SEO is an ever-changing world. The best performing sites are built with search engine optimisation best practice woven in, and have the design prowess to encourage conversions.
For a successful site, SEO and design should be working in tandem. Alongside beautiful design is the potential to rank highly and gain a wide audience to appreciate it. One without the other is worthless. That’s why an integrated approach is best.
If you’re a web designer, here’s what you should be bearing in mind this year in the world of SEO.
By necessity, pleasing Google is the top priority when it comes to SEO. In 2018, Google switched to a mobile first index – this means that the first measure of efficacy comes from how your site performs on mobile. This is because the internet is now primarily used on devices such as phones and tablets. Google’s priority is ensuring the best experience for their users.
To design with this in mind, the first thing that you need to do as a designer is be aware of how your designs will affect speed – a site that is slow to load on mobile will suffer when it comes to rankings. Keep designs as light on code as you can, with small compressed images and Google fonts instead of custom. Secondly, make sure that the experience for your mobile user is a smooth one. This usually comes in hand with good design, but it’s important to bear in mind that a site with a high bounce rate and non-converting users won’t perform as well in rankings as a site that has been optimised well.
Content is Key
Google is getting cleverer every day. It’s looking for good quality, informative content that’s relevant to searchers, and the old-fashioned tactics of keyword stuffing don’t work any more. You might think as a designer that this isn’t your remit, but it’s still important that you equip the content writers with the tools to do this job.
When designing, make sure there’s space for plenty of content. This can be in many forms – you don’t need to lose the balanced designs of your dreams to be able to make room for the amount of content required. Work in accordions or tabs to hide content, pack in lots of small bitesize pieces, and work in blocks so there aren’t walls of text. In general, it’s best to have around 500 words as a minimum on a page you’re hoping to rank. The more the better.
Structure your site well
Search engine robots behave in a similar way to humans when they’re exploring a site. They want to be able to navigate clearly and find the information they’re looking for easily. When you’re designing a site, you consider the customer journey; what they’ll do when they arrive at the homepage and how they’ll find answers.
The best thing about good site structure is that there’s one rule that works universally: make things easy. Don’t bury important content too deeply within the site – more than 4 clicks from the homepage is too granular for a search engine robot to consider the content important. Your customers and your rankings will benefit from a simple site structure.
As a designer, the performance of the website you create is a KPI. If you’re designing with SEO in mind, the likelihood of a strong website with plenty of traffic will only go up.
2018 is seeing a resurgence in the popularity of Print Marketing. Online brands are seeing the potential in print to engage, inspire and capture an audience who is bombarded with digital advertising throughout their day. Big names like Facebook and Amazon are straying from their traditionally entirely digital strategies by supplementing with a print marketing strategy. For Amazon, a printed toy catalogue is being circulated in the US to revive nostalgic memories of Christmas past. Facebook, on the other hand, is using print to make its public apology, supplementing the lost trust that the company is experiencing with the reassurance of words in print. For both, print brings with it the authenticity and trustworthiness of a time before an easily editable online medium.
The beauty of print is that it’s now become a medium that is underused. That means that, to an audience who is faced with digital marketing all day, the sight of a physical printed communication holds new weight. Alongside the cheap, unreliable information that saturates the market at the moment, it proves that the company that commissioned it cares. It suggests permanence, investment and thought. It enables a company to curate a more ‘human’ presence outside of the strategised online space. Research has found that forms of physical media, such as cards and mailouts, increased feelings of connectivity more than online strategies. Alongside this, with the right design and content, engagement is instant and action is often not far behind. It allows for complete focus, without the distraction of a notification, a scroll or another advert. In the event that there is a distraction, print media is always easily accessible to be picked up and perused again.
The benefits don’t stop there, however. With costs per click rising and print becoming more accessible, there is a shift in the balance that is making print a cost-effective option. What’s more, the returns on investment are often even better. This isn’t to say the two are mutually exclusive. The best campaigns are ones that use both print and digital media together as complementary services, providing multiple touch points across the user experience and sending a tailored message with each. That way, when your printed product hits the doormat, your client has already seen your name and understands what you do.
Print can encompass everything from business cards and mailouts to the exhibition stands that stop you in your tracks at conferences. Some are essentials, some are niche, and some are to be used alongside a strategy to get the best return. Whatever you choose, working with a design agency that doesn’t just do things digitally is vital. Print design is a different game altogether, with restrictions and considerations that many digital designers haven’t faced.
Print marketing has been in the shadow of Digital for too long. The intention, credibility and tactile experience of printed media is regaining the strength it once had, carving a niche it never had when it saturated the market.
The first meeting between a creative team and a client is one of the most important ones we’ll have with you. It’s the time where we get to know you, your brand, and where we’re going to take it all.
Meeting your designers doesn’t require a lot of preparation, but anything you can bring us helps speed the process along and makes everything more productive. If you’re getting ready for your first creative design meeting, why not bring:
The right people
We love a first meeting to be full of ideas. We want to meet the people who are going to be working with us as we design your site, so bring along anybody who’s likely to have input. That having been said, if it’s going to get crowded then send a delegate with some notes from everybody else.
An idea of what you want to achieve from your new site
The goals and expectations of your site are vital for everybody to understand. By this, we don’t mean what you want it to look like (although we’ll definitely be talking about that!). We want to know if you’re looking for people to buy from an ecommerce platform, read your content, use a contact form or something else.
Competitors, colour schemes, or just sites that you’ve stumbled across that you love – it’s all valuable. From the things you show us, we’ll be able to understand whether you like things minimalist and clean or bright and busy. Even if there’s just the one component that you like, bring it over to us for a look.
The things you don’t like are just as valuable as the things you do. When it comes down to it design is all about personal style, and we want to make sure that what we’re designing is in line with yours. We primarily design for the end user, but it’s important to us that you’re just as in love with your website as we are, so if you can show us sites you’re not a fan of we’ll be able to get a feel for the things we should be avoiding.
The beginnings of a plan
We’ll walk and talk you through everything that we need to know, but if you’ve got an idea of what you need in a website at the beginning it’s invaluable for us. Think about the pages you’ll need and the kind of things you need on there. A mini plan with your navigation and what’s required is a great jumping off point for us.
To talk about your new website, branding and more, give the Zinc Creative Team a call today. We can’t wait to hear from you.
When it comes to mobile apps, there’s a life cycle. A user will have a need, search for a solution, download it and engage with the app. Following this, your users will either continue to engage with your app, or they’ll delete it. Gaining users for your app is only half the battle. The true measure of success is when they are retained, returning and engaging with you.
The primary reason a user will delete an app is because they don’t use it. If your app doesn’t provide a user-friendly experience and deliver the solution they’re looking for, it’s simply taking up space on their device. This is valuable real estate, so you need to make sure your app is created to convert a first-time user from the moment they open it. Done well, you’ll foster a community of long-term users who are active and engaged. Alongside this comes increased usage, growth in brand awareness and by default an improvement in revenue.
App engagement is simply usage. If they’re opening your app and using it, you’re getting engagement. If they’re staying for longer, you’re providing them with the product they were hoping for when they downloaded your app. The app store provides a quick and easy road to your competitors if you aren’t able to do this.
In our experience as app developers and marketers, engagement is all about experience. Every demographic is different, but there are a few golden rules that will help your app get the engagement and dedicated users it deserves.
Your first impressions count. If the initial action you’re asking your users to do is a long, drawn out onboarding process, they’re going to close the app and find a quicker solution. In a world of instant gratification, your user base isn’t going to wait. The fewer steps you have in your signup process, the better. Don’t ask for too much information, and if you can combine steps to keep things quick then do so. You don’t need to explain everything at the start or offer a tutorial – let the user explore or ask for help. If you do want to explain, replace text with icons and images to keep things simple, or give them an option to skip.
Personalise the experience
Use the information you gained in your onboarding to add personalisation to your app. Addressing users by name and tailoring the messaging to their needs will help deliver the experience your users were looking for. Welcome pages, in-app messages, notifications and landing pages can all be directed directly at your users, and can lead to a 27% increase in conversions according Braze.
Whether your app is all about fun or all about function, adding an element of reward and gamification can help improve the engagement from your user base. Ordinary tasks such as filling out a profile or changing a password can be encourages with a progress bar or badges. If there’s a way to make things competitive, incorporate a leaderboard where your users can see how their friends, or even other users across the world, are doing.
Make Use Of Push Notifications
If users aren’t opening your app, there’s not much opportunity to tempt them back. Some use emails, which can be effective, but the best way to get a user back on your app is to talk to on the same channel they associate with you. Push notifications are the perfect way to announce a tip, offer, new feature or to simply offer a gentle reminder that you’re there. For some, non-engagement isn’t a case of disliking your product but simply forgetting it’s there.
Engagement is the true measure of success for your app, but you should never leave it up to fate. Watch how your users are interacting with the app and where they start to drop off. Address the problems and make every step easy and intuitive. The most important thing is to never stop learning and improving.
For an expert app design that’s built to foster engaged users, speak to the Zinc creative team. We’ll work with you to create something that’s tailored to your demographic and industry, delivering something that not only addresses your needs, but surpasses them.
Gamification is a form of marketing in which an everyday activity is made into something engaging, fun and interactive by including the same tactics many games use.
You’ve probably experienced gamification before, whether you know it or not. Very simple forms of gamification are loyalty point schemes, a progress bar, or a fundraising thermometer. Providing a clear aim can help guide users to complete an action. It’s the reason your LinkedIn shows a completion percentage on your profile, and why your local coffee shop has a loyalty card.
For charities, Gamification offers a unique opportunity. It’s a way to create an engaged, active audience whilst spreading your message and raising money. Here are our key tips for charities considering Gamification.
Consider some of the most popular games of the past few years. Flappy Bird, Candy Crush and Farmville are all prime examples of taking a relatively basic concept and making it addictive. The key here is creating a game that isn’t hard to understand, but isn’t easy to play. Apply this to your own needs – if you’re planning a sponsored run, create an app to gamify the training process. If you’re hoping for fundraising, a local leaderboard to help motivate volunteers.
Above all, the most important thing to include is a goal. Offering something to aim for will keep your users coming back each time. This can be anything that suits your game and your branding; points, badges, levels, or leaderboards are just a few options. Any combination of these will create the drive needed for a little healthy competition!
The thing that will really be your key to success is shareability. Offer a reward for social media shares, show users what scores their friends have achieved, and foster a sense of healthy competition. If you’re able to offer prizes, whether they are physical or digital, it will increase the sense of achievement and the likelihood of a share.
A great example of a charity using Gamification to their advantage is the Help for Heroes ‘Hero Bears’ app. It was a simple platformer game that involved bears collecting coins, but a significant portion of the cost of the app went to charity.
We’ve been part of some exciting Gamification projects before, and we’d love to get involved with yours! Get in touch today to find out more.
If a website is the first thing a business should be investing in, making it mobile friendly should be step two. In 2018, it’s going to become even more important to make your site accessible for all devices.
What makes a website mobile friendly? There are a few ways to adapt your website to mobile, but here at Zinc, we make all of our sites fully responsive. This means that we not only minimise load times and clean up content, but we also develop our sites to detect and adapt to any screen size. Especially when your target audience is particularly active on mobile devices or will be making purchases on mobile, it’s a vital part of development.
We incorporate responsive web design as standard, because as a digital agency we know the difference it makes. Here’s why:
Worldwide, over 80% of internet users own a smartphone and many even use a device as the primary way to access the internet at home. Mobile internet is a part of our daily lives, and businesses need to make sure that they are adapting. If your customers are coming to your site on a mobile, you need to be able to accomodate them.
As more consumers are using their devices to browse, the mobile conversion rates are increasing rapidly. The average smartphone conversion rate has gone up by 64% when compared to desktop conversion rates.
A perfect example of this is Black Friday 2017. Mobile transactions hit a record high as more users took advantage of the deals from the comfort of their own home.
As of 2017, it was confirmed that the majority of search traffic is on a mobile device, and Google has definitely taken notice. Nobody except Google knows exactly how their algorithms, but load time and mobile responsivity is a known factor. If your site doesn’t accommodate its mobile users, its search engine rankings will be suffering.
As of early 2018, Google will be launching their Mobile-First Algorithm. This means that they will be indexing the mobile version of the internet ahead of the desktop version. Sites that don’t perform well on mobiles w
Without responsive web design, you could be turning away hundreds of customers. Device users behave differently to those on desktop devices – they prefer not to search for information, scroll less, and generally have less patience for slow loading pages.
If you have high bounce rates and no mobile-responsivity, it’s very likely that you’ll see a great improvement from a site that’s tailored to your mobile users. Seeing as those on mobile tend to spend more than desktop users, it’s definitely worth making your website responsive.
The most important thing to remember for your mobile site is that you are aiming for speed, efficiency and relevancy.
To discuss your website’s mobile responsivity needs, get in touch with our creative team at Zinc Digital today. We offer a full site review to show you exactly how we can help.
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