archive.php

How to create recurring revenue from online courses using subscriptions

Guaranteed Recurring Revenue or GRR for short, yes, like a bear.

Do you want to be able to sit back and let the money come rolling in? Unfortunately, it is not that simple, but it can be done with a small amount of effort by steering it towards community centred content.

Online courses have the ability to offer this opportunity. Creating an online community and providing subscriptions to your course content has the capability to provide consistent monthly revenue.

Typically online courses are a one time purchase and business may look to how they can sell more courses to the same student to generate repeat business to maintain a consistent monthly revenue. However, there is a better way by offering a subscription service to your course content as long as it is done right.

The challenge to this model is that users will only take the course content and run. And this will always be a risk, but the way to keep users engaged is to provide additional value past the course content. Additional value that is organically generated using communities and regular updates to the course content, either to the course material or by new updates and industry trends.

How to convert your online courses into a subscriptions service

Provide Additional Value

There are many ways that you can provide the extra value for a subscription service, as opposed to a single payment course content access.

A lot of this will centre around creating an online community of people where users feel welcomed, valued and able to maximise their learning outcome from the use of the platform.

To be able to provide extra value that is used past the original course content will require additional content and access to other resources. Below is a list of some ways that you can provide users with extra value past the original course content.

  • Access to industry experts 
  • Live zoom Q& A sessions
  • Resources and downloadable content
  • Discount schemes
  • Community groups
  • Support forums
  • Access to annual events
  • Merchandise
  • Regular videos
  • Industry Updates

User Feedback

Your platform needs to be driven by your users, as they are ultimately the ones who are using it on a regular basis and also will be recommending it to their friends and family.

To do this you need to offer a method for your user to provide feedback for improvements to the platform and what they would use. A simple feedback form is a good way to do this and can be extended further with a dedicated forum where user can discuss the idea and you can directly communicate with them why this is required and how important it is to them.

 You will also be able to gauge how many users this will effect and so you can spot the opportunities that will help the majority of the users. You can also communicate your latest platform updates using this system as well.

User experience

Being able to provide an outstanding experience is mandatory for the success and value that a subscription platform can bring to its uses. This makes it crucial to ensure your platform has been thoroughly tested and improved upon.

Once your platform is working to its peak performance, only then will users feel happy and trusted in using your platform on a regular basis and will want to carry on using it over the long them, and happy to carry on paying each month for the access to this amazing fun platform.

Final Thoughts

Subscription service is about developing a relationship with the user. And as we all know, their best relationships happen when both parties listen to each other and act to better the other party. If we look after our users, they will, in turn, look after you.

Have you made these common landing page mistakes? Here’s how to correct them.

If you have a business website, then you should know the power of a great landing page.  Landing pages are one of the most powerful tools in your marketing artillery, and, if used correctly, can be one of your biggest referral sources for new business. Why?  Because they can be so specific to your user’s exact needs.  Plus you can have an (almost) unlimited number of them so that even if your general business offering is quite broad, you can create a new landing page for each product segment or service, and for each individual marketing campaign. 

Let’s say, for example, you have an online plant and gardening supplies business.  You probably have a homepage and an about page which describe your business as a whole, but you should also have individual landing pages for specific product segments, for example, a page dedicated to succulents, one for cacti, one for gardening tools, one for compost, and so on.  You may wish to go even further and have several landing pages on the individual types of succulents, cacti, etc. Not only will you be able to speak directly to your cacti enthusiasts about the detail they are interested in, making your page super-relevant for your audience, you will also be able to tie this into specific marketing campaigns around this topic, for example sharing a link to it on social media or paid advertising which directly targets this audience.  If I am a cactus fan I may scroll past social posts from you showing gardens and wellies but you are far more likely to spark my attention with a beautifully shot cactus picture and a helpful link to your landing page.

And if that wasn’t enough – landing pages are also excellent for your SEO.  They expand and enrich the content on your website, highlighting you as an industry expert with highly relevant content that people engage with.  And your chances of ranking on Google massively increase for a landing page when compared to your generic homepage, because you are able to target more specific or niche keywords.  The person who googles ‘buy garden supplies online’ is unlikely to be served your website when you are competing with the national garden centres on Google, but you stand a much better chance of being found if the person types ‘buy mammillaria cactus online’.

Our advice on landing pages is simple:

  1. Have a landing page
  2. Have lots of landing pages
  3. Make sure they are set up to WORK!

You would be amazed at how many businesses don’t take advantage of the potential referral source of landing pages.  Either they don’t have any at all, or they do have a couple but they are so poorly designed they are almost ineffective.  If you go to all the effort of driving users through to a landing page, it’s such a wasted opportunity if they leave as soon as they get there.  It’s a loss of income for you.

Read on for our list of the six most commonly-made landing page mistakes, and how you can avoid them.

1)    Your page layout is bad

A landing page will likely be the first time a user comes across your business and you need to be absolutely clear what you want them to focus on when they get there.  People have a staggeringly short attention span when they open a new web page (about 2-3 seconds) so don’t confuse them with a cluttered layout, multiple sections to read or dated design.  Play it safe with a clear, crisp design, plenty of white space, a single focus above the fold and clear font.

It’s a great idea to use a professionally-shot, high-quality image and a large font with a clear headline to present your key selling point.  But a poorly shot photo will do real damage and if any images you use aren’t optimised for a quick page load it will really affect the success of the page.  A slow-loading landing page is a killer – people will leave before they have even begun. So talk to your web designer about reducing image resolutions to fit the page size.

2)    Your CTAs aren’t optimised

A CTA (or ‘Call To Action’) is the action you want a user to take while they are on your page.  Most commonly this is a button (For example ‘read more’ or ‘shop now’) but it also may take other forms such as links to other areas of your website, a contact form, a voting button/survey or a link to your social media account.

If you don’t make it absolutely clear to your audience what action you want them to take, don’t be surprised if they take no action at all!

Make sure your CTA is clear and easy to find – this is usually above the fold when a page loads and it also may be repeated several times if it’s a longer page.  Make sure the message on the button or CTA is crystal clear and succinct, so people will know exactly what will happen when they click on it.  A contrasting colour is a good idea, it needs to fit in with your style guidelines but be clear and bold enough that it stands out at a glance, without people needing to thoroughly read the surrounding text.

Finally, the message of your CTA needs to be appropriate to your business and suit an audience who is just coming across your website for the first time.  For example, if your business sells something relatively low value such as stationary or beauty products, a ‘buy now’ CTA button may work well for you, as many people are willing to make an impulse purchase of £10-20.  If your products are higher value, however, perhaps you sell fine art or garden summerhouses, then a ‘buy now’ button may not work well for you as most people want to research possible suppliers and products thoroughly before they make their buying decision.  In this case, your CTA could be designed to entice the user to stay on your website longer (linking them through to your full product range, blog or about page), keep in touch with you (newsletter signup or social follow) or to order something free/low value such as a sample, or free brochure in the post.

3)    You’re not using video

Video is a massively under-used tool on landing pages.  If you have the means to produce one it can be a solid investment – research suggests that video can boost conversions by a whopping 80%.

The type of video you produce will depend on your industry – for some businesses a video of the owner speaking to camera to introduce their company will work well, for others it could be product demonstrations, before and after shots, customer reviews, or showcasing products.

If you do decide to use video on your landing page, either use a professional videographer to produce and edit it for you or, if you want to produce it yourself, try and ensure your lighting, sound quality and editing skills are up for the job.  A poorly shot video will probably do more harm than good.

4)    You’re not inspiring trust

The content of your landing page should be geared towards achieving the “know, like and trust” factor.  After reading it you want the user, who may not have even heard of you before now, feel like they know a little about you, like you, and trust you enough to take the next step – and click on your CTA.

A great way of inspiring trust very quickly is by presenting customer testimonials.  A glowing review will do wonders for your landing page, people respond much more positively to past customers reviews, rather than you talking yourself up – I’m sure you have used reviews on Amazon and other shopping websites to get a feel of the quality in real life.

But beware – there is a right way and a wrong way to display a testimonial.  Testimonials should be relevant to the product and well written – single word reviews (even if that word is ‘great!’) aren’t ideal, you need to find customers who can eloquently write a few sentences accurately describing the level of quality service/product they have had from you.  Go for at least 3 testimonials if you can, more is even better.  Some companies are tempted to write fake testimonials rather than get genuine ones from past customers (or maybe they don’t have any past customers?) but this always looks a bit fishy and the last thing you want to do is give potential customers suspicion that they can’t trust you.

Always, always, ensure your testimonials are genuine.  Keep a bank of recent, relevant testimonials to hand which can be used throughout your website and ensure that you display them with a name, a location (if you are B2C) and preferably if you are B2B, a photo, position/organisation and link to their LinkedIn profile or website so that people can follow up with them and see their work.

5)    You haven’t performed A/B testing

Maybe you have read this far and are pleased that your landing pages tick all these boxes and are looking pretty good – well done you!  I’m sure that these landing pages are already great converters for you.  You may still have room for improvement though if you haven’t yet carried out any A/B testing.

To get the most out of each of your landing pages, you should be regularly revisiting them and tweaking them to make updates and improvements.  By conducting A/B testing, you will be able to find out what version of your landing page most appeals to the audience by seeing how long they spend on the page, which CTA gets the most clicks, which one gets the best conversion rates and which one sees the fewest bounces.  This may sound a bit technical, but it’s really helpful to understand how all the different elements of a single page can come together to provide the most number of leads for you and your business.  (And bonus, the better the experience you provide, the better Google will score and rank your page so it’s also good for SEO).

A/B testing involves changing one element of your page at a time, for example, the headline, and running the two different versions at the same time.  You can then monitor your traffic to each and see which gets the best results.  There are loads of tools online such as HubSpot, VWO and Crazy Egg which can do this for you.  Apply this methodology continuously to your landing pages and you will see a steady improvement in how hard they work for you and how many leads they generate.

6)    You’re not maximising the social media opportunity

People may really love what they find on your landing page (and they should, when you’ve put in all the hard work to make sure it is exactly what they want to see) so why not make it as easy as possible for them to spread the word?  Most people when they create their landing page content, forget the all-important social sharing icons.  Add in the icons for the social sharing sites your target audience most commonly use, so that in one click they can post it on their social media pages and spread the word about your business.  This type of sharing also acts as an endorsement or testimonial of your business, even if that person has never bought from you, so you benefit from the digital word-of-mouth.  Make sure you also include an email share icon for people to send directly to their contacts via email.

If you implement all of the learning in this article, I have no doubt you will have killer landing pages that provide you with a significant increase in leads.  If you need a little help with getting all of this working on your website, please do contact us and we would be happy to help you set up landing pages that really convert.

The importance of being number one in Google (and how to get there…)

Every business owner we have ever met aspires to rank number one on Google.  Of the huge variety of businesses and industries we have worked with over the years, this is the one thing guaranteed to unite them.  And of course, this is the case – they know, and we know, that 93% of all online buying decisions start with an online search.  The average person conducts 3-4 online searches every single day (and I know there are some of you reading who will go way over this average).  Make no mistake – your target audience is out there, cash in hand, actively looking for a product or service just like yours at this very moment.  And we get it, you want to be there, first in line, ready to speak to them.

It’s all about Google

Let’s just get one thing cleared up – yes, there are multiple search engines that people use on a day to day basis.  However, you won’t be surprised to hear that not one business owner has ever come to us saying “Get me to the top of Bing!” or “I really want to rank in Ask.com”.  It’s always Google.  Google has a whopping 90.46% of the search engine market share worldwide. According to SEO Tribunal, there were 5.8 billion searches every day on Google in 2018 – this works out as 63,000 searches per second.

So whilst we shouldn’t ignore these other search engines (and your web developer will still ensure your site map is submitted to the others), SEO strategy should predominantly be focussed on Google.

What is SEO, exactly?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and this is the art and science of working on your website’s ranking to move it closer to the top.  SEO should always include two elements:

  1. On-site SEO: This is all the work done on your website content to improve its appeal to Google.  It includes things like keyword optimisation, use of metadata, subject relevance and content building by, for example, writing blog posts.  The content building should always be focussed and driven by your SEO strategy, keywords and relevance.
  2. Off-site SEO: This is work done elsewhere on the internet, away from your website.  Ultimately, you want to accumulate links on other people’s websites back to your own (called ‘link building’).  In theory the more links you have the better, BUT you also need to ensure these are high-quality links from trusted and well-liked websites, which is measured by a ‘domain authority’ score.  There are websites out there that will sell you hundreds or thousands of link listings at a seemingly low price, however, invariably these sold links are on poor quality websites with rock-bottom domain authority and Google may penalise you for this. As well as link building, off-site SEO includes social signals (your presence across the social media channels) and local signals, which applies to all businesses with premises or local audience.

Organic vs paid rankings

There are two ways to get to the top of Google.  The first is organic SEO – this is the on-site and off-site work we have just described and this will gradually (organically) increase your rankings.  The second way to get to the top of Google is to pay for advertising.  This is called Pay Per Click, or PPC.  You decide which keywords you would like to rank for and Google will give you a price for that keyword, put you to the top of the page and then charge you every time someone clicks on your listing.  The price per click varies, but evidence suggests that across all industries, the average click cost is about £2.07.  As a rule of thumb the more popular the keyword, the more expensive it will be because more people are searching for this term, and it also varies across industries.

Monthly spend on PPC can build up to the hundreds (or even thousands) quite quickly, and you need to make sure you are making this money back in the sales it brings in, so this approach isn’t for everybody.  It can be part of a strategy alongside organic SEO, but we firmly believe that all businesses should also (or solely) be doing SEO.

Why all businesses should be doing SEO

Imagine you and all your competitors are at the starting line of a race.  Every time one of them updates their website or uploads a blog post, they take a step forward.  Every time someone else likes their content and links back to it, they take another step forward.  They get a great review on Google or Trustpilot – another step forward. Some of these businesses are taking hundreds of steps forward every month.  Meanwhile, you are doing nothing and getting left further and further behind.

This is how SEO works.  In the good old days of early Google, it was possible to hit the top spot by accident, or with almost no effort at all.  “Hurrah!” thought those lucky few.  The smart ones kept working on their content and kept their pole positions.  Others rested on their laurels and quickly got overtaken.  The days of ‘accidentally’ getting to the top of Google are long gone – when you do a Google search and see the person in the top spot they have got there by sheer and continuous hard work on SEO.

And all the evidence suggests that the effort is worthwhile.  If you work on your organic SEO, not only will you edge yourself ahead of the competition organically but it will get you more traffic and a higher quality of leads as people inherently trust Google, and those that are at the top of Google are also trusted.  It is also ‘free’ – you will need to spend time on your content writing etc and may choose to pay a specialist to do some/all of the SEO work for you, but you can benefit from an unlimited number of free clicks through to your website without having to foot the PPC bill.

How much SEO should I be doing?

SEO isn’t something you only do once, it is a long-term strategy.  A solid SEO strategy will mean you doing small amounts of regular SEO work on an ongoing basis.  The amount you need to do will depend on what your industry is, what keywords you want to rank for and how much work your competitors are doing.  But you need to be doing something, regularly.  The results of a well-implemented strategy will mean your rankings will increase as time goes on and if Google picks up and rates one of your pages highly this can yield results for months, or even years.

Can I do this myself or do I need an SEO-specialist?

There is regular SEO work that you can do yourself.  You can update your website content, write blog posts, promote your business on social and build backlinks.  All of these are great practices.  However, Google ultimately decides how highly to rank each of your pages for specific search terms.  It is believed by industry experts that Google uses over 200 different factors when deciding how to rank your website and pages.  An SEO-specialist will be able to do a thorough analysis of both your website and your competitors’ websites, tell you your domain authority score (and your competitors) and help you come up with a much more focussed strategy.  This will let you know what type of content you should be producing, how much of it, what keywords you should be using, how many mentions they need, what your social strategy should look like and how you should be building backlinks.  This more focussed strategy will stand a better chance of success.  An SEO-specialist will also be able to provide you with monthly reports which closely analyse your progress and that of your competitors so that you can use this evidence to constantly adjust and improve your strategy.

How to create an effective ‘About’ page

For almost all the websites we review, we end up recommending a re-write of the ‘About Us’ page.  Your ‘About’ page is a massive opportunity to connect with potential customers and to convert them online, but this opportunity is so often wasted.  This blog explores why people get it wrong so often and what you can do in less than 30 minutes to massively improve your ‘about’ page.

The ‘about’ page – are you getting it wrong?

When we ask our customers for their website content, the content for the ‘about’ page is often difficult for them to write.  Some companies find it quite awkward knowing what to say and often revert to a humble back story about how the company started, worried about being too pushy about their plus points incase they drive people away.  Others can provide chapter and verse on their company and want to present really long paragraphs about their company and product – but readers struggle to relate and will often give up a few lines in.

Why it’s so important to get it right

We know from analytics that your ‘about’ page is likely to be the second most visited page on your website, after your ‘home’ page.  This means that many visitors will have found your ‘home’ page, they haven’t immediately left (that’s a good start!) and have clicked through to find out a little bit more about how you might fit with their needs.  If the content they find on your ‘about’ page is not compelling, then it has the potential to become your highest exit page.  

So, here is the crucial point – your ‘about’ page is not about you. Your page is about how you are the perfect fit for them, the customer.  It should make customers feel as though they have found exactly what they want to meet their needs and they don’t need to do any more googling – you are the one for them.  So how do you write an ‘about us’ that isn’t about you?

How to upgrade your page in 30 minutes or less

The content of your ‘about’ page is ultimately about achieving the “know, like and trust” factor.  After reading it you want your potential customer to transform from vaguely interested into someone who feels like they know you, like you, and trust you enough to take the next step – for some companies, this will be making an online purchase but for most it will be clicking on further links, following you on social, subscribing to your email list, contacting you or making an enquiry with you.

We believe that everyone can dramatically upgrade their ‘about’ page in 30 minutes or less, either by tweaking what is already there or by completely re-writing it.  Here are our top 7 tips to make your ‘about’ page a winning converter for you:

  1. Know, like and trust – Tell customers your story and how your journey and experience has made you the best at what you do.  Forget industry jargon here – go for a conversational tone and use emotional words to help connect with the visitor.
  2. Talk about the customer, not yourself. Keeping the content customer focused will help keep their attention for longer because it will be more relevant for them.  So rather than saying “we are a great team and we love making these fantastic products they are so great!” try turning the same comment over into how much it will benefit the customer, such as “our passion for designing products that exactly solve [this problem] means we are the only company that exactly meet our customer’s needs.  As a result, 90% of our business now comes from word of mouth and repeat business”
  3. Solve their problem – Make sure your ‘about’ page really clearly solves the customer’s problem.  What is it about your business that people like the most about you?  Do you make the longest-lasting boots or the most elaborate cakes?  Do you offer the best personal service?  Maybe you have the fastest turnaround times and never let anyone down?  Whatever your best features are as a company, show them off!  If you’re not sure what your customers value most, why not ask them?  Feedback from customers or even employees may just surprise you!
  4. Have a ‘Call to Action’ – If you’ve captured people’s attention with your winning copy, it is so important to channel people’s attention into the next step you want them to take.  Include links or buttons (known as a ‘call to action’ or CTA) which shows them where to go next.  This could take a variety of forms depending on what your business is.  You may wish to direct them to an online store or another area of the website or you may want them to contact you via an online form or social media.
  5. Prioritise the content above the fold – When people browse the web, their attention span is astonishingly short.  You only have 2-3 seconds to capture people’s attention before they have decided whether to carry on reading or click away. Make sure the most important information is above the fold, i.e. on the portion of the page that is viewable when it first loads.  Don’t hide your most important information a few scrolls down the page.
  6. Include multimedia – Create interest by including a variety of different media on your page.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a headshot (although high-quality pictures of the face behind the business can really help with the ‘know, like and trust’ factor) it can be pictures of your team, your premises or your best products.  Videos are fantastic converters for some businesses, or it may be that infographics or graphic design will work for you.
  7. Let your customers sell you – Other people’s recommendations of a company are hugely beneficial for building trust.  Include at least one (and preferably more) testimonials, comments and reviews from your previous customers so that people can see how well-liked your business is.  It will reassure them that they are looking at an established and well-respected business, which may just tip them over the edge and make them want to take action with you!

And don’t just leave it there…

Once you have re-vamped your ‘about page and got it completely focussed on wooing your customers, we strongly recommend you monitor how it’s doing so that you can keep polishing it in the future.  Talk to your web support team who will be able to perform page testing and monitor it for traffic volumes, heat map testing, bounce rates, visit duration and conversion rates so you can see exactly what parts of this page work well for you and which need updating.

10 Reasons why Pay-Monthly Websites are the Future for ALL Businesses

When pay monthly websites first came on the scene they were targeted at start-ups and micro-businesses without the revenue to outlay thousands on a professional website. However, pay-monthly websites aren’t only for the very small – they are actually the perfect solution for companies of all sizes.  Read on to find out why we think pay monthly websites are the future for all businesses….

1. They suit all budgets

If you’re a fledgeling business who just needs a very basic information website there are some great deals out there which will give you a ‘starter’ website with a bespoke design for incredibly low rates (£20-£50 per month). However, if you need something a little more from your websites such as blogging capability, a CMS, an online booking system, online shop or international versions then there are some companies who will offer this full-scale professional service on a pay monthly basis without the large outlay that this type of service typically requires.

All business owners will testify to the importance of maintaining cash flow in and out of their business and a pay monthly website allows just this with one manageable ongoing payment.

2. You get a professional design

Do not underestimate the power that a professionally designed website can have for your business.It’s true that you can pick a template website design and customise it for your needs and many of these are really aesthetically great designs, however, where template designs fall short every time is that they do not understand your business or your customers.Professional design starts by truly understanding your business and what elements your website needs to be the most user-friendly, the best experience for your customers and the best converter for you.A pretty template site is unlikely to offer you a very good customer experience which will mean a huge hit on your search engine rankings and potentially on your profits.

3. You get to avoid the pitfalls of DIY

DIY and template websites definitely have their place and can offer you a website for next to nothing – however, we have learnt over the years that the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is very true in the world of websites.As well as not being professionally designed, if you go for a free/budget website you may find you run into serious problems further down the line with no support available to be able to fix them or you may want to make changes to your website which just aren’t possible.

4. Your very own in-house professional

Without a doubt, the number one reason our pay-monthly clients love the service they get from us is the ongoing support they get.If you pay a one-off fee for your website to be designed, it is likely that your designer will step away from the project shortly after go-live and you won’t have the flexibility to make changes 2, 4 or 6 months down the line without paying them at an hourly rate.However, if you have an ongoing pay-monthly contract then it is like having a web expert as part of your team.You can call them any time to fix bugs, make changes, add content or revise the design as your business grows.And all with the peace of mind that your payments don’t change allowing you to plan your finances with confidence.

5. Peace of mind

Did you know that there is work required every month to keep a website live and working well?If you were hoping to pay once for a website and then leave it unchanged for a couple of years then please be cautious – not only is this bad for your search engine rankings but also you are leaving yourself open to security breaches.If you have an ongoing pay-monthly website then your provider will ensure all security updates and site upgrades are applied to ensure your data is kept secure and your website continues to work well.

6. Updates are included

Having a pay monthly contract allows you to make changes to your website as often as you need whether it’s adding an email address, updating some pictures, adding something to your ‘news’ feed or fixing broken links – the support you need is just a phone call away and won’t impact on the cost at all.The best pay monthly contracts also offer a complete redesign of your website every 1-2 years to ensure that it carries on being the best experience for your customers and the best performing site for you without becoming outdated.

7. No hidden costs

Most people expect to pay for their website as a one-off cost but don’t anticipate additional fees for website hosting (where your website data is stored) domain registration, email addresses, maintenance or security updates.With a pay monthly contract, you can forget about all these ‘extras’ knowing they are all taken care of and included in your single, manageable monthly payment.

8. Support with emails and social media

If you need email addresses and social media to be linked into your website but aren’t sure how this works then fear not – email and social media integration is included with pay monthly websites including adding additional accounts at a later date – and with a pay monthly site from Essiem, we can even help you get set up.

9. Responsive as standard

When we say a website is built to be responsive, we mean it adapts to be viewed on different screen sizes such as smartphones and tablets.A responsive website is no longer an optional add-on – it is very safe to say for the majority of websites over 50% of your visitors will be on a mobile device (and in some industries, this is over 90%). If your website is not built for mobile devices then your mobile viewers are likely to leave your website and search engines will demote you on results pages.With a professional website under a pay monthly contract then your website will be built to be mobile-responsive as standard.

10. No long-term commitment

We would definitely recommend checking the small print if you are signing up for a pay monthly website as some companies will tie you into a minimum term.But with a pay monthly website from Essiem, there is no minimum term giving you complete flexibility to leave at any time if your requirements change.

If you want to invest in high-quality website design but without paying the full balance upfront then it’s worth considering a pay monthly website. For many companies, the initial outlay for a professional website can be difficult, perhaps you don’t have the balance spare at the moment, you’re investing your cashflow elsewhere, or maybe you are just starting out and want more for your business than a cheap DIY starter website.

That’s why we offer a pay monthly option on all our websites. Our pay monthly designed websites are exactly the same as our normal website design projects except we break down the cost over a period of time that you feel happy paying.

If you think a pay monthly website could be for you, then you can find more information and FAQs on https://www.essiem.co.uk/expertise/pay-monthly-website-design/ where you can also book your free consultation.

What is SSL and Why is it Important?

What is SSL and why is it important?

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and it is currently the industry standard for encrypting traffic sent between the web server and web browser. Its primary use is to prevent sensitive information such as customer details and credit card information from being read by an unintended third party. By not having an SSL you may deter potential security-conscious customers from using your website.

Other notations we use when referring to website security are:

  • HTTP – the default protocol for browsing webpages.
  • HTTPS – the secure version of HTTP, tells the webserver to communicate using the SSL certificate.

So how do you know if a website is secure? Usually, the easiest way is to check this is if the address bar has a green padlock in it, this means that the website has an SSL certificate and is loading the content securely. It can vary from browser to browser but there should always be a green padlock somewhere there.

Some websites may have an SSL certificate but not automatically tell your browser to load the page via HTTP, you can check by changing the HTTP part of the address to HTTPS. Some websites may be configured to redirect you back to HTTP automatically. If it is successful, you will be directed to the secure version of the website and you’ll either see a green padlock or one of the following:

Red Padlock or HTTPS crossed out – The page has attempted to load securely but does not have an SSL certificate. It may also pop up with a warning in some browsers.

Yellow Padlock or No Padlock – The Website has an SSL but is loading some resources insecurely, it might be an image, a JavaScript library, external resources from a website which doesn’t have SSL set up, any number of things.3

Not Secure – Chrome and Chromium-based browsers as of recent have put a larger focus on SSL certificates with one of the more recent updates (Chromium 62), adding a “Not Secure” message in the address bar of websites which lack an SSL certificate. This occurs when the user starts entering data on a page loaded via HTTP, for example in a contact form or checkout. [1]

What types of SSL are there?

There are three different types of SSL certificate Extended Validation (EV SSL), Organization Validated (OV SSL) and Domain Validated (DV SSL).

Domain Validated (DV SSL)

This is a simple certificate that just validates a domain, it ensures that the information is encrypted but since it does not have company information it doesn’t identify who is on the other end. It is quick and cheap to obtain since it doesn’t require any additional information, it is the most common type of certificate we set up.

Organization Validated (OV SSL)

Similar to the Domain Validated but this requires some company information to be submitted, this information is displayed in the certificate if the user wishes to confirm it; however, just displays the green padlock in the browser like the Domain Validated one. It’s a bit more expensive and takes longer since the information needs to be submitted to the Certificate Authority (CA) for vetting.

Extended Validation (EV SSL)

Extended Validation certificates are the newest and provide the greatest level of authentication, unlike the previous two this one displays the company name in the address bar next to the padlock and requires a large amount of verification, for this reason, it takes the longest and costs much more than the previous two.

Consider what you really need for your website when buying, the Extended Validation SSL looks very professional but is not really necessary for small businesses or blogs. Also, if you have multiple domains and/or subdomains, upgrades to multi-domain and wildcard SSL’s will increase the price.

If you are interested in getting an SSL certificate, then feel free to submit an enquiry online or call us on 0333 444 3551 to have a chat!

Note: We can only set these up on websites hosted on our servers if you have other hosting you’ll need to contact that provider.

Ten Reasons Why Website Visitor Tracking Software Can Enhance Your Business Performance

B2B Website visitor tracking is becoming increasingly popular for companies looking to add value for sales and marketing in a world where digital marketing and online presence are so vital for success.

Many organisations will incorporate Google Analytics and do business with those that get in touch with them directly.

But when you consider that around 95% of your daily website visitors will leave your site have not made contact with you, it places you in a restricted position where you have the insight that there are lots of companies exploring your service, but you’ve got no actionable leads to follow up with.

Here are ten reasons why using a platform which can identify the companies coming on to your website and displaying their journey, can enhance your business’ performance going forward.

1 – Additional leads

Most obviously, website visitor tracking software is going to provide you with additional leads which you would never have been able to access otherwise.

These leads may be of all different qualities and strengths but it is more opportunities for your sales team members to work with and monitor, which can only be a positive aspect.

Coming on to the dashboard every morning and approaching the companies whose metrics appear to be showing lively activity is a simple but extremely effective way to instigate new business.

2 – Monitor leads in your sales process

Alternatively to leads which you would never have had, the leads which you are attempting to progress through your funnel can also be tracked using a website visitor software to identify when they are returning to your site for further inspection.

By setting a trigger alert on a specific company, or by adding them to a custom category, you can see exactly when they are visiting, which pages they have looked at and for how long they might have been browsing. This can be for any page such as pricing, billing or particular products/services. Therefore you can instinctively get a feel for when a follow-up might be most appropriate.

3 – Automation

The beauty of website visitor tracking software is that many of the benefits are automated, saving you time to work on separate projects and tasks until the vital moment.

All data is real-time and automatically filtered into an organised dashboard, and once you have set up you customised triggers and categories, the system will structure the relevant instructions without your intervention for ultimate convenience.

4 – Demographical insights

The demographical insights from website visitor tracking can be amazingly useful for discovering new markets and areas which you can include in your ideal customer profile or monthly reports.

Seeing that you are receiving frequent website visits and interest from a certain country can qualify that it might be worthwhile intensifying your marketing output in that region.

5 – Learn more about your website performance

You will be able to see which pages are getting strong quantities of traffic and those which are not. Therefore you can take the action to improve the visualisation of the underperforming page in order to increase interaction.

6 – Align your sales and marketing departments

Website visitor tracking software can act as a hub for both your sales and marketing departments to feed on and work off. It offers value for each and information can be gathered, discussed and new direction planned from there.

7 – See your competition movements

Website visitor tracking tools will enable you to watch your competition’s movements on your website.

This might give you an idea into what they are planning for their next move or it can just be nice to know they are checking you out because you are a threat to them.

By setting a trigger to their business, you will see all of their activity going forward on your site and be informed of their instant arrival on any landing page which you choose.

8 – Enhance your marketing campaign results

You can add value to all of your marketing campaigns by putting a business name to the traffic which derives from it. Especially your paid marketing efforts. You are able to collect a genuine contact rather than empty traffic numbers which may or may not convert. You now have the option to follow up or continue to market in their direction.

9 – Data reporting

Having a report of visiting companies available for monthly or weekly reports can be a vital piece of data. And, of course, these can be customised to your exact needs and requirements.

A Zapier integration allows you to sync into 100’s of everyday tools meaning your website visitor tracking data is far more conveniently used and adaptable to the way in which you work. Data reporting and sales processing could not be easier.

10 – Amazing ROI

With the price at which is charged for access to website visitor tracking software, when used correctly and efficiently, you will comfortably receive a return on your investment, month after month. Long-term proving to be a worthwhile tool for business success.

Is it time to turbocharge your website?

Google is currently on a mission to make the internet more accessible – especially for mobile users, in their valiant effort to do so, they’ve started penalising websites that take ‘too long’ to load. This means that if your website has a lot of large images and takes ages to display properly – your Google ranking is likely to take a hit. Not only that, but users will tend to get frustrated by slow websites, with the standard of websites ever-increasing, user experience is king.

How to check if your site is too slow

Fortunately, Google has created a nifty tool that ranks your website out of 100 in terms of page speed. You can access this tool by going to their PageSpeed Insights page, pop in your web address and click Analyze. To quote Google themselves, “a higher score is better” so you want to get as close to 100 as possible.

Don’t understand the tool or want to increase your score?

Don’t worry if you don’t understand or don’t know what you need to do to improve – we’re here to help. Our team of web designers and developers know just what to do to tickle Google in all the right places. Give us a call on 01223 902 701 or send an email to [email protected] to find out how we can help.

Top tips for choosing brand colours

As designers, understanding colour is integral to what we do and we know how important a colour scheme can be to a company’s image. Getting the colour right can make your brand instantly recognisable, emotive and unique, as well as setting the tone for all your brand communications. When it comes to choosing a brand colour we’ll listen carefully to your colour preferences, and make sure that the chosen colours resonate with your audience. In the meantime, here are some good starting points to consider.

1. Pick a colour you like

You’re going to have to live and breathe your brand. Many household brands are recognisable by their colour alone. If you unashamedly love vibrant purple or electric blue, then go for it! However, if your favourite colour is khaki green and you’re trying to sell children’s toys, you might want to consider tips 2–5…

2. Resonate with your audience

It’s a good idea to choose a colour that your target audience will like. Rather than guessing which colours might be successful, try some of these ideas:

  • Survey a sample of your target audience with a selection of colours you think might work
  • Research your competitors – it’s always good to know what other people are using so you can either assimilate or differentiate yourself.
  • Use your common sense – many people have a good sense of colour, and if you follow your nose, chances are you might be right.

3. Consider trends and fashions

Colours go in and out of fashion. While it may be important to your company to be ‘en vogue’, be aware that trends change at the drop of a hat. What might be today’s ‘colour of the season’ might be the equivalent of an avocado bathroom suite in a few years time. All brands change and evolve. Can you imagine a new iPhone with the old rainbow coloured Apple logo?

4. Pick something timeless

There are colours which will always look contemporary and there are colours which are traditionally used to convey particular values. Green is often used to portray environmental credentials. Red is used for passion and energy. Navy blue is often used for financial institutions that wish to express professionalism, reliability and strength. It’s also worth considering colour theory and ideas of complementary colours. It’s no coincidence that colours on opposite sides of the colour wheel work well together… orange and blue, purple and yellow, red and green.

5. If in doubt, go with black

If you’re not a colour person, rather than agonizing over the relative merits of olive over fuschia, consider black. It doesn’t have to be boring. Black works with almost any other colour. Bright colours, especially acidic and zingy colours work well with black, and it also goes brilliantly with neutral colours and greys.

Two Extensive Webfont Families

In addition to the five great google fonts of my previous post, here I have discussed two beautiful, stylish and very extensive google Webfont families and their variants. If you’re looking for a font family with a great range of possibilities for different heading styles or you just want to try out a few tricks you’ve seen in different designs to really set your website, branding or other design outcomes apart, these two families are certainly worth looking at.

Ubuntu

The term “Ubuntu” is of Southern African origin and can be translated as the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”. This is encapsulated by the free and open-source software of the same name. 

Official Ubuntu releases consist of Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Business Desktop Edition, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu Touch. All editions are developed and released by Canonical LTD who encourage the use of free software and its improvement and distribution.

These principles tie in closely with Google’s Google Font model. Google Font’s offers free, open-source fonts available as web fonts and downloadable font files for anyone who wishes to use them. This is great news for designers as, in the spirit of “believing in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”, the full font family of the Ubuntu font is available, through google fonts.

Developed during 2010-2011, the Ubuntu font is a stylish, clean and modern sans-serif. The font was developed by Dalton Maag. and was developed to communicate the Ubuntu brand strongly, wherever used. This is definitely achieved through its characteristic curves.

The Ubuntu font intends to cover the languages of all Ubuntu users and will thus be extended continuously.

The font family, as available from google fonts, is extensive and really helpful for designers trying to use a variety of typographic designs and techniques to set a website and brand, as well as any print outcomes, apart.

The family includes a light, normal, medium and bold font weight as well as an italicised version for each. There is also an Ubuntu Condensed front available in a single, normal, weight. There is also a monotype version as well. View the full font here.

Roboto

Developed by Christian Robertson, an interface designer for Google, Roboto is the newer Android font, replacing Droid sans as the default font.

The family combines elements of a Grotesk sans, think Akzidenz Grotesk or Helvetica, and a Humanist sans like Gil Sans or Apple’s own Myriad.

A link to justification by the designer behind Roboto can be found here.

The font family for the robot is extensive and includes thin, light, normal, medium, bold, ultra-bold and also an Italicised version for each. There is also a condensed version of the font with light, normal and bold weights. Furthermore, there is an italicised version of each and, in addition to the two san-serif versions, there is also a slab version that is great to pair with. View the full font here.