Getting your business started online

Getting your business started online

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It’s 2018 and every business has a website, right? Not quite. The most recent ONS data found that only just over half of all UK businesses had one. But if you’re behind the curve don’t worry, Ketchup is here to support you in getting your business started online.

The first step is to accept that for many consumers the internet is now their first port of call. It’s true to say web searches have largely replaced word-of-mouth referrals.

And some 80% of internet users in the UK do online shopping, too (the highest rate in Europe).

In fact, e-commerce now accounts for over a fifth of total business turnover. So if you haven’t got a presence online just think what a 20% uplift in your sales could do for your business? It means a website is no longer simply desirable, it is essential to a modern business.

Find and capture new leads

The good news is that bridging the digital divide and getting your business started online is not as daunting as it might seem at the outset.

And with some professional input you’ll find and capture new leads. Take a look at company website design page for some examples of easy-to-navigate sites with eye-catching designs and compelling content. They are putting businesses like yours ahead of the competition.

In many ways getting your business started online is not dissimilar to starting your venture in the first place and you’ve done that successfully.

You’ll need a plan but drawing this up will break down the process into a number of tasks, making the whole thing easier to get your head around.

Here is our step-by-step guide:-

Write a lean business plan which should include market / SWOT analysis and how you’re going to fund the project

Research, register and purchase your domain name and ask Ketchup to host it for you

Make it legal – there are specific online business regulations relating to how you capture and store customers’ personal information. Make sure you comply

Write copy that sells but think images, audio and video, too. Ketchup’s expert copywriters can work with you on content.

Commission an expert to design and build an easy-to-use website. If all your website needs to do is provide company information, testimonials and contact details then a brochure-style website will suffice. If you need to incorporate a blog or e-commerce functionality to sell good or services you’ll need a more advanced website platform. This will also require a merchant account and shopping cart tool.

Make sure your website is mobile friendly – analytic data shows a clear shift from majority desktop to majority mobile based traffic. And let Ketchup’s experts make sure that your shiny new site hits all the right buttons when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation

Consider having a Content Management System (CMS) so you can update your website regularly (good for Google rankings) without any knowledge of HTML or having to rely on external support

Think how you can keep in touch with visitors to your website. You’ll be able to build up a database and send out regular promotional emails. Online mailing system such as Mailchimp are free to businesses with 2,000 or fewer subscribers

Launch and maintain your website to keep it looking fresh. Use your social media channels to direct existing and potential customers to it. Install Google Analytics to help you track your visitor traffic patterns over time.

That’s a lot to take in all at once but talk to us and we’ll listen and put you in control. Get in touch here https://www.ketchup-marketing.co.uk/contact/

Do you need to go all Taylor Swift ..

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… when it comes to buying domain names?

When it comes to purchasing domain names for your business it used to be simple, all you had to do was purchase the .co.uk, or .com versions of your desired URL. However, from 1st June 2015 there will be even more variations available, from the useful and straightforward, such as .marketing and .nutrition, to the more outrageous, such as .porn and .adult.

This has started a spending spree in which both businesses and celebrities are snapping up domain names that could be used negatively if they got into the wrong hands. For example, it was reported this week that Taylor Swift has snapped up a couple of questionable domain names, i.e. .porn and .suck, to ensure that no one else can use them – smart girl, imagine the damage to her image and career if those domain names got into the wrong hands! The same approach has also been taken by software giant Microsoft and other large organisations are set to follow suit.

This approach might be slightly extreme for many businesses, but what these reports do highlight is the need to think about your strategy when it comes to purchasing domain names for your business.

What’s the best approach to take when buying domain names?

Purchasing multiple domain names is not a new practice, many businesses purchase both the .com and .co.uk versions of their domain name if they are available. Some businesses, usually larger organisations, purchase multiple domains using different variations of their company or product names. This is a great thing to do to ensure that a competitor doesn’t operate using a similar domain name.

There was even a time where companies would deliberately snap up the domain names of their competitors, simply to ensure that they couldn’t get access to them. However, this practice seems to have died out in recent years.

The danger with the multi-domain purchase approach is that as more options become available, and these will be more expensive that the .com, .co.uk, and .org variations, you could spend a sizable chunk of money snapping up every possible domain ending that relates to your business. If you are a company like Microsoft, and there is a real risk that another company or individual could use less than flattering domain names in a way that will negatively impact the company, then it’s probably a good strategy to follow.

However, smaller businesses don’t necessarily need to go down the same road and it’s probably wise to make sure that your approach is in line with your budget. For most businesses purchasing the .co.uk and .com versions, and maybe the ending that is most in line with their primary business offering, will be sufficient. There’s no need to go over the top, but at the same time, it’s wise to think about multiple domain purchase as an option. These additional domains can easily be redirected to your company website and used on relevant marketing materials.

If you would like to talk to us about your website and online marketing strategy, contact the team today on 0330 088 9277, alternatively, complete our online contact form.

 

Homepage design

A-Z of marketing: Homepage Design

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It isn’t hard to understand why homepages are so important for businesses. Generally, they are the first thing that a potential customer will see about your business, and we all know how far first impressions go. A homepage is a company’s face and needless to say, you will be judged by how it looks. If your homepage can intrigue a user just enough to make them want to learn more, and look at your products or find out about your services, your sales will undoubtedly increase. These days, if a person wants to find out about a particular business, they will visit that business’ website way before using its telephone number.

With this in mind, it’s obviously very important to get your homepage right. Its purpose is to draw people deeper into the website, and it should also guide your visitors easily onto the next step of their customer journey.

Therefore, your homepage should be an overview of everything that you offer as a business so that people will recognise what you do, where you do it, and who you do it for straight away. There are a few different ways that you can make your homepage into a page that will enhance the value of your website. Take a look at the tips below:

  • Think of a great tagline – A tagline should sum up what your business is all about and placing it on your homepage will immediately let people know where they are
  • Don’t plaster the business’ history all over the page – It’s likely that your customers will want to find out things about the business eventually, but it isn’t usually the first thing that someone wants to know. It’s like telling someone your life story the first time you meet them. Stick to the vital information when it comes to the homepage.
  • Include a search option – If you have a big stock list, a search bar could come in handy for your customers. Many people will automatically look for a search option on homepages because it saves time when they have something particular in mind and don’t want to have to search for it themselves. In a time where we want everything yesterday, visitors will want to get access to the information that they are looking for quickly.
  • Link everything – It’s no good having a picture of a product or offer on the homepage if your visitors can’t click on it and be taken directly to what they want. The purpose of using a website should be convenience, and the homepage should be no different. Try to make it as easy to use as possible. Links can also give you a great idea of the behaviour of your visitors while they are on your website as link clicks can be monitored.

Of course, along with being practical for your users, your homepage should also be visually attractive. The logos, adverts, and other graphics you use should be eye-catching and relevant to your audience, the design should support your brand. For example, a new product advert or rotating banner can be big and flashy to catch visitor’s attention, but when it comes to drop down menus, the text used should be understandable and fairly plain and simple. Your company’s homepage design must be mobile-friendly, along with the rest of the website must also be suitable for mobile phone access. Put time and effort into your homepage and you’ll see results.

If your website is in need of a refresh, or you need to make it more accessible for an increasing number of mobile visitors, we can help. Our clients have seen fantastic results from their new websites, why don’t you join them? Contact us today on 0330 088 9277 or complete our online form and a member of our team will get back to you.

Is your website responding to the mobile revolution?

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We may be a marketing agency but there are some trends and developments that even take us by surprise, and we’re not too proud to admit it. Case in point, in November 2013, whilst analysing our website results, we were shocked to discover that 77% of our traffic came from mobile devices – 77%!

We knew that the use of mobile devices to access websites was increasing among consumers, especially in retail sectors. However, this figure demonstrates that business users are getting in on the action too.

Our website was 5 years old at this point and we were always talking about a brand refresh and a new site design. The number of people visiting us from mobile devices made us realise that a whole new website was in order, no more dithering, and we had to say no to some local projects to find the time needed. If we didn’t make our site more responsive for mobile users, a potentially huge chunk of our visitors would be alienated, exactly the opposite of what we wanted to achieve.

We don’t want your website to alienate potential customers either, which is why all websites developed by Ketchup are now mobile friendly as standard – there’s no extra charge.

Beyond our 77% website statistics shocker, the bigger picture figures speak for themselves. Over *1 billion people use their mobile device to access the internet, and a high percentage of them ONLY use their mobile device to access the internet. That’s right, no PC or Laptop access, purely smartphone and tablet surfing. According to Mashable in 2013 17.4% of Global Web Traffic Comes Through Mobile.

This figure is only going to rise and highlights just how important it is to your business and brand that your website, the window to your business, is easy to view, navigate, and interact with, whatever device is being used. If a potential customer accesses your site on the move and finds it slow to download and difficult to use, they will switch off, potentially never to visit again or consider buying the products or services you offer. Examples of mobile responsive websites developed this year include:

www.themelton.co.uk
www.alice-reins.co.uk
www.discrecycling.co.uk
www.allergyresolutions.co.uk

We design mobile-friendly company websites. To find out how Ketchup can help you, call Michelle Jones on 0330 088 9277 today to discuss your new responsive website or contact us here.

* The International Telecommunication Union, November 2011

Getting bogged down in data

Getting bogged down in data

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blog-ogilvy

It’s not sexy, management information… data…stats… stuff that needs interrogating to tell you that what you’re doing in your business is either working or not.

We always wished Ogilvy hadn’t uttered the immortal words about only half his advertising working but he didn’t know which half.  We can’t be so blasé these days, we need to make every penny count, give us a return on our investment.

That’s why we build tracking into every single website project we take on. Basically what it does is monitor how visitors find, use and share the information that’s been published online. So, how many people visit your website each day? Are they unique visitors or do they come back regularly? What page do they land on – and what page do they leave from? And what about the emails you send? Do you actually know who reads them?

Don’t get the wrong idea, all of this information can get overwhelming, but without it you’re really only partly guessing about which of your marketing efforts are making a difference to your business performance.

Equally, make sure that you are interpreting the data with some context.

For example if your data report tells you that someone opened your email really soon after you sent it, maybe that just means they were taking a quick look to make sure it wasn’t important before hitting delete to clear their inbox.

And if someone is looking at every page on your website, is it because they love it so much they need to investigate every conceivable corner of your web presence? Or just that they can’t find what they’re looking for?

It’s fair to say there is always a risk that you can misinterpret your web stats. But it can also be harnessed to powerful effect; our tracking software will give the IP address of the visitor – just think, how could you use this information?

Also, we make a point of testing various homepage designs for larger projects – which means that when your site launches, you’re going to be safe in the knowledge that the user will find it easy on the eye as well as easy to buy into – or from, in the case of e-commerce sites. On that note, did you know we’re an experienced ecommerce web design agency?

The moral of this story?  If your website and email marketing constitutes half of your marketing budget (other marketing methods are available!)  make sure you know it’s working for you. That’s not to say that you should apply the same principle to the other half. Want to know how Ketchup can help you?  Call Michelle Ogilvy Jones on 0330 088 9277

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