What 6 Strategic Features Should You Focus on In a Standard Website?


I've recently found that many people who ask me about getting a basic standard website also wished to know what goes into such a website or at the very least the things they should take care of to ensure their website is a success. This article aims to enlighten you on some of the key elements that you should focus on. Please send me your feedback and other questions you may have.

1. Clear Goal & Call To Action

As you get started on your simple website this will be your most important element which is simply understanding the ultimate course of action that you want people or prospects visiting your website to take. A simple action maybe that you want them to call you or that you want them to fill a form and then you will contact them latter.

Once you understand this then your content, your pages and your visitor journey through the website will be directed toward this goal of getting them to take this primary action. Without this clarity from the very beginning we will be blind and directionless.

2. Strategic Design

The design of the website obviously plays a crucial role. What you don't want is a website template that is simply slapped with your content that doesn’t really advance your partners or potential clients down the buying funnel.

An example of this is using a slider because it's the cool thing and your friends will be impressed by this without understanding that this prime real estate on the website is the first thing a website visitor will see and should be used to convince potential clients on why they should stick around.

3. A Simple To Use Management System

The next important thing to have in place is a simple to use content management system, this is what enables you without much training to be able to update your website easily, and keep your website content fresh and up to date.

An automatically updating system is also a plus since this will keep your website software up to date and secure.

4. Compelling Content

Most people are quick to say that they have all the content about their organization ready or that it is easy to come up with it. However as many realize latter this is one of those things during a website project that can hold up the progress as the designer waits for promised content which takes too long to put together since you are busy as well. One of the things you can commission the designer to do as well is help you with crafting the content as well.

In addition to this the content should be re-purposed in a way that it compels your prospects to choose you. What we are saying is that the content has to come in two forms one is the normal content development describing your organization etc and two the copy that's meant to sell you. However the 2 forms are also fused together compiling the content.

5. Good Photography

If you have ever gone to a website that made you go "wow", chances are that that website had amazing photography and old photos were well cleaned. Good photography is often the difference between the good and the great websites out there.

The most captivating type of photos are often of people, done as close-ups with some cleaning & editing applied to the photos. If you do take your own photos or have product photos make sure you also provide them to your designer in the highest resolution possible and in their raw form. Compromising on this is simply compromising on your own website.

6. Easily Accessible Contact Information

There are two locations to place your contact information for highest visibility. One is right on the header area of the website and the next spot in the contact us age. The former is the most valuable as this will be seen on every page and no matter what page the visitor in on when they decide they want to contact you they will be able to get to your contact without having to hunt your contacts down.


With these six areas taken care of you should have a pretty good standard website design in your hands to get you going with your online promotion. I will soon publish what else you can get in more advanced websites. Please send me your feedback and other questions you may have. 

How to drive more people from facebook to your website in less than a minute


Lately I've been receiving this question from several clients about how they can quickly drive more people on facebook (Fb) to their site other than of course adding their website link in the facebook page profile.

If you are thinking about this you might be just curious or you may be  serious about engaging your Fb users and getting more of them interested in what you offer. So how do you do this in a quick way several times in a day?

First off your site would have to have a blog, news or resources page available in order for this to work. Next ensure that each post or article on the site also has a cool featured image attached. The 3 things this article or post should have are:

  1. A compelling headline that is of great interest to your audience e.g. if you are a medical practioner it could be 'how to know if that lump is cancer'. The headline is the most important part of your story; this is what will cause them to stop and read your story.
  2. A first paragraph that ends with a hook. Going with the obvious example this could be 'Have you or a family member had any unexplained lumps on your skin that may get be hard or soft, painful or painless? Find out the signs that could indicate that this is cancer'. The goal of this first paragraph is to create interest and secondly, the first few lines or words are the ones that Fb will capture and display in other people's timelines.
  3. A captivating photo that will capture the readers. This goes hand in hand with the 'catchy' headline in making sure it stops readers right on their tracks.

Once your article is done it is now time to publish it in Fb and to do this simply go to the article page on your site and copy the URL or link to this particular story then go to Fb and where you post your new messages paste this link and publish.

What happens next is that Fb will automatically pull your headline, photo and a portion of your first paragraph into Facebook and this will appear on the timelines of people who have also liked your page.

Now the next time readers see your compelling title and click to read more they will be directed to your website where they can finally read the article and also learn more about your practice.

Once you have several of these articles then posting and relating them on Fb should be as easy as copy, paste and publish and in less than a minute you'll be in on your way to faster growth.

Now while there's obviously more to this, this is probably the simplest way to get started and get going in driving more people to your site.

How to convert your print banner for the web


Have you ever wanted to promote something on your website which is currently running on the ground? Perhaps you have posters that are plustered all over your neighborhood and an advert in the paper and you also want the same to appear on your website. And so you try to get your print banner to fit in the space but somehow the fonts are way too small or some graphics are way too large. Sounds familiar? So what do we do in this situation?

image source                                                                                                                              image source

While some banners might easily work on the web most simply don't. Majority of banners are unclear or appear to have too much going and the visibilty on the website is therefore compromised.

First off you may need to understand some standard banner sizes then determine how big the spot you want to fit this banner is. To do that you can install a simple adon like 'measure it' on your chrome browser that will allow you to measure the size of the area that you want your banner to fit.

Size, length or width are measured by pixels on the web so that is what you will use when communicating with your designer. 

Next you can go online and checkout several banners to get an idea of the kind of banner design you really want. Since you can really waste a lot of time going back and forth between you and the designer if your concept isn't clear. 

Generally the best banners will have a solid background –with maybe a simple subtle pattern – and a bold communicative photo with the words or copy next to this. While this might be an oversimplification, using many photos will generally turn it to a cluttered frankensteins monster.

Incase your intention in the beginning was to create a sophisticated look such as those used to promote events like parties and even church events then it's best to refer to the previous stage where you do your research online and checkout other banners that you might really like.

 

Top Valentines Day Banner Designs & Offers


Having enjoyed writing about the swap of the website I pulled from my 2015 swap files last time and with Valentines Day around the corner I've decided to pull out a few swaps with this particular theme.

First off lets view a 2016 valentine's offer banner that I swiped from 'Transformers Chapel'. Now I haven't really checked if they have done any banners for this year but this looked really nice that I swapped it at the time. 

Most of the online banners that i'll often swap with are those that really stop you on your tracks and pull you in, which is really what you want anyway before you can then communicate your message.

The next one below is from Ythera.co.ke which is an online store for romantic gifts. While there isn't much to write home about in terms of their website, the Facebook banners they have been doing have been really cool. Just check out the banner below

Of course the show-stopper is the lady ... then the unique pose they use ... then the message which is in sync with their brand and that just says it all. Nice to see how they avoided red for the font and used pink to rhyme with her dress, Perhaps the only thing i'd change slightly is the blurred font. They have also done several other banners like the one above.

The beauty of the ad is the optimistic idea for potential customers particularly gentlemen who may feel like they have discovered where to get that perfect Valentine's gift without making a big blunder. 

So ... are you working on your valentine's offer for your clients or prospects? Perhaps we can 'swap' an idea or two from other industries too.

 

 

How to Drive More People Online Using Shorter Links On Your Adverts & Offline Promo Pieces


Have you ever had a new flyer or an advert done that you didn't want to link to your website's homepage but to a special landing page or article on your website? For instance if you are promoting an event, then you may want people to go to a particular page where they can see more information about the event including what would motivate them further to register for the event.
Generally the link to your specific event post on your website will be longer so this could end up looking like www.myeventscompany.com/upcoming-mixer-in-westlands. What you will probably notice here is that the link is already so long and most people won't be motivated to visit the events page online.

The 2 quick methods you can use here to give people quick access are by:

1. shortening the url

Anyone can quickly do this using any of the many url shortening services available online like bit.ly so that you end up with a much shorter link like 3bit.ly/2kbM703

Additionally you can also get a customized short url for your own domain for instance myeventscompany.com could become myvnts.ly which would enable you to maintain your branding consistency accross multiple plattforms.

2. use a Qr code on the print flyer or advert

This is also another viable option, of course the people accessing this will need to have their own qr code reader already installed on their phones, then their only job would be to quickly scan your ad and access more information online instantly. You can easily create your own Qr code using any of the many free services like qr-code-generator.com

Part of the motivation to use any of the 2 afore mentioned services is that:

  • You gain more insight into how many people are actively engaging with your promotional piece which would help you determine which promotional pieces work best, so that you can run those pieces more frequently.
  • You could use this to try to get them to sign up for a free offer so that you an remarket them using more affordable channels instead of having to keep spending a lot on expesnive marketing channels.

Whatever your reasons maybe, shortening the links on offline media pieces and adverts that cant be quickly clicked to access a long link to an article, landing page or sales page will definately help improve your 'access rate' online.

How To Come up With Some Amazing Concepts For Your Next Website


Part of my creative process has always been spurred by what I see on the web on a day to day basis. Whenever I find a site whose design, copy, call to actions, structure or strategy I like, I simply do a screen capture of the site and save it for latter.

Great Artists Steal, Swipe & Deploy

Then on the occasion when am working on a new project and my mind goes blank I dig into this bank of designs & concepts that I'd captured before to 'borrow' an idea or two - add my own flavor and voila we have a new design that you can't usually tell looking at the original since I'll often usually just borrow a small aspect - like maybe I liked the way they did their footer or the way they worded a particular call to action.

That said here is one site that made into my swipe file in 2015 see below each image for a more detailed description why swapped this site.

So this was their previous site - which I'd swapped sometime in 2015. When I first opened their website I instantly undestood their product - notice how they used very few words to put this message across

 


 

I just swapped this in 2017 - interesting how they found a way to make the site even more clear in communicating the 3 step process to using their service. Also that top area where they ask for your number now covers your viewport / computer screen top to bottom when you first open the website to drive more people to take this one action first.

So while to people who only love design these might not really look that cool, if you visit this actual site here you will see how their main focus is in communicating their message quickly and getting you to take the next action and not much else - which is their core objective.

Going through lots of sites like these and saving those that have an 'interesting' idea gives me lots of ideas to use everytime am working on a project and also helps the clients because they are introduced to new creative concepts and ideas and better ways to make their websites work for them. Hopefully in the future I'll feature more samples from my files.

 

The 3 Biggest Mindsets Slowing You Down In Your Marketing


As we start off this year, one of the things that we've noticed with most business owners is that while we are all passionate about our work we tend to live on that false adage of  'if you build it the clients will come'. Funny truth is that our sales numbers don't lie 90 days after we slow down our marketing campaigns.

But what really causes us to relax our foot off the marketing gas? Why do we proudly sit back and proclaim we are the best and that our ideal customers will find us somewhat miraculously?

' I am not yet ready and it still doesn't look good; nor does it have the perfect shine ...'

This can be a particularly stiffling mindset; you might be delaying the launch date for example. At the same time you might not quite have the budget to do that perfect marketing campaign. So should you wait? Remember that delays cause one to waste so much time and the best option would be running with the simplest solution.

This and the idea that the best marketing automation software at the time (Infusionsoft) was was quite pricey for me led me to wasting several months instead of just running with the and most direct & simplest solution.

For instance there was a time I needed to implement a little marketing automation mix into my marketing and based on research, most digital marketers recommended all these perfect marketing funnels that you could use to drive different prospects through. For instance if this was a new lead they would receive a series of very particular messages over a certain period then if they became a likely client for a particular service they would be put on a different sequence. This and the idea that the best marketing automation software at the time (Infusionsoft) was was quite pricey for me led me to wasting several months instead of just running with the and most direct & simplest solution.

 

'What will people think if we execute that aggressive campaign?'

This problem is especially faced by the older entrepreneur who has been in business for a while and is now trying to break into a new field or who has experienced a setback and is trying to bounce back.

The problem they face is probably more mental; of trying to appear like they don't really need to be marketing. Often this leads to a weak marketing copy and web copy that often doesn't speak to you nor does it convince the customers to buy/enroll or hire you. But instead it is more focused on the branding type marketing versus direct response marketing.

'This is a lot of work; I am too busy to Prepare the campaigns needed right now.'

Do you believe that it takes too long to prepare and work on this project? The more you think about it the more you want to avoid it. You delegate it to another staffer and hate the final result yet you still don't want to deal with it. Finally when you do sit down to deal with it, you do it in 30 minutes and you then wonder why you procrastinated the project for so long!

Whatever is holding us back is often a particular mindset. With the right mindset however we are able to take the right action faster and achieve our results sooner than latter. 

 

Your Website: The Ultimate Lead Conversion Tool in your Marketing Arsenal


Your website is increasingly becoming the go to place where people can quickly find out more information about you and your organization. This is especially exacerbated with the proliferation of smart phones and tablets that enable people to quickly access you when they hear about you or see your ADs without the need to get behind a computer or step into a cyber. So how do you ensure that when they visit your site they will be convinced that you are the best option in the market?

So how do you ensure that when they visit your site they will be convinced that you are the best option in the market?

First off, you'll have to understand your target market and also your ideal customer profile. It goes without saying that your site should speak to your audience; it will be easy to determine this if you have been in business for a while. However if you are just getting started then your market research and positioning strategy should be your guide.

In addition to understanding your target market you can also sketch out what your ideal customer profile or persona looks like. For instance it might be a new mother in her 40's who has just bought a new car thats the ideal customer for your organization.

Once you have figured out your ideal market and customer profile its time to look at your website's content. Here your understanding of your customer comes into play and you list down reasons why they should choose you over every other option available to them. This exercise should also help you determine your unique selling points.

Finaly discover your customer's buying process and what stages they might actually be in. If you are offering a relatively new or unique solution then an explanation type approach may be best. That includes seeking to first introduce a problem the audience probably have, an overview of how you are solving that problem and then the introduction of the solution. A followup with testimonials will serve to dispense any doubts.

By now you should have in place all the materials you need to develop an amazing website – to convert any new leads into clients and customers.

How To Keep Your Website From Quickly Becoming Outdated


How To Keep Your Website From Quickly Becoming Outdated

Lately, we've discovered that most people  have a tough time keeping their websites updated – with the exception of a few. The problem this presents is that not only does your website's content slowly become less relevant to frequent visitors but in addition to this your ranking on Google also slips down since Google aims to provide the most relevant information to people. And oftentimes the most relevant information isn't the 2009 information but the 2016 information. 

So how can you create your own content and updates in an easy way without having to think too much about it?

1. Create a list of topics 

Suppose you have a 'news' section on your website then this will make the job of where to post latest updates easy. Next is figuring out what content to put. The truth is that as business owners we generate a lot of information on a daily basis – yet all this data may not necessarily interest our clients. And so the first step would be to identify the various topics of interest for our customers. 

Suppose you are the Managing Director of an NGO then your 'partners' or 'donors', who will probably happen to be your main audience, may wish to see what you are doing on the ground and the many lives that are influenced through their financial support. Additionally,  as an NGO you might be targeting new causes/ that you may want to see funded in the near future. Bearing these in mind you can then brainstorm the topics that you will cover for the next quarter or even the next 12 months for your website. For example you may choose topics like:

  1. Margaret – going from strength to strength –in her fight against Lupus
  2. Our new volunteers from Ukraine – teaching in Panda school
  3. Many thanks to our loyal staffer Mary for her love for street children
  4. We are now fundraising for the Mukuru Water project
  5. A video of thanks from Mukuru Girls

This easily gives you an idea of what you can also do to plan ahead for your own website updates. Now please note that once you begin doing this you will start getting more ideas for more topics while at random places. For instance when you out at a meeting or while doing your other work. So you have to have an easy system in place to help you capture all these ideas as they come. One thing you can do is keep a mini notebook with you all the time or install a note-taking app on your phone like Evernote, Google Keep or OneNote where you can quickly jot down an idea and still have it synced on the cloud. 

2. Capture materials during events and activities 

Every time you have an event, an activity you are doing with clients or even where the staff is carrying out their work simply whip out your phone and take lots of photos of the event. This will help you build a large content resource from which you can not only pull out stories but also photos for use in developing future campaigns.

3. Just write

Additionally during those downtimes where you might have speeches or even when stuck in traffic, write 2 or 3 paragraphs of what happened at the event. Most people might actually find this easier since you are not pushed to sit down in a quiet room and forced to write; this can lead to a 'mind freeze' and blockage of your creative juices due to the pressure.

If you do the above steps and make them a habit then you shall have more content for your marketing arsenal than you can possibly use. The power however, comes into effect when you realize that you have fresh content to send out to your prospects enough to keep them engaged without having to keep resending the same advert or flyer which can get boring fast.

How Can You Use Powerful Website Banners to Instantly Catch your Clients Attention?


A website banner is one of those things that few people with basic websites know much about. However, this is also one of those elements that you can use to send a particular message to visitors coming to the website. First off we have to understand what a banner is. Most of us have been to websites where we saw an advertisement and if it was something we were interested in we may have clicked on it. This however isn't the only use of a banner.

Banners can be used for:

  • Advertising other peoples products and services often through a third party ad service.
  • Advertising your own commodities, upcoming event(s) or service(s)
  • Encouraging lead generation 

For now we'll only cover the last two points explaining how you can use banners to advertise or promote your own product or use it to generate more leads from your website. 

Let's say you are a new company and you have a new website. What you will realize very fast is that most people won't really land on your website right through your homepage; instead they will often come in through your blog or one of your site's pages. Now let us say that you also have a new product that you want people who are coming into your website to be aware of. The easier way to alert them whilst on your website is through the use of a banner. 

But what really makes a good banner anyway? Probably the biggest thing you can do to make the banner striking is to use stronger colours than the rest of the website. Next also consider using a catchy photo. There is a reason why most banners even outdoor banners feature interesting photos – to divert the viewers' attention to the banner.

Another really important thing to look at is the main title of the ad banner which has to be very prominent; this will encourage viewers to click on that banner. Think of when you pick up a newspaper and the 'headline' grabs your attention and makes you want to turn to page 6 to read the full story; this is how you want your banner to sell, leading viewers to click on it to find out more. 

Of course in order for the headline to really work you must understand your audience and also know who it is you are targeting with your message. This of course is the whole foundation of your website – that it is actually addressing a particular 'persona' who fits the profile of your target client(s), customer(s), member(s) or visitor(s) of your organization. 

Finally, It is mandatory that the banner must call the viewers to a clear action. A call to action could be to have them click the banner, or simply to inform them about an upcoming event, or it could be that you want them to call you on a specific phone number. In the future we shall look at other ways you can improve your website to maximize the ROI you can extract from your website.