A black and white photograph of Fred Ostrovskis

Company Update - Fred Has Finished His Master’s Degree!

I’m very happy to report that I’ve now graduated with merit from my degree with an MSc in Digital Marketing and Data Analytics.

I started studying in late 2020, eager to further my industry knowledge and delve into the world of data, which is fast becoming an integral tool for businesses of any size.

Studying whilst maintaining my work responsibilities and growing the company was hard, but with the support of our fantastic team and clients I managed to get through and complete the course without too many tears…

So, What Did I Study?

My course was broken into 4 modules, along with a capstone project. 

The Modules I took were:

• Strategic Thinking in Digital Marketing

• Communicating in the Digital Age

• Driving Insight from Data Analytics

• Digital Change, Innovation and Disruption

My capstone project was on internal marketing implementation.

Each of these modules enabled me to take the theory I was learning and directly apply it to the real world of business, be that through Wilkes Wood or the various clients who were happy to be involved.

This greatly expedited my learning, and I was able to immediately see what the most useful elements of my education were, how to best wield them, and what this would mean for our clients and ourselves.

A black and white photograph of Fred Ostrovskis

So, What Does This Mean For Our Clients?

I now have a much greater understanding of marketing strategy when it comes to the digital world – this has enabled me to think more holistically when talking to clients, and I feel like we are much better placed to help clients get the absolute most out of our services.

All we care about is helping businesses grow and succeed, and furthering my understanding of strategy and being in an environment where phenomenal mentors were advising me on implementation has already shown great returns for ourselves and our clients.

I believe the course has also enabled me to better communicate with clients regarding data, analysis and performance reporting.

I know exactly what metrics/KPIs to set for a variety of channels, goals and contexts, and feel extremely confident in accurately measuring performance and reacting positively and proactively to data reports. 

I also took the opportunity to learn as much as possible about team management, leadership and internal marketing.

I deeply care about the people I work with, whether that’s our team or our clients, and want to ensure I am always furthering my own ability to foster an environment that gets the best out of all of us whilst promoting the values, ethos and culture we are all driven by.

That’s a very long winded way of saying I think undertaking this Master’s has made me much, much better at my job. That’s good news for everyone, I hope!

A photograph of Fred Ostrovskis's Graduation Certificate

What’s Next?

I will continue to push myself to learn as much about the industry as possible, but I think university is a closed book for now.

I am finding great enjoyment in learning from great mentors that I have around me, and have plenty of short courses, industry reports and tutorials at my fingertips to keep pushing me forward.

I also am blessed with a job that enables me to take a deep look inside businesses of all shapes and sizes and across nearly every sector imaginable, so the amount I am able to learn from our clients is absolutely incredible – so thank you for that!

On the topic of thanks, I’d like to extend mine to James for being the best business partner I could ask for, as well as my close friends and family who constantly encourage me to push myself and develop.

I look forward to using this knowledge and experience to bring our clients better results and, as is our mantra, help you grow.

Follow me on LinkedIn if you’d like to be kept in the loop with what I’m learning and reflecting on…


A photograph of a car speedometer

Why Is Site Speed So Important & How Can I Measure Site Speed?

What Is Site Speed?

Page speed refers to the amount of time between a browser requesting a page and actually completing processing/rendering the page content. 

An often overlooked metric, site speed has become an increasingly important factor in ensuring you’re providing the most optimal experience for users and search engines. 

It’s no secret that when it comes to the digital world, attention spans are low and competition is high. That means every second counts when you’re trying to keep site visitors engaged and converting.

Every millisecond counts too, as a recent study showed that a decrease in page speed by just 500 milliseconds had an adverse affect on user experience!

A photograph showing light using slow shutter speed to indicate speed

Who Does Site Speed Matter To?

The simple answer is: Site Visitors & Google.

Google measures your site and content across over 200 factors when determining your page ranking, and it’s safe to say that it cares about speed, and pays careful attention to mobile performance too.

Google tests your site by simulating its performance on 4G, with poor results potentially kicking your website from any significant rankings – that means if you’re not optimising your site speed at all, you can say goodbye to the first page of results with potentially disastrous consequences for your website, objectives, and conversions.

But, Google wouldn’t care about site speed if people didn’t.

When it comes to user experience, speed/efficiency matters. This isn’t just a rule for websites – if you went to meet your friend at a cafe and ordered a couple of sandwiches, you wouldn’t want to wait for a couple of hours for your food to arrive.

In fact, if that happened, there’s a good chance you’d leave, tell people about your poor experience, and refrain from ever going back. That’s what a site visitor is likely to do if your page keeps them waiting…

A photograph of a car speedometer

Why Does Site Speed Matter?

So, now we’ve established that users and search engines care about your site performance just as much as one another, we can dig a little deeper into what this means…

1 – Site Speed Affects Conversion Rates

Whether you sell your products/services online or not, your website will be trying to encourage some form of conversion – be that a purchase, newsletter sign up, or a lead gen form, and site speed has a direct impact on this.

There have been countless studies that demonstrate this – with one survey finding that close to 70% of site visitors believe page speed directly affects their willingness to purchase online.

Studies have shown that anything below 4 seconds is optimal for conversions, with 0-2 seconds being the sweet spot – every additional second of load time drops your conversions rates by nearly 5%!

Users stay on sites that load faster and convert at a higher rate, and even small improvements can have dramatic effects. For example, Walmart are reported to have increased their conversion rate by 2% by decreasing load time by only 1 second.

If you needed any more proof, Portent studied the difference in conversion rates between websites fully optimised for page speed and “slow” sites, finding conversions for sites loading in 1 second are 5x higher than one that loads in 10 seconds. 

They also showed that the website loading in 1 second achieved 3x the conversion rate of one loading in 5 seconds.

Evidently there’s a lot of money being left on the table if your site is lagging behind your competition!

A photograph of a laptop on a table and a user on her phone

2 – Site Speed Dramatically Affects Bounce Rate

Your website’s bounce rate reveals the percentage of site visitors who abandon your site after viewing only one single page. A high bounce rate is usually indicative of poor user experience (although there are definitely exceptions to this rule) and it can be a good metric to keep an eye on as you try and measure the impact any improvements you’re making.

Site speed has dramatic impact on the bounce rate of your website – slow to load sites have a much higher bounce rate than their swifter counterparts. A great example of this can be seen in how the BBC, arguably the most popular website in the world, reported they were losing 10% of their users for every second it took their pages to load.

They are by no means alone in this – as Google have reported similar results, showing that the probability of bounce increases 32% if your page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds.

A photograph of a neon green exit sign on a wall

3 – Slow Sites Make Unhappy Visitors

User Experience (or UX) is an important focus of any website looking to promote any sort of conversion and works in tandem with Search Engine Optimisation. We’ve explored this relationship further in a dedicated blog post if you want to dive into the detail. 

It’s all very well having a website that’s designed with UX in mind, but if your site isn’t loading quick enough to encourage visitors to stick around, all that work has gone to waste.

On average, you will see a 16% drop in customer satisfaction for just a single second delay in page load times. 

4 – Speed Is Important for SEO

Google’s algorithm has evolved massively over the past decade to better perform its primary function: provide the best user experience possible.

This means that all Google cares about is delivering the best possible result to a search engine user’s query – what makes a website the best possible result? A combination of hundreds of factors, with page speed/site performance being among them. To read more about SEO, head over to our introduction to SEO article.

A faster loading site means a better experience for the site visitor, and that’s what Google wants to provide – users visit 8.9 pages on average when your site loads in two seconds as opposed to only 3 pages if your website takes 8 seconds to load!

That means optimising your site speed can positively impact your search rankings, giving you the opportunity to drive more organic traffic to your site or store.

A photograph showing light using slow shutter speed to indicate speed

How Can I Measure & Improve Website Speed?

Luckily, there are plenty of free tools and resources out there to help you measure your site speed and performance and identify actionable steps you can take to improve your score.

Google offers plenty of resources to help with this process. Tools such as PageSpeed Insight provide you with insight on an individual webpage, providing a score for both desktop and mobile performance (it simulates a mid range mobile device using a standard mobile network to load your site), as well as some handy suggestions for improving your score.

PageSpeed Insight utilises a mixture of lab and real world data to produce its reporting, measuring your site against Google’s “core web vitals” – this gives you the ability to understand how each of the page loading process is performing.

They also have Lighthouse, which is a more holistic tool that measures your entire site, rather than one single page, using lab data under consistent conditions to create a report. This report also audits other important site elements such as SEO and accessibility.

For more information on the difference between Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights, click here.

If you’re concerned with mobile performance, check out Google’s dedicated resources which can help you create a seamless user experience across all devices.

Google isn’t the only provider of site speed testing tools by any stretch of the imagination, and there are plenty to choose from.

Pingdom is thought of as a more friendly starting point for those of you who are new to performance analysis, and provides a speed score between 0-100 for you to measure against – another popular alternative is GTMetrix.

Both of these tools can deliver key insight and help you record benchmarks as you continue to try and optimise your site performance.

A screenshot of a Site Speed Tool in use

What Factors Affect Site Speed?

Site speed can be influenced by a variety of factors, but there are some common culprits: Page Weight, Network Conditions, and Hosting.

What Is Page Weight & How Does It Affect Site Speed?

Page weight refers to the overall size of your web page. The heavier the page, the more resources it takes to load.

This means that you’re likely going to have to balance providing a rich user experience with ensuring your website isn’t becoming too unwieldy to load in a reasonable amount of time.

You might think that this problem is getting better as the years go by, but that’s not the case. As websites become more interactive, rich and complex, the average weight of web pages is actually increasing due to JavaScript files, video and image content, heavy CSS, bloated plugins, pop-ups and other banners, animations, backgrounds and more.

It’s tempting to try and make your website as visually interesting as possible with animations, videos and interactive sections, but did you know that 50% of site visitors say they’d be willing to give up animation and video if it led to faster loading times?

Content is arguably the place you can make the largest impact on load time – there’s often some low hanging fruit that can be addressed very swiftly to great results. Here are three easy fixes that you could look into:

  • Image Optimisation & Compression – Cutting down unnecessarily large image files can be a swift and effective way to improve page load times – with Google finding 25% of pages could easily save more than 250KB, and 10% of pages can save more than 1MB!

 

  • Clean Up Your Code – Unused code can bog down page speed; rid yourself of any useless code and you may see improvements to your performance.

 

  • Be Lazy – Lazy loading refers to a technique that defers “non-critical resources” at the initial load of your page – this allows the browser to initially load just what’s needed for the page to be visible  and then subsequently load additional content in the background.

A photograph of vintage scales in use

How Hosting & Network Conditions Affect Your Site Speed

Network conditions may mean that your website, regardless of whether it is lightweight or not, loads slower than you’d like it to. This is dictated by the equipment used and the quality of the ISP (internet service provider).

It’s also worth noting that mobile devices are likely to be slower than those using WiFi or ethernet – with 5G not yet rolled out nationwide, mobile access is most likely going to be on 4G (82% coverage in the UK) and 3G (98.7% coverage in the UK).

Obviously, you can’t dictate what device or network someone is using to reach your site, but there are some things you can do to try and minimise the impact this will have on your performance such as compression and using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to host content.

Hosting can also have a massive impact on your site speed, with variables such as location and type of hosting you’ve used affecting the end result. 

Ranging from shared web hosting, where you’re competing for bandwidth and server resources with other websites on the same server, to dedicated hosting options that give you complete control, hosting packages vary extensively on price, ease of use and performance.

So, when you’re picking a web hosting provider – be sure you take into consideration much more than just price – look at the size of the hard drive, the power of their RAM, what bandwidth is available to you and also consider how much traffic you’re likely to receive.

Selecting a suitable package early on will save you lots of hassle further down the line and enable you to get the most out of your website right from the start.

Can You Help Make My Site Faster?

Yes! We’d be more than happy to take a look at your website and identify areas for improvement – whether that’s discussing a site rebuild or optimising your existing site or content.

For a free audit of your site, drop us a message!


Looking For Wordpress Managed Hosting? Here's 5 Reasons to Consider WPX Hosting.

Disclaimer: Some of the below links are affiliate links, so we may receive compensation at no additional cost to you. Despite this, we will only ever recommend services we have used extensively, continue to use, and trust ourselves!

An Introduction to WPX Hosting

We’ve experimented with a fair amount of hosting providers over the last 5 years of business, and have come to the conclusion that there’s only one option if you’re a smaller website looking for managed hosting: WPX.

We started using WPX in 2020, and have been incredibly impressed with their service – so much so that we’ve used WPX for a variety of client projects to great success. 

We’re not alone in our admiration – their Trustpilot reviews are almost impossibly good, with 96% positive feedback at the time of writing. This seemed, to us, too good to be true, so we went digging and unearthed an incredibly extensive study that set out to determine the reliability of these reviews…

Spoiler alert, they found that the reviews are good because WPX knows exactly who they’re catering to and provides exactly what their customers need.

We love WPX and would recommend them for a variety of clients and smaller projects, but there are certainly instances where we would opt for another hosting solution – we think WPX works best for smaller websites that don’t have extensive databases and for those that want a simple, easy to use managed hosting solution.

If you’re unsure if WPX is right for you, get in touch and we’d be more than happy to chat about your web and hosting needs.

How much is WPX Hosting?

WPX offers three separately priced packages – Business, Professional and Elite.

You can pay annually or monthly, with 2 months free hosting offered for annual payment options as well as a reduced monthly fee. Here are the two options:

WPX Pricing

As you can see, WPX is one of the more affordable hosting providers when compared to their competitors in the managed hosting space, especially when you take into consideration the factors that make WPX such a great company to work with.

Regardless of what package you choose, WPX offers a whole load of free features including DDoS protection, unlimited SSL certificates, automatic backups and more.

WPX Hosting Free Hosting Benefits

What Makes WPX Hosting So Good?

Whilst there are plenty of reasons we choose to use WPX, we thought we’d break down 5 points that set it apart from the rest for its price point – but first, let’s look at their pricing.

#1 – WPX Offers A “Fixed For You Guarantee”.

One of the most appealing features that WPX offers is their “Fixed For You Guarantee” (FFY Guarantee). This is a fantastic example of great customer service and is something we feel they absolutely excel at.

The FFY Guarantee is WPX’s promise to help get an offline website back to being live as fast as possible with as little disruption as possible. 

So, if something breaks on your site or your site experiences downtime for any reason, all you have to do is message their live-chat support and they’ll immediately get to work figuring out a solution and implementing this for you.

Our experience with other managed hosting companies is that they may help figure out the cause of the problem, but then expect you to trawl through annoying articles and then try and sort the fix out yourself.

WPX responds within 30-40 seconds, on average, and has resolved every single problem we’ve had on our packages within a few minutes of investigation. 

Oh, and all of this is free!

Obviously, there are some limitations here. WPX can’t recode or fix problems on 3rd party apps or plugins and can’t help you if you’ve got internet issues at your end, nor can they help with fixes to visual elements on your site.

Their priority is getting your site back up and running, not making your actual website better (however, that’s something we can help with!).

WPX Hosting Fixed For You Guarantee

#2 – WPX Is Fast.

Speed matters when it comes to hosting, and a slow hosting provider can have a tremendously negative impact on your website’s performance. This can then lead to issues with SEO and UX and waste a lot of the hard work you’ve put into your website.

It’s safe to say that when we were looking for a managed hosting provider for our clients, speed was at the top of our list of requirements.

It’s a good job then that there are plenty of independent, and we mean actually independent, reviewers have come to the conclusion that WPX is fast

These include industry leading reviewers such as Kevin Ohashi (of ReviewSignal and WpHostingBenchmarks) and Matthew Woodward – two of the most respected industry names.

These tests pitted WPX against competitive big hitters, with the results speaking for themselves. 

When Matthew Woodward conducted his tests, WPX was fastest to load image heavy sites & plugin heavy sites and performed fantastically when undergoing stress tests. 

WPX also came out on top with Kevin Ohasi’s test results – achieving “Top Tier” rewards across all price categories, from >$25 all the way through to $51-100 per month tiers.

What more could you want? For our clients that have migrated from slower rivals, the difference in their site performance is undeniable. 

#3 – WPX’s Customer Support Is Phenomenal

As we’ve mentioned, hosting providers need to offer good enough speed and technical performance to enable you to get the most out of your website, but for us these technical elements are just the start of the story.

We would rather go with a hosting provider that is slightly slower than a competitor if the hosting provider in question offered faultless customer service.

Luckily for us, we’ve found WPX – so we don’t need to choose between performance & support.

We think WPX’s 24/7 dedicated live chat and support functions are the best we’ve ever experienced, and our clients have absolutely loved how responsive and professional the service is every step of the way.

We’ve already mentioned the “Fixed for You Guarantee”, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg – their live chat support is immediately available on the site whether you’re a customer or not, so you can chat to a real operator about any technical requirements, questions or concerns prior to signing up for a package.

They’ll then help you with any migrations (more on this later) or issues that need resolving. 

But, the thing that really makes them stand out for us is the fact they’re proactive. 

They’re actually looking for ways to give you a better user experience all of the time. Just yesterday, we logged onto WPX and saw that they had automatically given ALL customers 50% more disk space and 100% more bandwidth across every hosting plan.

#4 – WPX Removes Malware & Provides Automatic BackUps for Free

Much of what makes WPX a great managed hosting provider is their ability to give you peace of mind through their offering – and these two points do just that.

Knowing that WPX will clean your site for free if you somehow get infected with malicious code/malware is a massive bonus, and as long as you abide by their terms of service (which essentially say you shouldn’t give your password out like candy, avoid cracked plugins and themes and keep all plugins etc up to date) you can rest assured that you’re covered in case of malware attacks.

In addition, WPX’s servers are fully secured so even if you were to be infected with malware, the functionality of the main server is maintained!

For even further reassurance, your website is automatically backed up every single day onto a separate server, which is then stored for 28 days. This means if you manage to break your site or need to restore a previous version of your site for whatever reason, WPX have you covered!

#5 – Free Website Migrations

This service is an absolute belter, and our clients love how easy it is to move from their previous hosting provider to WPX.

If you’re using an existing hosting provider and find that you’d like to make the move over to WPX we’ve got some good news to share with you – they’ll handle it!

If you’d like WPX to manage the migration for you, all you need to do is hop onto their website and open a live chat with their support team. They’ll ask you to give some details about your current website hosting, purchase the right package on WPX itself, and then you’re good to go – they’ll handle the rest of the process for free.

WPX migrations typically take up to 24 hours – so after a day, give or take a few hours, they’ll have your site ready to go on the platform!

What Next?

If you’re looking to move hosting provider to WPX or you’re in need of a great managed Wordpress hosting provider for a new web project, click here to be taken to their website.

Alternatively, get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you with your website and hosting needs!


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.

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

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!


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!