting. Is it a story? A lesson? A how-to guide? What sort of information are you sharing and why is it important? High-quality content should serve the interests of the target audience, whether they are looking to learn and develop new skills, market products and services, gain confidence, or keep up-to-date with current affairs.

A fundamental aspect of quality content is accuracy; fact-checking and research are essential. This benefits your readers foremost, but it can also be a great asset to you. Linking posts to reliable sites and credible info can increase the chance of your site being indexed, along with its search ranking.

More importantly, it positions you as an authority, building trust between you and your readers. And a strong, trusting relationship is key!

Challenge: Make a list of reliable resources you can link to. This can be authorities on different topics, blogs you follow, people you look up to, your preferred news sites, etc. The list goes on! Keep them handy for inspiration, information, and linking in the future. Some of my favourites are:

Jenna Kutcher

– Neil Patel

Amy Porterfield


It needs to be engaging.

What could be worse than a boring blog? Well, many things! But you can avoid boring blogs. Simply don’t read them. That is great for readers, but not so much for you. Appealing to an audience is paramount to quality content. This doesn’t mean every sentence has to be electrifying.

A concise set of instruction is much more practical than a heavily-worded how-to guide. If it needs to be simple, keep it simple. But don’t be afraid to step outside the box when appropriate. A comprehensive blueprint will prove more useful than a loose list of parts.

Know your audience well so you can implement a content strategy that meets their needs. Captivate your readers; excite and inform them! That’s what makes your website memorable and brings readers back.

Challenge: Choose a topic and brainstorm five different ways to present the idea. Don’t just write a list though; research and develop your ideas. Change up your tone, present a cool infographic, conduct an interview, the list goes on.


It needs to be valuable.

The most integral part of your site is what it offers. What does it provide to your audience? Be it knowledge, news, lessons, or entertainment, it was created with an intention in mind and should serve a purpose for both you and your readers.

Content should be in line with your site’s objective. That’s not to say you can’t veer off the beaten track now and then. A diverse line-up of topics can grow your following and allow for a wider range of keywords to be dispersed through your content. But use your discretion with keywords. Only include when necessary, natural, and relevant.

Of equal importance is to avoid excessive posts and updates. It’s easy to get carried away, but a few high-value posts have more worth than many frequent updates. What is integral is finding the balance!

Challenge: Brainstorm ways in which your content could change or evolve. What new avenues could prove valuable to your current audience or diversify your followers, while still staying true to your brand-identity?


In Conclusion 

Without content, a website is just a blank page. You can add as much as you want to it, but if  the components don’t enhance the overall value, it’s just dead weight. Don’t let it drag you down! Be discerning with your content.

You might have to experiment a bit before you find something that resonates with you and your following. Try things out and see what works for you.

Once you have a strategy for creating and delivering high quality content, the regular and valuable updates to your website will continue to improve your search engine rankings.

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