Wordpress website experts based in the UK.

Jargon Busting

WordPress and web development almost has it’s own language which, to those focused on other things, can often be indecipherable. So, we will explore some common terms and translate them so that you can talk with your web developer on an equal footing.

 
Content, Jargon Busting

Why is Social Proof so important for your website?

Many of us have heard about social proof, many have probably used it but why don’t small business owners use it on their website? Just a small addition such as a video testimonial could dramatically increase the results you get through your website as it increases the perceived trust people have in you.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the various types of social proof and why it’s so important to marketing your small business.

What is Social Proof?

Social Proof roughly translates as ‘evidence (or proof) from other people (social)’ and it helps to convey just how great your company is by demonstrating just how many fans you have. By having a large number of fans, you help people make buying decisions.

Types of Social Proof

Social proof can be broken down into 6 types:

  1. Testimonials
  2. Reviews
  3. Logos
  4. Case Studies
  5. Social Media Popularity
  6. Media Mentions

Each of these 6 types of social proof have a different purpose, but ultimately help improve your online reputation and website conversion rates, so the importance of social proof cannot be understated.

Type 1: Testimonials

A testimonial is a short, written or video snippet providing an description of a personal experience that someone has had of your product or service. It’s important that these are not generic, something like ‘Showcase is the best’ would possibly do more harm than good, and the more details provided about a particular positive aspect of your product/service the better.

Ideally, you’d capture a testimonial from someone well-known in your chosen industry as this holds more weight/authority than someone unknown, but any testimonial is better than none. The first thing we do when we do anything for a client is ask for a testimonial because we know that if the client is happy to share their experience with others, then we’ve done a good job!

Can’t you just fake testimonials?

Some people worry that putting testimonials on their site is all well and good, but that visitors must think they’ve been faked. It’s a logical thing to worry about but one that’s not a concern for businesses with clients willing to provide testimonials. Many businesses get around this by either providing the contact details of the person giving the testimonial (with their consent of course) so potential clients can follow up with them directly – though it could still be argued that this could be staged. Another method of overcoming this worry is to have a short video testimonial provided, actually showing the person providing the testimonial. This holds most authority if it’s an industry leader putting themselves on camera promoting your business.

Testimonials can be collected on paper (posted in or written down from a phone call), via a social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter, on video via your phone or even by email.

Type 2: Reviews

Reviews are a bit like testimonials in that they provide details about someone’s experience with your product or service, but reviews can also be much more in depth and often cover a range of aspects of your service/product.

Authentic reviews are huge in the online sales / ecommerce industry with 93% of people now saying that they are influenced by others’ reviews before making a purchase online. If your business sells things on the web, you simply MUST have a reviews functionality and encourage your customers to use it. It makes claims that you make on your website real when others review your products/service and mention those things positively and this really can make a huge difference to your conversions.

There is also another type of review which is the type of review you find when new products are launched. This ‘interview review’ is where someone will test and rate each part of your product / service and write extensively about it. This can be really good feedback for making future improvements and will also provide good information to your potential customers about what they are thinking of purchasing.

Type 3: Logos

There is a lot of inherent power in placing the logos of household names that you’ve worked with on your website. As soon as potential customers see the calibre of client you have (or businesses you work with), it adds to your businesses’ credibility.

The simplest way to incorporate this into your website is to have a ‘Client’s we work with’ section on your website, which proudly displays those impressive logos.

But I don’t have any well known businesses as clients…

If you don’t have any well-known clients, ask yourself if there are any other connections with well-known businesses that your business has. Some enterprising businesses have negotiated discounted products and services from other, well-known businesses and then been able to say that they’ve partnered with them – adding to their own credibility. What can you do?

Type 4: Case Studies

Humans by default are very receptive to stories. Case Studies harness this innate trait and allows you the opportunity to show how you’ve positively affected someone else who has used your product or service. By discussing this in a story form, your potential customers are much clearer on what you do and the potential outcomes of using your product/ service which in turn leads to a better conversion rate.

Top tip for making case studies more effective – make sure you use real data and try and publish case studies that highlight difference aspects of your product/ service so that people can understand each of them. Try and highlight the outcomes too, rather than the process as this is what people are really after.

Type 5: Social Media Popularity

If you’ve created some content that is seen to be popular on social media – it insinuates that other’s are telling their friends and colleagues about what you’re offering. It’s a microcosm of the world we live in today – where we all want to create the next viral video or content as it will help us get more widely known.

By adding social share buttons to your pages and posts, you are helping facilitate people sharing your information, and once you get to a reasonable number of shares you should definitely amend your social share buttons to show the share count. This self-perpetuates future sharing as people come to the site and see that this post is seemingly being shared by everybody – so they want to follow suit. Make sure though that you don’t add the count in until you get to a significant number of shares as that could actually hurt the popularity and engagement rates of your post/content.

6: Media Mentions

If you’ve been mentioned positively in the media, it’s important to shout about it! The media publishes stories it feels are important to the public, so it’s almost as if they are vouching for your importance by publishing something about you. So you need to utilize that as much as possible!

Blog about it, put it in people’s faces and use it as evidence that your company really does do what it claims to. This will help make a customer out of your readers.

By media, we don’t just mean the press or TV media, but also blogs and mentions from other people – particularly industry leaders if you can get them. As soon as other people are talking about you and your message, that’s the best kind of advertising you could hope for.

Summary – Why is social proof so important?

When people recommend your product/service it says something for your business. Having happy customers vouching for your business helps to persuade others who were perhaps on the fence, that the outcomes they can expect from your product/service are as good as (if not better) than they were hoping for.

Adding the logos of your ‘partners’ business’ to your website helps to add credibility and again, persuade people to give your business a shot.

It’s one of the simplest ways to improve your online reputation and improve conversion rates through your website.

SSL is an important modern feature of the online world and it’s being pushed by all the big search engines including Google as it’s a proactive step towards protecting the sensitive information of Internet users.

If you don’t have an SSL certificate, you really should and if you’re not sure, we’d love to hear from you as we can help you install one if you don’t aleady have one.

SSL – What is it and why should you have it?

vector - responsive screen
Jargon Busting

Media Queries – What are they and Why should you care?

Media queries didn’t exist a few years ago but now are essential and fundamental elements of modern web design. Let’s explore them and how they can impact your business.

In CSS2, we were introduced to the possibility of targeting display for different media types (separate post), and since the introduction of CSS3 which helped facilitate the move away from tabular web design, we’ve been able to use Media Queries to help improve the appearance of websites on a multitude of different media.

‘Media’ in this context refers to different devices or viewports.

We are able to use media queries to change the styling depending on whether the user is using a mobile or tablet, a desktop or projector and even printed media.

We can change things purely based on the number of pixels available on the device and even the pixel density and even orientation.

By adding code into the CSS file(s), we are able to trigger styles based on any of the above and have them effect the output in order to (hopefully) optimize the experience of the person(s) viewing it.

Here is a typical bootstrap media query declaration where you can see the simple naming convention (hidden small), as well as the desired outcome (display – none) and the pixel ranges this affects (768-991px):


@media(min-width: 768px) and (max-width: 991px){
.hidden-sm {
.display: none;
}
}

 

This functionality really does help us web developers attune your website for the best experience on each and every device.

But, as you can imagine, with new devices hitting the market daily, the number of different combinations to consider is growing ever more mind-boggling.

 

So, how do you implement media queries for each size device?

The main consideration (but by no means the only consideration) is screen size.

With more traffic being viewed on a mobile device than on a desktop device , it’s more important than ever to consider what your website looks like on a mobile

In April 2015, Google launched what’s been dubbed “Mobilegeddon” by many – they started to penalize websites which are not optimized or setup for mobile users by excluding them from the search results displayed for searches carried out on mobile devices.

Their reasoning for this was that they are always looking to promote websites with the best user experience – and a website which doesn’t cater for smaller screens with bigger buttons, a condensed width layout and a ‘low-bandwidth’ version offers a poorer experience to the user than a website offering these things.

What followed was a general shift towards ‘mobile-first’ design – websites designed to be appropriate and effective for mobile devices and who’s appearance on desktops and larger screens includes more superfluous and additional content.

In order to combat the ever-increasing number of devices (with an ever increasing range and proportion of screen sizes), web developers have developed techniques called ‘frameworks’ which help ‘chunk’ ranges of screen size.

We have had the 960 grid system (from Nathan Smith), with its cousins the 1000 grid and 1200 grid systems and I think the most popular and widely used system is now Twitter Bootstrap.

Twitter Bootstrap is a series of css snippets which are freely available and create a 1200 grid which allows elements to be stacked on smaller devices and sit next to each other on larger screens easily.

There are a whole host of other benefits to using these systems, but I won’t go into too much detail in this post, as we are looking to talk about media queries.

Bootstrap uses chunking and where you switch from one range to another, you get what is called a ‘breakpoint’. Because of this standardization of breakpoints, we are able to ensure that websites look as they are supposed to on the following sized devices:

  • Large Viewports (generally considered desktop) = 1200px +
  • Medium Viewports (generally laptops and smaller screen desktops) = 992px – 1199px
  • Small Viewports (generally tablets) = 768px – 991px
  • Extra Small (generally phones) = >767px

By using this approach, you know that a device with a screen width (in pixels) of 995px and one of 1000px will show the same way.

Similarly, we know that most mobile phones will have a screen width which has less than 767px, so we can design the site to look the same whether the screen is 500px wide or 750px wide.

 

Exceptions to the rules

Of course, these are generalist rules and as you would expect there are some exceptions.

Who else but the kings of doing things differently – Apple – seem to break all the rules with their devices.

The apple iPad is considered a mobile device and so would in theory show things on a screen in a mobile-friendly way. However, it has a resolution of 1200px making it a ‘desktop’ sized device in a pixel-sense – which means you need to be careful with how things are displayed in order to optimize the user experience.

Apple’s retina displays do a similar thing in the mobile ranges, giving their mobiles an ‘artificially large’ viewport,  meaning that sometimes issues can arise with getting websites to appear correctly on apple iPhones.

Of course, there are workaround to these issues as responsive design is something of the norm nowadays, but you can see what a minefield responsive web design could be if you don’t know what you are doing.

 

Other types of media query / types

Originally, in CSS2 we were able to target particular types of device – such as print or Projector.

However, this functionality didn’t really get much uptake or support from device manufacturers – probably because website optimization was still in its infancy.

As a result, it wasn’t until CSS3 when a whole raft of new development options were introduced that more widespread support for these types of query was introduced. Now we can display web content differently for:

  • Print – hide unnecessary detail and ensure the main content of the page is printed in a well-formatted manner
  • Projector – re-prioritize content for projectors to ensure that the main content of the page is well displayed on a large projected screen
  • Speech – completely changes the relevancy of the content on the page in order for it to read well to those using screen readers.

 

Media Queries Summary

Media queries in combination with Media Types introduced in CSS2 provide a series of powerful tools which allow web developers to alter the display of the content on your website to be most beneficial to the website user dependent on the device that they are using to view the website.

By using frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap, we are able to cater for a multitude of different devices and their requirements in order to ensure the device shows your website in it’s best light, no matter it’s resolution, orientation or even whether it’s a screen-reader user visiting the site.

If your website is not responsive to mobile devices, you need to get it amended otherwise you are simply missing out on much needed and valuable traffic and possibly incurring Google penalties at the same time.

Contact us for a quote if you would like us to manage that conversion for you – we can work with existing websites or start from scratch – the choice is yours.

vector - plane on a screen
Jargon Busting, Website Design

What is Above-the-Fold?

‘Above the fold’ is a phrase often banded about by marketeers and the concept is something very useful to each and every website owner.

Here we’ll explore the roots of the phrase and it’s meaning – as well as how it relates to modern day advertising.

Above the fold is a term which used to be associated with the printing industry. It refers to the part of a newspaper that you see when it is folded in half – which happened most when newspapers were too big to be held or distributed comfortably when unfolded.

This still happens on some newspapers such as The Times and the Independent…..which are considered ‘Broadsheet’ newspapers.

It is a valid and important advertising strategy to make sure that the headline and first words on the page we enticing enough to convince would-be purchasers to investigate the article further – by buying the paper.

Nowadays, the equivalent is what you see when a visitor loads your website on their screen.

The first thing they see without scrolling is what is considered ‘above the fold’ and is important to entice the user to investigate your website further.

As a general rule, you have 3 seconds to make an impact otherwise the user will press the back button (often to a search engine) and try the next entry in the list.

There is something of a debate raging at the moment as to what is ‘best practice’ to show above the fold.

More traditional digital marketers (if that can be considered a real statement) would suggest that some kind of attractive imagery with a call to action, and a headline outlining either the overall gist of what you do or your offering should be the standard practice when someone lands on your page.

Other noted digital marketers such as Chris Cardell are stating that the age of the slideshow or large banner is dead and that an informative and catchy headline plus the first paragraphs of your offer should be used, rather than ‘wasting’ your 3 seconds on some potentially pointless imagery.

Both arguments are valid, and it is a matter of opinion at the moment – although I’m sure both sides could come up with statistics to back up their point of view.

However, we believe that you need to understand that the point is that you have to:

  • understand that that the content you show ANYWHERE on your website is important and should be tracked and
  • that you need to understand your audience.

 

3 Essential Features You Need on Every Page

I think all sides would agree that the following checklist should be accessible from above the fold on ANY page on your website:

  1. Your Logo – so that users know they have landed on the correct site if coming as a referral from other media.
  2. Your contact details – so they can contact you straight away even on a poor connection. This often includes phone, email and social media. Physical address is usually visible in the footer or on the contact page – but of course, there are exceptions.
  3. A Call To Action – important for getting users to do something that you want straight away.

 

What About Above the Fold on Mobile Devices?

It is really important to consider in this day an age that mobile traffic (users visiting your website off mobiles and tablets) will see your website in a different way – because of the reduced size of the viewport.

This means that different elements of the design will be visible and will take up a totally different proportion of the screen – and this can affect the ‘above the fold’ content your visitors see.

It’s important to test your website on some mobile devices to ensure that the crucial elements of your above the fold content are visible and accessible to visitors who have landed on your website on a mobile device.

 

Above the Fold in Summary

Consider what your visitors are seeing when they first land on your web pages – and don’t just consider your homepage as the page they will land on.

It’s important that each page be interesting and attractive in order to compel your visitor to scroll down the page and hopefully be interested enough to interact with the page (share, bookmark or comment if available).

By ensuring that your pages are interesting above the fold, you can help increase the length of time visitors are on the page and potentially engagement – both of which can positively affect your Google ranking as pages which people are engaged with and interacting with are ranked more highly than those which are not.

vector - screen with world behind
General, Jargon Busting

“White Label” explained?

We’ve referred to ‘white label’ across the website and some of you who have seen it may be wondering ‘what on earth is that’?

Many years ago, this referred to the practice of pre-allocating music on vinyl to certain DJ’s and producers to try and provoke interest in a track. You can find out more here.

We use the term ‘White Label’ to refer to the practice of building and maintaining websites for our clients, who resell these to their clients. Some may say that this is ‘sneaky’ or ‘underhand’ but why?

Sure, many clients don’t realize that the website is produced by another supplier. But would that be a problem if they did? I don’t know about you, but I know that Sainsbury’s and Tesco don’t have the facilities to produce biscuits, but I still buy their own brand biscuits. In truth, it’s a matter of convenience.  Whilst I’m doing the weekly shop, I can’t help but pick up a delectable packet of biscuitty goodness because it saves me looking around elsewhere and ultimately saves me time. It addresses my pain and helps improve my customer experience. Everyone is a winner.

For us, this means that our clients’ clients are receiving the benefits of our vast experience and our client is reaping the rewards in both terms of making a markup on the service and being able to provide this service to their clients. Its a win/win/win situation as we work with our clients to help them provide these services and ensure they are benefiting from them and obviously it’s great for us as our clients are selling our services.

Problems with White-labelling

There are very few problems with white-labelling overall. I think that the only times I have ever been upset to find out that a product or service I have purchased has been done so on a white-label basis is when I’ve realized that I could have gotten the same product cheaper by going direct.

Some companies worry that their brand is exposed or at risk if they outsource their work. Whilst it is true in theory that you are at the mercy of the ‘supplier’, it is obviously in the best interests of the supplier to maintain brand integrity and a positive relationship with their client for fear of losing future referrals and sales of their product / service.

Key to successful white labelling

The key to white labelling successfully is to deliver a great end user experience, even well past the actual sale of the product or service. By taking this approach, even if your client does get wind that you are white-labeling something, then it doesn’t matter because of the fantastic experience they had purchasing it.

Often, there is a complex set of systems in place to help resellers provide white-label services to the end users. In my experience, even if you can work out that something you’ve bought is white-labelled, you are probably grateful for the efforts that have gone into getting you that service so easily.

Issues arise when you white-label something and sell it to users and the experience post sale is less than perfect. That’s when clients become disgruntled and start looking about for alternatives. This goes especially for aftercare. If the product in question was a website and the client had a technical issue with the website post-sale, as long as the issue was resolved quickly and thoroughly, it doesn’t matter if it was your business or another that resolved it.

Want to try white-labelling?

As we’ve alluded to through this article and across our website, we work hard to provide white-label website services to our clients. Our efforts are focused on providing the best experience to both the end user (our clients’ clients) and the ‘middle-man’ (our client) – to help ensure longevity of the service and the relationship with our client.

If you’d like more information on how we can help you provide white labelled website services to your clients, why not contact us and discuss your concerns and address any questions you may have.

vector - magnifying glass over a screen showing an increasing line graph
Jargon Busting

What is Google Analytics and why do I need it?

It is essential to understand the performance of your website; in terms of the numbers of people visiting and what they are doing when on your site. With Google analytics you get statistics and reports of the movement and actions of the people on your website. Google Analytics offers various tools and using those we create reports that tell you exactly how your website is performing.

With Google Analytics, we can now answer key questions such as:

  • What sites create a link to your website and
  • How many referrals does your website get through external links.
  • How many visitors are new and what % return?

With these timely reports, you can easily design your ad campaign and strategize your advertisements accordingly.

As Google Analytics is free it is an essential tool and provides huge benefits to your business. With analytics you can easily get understand your target audience who may or may not be visiting your website. With these accessible reports you can gauge the weaknesses and loop holes in your website and implement marketing which can then fix them accordingly.

vector - shopping cart with a cog in it
Jargon Busting

What is ecommerce and why should I take note?

In this global village where everything has become digital, it is important to have an online platform. E-commerce is another name for buying and selling on the internet. The biggest benefit that comes with e-commerce is the fact that it has no geographical boundaries (at the right cost). 

Let’s focus on the businesses point of view as to why and how can e-commerce be beneficial. Initially the world’s services and product offerings were limited to the global boundaries that one had; however with e-commerce a company can reach to people all around the globe. With a carefully designed and developed website, a company can showcase its products and services and be well recognized no matter the country of the person viewing it.

It’s also easy and quick to get started AND you can get paid in literally seconds with the advent of things such as PayPal.

E-commerce software like Shopify and Magneto provides you with an e-commerce solution that gives you a basic way to setup & prepare an online store. It provides you with features like updating your products, customizing pages, setting up payment methodology and tracking and responding to orders. This type of software definitely improves your businesses data management as every click on the page is recorded which can be used to gauge buying patterns of customers.

Talk to us today about e-commerce solutions.

vector - pencil over a screen
Jargon Busting

What is a Blog?

In today’s digital age, people from all sorts of backgrounds are all trying to create a blog for themselves. From big companies to small start-up businesses, everyone is busy promoting their blog and writing articles about a huge array of topics. So if you are already a part of a blogging community or planning to join one, here are some basic things that you need to know about a blog.

First, a ‘blog’ is just like a website or journal/ diary in which you can post multiple articles for the world to see.  A group of blog posts is what constitutes a blog, it is very important to understand the key difference between the two.  You create blog posts to make up your blog. Now that you know what a blog is, let me direct you to some of its many benefits.

To start off, a Blog can increase traffic on your website as with a blog you can attract people who do not know about you through your different blog posts. Another way in which a blog can add in benefit is by establishing your company as an authority or market leader. If you keep your blog updated with relevant blog posts then people will begin to consider you as a leader in the market. Last but the most important benefit of the blog is the fact that it helps engage your customers – creating a good feeling about you and your brand.

 

So if you are planning to create a blog, you are definitely headed in the right direction.

vector - attach image to document
Jargon Busting

What is Content Management and Why Do You Need It?

To define content management in strict terms, it is the method of organizing and gathering various types of content – text, images, clips, etc. – along with tagging schemes in the best possible way and storing the content data on a CMS (Content Management System). This content can then be used for various purposes. A common purpose is website content; web content management delivers this stored content to websites. 

There are many benefits to having a content managed website, such as:

Control over Website

Website and business owners get to control the content of their website, which is a plus because who would know a business better than the owner? You can put your say in there and decide what your site should look like.

Reduced Web Development Costs

A CMS helps you lower web development costs by allowing you to easily control the site. When you get an external service or the help of an expert for your site’s development, you will have to pay them extra for the manual work – even if they use a CMS themselves! 

Makes Your Site Active and Attractive

A site that regularly updates content is always more appealing than one that doesn’t. In fact, fresh content published regularly can help you get more traffic thereby making sure your site is helping your business’ success. When you have a CMS, it’s easier than ever to have more content and pages on your site, which also means more content to optimize for search engine results.

Enhanced Communication with Audience

The best way to maintain your audience’s interest is to give them communication. Content allows you to indirectly give your audience communication on a collective scale. They can easily get to know your business more and more by the content that you publish.

Bottom line being, a CMS is a system that does not require you to have extreme technical skills to manage your content and allows you to cost-effectively cater to your website and make it profitable for your business.