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Search Marketing

The Whiteclick SEO blog aims to keep you up to date with the latest in the search engine optimisation and marketing industry and the company.

12 Digital Marketing New Years resolutions for 2012

- Monday, January 09, 2012

1. Do: Share links pointing to content on your website!

It's concerning how many businesses share links over social networks that direct potential visitors to other sites instead of their own! Your primary social media objective should always be to engage with your target audience, lure them back to your website using great content, and then convert to leads or sales.

2. Do: Finally get around to setting up your business blog

Speaking of great content - a blog is one of the most effective pages to drive traffic to your site! Companies which blog have 434% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links. For non-SEO nerds, in English this means that investing time and money into a business blog will:

  • Establish your brand as a market leader and influencer
  • Impact positively on your optimisation efforts and increase your search rankings
3. Do: Optimise your blog posts with keywords/phrases

Closely aligning your blogging efforts with your SEO strategy to incorporate keywords and phrases will maximise your content 'life' and visibility in search results.

4. Do: Post blogs regularly

Commit to generating 1 to 2 articles a month at minimum. There is nothing worse than visiting a business blog page only to find that their latest article dates back to the time when Nokia's 3310 was still the most widely used mobile phone device!

5. Do: Analyse what content engages best with your audience

Take notice of what is working. Assess your most popular blogs by views per month; your social media updates that garner the most 'likes', 'comments' or 'shares' etc. Use this data as a guide for future posts. It seems like common sense but you'd be surprised at how many businesses fail to identify what makes their audience tick.

6: Do: Set measurable Social Media goals

A big trend for 2012 embraces higher levels of social media monitoring and metrics - but how can you measure your digital marketing success unless you first set goals that are realistic and achievable? Here are a few simple ones to start with:

  • I want to increase my Facebook Fan base to x amount of followers by x date
  • I want to increase my Twitter followers to x amount of followers by x date etc.
  • I want to post x amount of blog articles a month

7: Don't: Ignore Google+

A huge development in 2011 was the emergence of Google's answer to Facebook: Google+. Early membership numbers broke every record in the book, and in late November the search heavyweight announced the provision of Business Pages for brands. While Google was quick to deny any relational effects to SEO and PPC, early data suggests otherwise. Don't be left behind, build your business presence on this network now.

8. Don't: Be tempted to cut costs by attempting DIY pay-per-click

While DIY PPC management may provide initial budget relief in an economic downturn, it often ends up costing much more than you save. The keyword selection process is far more involved than just knowing what your customers are searching for. Targeting the wrong keywords drains advertising spend without providing any ROI. It's a no brainer: Employ an expert to make sure that you're getting the best keywords at the lowest possible price point.

9. Don't: Forget the power of customer testimonials

It is estimated that by 2014, 53% of total retail sales (online and offline) will be affected by consumers who use the Internet to research products before purchasing. Social Media is the new 'word of mouth'. Populate your product/services LinkedIn page so happy customers can endorse you, and encourage influencers to write online reviews or recommend your brand on Facebook.

10. Don't: Be oblivious to what is being said about your business online

Use free web services such as and or even by conducting a simple name search on Twitter to find out how your brand is perceived by the public. Appease customers with complaints and nurture brand ambassadors. Social media is not just for promotions, it is also an invaluable market research tool.

11. Don't: Lose potential business by having an outdated, user un-friendly website

Your website is often the first experience a potential customer has with your company brand. Just like in a job interview, you need to make those first impressions count! Does your homepage load up quickly? Is your content optimized for search? Do you provide eCommerce facilities for users to buy your products online? Or is 'Lets do the time warp again' ringing in your visitors ears when they view your page design?!

12. Don't: Optimise your website for mobile and tablet devices at your own peril!

Sales of iPhones, Androids, iPads and other tablet devices are on the rise and expected to outstrip laptops and traditional computers as the home hardware of choice by 2015. Don't give potential customers an excuse to buy from your competitors - make sure your website can be viewed and utilized in any format.

What are your digital marketing resolutions for 2012?

The 5 Unbreakable Laws for Making Websites That Create Sales

- Thursday, October 20, 2011

After many years guiding businesses on how to retool their web sites into effective marketing machines, we've uncovered 5 unbreakable laws for building web sites that sell. Read on to gain precious insights for multiplying the return on your marketing dollar. 

1. Do looks really matter? 76% of web site visitors judge the credibility of a business from the appearance of the web site alone—not the content. Many people know professional looking designs increase credibility in the eyes of your web site visitors, but few consider the damage shoddy advertising does to a business. Your web site must look professional otherwise you literally risk damaging your brand.

2. Drive targeted traffic to your business. It's no secret the vast majority of customers now use online search to find local businesses. Many businesses have realised there is little or no benefit in building a web site that no one visits and are getting better and better at finding customers online. Target these customers with online marketing, or somebody else will.

3. Engage your web site visitors. Advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, 'You cannot bore people into buying' and his advice still rings true today. Consumers have never been so informed, discerning and impatient.

Looking for a powerful way to motivate customers to pick up the phone and call your business? The easiest way is to do a bit of online market research and post a compelling offer unlike anything offered by your competitors and post it on your web site. This is a deceptively simple—yet staggeringly effective—way to differentiate your brand from the competition.

4. Make it easy for your customers. The customer of the 21st century is overwhelmed with information and easily frustrated. Usability and clear information design are vital for a successful business web site. Does your home page look like a christmas-tree by cramming everything but the kitchen sink into one page? Or does it present a simple selection of options-just enough for your web site visitors to know how to easily get to the information they're looking for?

Make it easy for your customers…. Or they will go elsewhere.

5. Use your best resource for more sales. Your existing client base have already developed trust and familiarity with your business and will readily buy from you again. And a well constructed web site is the most economical and effective tool to communicate with your customers. Mailing lists, blogs and social media sites all rely upon your web site as the nerve centre for communicating with your customers and new prospects. Have you been using your web site to re-engage your customers?

Are there more approaches than these to make web sites that sell? Sure. But this is the best place to start.

Remember —a well built web site is an investment, not an expense. Poorly constructed web sites almost always come with high maintenance fees and are inevitably scrapped and replaced by better ones as a business grows.

You wouldn't trust just anyone to be the face of your business-and the first time a person visits a business web site is the very first sales meeting that takes place between the customer and your brand. Invest wisely.

5 Tips to Improve Your Website Security

- Friday, September 30, 2011

Website Security

Website security is an often-overlooked part of developing a site. Everyone says 'yes, we provide the utmost in web security', but what do they actually do? What questions can you ask your web design company to make sure they're actually doing it? And what steps can you take to help protect your site? Read on....

Open source software is much more prevalent in the market these days. We use it ourselves. CMS's like Wordpress, Drupal and Magento are now common bits of software that people know about. These are great tools, however you must keep them updated. While we love open source, it does mean that the code is available to anyone. And that means those with not-so-good intentions can try and find security holes to exploit. The open source community is pretty good with this - there are always updates available and it's highly recommended you keep your software up-to-date!

There's another really common scenario with open source software. And that's the install folder/files! You must remove these once the software is installed. Otherwise anyone can come along and reinstall it. And if you don't back up your site regularly, this can have a devastating effect. So don't just rename the install files - make sure you remove them completely.

So, you've got your software up-to-date, and have removed the install files/folder. What's next? How about your login and passwords? I hope you're not using the default admin:admin or admin:admin123. That would be a bad idea. Go and check this. Now. And if it's default, change it. Heck, why don't you change it regardless!

Ok now we're going to get a bit more technical. You'll most likely have heard of SSL. What's this? It stands for 'Secure Sockets Layer'. That probably still doesn't mean anything to you. Well, to put it simply, it's a security protocol that ensures that data sent using the Internet is encrypted. You'll often see secure web sites displayed with a nice little padlock in your browser.

So when you're using a web site with an SSL certificate, any data that's transmitted between your computer and the web site server is secure (read:encrypted). This means that no-gooders that are 'listening' to this to and fro traffic can't see what's being sent. Which is a really good idea when you're sending private information. Like credit card details. So, if you're web site sends and receives private information, it's a good idea to use SSL.

There's a bunch of different providers of SSL certificates out there; Verisign, RapidSSL and Comodo to name a few. And of course, if that's all a bit confusing, get in touch and we'll talk you through it.

Next up, do you have an online store? Take payments? I hope you're using a secure payment gateway. If not, maybe you're storing credit card information. Please, please tell me you're using SSL. And if you are, you do know this is just a start right?

SSL doesn't completely protect your web site. It does protect the data being transmitted to and from your site. But that's not the information your site holds!

The majority of online stores use a database. And if that database holds credit card information, it makes them it a very desirable target for scammers or hackers. Don't think it won't happen to you.

What's the moral of this story? Only store credit card details if you absolutely must. If you can use a third party payment gateway (Paypal, eWay etc etc...) it does remove the burden somewhat. And if decide to store the info regardless, encrypt it. Plaintext passwords with credit card details are just a recipe for disaster.

Right, I hope this article has shed some light on web site security for you. This is by no means an exhaustive list. It's just a few simple (and not so simple!) steps you can take to help. If it all seems a bit overwhelming, drop us a line, we'd be happy to help. Adios!

5 common business web site mistakes

- Tuesday, July 05, 2011

After a rush of new clients asking us on how to improve the performance of their sites, we've identified a few common mistakes preventing businesses from achieving their goals. 

Want to ensure a high return on investment from your marketing spend? Read on to ensure your business web site doesn't make these same mistakes.

1. Inadequate web site performance tracking.

Without effective web site statistics software installed on your site how else will you know if your web site is achieving your online goals?

Our preferred analytics software, Google Analytics, is entirely free and allows you to monitor the amount of web site traffic your web site receives, where your web site visitors come from and what they do when they arrive at your site.

You can take web analytics to the next level by setting up goal tracking, which is a great way to monitor how many of your web site visitors convert to clients. This gives you the power to make informed decisions on improving your site over time to increase sales conversions.

2. Lack of web site traffic.

The majority of customers are now seeking their information online. Most business leaders know this but many are left wondering how do I attract more traffic to my site?

Focusing on acquiring targeted web site traffic through an informed search engine optimisation strategy is the key to acquiring Internet users who are looking for your business online.

This is achieved by optimising the web site content for the keywords Internet users are using to find your service offering, a competitive link building strategy to notify search engines your web site is an authority in the field & a social media strategy to drive targeted traffic to your site.

This is not as easy as it sounds. Recent updates to Google's search algorithm has slammed many web sites for acquiring a suspicious amount of links from spammy web sites, resulting in many web sites losing their search engine rankings and web site traffic.

3. Targeting the wrong search terms.

Many businesses have achieved number one rankings for a long list of search terms, but are these the same terms customers are using to find the business?

You must ensure the search terms your business ranks for are in fact the same terms customers are using to find your business.

Keyword research is the most vital and consistently overlooked process for optimising a site to achieve search engine rankings and ultimately web site traffic. Without adequate keyword research a web site doesn't have a fighting chance for finding customers online.

4. Damaging web site development.

Many web sites have little hope of achieving search engine rankings and web traffic as a result of being developed without search engines in mind. Common errors in the code of many sites prevent the site from being indexed and in extreme cases risk the site being banned from search engines.

This includes excessive usage of Flash and Javascript, making search engines unable to crawl and recognise the content of the page. Also, hosting multiple web sites on the same account for the one business with duplicate content.

Shady tactics like these usually inform the search engines the site is trying to game the system and is a prime target for being excluded.

5. Poor usability and design.

Contrary to common belief, design is not subjective. Did you know that 76% of web site visitors determine the credibility of a business from the visual appearance of a web site alone?

A study by Stanford University revealed the common visual cues web site visitors use to judge the credibility of a business. Clean and uncluttered web design, relevant content, restrained use of colours, industry certifications and customer recommendations are just some of the visual signifiers visitors use to make this assessment. 

And this happens within a fraction of a second before your web site visitors make up their mind and close the window to move on to the next site.

Is this all we know?

It has become increasingly difficult for businesses to increase their web site traffic. This knowledge applies to most businesses. But not all.

Whiteclick have developed a separate and specialised body of knowledge on what makes for success in growing targeted traffic to web sites for the ecommerce sector, retail, business to business and many other industries. But this special information is only revealed to Whiteclick clients. 

If you would like to have an informal and confidential discussion on the effective strategies available for finding new customers online, or a receive a free web site health check, feel free to get in touch.

20 things I learned about the web

- Friday, December 24, 2010
If you're looking for some web-related festive reading you can't do much better than 20 Things I Learned About the Web, which is a beautifully crafted website created by some people who appear to know a lot about the internet. They're called Google, or something like that.

You'll learn a whole lot about the evolution of the web, how browsers work and just how cloud computing is going to transform our lives. Best of all, the site is completely developed using HTML5 and CSS3, effectively showcasing coding technologies of the not-so-distant future. 

Tip: Use Chrome or the latest version of Firefox for maximum viewing pleasure.

Even Faster Websites

- Friday, October 29, 2010

The aroma of freshly ground coffee greeted delegates arriving for Web Directions South 2010. As one of the industry's most anticipated events it was with excitement that I planned out my schedule for the day. There was everything from digital publishing and design interactions using storytelling through to HTML5 and CSS3. But appropriately, after four coffees, the afternoon session I found myself jittering towards was "Even Faster Websites" by Steve Souder.

Steve is seriously nerdy. His obsession with finding the most efficient way of performing tasks become apparent when he recounted his university days and how he calculated the number of steps across a range of different routes to the computer room. Of course it wasn't just a case of straight step count: Steve would have factored in corridor bandwidth, student traffic levels, server load (i.e. his leg energy) and the numerous other considerations a great mind such as his might take into account. I would have been more concerned about my search visibility and ranking whilst passing by the female dormitories.

But I digress. Now employed at Google, Steve knows what works on the internet and so it was to a packed main auditorium that he starting explaining just how and why websites should be faster.

"Making websites faster affects the bottom line" Steve stated simply.

And he backed this up with statistics showing exactly how much of an affect it has. Thoroughly convinced, the audience willed him to reveal how we can make our websites faster. Our collective desperation was tangible.

Steve stepped forward with a slightly tilted head and dropped the bomb, revealing that despite the goodness it gives us in terms of user interaction: Javascript is the main culprit. Having all those scripts loading in the <HEAD> tags of a web page creates a bottleneck that stops the page content from being delivered. Due to browser constraints on the number of concurrent downloads and the fact that scripts take priority, only once all of your Javascript has loaded will the page's <BODY> start to render. If you're serving JQuery, mootools, scriptaculous and who knows what else then in those extra seconds of wait time - especially on the user's first page view which is arguably the most important - concentration wanes, frustration increases and you can almost hear potential revenue ticking down the drain.

So how do we increase speed and conversions whilst retaining the interactivity Javascript enables?

Load it asynchronously by dynamically appending your scripts to the DOM (Document Object Model, which is the page as an entity) after everything else has loaded. It's simple but very powerful. This means that as soon as a user hits your page the text and image content starts rendering and they feel that your website is responsive: they are not left staring at the white screen of wait. And by the time they are ready to take action your Javascript will have loaded in the background.

Examples of sites that have harnessed this approach effectively are Google (of course), Facebook and Twitter. Bing apparently is the best, which is quite something coming from a Google employee. But you do get the sense that Steve is not swayed by corporate politics or bias. What he cares about more than anything is making websites faster.

From a technical perspective adopting this approach does require a fair bit of crafting by web developers. It also requires a lot of scoping to ensure correct implementation across larger sites - and, of course, testing. But if you have a need for speed (and who doesn't?) then the extra build time is worth it.

Steve finished off by providing some great tools for measuring website speed. These include:

You should also install Firebug in Firefox and then get the YSlow and Page Speed add-ons for more in-depth analysis and recommendations for improvement of live web pages.

Steve's session was my unexpected favourite of Web Directions South 2010. His unpretentious manner combined with his vast expertise and real passion for the subject made a long-lasting impression.

I'll leave this blog post here as I'm now getting far too excited about coding some Ferrari-fast web pages of my own.

'Til next time remember, "Rendering first and executing JavaScript second is the key to a faster Web."


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