IF YOU BUILD A WEBSITE, WILL NEW BUSINESS COME?
In the early knocking of Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner sets off for an evening stroll through a field of head-high corn on his farm in rural Iowa. Much to his surprise and confusion, he hears the immortal words “if you build it, he will come”, whispered by a disembodied voice floating on the wind. His bewilderment magnifies when a vision of a baseball diamond appears before him.
Putting two and two together and coming up with a grand slam home run, he grabs a shovel and creates a baseball field. It’s what anybody would do. After an unremitting series of toils and tribulations are condensed into a further ninety minutes, almost everyone in the film ends up happy and the viewers who have managed to successfully suspend their disbelief are bawling their eyes out.
The only problem is that the “if you build it, he will come” line has been mangled over the past three decades, so that it is often credited as being “if you build it, they will come”.
Many businesses take this misquoted approach to websites. Just because you have a website, it doesn’t mean that many people are going to be able to find it. Having a new website is only the start of attracting new customs online. Welcome to the Field of Reality.
FIELD OF REALITY
The truth of the matter is that a mediocre website which has been optimised is almost always going to attract more organic traffic than an outstanding one which has been left to its own devices. It’s something we see daily and is hugely frustrating.
If you’ve spent hundreds or thousands of pounds on a new website, you should have every expectation that it will be able to compete against other sites in the same niche. Ultimately, we believe that many web design companies who make a site, but either offer no, or the bare minimum of optimisation options, are selling their clients horrendously short.
Designing and building a website, even one with all the bells and whistles you can think of, is only half of the job. Most businesses have a presence on social media these days, and although you will bring in some visitors if you engage with your target market there, those numbers die off if you don’t keep tweeting, uploading images to Instagram, or post regularly on Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Organic traffic – which is when customers find you on Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or any other search engine – is harder to come by initially, but it should be the bread and butter for most businesses once their site has bedded in.
Search engine optimisation isn’t rocket science, but it does involve logic, a strong knowledge of the latest industry developments, and increasingly an ability to write strong copy.
The simple bottom line is: if your website has never been optimised, new business won’t come.
Think Design is a boutique digital agency based in Manchester. If your website is struggling to attract customers, give us a call on (0161) 507 2410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your SEO options.
6 TIPS TO HELP YOUR ON-PAGE SEO
There are many ways of raising your online visibility, but on-page SEO plays a big part. Getting the on-page SEO right from the start will make it easier for your business to be found
So here we outline 6 ways to boost your on-page SEO:
1.Page Titles & Meta Descriptions
When search engines, such as Google, read your pages they check for variables such as the page title, meta descriptions, headings and content to understand what your site is about. Take time and consider these factors and think about what your target customers will searching for to inform you. As if you get this part right, you will be seen more often in searches for customers looking for a business like yours.
2. Outbound Links
When writing content for your site, such as blog articles, long form content and press releases try to link to another site by way of a reference or source. By linking to a trustworthy domain, it can send trust signals to search engines and increase the authority of your content, which is all great for your SEO.
3. Imagery and multimedia content
It’s not only your written content that needs to be considered, but also imagery and video. But if the images and video that are uploaded are too big, this can slow down your page loading speed and affect your SEO. To avoid this, try using original images, ensure they are not too large in size and remember to use an ALT tag to describe the image or video.
4. Page loading speed
Google has officially added speed as one of the factors that can affect ranking. So, ensuring your website is loading as fast as possible is good practice, as outlined in the point above.
5. Mobile Friendly
Most people nowadays will search online for information via their mobile phone, so it is critical that you have a mobile first website. If you are redesigning your site you can check your site is mobile friendly with Google’s search console in order to identify any potential problems.
So, what does Google consider to be good on-site content?
Put simply, try and create a mix of original content with the use of text, images and videos. Make the content useful, interesting and valuable to the audience that you are trying to engage with. Google will thank you for it.
MEET FUDGE AND HER LOGOTYPE
Meet Fudge… Fudge is a classic 1976 campervan with a fresh but retro feel. Fudge also needed a logotype designing, a website building and some flyers and posters created to promote it’s availability for wedding or holiday hire.
We love working on these small projects where creativity is out right at the forefront of the requirements. The brief was to create an identity that summed up Fudge’s fresh but retro feel.
Starting with the logotype
As the model of the camper van was the more modern version that didn’t have the swooshing V on its bonnet, it was important to make sure the logotype design didn’t imply that it did. So the logo was designed with 1970s inspiration, and avoided any real references to the VW Campervan branding. Designed to work across desktop computers, tablets and smartphones the website was clean, easy to us, the website design was a straight forward brochure site, designed to showcase Fudge as a wedding car hire/prom night vehicle. With no actual jobs to it name, we arranged a photoshoot and a bride and groom to model for us.
Sadly, the owner of Fudge chose to sell her shortly after we launched due to other work commitments, but we still love the design of the logo, the whole brand identity and the website.
LOGO DESIGN AND WEBSITE FOR JAPANESE KNOTWEED PLUS
Japanese Knotweed Plus are a local business that specialise in the treatment of Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed, and other invasive plants around Manchester and Lancashire as a whole.
And earlier this year, the business partners, Stephen and Igor contacted the team at Think to discuss the possibility of helping them and their business with a new website. After an initial meeting to discuss how we can help, we agreed to completely rebrand the business starting with a new logo. This was an important step for them. Having a logo that reflects the quality of the business lays the foundation for the businesses entire visual look and feel, or brand identity.
So, the first stage was to redesign their existing logo to make the business stand out in the market. With the second stage being the creation of a highly functional, responsive website, including providing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
A key piece of information provided by them was that they treat Japanese Knotweed with a precise application of poison, they do not remove it because this is currently against Environmental Agency guidelines.
The concept for the logo design was based on this value proposition that Japanese Knotweed Plus offer. The chosen design included a geometrically accurate leaf to reflect this approach to sit along with a custom abstract typeface which suggested the disappearance of the invasive weeds.
This was underpinned by using a gradient suggesting positive change, as the colours merge from a dark green to a light green.
Once the basic brand items, such as business cards and a van livery were completed, we rolled out the branding into the website. This reinforced the brand and will help to keep the online presence consistent with other collateral.
We continue to work with Japanese Knotweed Plus, currently focusing on improving the SEO of their website.
You can check out the website we created here.
A FAB NEW LOGO AND WEBSITE FOR FAB SOLUTIONS
A fab (no pun intended) project for Manchester based startup business FAB Solutions. Having originally created his own logo and website in GoDaddy, Managing Director Garry realised it didn’t reflect the quality of his offering and recognised the need of both a new logo and a website. So Garry got in touch with the team at Think Design to help out with how his new business represented itself.
Our Creative Director, Paul, originally met Garry through networking, and having listened to his elevator pitches and his 10 minute slot, he was really keen to help develop FAB Solution’s visual identity.
To begin, we started with the logo. This part of the project should ALWAYS come before a website design, as the logo should influence the design of the website and other collateral. We went back to Garry with multiple ideas, and he couldn’t decide between two of our designs; the first represents the idea of boosting sales, and the second focused on creating Garry into a superhero. This informed the brand development, as we took forward one logo but the idea of the other began to form the brand.
As the logo and character design evolved we created additional characters to reflect the sales and leadership training areas of the business. These were then rolled out onto pop up banners, business cards, invoice design, and of course the website.
GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION FOR MIDEL TO VISUALISE A COMPLEX MESSAGE
The brief was to produce an illustration that clearly demonstrated the benefits of retrofitting electrical transformers with MIDELs own product, which was more environmentally friendly, safer and also prolonged the transformers lifespan.
MIDELs retrofilling service cleans the transformers and adds a safe, fire resistant, non toxic fluid to it and is used throughout the world. MIDEL wanted a graphic they could use to communicate this complex product.
The team at Think always go to enormous lengths to understand what and how a business is selling a product. This project for MIDEL, a globally recognised leader in environmentally friendly transformer fluid, was no exception.
For those of you wondering, the types of electrical transformers are wide ranging, but a type most of us would be familiar with would be the ones commonly seen behind a fence on housing estates. Traditional mineral oil is used to cool the transformers, but it is toxic and carries a high risk of fire.
We started with several initial sketches which went to a further, more detailed sketch and once we had approval we took the design to digital stage.The overall image was completed by 6 benefit graphics and used on MIDEL’s literature.
We also helped produce a Z-Card Service and Maintenance Guide which was for the South Africa market.
This was a great project to work on and one that really shows how a good design agency can visualise a complex message.