Google Business Profile – why you need to use it NOW!

Google Business Profile – why you need to use it NOW!

One of the most common questions I get asked when it comes to SEO is:

What can I do to get found on Google?

I would love to answer ‘How long is a piece of string?’ as there really is no ONE answer to that question. But there is a tool that if used correctly can immediately boost your visibility on Google.

GOOGLE BUSINESS PROFILE

Now, you may have heard of Google My Business (now renamed to Google Business Profile) and even listed your business there, but chances are you are not making the most of this powerful free resource.

So, first things first. If you don’t already have a Google Business Profile Listing – GET ONE HERE!

They are free to apply for, you just have to confirm that you are at the address where you say you are. This is usually done via postcard that Google will send to you in the mail. Verify using the code and you’re set to go.

THEN WHAT?

Once you have verified that your business is at your address, it’s time to ensure that you set up your account correctly.

LOCATION OR SERVICE AREA

It is really important that Google Business Profile lists your business correctly. If you work from home but visit customers (e.g. heating engineer, locksmith, gardener, etc) setting a service area rather than a single location for your business is vital. You want to ensure that people can find you and know the areas that you service.

COMPANY INFORMATION

Ensure that you fill in all the relevant details about your business including office hours, your website, your products (if you have them) and your services. The more information you can include here the better. Remember, not everyone has social media so you need to use your listing to advertise your business as fully as possible.

Top Tip: Don’t simply copy and paste details from your website. Write unique content for Google Business Profile and for any other listing on the internet – search engines hate duplicates!

BRANDING

Spend some time uploading your company logo, cover image and some images of your brand. It is important to make your brand consistent across the web.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

Now, this is where most people stop. They believe that simply adding a listing to Google Business Profile is sufficient to be found. While it is better than nothing, you can really ensure that you are the first person someone calls when they need you by doing the following…

REGULARLY ADD POSTS & PHOTOS

Just like a social network, Google Business Profile allows you to add Posts and Photos to your profile and encourages you to do so. In fact, Google estimates that businesses with photos receive ten times more visits than those without.

However, unlike social media, users do not need an account to see your listing, so adding regular posts (one a week is ideal) is a great way to reach those who detest social platforms.

ADD PRODUCTS & SERVICES

You can add listings for your individual products and services to Google Business Profile and include prices (either exact or in a price range). Not only does this help with transparency from a business point of view, it also weeds out those prospective customers who may already have a price in mind that you don’t match.

USE KEYWORDS

When describing your business in the general section or adding posts, ensure that you use the keywords and phrases that you would like to be found for. This ensures that people searching for those keywords in your area find you more easily.

COLLECT REVIEWS

It’s no good having all your reviews stuck on Facebook if people can’t see them. So, actively ask your customers for a Google Business Profile review. You can share the link straight from your dashboard on both PC and mobile and the more reviews you have, the higher your listing will appear on Google Maps.

YOUR GOAL

GET IN THE 3 PACK

The Google 3 Pack is the Top 3 listings that appear for a local business search on Google Maps. This is ultimately where you want your business to appear.

As you can see below, Web Goddess currently sits at the top of that 3 Pack when you search for Web Design Uttoxeter. Not only that but with 20 reviews AND actual links to my website (unlike one of the web design listings below) I am more likely to receive clicks through to my listing and website.

 

Google My Business - Web design Uttoxeter 3 Pack

This is the whole point of listing your business on Google Business Profile – to make it easier for people to find you. And when people can find you and they visit your website, you are improving your ranking through more visits, longer visitor time spent on your site and appearing for more relevant keywords.

It’s a Win-Win-Win!!

If you need help with your Google Business Profile, check out the Web Goddess Academy, my monthly membership for newbie entrepreneurs and small businesses to help you get ahead online.

Web Goddess

 

 

Why Landing Pages are Good for your Business

Why Landing Pages are Good for your Business

Landing Page

A standalone web page, created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” after they click on a link in an email, from search engines or social media and is designed with a single goal or call to action (CTA) in mind. It usually contains no distraction from headers or footers of your usual website.

WHAT?

As defined above, Landing Pages (also known as Splash Pages, Sales Pages or Lead Pages) are usually part of a specific marketing campaign and keep your visitors focused on only ONE call to action, rather than offering lots of options. It is this definition that denotes the difference between a Landing Page and a Home Page. The two are often used interchangeably in marketing terms, however a Home Page usually has links to ALL of the relevant services or products on your site, whereas a Landing Page just has one.

 

WHY?

We are simply bombarded with information on the internet, so giving visitors a specific CTA and focusing just on that can lead to more sales than just sending them to a Home Page where they may get confused with all of the options you have on offer. By creating separate Landing Pages for each of your specific products or services, or even customers can also mean that they feel valued and that you are really speaking to them individually.

HOW?

The step-by-step specifics of how you add a Landing Page to your website depends on the website platform you use for your site, but most websites have the ability to change the type of page from a ‘standard’ layout to ‘blank’ layout which will remove all headers and footers from that page only. If in doubt, search the Help section of your website platform for inserting a blank webpage and that should give you an answer.

In the example shown here, you can see that there is only one focus – to get visitors to register for an upcoming course. That’s it. It is short and to the point, and gives people only one clear call to action.

Example of a Landing Page for a program

TOP 5 LANDING PAGE TIPS

1. Stay Focused – remove all links to other parts of your website (even if you feel that you would like to share them). Remember, this page has ONE purpose and that is to sell the product or service that it relates to.

2. Repeat your CTA – whether that’s a signup form or a button – throughout the Landing Page. This gives your visitors the option to sign up without having to scroll right to the bottom of your page and reminds them that they can sign up at any time. Also make it really obvious by using brighter colours, larger lettering or a boxed format they can’t miss.

3. Include Testimonials – visitors LOVE social proof, so include relevant testimonials throughout your Landing Page copy to show what previous or current clients think of your service.

4. Make it Long – in general, the more expensive your product or service, the longer the Landing Page should be. Whatever you are selling, you need to give your visitors lots of reasons why they can’t say no. That doesn’t mean using spammy sales patter, just give them as much detail as you can and explain how you can help THEM.

5. Make it Stand Out – curb appeal is everything here! Use lots of images, bold writing, large text and colours that help your message stand out throughout your Landing Page. If people are going to stick around, they need to feel welcome and that there is a reason to read on. Your Landing Page doesn’t have to exactly match the rest of your website (in fact it’s often a good idea to make it look different so it appears more special) but is should match your branding and vision.

So, there you have it – Landing Pages demystified!

Now it’s up to you to get your Landing Pages sorted and start driving visitors to the right product or service for them. And if you need my help, why not check out the Web Goddess Academy where I share exactly HOW to build one for your business…

Here’s to your Landing Page success…

Web Goddess

 

 

 

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Why your choice of website platform doesn’t really matter

Why your choice of website platform doesn’t really matter

Choosing a website platform is one of the biggest roadblocks that I see my clients put in their own way when first decide they need a website.

As a web designer you would expect me to say that you need a website. Which I do. And you may also expect me to say that there is only one place to build that website. But you would be wrong.

Why?

Because the answer is not black and white. There are more website platforms out there than just WordPress. There is more to consider than just what you’ve been told. Yes, WordPress does currently power around 32% of websites in 2021 but that leaves around 68% that are not!

And because even when people have used WordPress in the past, doesn’t mean you have to keep using it forever. There are some great alternatives out there that don’t cost the earth and may even be better for you in the long run.

So, here are the three questions I ask my own clients when they come to me confused and paralysed over the website platform they ‘should’ choose for their business.

 

1. What do you need your website to do?

I am always amazed when clients have not ever been asked this before building a site. This is THE MOST important questions in my opinion as the purpose of the website is more important than the website platform on which it is built.

Think about what you want to do with the site.

Does it need to sell products and take payments?

Do you want to blog?

Are you simply going to use it as an online brochure with a contact form?

Do visitors need to book events and services through the site?

Will you be starting a membership or running online courses?

All of these considerations will help you figure out the website platform that may work best for you. For example, if you are booking services and want the bookings to be taken through the site, then Acuity is great – and it’s a native product of Squarespace so that platform may work best for you (although you can use Acuity with other platforms too).

Your website is likely to grow with your business so scalability is important, but don’t think so far ahead that it stops you from starting. You can always upgrade and you can always move to another platform later on. It’s not as difficult as you think and it’s just a part of being in business. And on that note, I spend a lot of time completely rebuilding WordPress websites so being on WordPress to begin with does not mean you will avoid a rebuild in future either!

 

2. What technical skill and interest do you have?

The answer to this will play a BIG role in the website platform you decide to choose. WordPress may be all singing and all dancing, but that also means that the technical skills it requires to keep all those parts working is huge compared to a website builder like Wix, Create or Squarespace. These still require skills, but are definitely easier to use.

I often recommend clients move off WordPress and onto Wix and I know that will annoy so many web designers. But you know what? I really don’t care! Why? Because I put my clients first and if they want something they can understand and can manage themselves then I’m not precious about what website platform that is. My client comes first.

It is also important to point out that you may not have the technical skill now, but may want to learn it. That’s fine and I would encourage you to learn some skills to help you manage your own website or at least understand the basics. But, if you have no interest at all and know that you will be likely to ignore it once built, please hire someone to do it for you. It means you don’t have to worry and can call on their expertise to make changes for you.

With this in mind, it is still important to consider the platform and WordPress has more skill involved and will ultimately require more time and therefore money to keep updated.

 

3. What is your budget?

And that brings me to my final point. Budget. If you are intent on using WordPress as your website platform, you can expect to pay a lot more for it than builders like Wix. It may look cheaper to begin with, especially if you are self-building but don’t forget that you need to pay for hosting (we use and recommend SiteGround for WordPress hosting), buy a theme and then install separate plugins for all of the functionality that you want on your site. This can soon add up so that your inexpensive website is anything but.

If you want to build yourself on a budget and you’ve decided the functionality you need isn’t going to require super plugins, then I’d recommend looking at a website builder like Wix. It is still scaleable and you can build more features in as you start making money.

 

 

And finally, if the platform doesn’t matter, what does?

That’s easy – it’s what you do with it that counts!

It’s your content, your offering and your business sense that makes the difference, NOT the website platform.

I have seen clients build hugely successful businesses on website builders and clients sell nothing on WordPress. The deciding factor to their success has nothing to do with what it’s built on, and everything to do with how they hustle.

A simple and effective website that you can confidently manage and update versus a swish one you loathe because it costs hundreds just to get your designer to update it is no way to run a business in my experience.

In summary, don’t get sucked in by what everyone else is telling you is best for your business. Choose the website platform you need based on YOU and YOUR BUSINESS needs.

Technology is always changing so you will no doubt move your website at least once (and more likely many times) during your business life. So. don’t put it off just because you don’t want to start at the bottom and work your way up!

And, remember, if you get stuck or just don’t know where to start, why not get in touch and book a Discovery Call – I’d be happy to discuss your needs and recommend the right solution for YOU.

Web Goddess

 

 

 

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Create Awesome Videos with FlexClip

Create Awesome Videos with FlexClip

There is no doubt that in the world of small business,  videos are a fantastic addition to your marketing strategy. And now I’ve had the chance to review a fantastic new video maker called FlexClip I can honestly say that I will be taking advantage of videos far more often!

 

So, why am I hooked?

Well, if you know me at all you’ll hopefully have realised by now that I crave simplicity. I want tech to do what it says it will do and offer a practical solution for a good price. I also love a bargain, so if there is a free plan even better.

So, when I discovered FlexClip I was instantly impressed by the fact that they DO have a free plan – one that is actually free and doesn’t require a credit card to register. And even with their free plan you can create a simple marketing video for your business in quick smart time.

The interface is also super easy to use and you get a huge choice of premade templates and videos that you can use in your designs so making something quickly is a breeze.

To give it a whirl I started by creating a quick video showing my Top 5 SEO Tips for Small Business:

I think it looks super slick and it really didn’t take me long at all.

 

BENEFITS OF A BESPOKE VIDEO TOOL LIKE FLEXCLIP

I’m a huge fan of tools like Canva that allow you to create graphics, presentations and even videos – but the functionality for their video production isn’t up to the FlexClip standard. Why? Because like very piece of software out there, they have a specific focus, and video just isn’t one of them.

I like the fact that FlexClip simply focuses on videos so in the interface this is all you get. It’s specific and powerful with a tonne of tools to help you create stunning marketing videos with very little effort.

 

As with all new tools I am just gettting started with FlexClip so will update this article with more of my findings as I dive deeper into this software.

Web Goddess

 

SE’NO’ – 3 Things that SEO won’t do for your Business

SE’NO’ – 3 Things that SEO won’t do for your Business

SEO is not the magic bullet that a lot of business owners think it will be. Yes, it is important to optimise your website, but it will not ensure you get the business you are seeking – at least not instantly anyway.

Search engine optimisation is a long game and it takes consistent effort to improve your ranking on Google and the like. But is is also something that so many new businesses falsely believe is a quick and simple fix.

Here are 3 things that SEO won’t do for your business…

 

1. Get you to No.1 on Google

It can – but not instantly! There are literally MILLIONS of websites online and the number is growing almost exponentially, so adding your new baby to the world wide web will not lead to instant fame or the top spot. It takes Google a while to even find your site, let alone start to rank it.

I often get contacted through the Wix Marketplace asking why they can’t see their websites on Google. Quite often it’s because they have only just listed their site that day (Google just isn’t that quick) or because when I ask what terms they want to be found for their site doesn’t contain any of them! Google is good, but not THAT good.

So you have to wait for it to show and then wait even longer for it to start to rank.

So, what will SEO do? It will help Google start to show your website in results by adding the correct keywords and phrases to your site (both in the content and metadata). You can help that along by ensuring your site contains all the words you want to be found for, blogging regularly and adding your website to Google My Business so you show up on Google Maps searches. Take an active interest in your site and make updates regularly.

 

2. Guarantee more business

I’ve been working for myself since 2003 and had my current Web Goddess business since 2014. In all of that time my number 1 source of business has been networking and referrals from past or existing clients – around 95% to be accurate.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worth having a website, but it is still YOUR JOB to go out and find business rather than sit around and wait for your website to provide it for you. Get out there and shout about your business to everyone who will listen. Be consistent on social media and make sure you have solid products or services to offer when people do want to work with you.

I am always amazed by the number of business owners who don’t actually have any idea how many people ARE visiting their website. If your visitor numbers are high but they are not converting into buyers you will need to look at why that’s happening too.

So, what does your website do then? It acts as a checkpoint for would-be clients. If someone recommends you the first thing a new client will do is look you up online. No matter how glowing the recommendation, if they find a shoddy website or social presence then they are less likely to work with you. So your website and thus SEO are definitely still important to get right. They are just one piece of the puzzle.

Here is a quick graphic to show other places that your business will come from and as you can see, SEO is just ONE of those:

Finding business from different sources

3. Solve all your problems

“Build it and they will come” may have worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams* but it won’t work for your website. There seems to be a common misconception that just having a website will bring a flood of work to your door. In my experience that just doesn’t happen.

If you are sitting around waiting for customers to land in your inbox, just know that you may be waiting for a long time. In fact, it’s like your financial plan being based on winning the lottery. Yes, it is a possibility, but not exactly a workable plan. You need to look at all aspects of your business to find customers and keep them. If you luck out and get a helping hand to success then that’s great, but plan to put in the work.

So, what do I have to do then? You need to create a consistent marketing strategy that drives customers to your website and your website then needs to grab their attention and sell to them. From there your customer service has to be spot on so that those customers will shout about your business – for all the right reasons. Be consistent, be motivated and keep pushing on. That overnight success you see very rarely happened overnight.

In summary, just like any other part of your business, SEO is just that – a part of it. It is not the be-all and end-all of solutions to get you to that elusive first page of Google. Search Engine Optimisation takes time and effort and needs to be consistently looked at. Not only because of search engine changes but because your business will change. You may move into new areas of work and need to ensure your keywords reflect that.

Want to know how I help my clients keep on top of their SEO? I use SE Ranking (yes, this is an affiliate link but I never recommend any software I don’t absolutely love and use myself).

Remember, if you need my help I’m just a message away!

Web Goddess

*The actual quote in Field of Dreams was “Build it and he will come” and we want more than one visitor to be honest. But if you never shout about it the original quote is probably quite accurate.

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding SEO

A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding SEO

SEO – search engine optimisation – is often portrayed as a Dark Art. Something that a beginner or small business owner should simply leave to the professionals. But understanding SEO and how you can improve your own SEO on your website empowers you to make all of your marketing efforts more effective. So, this guide aims to change that!

 

What is SEO?

Put simply:

SEO is the process of improving the visibility of your website for relevant searches

So, if you are a website designer then you would probably want to appear in a search when someone types in ‘website design near me’. Right?

However, given that there are now 1,857,001,299 websites (at the time of writing this blog) online right at this moment, ranking well on a search is getting more difficult. Gone are the days when you could just build it and people would find you because there was little other competition.

So, knowing HOW to improve your on-site SEO and understanding what all of the terminology means is key.

 

Why isn’t all SEO automatic then?

When you build a website (or have one built for you) some of the features that improve SEO are included as standard, but most are not. Why? Because although related, they are NOT the same thing. Web design is the art of creating a website to look good and function well, but understanding SEO is another layer on top of that.

Whilst most web designers have some SEO knowledge, most are not specialists. Just as you have many different tradespeople involved in building a house, building a website is no different. So, cut your designer some slack – or you some slack if you’ve built it yourself!

The good news is that good SEO skills can be learned, just like any other skill.

 

Where to Start

I recommend starting by running your website through a free online SEO tool like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest which will give you a rundown of the key SEO issues associated with your current website.

I love using his tool because it not only flags areas for improvement but gives you tooltips to help explain HOW to improve them on your own site.

As each and every website builder is slightly different this tool cannot tell you exactly where to go to make the amendments but it’s a start!

 

SEO Terminology – what it all means

Once you run an SEO report you’ll get all of these errors and advice notifications so what do they all mean.

Let’s have a look at each piece of information separately to improve your SEO ranking:

<Title> Tag

These are the title of your page that is read by search engines and also by people. It’s what they see in search results and also in the browser tab when on your site. So, it needs to be carefully considered. This can make them a little tricky as they have to make sense rather than being a heap of keywords, but get them right and you’re on a winner. You should also aim to keep them no longer than 60 characters (including spaces).

Why Canva is the best graphic tool out there - Web Goddess opinion

As you can see in this example from my own site, the Title Tag is highlighted in Blue and gives visitors a reason to visit – because they will find out 10 reasons to use Canva.

It’s actually one of my most popular blog posts as lots of people want to know about Canva who haven’t already heard of it.

URL

The Uniform Resource Locator (better known as the web address that you see in the address bar of your browser) can sometimes appear as ‘poorly formatted’ when running SEO reviews. This is because in an attempt to make page addresses shorter, people have strung together words rather than separating them.

For example: weddings.com/perfectweddingvenues will not perform as well as weddings.com/perfect-wedding-venues. Although longer, each word is discernable by search engine bots and so will show up as more relevant in a search. Just be aware of this when creating new pages and make sure that you format URLs correctly.

Meta Description

This is the short blurb of text that appears directly under the Title Tag in search results. Whilst not strictly important in terms of what search engines like Google use to rank your site, they are important. Why? Because Google does include user data in their algorithm so if you have a well-crafted meta description that compels people to click and read more you’ll get noticed.

The key with adding a meta description is to keep it short (around 150 characters is ideal) and include a compelling call to action. Make people want to click on it!

H1 Headings

Behind every web page sits the HTML (hypertext markup language) code that controls it – whether you see it or not. Within this code sits a number of heading levels which tell the site, and therefore search engines, the relative importance of each heading title on a page.

As with any written publication, H1 headings are the most important and should only be used for the main title of a page. If you need headings further down the page (which I definitely recommend) then use H2 or H3 as you break your content into sub-headings and sub-subheading respectively. Just like I’ve done in this post.

On the front of the website this will not be apparent, but behind the scenes these headings tell search engines whether your text is well formatted so are very important. Even the simplest of website builders (like Wix) has the ability to add heading tags so make sure you are using them correctly on your website.

Alt Tags

Another HTML code, Alt Tags are simply text that sits behind images to describe what the image contains and helps visually impaired users to understand the content of a website as well.

What is Alt Text?Unfortunately, when you load an image onto a website, quite often you will miss this important step. As you can see here, this is the little box that asks you to add Alt Text in WordPress but even here it says it is not necessary if the image is just decorative.

However, I disgree and recommend that you add an Alt Tag to any image and ensure that the tag contains keywords that are relevant to your page or post.

Featured Image

Again, not necessarily an SEO ranking factor, a Featured Image is simply the image that will be brought up by default when a page is shown in a search (if the search engine displays these) or shared on social media.

I always recommend taking the time to choose an image for this and include keywords in the Alt tag for it so that you are in control of exactly what people see when your pages get shared online. A few minutes spent as you set up your site will ensure you reach further in terms of image searches as well as just text.

Backlinks

Arguably one of the more difficult bits of SEO to sort, backlinks refers to the links from OTHER websites back to yours. Hence the term.

So, how do you get other people to link to your site? Consider writing guest blog posts for other people which link back to your website. Add your website to online directories. Comment on forums and share your web address when allowed. Donate to local charities or small community groups and see if they will feature your website in return for a donation (check out the RAOK website that we built completely from donations and now link to all of those lovely small businesses as a thank you).

This process takes time and you need to make the most of every opportunity to get your website out there.

 

Now What?

Well, now that you know what each of these terms means, you will need to find out where to update this information on your website. Because this differs for each platform you’ll need to do a little research into where that is for yours.

I recommend you take some time to update just some of the errors that an SEO review flags, leave it a week and then run the report again to see the difference. Then repeat the process and fix more of the issues as they arise.

No website will ever be perfect, but these SEO tips will help you go from being a beginner to a proficient user with an understanding of SEO and the purpose of continually updating the key areas of your website to improve your search engine ranking.

Web Goddess

3 reasons why writing a Blog will help your Business

3 reasons why writing a Blog will help your Business

As you’ve probably gathered, I love a good blog – both reading them and writing them (I do hope mine are considered this way). Learning new things and sharing what I know with others is just second nature to me and I’m far keener on reading than on watching something, so blogs are the perfect vehicle for me.

You’ve probably already heard advice about blogging and perhaps even considered it, but this isn’t often shared with much other information. So, are there any real benefits to writing a blog and what are they?

Here are my top 3 reasons why blogging should be part of your business strategy:

 

1. BLOGGING SHOWCASES YOUR EXPERTISE

Your website is a great place to share your knowledge and writing a blog allows you to categorise and share that information as a resource for clients to read at their leisure.

By giving your readers an understanding of what you know, it will help build your reputation as the go-to person for that topic. It means that you can also share your opinion on topics and lead potential clients to a solution that will benefit their specific requirements.

As you write more blog posts you will also build a library of content that you can share to social media again and again. This is called evergreen content and saves you a huge amount of time. Instead of constantly creating new content you can simply recycle and re-post an existing blog post on your social channels.

Which leads to the second reason to blog…

 

2. GIVES SOCIAL MEDIA A PURPOSE

So often I see small businesses spending all of their time sharing amazing content on social media with no clear link back to what they sell. All those likes are really wonderful but not only do you NOT own the platform so cannot control what happens to your social channels, you will also struggle to re-use that content again further down the line.

The purpose of social media is to share information and drive customers back to your website where they can engage with your content and then buy from you. Blogs are an efficient way of doing this (especially if your blog post then contains a call to action to make it easy to buy directly from the post).

Don’t fall into the trap of just posting on social for the sake of it – give people something to read and make sure that it’s on your website…

 

3. IT HELPS IMPROVE WEBSITE seo 

SEO (search engine optimisation) is a way of driving traffic to your website organically. The more relevant content and keywords you have on your website, the better your website will rank on search engines such as Google and the higher you will be placed in the results.

Writing informative and educational blog posts that people read and engage with are a great way of ensuring that your site is always a place that people will return to learn more. The huge benefit of blog posts is that you can write them with this in mind and each and every one can be optimised to encourage more traffic.

Awesome isn’t it?!

 

IN SUMMARY

Writing a blog has so many benefits for your business, but the top three of these are definitely the demonstration of your expertise, giving your social media posts a purpose and call to action and improving your website SEO. 

So, what’s stopping you from writing a blog?

If you’re not sure where to start, then why not join us in the Web Goddess Academy where we look at the WHAT and HOW parts of blogging as well as the WHY.

Web Goddess
Google Business Profile – why you need to use it NOW!

How the new Google algorithm will affect your website

If you have had a website for any length of time, you will know that Google often updates its algorithm and that can affect how your website ranks online which in turn affects the number of visitors and, ultimately, customers who find your website. Often these changes are small and don’t really mean a great deal for website users – as long as your site continues to meet normal SEO requirements you’re good to go.

However, in May 2021, Google is launching a change that is definitely for the better AND they are giving website owners a heads up before it happens so you have a chance to ensure your website complies.

 

So, what is this big update?

Here it is in Google’s own words:

The page experience signal measures aspects of how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile. We believe this will contribute to business success on the web as users grow more engaged and can transact with less friction.

So, what does that mean in plain English. Well, simply put it means that your website has to be easy for a visitor to use. It’s all about user experience.

The update is divided into three rather long and techie elements which I have translated below:

1. Largest Contentful Paint – how long it takes for your website to load when someone first visits your site. This needs to be decent for both desktop AND mobile but will usually differ.

2. First Input Delay – how long does a user have to wait to interact with your website once loaded. Can they click a button straight away or is there a delay in how long they have to wait to actually move around the site?

3. Cumulative Layout Shift – how many popups/chatboxes and ads pop up to make it difficult to do what you want. Think of those annoying blog posts you read that keep interupting your scroll with multiple adverts, or trying to click a button and a chatbox is in the way!

I think you will agree that these updates (as a user) are important, even more so now that over 60% of all searches are carried out on mobile – so your website needs to perform well on mobile devices when visitors click through!

 

What can I do to make my Website compliant?

Take a look at your website from a user’s point of view and ask these questions:

  • Is it easy to navigate and find information?
  • Does it take a long time to load?
  • Do pop-ups and chatbots get in the way when scrolling and moving around?
  • Does it work as well on mobile as it does on desktop?

If the answer to any of these is not what you want to hear then make time to redesign your website with your user in mind. Strip out the fancy long-loading images and make it faster. Think about the placement of newsletter sign-ups and ad boxes. There are ways of keeping these items without annoying your users in the process.

 

TOOLS TO HELP

If you’re not already clear on how many people are looking at your website, then assessing the impact of Google’s algorithm change isn’t going to be possible. So make sure you have Google Analytics installed as a minimum.

I also recommend running your website through a free site checker tool like the Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer. This will give you a report on errors and page speed with a list of changes you can make today.

Finally, I also love Hotjar – a website that lets you track how people actually interact with your website.

Tracking visitor clicks with Hotjar

The heatmap above is a snapshot of my website homepage over the past 30 days and as you can see, the greatest concentration of activity has been on my SEO link. This helps me to understand HOW visitors are interacting with my site and to make my layout clearer if I need to.

IN SUMMARY

The new Google algorithm update is not to be feared – in fact it is destined to make it EASIER for smaller businesses with less clutter and more value on their websites perform better. Just take some time to check out your own website and ensure that it is performing at its optimum for you AND your visitors.

And, if you get stuck along the way, remember that I offer an SEO Review service which addresses each of these elements to help you get started.

Web Goddess
Why your choice of website platform doesn’t really matter

How to find your Business Niche and why it’s important

When you first start a business, it’s important to find your business niche rather than trying to sell your product or service to everyone. Unfortunately, it can be the part of your business strategy that gets lost in the excitement of starting something new and a wish to be of service to the whole world.

But remember,

When you sell to everyone, you’re selling to no-one!

So it is super important to spend some time getting clear on who your target market is to ensure that all of your hard work doesn’t go to waste. It’s also a great idea to review your business niche regularly.

Why is it important?

Your business needs to fit with your vision – who you are, what you believe in, and your WHY (check out my last blog post on that if you missed it). Because if you are trying to be everything to everyone, you lose the essence of individuality – what makes your business unique.

When you focus on your specific message it actually helps you attract the RIGHT clients to your business; rather than those who really are not a good fit in the first place. We’ll talk more about those people in a bit.

It also means that it becomes super easy to create content for your website and social media because you have a FOCUS. Your message is not distracted trying to solve everyone’s problems – just those you are best at.

“If everybody is doing it one way, there’s a good chance you can find your niche by going exactly in the opposite direction.” – SAM Walton

So, how do you find your Business niche in the first place?

The best way to find your niche is to answer these two questions:

  1. What problems do you solve for people?
  2. What do clients tell you your superpower is?

Now, these are hopefully the same or similar to each other, and if they differ greatly then that’s also something to look into in more detail.  You see, you need to be clear on what you offer and ASK your clients what they think too. Feedback is super important when figuring out what your niche is (and it may not be what you think it is!).

“You gotta keep trying to find your niche and trying to fit into whatever slot that’s left for you or to make one of your own.” – Dolly Parton

It is also important that when you are writing down your niche offering that you think about the kinds of clients you really want to work with. What are their characteristics? What makes them special? What does your ideal client look like?

For me, my ideal client is a purpose-driven microbusiness (1-3 people) with a passion for learning new skills. They need to be accountable for their own success and able to communicate honestly. And finally, they need to value their own time – and mine!

Knowing just those few points helps me weed out those businesses that just aren’t a good fit for me in the first place – the people I know I will resent if I feel like I have to take them on as clients. I need to add here that it doesn’t make them bad or wrong in any way – just not right for me and my business so that I do my best work!

 

What if someone isn’t in your niche, but still wants to work with you?

It’s a fact of running your business that not everyone will be in your niche (that’s why it’s called a niche in the first place), so the answer to this question depends on YOU and the individual circumstances of each client.

The first example is someone who isn’t in your niche, but aspires to be. Perhaps they don’t have the budget to work with you but do have the drive and passion and are otherwise a good fit. It’s then up to you to decide whether you give them a payment plan or some other deal to work with them that they can afford. Don’t ever feel obligated to do this though as that’s not a great business model. These kinds of relationships have to work BOTH WAYS to provide value.

The second example is someone who desperately wants to work with you but really doesn’t fit with you for any number of reasons (budget, values, location, etc.).  This one you just have to get used to saying ‘NO’ to. It’s your business after all and you have the right to run it your way. However, in these situations, instead of just saying no, I always try and offer another solution – another person who WOULD be a great fit for them. Even if that person is in the same industry as me! Yes, I do send clients to other web designers when their skills set is better aligned than mine.

And this is where business networking comes in. Knowing and trusting professionals both in different industries and those aligned to your own is really important. It allows you to have a network of people who you can recommend. Not only does it help the other business, but it also makes you look professional and considerate – and memorable!

There really is enough business to go around!

“I’m always aware of who my core audiences are and I serve that niche.” – Edward Burns 

SAYING NO SENDS A MESSAGE TO THE UNIVERSE

Another benefit of saying no to clients who just don’t fit your business niche is that you are sending an energetic message to the universe to say ‘this person is not the right fit for me’. In my experience, that always leads to being approached by someone who IS a fit for my services. Call it the Law of Attraction, synchronicity, magic or just plain luck, I don’t really care. I just know it works!

The more clear you are on your ideal client, the more focused you are on serving them, the more energy you send to the universe affirming that and attracting more of the same. Try it – it really does work!

 

In Summary

It’s important find your business niche and play to your strengths so you attract the right clients for you. It takes practice, a bit of soul searching and some tweaking of your requirements along the way but it holds the key to ensuring that your business not only survives, but thrives.

Because let’s face it, if you love what you do it will shine through in all that you provide for your ideal clients.

Web Goddess

 

 

This blog was taken from this episode on my Podcast and you can listen in to that and follow me for more business and tech tips here:

Your Business will Benefit if you Start with Why

Your Business will Benefit if you Start with Why

You may find this hard to believe, but having a ‘bad’ or ‘cheap’ website is NOT what’s holding you back from having a successful business – although I do love a website that showcases all that you are. The fact is, you have to start way back before you even looked at getting online – you need to START WITH WHY.

This is the point to tell you that if you’ve never watched Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on this exact topic – WATCH IT NOW! His talk is now over 11 years old and has evolved into a HUGE movement of people looking for more than just going to work because they have to. It has spawned multiple books (like Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t), courses, and even qualifications.

SO, WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?

When you start with why you not only have more to hang your hat on than ‘just a job’ but you tap into something deeper within your ideal clients too. As Simon says:

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek

This distinction is important because it explains why there can be multiple people all doing the same thing, but one is more successful than the others.

They understand their WHY. They have a deeper purpose to their work than just making money – instead, they make money whilst doing what they love.

HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR WHY?

The best way to find your “why” is to look back at why you started doing what you’re doing in the first place.

What is the difference you wanted to make?

I’m betting you had a big picture of the problems you could solve for people?! You wanted to make what you do matter and make a difference – right? So, think back to what that reason was.

For me, that start was a deep loathing of so-called website ‘professionals’ who spouted technical terms at their clients in an effort to keep them in the dark and make designing websites and SEO a mystical art that they couldn’t possibly understand. That ‘why’ still underpins everything that I do and a lot of my work still comes in the form of website rescues.

If you’re having trouble with this step then Simon has a second book called Find Your Why that I can also highly recommend if you prefer a step-by-step guide to this process.

THEN WHAT?

Once you have your ‘why’ you can then start to build your message around it. Make sure that you convey your own why online and in person. Tell people why you love what you do and the difference you make – not what you do!

I have a wonderful networking colleague who works in IT security – I know, it sounds super-boring but is an essential service for businesses. When you actually speak to him, he almost lights up when he tells you about how he helps people understand technology and keep their families safe online. This is a far better selling point than telling someone you sell anti-virus software!

“The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.” – SIMON SINEK

Your why is what will set you apart and attract the right clients to your business.

REVIEW REGULARLY

When you’ve been working with your ‘why’ for a while, it can be really easy to get sidetracked and forget why you started your business in the first place. So, regularly coming back to your reason for doing what you do will help ensure you’re still providing the right services.

It’s important to circle back to your ‘why’ regularly at least once a year, if not more, and tweak it too. Things change, you grow and your original purpose may also have changed. It’s not only OK to change too – but imperative if your business is going to thrive.

Just don’t forget your purpose in the process!

Web Goddess

 

 

Note: this post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission when you click one of these and make a purchase. However, as with everything I recommend it’s because I love these books and refer to them regularly!

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