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Your web presence - are you doing enough?

Do more. Mac on desk workspace

What is web presence?

Web presence in a nutshell is all things digital that represent and showcase your business or organisation and brand online.

This can include your website, targeted email campaigns, regular e-newsletters, digital branding; where areas of your branding is adapted for web use, this should match any physical or offline branding but be optimised for web use such as colours, logo size and quality or fonts. Web presence also includes the following:

·Social media, the use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or online networking through LinkedIn to build reach.

·Content; On page, regular blog posts or videos.

·Organic Search on and off site, or PPC campaigns through Google or even Facebook depending upon your audience.

Importance of an online presence

Why is this so important? Well, your web presence is your voice before a prospect gets to talk to you, it is your virtual shop window. It creates a platform for businesses and organisations to strengthen their brand and entice prospects.

A professional looking site has the potential to level the playing field between the smaller and larger businesses.

Your web presence is where you can raise your creditability, show your expertise within your industry and increase the trust and authority you hold over any niche services.

I hear a lot of people say that they gain their new business through referrals. Well that may well be true, but that referral will more than likely check the website to ensure they do in fact offer what the referred person needs. For example, when someone recommends a restaurant or hotel you most likely check it out on TripAdvisor and go through their website too. If they didn't have a website or had no offsite reviews or social media presence at all would you trust that referral? Probably not, you would click else where just as this prospect would.

Your website needs to showcase your brand, who you work with, what you do and how you do it and the other avenues of your web presence should align to this too. This in turn will aid the sustainability and growth of the business.

B2B customers get up to 70% of the way through the buying journey before they're ready to talk to anyone about making a purchase and the average paying customer will have had 7 touch points before converting. These touch points can vary in platform hence why the web presence is so important. They may read a leaflet, see a post on Facebook, follow you on other social media channels, sign up to a newsletter, visit a shop and have numerous visits to the website, all before making a purchase or signing up for a service. For 81% of people looking to make a purchase they will look to the internet, if you aren't there then that potential customer will find someone who is.

To stay ahead of the game with this trend you need to show up in the initial research phase which will most likely include a Google search and looking through the first few organic rankings. You should also have a fast loading, easy to use, responsive website that has https on any data gathering pages at the very least. Having reviews or case studies available to users and relevant, engaging content can also be a real game changer in conversion rates for you.

Working on digital content

Doing enough?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether you are doing enough with your web presence. No one expects a business or organisation to necessarily be covering every point that's been mentioned within this post. Generally speaking, to get going you need a good website that is built professionally so that it can achieve what you want it to, is fully responsive and secure (https) that is then filled with engaging, relevant content.

Having a blog as part of your website is a great way to keep people coming back as you can let them know when new content has arrived. You can use a blog to promote certain products and services or tell customers and prospects what the company has been up to! As part of this content (including blogging) there should be potential to cover some on site SEO (search engine optimisation) this can be done by creating on page quality content that covers services, products or information that you want to rank for. The rest of this can be done with the set-up of your site or through most CMS (content management systems) post going live.

It is also best to set up a Google my business profile and ensure all the details match those of your website. Finally having some sort of social media presence is becoming more and more important and relevant. Rather than trying to cover every platform choose one or two that seem good for your audience and master them through regular posting of great content and sharing of other relevant content that you may come across. Remember you can do PPC campaigns on social so when you feel confident and have some budget for extra marketing they can be a great area to expand into.

Talk to us more about your web presence and how you're doing by emailing: simon@thisisfocus.co.uk or stephanie@thisisfocus.co.uk and we'll organise a call.




Being Content with Content

Being Content with Content

You’ve built the website, the client loves it and the early stages of testing are looking promising, there’s just one problem – you don’t have any real content.

The word ‘content’ can be daunting and overarching. There’s an entire website/app/platform and somebody needs to fill it with engaging, witty, relevant words and images that will bring users from far and wide. No pressure then.

What is content?

Content can be used as a catchall term but at its core it is information – pages, events, blogs, videos, illustrations, graphs, photos can all be described as ‘content’.

Without it, most websites would be a series of shapes and colours that didn’t communicate anything.

Staring into the abyss

Timing is crucial. Get the content as early as you can. If the site is replacing an old one and the client already has content, fantastic, ask them to send it to you as soon as they can. This is mutually beneficial as it can be used to influence the design and they can see it in situ to get a feel for how the finished site will look.

Whether you have content already, or you’re starting from scratch, the first step to dealing with the content behemoth is to break it down. Break it into small, manageable steps and then break it down again. Figure out what type of information you need for each page type, and what format it needs to be in. Then make a list of the minimum amount of content you need to launch.

For instance, if your new website has events, news and cms pages you may need a minimum of 3 upcoming events, 3 news stories and 17 specific pages of information.

 

Bridging the divide

Now that you know what you need, you need to know who is responsible for creating it. If you’re working from the ground up, you may need to assign content. Perhaps you, as the digital agency will be writing some of the support documents, such as a list of cookies used and the client is doing the rest? Maybe the client has the words but they need some help with the images? Maybe they have it all in hand.

Figure out what is being created, or sourced by who and keep track as your content folder starts to fill.

Writer’s Block

You may be met with resistance ‘I’m not a writer’, ‘I don’t know what I want to say’, ‘There’s too much to do in the time frame’. If you’ve worked out the minimum amount of content you need and who’s creating it, all that’s left is to know what you want to communicate and who you want to communicate it to.

If you have a page of fact sheets, maybe a bulleted list of links is the way to go? If you’re reporting on a recent workshop, perhaps a captioned video with a small amount of text underneath.

Being content

The most important thing is to factor it in. It’s all too easy to spend hours building a beautiful backend, throw yourself into absolutely nailing the CSS and then discover that there’s nothing to fill the page but 3 stock images and some well-placed lorem ipsum.

Don’t be complacent about content – you want users to come to your website for the content and stay for the excellent UI.

Frances Smolinski
Frances

Created on Wednesday June 26 2019 08:00 AM


Tags: website web-design content contentstrategy


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Why a website accessibility checklist could work for you

Why a website accessibility checklist could work for you

There was so much excitement around the invention of the world wide web, an online platform everybody could go to for information, to communicate and so much more. If you don’t access the internet you risk being left behind by society. Many people accept that and actively choose to avoid it while others long to experience it and can’t. So why risk making people feel excluded and depriving them of what your online presence offers them? In doing so you would not be meeting your social responsibilities, there are legal issues surrounding accessibility and it’s bad for business. Accessible websites are easier to navigate, more intuitive and better optimised for search engines so people find it, use it and spread the word.

Despite this, reluctance remains and we can understand that, it's daunting. There’s this assumption that accessibility is terribly expensive and complicated to implement, particularly from those unfamiliar with digital accessibility. There are also concerns that it’s not visually appealing and it negatively effects the online experience of the user. None of this is true, especially with focus' accessibility provisions that are advanced and thorough compared to others offering seemingly similar services.

So many websites still contain barriers for people with disabilities, so how can you check your website is free of these? One appealing approach to improving your online accessibility is with the help of an accessibility checklist. Typically, a checklist is easy to use and understand and covers many of the most common problems and how to resolve them. You can find trusted checklists online or create your own. For more extensive technical information you will want to refer to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 published by the World Wide Web Consortium

A checklist is a manageable step towards bringing your website into compliance with accessibility standards. It will give you a general idea of your current level of web accessibility and help you familiarise yourself with essential components of an accessible website - really useful especially if it’s all pretty new to you.

Make sure you show consideration for various disabilities such as low vision or blindness, hearing difficulty, functional disabilities of the arm or hand. Visitors using assistive technology, visitors suffering seizures and so on. There is a lot of information out there so don’t allow this to overwhelm you, you don’t have to incorporate every bit of it in to your checklist. Anything that promotes or enhances website accessibility is worthwhile.

At focus, we’ve been championing accessibility for years and pride ourselves on our high standards demonstrated in our work to date. We endeavour to make our websites accessible to the widest possible audience and to aim towards UK government accessibility guidelines. As strong supporters of accessibility we urge you to to put it at the forefront of your digital plan. If you think that’s something you would like our help with, please feel free to get in touch for a chat.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Thursday February 08 2018 05:12 PM


Tags: website accessibility


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So Fresh and So Clean

My name is Frances and I’m new around here. 19 days ago I started working at Focus as the new Account Executive. 

I was very excited to succeed in not only my first but also my second interview and to get that all important job offer email. Having learnt about Focus and met a few members of the team I knew Focus were the ‘experienced yet still excited’ company I had been looking for to transition into Account Management. 

 

After my first walk to work (2.7 miles, six floors worth of stairs  - I’m calling it ‘Focusise’) I reached the dizzying heights of Focus HQ. To start, I was working on classic New Girl tasks such as signing up, signing in, stocking my desk drawer with a ludicrous variety of teas, getting my MacBook just the way I like it and reading all the documents to keep me both healthy and safe. Then it was on to the fun stuff and I got to immerse myself in the world of analytics, reporting and tracking down bugs (the purely digital kind). 

 

Previously I’ve worked as a Studio Manager, a Production Manager and a somewhat Jack of all trades so it’s been novel to be able to zone in and focus (pun intended) on one job at a time. Focus really know what they’re talking about and it’s been great learning processes from the ground up. In a few more weeks I’m hoping to be to be fluent in Focuspeak and throwing acronyms around like a pro!

Frances Smolinski
Frances

Created on Monday July 31 2017 09:13 AM


Tags: website focus news new accounts clientservices


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The 3 U's in designing for the user

The 3 U's in designing for the user

You could be forgiven for thinking usability, user experience (UX) and user centred deisgn (UCD) are all pretty much the same thing. Kind of like Ant & Dec: You're not sure which is which but understanding the difference matters very little. Well you'd be wrong! (In terms of design I mean - not whether or not Dec is the shortest).

Understanding the user is an absolute requisite for successful design. Here's a very simple breakdown of the 3 U's you may have heard being thrown around:

Usability is how easily a user can do what they set out to do.

User Experience is a combination of usability and and how much the user will enjoy themselves along the way.

User Centred Design is a case of keeping usability and user experience in mind from the very start of the design process.

There are various requirements of a succcessful product, these include:

Learnability - it should be intuitive so that there's essentially nothing to learn.

Efficiency - it should serve a purpose or assist in achieving a goal.

Memorability - it should encourage visitors to return. Popularity grows through word of mouth, people talk about what they remember.

Errors - it should have a low error rate. Evaluate and test the design, especially on the intended user.

So next time you tune in to 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here' you might not be able to tell which one stands on the left but at least you can confidently create a user focused product that will get people talking!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday June 20 2017 10:05 AM


Tags: website ux ucd usability


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Numerous council websites fail disability access test

Numerous council websites fail disability access test

Nearly a third of council websites failed an accessibility test for people with disabilities, such statistics prove digital access is ‘an ongoing challenge’.

Socitm, the society for IT/digital leaders, reported that 69% (134 of 195) of council websites have passed their Better Connected stage two accessibility test.

Meaning people with disabilities, including those using the keyboard only or assistive technologies like screen readers, can access their website's content.

In Decemeber 2016 all 416 UK council websites underwent a limited stage one test designed to identify sites that would fail the full test. 275 sites (two thirds) passed that test.

Socitm say this year ‘a different, and arguably more difficult’ set of tasks were set which could explain why 69% of councils who passed stage two represents an 8% drop on last year.

Results of the more directly year-on-year comparable top pages tasks, covering home, contact us, and one top page covering council, business, and resident services shows that 88% of the stage two group passed this task, compared with 82% in 2016.

The Better Connected process tests sites against 14 criteria that are in line with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

The Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC) also carry out tests, their team members each have a disability, among them visual impairment, dyslexia, mobility impairment and learning disabilities.

Socitm congratulated 60 councils from the group of 195 tested this year that have passed the accessibility test for the past three years.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Thursday May 18 2017 01:48 PM


Tags: website accessibility


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How to encourage user feedback on your website

How to encourage user feedback on your website

There are the obvious surveys that can work on entry and exit but what about other ideas? If you're tired of repeatedly finding old hat suggestions like prize draws, we've put together thirteen ideas (hope you're not superstitious!) for collecting user feedback on your website...

1. Organise focus groups to test and discuss. Participants could include:

- Target audience
- Disabled users to test accessibility 

 

2. A well timed overlay screen containing minimum text requesting feedback. Look at exit behaviour in your website's analytics to decide whether to feature it:

- on popular exit pages
- just before user reaches average time spent on site
- just before user reaches average pages viewed per visit 

 

3. If, like most websites, yours contains a search, a good place to suggest leaving feedback is after a user receives a ‘Your search did not bring back any results.’ message. At that point they may feel leaving feedback benefits them more than you.

 

4. Include a ‘Tell us what you think’ section in teh footer so it appears on all pages. It can include a free text box so user can type feedback instantly without clicking a link and disrupting their 'journey'. There's also no unpleasant surprises like a gruelling form to complete. You could provide two submit buttons: ‘Send anonymously’ and ‘Send & request reply’, the latter will take you to further required fields i.e. name/email.

 

5. Catch the users eye with movement such as:

- Blinking feedback faces in the header: happy, neutral and unhappy
- A playful gif on the ‘Tell us what you think’ section mentioned previously

 

6. Be more humorous with language to encourage engagement i.e. “Don’t like us? Don’t leave! Tell us how we can make you stay”

 

7. A ‘floating’ feedback tab always in view at the side of the page, once clicked a ’fly-out’ appears containing a small feedback form.

 

8. Community Groups / Discussion Boards - Encourage users to talk among themselves and ‘listen in’ to what they have to say. You'll have to decide how this will be monitored.

 

9. Can people login / create accounts on your website? Email a feedback request to those already registered with the site.

 

10. Live chat facility. Someone/a team could be responsible for feedback / support.

 

11. Use social media i.e. Facebook / Twitter to encourage feedback, monitor and engage in social listening.

 

12. Feature ‘Quick polls’ i.e. What would you like to see more of? News / Events / Helpful documents etc.

 

13. Display customer feedback - encourages other customers to provide feedback, they see that it won’t go unattended.

 

I hope these ideas have inspired you and contribute to the success of your website. Feel free to get in touch if you think we can help you with your project!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday April 18 2017 09:39 AM


Tags: website feedback encouragecomments


Comments [0]








What does SSL mean?

With 2017 seeing Google continue their campaign against insecure web sites (read my blog to find out more), we thought this was a good opportunity to look behind the abbreviations and discover what SSL and HTTPS mean and the impact they have on everyday web site visitors.

1. SSL stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer.’ In layman’s terms, this is a secure way of sending information over the Internet. Any data transferred 'over SSL' - such as web page content from a server to your browser - gets encrypted prior to being sent over the web for viewing.

2. Many websites use SSL for secure areas of their sites, particularly user accounts and online checkouts. As information is encrypted, the theory is that even if someone unwelcome gets hold of it, they'll be unable to do anything with it.

3. SSL is applied to your website – or parts of your website – by way of a digital certificate, which is purchased and added to your domain to demonstrate its security to users. It also ensures any content from that domain is encypted.

4. When you visit a website whose address starts with ‘https’, the ‘s’ after the ‘http’ indicates the website is secure, and has SSL. You should also see a padlock before the https, like below:

5. SSL keeps personal data such as your name, address or credit card information between you and the merchant who you are sending it to.

6. If you want to find out more information about a site’s security, by clicking the ‘i’ icon, or right-clicking the padlock, you can get more details.

7. Like everything in life, there's a wide range of SSL certificates available and they vary in features and price. Some are free but will require ongoing administration, others are more expensive but offer the tightest security including the strongest encyption algorithms and verification checks. 

SSL is likely to be a hot topic in 2017 with Google's planned warnings for insecure web sites.

If you’d like to know more about SSL, securing your site and how to get an SSL certificate, please get in touch.

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Tuesday December 13 2016 01:30 PM


Tags: website google ssl security


Comments [0]








7 ways to maximise online donations

7 ways to maximise online donations

When I was asked to write an article about UX for the Fundraiser – the publication from Charity Choice providing practical advice and insight to the third sector – I wondered how on earth I was going to take such a huge topic turn it into something bite size.

UX and UI are expansive subjects, so rather than try to cram them into a side of A4, I decided instead to compile a list that would hopefully get the readers to try out some simple UX testing methods for themselves. 

For charities, encouraging visitors to donate and to keep donating is paramount, and ultimately good UX = more conversions which means more donations. Good UX really is as important for charities as it is for ecommerce.

The list is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will inspire some readers from the third sector to think more about UX, to utalise its potential and to try out some simple UX tests for themselves.

7 ways to maximise online donations

Jenny Corfield
Jenny

Created on Thursday September 22 2016 01:23 PM


Tags: website charity technology web-design userexperience ux usability


Comments [0]








European Commission agree to make websites and apps more accessible

European Commission agree to make websites and apps more accessible

Negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have just this month agreed on the first EU-wide rules to make the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible.

In the world of web, these adjustments are about introducing steps to make a website or service accessible for people with visual impairments, manual dexterity issues or learning difficulties.

The internet has become a key way of accessing and providing information and services, it is now crucial we ensure absolutely everybody can do so, regardless of ability. Accessibility enables people with disabilities to understand, navigate, interact with and contribute to websites and apps.

Statistics tell us that about 80 million people in the EU are affected by a disability. This figure is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020 as the EU population ages.

The Directive will cover public sector bodies' websites and mobile apps, this could be administrations, courts and police departments or public hospitals, universities and libraries. They will be accessible for all citizens - in particular the blind, hard of hearing, deaf, and those with low vision and functional disabilities.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, is understandably all for the agreement and said: "Tonight's agreement is an important step towards a Digital Single Market, which is about removing barriers so that all Europeans can get the best from the digital world."

The Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther H. Oettinger, was equally enthusiastic: "It is not acceptable that millions of European citizens are left behind in the digital society. The agreement that we have just reached will ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the internet and mobile apps."

The following is the agreed text of the Directive:

- covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming).

- refers to the standards to make websites and mobile apps more accessible. For example, such standards foresee that there should be a text for images or that websites can be browsed without a mouse which can be difficult to use for some people with disabilities.

- requires regular monitoring and reporting of public sector websites and mobile apps by Member States. These reports have to be communicated to the Commission and to be made public. The Directive on web accessibility along with the European Accessibility Act proposed in December 2015 (press release) which covers a much wider number of products and services, are both part of the efforts of the Commission to help people with disabilities to participate fully in society.

The text will now have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. After that it will be published in the Official Journal and will officially enter into force. Member States will have 21 months to transpose the text into their national legislation.

So many people avoid using the vast amount of support and opportunities available to them online, all because of unnecessary barriers they are faced with. These can be avoided. If you want to lead in improving accessibility, we can help you with that, a good place to start is to get in touch with us.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Wednesday May 25 2016 10:33 AM


Tags: website accessibility online-law europeancommission


Comments [1]