Struggling with your WordPress website?

I don’t blame you! I am a Squarespace expert but recently offered to help someone who was having issues in the back end of her WordPress site.

I know someone who is a WordPress expert so I thought it would be useful to ask this person to fix the problem my client was having, namely fixing a MailChimp sign-up form on the website. Sounds easy, right?

Well, if the issue had been on a Squarespace website I would have had it fixed in under an hour. This took almost two weeks! Like, really? Problems with an outdated version of php, css that needed to be revised, where to find the code in MailChimp etc etc

My Wordpress expert friend assured me that if I learned how to use it, I would never look back. I find it hard to believe that. If something as simple as an email sign-up form can be that complicated for a web designer, where does that leave the client?

My goal is for my clients to be comfortable managing their own websites, because as we know, a website is never finished; there are constant updates and changes to be made. And this is why I love Squarespace - it is almost impossible to go wrong. And if you don’t know how to do something, there is a fantastic online chat desk, oodles of ‘how to’ videos and guides, and of course I am always here to help.

Ugh, Wordpress - a nightmare! If this resonates with you and you’d like a beautiful site, that rocks with functionalities, SEO and everything you could possibly need, drop me an email, I’d love to help.

Thinking of Working with LucyDesigns for your New Website?

Getting your website designed or redesigned is a big decision for your business, but it’s also exciting and a great opportunity to finally have a website that does more than simply describe what you do! Now you’re going to have a site that really builds your business!

If you have worked with a web designer before, you will now that web designers have their own process for designing and building your site. It can be quite confusing as every web designer has their own way of showing design proposals, enforcing timelines, payment terms etc. It can be quite a long process to get your head around and difficult to find one that is a good fit for you.

I usually plan a discovery call with my potential clients and they all generally ask the same questions, (or some ask no questions at all, which can be a bit worrying!) My aim is to answer those questions as simply as possible to and make the web design process as straightforward as possible.

I would be delighted to chat with you about any questions you might have. In the meantime, here is a list of common questions that will avoid you emailing me or picking up the phone! 

‘I HEAR YOU DESIGN A WEBSITE IN AS LITTLE AS 2 WEEKS? … HOW DO YOU DO IT?’

This is a very frequent question as the 2 week process is not that common. But you know what, it means you know exactly when we are going to start working together and when your site will be live! How cool is that?

How exactly do I design and build your website in two weeks? It’s quite simple actually! You get my undivided attention for 2 weeks. I am not juggling three or four other clients at the same time, I am all yours! This frees up my time to focus on your project without too much distraction. It means I answer your emails within a number of hours or if we need to talk on the phone I am available at much shorter notice. With this approach, projects do not drag on and everyone is happy, especially my clients. The web design project is a priority for my clients and me, and we organise our schedules accordingly.

You might be thinking that I must set limits on the number of edits on the website. Not so, my clients get as many website edit revisions as they require, within the 2 week design period. The faster my clients get edits to me, the more edits they get!

My clients are reassured by having a set date for the launch of their site. This enables them to plan their marketing and social media campaigns around the launch date. It also means they can block off this time in their diary to concentrate on the site, before getting back to their business.

‘WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE? IS THIS GOING TO TAKE UP TWO WEEKS OF MY TIME?’

I try to make the website process as headache-free and as simple as possible for my clients. Here’s a look at what the tasks of a client involve.

Before our 2 week design date: Complete the client homework (complete my design questionnaire and compile photos & copy into a Google Drive folder).

The design questionnaire takes less than an hour to complete, (plus this part is good fun)! 

For dragging all of your photos into a Google Drive folder, this depends on how organised you are with your files, anywhere from 5 mins to an hour. 

The amount of time needed to write out the site copy varies a lot depending on if you already have an existing website. For clients who want their copy the exact same as a current site, they just skip this step and I take the copy straight off of their existing site. For those who have existing copy but want to edit it a little, it’s normally up to an hour’s worth of work. For clients that need to write copy from scratch, the amount of time depends on the number of pages on their site, but if I had to guess I’d say 4-5 hours is normal. Total: 1 hour - 7 hours.

Week 1 Monday: Initial consultation call for 1 hour

Week 1: Almost no time or effort is required from clients here. In this week I build the entire site out, so clients can get on with running their business. I will advise you on which Squarespace plan to use and walk you through setting up your account. 1/2 an hour

Week 2: This is when edits may be requested. You’ll be sent a link to the site and can browse through the site normally on a computer, phone, or tablet. You then write a list of site edits and email it to me. This takes about 30 mins per list of edits. Some clients send just 1 email with edits, others send 5. It depends on the person as well as the size and complexity of the site.

Week 2 Friday: LAUNCH DAY! We jump on a 1.5 hour call for a lesson & to officially launch the site. 

First, I run you through a full lesson on the backend of your Squarespace site. We aren’t looking at a sample site, we’re looking at the real back end of your site, so I teach you overall how to use your site, update and edit it, as well as focus on areas that are especially important for you. 

Then, we link up any bits of functionality (eg. social media links, your email list system, appointment scheduling system, etc.) You are then live to the world and we’re all done!

How easy is that, right?!

‘DO YOU OFFER MONTHLY MAINTENANCE PLANS OR MONTHLY SUPPORT PLANS?’

I do not offer monthly maintenance plans because frankly you don’t need them.

With WordPress websites, yes, having a developer on call is highly useful, with a Squarespace site that’s really not necessary. The Squarespace team in Dublin and NYC takes care of system updates, confusing security things, and adding new site functionality. You pay once a month or annually to them for your Squarespace plan, and they take care of the rest.

All my clients (even those who swear they are not ‘techies’) edit their own site content, swap out photos and create new pages themselves. After our lesson, you’ll be a confident Squarespace user!

'CAN I HIRE YOU ON AN HOURLY BASIS IF I NEED YOU?'

Yes, of course!

If you need a new site functionality, a new complex page design, or want some business cards designed, by all means send me an email and I can look after that for you. We’ll find a date that works for you, and enables me to still dedicate myself properly to my current client.

‘WHAT DO I NEED TO PROVIDE FOR MY WEBSITE?’

You’ll need to provide your site copy (text), and photos. If you need some help crafting some fabulous copy, I can put you in touch with a wonderful copywriter, Meadhbh Hand. If you don’t have photos, the Welcome package you’ll receive upon booking will point you in the right direction to purchase or download copyright free photos online. If you would like to get some custom photography done (which I highly recommend), contact Eadaoin Curtin, one of the best in Dublin!

 

‘WILL IT BE DIFFICULT TO UPKEEP AND MAINTAIN MY NEW SITE?’

No, it won’t! I promise :)

If you want to create your website, leave it and never touch it again, a Squarespace website is perfect for that. It requires no work on your part to keep it up.

If you want to edit prices on your site, that might take you 5 minutes. Upload a new photo to a gallery? About 2 minutes. Add a blog post - if it is written in advance, it takes about 10 minutes to add it, with categories, an image and some SEO.

You will be able to carry out all these tasks yourself after I show you have to use the site. You will not to email someone and wait for them to get around to it. Bang, it’s done!

If you forget how to do something I showed you in our lesson, you can look back at our screen-recorded video call to watch the steps over again.

 

‘DO I NEED TO KNOW ANY CODE?’

The back of your site will look a lot like the front of your site that visitors see. Except as you hover over areas of the page you’ll see little buttons for editing. Squarespace sites are built using ‘blocks’, text blocks, image blocks, gallery blocks, event calendar blocks, it’s really quite simple.

Sometimes I will use code on a site for specific styling effects, but nothing that won’t hinder you making future style changes yourself.

 

‘WHAT ABOUT THE DOMAIN? WILL YOU LINK THE SITE TO MY URL?’

I will look after this. Most of my clients have purchased their domain with a provider such as LetsHost, Blacknight or Irish Domains. Once I have your log in to your account with your provider, I will do the confusing techie stuff in the background to link your domain to your new Squarespace site. I will call your domain provider, if necessary, so you do not need to worry about this.

‘HOW DO WE START? WHEN DO I PAY? DO WE SIGN A CONTRACT?’

When you’re ready to get started, complete the ‘Booking Inquiry’ form on the bottom of this page, and be sure to include your preferred design date. If you’re ready to get started right away, let me know in the form. If you want to chat first, let me know in the form and we’ll set up a call time.

Once you’re ready to book in, I’ll send you a link to a contract & a link to make your deposit payment. To save your preferred design date, you’ll pay 50% of your package price, and e-sign your contract.

Once you make your 50% payment and sign your contact, your preferred design date is saved with your name and becomes unavailable for anyone else to book. The 50% remainder is due on the last day of our design period (the 2nd Friday).

AND FINALLY, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The cost of designing and building your website will depend very much on the number of pages and scale of functionalities you require. We will discuss your requirements at the outset and I will give you a price based on an agreed scope of work.

Checklist for planning your new website

Summer is coming and you’re determined to get your new website live by the end of August. You might be wondering where to begin. Do you start Googling web designers in your area? Do you ask a friend who had his done recently? Or do you ask your neighbour’s daughter who is a “tech whiz” to do a site for you?

Answer? None of the above!

Preparing for a new website actually starts with you and you will save time and money if you do the necessary prep-work before ringing around looking for quotes or trying to fill out the Online Trading Voucher application from your LEO.

Here is a list of steps I recommend you take before lifting the phone or Googling “local web designer”:

  1. Prepare your content.

    By this I mean, think about what is going to be on your website. Is it a portfolio site to exhibit your photography or art works? If so, which works are you going to publish online? Or is the site going to explain your business and services? In which case, what do you want to say about your business so that you can achieve your goals? Do you want people to be able to contact you? Are you going to present yourself? Do you have products to sell and if so, have you got your product descriptions ready?

    It is very important to start working out what content will go on your site and where you think it might go. Your web designer will be able to advise you on layout, structure and the best User Interface Design - I do anyway - but you must have prepared your copy before you start working with your designer. Otherwise it is very difficult for them to design the site according to your needs and those of your site visitors.

    You may have content from an existing site, which is great. Don’t forget that blogs can be exported and imported into new sites, without having to re-type them. If you need help with copywriting, there are professionals available to help with that. Keyword research is whole other area of expertise, which I cover in another blog post.

  2. Testimonials

    While thinking of content, ask some of your clients, members or attendees (if you organise events) to provide you with a testimonial that you can include on your site. Testimonials are a great way to add credibility to your organisation and activities.

  3. Calls to Action

    For every page on your site, think about what action you want your site visitors to take once they have browsed the page. Do you want them to call you, email you, download a document, click on a link to another page on your site, leave your site, buy something? This is crucial to guiding your site visitors to where you want them to go or what you want them to do. Think about this for every page on your site. Even your 404 Error/Missing link page!

  4. Prepare your imagery

    This can be the biggest challenge for a lot of businesses and organisations looking to build a website. Ideally you have your own professional photography which is part of your overall brand guidelines. This really makes you stand out from your competitors in the marketplace. If you are a creative, using images of your work will also make your site more unique.

    Note: don’t worry about file sizes etc for your images. Your web designer will resize all images, if necessary, for the web.

    Prepare also your brand guidelines for your web-designer: your brand’s colour palette, typography, patterns and any other elements of your brand identity. By having these ready for your web designer, you can be sure your site will reflect your brand and your organisation’s values.

    If you do not have brand guidelines, it would be advisable to ask your web designer (if they do branding) or a graphic designer to help you with your branding.

  5. Think about functionalities

    Before you call your web designer, think about which functionalities you will need on your site. For example, will you be selling anything online? Will you be offering a free opt-in to site visitors? Will you need a scheduling tool for clients to book meetings with you via your website? Will you need password-protected pages or a Member Area? Will you have a newsletter sign-up form and where will that go? To MailChimp, Convertkit or a Google Sheets doc? Do you want your site to be connected to Google Analytics (this is a given, usually)? Do you want links to your social media accounts?

    Think about everything you would like your website to enable you to do - it can probably manage more of your business activities than you think. By having thought this through in advance, your web designer can design the best User Experience for your site visitors.

  6. Start a Pinterest Inspiration Board

    Your web designer will have super creative ideas for how your website will look, but you probably have your own ideas about what sort of look and feel you would like your site to have. It’s a great idea to start a Pinterest inspiration board where you can pin images of other sites, themes and designs that you might like to have on your site. This will be really helpful to your designer, to guide him or her in his/her design process. I always give my clients a short questionnaire to complete, with a section for “inspiring websites”, where my clients put the url of sites they like and a paragraph of texting explaining what it is they like about it.

  7. Think about your budget!

    I often get clients asking me ‘how much is a website?’ It’s a bit like asking a builder how much it costs to build a house. It all depends on your requirements - which is why it is good to go through the planning steps above. Also think about the value your website will bring to your business or organisation. Too often business owners baulk at the cost of their website, but they forget to take into consideration the return on their investment, in terms of exposure, professional image, lead generation etc.

  8. Allocate time in your diary

    Time to prepare your content, but then also time to review and discuss with your designer. Most web designers work with their clients within a certain timeframe, to avoid projects dragging on and on. You will be in regular contact with your designer during this period - so it is important to allocate time in your diary for the web design process. You will be asked for input, feedback and sometimes you will need to take concrete action on the site itself to get it live. For example, I build my clients sites using Squarespace, which involves an annual payment to Squarespace for the use of their Content Management System (which hosts and displays your site). I ask my clients to enter their own credit card details on the system to pay this annual subscription, so that I don’t have to handle their credit card details. If my client is not available to do this, then the site cannot go live. So, please allow some time for your input into the web design. It is a collaborative - and fun - process between you and your designer.

  9. Training and Maintenance

    I pride myself on building websites on a CMS that is easy to use for anyone with an interest in web-based technology. Many of my clients manage their own sites, once they have been trained by me on how to use the system. But some clients prefer to pay me an annual fee to make their updates and site changes. It just depends on who is available and the regularity of the site updates. Think about what you think would suit you best, once the site is live. Asking your designer to maintain the site in return for a monthly fee will certainly save you time and a bit of a learning curve. But then maybe you relish the opportunity to take control of your site as your business moves forward and you learn more about the power of your new online presence.

  10. Have Fun!

    Planning and creating a new website for your business is really exciting! It’s creative, inspiring and collaborative process. It is important you like your designer :) Trust and good communication is key, but so it is the ability to enjoy the process. I get such a kick out of a new site going live! It’s the birth of something beautiful, new and important; it will grow as your business or organisation grows and prospers and should be the bedrock of all your marketing and sales activities in this new digital age!

    Thanks for reading. Please contact me if you would like to discuss your new website requirements and design.

Optimising your 404 page

Google loves big websites with lots of pages and plenty of relevant, fresh content. However it does not like dead pages or links that go no-where. Sometimes as your site grows and you add new pages or move things around, some of the internal links within your site get broken and your visitors get the dismal “404, link not found” page.

Generally this does not make a good impression to your visitors; they are left thinking “hmmm, this site isn’t great, they can’t even get their links between their pages right’. But it happens! So, how can you turn this error into an opportunity? Well, you always have the option to design your 404 page exactly as you would design any other page, with the messaging and imagery that you want.

Here are some cool examples:

Lego-404-not-found-page.jpg
 
airbnb-404-page.png
 
_404.png

By designing your page to reflect your brand and your business, you have the opportunity to talk to your visitors and redirect them to important pages or to your contact page. This will encourage your visitors to stay longer on your site and give them a much better user experience, both of which are things Google recognises and loves.

Thanks for reading and please contact me if you would like help with your new website.

What is SEO and 10 steps to implement it.

Sometimes as a web designer I make assumptions. Incorrect assumptions, as it turns out!

Yesterday I was on a training call with one of my clients, showing the team how to make edits and updates to their site. I started talking about the importance of meta descriptions for SEO, when one of the team jumped in and said ‘what’s SEO'?’ This was a lesson for me…don’t make assumptions about people’s level of knowledge about all things web/digital/marketing. Anyway, of course I was happy to explain the basic principles of SEO to my client, but it also prompted me to write this blog post which may be helpful to others who are just getting started with their online presence and who haven’t the foggiest what SEO is all about.

So, what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it is the process of optimising your website to drive organic (unpaid, which means not from an ad) website traffic to it, from search engines. Does that make sense? In other words, it’s all the things you need to do to make your site findable, without paying for advertising.

So what does this SEO process entail? Well, SEO involves a number of actions website owners can take.

When you are building your site, ensure you do the following:

1. Sitewide settings:

  • Structure your content - Structure your pages with headings to keep your text skim-friendly and help search engines navigate your content.

    Add alt text to images - In addition to increasing accessibility for visitors who use assistive screen readers, alt text also helps search engines identify the content of a page.

  • Add social sharing images and SEO descriptions - As you add new pages to your site, give them social sharing logos and SEO descriptions

  • Give your images readable file names - Image file names may also be used as alt text.

  • Add tags and categories - Organize your blog posts, products, gallery images, and other content with tags and categories to help visitors navigate your site.

  • Link to your site's content - Where it's relevant, use content links to connect the pages on your site to each other.

  • Customize URL slugs - As you add pages and collection items, ensure the page urls reflect the content of the page.

  • Keep your image sizes small  - To ensure your site loads well, keep your images under 500 KB and overall page size under 5 MB.

2. Keyword Research:

Keyword research is when website managers use keywords to find and research actual search terms that people enter into search engines. The knowledge about these actual search terms can help inform content strategy, or marketing strategy overall. You can read more about Keywords on this blog post.

3. Ongoing Site Maintenance

This means fresh content! The ongoing addition and modification of keywords and website con­tent are necessary to continually improve your search engine rankings. A blog is your best bet, instead of trying to update the existing content on your site. Of course then you are wondering what to blog about! Think about the value you bring to your users/customers. Why would they visit your site? What information are they looking for that you can provide. This is what you need to blog about. I am blogging here about SEO because I know some of my clients (or potential clients) are wondering what it’s all about and I am hoping this post will help them - you!

4. Social Media

You may wonder how your social media can help optimise your site for the search engines. Well, your social media accounts is where you have followers and friends. (It is also where you can be found by search engines - Google yourself and there’s a good chance one of your social media accounts will turn up in the search results, possibly ahead of your website because those accounts have fresher content.) I digress! By promoting your blog posts or website updates on your social media, your followers there are likely to click on the link and read your blog post, if it is relevant and useful to them. This creates traffic on your website, and the search engines like traffic! They think ‘hey, people are going to this site, it must be useful’! You should also encourage your friends and followers to share your blog posts - to create more readers/traffic.

5. Upload your sitemap to Google

When you build your website, your designer should upload the sitemap to Google for you. A site map (or sitemap) is a list of URLs on a site that tells search engines about the structure of its content.

6. Verify your site with Google Search Console 

7. Request that Google index your site - This asks Google's bots to review your site and update search results with your new content.

8. Verify your site with Bing Webmaster Tools - to manage your site’s presence in Bing and Yahoo search results.

9. Connect to Google Analytics 

10. Enable AMP - If you have a blog, enabling AMP creates a stripped-down version of your site that loads faster on mobile devices.

Let me know if I can help :)

Keywords and how to use them on your website

We all know that SEO can be a bit of a dark art, what with search engine algorithms changing regularly, the millions being spend on paid search results and so on.

That said, there are some basic steps that all website owners can take to ensure their site is optimised for search engines, to increase the chances of a visitor landing on their site. The first of these is keywords and this is what I will cover in this blogpost.

Keywords

Keywords are words and phrases, used on their own or grouped together and make up the different elements of your website: web pages, blog posts, image descriptions, etc. They play a big part in determining whether your site will be found by the search engines. As the search spiders crawl around the internet, they group content by key word, or topic. This means that Google, for example, has hundreds of millions of databases organised by key words, sentences and phrases. This enables Google to find the information that the searcher is looking for much more quickly than if everything was stored in one big, jumbled-up database.

There are two types of keywords - Head keywords, which are often single words or short terms but with a very large search volume. For example '“runners” or “hotel” or “doctor”. It is hard to rank well for these words as they are so generic and can be found in so many places on the internet.

The second type of keywords are longtail keywords. These are descriptive phrases or sentences and are much more target specific. For example “family lawyer in Dun Laoghaire” or "website designer for architects in Dublin”. Given that these keywords are more specific, they are usually easier to rank well for.

If you want to dominate the search results for certain keywords, you’ll have to get really specific in how you use them on your site. Also, most people searching on the internet now know that if they type in a specific search request, they are more likely to get a search result that matches what they are looking for.

HOW TO PLAN YOUR KEYWORDS

When you think about which keywords you want to include on your site, it is important to research what kinds of words people use on their online searches. It is the wording of these searches that you want to match as much as possible in your site content. Think about the words people type into Google in order to find digital content (like what’s on your website!) and that’s basically what keywords are.

STEPS TO KEYWORD PLANNING:

  1. Before starting anything, think about your mission. Think about questions like: Who are you? What is your website about? What makes you special? Who are you trying to reach? And what promises do you make on your website?

  2. The second step of keyword research is creating a list of your keywords. With your mission in mind, try to get into the heads of your potential buyers. What will these people be looking for? What kind of search terms could they be using while looking for your amazing service or product? Ask yourself these questions and write down as many answers as possible.

If your mission is clear, you will have a pretty clear image of your niche and your USP. These are the terms you want to be found for.

SEARCH INTENT

Today’s SEO strategies should for the most part revolve around answering the questions people have. Whenever someone enters a search query into a search engine, they are on a quest for something. Every type of question needs a specific answer.

When planning your content, always ask yourself these questions. There are four types of intents:

  • Informational intent: Just like it says on the tin, people are trying to find information on a specific topic.

  • Navigational intent: People want to access a specific website by entering the term in a search engine.

  • Commercial intent: People want to buy something sometime soon and are doing research before making a purchase.

  • Transactional intent: People are looking to buy something after doing their commercial intent searches.

Find out which kinds of intent apply to you and try to match these search intents, literally giving people what they want.

TOOLS FOR RESEARCHING THE KEYWORDS YOU NEED TO USE

There are several tools for doing keyword research. The most obvious one is Google itself

There’s the “autosuggest” feature for generating an almost infinite number of keyword ideas. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using Google for keyword research.

For starters, take notice of the “People also ask” box that shows up for some searches. These are questions that Google knows searchers are asking and want to know the answers to.

And here’s a quick trick: Click on any of these questions, and Google will load more.

I will do another more detailed blog post on how to perform Keyword Research but for now let’s say you know what are the most popular words being searched for online that are relevant to your business - these are the keywords that are most important to you.

It’s important to know what keywords make sense for your website and business because you’re going to use them extensively. Once you’ve got your list of keywords sorted out, the next step is figuring out where to put them on your website.

WHERE TO PUT YOUR KEYWORDS

Search engines use keywords to understand what the content of web pages, blog posts, products, images, etc. are all about. Keywords play such a huge role in making sure the Google search spiders can “read” and then index the content of your site.

We can use keywords strategically in title and headers on webpages or in blog posts to indicate importance to search engines, but keywords are also incorporate into body text. Just be sure to stick to natural language so that you are not keyword stuffing - which is putting keywords into every sentence or all over your site in a way that is unnatural. You will get penalised by the search engines for doing that.

It is also really important to include keywords in the image titles and descriptions on your site, as Google reads these words in a way that it cannot read images alone.

Here’s a list of the key places where it makes sense to use keywords on your website for SEO:

  • Page titles

  • SEO title & description fields on each page

  • Headers (e.g., on pages, in blog posts, etc.)

  • Body Content

  • Images

  • Event or product descriptions in your online shop

No matter what type of website you have, whether it is a Squarespace site or something else, you should be using keywords strategically.

You can reach out to me directly if you’re interested in working together on your website or would like help reviewing your existing SEO. There is, of course, a lot more to SEO than just keywords, but I will leave them to another blog post.

Thanks for reading!

 

Does your website have a heartbeat? How to create traffic on your website

Squarespace Website.jpg

Are you excited about getting a beautiful new website for your business?

Working with small business owners and associations, I know how much fun it is to launch a new site, with gorgeous imagery and really great content. You have your calls to action, your blog page, a great Contact page, maybe a video or beautiful gallery of your products…it’s finished, it’s online and you’re stoked!

The thing is, this is only the beginning! I repeatedly tell my clients that their website is a living thing, that needs to be feed, in order to flourish. What do I mean by that? Before the internet, businesses had brochures, pamphlets, ads in the Yellow Pages, paper! These print assets costs a lot to produce and businesses were traditionally slow to re-design or re-print, given the cost. They waited until every last flyer was distributed before they changed or revised the design. Many business owners see their website as digital version of their brochure. Partly because they believe that the time and money invested in the website creation is sufficient and they should not have to spend any more on it, and also because often they do not know how to manage their site and fear that they need to be ‘techie’ or know how to code, in order to maintain their site. So, for these and other reasons, many business owners think that once their site is built and live, that’s it, they simply need to sit back and wait for the email queries to come in.

Wrong!

Your website is a living thing that needs to be fed and watered in order to have a heart and help your business thrive.

A website that is not fed and watered will quickly languish on the rarely-visited pages of a Google search listing. And I am talking about pages 2, 3 and 4! So, what is feeding and watering your site? Well, in order to be found online, Google and other search engines look for sites that have a heartbeat, that have regular, new, relevant, fresh content,

But I have put all my content on my site!

I hear you - you don’t know what ‘fresh’ content I am talking about. Here are some ideas:

1 - add new customer testimonials from time to time on your site

2- use your social media channels to drive visitors to your site, by putting a link on your social media posts

3-write a blog. I know, you probably think you don’t have time, or don’t know what to write about. Write about your business, what you know about, what you enjoy doing. Don’t worry to much about keywords and so on, just write! Make it interesting to your audience, your customers. Your business is about solving their problems. So write about how you can do that and if your write regularly, they will hopefully visit your site regularly for updates and share it with their friends on their social media

4- Create a free giveaway on your site, that you can promote via social media. A free ebook or a pdf download that will be of use to your clients.

5-Use great blog headlines. Without a compelling headline, even the most comprehensive blog post will go unread

6- Post content on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has become much more than a job board. The world’s largest professional social network is now a valuable publishing platform in its own right, which means you should be posting content to LinkedIn on a regular basis, with a link to your site. Doing so can boost traffic to your site, as well as increase your profile within your sector of activity.

7 - Adding video content to your site can be a valuable asset in both attracting new visitors and making your site more engaging.

I hope this information is useful to you. There is a ton of information online on how to drive traffic to your website and keep it fresh with content. Yes, it takes time and sometimes a financial investment (if you pay for ads on Google or social media, for example), but without a heartbeat your site will soon end up in the internet bin along with the old brochures and fliers.

Relief - My Degree is Complete!

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So, I’ve completed my degree in Digital Technology and Design, in a year. It’s been a hectic but invigorating learning experience, even if it was sometimes a bit rushed! It’s not easy packing 20 hours of learning into a week on top of a full time job.

I chose the Marketing and Sales stream of the degree, as I quickly realised that the Design stream covered a lot of what I studied before- photoshop, illustrator and the basics of html and css. The marketing and sales stream really enabled me to really get to grips with digital marketing and the sales module was an eye-opener too. The year allowed me to fully realise what I enjoy, what I am good at and has helped me define where I want to go from here.

So, if you are considering going back to college, I would say DO IT! This is the second time I have taken up further study in my 40s and I am already considering what I will study next. It’s fantastic to be learning new, relevant skills and knowledge. It’s good for the brain but also good for my self-confidence as I go out into the world of work more curious and more determined than ever to make my mark!

Time To Get Writing!

Only four weeks to go til I finish up my BCs degree in Digital Technology and Design, so my plans to start blogging have been put on hold til I finish that. Still, I thought I would get the ball rolling with this first short piece!

It’s been a productive year, to say the least, and I have learnt so much that I’m really excited about putting it all into practice. I’ve worked on great design jobs and recently launched a new website for Composer and Pianist David Munro. I took a short term contract in an internal communications role to see how I liked that, I’ve been involved in the most amazing Debussy centenary festival “Ireland’s Tombeau to Debussy”, and of course I have been studying Global Digital Marketing, Tech Sales, Agile Methodology, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and so much more, as part of the degree course. My brain is brimming with new ideas and information - it’s just great!

Anyway, more to come on all of that. I just thought I’d put this out there, to get started!

Thanks for reading!