UX – It’s all about the user experience…

Developing websites since 2000 has taught us that creativity is important, but usability determines the success or failure of a website. We take a relentlessly user-centric approach to web design. We need to understand how users interact with websites, how they think and what are the basic patterns of users’ behaviour.

Testing, testing, testing…

An MXMG site build will always involve large amounts of testing. Usability tests often provide crucial insights into significant problems and issues related to a given layout. Most design decisions tend to be quite personal and subjective which makes it hard to judge whether one layout is better than another – Usability tests always produce useful results.

Content is King…

Users appreciate quality and credibility, which may explain why not-that-well-designed websites with high-quality content gain a lot of traffic over years. Content is more important than the design which supports it. Are Google’s online services a creative triumph?

Understanding the user…

It should be stated again – Creativity is an important element in good web design. However, it can often be just as important to curb the graphic designer’s excesses. For example, don’t underestimate the value of white space. Not only does it help to reduce the cognitive load for the visitors, but it makes it possible to perceive the information presented on the screen.

When a new visitor approaches a design layout, the first thing he/she tries to do is to scan the page and divide the content area into digestible pieces of information. Complex structures are harder to read, scan, analyze and work with.

A relatively conventional website doesn’t result in a boring web site. In fact, conventions are very useful as they reduce the learning curve, the need to figure out how things work. With conventions you can gain users’ confidence, trust, reliability and prove your credibility. Follow users’ expectations — understand what they’re expecting from a site navigation, text structure, search placement etc.

Content is King. Long live the King.

Having a great website isn’t enough. Whilst the visual impact creates a good first impression, it’s the content that will make or break your website.

Content isn’t just about telling people what you do.  Good web content gives an idea of your business personality; it tells your story, creates trust and assures potential customers of your expertise.  Typos, poor grammar and badly written copy can undermine all of this in an instant.

Simply put; written content is the key to online success.

Experts will tell you that regularly updated websites rank higher and attract more traffic. Our professional writers have a portfolio that includes published work for businesses from large corporations to SMEs, public and third sector organisations, including international charities and high ranking public figures.  They have also contributed to books and had their work featured in international, national, regional and local media.

Whatever it is you need, from on-off website population, product descriptions, regular or ad hoc articles and blog posts; our skilled wordsmiths have it covered.

We can also work with you or your writers to help seed a strategy for content that will not just inform / entertain, but generate search engine referrals.

We can:

  • Advise on the topics to cover based on demand online
  • Advise on how to organise and categorise content
  • Tweak and optimise the content for maximum impact
  • Advise or train writers on writing in a way that pleases humans AND for search engines.

See our Case Study on our work with a car dealership here.

When a business is considering a new website, it is far too common for the SEO company to be brought in once the site is live or near-complete. This is usually far too late to ask for input and advice. To get the best out of your SEO consultants you need to bring them in to the process at the planning stage, and get input on three key things:

  • the structure of the site
  • the navigation system
  • the topics the site will cover

Trying to retrofit SEO into an existing site is rarely anything like as effective as a site built with SEO in mind from the outset. SEO considerations will have been tabled and debated, meaning that informed, holistic decisions will have been made. The opportunity will not have been missed to hit the ground running with the launch or re-launch.

For most search terms these days, good content alone (no matter how good) will not be enough to rank highly. It is necessary to have the content vouched for, and this is essentially what a link represents: a referral.

Good referrals generate trust, and trust is what convinces a search engine to include a page in its results.

What makes a good referral? It depends on many factors, among which the most widely agreed on to be important are the trust Google has in the referring site, and the likelihood of the referral being a knowledgeable one due to the combined relevance of (a) the site referring, (b) the site referred to, and (c) the nature of the referral.

For example, a link from page on a brand new grocery site to a site about motor parts is likely to have a low relevancy score. Google cannot rely very much on the owner of the grocery site being knowledgeable about motor parts, and their site is very new and not likely very popular. However, were an established motoring blog or a big enthusiast’s forum to link to the motor parts site, Google is on stronger grounds to consider that the referral has come from a site not only better qualified to pass judgement on the quality of the motor parts site, but also more likely to itself be regarded as a trusted site.

Here, the old adage ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is very apt. You could have the best service in your sector and the most informative website in your niche, but unless you can get trusted sources to vouch for that, Google will place little trust in your site.

We conduct extensive research to identify sites that are likely to provide trusted referrals, then co-ordinate outreach to the owners of those sites to discuss the opportunities for partnership between your business and theirs.

Web Video provides effective and long lasting content, and substantially enriches the user experience of your website.

This might be in the form of animation…

or film…

Our monthly site monitoring service ensures your website stays in peak condition at all times. Here are the some of the tasks we will perform for you;

  • Monthly site crawl to check for structural and content issues, including any search penalties applied by Google
  • Monitoring of updates to Google’s search algorithm to ensure your site is optimised accordingly
  • Adwords (PPC) campaign management
  • Content planning and review to make sure it matches keyword targets and search engine requirements
  • Review of all external links and analysis of possible link opportunities
  • Summary of visitor analysis, rankings and monthly change patterns, taken from Google Analytics
  • Report on companies that have visited the website
  • Summary of social media analytics

from £399 per month

Many businesses consider Google AdWords to be a money pit. They try it, they don’t get a return on their investment, they stop. This is because Google makes it easy to waste money by showing ads to many people who are not really interested in what the business offers. These searchers click your ad, but arrive on your site to find that it’s not what they were looking for, because your ad was shown for the wrong search phrase. ROI can be low or even nil.

We run very closely organised campaigns to make sure that ads are shown only to people that are very likely to be interested, when they are interested, and where they are interested. The result: the spend goes further or can even be reduced, as the ROI goes up.

Integrate the very best web tools to power up your website

There are a wealth of very useful web based tools out there, and we can help you make use of the best of them. Whether they be for inbound marketing, SEO and analytics, email marketing, sales or project management, we can integrate them into your existing website, or develop your new one to incorporate them. We don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel – Integration into well developed web based tools (SAAS – Software as a service) gives you cost effective access to highly specified and supported commercial tools.

Here are some of those we have integrated into customer websites:

HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales platform that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.

Highrise makes running your business easy. Share tasks, notes, deals, email history, and more with our CRMSoftware for small business.

Turn website visitors into customers with inbound marketing automation, small business internet marketing automation and CRM system.

Discover the No. 1 online marketing reporting software smart Internet marketers use daily. Save time with the ultimate in online marketing tools from Raven.

The easiest way for teams to track work, and get results. Do great things together.

Customer service software and support ticket software by Zendesk. Web-based help desk software used by 60000+ organizations worldwide.

Wrike is an online project management software that gives you full visibility and control over your tasks.

Run your whole business better with QuickBooks. It is the #1 rated small business accounting software.

FreshBooks is the #1 invoicing software for small business. Easily send invoices, track time, manage expenses, and get paid online.

‘CRM’ Explained…

One of the insights that keeps revealing itself is this – customer retention is undervalued and should be prioritised over customer acquisition. Research undertaken by eConsultancy provides compelling evidence that customer retention is undervalued and, especially in a social media environment, it can deliver a higher ROI than acquisition marketing.

Most companies don’t seem to value their existing customers anywhere near as much as new customers. The headline statistics from the research give an indication of the scale of the problem:

• 30% of companies say they are ‘very committed’ to relationship marketing
• 46% say they are committed ‘to a certain extent’
• 22% say they don’t do any relationship marketing

Why the lack of proactive customer retention? 22% cite “lack of resources”, 19% “not clearly defined strategy”, 13% “technology limitations” and 10% “lack of single customer view“.

70% of companies say it’s cheaper to retain a customer than acquire one and 49% say that, pound for pound, they achieve better ROI by investing in relationship marketing over acquisition marketing.

So, when we start working with you, and are looking to make optimal commercial use of web technology, we are very likely to start by looking at how your existing customers might benefit from our work together.

Over the last 16 years we have identified and helped clients make use of the best sales and customer relationship management (CRM) tools available.

Google has over the years become increasingly unforgiving of any perceived attempt to artificially improve a website’s ranking.  In the war between the spammers and the search engine there has been a great deal of collateral damage. Our years of experience can help you navigate what can be a minefield, isolating the cause of a poorly-performing page or website, and taking steps to rectify problems.

On-site penalties

When people search on Google they are asking a question, and the search engine wants to return the most relevant answer to that question. The stronger signals a page sends to Google that it is relevant to its declared subject, the more relevant Google will consider it and the more likely it is to rank. At a page level, the term ‘search engine optimisation’ refers to editing of text on the page and certain parts of the code file that generates that page to send the strongest possible signals to Google.

A page could send weak signals and be considered not very relevant, or stronger signals and be considered more relevant. But if the on-page optimisation has been over-done, the page will be sending what Google considers excessive signals, and will be marked down and ranked lower.

In addition, as Google is able not just to read the text and code in the page but also to understand what it looks like to a human, they will make a judgement on whether or not the page’s layout (including but not limited to the amount and placement of advertising) is likely to deliver a good user experience or not. A change of nothing but the layout of the page can result in a penalty.

Off-site penalties

Most people with even a slight familiarity with SEO will likely have heard that links are important to rank a site. Search engines understand a page not just by the content on it but also by the links pointing to it.

However, just as it is possible to ‘over-optimise’ a page, so it is also possible to have links that are a liability rather than an asset.  Google has changed its attitude to certain type of links, meaning that the same links that helped a site rank in the past can end up hurting it in the present.

Google seems to have an amnesty on old links in some instances, so an older domain that has ranked before can continue to rank with links that would not help a new domain one bit. However, the acquisition of new links can then cause a re-evaluation of the entire profile by today’s stricter standards, resulting in a penalty.

We undertake exhaustive link audits to build as complete a picture of a domain’s link profile as possible, cataloguing links that are definitely or likely to be hurting rankings. Even when a site is not penalised, link removal (i.e. getting links that are likely not well-regarded taken down) can have dramatic effects on rankings. Less really can be more!