Entries Tagged 'marketing' ↓

9 Ways to Keep Your Website Up to Date

Sprucing up your website doesn’t have to mean a full redesign every few years. There are some less evasive things that can be done to freshen it up and make sure it is performing well. website spring clean

Just like spring cleaning your house, an annual dusting of your website will make sure it remains responsive, SEO friendly and continues to give your customers what they want.

Here are 9 things you can do to keep your website in tiptop condition.

1. Code

If, like me, you have no idea what all those strange letters, numbers and symbols mean behind the scenes, you may want to get someone in to help you with this one.

Cleaner and more organised code means a faster website that loads in a flash and is easier for the search engines to crawl.

2. Title tags and META descriptions

If you have an SEO strategy, you’re probably already tweaking these on a regular basis.

Your title tag lets the search engines know what your web page is about, so make sure you review this regularly. Likewise with your META description, although not a factor in SEO, it must be relevant and appealing to your customers. If you’re not sure what it is, the META description is the short piece of blurb that comes under your URL in the search results. It’s important that it speaks to the reader, highlights the benefits you offer and contains a call to action. The only issue is you have just 160 characters to play with, so you’ll have to get creative.

3. Alt tags

Yes, more tags. The Alt tags are the ones you find behind the images you use on your website. During your review, make sure every image has a tag, but that doesn’t mean you should be stuffing them with keywords. Every tag should be relevant to the image.

Plus, where you have your logo on your website, make sure it’s Alt tag contains your company name or website.

4. Images

Once you’ve reviewed the coding behind your images it’s time to look at the image itself. Are your photos and graphics still relevant? Are they looking a bit dated? What about the size of them? The file size will have a huge impact on the loading time of your website, so if at all possible compress them to give your users a better, faster experience.

5. Call to action

Take a look at your calls to action.

Are they working?

Are your website visitors being converted into customers? If the answer is no, or you’re looking for a high conversion rate, your call to action is a great place to start.

Did you know that Dell increased sales by $25million just by changing their “Learn more” call to action to “Help me choose”? So if you’re not already doing so, test different calls to action to find the one that works best for you.

6. Navigation

The navigation bar on your website is the map your visitors use to find their way round. Check to make sure it is clear and easy to follow. It’s also a good opportunity to make sure it aligns with your SEO strategy.

7. Compatibility

More and more people are accessing the Internet through their mobile phones, so it’s essential your website is mobile friendly.

8. Refresh

While you’re reviewing all these aspects, why not add in something new. How about an explainer video or infographic? Adding fresh content to your website is a must whether it’s a video, graphic, article, report or series of blogs.

9. Does it work?

One of the main reasons websites fall short of the mark is because they are designed and written by people within the business.

Think about it – you’re business is your baby and you’re going to want to shout about it to everyone. But what are your customers looking for? Certainly not your euphoric ramblings about how great you are.

They want to know what you can do for them, which is why it’s a great idea to get someone from outside your company to read your content, follow your navigation and generally ‘play’ with your site to see if it tells them what they need to know.

This exercise is also a good way to check for broken links.

Creating and publishing your website isn’t a one off activity. It’s vital you revisit your site regularly to make sure it’s keeping up with technology and the needs of your customers.

Bookmark this article and diarise regularly to review your website and keep it in tiptop condition.

Author: Sally Ormond, copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd, cyclist and Big Bang Theory fan.

The 4 Types of Content Your Website Needs

High street retailers have a major advantage over their online competitors; their customers can see, feel and touch their products and talk to someone about them there and then. 4 types of content

In the world of Internet retail, there are no roaming sales people to have a chat with and no product displays that you can interact with to get a feel for what you’re buying.

That’s why it’s important you get the right balance of content on your website to give your potential customers all the information they need to buy.

4 basic types of content

Some people react better to text, others to images, some videos and then there’s those that love to read reviews. That’s why your website’s content must be a mixture of all of them.

Product information

Your product information copywriting is going to be the main information source for your customers.

It must primarily focus on the benefits the product offers, but also provide everything they need to know about it: size, colours, functionality etc.

A great way to do this is using a mixture of detailed information, high quality photos and customer reviews.


The humble frequently asked questions page is a gold mine of information for your customer. List every question your customer service team is asked to make sure you provide a comprehensive range of questions and answers – even the really tough questions.

How to guides

A bit of educational content will add extra depth to your website. The best way to create ‘how to’ guides is by using video. Short explainer videos can get lots of information across in a very short space of time. You could also opt for a series of images showing step-by-step instructions.

Ratings and reviews

I’m sure you’re fed up with hearing this rather hackneyed phrase, but people really do buy from people.

Customer ratings and reviews give your customers an unbiased view of the product, helping them decide whether it is right for them.

If you have all these elements and wrap them up in a way that is entertaining, informative and shareable, your business will go far.

Why shareable?

Well, if your content is useful and people share it with their friends, they are doing your marketing for you, or friendvertising.

Take a look at your website and see what content you’re offering. Are you ticking all the boxes or are you missing some?

Perhaps there’s another form of content I’ve not thought of that you use to great effect? If so, leave a comment below and tell me what it is. I’d love to hear from you.

Author: Sally Ormond, copywriter at Briar Copywriting Ltd, cyclist, Pinot Grigio fan and very partial to Rowntree’s Pick’n Mix

How Do Your Customers See You?

Last month I wrote a blog about the rise of friendvertising using the video from Dove to illustrate how big brands are using the power of social media to get you to do their advertising for them by sharing their content.

Watch the video now and then I’m going to ask you something.

Moving, isn’t it?

It’s incredible how these women see one thing and yet the artist sees something completely different.

And that’s what got me thinking.

You’ve been working in your business for many years, you know it inside out, but are you seeing the same thing as your customers?

How do they perceive you?

Getting your message out loud and clear

The video shows how easy it is to be caught up in your own world and be blind to what it is other people are seeing.

Take a good look at your business. Not how it’s run (although that will have an effect on how you are perceived), but how it is marketed to the world.

Let’s start with your website.

Does it look OK?

Just OK?

How about your brochures, business cards, leaflets, newsletters and emails, do they look OK too?

I bet they tell your customers all about your business, your products and your services.

They tell them how long you’ve been in business, that you’re an expert in your field and that you’re passionate about what you do.

So what do you think that tells your customers?

That you’re innovative, have their interests at heart, will do everything you can to help them?


All that tells your customers is that you love your company.

The power of you

You is a short word, but one that packs a powerful punch.

Making sure your website copywriting (and all your marketing materials) is written in the second person will create an entirely different perception.

Instead of being told “We have many years experience in the development of software solutions”, which will send your potential customers to sleep, you will excite them by saying “We’ll create software systems that work the way you want them to, saving you time and money.”

Straight away they can see the benefit in what you do because, rather than telling them what you do, you are telling them what you can do for them.

You are showing them you are a company that cares about its customers. Suddenly, them emphasis is on them and not on you.

It’s a far more powerful message.

Everything you write must be about your customer.

Every message must highlight the benefits you will bring to their lives or their business.

Every word must show them that you care about them and that’s the whole reason you’re in business.


Corporate Websites Are Dead

death of corporate websites

I was intrigued by a post written by Michael Brenner that talked about the demise of the corporate website as we know it.

Customers no longer want the standard ‘About Us’, ‘Our Services’ or ‘Latest News’ – that no longer floats their boat. If that doesn’t convince you, here are some statistics that Michael cited to reinforce the message:

  • Nearly 70% of Fortune 100 corporate websites experienced declines in traffic, with an average drop of 23% (Webtrends)
  • 90% of website traffic comes from just 10% of the content and more than 50% of the traffic is from just 0.5% of the content (InboundWriter)
  • 60-70% of B2B marketing content goes unused (Sirius Decision)
  • 60% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects reach out to vendors (CEB)

So what’s causing this shift?

It would appear as though today’s consumers are looking for more from corporate websites. They’re not interested in the usual humdrum pages that lead you through what they sell, how long they’ve been in business or what they’ve done recently. Instead, they want stuff that’s useful; top tips, how to videos, human-interest stories.

Yes, shock horror, they want to interact with real people.

The human touch

None of this should be too shocking to you considering the explosion in social media.

Brand is key for every corporate (in fact any business) and rather than that being directly related to its colour palette and logo, their brand is their social interaction with their customers.

More and more companies are moving away from ‘traditional’ website marketing to social media engagement. Their products and services are being translated into stories that can be shared across numerous channels.

Rather than engagement through contact forms, they are interacting in real-time conversations with their customers through Twitter, Facebook and other social channels.

A case in point

Michael cites Coca-Cola as a prime example of this change in focus.

Back in 2012, Coca-Cola declared the death of its own corporate website, re-launching it under the tagline “The Coca-Cola Journey. Refreshing The World, One Story At A Time”, featuring content driven by their “Unbottled” blog.

The result was that their content became their main product.

Whether you’re a B2B or a B2C company, content and story telling must be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. Relationships that last are built through education. By offering useful information you’re giving your readers value (whether they’ve bought from you or not), which in turn builds trust.

The way forward

How do you reap these rewards?

Doing a “coke” is a brave move and perhaps one you’re not ready for. But you can make a move in the right direction by adding content regularly to your website.

An active blog that offers great advice, human-interest stories and useful information will draw people to you. I’m not talking about posting once in a blue moon when you have a few minutes; to be a success it must be done regularly.

Think of your blog as a digital magazine – offer a mix of content that will appeal to your audience. You are its editor, so it’s up to you to make it work.

Author: Sally Ormond – Briar Copywriting

How Many Ideas Should One Piece of Marketing Contain?

Difference between web copy and print copy

Let me give you a clue.

The number of ideas to use in an ad should be odd – and three’s too many”

Timo Everi, Hasan & Partners Helsinki

I couldn’t put it better myself.

The key to any form of marketing is clarity (of course it also has to be persuasive, but for the purpose of this post, clarity wins through).

If you want your reader to be 100% clear about what you’re telling them you can’t bombard them with umpteen messages at once.

A classic example of this is a sales letter.

Years ago, a client wanted a sales letter. We agreed terms and I got to work. After a while he had a brain wave; by getting me to include 2 products within one letter, he would only have to pay me once to sell twice as much.


Trying to squeeze two ideas into one letter merely dilutes its effectiveness. To have any sort of effect you must concentrate on one idea and exploit it to the max.

Maintaining the focus of the reader is essential. If you present them with one idea, they can follow your reasoning and benefits. But if you start telling them one thing and then add “…we also offer…” they’re suddenly all at sea.

Powerful copy focuses on just one idea:

  • It shows the reader how they will benefit from that one idea
  • They’ll understand how their life will be enriched by that one idea
  • They’ll be left with no other choice than to buy into your idea

What at first might seem a financially driven ‘smart’ move will only end up with disappointing results.

Regardless of what piece of marketing you’re creating:

  • Stick to one idea
  • Focus your message on your reader
  • Show how they will benefit
  • Tell them how to buy

Author: Sally Ormond