A photograph of a woman using a laptop in front of a blurred out computer screen

Want To Write Better Web Copy? Here's A Short Guide To Website Media & Optimised Page Copy

Website Content Guidance.

This short guide aims to help you create and curate the best content possible for your new website. If you want any further clarification or guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Site Media

Site media refers to any images, videos, animations, and PDFs/downloads on your website. These elements are incredibly important when building a site that conveys quality and trust to your website visitors. 

Here Are Some Golden Rules for Website Media:

1 – Quality Over Quantity

A website is only as good as its media. It is better to avoid cluttering your website with low quality images/videos and instead focus efforts towards fewer, high quality elements. Poor quality site media can completely diminish the effectiveness of your website, no matter how well it’s been designed.

2 – Compression is King 

Website speed is a huge determining factor in providing a good user experience, and uploading huge image or video files can immediately bog down your site speed. Optimising these elements for your website requires compression to a more manageable size.

Check out our blog post on file compression here.

A photograph showing a photography studio with three lights read for a content shoot

3 – No Content > Bad Content

Your website gives you a chance to make an impactful first impression on site visitors. If you don’t have good photo/video of a service, your team, or office, we’d always recommend utilising stock libraries or designing around a lack of site media for the first iteration of your site, then switching out to high quality elements when you’ve got them at your disposal.

4 – Version Control & Accuracy

If you’re offering downloadable elements like pricing packs, service specs, PDFs or certificates, it’s imperative that you keep these up-to-date so they reflect accurate and reliable information to site visitors.

An infographic showing a phone uploading files to a cloud

How Do I Optimise Website Copy?

Site copy is the lifeblood of your website. It is how you will tell your story, drive conversions and showcase what makes your products/services so special.

So what makes effective and compelling copy? 

Develop Your Brand’s Tone & Voice 

The tone of your copy needs to match your brand. If you’re a legal firm targeting FTSE 100 companies you’re going to communicate differently to an e-commerce store selling pick & mix sweets to teenagers. 

Making sure your tone is appropriate and directly speaks to your target audience can be hard, and it all starts with knowing exactly who you are and exactly who you’re trying to reach.

Let’s break those points down…

1 – What’s Your Mission?

Starting with your brand’s mission statement can help you to really drill down into the key elements and ideas you’d like to weave into your content & help form the basis of your brand’s tone/voice.

It’s a good chance to familiarise yourself with what your ambition, purpose and values are before trying to represent these on the page.

A photograph of a women holding a pen and making an entry into a journal

2 – Who is Your Target Audience?

In order to successfully develop the right tone (and the right content) for your audience, you need to know who that audience is.

It might sound obvious, but taking the time to develop and understand your target niche is often overlooked. It’s time to take a step back and really think about your audience…

  • What gender are they? 
  • What age are they? 
  • What do they like in content? 
  • Do they want content to be funny and lighthearted or straight talking & informative?
  • When are they consuming content?
  • How are they consuming content?
  • What level of education do they have?

If you’re answering these questions (and more!) then you’re on the way to creating a buyer persona – these are detailed descriptions of individuals who represent your target audience.

Once you’ve crafted your own buyer persona, you can write for them, giving you a great reference point to build the voice, tone and content of your brand around.

3 – What Content is Popular & Why?

If you’re already creating content for your website or social media, this is the chance for you to sit down and dig through the data. 

What have been your most popular posts? What hasn’t gotten any engagement at all? 

Putting aside outliers like competitions or polls, pay special attention to the tone and content of these posts and make notes for both what you think you want to focus on and avoid in future copy.

A photograph of a laptop on a sofa showing google analytics on its screen

After you’ve done this, it’s time to look into your competition. What is working for them? What would you do differently? Why would/wouldn’t their tone work for your target audience?

This doesn’t mean you have to try and emulate this – it simply gives you a better understanding of what the competitive landscape looks like and how your brand tone/voice will fit into this arena.

4 – Create Your Guidelines

After all this research, you should be in a position to establish what your tone is and isn’t. This is often the step that feels the hardest, as you’re boiling down all of your notes into set parameters. 

Whilst there’s no set formula to do this, we think it’s usually easier for you to start by contrasting what you’re not with what you are. For example:

“We are fun but not silly. 

We are informative but not dry.

We are casual but not sloppy.”

However you do it, you should end up with some guidelines that you can rely on to ensure every bit of copy associated with your brand carries the same voice and tone to your target audience.

A sign that says please stay on the path

Great Copy Has Great Clarity

Copy that lacks clarity is not going to drive conversions on your website. It’s as simple as that.

Your copy needs to be focused and clear; if it isn’t, site visitors may miss what you are trying to communicate and you won’t be able to generate leads, sales or interest in your brand, product or service.

Here’s what to avoid:

  • Unnecessary phrases
  • Long paragraphs
  • Pretentious language
  • Filler words
  • Repetition (unless used for a purpose)
  • Overcomplicating phrasing
  • Spelling & grammatical mistakes

Website copy is typically brief, only giving site visitors the amount of information required to move them onto the next section, page or action.

A photograph showing an optician's test through the lens of a pair of glasses

Attention spans are short and only getting shorter – if you don’t keep things clear and focused you will struggle to keep traffic from bouncing off your site.

This doesn’t mean you should exclude more detailed content entirely from your site, but you should be hesitant about flooding landing pages with dense copy. A blog page is ideally positioned to house more lengthy and in-depth content, so keep that in mind when building out your site.

Speak To Your Audience From The Page

When you’re writing about your own business or brand it can be tempting to focus on yourself rather than the audience. This is where personalisation comes in.

Take a look at your copy and notice how many times you’re focusing on the following: 

  • We
  • Our
  • I
  • Us
  • Me

It’s so easy to slip into this way of writing as it’s what comes most naturally when trying to express something about yourself.

A close up of a poster that says we want you with a giant finger pointing at the viewer

Unfortunately this present us with a problem:

People don’t care about you. 

They care about what you can do for them.

By switching the focus of your copy to “you” and “your”, you can craft copy that feels like it’s personalised entirely to your audience and appeal to them on that deeper, more personal level. 

This means you’re speaking to them directly from the page and, if you’ve got your target audience and tone truly dialled in, you’ll be able to persuade, impress and convert site visitors with much greater success.

There are times where speaking about yourself really is necessary (an “About Us” page would be pretty tricky without it…) but always try and personalise where you can.

Two women talking at a table in an office

Provide Value Through Research & Detail

Your copy needs to deliver something of value to your audience. That could be anything from answering a question they didn’t even know they had to presenting them with original content that’s unique and interesting to someone in their position.

To achieve this, you need to put some effort in. There’s no other way to do it.

Shallow copy with no real meat to it is very easy to see through by site visitors and search engines alike. If you’re not delivering value, your site visitors won’t be encouraged to engage or convert whilst on your site.

It’s the same story with stolen or cloned copy from competitor’s websites. There’s a fine line between taking inspiration and being too close for comfort and it’s imperative that you don’t slip into the latter.

You don’t want to be perceived as a knock-off version of another brand, you want to be seen as an authority all of your own.

That’s where research, detail and informative copy come into play.

A photograph of two people looking through website analytics on a table

When I say research, I don’t mean you should be donning a lab coat or breaking out the coffee machine in the early hours of the morning…

I just mean you should be providing yourself with enough information on your subject, product, service or industry to be able to speak with expertise and detail.

Positioning yourself as an authority in your industry means site visitors will be much more likely to listen, trust, and convert.

Optimised Copy Is Always Keyword Driven 

Aside from communicating effectively with your audience and driving conversions, your website copy is the foundation of your SEO efforts and can have a huge impact on your visibility in search results and how organic traffic is driven to your site.

Want to know more about SEO, here’s our guide to the basics.

Keyword driven copy ensures that you’re targeting the right niche with your content and enables you to compete for organic positioning on relevant search queries on Google, Bing and other search engines.

It also enables you to generate the most effective titles for pages and posts and optimise URLs.

A photograph of an iPhone showing a google search bar

To successfully target keywords, you will need to use some tools and services.

Here are some great free ones:

As these are free, there may be some limitations to how much data is provided or how often you can use them. 

If you’re really serious about SEO, you’re going to need some paid for tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.

When it comes to keyword research, it’s safe to say that the most frequently searched terms are going to be the most competitive and therefore the hardest for you to improve your rankings on.

It’s better to start out with keywords that have lower search volume and competition and get ranking for these before working your way up to keywords with higher competition and volume. 

If you stumble across any relevant keywords with high search volume and low competition, you’re in luck!

Make sure to utilise Google Analytics and Search Console so you can see what is working to drive traffic to your site.

A screenshot of a google search

Page Specific Copy Guidelines:

So what makes good copy on your website’s pages? Let’s look at a few popular page types and look at how copy might vary between them.

How Do I Write Copy For My Home Page?

Your home page is your digital shopfront and will likely be the landing page for many of your site visitors – overlooking its importance can be a costly mistake!

Your first 5-25 words on your header banner or first block have a huge impact on conversions, bounce rate and click through rate. This is your chance to immediately show visitors they’re in the right place, demonstrate what you do and what benefits you can offer.

A good home page has a single focus, like summarising your services, products or blog categories. You want to encourage site visitors to go somewhere or do something, whether that be clicking through to your services or products or heading to a contact form.

Use call to actions to direct your site visitor’s behaviour.

We usually recommend writing homepage copy last, as content from other pages can inform the approach & content here.

A photograph of two men at a desk discussing a document next to two laptops

How Do I Write A Great About Page?

It might sound counterintuitive, but a good about page shouldn’t just focus on yourself. Take your story, experience and unique offering and explain to customers how you can benefit them.

A good about page covers the following areas:

  • Communicate the journey/story of your business – why it was started and what it hopes to achieve

  • Outline your values and ethos
  • Identify and describe the customers, clients or causes that you serve – cite examples of key clients
  • Further explore your services and products – Why are they different? How are they made?
  • Showcase what your customers or clients will get from your business

What About My Team Page?

Getting to know the faces behind your business can help customers trust your brand. A good team page demonstrates experience, role and hierarchy within your company, but also conveys personality in line with your brand’s tone.

Here’s what a good team page:

  • Introduces your employees/key stakeholders
  • Gives a human face to your company

  • Showcases experience and strengths

The approach may differ between companies. For example, if you’re a smaller company you may want to feature your whole team and have more of a flat hierarchy. If you’re a larger organisation, it’s most likely that you only want to feature key decision makers/executive level management.

For each, a standard format would be a professional headshot with a short biography detailing your team member’s name, role/job title, experience, and a bit more about them. This is where you can inject some personality!

A photograph of five people around a desk using laptops and discussing work

How Do I Write High Converting Copy Product Pages?

This is your chance to showcase your product offering, and can be instrumental in driving more conversions on your product pages. 

To start, you need to clearly define your audience – the more you narrow this down, the more you can tailor your copy to these individuals. 

Do you know what problem your product is solving for this niche? Do you know the main features (factual elements) and benefits (emotional elements) of your product?

This is where you want to let benefit-oriented copy shine by emphasising key selling points and weaving in key customer testimonials to further validate your claims.

People don’t care about your company, they care about how your company solves their problem.

Put yourself in the shoes of a new customer – you need to answer every single question they may have: 

  • What does it do?
  • Who is it for?
  • How much is it?
  • How reliable is it?
  • How long does it take to ship?
  • What if I want to return it?
  • How easy is it to use?

Between product page copy, technical specs and FAQs, every product page should give site visitor easy access to all the information they’d need to make a purchase decision.

Mobile purchasing on an E-commerce Store

What Makes Great Copy For Service Pages?

Service pages can get messy if you’re not careful, with confusing layouts and unclear pricing. 

We recommend thinking of service pages as clear sections:

  1. Define your service & who it’s for
  2. Explain your deliverables
  3. Show off client testimonials
  4. Deep dive into features/benefits
  5. Pricing
  6. Contact/booking form

Each section gives you the opportunity to push page visitors down toward the next step of the funnel, all with the aim of producing valuable leads.

How Do I Write A Contact Page?

Contact pages follow a relatively standard format site-to-site. 

You may want to consider a contact form and the questions contained within it, as well as providing contact details, addresses of your business offices or stores, and maybe even some FAQs. 

There’s no need for extra waffle here. If a site visitor is on your contact page, make it easy for them to get in touch!

A photograph of a retro style telephone in black

Help! Can You Write Our Website Copy?

You may have got to the end of this guide and thought “ That sounds like a lot of work…” Good news – if you don’t fancy writing copy for your entire website, we do!

We’ve been writing effective results driven copy for websites and ecommerce stores for over 4 years. If you’d prefer us to take the wheel, our in-house copywriting services are here to help drive organic traffic and maximise your conversions through professional, keyword driven copy.

Get in touch today for more information.


An infographic showing various reporting pages for website analytics

What Is SEO And How Can It Help Your Business?

What is SEO?

SEO, or “Search Engine Optimisation”, is a discipline focused on improving the performance of web pages in relation to organic search results. In layman’s terms, SEO aims to improve the visibility of your website when people use search engines, such as Google, to search for relevant queries.

If I search Google for “Painters in Sheffield”, I’m presented with the web pages it has determined will be most suited to your query. Now, good news if you’re featured in the first 3 organic results!

A screenshot of the google search painters in sheffield

There’s a 75% chance that I will visit a painter who has their website featured on page one of search results, and the first search result alone has an average click through rate of nearly 35%.

These are not paid for ads, these are organic results, and that’s why SEO is so powerful. In fact, 86% of searchers will skip past the paid ads completely and rely on purely organic results! 

Organic search is the most vital way for customers, both existing and prospective, to find your online content and for you to drive traffic to your website.

Let’s look at an overview of some distinct elements of SEO to give more context to this definition:

Organic Search Results

“Organic” is the important part of this label. If we return to the search used as an example earlier, “Painters in Sheffield” returns 10+ paid for advertisements (PPC Ads) before I get to any organic results.

A screenshot of the google search painters in sheffield

These organic results are much preferred by search engine users and are displayed because the search engine’s complex algorithm has decided all of these results are highly relevant to my query. To put it simply: they will give me what I want, and Google knows that!

It’s important to note that it is impossible to pay for your page to rank in any given place in organic search results – you can’t pay to come first here.

Quality & Quantity of Organic Traffic

The job of SEO is not to drive traffic to your website, it’s job is to drive targeted traffic to your website. This distinction is what makes SEO so valuable – if Google drives traffic towards your website when it is not relevant, it is likely that a vast majority of these visitors will bounce off your site without completing any conversions whatsoever. This is because this traffic is low quality.

SEO, implemented properly, drives high quality traffic to your website. This means visitors have found you through highly relevant searches, and arrive with genuine interest in your website, content and offering. These visitors are much, much more likely to turn into conversions, and by extension, revenue – nearly 40% of online purchases are influenced by a relevant search.

To maximise exposure to high quality traffic, you want to have your website displaying as a result at the top of the search results page – in a recent study, researchers found that 75% of search engine users will click an organic listing from the first two results.

A photograph of a man at a desk using Google on a MacBook Pro with a coffee cup next to him

What are the main types of SEO?

As a discipline, SEO centres around two main umbrellas of activity. These are called “on-page” and “off-page” SEO and all SEO work falls into these categories. Whilst we will be creating guides for each of these categories in the near future, this blog post aims to provide you with an overview of SEO, so here’s a little more information on both.

What is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO is, at its heart, all about content. The more you look into SEO, the more you will realise that much of its success rests on the shoulders of good quality content. Content that effectively drives targeted traffic should be:

  • Valuable & actionable/useful
  • Genuinely interesting to read
  • Well researched, in-depth and written well
  • Written with a particular audience in mind
  • Easily shareable and referenceable
  • Optimised around keywords

After you’ve finished writing this masterpiece of quality keyword driven content, you need to consider the other elements of on-page SEO too. These include site speed, tags/metadata, the responsiveness of your website and its crawlability, and the list goes on.

All of these factors are important and contribute massively to the success of SEO, but it’s important to remember that even if you get every piece of the puzzle perfected if your content is terrible and doesn’t provide value to a site visitor, none of that will matter.

A photograph of a woman using a MacBook Pro to edit a Squarespace site on a black desk next to a cup of coffee

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page optimisation is an umbrella term relating to anything happening beyond your website itself, and is usually used in reference to “backlinks” or “link building”. 

Backlinks are simply links between one website and another. If someone has written a blog post and linked to your website, they’ve given you a backlink, and if you link to them in your blog post, you’ve returned the favour. Blogging, and therefore the quality content mentioned in the “on-page” section, is integral to building backlinks: Companies who engage in blogging receive 97% more backlinks to their site.

So why do backlinks matter? Because these links are essentially treated as votes by Google and other search engines – every time your content or web page is linked to, especially by other websites that Google already see as trustworthy and high ranking, it’s as if each link tells Google that your content is of value to them and they’ve found it useful/trustworthy too.

Links, in general, are what enable Google and other search engines to determine the value of your content – if there’s no links to your web page, you’ve made it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for Google to do this job. Make no mistake about it, backlinks are vital to successful SEO campaigns, with one recent study proving that the number of domains linking to a page was the factor that had the highest correlation to rankings in Google.

However, off-page SEO extends beyond backlinks and encompasses a whole heap of other important activities that help build relationships, encourage brand searches and improve the following and engagement of your social media.

Two website icons linked together

So How Does SEO Work?

Before we start looking into how SEO works, here’s a brief glossary of terms that might help you understand the mechanics of SEO as you read on:

  • Index – Google, and other search engines, store all web pages that it is aware of in its index. These index entries contain information about the content and URL of any given webpage. 
  • Indexing  – This is when a search engine actually fetches your webpage, reads it, and then adds the entry to its index. 
  • Crawl/Crawling – Crawling refers to the process of seeking out new webpages or updates to already indexed webpages. Google and other search engines mainly discover URLs by following links (think of the backlinks we discussed earlier) and by reading sitemaps, but they can identify new URLs to crawl through other means too. 
  • (a) Crawler – As the name suggests, a crawler is an automated piece of software designed to crawl/fetch web pages and then complete the action of indexing these web pages. Google’s crawler is called “Googlebot” and crawls the web constantly.

An infographic showing Google crawling websites and putting it into Google's database

Now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s a quick explanation of how SEO works:

Google, Bing and other search engines work in the same way – they use crawlers to go from webpage to webpage, website to website, following links and gathering information, indexing their findings as they progress. 

These indexes are not static places – they are always evolving and updating as the bots continue to crawl across the web. 

You may have heard people mention “the algorithm”, especially in reference to Google. These algorithms are responsible for complicated analysis of the indexed web pages – each page is ranked across many, many different factors in order to determine how suitable a web page would be for any given query. 

Whilst Google keeps the exact formula and mix of ranking factors to themselves, studies have shown there are more than 200 ranking factors that the algorithm takes into consideration.

This result not only dictates whether a web page ranks for a search, but also its position in the results page.

By optimising your website and content in line with these ranking factors, you can better your chances of ranking well for related search queries and improve your search engine results page position – this is SEO!

These factors span different categories (like “content”, “website architecture”, “reputation” and “links”) and vary dramatically in weighting/importance, with something like content quality affecting website ranking more than adding alt-text to images.

So when you make a search query in Google, they prioritise presenting results that they have determined to be of high relevance, high quality, and from trusted, non-spammy websites. 

Google has gotten so good at this that the first 5 organic search results now account for nearly 70% of all clicks.

It’s our job as SEO professionals to help your website and content surface as highly as possible for the right search queries. This is achieved by optimising your content and technical elements of your website to provide users with the best possible experience.

An infographic showing various reporting pages for website analytics

What are the Benefits of SEO for Small Businesses?

If I asked you what you did the last time you needed to learn something new or make an online purchase, there’s an 80% chance that you started both interactions with a Google search query. 

Here’s a few ways investing in SEO benefits smaller businesses:

1 – SEO Boosts Customers Through Organic Searches

There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, by the time you finish reading this sentence there will have been around 1.2 million new searches. As a small business owner, you might be interested to know that plenty of these searches have some sort of purchasing intent; in a recent survey, nearly 95% of respondents revealed they searched Google for information about a product/business within a week of purchasing. 

By appearing in the search results of related queries, prospective buyers can discover information about your business, your expertise, products and services. This gives you the chance to outrank your competitors, give yourself greater brand visibility and, ultimately, turn these site visitors into conversions!

This is so powerful that 60% of marketing professionals have revealed their highest quality leads stem from SEO activity; think about it, you’re finding potential customers at a point where they are actively seeking out information – it’s the perfect time to deliver value, create a seamless user experience, and reap the financial reward.

a screenshot of Squarespace website analytics

2 – SEO Benefits Other Marketing & Business Activities

A great SEO campaign rests on digging deep to develop a thorough understanding of what your website visitors will want to see and how they’d want to see it. 

As you’d expect, this thorough understanding can greatly benefit your other marketing efforts, and as so much of SEO rests on creating a wonderful user experience online, any advertising efforts directing traffic to your website will inadvertently benefit from this optimisation.

With a treasure trove of data and real world usage reports, SEO can even demonstrate what trends may emerge in your competitive landscape as well as provide you with interesting insights into popular services/products, where your competitors are outranking you and more.

As well as this, SEO is a digital discipline, meaning that by exposing yourself to SEO as an industry, investing in SEO yourself, and keeping up to date with the ever evolving landscape, your understanding of digital experiences, websites, consumer trends and competitors will be much, much deeper.

A photograph of six people around a wooden desk listening to a presentation at work

3 – SEO Forces You To Provide A Great User Experience

In case we hadn’t mentioned it enough, user experience is a fundamental element of any SEO strategy. Since 2021, Google has revealed that UX is a priority ranking factor and it’s not going to become anything but more necessary and relevant as time goes on. 

This means that SEO will force you to really get to know your target audience. You will need to be aware of exactly what they’re looking for, how they want to consume content, what they want to do after engaging with your initial webpage, and what value you can provide them.

Aside from content, your website will need to perform well enough to meet, or even exceed, expectations – this means loading speeds, responsiveness, design/aesthetics, and just about every other element you can think of needs to be considered, optimised, and continually refined.

If it sounds like hard work, that’s because it is! But remember that by prioritising your site visitor’s needs, you’re providing an incredible user experience that will not only improve their impression of your business, product or service, but will also be instrumental in ranking better, generating more leads, and improving your site authority.

A photograph of an app designer planning out user experience on a whiteboard

4 – SEO Builds Trust and Brand Awareness

Customers trust brands that appear on the front page of search results. They also like websites that perform well, are responsive and secure, and maintained regularly. The good news is that search engines love the very same things, so by optimising your website for Google, you’re building an online presence that generates trust in your brand and gives authority to your voice.

Another benefit of SEO is the effect it can have on your brand awareness. By featuring on the front page for related queries, you’ll be exposing your brand to so many more people than if you were to be stuck behind the invisible wall of pages 2 and beyond.

The great thing about this is that you don’t even need to get clicks through to your webpage in order for your brand awareness to improve – you can do this just by occupying a front page space and commanding that authority. Search users will start to associate your brand with that query. 

A good strategy to build brand awareness and increase traffic to your site is to optimise content for more specific and longer tail keywords – rather than something like “pet supplies online”, think more like “best online pet supplies for labradors in south yorkshire”. These will have lower search volume, but they will be much easier for you to start ranking for in the short term and will likely be much less competitive than shorter, broader keywords. All your efforts here will make it much easier to rank for less specific keywords too!

A cartoon showing 5 star reviews and an iPhone

5 – SEO Campaigns Are Long Lasting and Budget Friendly

As far as marketing is concerned, SEO is a relatively low cost investment that will outlast, and potentially outperform, other activities like pay-per-click advertising or social media advertising.

This is because investment in SEO is longstanding and aims to deliver organic results. To put it simply, when you stop paying for pay-per-click channels Google Ads, the benefits stop. There’s no residual traffic from these ads when your budget runs try or you pause a campaign – this is the opposite of SEO.

SEO is a long term strategy and aims to deliver return on investment far, far beyond the scope of the initial work completed. To put this into perspective, here are two facts:

The first is that industry leaders Ahrefs found that nearly 60% of pages ranking in the top 10 for Google search results are 3 or more years old.

The second is that 50% of marketeers stand by SEO as having the best ROI of any marketing channel. 

With SEO, it’s imperative to think big picture and long-term. Whilst rankings and site traffic may improve in a matter of weeks and months, optimised SEO content is there to perform for years!

Whilst SEO is an ever evolving practice, the core fundamentals of quality content, site health and user experience are timeless and, with minor tweaks, should stand the test of time for years to come. That’s what makes SEO such a powerful investment for small businesses seeking future growth.

a photograph of a man counting pennies on a table

6 – SEO Is Trackable

Whilst we concede that paid ads or shopping campaigns are more obvious choices for trackable data, SEO is still very much an easily trackable marketing investment. 

Utilising analytics software like Google Analytics, you can establish different trackable events/conversions that can paint a quantifiable picture of how your SEO efforts are performing and how they could be further optimised and improved.

This data allows you to establish key equations, like Return on Investment (ROI). This can be figured out with the following equation:

Keyword Search Volume X Click Through Rate (CTR) X Conversion Rate X Conversaion Value = Return on Investment.

Another piece of Google software, Search Console, enables you to dig out more data on visitor acquisition, what keywords you’re currently ranking for and what your competitive position is, as well as offering a suite of tools to further audit how healthy your website is and where improvements can be made.

A photograph of a MacBook Air screen showing google analytics with a woman typing on it

How Can Wilkes Wood Help With SEO?

We know how overwhelming the world of SEO can seem from an outside perspective and we’re here to help decipher the process and work with you to boost traffic to your website and improve your rankings.

We have in-house specialists ready to partner with you on sustainable, ethical SEO strategies. Everything we do is driven by cutting edge tools, in-depth research and compelling, keyword driven content that is designed to appeal specifically to your target audience.

We have packages for SEO site maintenance and content creation suitable for businesses of all shapes and sizes. If you want to optimise your website and content and reap the benefits of SEO, check out our SEO services page or get in touch today for a chat with one of our team.

SEO FAQs

What about PPC and Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising and PPC can be fantastic avenues to utilise as part of your marketing strategy, yet we always recommend starting with SEO before diversifying. The reason for this is that the results of successful SEO should provide you with long-lasting and consistent visibility, with advertising that “extends beyond spend.” By contrast, if you run a successful PPC campaign through Google Ads, as soon as you stop spending, the benefits cease.

 

Can you get me to rank #1 on Google?

Any agency or freelancer promising to get you to #1 is at best misunderstanding how SEO works, and at worst trying to rip you off. We will always consult with you prior to taking on SEO work to understand your objectives and conduct a thorough audit of your current position. We can then present you with areas to improve upon and talk to you about where we might have the most successful impact on the rankings of your site, as well as what results we can realistically expect to achieve for the budget and time-frame.

 

How long does SEO take to see results?

SEO is not a quick fix, it is an investment designed to produce long-lasting results. Whilst some changes and optimisation may take days or weeks to update, serious SEO campaigns can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months to start to see measurable increases in traffic and, by extension, associated leads and conversions. This can depend on many factors, such as how competitive the targeted keywords are and how much content you are generating. 

 

How do I know what keywords to target?

Identifying the best keywords for your website is essential to ranking in Google for searches relevant to your business and industry. Our advanced SEO research tools means we can efficiently identify and target dozens of underused yet high traffic terms. It is also important to analyse competitor rankings and identify areas where they are securing top page positions for competitive keywords despite having lacklustre on-page content.

 

What are backlinks and why do they matter?

Backlinks (sometimes referred to as ‘inbound links’) are hyperlinks from one website to another. They are the foundation of ‘off-page SEO’ and demonstrate to Google the trustworthiness of your website. A website which receives a large volume of backlinks from authoritative websites (such as news organisations) has higher ‘domain authority’ – this makes it easier to rank for competitive and broad search terms. Backlinks are also a valuable source of traffic.

 

What is local SEO?

Local SEO refers to those strategies that are designed to increase visibility in search results aimed at locality, such as “Physiotherapists in Sheffield” or “Hairdressers Ecclesall Road”. Any business that has a brick and mortar store or a physical location, or a business that serves a particular and defined geographic area can reap the benefits of local SEO.

 

Does Social Media help SEO?

Whilst social media isn’t a ranking factor and won’t help your search position directly, social media can be used to bolster your content strategy. Featuring your content on social media may lead to new backlinks, improved social profile search results and increased social traffic.

Does SEO change over time?

The short answer is yes. SEO is a constantly evolving practice and relies on reacting to changes and developments introduced by the world’s largest search engines, like Google. As these companies are continually trying to improve the quality of their service, they are always tweaking their algorithms to try and optimise the search experience, and thus these changes have an impact on SEO practitioners. We are always following industry trends and ensuring that our SEO work is in line with the most recent best practices, and are committed to evolving our service to ensure we can consistently deliver results.


A banner for Digital Innovation Grant

Run A Small Business In South Yorkshire? Don't Miss Out On 2022 Digital Innovation Grants

Are you a South Yorkshire based business? Are you looking to start selling online? Good news – you may be eligible for up to 50% funding to develop an e-commerce store or online project!

Get in touch now or read on for more information.

The South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant is now open for applications for 2022 – you need to act quickly to secure funding, and we can help!

What is the South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant?

Digital Innovation Grants (DIGs) are now available to aid SMEs across the South Yorkshire region leverage digital technology to access new markets, develop and scale new products and services, and discover new ways of working to promote cost-efficiency across your business activities.

This scheme was introduced to support businesses in adopting and implementing digital technology to boost productivity, growth, and make SMEs more competitive. In total, the Digital Innovation Grant is a £2.6 million project, with 50% of this funding provided by the European Regional Development Fund and the remaining 50% raised through the private sector.

DIG is not a first come first served government discretionary grant, and is instead delivered through a rigorous and competitive process. Applications are ranked across a variety of factors and will be contacted within 10 business days of the submission date with a verdict.

A banner for Digital Innovation Grant

How Much Can I Claim with the Digital Innovation Grant?

The maximum amount you can claim on the DIG is £5000. There’s also a minimum amount of £1000, with projects having to total between £2000 and £10,000.

This is because as an applicant you must provide at least half of the funding for the project you’re applying for; for example, if you apply for a website related project that costs £4500, you would need to provide at least £2250.

It’s also important to note that Digital Innovation Grants are not paid in advance. If we take the above example project, that means you would have to provide the entire project cost of £4500 up front, and then claim back the grant.

A black and white photograph showing two men in an office on laptops discussing business

Am I Eligible to Apply for the Digital Innovation Grant?

Let’s start with the easy ones – your registered office or trading address needs to be within the Sheffield City Region (encompassing Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield). You must have a business bank account linked directly to this specific business too – any applications asking to be paid into personal accounts will be rejected.

You also have to be an SME. This means you have fewer than 250 full-time employees or volunteers and a turnover of less than €50 million – it doesn’t matter if you’re a sole trader, LTD or a not-for-profit, as long as you fit the SME criteria you’re eligible to apply.

Here’s where things get a little deeper. DIG make it clear that applicants can not only serve local customers; if this is you, don’t worry, because as long as the project you’re applying for funding for is something that will help you serve customers outside of the local area, you can still apply.

For example, if you’re currently a bricks and mortar store selling from your storefront in Sheffield, you wouldn’t be able to apply for funding for a project that helps you sell more from this store to the local area. If you wanted to apply to get grant funding for an ecommerce store to help you sell nationwide, however, you could still apply!

Unfortunately for some, DIG has excluded the following sectors from the application process: Fishery & Aquaculture; Primary Production; Agricultural Products; Synthetic Fibres; School-Age Education; and Banking & Insurance.

A shop window showing an open sign

So What Can I Get Grant Funding For?

According to the DIG application form, applicants “must be applying for a new digital project that enables or accelerates the development of ‘new to the firm’ products or services, gives access to new markets, and helps to safeguard or create jobs”.

This statement encompasses a variety of different things, from CRM systems to App Development, but as we’re a web design agency we think it’s especially important to point out that E-Commerce Solutions and Consultancy Costs are eligible from the South Yorkshire Digital Innovation Grant scheme.

Providing a list of potential projects as examples within the application literature, Enterprising Barnsley specifically highlights e-commerce projects as suitable, using the following example:

A business investing in a new fully e-commerce enabled website, which links through to its stock control/inventory system, allowing the firm to increase its customer base and offer a seamless user experience.”

A close up photograph showing two people at a desk working on laptops

What Can Wilkes Wood Help With?

Firstly, we have experience in assisting small businesses in their Digital Innovation Grant applications, and can even offer a free eligibility check, as well as access to a specialist consultant who will help you with your application for free.

That’s right – we’re offering a free eligibility check and access to a consultant that can optimise your application.

Secondly, we’re e-commerce specialists and if you’re a SME based in the Sheffield City Region, we’d love to be your design and development partner for a DIG eligible project. 

Whether it’s a one-product store, a dropshipping project or an e-commerce store capable of meeting complex requirements, we’ve got the experience to help you start selling online. You can sell in multiple currencies, mix physical and digital products and services, use industry leading integrations and apps such as Klarna, implement personalised promotional codes, customise shipping options and much, much more.

Where Can I Find More Information?

The Digital Innovation Grant is handled by Enterprising Barnsley – their website is where you can find all literature on the grant scheme, and here is a link to download their official application guidance PDF.

If you want any advice, additional information, or want to take us up on our offer of a free eligibility check and optimising your DIG application, get in touch today! 


A photograph of browsing an e-commerce store

Building Your Own Website? Here are 5 Things You Need To Know.

As a web design agency, we are often approached by clients with existing websites that they’d like us to re-develop. This means that we come across an array of websites set-up by clients themselves – a common and understandable move for start-ups and small businesses at the very start of their journey. Often created with site-builders like Wix or Squarespace, we’ve noticed that there are 5 common elements that are overlooked during development.

Let’s take a look.

Compression of Images & Videos

This is one of the easiest changes you can make to your website that can yield incredibly powerful results. On average, images comprise over 20% of a total webpage’s “weight”, and aside from any video content that you have on your site, should be the first thing on your list of improvements.

A photograph showing a photography studio with three lights read for a content shoot

How Do I Deal With Videos on my Website?

We often come across websites that have not really planned to deal with site media/content that ends up on their pages – whether it’s images taking far, far too long to load (or just not loading in at all) or video content sprawled across every page without any compression, it doesn’t make for a great user experience.

As a general rule, we’d always start from the position of asking why you want to host videos directly on your website. For most, it makes much more sense to host your videos on YouTube or Vimeo – this allows you to directly embed these videos onto your website/webpage and avoids having to concern yourself with bandwidth/storage.

An additional advantage of this approach is that whilst your videos are on YouTube or Vimeo, users may come across your video organically, thus potentially driving additional traffic to your site/content.

If this is something you don’t want, for whatever reason, you can always have your video as unlisted so it cannot be found through search, but can still be embedded.

Can I Host Directly On My Site?

Obviously, this won’t be an option that works for all cases, so if you do have to host directly on your site, then ensure that your video is as compressed as possible without compromising the watchability of the content itself. There are plenty of free tools out there that can help with this, like Free Convert. 

It’s also worth remembering that although video can be incredibly effective, with 72% of customers declaring they’d rather learn about your product or service through this medium, you should be careful with how much video you are using on your website and also honestly assess the quality of the content.

Shaky Iphone footage with terrible audio isn’t going to represent your brand well, and forcing a mobile user to waste their precious data watching a 5 minute rambling video that could have been succinctly communicated in a small paragraph of text isn’t a good move either.

A man sat using an iPad to view YouTube in front of television screen

What About Image Compression?

Like video compression/external hosting, much of the benefit you can bring to your web presence through image compression lies in the fact it can greatly aid your site speed.

Site speed matters for many reasons – with 1 in 4 site visitors abandoning a website if it takes longer than 4 seconds to load, and nearly 50% of site visitors reluctant to ever revisit a poorly performing site, it can be make or break for your conversions.

However, it also can’t be overstated how important site speed is to your rankings/performance generally on Search Engines. Google hates slow sites just as much as people do – and with image compression being such a low hanging fruit for so many websites, it’s worth looking into as your first port of call.

Again, it’s about balancing compression with the user experience – compressing an image so much it looks like it’s made of lego isn’t going to reap much reward – the best thing to do is experiment with tools like Free Convert and see if you can take your images down to a manageable size.

A screenshot of free convert website

Mobile Optimisation

All too often we’re confronted with a website that looks pretty decent and functional on a desktop, yet take one look on a mobile device and the very same site becomes unusable.

It seems to us that most people aren’t aware of the importance of mobile optimisation and how much of an impact it can have on your business. According to Statista, mobiles now generate around 58% of web traffic. That’s nearly 60% of users that you just cannot afford to ignore.

How Do I Optimise for Mobile?

We will be soon publishing a more comprehensive guide on Mobile Optimisation, yet for now we can focus on a few key points that will hopefully make it easier for you to offer a better user experience on mobile.

Firstly, you should look at the content on your website with mobile in mind. Have you packed walls of sprawling text on top of one another? Is there something on the page, like a form or pop-up, that doesn’t work for mobile? Making content work across all devices and screens is your number one priority.

This might require some serious rewriting & reworking of content, but after this initial workload you should see some real improvement and know how to optimise any future content/pages.

Another element that is key for mobile is a simple and considered navigation/menu. It’s bad enough having to click through 5 pages to access content on a desktop, but forcing mobile visitors to do so will annoy a large number of users. 

A photograph of a person using a mobile phone with a blurred background of an office behind them

Will Responsive Design Work Every Time?

It is worth noting that many site builders, like Squarespace, will allow you to utilise “responsive design”, where blocks/site content will automatically rearrange to display on mobile devices. A vast majority of web developers believe that responsive design is the key to successfully keeping visitors on your site. 

This automated stacking is not always perfect, however, and may require you to adjust layouts until it works just right – don’t rely on the “view mobile” button when building and always check the version on a real mobile device before publishing to your site.

What Tools Can Help Me Optimise for Mobile?

Finally, go through your website on your mobile device and see what problem areas you have, noting them down as you go. Google has a fantastic tool that enables you to determine how mobile friendly your webpage is and provides some great insight on what you may need to work on.

This will produce a list that you can work through and attempt to resolve. Some might be easy fixes and others may require you to reach out to more technical developers/designers to resolve – prioritise the low hanging fruit and then you can determine whether more technical issues are worth investing in.

As mentioned earlier, we’ll be making a full guide to this in the near future, but please get in touch if you have any questions about mobile optimisation on your website.

A screenshot of Google's page speed insights tool in use

Choose an Appropriate Domain Name

This is something we have to contend with quite often in our initial meetings with clients. It is not uncommon for clients to look to purchase their business name as a .co.uk or .com domain only to find that someone else already owns it – a fair few of our clients have then gone on to purchase a domain that has unusual suffixes, like “www.exampleclient.uk.com” or have gone for odd variations of their actual business name.

Like mobile optimisation, we are writing a comprehensive guide to domain/URL selection to be published soon, but for now there are a few key things to keep in mind.

So What Makes A Good Domain Name?

A good domain name is one that is concise, memorable and easy to type out or reference verbally. If you have a domain name that requires unusual spelling, hyphenation or is just far too long (over 15 characters), you could be accidentally scuppering word-of-mouth driven visits. 

Why Should My Domain Avoid Hyphens?

Whilst there are some cases where it may be appropriate to use a hyphen in your domain name, the vast majority of the time it is wise to avoid using one if you can (and avoid using more than one entirely!).

Hyphenated domains are strongly associated with spammy websites and it is unwise to put yourself in this same boat in the eyes of site visitors and Search Engines alike. As mentioned above, you always want to avoid needlessly complicating your domain name so that it is easily memorable – if our website was “www.wilkes-wood.com” rather than “www.wilkeswood.com” we would have added another thing for a site visitor to remember and have to communicate should they want to recommend our services to a friend or colleague.

An infographic showing cartoon a website domain registration

What About Getting Keywords In My Domain?

There is nothing to say that adding in a keyword in your domain name is a bad thing to do, and it can actually help make it very clear what your services relate to, your geographic region, or create a more memorable or branded domain.

If you had a dentistry business called “Smile” based in Sheffield, “www.smiledentistry.com” and “www.smilesheffield.com” would both be very valid domain names that have added keywords, and offer more information to search engines and consumers than just “www.smile.com”.

What you should absolutely avoid is creating domains like “www.best-dentists-in-sheffield.com” or “www.dentists-for-crown-fillings-in-sheffield.com”. This sort of search query matching may have once worked as a ranking factor yet nowadays Google and other search engines would likely be associating you with spammy or poor quality content and it could negatively impact your SEO.

What Suffix is Best For SEO?

It goes without saying that a “.com” or “.co.uk” would be the most popular top level domain choice; these suffixes are the most memorable and trusted (by consumers) of all available and therefore we’d usually advise getting these if you can. That being said, there is no evidence to suggest that Google or other search engines rank these higher than other domain suffixes, so if you’re forced into a different domain there’s no reason your SEO should suffer.

Utilise Analytics

Analytics seems to be an area of website ownership that most clients recoil at, often assuming that you need vast technical expertise to extract any sort of valuable data from. The truth is, whether you’ve built your site on site builders like Squarespace and Wix, or even if you’ve opted for a Wordpress site, it really isn’t difficult to get analytics configured and start reading into valuable data.

A photograph of a laptop on a sofa showing google analytics on its screen

What Can Website Analytics Do For Me?

Whilst analytics can be used to track and provide data on more complicated site usage, even at the simplest level you could be getting incredibly useful insights into who is actually using your website and how. The data available might seem overwhelming, but once you familiarise yourself with some basics you can uncover the following with ease:

  • Gender, Age and Location of site visitors
  • Amount of site visitors
  • Popular site content
  • Unpopular site content
  • How site visitors find you (Acquisition)
  • How site visitors are interacting with each page
  • How many button or form interactions you’ve had
  • Compare site performance over time

Why Is This Data Important?

Simply put, if you’re not tracking some metrics on your website, you have literally no indication of site performance and don’t know if your investment of time/money to create your website has actually been worth it. Knowing your website’s audience and how these visitors have actually found you can give you great insight into whether you’re reaching the right people and how effective your marketing efforts have been.

Quite often, we find that clients think they are targeting a completely different audience to who they are actually reaching – knowing this can help them adapt content and marketing campaigns to capitalise on this different audience or take steps to ensure they are actually reaching their target demographics. 

Data is knowledge and knowledge is power. There is no disadvantage to knowing more about how consumers are interacting with you, and analytics can provide a wealth of information for you and your business to use to your advantage. 

A photograph of a laptop screen showing various website analytics

So How Do I See This Data?

If you are on Squarespace or Wix, you will have access to an in-built analytics suite that will show you some of the data we’ve discussed. These are typically very user friendly and are a great starting point if you’re unfamiliar with analytics.

If you want more powerful insight, Google Analytics is an absolute necessity and remains the most popular tool worldwide. It is free and relatively easy to set-up; there are plenty of great introductory guides (like this one from Hubspot) to assist with setting up your account, but take a look around YouTube for video guides as these often visualise the process in a more digestible way.

Drive Traffic To Your Website

There is a misconception that a website will easily and immediately start to produce organic traffic and leads without any consistent effort across other marketing channels. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case – you might have built yourself the best website in the world, but if you’ve not told anyone about it then you can’t expect traffic to find you.

Should I Use Social Media?

Social media is the most commonly used channel in marketing and is a vital component of marketing strategy for businesses of all industries and sizes. Social media marketing is a vast discipline with varying degrees of complexity, but these fundamentals will get you started on the right track: 

1 – Know Your Audience and Where to Find Them. 

Different social media platforms attract different audiences and some might be much more tailored toward your target market than others. For example, nearly half of Facebook users are over the age of 45 whereas Instagram appeals much more to younger audiences (84% of US teens use the app at least twice a month); for B2B marketing efforts, LinkedIn would be the top social media platform by far, with 89% of college graduates and 50% of US adults that earn over $75,000 having a profile.

An infographic of backlinks, social media, email marketing, banner ads, direct traffic, search engines all leading to your website

2 – Prioritise Good Quality Content

It can be tempting to pump out content on social media just for the sake of it, prioritising output over quality. This approach is not recommended – for followers to grow and, most importantly, engage with your social media posts, you need to be providing relevant content that is of high value to really reap the rewards. Treat every post like it is representing your business because it is – that means no blurry, poorly lit photos, no rants at rude customers and no lazy duplicates of competitor’s content. 

A good strategy for content doesn’t have to be labour intensive – you can combine original posts/photos with sharing content made/posted by customers/followers and also share useful content made by third parties – this could be an interesting TED talk, a handy guide or anything you think your audience would enjoy or find valuable.

3 – Be Consistent

Consistency makes it easier for you to plan, but also ensures your audience knows when to expect content and that you’re regularly in their feeds. What you actually pick as a schedule will vary wildly depending on how much time you have in the week, what your business does, if you need to take photos/film videos, etc, etc. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver, and if you can pre-plan and generate content ahead of time then you’ll take the pressure off yourself.

How Can I Drive Traffic Without Using Social Media?

You don’t have to use social media to get traffic to your site – we should know, as we spent 4 years growing the business without it. There are loads of options available to you, and the best marketing strategy would be to try and combine a few of them together. PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising, SEO/content marketing, email marketing (if you’re interested in this then you should buy this book), networking/word of mouth, Google my Business optimization, magazine advertisement, competitions, the list goes on and on.

The important thing is you start – pick a marketing channel, get it up and running, get familiar with it, and once it’s running smoothly you can look to add some more strings to the bow.

This All Sounds Too Complicated, Can You Do It For Me?

Yes. We’re web design specialists with over 4 years of experience building sites for businesses of all shapes and sizes. If you want a hand with anything we’ve mentioned in this list, just get in touch and we can have a chat.

To make sure you don’t miss out, make sure to sign up to our newsletter for curated blog posts, videos, and tools sent directly to your inbox – fill in the form below.