How to evaluate a website proposal

When you have met many web design companies and received their proposals, it’s time to sit down, evaluate the opportunities and make a decision. Every proposal would vary regarding the level of detail, style, and price which could be difficult to compare them side by side. We will give you a list of key points to consider, which will help you to evaluate a proposal from a web design company.

General Criteria and Score

Before we continue, we need to start with setting up a score scale which could be 0 to 5 for example. As zero being the worst and five being the best for the following aspects below.

– Does the proposal addresses any issues and identify your essential requirements? A good clear understanding of your project could save you a lot of time and stress in the future.
– Does the vendor give you specific details and solutions to your business objectives?
– Does the proposal indicate all of the requirements you have requested originally? A detailed, well structure proposal that gives answers to your requests will score higher.

The three general considerations above should give you confidence that the web design company fully understand your requirements and provide you realistic project time frame.

Web Developer Rating

This part could be a bit trickier than the first one. How would you rate the developer technical skills? How would you determine the creativity level of a designer or developer?

The first impression we could get from a web design company it’s their own website. Also, the scale of the projects they have created could build trust and credibility. Another aspect is the proposal or the presentation they have prepared. The effectiveness of their website could give you an indication as well. Try to score these factors, and they will help you with your final decision.

Project Plan and Relevance

– Does the proposal provide details of the steps, process and methodology the vendor is going to use? It’s important the proposal is created in an understandable and clear format so you can evaluate the suggested approach.
– Does the proposal cover all of the essential services to your website, for example, domain, hosting, photography, etc.?
– Does the proposal specify the team for the project? A complete team with the necessary skill set is crucial for a successful project. Make sure you are aware of who the project manager is and coordinate everything with them.

Price

– Are the quote and payment terms within your budget? Compare prices with your initial research and other quotes. Do they differ a lot from each other?
– Does the proposal give you breakdown and details on what’s included? It is essential that the proposal provides a comprehensive breakdown of prices and services. Also, make sure you are aware of the hourly rate of the vendor as that could be important for future interactions with the company.

Wrap-up

In conclusion, evaluating a proposal could be tricky, but if you follow the list above and score the key points accordingly, you will increase your chances of success. One of our recent clients Elite Acoustic carefully evaluated a proposal by Sleeky and trusted us with their new website. Elite Acoustic Solutions is Newcastle based specialist in sound masking products, check out their new website. If you would like to receive a proposal by Sleeky get in touch, we would love to hear from you!

Why should you switch from Wix to Wordpress

According to a WhoIsHostingThis post on WordPress stats, WordPress is the top content management system and 27% of the Internet is powered by it. The next one is Joomla with about 3%. A big difference, isn’t it? Wix takes the 7thplace with and is used by less than 2% of all the websites. There is a good reason (or good reasons) these content management systems are used as they are and today, I’ll be focusing on the advantages of WordPress over Wix.

Flexibility

Being an open source platform, WordPress can be used to create themes or plugins and this can be done by anyone. This is actually the reason there are so many WordPress plugins available. Its flexibility is reflected in the fact that any feature or functionality that might be missing from the basic system can be installed in a few simple steps – all you need to do is find the right plugin and install it.

WordPrss can be used to build all sorts of websites – from personal blog to an ecommerce website. Its enormous customisability is what differs WordPress from Wix, which is pretty limited in terms of customisability.

Cost

A WordPress site can cost from about £45 to several hundred pounds per year. At this price, users get hosting, the domain, a number of plugins, themes. A wix website, with all these included would cost about twice as much.

Of course, there are free versions of both WordPress and Wix, so it is not a question of price, but comes down to the features and plugins included and WordPress has much more to offer when it comes to this.

Website themes

There are several thousand WordPress themes, while Wix offers several hundred themes. And this is not the main advantage WordPress has over Wix – the customisability of themes and editability of the code is what makes WordPress a winner in this case.

Support

WordPress has a community, forums and its own support website, which WordPress users can surf or contact for any questions. Wix, on the other hand, offers a number of documents, manuals and tutorials on the website. If you can not find the answer you are looking for there, you might need to contact their technicians, however, for advanced support questions, Wix offer a premium support package at additional cost.

SEO

Both WordPress and Wix offer SEO optimized websites, however, the websites built on WordPress are better ranked on search engines. Also, WorPress offers a number of SEO plugins and SEO is the main reason Abbey Masterbatch Ltd, masterbatch suppliers offering black, white & additive & colour masterbatch decided to switch from Wix to WordPress, which proved to be a good decision.

Conclusion

Depending on the goals and budget, different content management systems can be a good choice. The above are just a few advantages WordPress has over Wix and this is why we advise our customers to choose WordPress.

Why you need a fast loading website

Given that a fast loading website is a must nowadays, one might think that there are no slow loading websites or that there are just a few. But unfortunately, this is not the case, and you would be surprised to find out how many websites fail on this test. Website loading speed does not affect your online traffic only, it is also very important for your sales and even brand. Here are a few important reasons for having a fast loading website.

 

 

User experience

User experience is not only a perfect arrangement of your website elements, call to action buttons, white space, images, etc..These are important indeed, but what could be more important to user experience than the ability to obtain the information they are looking for quickly?

Visitor engagement

Visitor engagement is an important element of the user journey and we all know that human attention spans are short and are said to be getting even shorter. According to a 2013 blog post by Apica, the human attention span is only 8 seconds. Can you imagine the damage that slow loading speed can do to website user engagement and not to mention online traffic and conversions?

Conversion rate

If a visitor can not visit the website pages due to slow loading speed, I can’t imagine they will sign up for trial, contact you for a quote or do whatever you set as a conversion goal. Consequently, the conversion rate will drop and this can be fixed in a few very simple steps of which I will talk about in another blog post.

SEO

It is no news that loading speed affects website’s SEO rankings. If you run a check on your website’s SEO on any engine on the internet, load speed will be one of the requirements that your website will either meet or not. Search engines, just like people, like speed, they rank fast loading websites better and that’s a fact!

 

I have recently worked with 2 companies, helping them optimize their website speed: Abbey Masterbatch Ltd, major manufacturer and supplier of a range of thermoplastic masterbatch, particularly black, white, colour and additive masterbatch and ACS Installations – the leading specialists in air conditioning installations, repairs and maintenance. If you need help with this, you know where to find me 🙂 .

How to get the most out of your Social Media presence?

Finally, you have your website, and you are excited to show it to the world! One of the most effective ways to attract visitors and new clients is being on Social Media. There are so many social networks you could join and attract new followers. The opportunities are enormous, but that brings a lot of questions – where to start from, what type of posts to make, how often to update your accounts, etc.

To make the most out of your social media presence you need to have a clear plan, what you would like to achieve, have a timescale and measure the right indicators. In this blog, we will give you some ideas on how to utilise the networks effectively, plan a campaign and achieve great results. At the end of the day managing successful online presence it’s time-consuming and requires a commitment, so make sure you read this before you rush into it.

1. Choose your Social Media platform

Before you start, it’s essential to do some research on which social networks would work best for you. You might need to ask yourself a few questions: Who is your customer?, Where can you find them?, What do they do online? Having the answers to these questions will lead you to the appropriate network. If you are still not sure, it’s always a good idea to start with the three main ones – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

2. Speak the language

Every community has it’s own traditions, habits and a certain way of doing things. That’s usually being described as a culture – it might be the culture at your workplace or at the sports club. It all comes to those little differences, unique ways to express yourself and the language you use in a specific environment. That’s valid to the social networks as well, so make sure you customise your social posts, speak the language and treat every platform as a separate project. In some social networks, you will need to make short and sharp posts, other will rely heavily on the visual content, but if you follow the rules, you can dramatically increase your chances for success.

3. Create content that reflects your brand

As mentioned above customising your content it’s essential, and that doesn’t stop with using the right language. We have warned you it’s not an easy job! You need to put the efforts and come up with unique and fresh content regularly. Offering exclusive content available only to your followers will help you build a high quality and meaningful network. The social media posts you make needs to reflect your branding, marketing strategy and be consistent. At the same time, you need to be careful with talking too much about yourself and not giving anything away. The balance should be between providing valuable and engaging content to your visitors while promoting your business.

4. Use social media to interact with your customers

Social Media it’s a fantastic tool that gives you the opportunity to communicate with your customers and receive instant feedback, which you can use later to improve your business. Ensure that you are using the platforms wisely, as it could be an excellent source for building credibility and express your brand personality. One way to do that is creating contests and giveaways which will encourage people to write about your business, recommend it to friends and be your ambassadors. Another effective way to engage prospects and clients is to show appreciation to existing customers. That works really well with businesses that provide any services and could also showcase their work.

5. Build a quality network

Many businesses are fighting for numbers rather than quality. Being more strategic in your approach will give you better results even with a smaller audience. Build your network by following your business contacts, clients, prospects, vendors, business associated, and many of them will follow you back. Also, a great way to target a specific audience is to boost your Social Media posts. You will need to allocate some budget for that, as you need to pay to promote your accounts within social networks.

wrap-up

Social Media could do wonders for your business, no matter how small or big is. Managing successful social media accounts it takes time, effort and consistent work, but it’s definitely worth it. You can check out Spectrum Agency, a modelling company that has a very diverse portfolio. They actively use social media networks like Facebook, and Instagram not only to promote its company but also attract new unique models. An excellent feature Spectrum Agency uses is the Instagram feed on their website, which automatically updates based on their Instagram profile.

If you would like to add any of these cool features, link your website with your social accounts or just need help with your social media presence we would be happy to help your business grow.

5 ways to drive more traffic to your website

Every company’ mission statement probably says that they do everything with only one goal – to provide what’s best for their customers, I am sure. However, I am also sure that their primary goal is to HAVE the customers that they will work for, make happy or create products for, and of course – sell to. There, I said it, but I do not mean it in a bad way. Customer is king, a business without customers is no business at all and before making customers happy, every business needs to attract them.

 

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Website optimisation

Website optimisation is the first step every business should take to build their online presence. A website needs to offer a simple navigation, look good and comply with SEO rules, otherwise, the website will end up on who knows what page of search engines and won’t get any hits or visits.

Content optimisation

Content optimisation could be considered a part of website optimisation but I listed it as a separate item due to its importance. Why is content so important? There are two main reasons and the first of them is customers – website content needs to be well written and provide the necessary information, conveying the right message to the visitors (potential customers). And, it also needs to use the right keywords for the sake of better ranking on search engines. When both goals are achieved, when the content is optimised both for search engines and people, we can move on to the next step.

Mobile optimisation

The volume of mobile searches is constantly increasing, it is happening every minute. For that reason, search engines tend to rank responsive websites better. Such websites also get longer visits which additionally improves the rankings, ensuring even more future visits. When building a website for J3 Building Solutions Limited, a leading building and construction company based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, we strongly recommended mobile optimisation and the client listened, which was an important preparation for the future SEO work for this company.

Page load speed optimisation

It is needless to say how important the page load speed is. Imagine yourself visiting a website and eagerly looking to find some important information or contact details while it is taking ages to load a page. Not sure about you, but I would leave the website in a matter of seconds.

Social media activity

Having social media accounts as a must for every successful business, no matter if it is a B2B or B2C business. Potential customers will, as part of their research of the market, look into potential providers’ website, social media accounts and the ones with more active social media are said to be chosen by potential customers more often. So, what are you waiting for? Be active, post, share and you will be heard and found by potential customers!

Final thoughts

Yes, there are many ways to get noticed online and drive more website traffic and I listed 5 which I considered most important. If you want to go an extra mile, you can invest some time and efforts in email marketing, paid advertising, guest blogging and a number of other activities that will help you achieve this goal. It is always a good idea to start with a few activities, learn how to do these and then expand your list of activities further.

 

How to boost your social media presence using Open Graph tags

Creating outstanding content is essential but it only truly matters if it reaches the audience it’s intended for.

Online presence has become a significant part of every marketing campaign. Websites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. facilitate a more personalised and less intrusive conversation-like interaction with potential customers. It enables companies to come across as more friendly and approachable which results in more well-disposed customers.

Once you have established that relationship with your visitors it’s even more important to keep them engaged and share interesting stories with them on a regular basis.

However, with so many businesses competing for our attention, there is only so much space at the top of the feed. That’s why it’s vital to talk about visibility and what can be done to increase it.

Search engines like Google aim to present information concisely and helpfully and while their sophisticated algorithms are doing a pretty good job, it’s always better to take control of what is to be displayed.

One way to do that is using Open Graph tags. These powerful tags are fundamental to every digital marketer, and it will enable any web page to display as rich, structured graph object.

This excellent tool was introduced in 2010 by Facebook, and its purpose was to offer an easier integration between Facebook and other websites. In other words, it presents rich graph objects with uniform features as Facebook objects. Nowadays, most of the social media platforms rely on it and is adopted by the major search engines.

Some of the main benefits of using Open Graph tags are:

Control

It’s fantastic that these tags give you a certain degree of control, for example when your post is shared by an outside user you can make sure it looks nice and bright as your original one. This wouldn’t happen without the Open Graph tags.

Click-through rates

Ever wonder what makes you click on certain posts than other on social media- very often that’s actually the photo or the description. A well structured and designed post can undoubtedly attract more click to your page.

Improved Conversion rates

The conversion rate is the percentage of visitors to your website that converts into customers/ subscribers etc. Once having gone through the hard work of creating great content and having a high number of click-throughs this organically will affect your conversion rate.

Open Graph Tags are easily overlooked, but they are an invaluable part of your online marketing strategy. If you are smart like our recent client Connect Insolvency, you will not underestimate these helpful tags and will be able to create rich and engaging social media posts and grow your audience.

Top 3 reasons for using video on your website

A common side-effect of today’s fast-living modern society is that people are used to getting things instantly, from fast food to information they need. Call us lazy, impatient or just slaves of today’s commercial world, it is the fact that we spend more time watching films than reading because it is easier and requires less attention or mental activities.

This phenomenon has started manifesting in all areas of our lives, resulting in changes in web design trends too!

User experience

“A picture is worth a thousand words” – someone must have come up with this saying before the invention of the video, so I am wondering how many words a video is worth.

Using video on a website is a great way to supplement user experience and it is being increasingly used in marketing to build a relationship with the target audience because it provides great user experience for the visitors.

SEO

Using video on your website is good for SEO for several reasons and the most important one is that websites and web pages with videos tend to be ranked higher on search engines. Adding this video to your company’s Youtube profile will additionally help with Google rankings, given that it is owned by Google.

Visual experience

The great thing about videos is that they are an audiovisual means of communication, so a good quality video on your website will help you achieve so many goals – it will engage your audience, they will learn more about your brand and most importantly (in today’s fast living way of life), it will save their time, so they don’t have to read a 300-word paragraph to learn what you offer.

In summary

When using a video on your website, you tell your visitors that you care about them, about quality, that you want to stand out and most importantly – that you listen to their needs.

Here is one great example of a website that is using a video on the homepage: a company offering forklift trucks for hire and sale throughout the North East, Forklift Solutions.

 

forklift-solutions-screenshot

Why are images important for your website?

Whether it is for a service, product or business – There are thousands of reasons why people browse the internet. For businesses, providing the relevant information is key to driving audiences to engage with your website as there are millions out there.

However, more and more people have become fixated in imagery when viewing websites. According to Bright Local, 60% of consumers give more consideration to local results that have images.

But what makes a good image on a website?

 

Image quality is one of the first things people notice when looking on a site. Poor images can reflect peoples perception of the professionalism of a business. Quality of an image can be determined by the pixels, size and overall relevance to the correlating information.

Images that represent your product, brand and service are key ways to communicate with your target market. Irrelevant images can cause miscommunication to the consumer.

Pictures are a lot easier for people to remember than copy according to Brain Rules. It is important your images are clear, bold and tell a story for your website. It is evident that copy is important for websites but images can be just as, if not more, valuable for increasing traffic and creating memorable information. Images can help create a dynamic with an audience – Without images, people are unable to see your products and services for themselves.

Though, if your website is too picture heavy the relevant information can get lost in your website. Balance is important! Articles with an image once every 75-100 words got double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images (Buzzsumo, 2015).

Metropolitan House are a business building in Gateshead who provide Office, Virtual and Meeting space for businesses. They created a brand new website with updated information and new images. They have a creative theme throughout, with consistent images in correlation with their copy. This flows well and gives audiences a feel for the site and engages the services with audiences through their copy and images. This should overall increase traffic to their site.

It is evident that images are becoming more and more essential for websites. More people engage with sites with images and are more likely to remember images over the copy, therefore, it is essential that businesses include these consistently on their websites.

What is the difference between onsite SEO and offsite SEO

Wikipedia defines SEO as the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or a
web page in a web search engine’s unpaid result. There are two forms of search engine optimization: onsite SEO and offsite SEO. So, what is the difference between these two and what can you do to optimize your website both in terms of offsite and onsite SEO.

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Onsite SEO

Onsite SEO involves efforts that help your website be friendly and ‘loved’ by search engines. That means that certain elements of your website need to be adjusted to follow certain rules so that’s each engine can understand the purpose, content and structure of your website.

Content is and always will be king. Great content makes your website loved by both visitors and search engines. So, make sure it is unique and relevant to the products and services you offer.

Meta title and description are descriptions intended to help search engines understand the intent and topic of your website pages. These descriptions need to be short and concise. Relevant keywords need to be used in meta-tags, in order to make sure search engines can properly identify the topic of the page.

Header tags are not visible to visitors but are important for search engines. H1 tag is the title or the heading of your page, while H2 is the subheading.

All images used on your website need to have image alt text attributed to them as it helps search engines understand what the image is about. Again, using relevant keywords in the alt attribute helps both search engines understand the subject of the image.

Having a mobile-friendly website is a must nowadays. Not just because mobile-friendly websites are better ranked, but because of your website’s accessibility as well. We all know that most visitors will browse on their mobile ‘on the go’ before making the final purchase on their desktop or tablet and you do not want to miss the opportunity to be seen.

Website load speed is important because a website that loads quickly will be loved by both visitors and search engines.

Additional factors important for your website SEO are social media integration, website security and website links. This post provides some useful tips on onsite SEO optimization.

Offsite SEO

Offsite SEO focuses on the promotion of your website through external websites such as blogs, forums, social media, business directories and reviews. So what can you do to have more links pointing to your website from other websites?

Blogging is a great form of link building and guest blogging can not only generate new links to your website, it can also drive more traffic as well. The links coming from trusted websites help you increase the authority of your domain overall. So, what are you waiting for, be creative, express yourself through guest blogging now!

Social media marketing is probably the fastest way to promote your content. Social media platforms are free and easy to use; they help you increase brand awareness for your business and also help you boost inbound links to your website.

Online reviews on websites such as Google+ for example will help you boost your inbound links, but they also build trust among visitors.

Business listings are also a great form of link building and they help you establish your online presence and build your reputation. Sites like Yelp, Scoot, Factual are good examples of business directories where you can list your business and help both your SEO and sales efforts.

In summary

As you can see, onsite SEO and offsite SEO are equally important, but if you are wondering where to start, I’d say it’s onsite SEO. Once you take care of that, your website will be ready to be seen and loved by search engines and new visitors and you are ready to start this journey.

I am especially proud of the work we have done for our client, Derwent Healthcare, a company providing therapy chairs, blood pressure monitors and body analysers. We started the project by perfecting the onsite SEO and this work created a solid base for offsite SEO and digital marketing.