A black and white image of a chess victory

I Don't Sell Online, So Why Do I Need To Have A Website?

Websites Aren’t Just For Selling Online

A common misconception in the small business world is that websites are only really for e-commerce/selling products online.

Whilst e-commerce is a truly gigantic industry (one that’s continuously growing as time goes on), websites are relevant to every single business in 2022, regardless of size, sector, product or service.

The events of the past few years have only served to further evidence this claim, with the pandemic increasing web use by up to 70% and leaving businesses without any online presence at risk of being forgotten entirely by once loyal customers.

Here are five reasons why we think you should have a website if you’re not selling directly online:

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

1 – Without A Website, You Don’t Exist.

It might sound a bit absolute, but it’s the truth. The modern consumer expects to find you online – websites are no longer a shiny impressive marketing tool, they’re the bare minimum.

Your customers are online, so you should be too.

Think about the last time you were looking to find out more information about a service, product or business – what did you do? There’s a pretty good chance that you, along with billions of other people every single day, headed over to Google and were one of 99,000 searches performed every single second.

How many of those searches are from potential customers?

A black and white image of a man with a box on his head

By having a professionally designed website built with search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind, you can ensure you’re giving yourself a chance to appear where potential customers are expecting you.

Do this well, and you’ll be driving organic traffic to your site. As we’ll discuss in more detail later on, this gives you an opportunity to turn this traffic into conversions and intrigue into revenue.

Being found on Google also enables you to build up brand authority and be seen as more trustworthy by those that come across your site. In fact, 75% of consumers admit they judge the credibility of a company based directly on their website.

It’s also imperative if you’re a business aiming to serve clients or customers locally. 76% of people end up visiting a business they’ve searched for online on the same day, and the search terms “where to buy” and “near me” have surged 200% in popularity in the past two years alone.

To conclude, your customers are expecting to find you online, are much more likely to shop with you if they do, and will mentally match the quality of your website with the quality of your business!

A man uses his mobile phone to look at a website

2 – If You’re Not Online, Your Competitors Will Be!

In 2018, around half of all small businesses reported they were online. That figure is now closer to 80%

If you’re a small business without a website, you’re handing over all of those potential clicks, conversions and customers to your competitors without even putting up a fight.

Take a look now – head over to Google and search for an industry term, a relevant product or service and you’ll likely see plenty of results from your competitors.

Not only are you giving away sales and leads, but you’re also allowing your competition to establish themselves as authoritative brands which lead above you in your industry. They’re beating you just by showing up.

The stats really do speak for themselves on this one – with recent studies showing that brands that have a website and a regularly updated blog enjoy nearly 70% more leads than those with a website alone, whilst those that have no website whatsoever are losing an average of 75% of their potential customers.

A black and white image of a chess victory

3 – Websites Help You Learn More About Your Audience

Having a website, and knowing how to use it, gives you the opportunity to turn the tables on your audience.

They can use your website to find out more information about you, your business and services, and you can use analytics reporting to discover information about site visitors that can help drive decisions and optimise your offering.

Powerful analytics software, such as Google Analytics, allows you to uncover a treasure trove of data on your website visitors. 

This includes behavioural data (looking at how visitors use your website and interact with its content) as well as powerful demographic insight which can reveal exactly who you’re reaching with your online presence. 

Combined with Google Search Console, a free tool that helps you monitor your performance in search results, you have the ability to determine how you are being found, who is finding you, and what they’re looking for.

If you’ve built your website through a site builder like Squarespace or Wix, then you’ll have some in-house analytics on those platforms too. Whilst nowhere near as powerful as what you can achieve with Google Analytics, they’re a good place to start familiarising yourself with what metrics matter. 

Utilising data is one of the most important things you can do as a business in the digital age; it can remove the guesswork from some vital decision making and ensure your website content and design is continually being optimised to improve performance across the board.

You no longer have to rely on assumptions or outdated and expensive 3rd party data.

An infographic showing various reporting pages for website analytics

4 – Websites Support All Other Marketing Efforts

Think about what marketing methods you currently implement or promote for your business. Word of mouth? Social Media? Print ads? 

Good news…

A website enables you to direct all traffic from all marketing channels to a space that is entirely yours, fully optimised for your target audience, and easily discoverable through search.

In a recent report by Nielson, word-of-mouth was shown to be the most effective form of marketing, followed incredibly closely by a website. The relationship between the two has become inextricably linked. Here’s why:

When someone is recommended a product, service or business, they might make a mental note, save it on their phone or write it somewhere like a notepad. When they’re ready to contact, purchase from or discover more about the business in question, what are they most likely to do?

Yep, you guessed it… search Google, or go directly to their website!

All roads lead to Rome!

A photograph of London bilboards

5 – You Still Need Conversions If You’re Not An E-Commerce Store!

So, you don’t sell online – that doesn’t mean you’re not interested in “conversions”!

Whilst the term is more commonly associated with an e-commerce purchase, a conversion can refer to a tremendous variety of actions that businesses want to promote, direct traffic toward, monitor and optimise.

Tracking conversions is an important activity that gives you the ability to analyse the performance of your marketing strategies – this means you have to decide what a “conversion” means to you, as well as where and when you should monitor for conversions taking place.

There are two types of conversions: Micro and Macro.

Think of macro-conversions as the ultimate end goal you’d like your site visitor to achieve – this could be something like a lead generating form response/contact form, a phone call, or a paid subscription.

A micro-conversion occurs when your site visitor completes an action that indicates they have taken a step forward in their journey toward your macro-conversion (or end goal). Common examples of these include signing up to your newsletter, downloading something like a whitepaper, PDF, or ebook or even watching a video or interacting with other site media.

Utilising Google Analytics, you can track multiple conversions on your website for free. You can then work out something called your “conversion rate”, which is:

“CONVERSIONS OVER A SET TIME FRAME” 

Divided By…

“TOTAL SITE TRAFFIC FROM SET TIME FRAME” 

Equals:

“YOUR CONVERSION RATE”

This metric is incredibly important as you can look to continually improve/optimise your conversion strategy once a baseline has been established.

For example, did you know that reducing the number of form fields from 11 to 4 in your contact form can generate 120% more conversions?

Every single website should be created with a macro-conversion in mind, and yours is no different.

What would you want your site visitors to do?

A picture of a retro telephone handset and wire

So, What’s Next?

Now you’ve read just important a website is, you might want to consider developing one of your own. That’s where we can help. 

We can partner with you to create a website designed with conversions in mind – with on-page content optimised for search engines as well as users at every stage of the buying journey.

We can also help you digest data and turn it into real analytical insight.

Sound good?

Get in touch!


An Icon Showing SEO in the style of the Google Logo

SEO VS PPC - What’s The Difference & Which One Is Right For My Business?

When looking to invest in marketing strategies for your business, it’s inevitable that you will end up comparing two or more channels together to decide what is best for your business, audience and objectives.

More often than not, this conversation features two of the most popular marketing activities in 2022: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

Optimising your website for search engines can help improve your rankings on organic searches, whilst PPC efforts (like Google Ads) are paid for methods of advertisement allowing marketers to compete for coveted paid placements on the search engine results page.

A close up of Google Ads Click Through Rate analytics screen

What’s The Difference?

Put simply, the main difference between the two lies in SEO efforts being “Organic” and PPC being “Paid”. 

An infographic showing various reporting pages for website analytics

So, What is SEO & Organic Traffic?

Think back to the last time you purchased something online or wanted to find out more about a product, service or company. There’s a pretty good chance that your journey started with one thing: a Google search.

There’s also a pretty good chance that you clicked on a website shown on the first page of your results – in fact, over 95% of clicks come from the first page of search results, with the first 3 results alone getting a combined click through rate of over 60%.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is all about directing the right web searchers to your website from search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, all without the use of paid advertising (PPC ads).

SEO still requires investment. If you’re doing SEO work yourself, that could be an investment of time, or if you’re using an SEO agency like Wilkes Wood, it could be a financial investment. But, you can’t pay directly for performance – i.e you cannot pay Google to guarantee you a certain organic ranking for a keyword.

We’ve written a whole introductory guide to SEO if you want to learn more about SEO works and the benefits it can bring to your business.

The truth of the matter is that SEO is a slower burning long term strategy. 

An Icon Showing SEO in the style of the Google Logo

Let’s look at some of the phases that an SEO professional may go through when working on your website:

  1. Research into your business, audience, keywords, competitors.
  2. A full audit of your website from a technical point of view.
  3. Website optimisation and development.
  4. Content planning, research and creation.
  5. Internal linking & Backlink strategies.

This isn’t a swift process in itself, and then you have to be patient to reap the results of your hard work. There’s no set time frame for SEO work to pay off, but most industry experts agree that even with a healthy SEO budget, you’re looking at a 3 month period before your ranking starts to see serious improvements.

But, those improvements are worth it. Your rankings will improve, your organic traffic will grow, your authority will improve and, whilst you’re waiting for more results, you can continue to optimise your website and put out keyword driven content.

With PPC, your ads disappear when your budget ends. SEO lasts way, way “beyond the spend” and this is why so many marketers see SEO as such a great investment – in fact  49% of marketers report that organic search has the best ROI of any other channel.

It’s also worth noting that organic search drives 53% of website traffic, whilst paid search only accounts for 15%!

You can read more information from Google on organic search or head to our blog on SEO to uncover more of the basics.

To summarise: SEO is powerful, but slow. It wins over the long-term.

A man on a laptop using Google Search

What Is PPC & Paid Advertising?

Pay-per-click advertising (or PPC) is a form of paid advertising on search engines, such as Google Ads. The aim of PPC on Google Ads is to bring immediate traffic to your website by strategically “bidding” on search terms against competitors, with winning bids ensuring your advert is placed somewhere on screen.

PPC is also used across all social media platforms, but we’re not going to cover those here.

One of the most appealing elements of PPC is that it gives marketers the opportunity to target specific audiences that they want their deal, product, event or content to appeal to. 

You can target audiences on Google Ads using demographic data such as location, age, profession, annual income and even interests – this is incredibly powerful, as you can imagine, and is why Google Ads is so popular (accounting for over 80% of Google’s entire revenue).

It is called pay-per-click because you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your advertisement. If you’ve used Google, you’ll have seen ads before at the top and bottom of the search engine results page. The average cost of a “click” is, at the time of writing, around $2.69 (£2.35). 

Average click through rates (CTR) differ wildly between industries, with an average of only 1.9%. To uncover the average CTR for your industry, head over to this article by Search Engine Land.

PPC is popular because it offers immediate results, unlike the long term strategy that SEO aligns itself with. However, as soon as your spend stops, so do the benefits, and depending on the budget you have, your ad might be limited in how long it could run or what size audience it could reach.

There are some downsides to PPC, such as spam clicks/traffic, and over 40% of internet users now use some form of ad blocker.

Just like with SEO, Google will be ranking your efforts, and optimising Google Ads is no easy task. It’s a discipline all of its own and successful campaigns require constant monitoring, testing and tweaking to avoid precious ad spend being wasted.

To summarise: PPC costs per click, and is immediate. It wins in the short term.

A screenshot of a Google search showing how PPC ads appear

So, Which One Is Right For My Business?

As with most things in marketing, the answer is: it depends.

Do you need immediate results? Are you happy to wait for long-term rewards? Do you have a set budget? How much work would your website need? What are your competitors doing?

These are just some of the questions that could help narrow down your options and leave you with the right choice.

A lot of small businesses and start-ups lean more towards SEO as they lack the sort of budget required to fully set-up, test, optimise and implement a PPC campaign. If you’re prepared to think and plan for the long-term, SEO is budget friendly and, once results start showing, you should see steady improvements to your organic traffic.

If you have established your business within a niche market, you may even be able to find keywords that have the “Big 3” – high relevancy, low competition and decent monthly search volume. This would be a golden opportunity for SEO.

If you’re in a highly competitive market, such as an e-commerce store selling products that are in competition with industry behemoths like Amazon, it’s unlikely that you are going to find massive success in ranking for organic positions, especially early on in your efforts. PPC could be great here to help boost your brand awareness.

The truth is, both SEO and PPC are great ways to grow your business, whether they’re used on their own or in conjunction with one another. 

There are, however, a few instances where one would be much more appropriate than another.

There are, however, a few instances where one would be much more appropriate than another – for example, if you’re looking to sell out an event in a short period of time, PPC is your best friend!

a screenshot of Squarespace website analytics

In Conclusion…

If you wanted to maximise the potential of your business, and had the budget to accommodate, we’d always recommend that you invest in both SEO and PPC. With a combined effort, you’re likely to be able to achieve results that would not be possible if each were implemented in isolation.

However, we’re aware that not everyone lives in this “ideal world” and you may have to prioritise one over the other, at least for an initial stretch of time, so let’s break it down:

PPC will require initial and ongoing investment, and will not leave you with any lasting or enduring results when your spending stops. You should look into PPC if you need immediate results, you have a higher budget, or if your product, offer or event is time sensitive.

SEO will require an investment of time or money, but will still be cheaper than PPC over the long term. You should look into SEO if you have a smaller budget, want to prioritise a long term ROI and want to create impactful, powerful content that’s relevant to your audience at all stages of the buying journey.

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What Can We Do To Help?

We’ve been helping our clients with their SEO needs for over 4 years, and have a dedicated, in-house team to do just that.

Head over to our dedicated SEO page to see our packages across content and maintenance.

For a free SEO audit of your website, get in touch!


A group of people planning UX for a website

How Can SEO and UX Work Together For Your Website?

Whilst it’s true that User Experience (UX) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are two distinct practices, now more than ever they should be looked upon as a necessary partnership with a common goal: to give your website users the best possible experience.

Long gone are the days of relying purely on keywords to boost your SEO; Google’s algorithm has evolved to such an extent that your website must provide a rich, tailored user experience to your website visitors in order to be in with a chance of boosting your organic search rankings.

With Google’s own UX guidelines suggesting that a seamless UX is a critical ranking factor for organic search, and with recent studies showing development of your website’s user experience can boost customer conversion rates up to 400%, it’s clear to see why so many businesses are investing in UX as part of their SEO strategy.

To put it simply: investment in SEO makes your website optimised for search engines, and investment in UX makes your website optimised for site visitors. However, investment in both can successfully leverage each discipline to maximise their performance and boost results across the board.

A group of people working on a table with laptops

What is SEO?  

Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, aims to improve the performance of your website on search engine results pages (SERPs). It aims to boost your organic rankings and drive targeted traffic to your website. We’ve written a beginners guide to SEO here if you want to discover more about SEO and how it can help small businesses.

Two website icons linked together

What is UX?  

User Experience (UX) is a pretty self descriptive term, and simply serves to describe the experience a site visitor has whilst interacting/using your website.

If your website provides a seamless, intuitive and targeted experience to your users then congratulations, you’re delivering a positive UX – however, if your website is slow, hard to navigate and provides little value through its content, you’re delivering a negative UX (and making 88% of your online customers leave with no intention of returning…)

Core elements of User Experience include:

  • Your website’s internal structure/architecture (43% of site visitors want websites to remain simple & nearly all negative user feedback relates to this) 
  • The journey, content & touchpoints of your site visitors (over half of all site visitors prefer content that is personalised to them & their needs). 
  • The responsiveness of your website across mobile/desktop (50% of site visitors will use a website less if it doesn’t work on mobile, even if they love your business…)

Stripped down to its basics, UX is about ensuring that a site visitor finds it easy to navigate through your website, its content and interactive elements, and feels like the experience has been tailored to them at every stage. 

A group of people planning UX for a website

So, How Does UX Impact SEO?

As Google’s algorithms have evolved, the weighting and prioritisation of ranking factors has differed wildly. You may have heard about the early days of SEO, where insane amounts of keyword stuffing could guarantee some degree of success in achieving rankings…

It’s safe to say we’ve come a long, long way from Google relying on signals that can be easily manipulated, like keyword stuffing, link spamming and other outdated practices.

Google is now “user-centric” and has developed its algorithms accordingly, wielding complex technology across the AI and machine learning space to deliver search users exactly what they need to feel satisfied with their search results.

The myriad ranking factors that Google “judges” your website with are now substantially aligned with providing a rich, positive user experience for your website visitors. 

This ranges from technical elements like site speed (slow site speeds lose site owners billions of £s across the e-commerce world each year) to measuring site visitor behaviour like bounce rate, whether or not your site is bookmarked by users, if users came across you through search or direct, and the list goes on and in (with over 200 more factors!)

If you are providing a positive UX through your website’s development and design, you will undoubtedly be supporting site visitors in behaving in ways Google deems to be positive – they’ll stay longer, interact more with your content, perhaps return more often, and are more likely to bookmark, share and promote your website across social media/word of mouth. 

All of these, inevitably, contribute to bettering your search position and send positive signals to Google’s algorithm.In order to better your SEO through UX, you need to ditch the SEO goggles and take the time to understand your audience, website and content from a user’s perspective. It’s time to step back, reposition yourself, and work through your website from the perspective of your target audience.

SEO and UX Icons

Image source: Ash Shah

What Web & Content Factors Influence SEO and UX?

As mentioned above, there are over 200 ranking factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking your website for search results. Here are a handful of critical factors that link UX and SEO together to boost your website’s performance across both areas…

1 – A Thorough Understanding of Your Audience

Both SEO and UX require you to thoroughly understand your audience as the first step in any strategy.

SEO requires you to know your audience so you know exactly who you’re targeting with keywords and content.

UX requires you to know your audience so you know exactly what they want to see, do and consume whilst on your website, and enable you to make your website perfectly tailored to these needs.

To discover your target audience, you need to be able to answer questions beyond demographic information of age, gender and occupation. Here are some example questions you might want to use to frame your research:

  • What is a site visitor wanting from your website?
  • What would a site visitor search for online?
  • How would a site visitor seek out/look for the information or content they desire?
  • What would they expect from tone/content?
  • How would they want to interact with your website? What forms, buttons, purchases, links, or downloads are they expecting to be able to engage with?

You might also want to look into current data if you have analytics at your disposal. 

This can provide vital information on how users journey through your website, how they behave, how long they stay for, and how often they interact with buttons, forms, purchases or any other conversion you’re monitoring.

You want to build up a clear picture of your audience – without this, you will have nothing to guide your UX and SEO strategies as they will not be directed toward a targeted group of users with shared interests, wants and needs.

I could sit here and tell you that 70% of users prefer to use companies that share their sense of humour or that over 70% of users judge how credible a website is based on its aesthetics…

But if you don’t know what humour your target audience would appreciate or what your target audience deem to be appropriate aesthetically, you are making it nearly impossible to meet their expectations, thus compromising any SEO or UX efforts before they’ve even begun!

The word

2 – Have You Done Your Keyword Research?

Furthering on from the above point, successful keyword research will enable you to increase your understanding of your target audience.

This works for both SEO and UX. 

Keyword research is a fundamental building block of SEO – knowing what keywords to target and what content to produce is absolutely critical to any successful SEO strategy – without it, you will not achieve any significant results. 

For more information on how SEO works, click here.

In relation to UX, keyword research helps by providing further information on site visitors, for example their search intent.

Look at these two searches:

  1. “Good first cars” 
  2. “Used Ford Fiesta 1.5L 2005 blue for sale now Sheffield”

The first search is on the lookout for content/information that could help them answer their question and determine what cars to look into further. 

This is a broader search that indicates someone is in the exploratory/information seeking stage of the buying process.

The second search seems to have much more of a purchasing intent – they are seeking a specific product in a specific area with a somewhat defined specification. 

The presence of “now” indicates they are looking for the ability to complete a purchase immediately if they like what they see.

Both are searching in relation to cars, but at different stages of the buying process and with differing degrees of intent. 

What makes great content and UX for one may be a bad UX with poor content for the other…

A screenshot showing Google's Keyword Planner

3 – What Are You Pushing Your Audience Towards?

A well designed website will successfully push site visitors toward a particular action, event or conversion through elements like buttons, prominent calls to action (CTAs), chat-bots and more.

To facilitate a positive user experience, you need to balance your desire for site visitors to perform an action with their desire to navigate your site and content in an intuitive manner. 

Lean too far either way and you’ll be losing out on conversions or annoying site visitors by preventing them exploring your site in the way they want to.

If your SEO efforts are successful in bringing in more organic traffic, it can be tempting to try and capitalise immediately on this boosted audience.

However, you should be wary of compromising UX on purpose…

Sacrificing good UX with pop-ups, intrusive ads, or flooding every paragraph with “buy now” buttons may seem appealing for short term profits, but long-term you could be dissuading site visitors from ever returning and moving from “User Experience” into “User Exploitation”.

Here are two ways you can help improve the performance of clickable/interactive elements:

  • Place them in locations that users will be familiar with/expect – don’t try and be too tricky or “cool” with how you present interactive elements. 
  • Design interactive elements to be as visible as possible and ensure that site visitors will know immediately that they can engage with the element – that’s why hyperlinks are different colours! 
  • Ensure your content can be easily shared on popular social media channels. 
  • Make sure you’re using CTAs throughout your page content to encourage visitors to further explore other pages, content or convert.

You might be asking yourself how these UX elements contribute towards your website SEO? 

By optimising your webpages for site visitors and making it easier for them to spend more time on your website/explore different content on your website.

This means you’re reducing bounce rates and showing Google that your website is highly relevant and of a high enough quality for visitors to interact with it for longer. Optimal bounce rates are strongly correlated with achieving first page spots with. Google rankings

By encouraging social sharing and conversions, you’re further proving this point.

A woman planning a website wireframe

4 – Focus on Your Site’s Foundation & Navigation

How your website is structured has a tremendous impact on both SEO and UX. If you’re building a website, you have to take the time to consider the foundation of your website and ensure it is following best practices.

This is referred to as your website architecture. A website constructed with an optimised site architecture allows search engines to more easily discover your website, index its content and follow internal links to be able to journey through the entirety of your site. 

From a technical point of view, there are plenty of things to consider – ranging from optimising your URL structure to using H1 and H2 tags in your site content to ensure that the content hierarchy is being established.

However, a fundamental element of site architecture that is critically important to both SEO and User Experience is that of website navigation…

How to Optimise Website Navigation:

It’s important to remember that there’s a very high chance your site visitors will be landing on a different webpage to your homepage. 

In order to allow site visitors to easily explore and journey through the rest of your content, you need to ensure that your navigation is optimised:

  • Your top menu should be clear and prominent, with no silly page names that may confuse your visitors. 
  • Your pages need to be organised into appropriate and manageable sections/groups to ensure you’re not flooding your menus with too many options. 
  • Content needs to follow SEO best practices & prioritise clear formats with headers, lists, and appropriate imagery/site media. 
  • Internally link to relevant content and utilise CTAs to help your site visitors explore your web content further. 
  • Utilise categories and menus for your blog to keep posts organised and accessible. 
  • Consider using breadcrumbs to easily allow users to return to previous pages or menus.
  • Minimise the amount of clicks needed to get to any given webpage. 
  • Avoid any pop ups, ads or features that may hide important information or menus – this is a common criticism with poorly designed chatbot features. 
  • Don’t leave users with a dead end.

Cleaning up your navigation makes it easier for both users and search engines to explore your site – that means it’s equally as important for SEO and UX. 

Through optimising your website navigation and architecture, there’s a chance that Google will display other pages within your main result on a search page – these are called sitelinks and are fantastic as they enable you to take up more of the screen/results and attract more clicks and visitors. 

Take a look at Wilkes Wood when you search for us on Google:

A Screenshot of a Google Search Result showing Site Links that Boost SEO

5 – Make Your Website Optimised for Mobile

Here are 4 statistics that you need to know:

  1. 85% of your site visitors expect your mobile site to match or outperform the quality of your desktop site.
  2. Nearly 50% of users are actively annoyed by sites that aren’t optimised for mobile.
  3. Nearly 70% of users will choose to reward your website with a purchase if it’s optimised for mobile and your competitor’s websites aren’t.
  4. More than 50% of traffic is now from mobile search.

Mobile optimisation is no longer a cool thing for your website to do, it’s an absolute necessity. Those that do not invest in responsive websites are absolutely going to suffer – your site visitors are expecting content to display correctly no matter what device they’re using.

From a UX standpoint, it’s non-negotiable.

Unfortunately for those with clunky mobile sites, it’s also vital for SEO.

Google has repeatedly stressed how mobile-friendly websites are favoured in search results, and if that wasn’t enough to convince you, Google’s crawler now conducts mobile-first indexing – there’s no two ways about it, responsive design is an expectation of search engines and users alike.

Make sure that your website has accessible and clear fonts, has a seamless mobile navigation menu, loads fast on mobile devices and has functional CTAs – you can even make the latter mobile specific, with “Call Now” functionality!

A man uses his mobile phone to look at a website

6 – Is Your Website Speedy?

Page speed is another example of something that is equally important to real world site users and search engines alike.

The verdict is unanimous: if your site is slow, your visitors will leave.

In fact, if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you’ll have already lost more than half of your traffic and on the opposite side of things, even a 0.1 second site speed improvement has been shown to improve online sales.

If your site is loading too slowly and causing visitors to abandon ship, you’ll see a negative impact within your bounce rate and time on page analytics – this is why Google uses page speed as an important factor in deciding your rankings. 

Luckily, you can use Google’s free tool to determine how your site is performing and receive feedback on how you can take steps to improve your site speed. This should give you a pretty good idea of how much work you need to do and where you need to turn your attention to.

A common mistake that has a massive impact on site speed is to upload site media without optimisation/compression – here’s a quick guide if you need to revisit your photos/videos on your site.

A car speedometer showing 0kmph

Can You Help Me With Improving My Website SEO or UX?

Yes. If you think you need some help optimising your website for search engines and users, get in touch with us today and our experienced in-house team will take care of the rest.


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

What is YouTube Channel Art & How You Can Optimise Your YouTube Banner

In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, “the first impression is always the right one”. Your YouTube channel art provides you with an opportunity to make a positive first impression with your audience, helping to grow your following on the platform. 

What is YouTube Channel Art?

When you set up your YouTube channel, you will have been asked to upload your profile picture and a banner, sometimes referred to as a “header image”. These two elements create the visual foundation of your channel branding, and are what we refer to collectively as “channel art”.

Aside from your actual video content, your channel art is one of the most important factors in creating a successful YouTube presence. When fully optimised, your channel art turns into a powerful asset that provides your audience with a striking first impression.

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

What Are The YouTube Banner Dimensions?

Your YouTube banner will show differently on computer, mobile and TV displays, with larger images being cropped for smaller displays.

Here is an easy template to help you make sure your designs are kept within the safe zone:

A Template For YouTube Channel Banner Dimensions

How do I optimise my YouTube Channel Banner?

A visually striking YouTube banner acts like a giant advertisement for your profile and is the first thing anyone looking at your channel will see. To be fully optimised, this header image needs to be representative of your brand – this means you need to ensure it is as high quality as possible.

However, great YouTube banners go beyond just being visually appealing and attempt to communicate something to their audience, whether that’s sharing further information like a posting schedule and other social media profiles or something more abstract like personality.

Whatever you’re sharing, it has to be eye-catching, easily digestible and representative of the rest of your brand.

Sounds easy, right?

Let’s break down some key elements of YouTube channel art:

Show Who You Are

Your YouTube banner should tell people instantly that they’ve come to the right place. Do you have a logo? If so, this is the perfect place to share it. If not, fear not – a photo of you or a recognisable brand element can be used too!

Make sure you don’t hide this away in some remote corner – place your logo or brand element in a recognisable location and utilise colour and contrast to make it stand out from its background.

Take a look at the YouTube banner we designed for Blake McFarland. You cannot mistake this channel for anyone else’s – it has his logo and his face as his personality and image is a large part of his brand.

A screenshot of Blake McFarland's YouTube channel banner

The other elements further convey what his channel relates to – sculpture.

Make sure you check out our YouTube banner margins guide at the top of this post to make sure you’re visible across all devices.

Keep It Simple and Focused

If there’s one thing you should take from this blog post, it’s that you shouldn’t try and overcomplicate things. Simpler messages are more effective messages, and more effective messages will help grow your channel.

A YouTube banner doesn’t give you a lot of space to work with, so you have to make sure you don’t dilute your message with clutter and distracting elements.

Take a look at this YouTube banner from the Harvard Business Review:

A screenshot of Harvard Business Review YouTube channel banner

The logo is strong, placed centrally and instantly recognisable – the background image is thematically appropriate, universally recognised as a place of business, and further emphasises the channel’s focus.

All of that is conveyed through one image and three words.

Share your Posting Schedule

It’s not uncommon for YouTube channels to advertise that they are regularly posting videos to a particular schedule like “Weekly”, “Monthly” or more specific options like “Posting every Wednesday”. 

What does this tell potential subscribers about your channel?

It showcases that if they subscribe to your channel they will be rewarded with regular content updates. Recent studies have shown that regular upload schedules can help dramatically when it comes to channel growth.

By providing users with information about your channel in an instant, you are pushing them to subscribe and enjoy future content that matches the quality of what brought them there in the first place, and also encouraging them to regularly check back on your channel for new updates.

Look at this example from Aurelius Tijn. Anyone visiting this channel will know immediately that Aurelius will post a new video every single week.

A screenshot of Aurelius Tijn's YouTube channel banner

Make Sure You’ve Optimised For all Devices

Mobile users visit twice as many pages on YouTube as desktop users, so it’s imperative that your channel art is optimised for all screen sizes and devices. 

Take a look at Blake’s YouTube banner at various screen sizes and you’ll see that the content is still visible whether you’re on desktop, tablet or mobile. 

A screenshot of Blake McFarland's YouTube channel banner

We’ve created this graphic to help you understand what will be shown across the spectrum.

Operate Within Your Brand Guidelines

This may sound obvious, but we’ve come across some channels that deviate massively from their already existing brand and it is quite jarring to see. 

Whilst we appreciate that some creators want to create a unique space for their YouTube channel, by using colours and branding elements that don’t match what people may expect to see from you there is a risk of confusing your audience.

We always recommend that you stick within existing brand guidelines to ensure any channel visitors know they’ve found the right place!

Take a look at Colin & Samir’s YouTube channel and Twitter profile – if you went from one to the other you’d be absolutely certain you’ve found the correct space.

A screenshot of Colin and Samir's YouTube channel banner
A screenshot of Colin and Samir's YouTube channel banner

Push Traffic Towards Social Media & Website

99% of YouTube users are also on other social media platforms. That means you can boost your following across all touchpoints by highlighting your social media profiles through banner links.

To add social media links and links to your website to your YouTube channel art, follow these steps:

1 – Head to your Channel Customisation Page

2 – Input the URLs to your social media profiles and websites 

3 – Select which of these you’d like to feature on your channel art

4 – Publish to your channel

When you’ve finished, it will look something like this:

A screenshot of a YouTube channel banner

This channel implements a CTA, “free training”, with social media and website links.

Pushing visitors towards your website or online store can be an incredibly powerful way of turning subscribers into converting customers for your product or service. 

Want Us to Help?

Does this all sound like too much work? Good news, it’s right up our street.

We love working with creators to improve their channel art to help drive more subscribers and growth. 

Our team has years of design experience and know-how and would love to help create the best YouTube channel art possible for your brand. 

Get in touch today and optimise your profile!