WEBSITE DESIGN OPTIMIZATION STARTS WITH RESEARCH

How To Perform Research & Analysis To Properly Form Your Website Optimization Strategy.

This is part 2 of a 7 part series on Web Design Optimization. Subscribe to receive our latest tips and news.

At the very start of a website design optimization project, before all of the excitement about content planning and link building and sales funnels begins, you should do some research. It always starts with research.

Think of it this way: research provides the foundation for your website’s strategy, content, sales funnel, inbound and outbound links, and calls to action.

When you start planning to optimize your website, put together any research you’ve already done about your target customers and clients, your competitors, and your business model. And then be prepared to research a little more.

We can’t say it enough. You can only to get to where you want go if you take some time to research and plan before acting. In this article, we will cover:

  1. 3 things to research in order to optimize your website
  2. How to research the best keyword concepts
  3. The benefits of doing brand analysis and competitive analysis

3 things to research in order to optimize your website

First, how do customers find businesses like yours? People go about their day doing various things.

When they need a product or service that your company provides, how do they find it? Be careful not to assume that all of your customers go straight to Google to find you or your competition.

The biggest disappointment happens when business owners find out that there aren’t as many online searches for their business as they thought.

At the same time, if it turns out that most customers find businesses like yours via word of mouth, for example, value that insight!

Armed with that knowledge, you can properly plan marketing funnels that will actually work. To be clear, your business needs a website, and your website needs to be designed well and optimized phenomenally in order to compete today.

On top of that, studies show that people go online more often than not to either find what they want, or research what they want.

The key is figuring out how people use the Internet to find you or your competitors. Use that insight to plan your strategy.

You also need to understand which customer acquisition strategies work best in your industry.

A customer acquisition strategy is your plan for getting new customers to your website. Every industry is different. The customer acquisition strategies that work best are based on the knowledge of how customers buy. This is why research is essential.

One example of a customer acquisition strategy is targeting customers who are looking for a “guide” related to your industry, and then providing one on your website.

Requiring an email address to get the guide turns prospects into leads.

Finally, determine which content marketing strategies work best in your industry.

Part of solid website design optimization is creating quality content. To get that content in front of the right people, research content marketing strategies and tactics by industry to learn a little about what works best.

Content marketing includes blogging, social media marketing, ebooks, podcasts, white papers, email subscription lists, and other digital resources, including images.

Let the research give you insight into your own strategy. Anytime you create a piece of content, regardless of the type, you can create a marketing plan around it so that your target customers see it and engage with it.

How to research the best keyword concepts

Google and other search engines are very intelligent now. It’s no longer about identifying a single, perfect target keyword.

Now, it’s about framing up the content on your site as a keyword concept, or idea. Think of a keyword concept as a group of keyword phrases that are related to the keyword.

If you’re a florist, a search engine might think of your website as suitable for wedding flowers, funeral flowers, Valentine’s Day bouquets, floral delivery, and more.

You don’t have to target only the word “florist” to show up in search engines for it. Ultimately, search engine algorithms decide what your site is about according to its content.

You can only influence that determination.

There are three primary steps involved with researching the best keyword concepts. Keyword concepts are themes – ideas that revolve around your product or service.

  • DECIDE THE PURPOSE OF YOUR SITE (TRAFFIC OR CONVERSIONS) – When people come to your website, what do you want them to do? It’s okay to want more than one thing here, but focus on the top one or two most important purposes. Also factor in other marketing methods. If you’re a small business and your website is your primary marketing tool, focus on conversions.
  • RESEARCH SEARCH TRENDS AND RELATED SEARCH TRENDS – Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or the Yoast Google Suggest Expander to learn more about how people search. Start with a basic, primary keyword or phrase that defines your business, product, or service. The tool will then provide some ideas based on data – what people have been typing into Google search. Data is critical; it’s okay to target one or two unpopular phrases. But in general, you should optimize around words and phrases people already use.
  • BRAINSTORM, ANALYZE, REWORK, REPEAT (BARR) – The BARR method is simple. It starts by brainstorming your keywords and phrases. Then, you analyze them using tools. Next, you rework your target keyword concepts based on research. Finally, repeat this process. Repeat it over and over again until you have a set of keywords/keyword phrases you can optimize your site around.

Benefits of doing brand analysis and competitive analysis

One major benefit of doing some brand analysis and competitive analysis is that you can eliminate wasted time.

Do the research upfront so that you can spend more time later on other things. If you don’t, you will find that your site either lacks a point of view or is too similar to the competition.

When a new website is very similar to an existing site, search engine algorithms have to make the educated assumption that the older site, which likely has more inbound links, is probably more relevant. Competitive analysis can avoid this.

Learning about your brand and your competitors also helps you stay on target. It’s exciting to plan and launch a new website.

Many business owners want to include as much information as possible. Keep in mind that the website has a purpose and you must focus on its purpose.

Separate the tool (the website) from the brand (your business). If your website’s purpose is to drive more calls, optimize around that intent first. The rest is secondary.

Lastly, focus on brand analysis and competitive analysis so that you can outsmart your competitors. Not enough business owners take the time to write down on paper what their strengths, weakness, threats, and opportunities are in comparison to their competitors.

They don’t really understand what gives them an edge. Be objective when researching competitors so that you do not deceive yourself.

If your competitors are not optimizing for a keyword concept that is powerful, you have an opportunity. Use it to your advantage. For more details on how to perform a competitor analysis, we suggest you check out this guide from Hubspot.

CONCLUSION

Research gives you an advantage when planning your website design optimization project. With it, you stand a chance to sweep the competition by getting in front of your clients and customers first. But without it, you might spend time on a strategy that isn’t well informed, and a site that doesn’t meet their needs. Research takes a little time, but it’s always time well spent.

At One & Zero, we take research seriously and enjoy the process. If you’re interested in working with us or learning more, contact us today.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

11 CRITICAL DESIGN ERRORS THAT A FREE SEO AUDIT REVEALS

Perform A SEO Audit To Improve Your Website Design Optimization.

Is your website performing as well as you thought it would? Are you getting the kind of search engine traffic you need to be successful? Contact us for a completely free SEO audit to see if there are any opportunities to get more targeted, organic search engine traffic.

SEO continues to mystify many people, especially business owners and marketing managers. Inquiring minds want to know: after spending the time and effort to develop a website and media, why isn’t there more traffic from search engines?

What good is a beautiful website that no one sees? We recommend getting a free SEO audit to uncover the answers to those critical questions and offer it to prospective clients.

If you’re tired of scratching your head, trying to understand why so few people are getting to your website, get a free SEO audit. It’ll shed some light on your situation and help you come up things you can do right away to improve your website.

The Truth About Websites With Great SEO

For far too long, people have focused on aesthetics and beauty over function when it comes to websites. Now that search makes up such a bulk of the Internet usage, people are beginning to see the problem with focusing solely on graphic design.

Consider this common scenario: small business owners sometimes pay tens of thousands of dollars for websites that aren’t optimized for either traffic or leads. Six to twelve months later, the struggle for traffic continues. Why?

The answer is that there’s more to digital marketing than incredible graphic design (which we love very much, by the way).

Websites and digital platforms have jobs to do for our businesses, right? So, we should measure their effectiveness just as much as their appeal.

Websites with consistently high rankings need to excel in design, function, and SEO.

FACT: SEARCH ENGINES DON’T SEE WEBSITES LIKE HUMANS DO

search engine optimization

 

Search engines crawl websites, scanning for text, media, and links. Because of the way that works, search engines simply don’t process visual imagery – they would have no way of knowing what the images actually show. You have to tell that to them in the form of text.

This is why a beautiful, visually-appealing website can struggle to get a high search engine ranking just like any other website. Search engines don’t rank beauty. They rank content.

And on the other hand, you might come across a moderately high ranking website for a particular keyword that doesn’t seem at all visually appealing.

One writer put this dilemma into context brilliantly when asked why a beautiful website can suffer in terms of SEO. He said, “Websites that look amazing typically offer little opportunity for on-page optimisation and conversely pages that are well optimised will often compromise the design and user experience.”

If you’re in this situation and you have what appears to be a well-designed website that’s not getting any search engine traffic, you need a free SEO audit.

Many people know audits are valuable in terms of telling us how many links we need to get to compete with our competitors, but SEO audits can and should go beyond that. A solid SEO audit sheds light on design errors that are almost never caught otherwise.

This kind of information is free of charge and beyond valuable.

11 Critical Design Errors Uncovered by a Free SEO Audit

When it comes to SEO, we can separate website design errors into two major categories:

1. The ones you can see

2. The ones you can’t see

Design involves a framework and a user interface. You’ll need to optimize both the framework and the interface.

A free SEO audit, such as the one that we offer, identifies opportunities to improve your site’s design so that you can enjoy the benefits that search engines bring. If you optimize your site well, over time, your website will be an asset that continuously delivers leads that you don’t have to pay for.

ON-PAGE DESIGN ERRORS

#1 Poorly Optimized Headers

Headers are often too long, too short, badly optimized, or ignored altogether. If you’re not sure what a header is, you’re not alone. Technically speaking, headers are used to create sections on a page, much like chapter titles or subtitles in a book.

Headers tell search engines (and humans) about the content. An SEO audit can show you where headers lack optimization and recommend changes.

Poorly optimized headers could mean serious issues for your site because search engines use them to understand and index your content. In some ways, headers communicate to search engines how organized your content is, and that’s important for both humans and search engines.

Without good headers, both visitors and search engines can get confused.

#2 Lack Of Keyword Rich Content

Search engines need a decent amount of information to determine the subject of a web page. The more, the better. Words matter significantly in SEO. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but only if you can see it.

Since search engines can’t see pictures, they rely on words, layout, and signals to read the page. A free SEO audit shows where you’re not using enough of the right words so that you can make immediate and effective changes.

#3 Overuse of Keywords

By this same token, SEO audits show where you might be overusing keywords, too.

Keyword stuffing occurs when a word or phrase is used so much that the content is difficult to read, and search engines use algorithms to identify it. Keywords should be used naturally, as in a conversation.

A free SEO audit will identify potential keyword saturation. Using alternative words or synonyms helps avoid overuse.

#4 Lack of Optimized Media

When you incorporate videos and images into your website, you should optimize them. Many people are not sure how to do that, so they don’t.

Neglecting to optimize media creates a missed opportunity because search engines classify and categorize media in special ways.

People love to see media, but if search engines don’t know what your media is about, they won’t index it the way you’d like.

When you get an SEO audit, the audit will identify videos and images that aren’t optimized well enough.

#5 Problems With Content Layout

Did you know that a web page’s layout impacts search engine optimization?

Headers, images, tables, buttons, calls to action, forms, etc. all matter when it comes to layout. Pop-up advertising or hiding content in difficult to reach places does, too.

Search engines can crawl and index sites more easily when they are organized in ways that make sense.

Here’s one tip: Content at the top of a page tells search engines what it’s about, so placing irrelevant content there OR taking up valuable space with items a search engine can’t crawl is a mistake.

Framework Design Errors

The previous section covered potential design errors that you can actually see with your eyes. That makes up a big part of search engine optimization. But this next list of errors uncovered in an audit makes up an even bigger part.

These framework design errors can impact your potential for search traffic or even eliminate it altogether.

#6 Crawling-Related Issues

Is your website even accessible to search engines? If you’re not sure, because you’ve never gotten any organic traffic, you might have an issue with crawling.

To better understand what we mean by crawling, watch this brief video. An SEO audit should uncover design errors that are either impacting crawling or preventing it.

#7 Problematic iFrames or Other Elements

Sometimes, technology gets in the way of search engine optimization.

Search engines handle certain structural elements, like iframes, differently than straight text and images. While most of this kind of technology helps with laying out elements on a page or displaying special content, it’s not ideal for SEO.

Audits will identify these issues.

#8 Duplicate Content

Duplicate content creates an indexing issue. Most of the time, site owners do not realize their sites have duplicate content.

It happens quite naturally, sometimes. Fortunately, duplicate content issues are easily resolved with tags.

Regarding duplicate content, a statement in a support article on Google.com says that “Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information. This filtering means, for instance, that if your site has a “regular” and “printer” version of each article, and neither of these is blocked with a no-index meta tag, we’ll choose one of them to list.”

Two pages don’t have to be 100% identical to be considered duplicate; they only need to be substantially similar. An SEO audit will help you figure out duplicate content creates issues.

#9 Heavy, Slow-Loading Scripts

Have you ever been to a website that takes what feels like forever to load? Where every few seconds (or longer), another element comes onto the screen until they all finally load? That’s a symptom of a script problem.

Scripts make websites do interesting things, like facilitate the searching of databases, play video or animation, or control dynamic content. Unfortunately, too much code can bog down a site and make it difficult to crawl, index, or even use sometimes.

#10 Site and Link Structure Issues

In the first section, we touched on page layout and the organization that you can see with your eyes. Similarly, your website’s underlying structure, including how pages are organized, linked, and categorized, can help or hinder SEO, too.

Audits uncover issues involving how your pages are linked together (or not linked together), which impacts optimization. (For more information, read this informative article from Yoast about Site Structure.)

#11 Meta Tag and MetaData Issues

Last but definitely not least, SEO audits identify issues with meta tags and metadata. The two most important meta tags for search engines are the meta name (title) and the meta description.

Search engines use the meta tags to index the site, and show both in search engine results.

Metadata is a little broader and more technical. Search engines use metadata to get an even better picture of content, and then do cool things with it.

What they do with metadata continues to evolve in very interesting ways. For example, Google now shows local events as part of their search results in a calendar form.

Website owners can use event metadata to help Google find events and show them, resulting in droves of free traffic, potentially. But, the metadata must be there and be accurate in order to take advantage.

While that example goes beyond a typical SEO audit, all quality SEO audits show issues with critically important metadata for search engine results.

Can your site benefit from more search engine traffic? If so, we’d love to show you areas to improve. Click to email us for a Free SEO Audit (no strings attached).

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Common SEO Myth Busted:

MYTH: “Keyword research is unnecessary because I already know my keywords.”

REALITY: This is a myth with devastating consequences. Too often, website owners develop content around keywords that are either insanely difficult to rank for, or so obscure that no one is searching for them. The result of going either direction? No traffic.

Keyword research identifies the phrases you should target because they are the right combination of competitive and specific.

Additionally, you can use keyword research to find words based on commercial intent (looking to buy vs just browsing for information).

The process also identifies long-tail keywords and related searches, both of which are necessary for a complete and success on-page optimization effort.

Bottom line: always conduct solid keyword research when optimizing your website.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

7 WAYS TO IMPROVE CONVERSIONS WITH BETTER WEBSITE CONTENT

Use Our Guide To Dramatically Increase Your Website Conversions Through Providing Your Audience Value.

This is part 5 of our 7 part series on Website Design Optimization, here we cover how to come up with better web content to drive conversions.

If you’re going to do anything, do it well. You’ve probably heard a number of quotes around that line of thinking. It’s the same with your website. If you’re going to have a website for your business, it ought to effectively turn random visitors into leads or even into paying customers or clients. That’s called conversion.

In all likelihood, your website is the hub of your online marketing. Because of that, you probably spend a lot of time on the content that’s on your website. In addition, you expect results from it – you expect conversions. As we talked about in our flagship post on website optimization, one of the major keys to optimization is creating compelling and better website content for your audience.

However, not all content converts well. We know that “only about 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.” (Econsultancy, 2016) (Source).

Because we know that small business owners need help with conversions, One & Zero provides a Complimentary Consultation To Improve Performance and Conversions. No strings attached. Take a minute to reach out to us to see how we can help.

In this article, we’re going to cover 7 simple but effective ways to improve conversions on your site:

1. Promote a strong value proposition

2. Use video to convince and convert

3. Quote statistics in your messaging

4. Define the problem

5. Do what works for others

6. Be timely and relevant

7. Make relevant recommendations

 7 Ways to Improve Conversions With Better Website Content

1. Promote A Strong Value Proposition

If your new tool, product, or service can change someone’s life and you have the numbers to prove it, talk about it in your content. Don’t shy away from boasting the numbers if you have them. Stating specific results in your marketing can be a game changer.

Here’s an example of how a lot of business owners talk about the benefits of their product.

“Our money saving app helps many moms and dads like you cut costs in grocery bills all year long.”

Notice the generalities – no specific numbers or expectations, really. This is a safe thing to do because it avoids exaggeration.

But here’s the thing: if your numbers are true, you won’t be exaggerating. If you’ve been keeping up with your customers and know the results they are getting, you have real data you can use to backup your claims. As a result, your content will be stronger and your message will be far more compelling.

Imagine that the company above had real, raw data about the results their customers are getting. Here is one way the same exact thing – cutting costs on groceries – could be said in a more compelling way:

“Our money saving app has helped over 150 customers cut $200 off their grocery bill every single month since its launch.”

Even if you don’t have specific numbers (money, time, percentages, etc.) you can still create compelling value propositions.

2. Use Video To Convince And Convert

Video is one of the best ways to engage an audience and get them to buy. Not to mention, there are statistics that prove it. “Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.” (Aberdeen, 2015) (Source)

If you want to grow your own revenue by 49% or more, incorporate video as often as possible into your content. Use these tools strategically – as part of storytelling or connecting with your audience authentically.

In an article published on Inc.com earlier this year, columnist Molly Reynolds listed four essentials ways to use video content marketing. More than just suggestions, these are proven effective strategies:

  • Identify your true audience
  • Invite your audience on the journey
  • Create a distinct voice
  • Syndicate your content

Using video as one of the ways to improve conversions is going to force you to think differently about marketing than you have in the past. Marketing in 2017 and beyond is going to be much more about making an authentic connection with your audience – it’s not about hiding behind anonymous content that tries to be all things to all people.

Today, you have to get real with your customers and clients and connect with them, and video is simply one of the best ways to do that, so keep that in mind when you look to create material that’s going to stand out.

3. Quote Statistics In Your Messaging

Use statistics to convince your audience to engage with you. Statistics tell a story in a compelling way. You can create all kinds of emotions with statistics – urgency, shock or surprise, happiness and excitement, sadness, and even anger.

Emotions motivate people do things. The purpose of your website content is to motivate people to buy your products and services.

The statistics you use don’t have to be yours. You don’t have to go out and gather primary data based on your own market research. You can research easy-to-find statistics in your industry and use them to influence.

Just be ethical, truthful, and maintain trust with your audience. Never use statistics to manipulate when you could instead use them to motivate your audience to buy.

4. Define The Problem

One of the best ways to improve conversions is to make sure you’re defining your customer’s problem. This is what creates a connection with your customer.

In order to be relevant, your content needs to reach people and the best way to do that is to define the problem right up front, and then talk about your solution to it.

Think about your customers’ or clients’ biggest needs. What are they trying to accomplish? Whatever that is, make it crystal clear on your website that that’s the problem you solve for them, and how.

5. Do What Works For Others

You should be creating a strategy for your content so that you don’t have to make it up as you go along. Great marketers use research and data in order to develop strategies that work.

Look around and see what your competitors are doing. Or, just look at similar businesses that are not direct competitors. See how they are getting conversions and then learn from those tactics.

6. Be Timely And Relevant

If you have an Ecommerce site, you should pay very close attention to key events in your customer’s lives that you can market around.

Use an editorial calendar so that your content is both timely and relevant to your customer. You don’t want to miss important holidays or local events that could boost your conversions if you were to offer something around those times.

Key events and holidays can also give you content ideas.

7. Make Relevant Recommendations

You may not have heard of a “recommendation engine,” but you’ve probably experienced one. The most commonly recognized ones are those used by Amazon and Google.

When you go to Amazon the second, third, fourth, fifth times and beyond, you will begin to see “Recommendations” based on items you’ve viewed before.

They can be eerily on target, too. Recommendation engines are clever systems you can implement – and especially useful in Ecommerce design – to convert more visitors.

It’s a way of targeting your content so the experience is completely personalized, and personalization and connection are the keys to conversion.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be an excellent writer or an acclaimed videographer. When it comes to ways to improve conversions, you just have to be strategic and creative.

Every part of your website matters, from the menus to the metadata. Moreover, your content – how you connect with your audience – matters most.

SEO can get your website the traffic you need, but once they’re on the site, it’s up to the content to do the work of conversion.

Creating high converting and better website content takes time, effort, and strategy. We can help you boost conversions with compelling content that is designed to create authentic connections with your website visitors. Contact One & Zero today to find out more about our work.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

YOUR STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO PERFORMING A DESIGN SPRINT

How To Perform A Design-Sprint to Improve Your Product Design Process.

At One & Zero we perform a Design Sprint to ensure the inevitability of success.

Bringing a product to the market is a pretty big project. You have to think about numerous aspects of the market before making your decision about what kind of product to introduce.

You have to think about what customers are looking for, what your business can physically and financially produce, and what your competitors are producing. That’s why Google Ventures came up with something called the Product Design Sprint.

This exercise has been created with design thinking in mind and takes design teams through 5 different phases – one for each day of the week – until a product has been conceived and delivered to the market.

A design sprint led by One & Zero will bring together your entire team and help your company create products that have a meaningful impact on the lives of your customers.

This process has been used in companies ranging from small startups to larger, multi-national corporations to develop new products.

This article is going to take you through a step-by-step process of how to conduct a design sprint. That way, your company is going to have a higher success rate in developing new products or new features for existing products.

This video from Google Ventures will help you prepare in setting up for your design sprint, it outlines what you need, who needs to be there and what to expect.

Additional tools that we use to help elevate your process and productivity :

Invision – Hands down the best design prototyping/planning tool.

Asana – Project management software (even the free version rocks).

Aha – Roadmapping and product development software.

 

WHAT IS A DESIGN SPRINT BUILT UPON?

First of all, before we get to the different phases of the design sprint, we’ve got to understand the basis of it. This concept is built upon something called Design Thinking – a way of thinking that brings together creativity, empathy, rationality to solve issues.

Empathy – This is used to put yourself in the customer’s eyes for some time. Without doing this, there is no way that a great product can be delivered that meets your customer’s expectations and desires. There are a lot of things to think about here – religion, politics, finances, etc. By using empathy, teams can take into account all of these forces and ensure products always have the customer in mind.

Creativity – Creativity is something that’s sorely lacking in many companies as they go through the daily grind. That’s why creativity is such an important part of the design sprint process. Your teams are going to collaborate together, throw ideas around, speak with one another, and speak with customers to get those creative juices flowing.

Rationality – One of the most important things to remember in this process is that solutions should be rational. They should be tried and tested through experimentation and real measurements. This will bring a product to market that actually makes sense in the context your company is operating in.

Design thinking is not only something that you should use in the design sprint. It’s important to remember as you go through the sprint, but you can also use creativity, empathy, and rationality as the basis of everything you do in the sprint and carry that over to all aspects of your company.

You can use empathy to take perspectives from the customers you work with on a daily basis and the coworkers you have around you.

You can use creativity to spur innovation in every department of your company – not only in product design and creation.

And of course, rational thinking should pervade every corner of your company if you want the most logical decisions to be made.

At One & Zero our Design Sprints are done in a 5 x 5 x 5 format, 5 hours per day, 5 phases in 5 days. We go longer if need be, we bring a whatever it takes mentality to our sprints, but we set out with the intention of staying laser-focused, shorter more intensive days keeps the team fresh and sharp over the course of the week.

PHASE 1: UNDERSTAND

As the design sprint only lasts for five days, you’re going to start off on Monday with the first phase of the sprint – Understanding.

The goal of this phase is just as it seems – to understand what problems your company is facing, the business environment you’re operating in, your customer persona, your value proposition, and how you’ll tell when you are successful.

This is going to bring everyone onto the same page before moving onto the next phases of the design sprint.

But why do we start with understanding?

The biggest reason is that everyone in your team will start empathizing with the customer and really starting to care about their experience.

By understanding and genuinely starting to care about your customer’s journey, your team will be serious about solving the issues they are facing.

Without this basis of empathizing with the customer, the solutions that your team comes up with in future phases won’t come close to actually helping out your customer.

You’re going to be performing activities like defining your opportunities, defining your customer and their problems, gathering all necessary research, analyzing that research, filling a Business Model Canvas, and check out who else is solving similar problems inside and outside of your industry.

If you’re going to be bringing anybody else onboard in the coming week (perhaps they couldn’t be present on the first day), then make sure that copious notes are taken.

This documentation can be given to anybody who arrives in the room on the second or the third day. In addition to that, these notes can be referred on whenever someone needs a refresher on the problems needing to be addressed or the customers you’re working with.

 

design sprint team

 

PHASE 2: DIVERGE

Next up, we have the second phase of the product design sprint – Diverge. After everyone is on the same page regarding the problems you face, your customer’s needs, and what opportunities are in front of you, then you can move on to ideation in this phase.

The goal of this phase is for your team to come up with as many potential solutions to your problems as possible.

These can be crazy solutions that could never work or more practical solutions that have more of a financial underpinning. No matter the idea, every one of them counts.

Innovation is the main word of the day when it comes to this phase. The ideas that come forth in Diverge will help spark everyone’s creativity in the room – who knows what your team is going to come up with once the creativity starts flowing?

There are certain activities your team should undertake in this phase.

They include everything from always asking questions, individual journaling of ideas, brainstorming among the entire team, and going through the Mind Mapping process.

A key deliverable from this phase of the design sprint is something called the Critical Path Diagram. This is something you can draw on a large piece of paper on the wall that details the customer’s journey. You will start off the journey where the customer starts – perhaps your website. And you will end the journey where the customer ends – most likely, using your product.

In the middle of both of those points, your team can determine the big issues facing your customer, what they have to go through, and what needs to be addressed at each stage of the customer journey.

 

PHASE 3: CONVERGE

So, during the first phases of the design sprint process, your team came up with a ton of ideas and information about the problems you face and what solutions there might be.

In the next phase converge the ideas that are way too crazy to actually work are going to be eliminated and you’re going to focus on those ideas that are practical.

Once you get rid of those unattainable ideas, your team is going to focus on those ideas that everyone feels good about in the next steps.

That’s the main goal of this phase and should always be kept in mind while you’re going through it.

Even though your team members might have come up with all of these ideas, everyone should realize that not every idea is going to make it through these phases. Some would just cost too much money and some are not feasible with your existing equipment.

Ensure that your team members know that every single idea is valid, but it’s important to narrow down the ideas to move onto the next stages.

The things your team is going to do in this stage include: figuring out which ideas are solving the same problem, removing those solutions that you can’t pursue right now, and voting for the best ideas in a democratic manner.

Once this is completed, your team can feel free to move onto the next stages of the design sprint.

 

design sprint planning

 

PHASE 4: PROTOTYPE

This is where things get interesting. Your team has used their creativity and their empathy to understand what problems they are trying to solve and what potential solutions there might be for those issues.

You have narrowed down the best idea or ideas that could work in your product development. Now that that’s happened, it’s time to move onto the prototyping stage, which is just what it sounds like.

On Day Four of the design sprint, your team is going to build a prototype of the product that could work for your customers.

The main goal of this phase is to test what issues there might be with the product and cut through the unknowns to get rid of any potential risks.

By this point, everyone should know what needs to be done with the prototype and what tasks need to be undertaken.

Here’s a fantastic video from Google on how they run their prototype sprint.

Wait, you might be asking what the whole point of the prototype is! Now that you’ve got great ideas, what’s stopping you from taking the product straight to market?

Well, a prototype is going to be a low-cost way of determining what unknowns might still be present with your product.

You definitely don’t want to bring something to customers without knowing that most risks have been averted, right?

Once the prototype has been conceived, then your team is going to know exactly what needs to be fixed in the final stages of the product design.

The biggest takeaway your team needs to have delivered at the end of the fourth day is a prototype that can be tested on the next day.

In addition to that, the team should come up with a plan for testing. That way, everyone is going to be prepared for the next and final stage of the design sprint – Testing & Learning.

PHASE 5: TEST & LEARN

Yes, the final day of the design sprint has finally come and your team is ready to test this prototype they’ve prepared and get the final product to your customers.

However, this is probably the most important phase in the entire sprint. This is the phase when you’re going to test the prototype with your existing and potentially new customers.

This is where you will know whether the product is going to be a success on the market. This is make or break!

When your customers interact with your prototype, you are going to learn if this is the product that they actually need. At this point, when you test the prototype, you will have a clear sense of what needs to be fixed in the final product or if you need to go back to the drawing board altogether.

As your customers work with your prototype, you and your team should take notes about the interactions. Does your customer understand what the product is?

Do they get it? Or are they confused about why they would even need this product?

Is there anything that doesn’t work well or that they don’t understand the first time?

After you have had your customers work with your prototype, you can bring in products from your competitors.

If they are similar to your prototype, then you can see whether customers understand those products more than your prototype or if there’s anything that could be implemented from the competing products into your final design.

After all of this testing, when your team is completely exhausted from the week, you should draw up a final report about the design sprint.

What learnings did you take from your customers testing the prototype? Are there things that need to be fixed or improved?

What are the next steps your team should take in the coming weeks to create the final product? These are the questions that should be recorded for everyone to see.

Get in touch with us if you would like One & Zero to lead your team through a design sprint and or design your next digital product.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

How To Get More Traffic To Your Website – Free 7 Day Planner

Use Our Free 7 Day Guide To Increase Your Website Traffic 5-10x.

Targeted, quality website traffic. Just about all small business owners want it, and most really need it. With just 3 months remaining in the year, business owners are hustling to try to figure out how to get more traffic to their website to reach their revenue goals and sales targets.

One of the biggest factors in reaching those targets is getting more quality traffic to your website. If you struggle with this, you’re not alone. Small business owners generally have similar complaints and challenges with website traffic like these:

  • “Not enough people are coming to my website.”
  • “People are coming to my website but they’re not buying anything or contacting me.”
  • “Some people are coming to my website, but they leave right away or I don’t know who they are.”
  • “I have no idea how to get people to my website.”

If you’ve uttered any of the above phrases or thought them silently to yourself, just know that you can absolutely get more website traffic in as little as 7 days with a very strategic, targeted plan.

How To Get More Traffic To Your Website

Traffic magnets who dominate their industries and crush their competitors in the digital marketing game have a few tricks up their sleeve.

There are actually just 3 fundamental truths that people who get lots of traffic understand.

For starters, you have to really know your target audience. We’ll get into the why of this on Day 1 of the Free Planner below.

Secondly, you have to create incredible content that attracts traffic. Great content does all of the heavy lifting. Instead of trying to push people toward your website, you can use content to draw them to it willingly.

Lastly, you need to be intentional about increasing website traffic. A plan to get more website traffic should be specific, step-by-step, and crystal clear. If you don’t plan for an increase in traffic and take steps toward it, it’ll never happen for you.

We’ve taken those 3 truths about how to get more website traffic and created a completely complimentary 7-day planner you can start using today.

These are powerful yet simple tactics that will move the needle for your business website.

Prep Work

This free planner requires just a little bit of preparation in order to work. At the very least, understand that you’ll need these things before or throughout the 7 days.

Content to give away – We provide tips on what to create, but to give you a heads up, you’ll need something that is so compelling that people will go out of their way to get it and would probably pay for it (except, you’ll give it away freely).

Social Media Accounts – This plan assumes you already have at least one social media account (at the very least, Facebook). So if you don’t, go ahead and create an account now. You don’t need a following in order for this plan to work, so don’t worry if your fan base is small or non-existent.

A small budget – You’ll need a budget to get more website traffic in 7 days, but not a large one. Set aside a small amount of money you can use (we’ll show you how later in the plan).

Traffic Planning Do’s and Don’ts

Before you get started with a planner, here are just a few key dos and don’ts:

  • Do follow the planner every day, start-to-finish
  • Don’t skip the first 3 days (important)
  • Do the work (or outsource it) to make your site worthy of more traffic
  • Don’t send lots of traffic to a low-quality website
  • Do take the time to think through the whole experience, because lots of traffic that doesn’t convert to leads will be disappointing, to say the least.

Okay, ready to learn how to get more website traffic? Perfect. Read and follow the guidance in our Free Website Traffic Planner below, and good luck!

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Day 1 Target Audience

Any effective website traffic strategy starts with digging deep to understand exactly who the ideal website visitors are so that you can easily find them. Your description of your target audience should be so specific that it could be describing a real person. You can and likely do have more than one target audience. Most of the time, marketers segment audiences by demographics, psychographics, or consumer behaviors.

When you know your target audience very well, you can learn their habits and show up online where they show up. It makes marketing less of a crap shoot and more intentional and effective. Eliminate the guessing game by zeroing in on your key clients and customers.

Your task on Day 1 is to get very clear about your top 2 or 3 target audiences. If you’ve never done this before, start by asking very pointed questions about your target visitors:

  1. What time do they go online every day?
  2. Who do they ask when they want recommendations or referrals?
  3. Are they highly independent, or do they tend to think and behave in groups?
  4. Where do they work?
  5. How old are they?
  6. What kind of technology do they use to access the Internet?

WHAT TO DO:

  • Determine your 2 to 3 very specific target audiences. Be sure to separate obvious differences in personas. For example, a 45-year-old stay at home mother of two is a different persona than a 21-year-old male college student.
  • Figure out where your target audience will be looking for a business like yours. It could be referrals from family or friends or it could be an intentional search on Google. The answer to that question is critical for the next few steps.

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Day 2 Platforms/Channels

On Day 2, you’ll begin to come up with your mini strategy by choosing your desired media platforms and channels. You’ll use these selected platforms to reach your target audience with a compelling and meaningful message that will help you get more traffic to your website.

Yesterday, you spent some time researching and analyzing your target website visitors. Now, you’ll focus on where you’re going to find them. This step involves a lot of decision-making. You’ll need to consider how much time you have to get to know the platform, if it’s new to you, as well as whether or not you’ll need to hire outside help to make it work.

This step is impossible without fully knowing your target audience, so be sure you’ve done your home from Day 1. To help you really narrow down where to find your audience, think through these questions:

  • Where does your target audience share information?
  • What social media platforms are they most likely to use?
  • Do you have the budget for the most effective platforms?
  • Do you know how to use the platforms?

WHAT TO DO:

  • Choose 1-2 ideal social media platforms and/or media channels based on your target audience to focus on in the short term.
  • If you don’t already have accounts on those platforms, set up your accounts. Use high-quality logos and cover photos where applicable.

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Day 3 Prepare Your Site

After you’ve done some research and analysis on who you want visiting your website and where you’re going to reach them, it’s time to refresh and update your site so you’re ready to receive leads. Before you set out to get more website traffic, definitely make sure your website is ready for it.

Take a look at your site. Ask yourself the following questions as a way to test for readiness:

  • Does your website enable and encourage leads?
  • Is it clear where those who are interested in your product or service should go to find out more?
  • Are there distractions to clear up now?
  • Does the site load quickly on both a desktop/laptop and a mobile device?
  • Do all embedded forms (especially a contact form) work?

Few things are more disappointing than driving hundreds or thousands of new visitors to your website and getting very few – or no – leads. Your website needs to convert.

 

You’ll see from this plan that it’s easier to get more website traffic than you think, but if your website performs weakly and does not convert, you’ll have wasted time and effort.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Make sure your website is ready for increased traffic by answering the above questions honestly.
  • Minimize images to increase your site’s loading time and get rid of unnecessary scripts and fancy coding.
  • Test your contact form.
  • Have several people look at your website with a critical eye and tell you whether or not they would be enticed to contact you after visiting for the first time.

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DAY 4 PREP CONTENT

By Day 4, you’re ready to prepare content that will drive traffic to your website. Content marketing consistently ranks highly among effective ways to get more website traffic. That’s because people go online looking for content, and brands that give people what they want get the lion’s share of the business.

Read this: How to Improve Conversions with Smarter, Better Content

Your content plan depends largely on your industry and your ideal clients/customers. The objective here is to think about what you can share with them that would get them to go out of their way to go to your website and get it.

If your offering isn’t strong enough to get people to go out of their way, it won’t work. So really think about it. Here are some helpful questions to help you brainstorm:

  • Do you have a secret that your clients/customers would want to know?
  • Can you save people time by offering a new strategy or plan?
  • Could you save people money by offering a certain piece of advice?

Think through the most helpful thing you could offer that would make life easier, better, or more productive for your potential clients or customers.

Then, decide if you can share that one thing easily, perhaps in the form of a simple video, infographic, blog post, or guide/booklet.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Prepare your content to be shared later in the week. If necessary, hire someone to prepare it so that it is high-quality and attractive. Create a landing page for the content and an opt-in form people will need to fill out to access it (optional).
  • Also, prepare something to share daily for the next 3 days across the social media platforms you chose yesterday. The purpose of the shared content is to drive interested people back to your own site, so this should be a post, a video, a free download, or some other content that is located on your site. For the next 3 days, you’ll be focused on driving traffic to your own website and nowhere else.
  • (Optional) Draft a message to your email list telling them about the new piece of content you have and why they should go check it out. Your existing clients and people you know who may be future clients are an ideal source of traffic to your website, especially if you enable them to easily share it.

We also recommend creating linkable assets, which you can then leverage towards earning valuable backlinks. Check out our infographic on improving website ranking.

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Day 5 Press Release

On Day 5, you’re going to create and circulate a press release that discusses your awesome new piece of content, why it’s useful, and where to get it (which is on your website). This kind of promotion drives interested, free traffic back to your website and attracts third parties, as well. Press releases are useful tools in your online marketing toolbox if they are high-quality.

 

press release

WHAT TO DO:

  • First, share the content you planned to share across your social media channels and send to your email marketing list. You’ll see a boost of traffic to your site from those shares, provided they are actionable and interesting. Try to meet one of four criteria: shocking, funny, novel, or practical. If they are none of those things, go back to the drawing board.
  • Prepare, write, and submit a press release about your piece of newsworthy content. Connect with local news outlets and the editors of particular local magazines or news sources as it applies to your business.
  • (Optional) Use a press release submission service such as PRWeb.com for maximum exposure and traffic.

 

Alternatively, if your planned content is not high-quality or interesting enough, but you do have something else newsworthy to talk about, such as sale/discount, free gift, or scholarship announcement, use the press release to talk about that instead.

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Day 6 Advertise

On Day 6, it’s time to turn up the heat and get more website traffic using affordable paid ads through Google and Facebook. You’ll do two different things: boost a post on Facebook and publish a Google Ad. For simplicity and convenience, you’ll use the same awesome content you created on Day 4 as the topic for your boosted post and your Google ad.

For the boosted Facebook post, you will need to prepare a 200 to 300 word compelling message to accompany a link to the content on your site. You’ll also need to go back to Day 1 and make sure you have a target audience for your boosted post. You can boost a post for as little as $1 per day. The more you can spend, the more people will see your post.

For a step-by-step on creating a boosted post on Facebook, click here.

For the Google Ad, you’ll need to create content and research target keywords. Here’s a quick video on how to set up an ad with Google AdWords.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Start the day by sharing what you planned to share today across social media and your email list. Remember – it can even be just a simple tip. Try to keep it engaging, video works well.
  • Schedule a boosted Facebook post, with a custom audience tailored to one of your target audience segments. If you’re really ambitious, schedule a boosted post for each of your audience segments. In order to get more website traffic from your boosted post, it needs to be linked back to your site.
  • Publish the Google ad. Set a max daily budget you’re comfortable with. For now, you’ll only be running this ad for a brief period of time to send some targeted traffic to your website. So, the max daily budget can be higher than usual (just remember to pause your ad later!).

Keep the advertising going for as long as budget allows, and monitor it frequently. You may need to tweak ads that don’t perform well.

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Day 7 Give Some Advice

On the last day of the 7-day planner to get more website traffic, you’ll use a highly underrated content marketing strategy that, most likely, your competitors know nothing about!

Today, you’ll explore and make excellent use of advice and Q & A.

First, you’ll create a simple video that answers a VERY common question people have about your industry, product, or service. Remember – you’ll get more website traffic if you intentionally drive people back to your site for a particular reason. So put together something short and sweet to publish to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram (if you use it). Use any additional platforms, too, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, as long as your target audience also uses those platforms.

Second, you’ll explore and use the very popular Q & A site, Quora, to find questions related to your industry and answer them. Quora allows you to link to a URL in your answer, which is cool if you can make it appear authentic and not opportunistic. But if you can’t, you can link to your website in your own profile. If your answers are interesting enough, people will want to follow your website link to find out who you are (and how you got to be so smart)!

 

quora

WHAT TO DO:

  • Just like the previous two days, begin the day by sharing your planned content across your target social media channels and your email list. Your list won’t mind hearing from you daily IF what you have to say is totally relevant and interesting.
  • Create and circulate a simple video that answers a common, important question your target website visitors will have. Answer the question in the video, and invite them to learn more about your company (or to get a free consultation, free trial, free anything) back at your website. Put the URL prominently both in the video and in the text above it (on Facebook) and below it (on YouTube).
  • Go to Quora, explore, and answer at least one very popular question truthfully, interestingly, and with humor. The better your answer, the more likely people will be to dig deeper to find out more about you.

Note: Your byline in Quora is critically important. Think of a witty, interesting way to describe why you know what you know. Enter that as a one-liner byline. Make it mysterious enough for people to go to your profile and click your URL.

If you have questions about any of these strategies, please get in touch with us.


Pro Tip

Professional marketers use social listening tools to get great insight that helps them come up with buzz worthy content that will drive website traffic, as well as to find and join social conversations. Social Mention is a completely free tool that you can use for social listening – no signup needed.

social mention


Digital Marketing Myth Busted:

MYTH: Social media marketing doesn’t cost anything.

REALITY: Technically, social media is free for personal use. However, over the years, social media platforms have gotten clever about detecting promotional activity, making it more difficult for businesses to use it promote their brands organically. MOST brands who successfully incorporate social media into their strategies set aside a portion of the marketing budget for it. Content creation and curation, graphic design, writing, and even the management of a social media account can take time and money. Fortunately, social media marketing is still very inexpensive compared to traditional marketing channels such as television, radio, and print ads.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

THE TOP WORDPRESS PLUGINS THAT YOU SHOULD BE USING

A Few Of Our Favorite WordPress Plugins.

As an agency that specializes in building custom WordPress sites, we’ve been getting quite a few people asking about how to get more website traffichow to perform an SEO audit and more recently: what our favorite plugins are.

We recently wrote articles that addressed the first two and hopefully you’ve found them helpful, and now we are going to share our five Top WordPress Plugins, which by the way are all free!

Number 1 – WP Smush

Faster sites both rank and convert better, one of Google ranking factors is page speed.

One of the things that can slow down a site is file size, while high-res images are often a must, you don’t want to have your site weighed down needlessly.

Enter WP Smush, a superhero-themed plugin who’s mission is to “Smush the Internet”.

“WP Smush meticulously scans every image you upload – or have already added to your site – cuts all the unnecessary data and scales it for you before adding it to your media library.” It will also Smush all your existing media and if your site has a lot of images this will dramatically improve your load time.

Number 2 – Bulk Updater

This plugin goes hand in hand with WP Smush, but lesser known.

We love it and think it should be in every developer’s toolbox, it’ll save you from painstaking manually entering in image alt tags, titles, captions and descriptions.

Picture this, you’re building a site for a real estate agent, they have gallery upon gallery of featured property listings.

This could easily be several hundred photos, which will need to have Alt Tags added to ensure you don’t end up with any crawl errors.

Big Commerce explains what Alt Tags are and their importance for search engines in their article here. To summarize their post, search engines cannot interpret images, and alt tags provide the text that can be read by search engines so they can determine the content of the page.

For more information on what SEO elements are critical when optimizing your site, check out our article on the 13 Most Important On-Page SEO Factors.

What Bulk Updater plugin does is it will automatically input all the information from the image tags when you upload them or you can run a bulk session on existing photos.

This will save you a ton of time. Pro Tip: Alt Tags are especially important on websites or pages that are image heavy and light on text, you want to make sure search engines can get an understanding as to what the page is about and how to index/rank it.

Number 3 – Insert Headers & Footers

Another plugin that is a great time-saving tool, time is money as they say.

Insert Headers & Footers does just that, it allows you to quickly input snippets of code into the header and or footer on all pages.

If for example, you need to place in Google Analytics tag code, you simply install the plugin, activate it and paste in the code.

Number 4 – Updraft Backup

Okay, so this one is pretty popular, but we feel it should get a mention, for new web designers and developers this should be your go-to site back up plugin. Brands such as Forbes, NBA, WPBeginner and even GoDaddy trust it’s powerful platform to reliably backup their sites.

Note: if hosting on a platform like WP Engine (which we do) you don’t need a backup plugins or cache plugins, their robust solution takes care of all these factors.

Number  5 – Advanced Custom Fields

This plugin from developer Elliot Condon allows you to add customized fields to any page with just a few clicks. Elliot has done an outstanding job with this plugin, devoting over two years to its design and development and it shows.

You can create complex fields with ACF’s user-friendly interface, you can use it anywhere on a site and it unlocks a lot of missed potential found in WP’s default custom field platform.

It’s so easy that your clients will be able to use it in the dashboard to edit their fields quickly to align with the needs of their business.

One Plugin We Recommend You Don’t Use (or use with caution)!

Unless you are an experienced developer we strongly advise you to not use AUTOPTIMIZE. In an effort to speed up your site and fix flags found in Google PageSpeed Tools, like “Minify Your JavaScript” you may be inclined to turn to a plugin to perform this task for you.

If you are experienced than proceed with caution and follow this guide from Medaivine that goes through the step by step on how to use it.

If you don’t pay attention to the proper method to use this plugin you can end up with some serious issues with your WordPress site.

That’s a wrap, our Top 5 WordPress Plugins! The ones we shared will save you and your end users time. If you’ve got a plugin you think would be helpful to us or our blog readers, please leave us a comment and share your favorites.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

HOW TO INTERPRET WEB METRICS. SIMPLE EASY TO FOLLOW GUIDE

Web Metrics Made Easy, We Breakdown The In’s and Outs.

This is part 7 of our 7 part series on Website Design Optimization. We hope you’ve found it valuable and have achieved greater results!

Optimizing your website is more of a continuous process than a one time deal. You should always do this one thing: make decisions based on data from the website metrics you are tracking. Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to interpret web metrics correctly, you may be at a disadvantage.

In our last article, we covered What The Most Important Web Metrics Are & Which Should You Be Tracking.

The good news is that the strategy for interpreting web metrics is extremely simple. Every step in the optimizing process should look like this:

1. Analyze what’s working

2. Analyze what’s not working

3. Make changes/adjustments

Do more of what’s working, and do less of what’s not working (or make serious adjustments to eliminate errors and missteps). It could mean blogging more, or blogging less. Or creating new landing pages, or changing the ones that are there.

Web metrics tell us almost everything we need to know about what’s working and not working. That’s why measuring and tracking behavior and data is so important. It’s also why learning how to interpret web metrics is a necessary step in website optimization.

You might also discover that you should ramp up your social media activity because the little bit you’re doing is working. Or, perhaps the tons of time you’re spending on social media isn’t amounting to anything at all.

Here’s the point: you won’t know what to do next unless you know the numbers – and what they mean. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the following:

1. A quick recap of which metrics you should be looking at

2. How to interpret those metrics

3. Avoid misinterpreting the data or making bad assumptions

4. How to make adjustments based on the data

OPTIMIZING YOUR WEBSITE FOR RESULTS

Quick Recap: Which Metrics Matter Most?

Many business owners get as far as implementing a tracking system like Google Analytics (GA) to track their website metrics. But that’s usually where the work ends. Once the system is implemented, far too many people fail to go back and look at the data and really interpret it.

But I can see why that happens. There’s so much information available in a tool like GA that a lot of people don’t even know where to start – or where to find the data they’re looking for.

The best way to make it simple is to come back to focusing only on the metrics that matter most, which we recently talked about in Part 6 of the 7 part series on website optimization.

To recap, you should be tracking the following metrics for SEO:

  • Referral Sources (Where the traffic is coming from? How much is coming from search engines?)
  • Referral Share (Which search engines are sending the most traffic?)
  • Top Queries (Which keywords are sending the most traffic?)
  • Popular Pages (Which pages are getting the most search engine traffic?)

You should also be tracking these things for conversion performance:

  • Exit Pages (Where are people leaving your site most often?)
  • Landing Pages (Which pages are the ones people get to first? – It’s not always the home page)
  • Loading Time (How long does it take your website or pages to load?)
  • Session Duration (How long are people sticking around? Be careful about this one, though.)

Truthfully, you should track even more metrics than these, but these are most important.

How To Interpret The Metrics For Optimizing Your Website

First, interpret each metric by comparing the data against your goals. For example, if most of your traffic comes from social and not search, but you set out to have mostly search engine traffic, something’s off. Or, if in January, you only had 12% traffic from search engines but you wanted to increase that to 40% by May, and it’s June now and you’re still teetering at 12%, something’s off.

Then, decide what needs an adjustment so that you can reach your goals.

In a nutshell, that’s how you interpret metrics for optimizing your website. Interpretation just means asking yourself what the data means, and how you should react to it.

Use your data as a compass to tell you where to go next. But before you do, make sure you understand what it’s saying.

Don’t Misinterpret The Data Or Make Poor Assumptions

Learning about how to interpret web metrics includes how NOT to interpret them. Misinterpreting the data could lead to huge problems if you take action based on a misunderstanding. Take session duration (time on site/page), for example.

Session Duration is a confusing metric people don’t really understand.  It starts when someone opens the first page on your site and ends when they open the last page on your site. That means that it doesn’t include the amount of time spent on the last page of your site. (See this helpful article on Session Duration misunderstandings).

Is it likely or unlikely that someone spent awhile on the last page of your site before leaving? The answer depends on what the last page was, if they took any action on it, and what other data tells you!

Time On Page is also somewhat flawed, because the time on page for the last page someone views is always going to be “0” with Google Analytics.

The point is to not look at each metric in isolation, but to use the data to create a picture that answers your broader questions. Are your larger goals being reached or not?

Optimizing Your Website By Making Adjustments Based On Data

As stated earlier, consider the data from your analytics tool a compass that helps you choose which changes to make, if any. When optimizing your website based on actual data you can see and interpret, you make better decisions.

For example, you can dramatically improve conversions by making a design change to a very popular blog post that is now becoming a landing page for you. At the top of that page, you could add a call to action, or add helpful video (a very effective conversion tool).

If you know which pages are most popular – and the keywords that are driving them there – you can test the loading time, revise the copy for impact, and pay a lot more attention to that page going forward.

Typical adjustments include:

  • Improving loading time: This is critical for your top landing pages.
  • Revising or adding CTA’s: If a page is getting a lot of traction, make sure you really put some effort into the right call to action.
  • Redesigning landing pages: Improve conversions by redesigning or using an A/B test on a popular landing page. This is one way of optimizing your website for conversions that is foolproof. Take a page that’s popular and design at least two different versions of it. Then using an A/B test, decide which design does a better of converting traffic.
  • Adding more content: If you discover that most users bounce around all the pages of your site, you might want to add more content. It could be that they leave because there’s nothing else to see or your content didn’t give them any reason to stay.
  • Rethinking your PPC or social media strategy: While we’ve focused primarily on search traffic in this article, analytics also tells you how effective your PPC or social media strategies are.

Conclusion

When you think about optimizing and re-optimizing your website for maximum traffic and conversions, always come back to the analytics. Not only does the data tell you what to do next, based on your goals, but continuously looking back at the data helps you figure out if you’re even tracking all that you need to track.

On the flip side, not factoring in the metrics from your analytics tools always has consequences. You could potentially waste money doing things that are unnecessary. Or worse, you could cut off a source of quality traffic without realizing it. It’s certainly possible to accidentally break a funnel that was working just fine if you don’t use data as your starting point. Don’t be that guy! Make it a habit to look at your data first and use it as your guide.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

WHAT WEB METRICS SHOULD YOU BE TRACKING AND WHAT TOOLS ARE BEST

 

Our Quick Guide On Web Metrics & How To Get Them Working For You.

This is part 6 of our 7 part series on Website Design Optimization.

One of the very first things you should do with your new website is set up a tracking system. That way, you’ll be able to tell how well your site is performing against the goals you created. But what are the most important web metrics? Which ones should you care about, and how should they be tracked?

As we mentioned in our Website Design Optimization 101 guide, you should definitely be tracking your website traffic and all of the data around those visits to your site. But not all website analytics tools are equal.

In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper to help you understand the following:

  • What are the most important web metrics to track?
  • What tools should you be using the track the metrics?

In the next post in this series, we’ll cover what to do with that data and how to really use it to continue to optimize your site. So make sure you subscribe to our blog so that you can get the update.

In addition to our Website Optimization 101 article covering 10 basic steps to getting more traffic and conversions, One & Zero offers a completely Free Site Audit.

We’ll take a look at what’s working and what’s not working, and offer some suggestions. Just contact us at info@onezeronyc.com and ask for the Free Site Audit to get started.

What Are The Most Important Web Metrics?

If you’ve ever sat down in front of Google Analytics first time and had your mind blown at all of the data available to you, you’re not alone. Everyone is like that the first time they get a hint at what a very robust web analytics tool can do, and what it can track.

You’ll find that good tools track tons of information. But the only way to make sense of it all is by breaking everything down into manageable sizes. Too much information that you don’t understand is just going to overwhelm you.

Instead, you should approach it differently and think of the most important web metrics as those that tell you how your site is performing against the goals that you have for it. That’s it. Everything else is noise. Or, it can be useful but only as secondary information to the primary things you want to know.

In other words,

  • What do you need to find out in order to know if your site is performing well?
  • How will you know if your goals are being reached?
  • What kind of data would tell you that?
  • We’ll cover two primary groups of metrics in this article, though there are many, many more than this. This first set are metrics that measure SEO performance, and the second set are metrics that measure how well your site converts visitors into leads or customers.

Metrics That Measure SEO Performance

In all likelihood, you want to know if your site is getting any traffic from search engines, and how much. Most small business owners want traffic from search engines, and this is why there’s so much focus on search engine optimization (what we call search experience optimization).

Experts at Moz.com discuss a number of things that are the most important web metrics for measuring SEO performance.

You should measure:

  • REFERRAL SHARE: How much of your traffic is coming from search engines
  • REFERRING ENGINES: Which search engines are sending the most traffic
  • TOP QUERIES: What keywords are generating the most traffic (also, whether or not your target keywords are generating any traffic at all)
  • TOP PAGES: Which pages are getting traffic from search engines (According to Moz: “From this number, we can get a glimpse into indexation—the number of pages from our site the engines are keeping in their indexes.”)

Those metrics will give you a better picture of how well your search experience optimization is working. But tracking conversion metrics looks a little different and uses different metrics.

Metrics That Measure Conversion Performance

You measure conversion differently than SEO, because SEO helps your target audience find your site, while conversion ensures they become leads and customers.

Your site can be doing much better in SEO than in conversion, or vice versa. But what you want is a balance – you want both to be working well for you.

Ultimately, you need quality traffic that results in conversions. A site that gets great traffic but cannot convert is just as bad a site that gets no traffic to convert in the first place.

Based on expert advice from OptinMonster, a company that develops conversion plugins, you should take into consideration some additional metrics, like:

  • Exit Pages: From which pages are people most often leaving your site?
  • Landing Pages: What are the most common landing pages and their related metrics?
  • Loading Time: Your site’s load time and the load time of certain pages
  • Session Duration: The amount of time your audience spends on the site or a page, particularly your target audience.

What Are The Best Tools For Tracking Website Metrics

Everyone in the SEO business is pretty much aligned on this one thing: for tracking the most important web metrics for SEO and conversions, the best tool out there is Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is free, easy to implement, and there are multiple tools out there that will take the data from Google Analytics and show in simpler ways if the raw data is too difficult to understand.

While Google Analytics tracks all of the metrics mentioned above, there are some other tools you really need to use and have.

Google Search Console is becoming a major player in SEO, as it helps website owners understand how much of their site is being indexed, any issues with crawling or indexing, site links, and managing XML sitemaps.

See Search Engine Land’s, “SEO’s Guide to Google Search Console” and you’ll understand just how powerful a tool it is. It’s like Google Analytics, but for your sitemap. You need to track errors (especially things like “Error 404: Page Not Found”) so that your site is kept free and clear of issues that would impact search engine traffic.

Conclusion

Your best bet is to know what’s important to you to track right from the start. That’s how you get to know the most important web metrics to track and the tools to track them.

As we’ve talked about before, here at One & Zero, everything we do is strategic and with intent.

Websites should never just be built, they should be purposefully designed and developed from the ground up.

It doesn’t make sense to build a website with a specific purpose and then neglect to track metrics in order to see if the website is doing its job.

Like an annual performance evaluation, website analytics tools tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about what’s going on with your online marketing.

Except, you don’t do it once a year. You regularly check in and make adjustments along the way, and that’s how you ensure your website stays optimized 100% of the time.

Need help? If website analytics and tracking metrics were easy, everyone would be doing it right all the time, and they’re not. One & Zero’s mission is to optimize your search experience for maximum results. Contact us today for a free site audit or to request a quote.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

ON-PAGE SEO: THE 13 MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS

Our Quick Guide Of The Key Tactics That Will Improve Your Website Ranking.

This is Part 4 of 7 in our series on Website Design Optimization. Subscribe to receive updates on the latest news from 1&0.

You probably hear people talking about on-page SEO all the time. It’s the first thing that comes to mind after keyword. But what does it really mean, and what does it require?

Unlike a Reese’s peanut butter cup, where there’s no wrong way to eat it, there really is a wrong way to approach on-page Search Engine Optimization. In fact, there are plenty of wrong ways to approach it. But there’s no point in focusing too much on what not to do when we can lay out for you a list of things you need to do.

On-page SEO has to do with the way search engine algorithms see and understand a web page, primarily. Pages with great SEO have the potential to get ranked higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for the right searches.

Each page on a website can be optimized, so it’s not only about optimizing your site once and then forgetting about it. Every new page or post that is published on your site has the potential to be shown in a list of search results to your target clients or customers.

Since there is actually a right way to go about optimizing web pages, we want to cover it here. This article covers the top 13 factors of on-page SEO and why they’re important.

#1 SEO technical audit

#2 Keywords in the first 100 words

#3 Optimized titles, URLs, and subheaders

#4 Optimized images

#5 Meta tags

#6 High word count

#7 Responsive design

#8 Fast site speed

#9 Outbound and inbound links

#10 XML sitemaps

#11 Search engine friendly content

#12 Crawlable links

#13 Strategic user experience

THE 13 MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS OF ON-PAGE SEO.ON-PAGE SEO IMPORTANT FACTORS

SEO Technical Audit

Good on-page SEO starts with the technical audit. The technical audit looks at the elements of a webpage that influence its ability to be effectively crawled and indexed by search engines.

We will go into greater detail on some of these further in this article.

To complete a technical audit, you will review at least the following: metadata, xml & html sitemaps, robots.txt, the URL structure, protocol, canonical content, and site speed.

Keywords In The First 100 Words

Where you put keywords matters when it comes to on-page SEO.

Include the page’s keywords in the first 100 words. The reason this is so specific is that the first 100 words are usually what can be seen before the reader has to start scrolling.

In journalism, this is called “above the fold.” The website design world has adopted the above the fold terminology, but what’s meant by it is within the first 100 words.

This is the part of the page that determines what it is about.

Optimized Titles, URLs and Subheaders

Let’s break this one down into parts.

TITLES – Titles are arguably the most important, visible on-page SEO element. The title tells search engines AND visitors what the page is about. Not only does the title need to include a keyword or phrase, but it also needs to be compelling. Use a modifier, like the word “most” that’s in the title on this page, to enhance the title. The title should also always be wrapped in an <h1> tag.

URLs – Your URL should be memorable and contain the primary keyword for that page. Keep it short and on topic.

SUBHEADERS – Use subheadings on your page, wrapped in the <h2> tag, to reinforce what your page is about and also to make the content easier to scan and read.

Optimized Images

Always give images a title and alt-text data. Generally, it’s okay for the image title and alt-text to be the same.

Ideally, the title of the first (or only) image on a page should match the primary keyword or the title of the page itself. It’s also a good on-page SEO practice to include images or other multimedia as often as you can.

Additionally, make sure the image’s file name references the keyword, if possible.

Meta Tags

Here is a breakdown of the meta tags that matter:

TITLE TAGS – This is what users see in search engines. Keep it under 60 words and make it compelling and relevant. Include keywords, ideally at the beginning.

META DESCRIPTION – You can get creative here, but the description should still include your keyword(s). This is also shown in search engines and users rely on it to determine if the page is what they are looking for.

The meta description may not impact the ranking of a page, but it does greatly impact whether or not someone clicks on your link.

High Word Count

In general, pages with more words do better than pages that are short in terms of on-page SEO. There is no golden word count, and the content has to be relevant. Shoot for content that is 1,200 words or longer.

Responsive Design

Because many people use mobile phones for search, search engines take into consideration whether or not a page is mobile-friendly.

It used to be that skilled website designers would design two sites: a desktop site and a mobile site. Now, it’s a best practice to create a responsive design, which is a design that renders properly on either a desktop or mobile device.

Fast Site Speed

Site speed factors into on-page SEO. A site that has a lot of complex code is going to load really slowly. Sign up for Google Page Speed to optimize your loading time. Keep the load time within just a few seconds.

Outbound and Internal Links

Don’t be afraid to use outbound links. For optimal on-page SEO, you have to use them. If you’re concerned people will leave your site, have the links open a new tab.

Link to authority content that is relevant, and make sure to ‘follow’ the link. Use ‘nofollow’ for links in blog comments or potentially suspect or spammy links.

Inbound links are useful, too and essential for on-page SEO. The more content you publish on your site, the more opportunities you will have to create internal links.

XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps tell search engines what they will find on your site. They also lay out a path the crawlers to follow.

First of all, if you don’t have an XML sitemap, you’re setting your site back in a major way. Creating a sitemap is easy.

If your website is built on WordPress, there are plugins for it. If not, Google has posted a list of sitemap generators.

Once you’ve created your sitemap, submit it to the major search engines. Keep the sitemap up-to-date.

Search Engine Friendly Content

Remember when Flash-based websites were so popular? Gone are those days. One of the biggest reasons it’s so rare to come across a Flash website is because it’s not search engine friendly.

Avoid using too much Flash or other elements that search engines can’t read.

The same goes for putting all of your text into a large image and posting that instead of actual text. Search engines can’t read the text on an image.

Crawlable Links

This is one of those very technical on-page SEO elements that can easily get missed. You can inadvertently tell search engines not to crawl or index certain pages, which is an easy way to NOT show up in SERPs.

One way is forgetting the sitemap, as we talked about earlier. Another way is to tell the search engines not to index your site or pages within it.

That doesn’t mean they won’t get indexed, and sometimes it’s even advisable to not allow certain pages or files to be indexed. Still, you should know what is happening and why.

Conclusion

Want an optimized page? Craft and publish really great content for the people who will visit the page, and lay the page out in a way that helps them engage with it.

Sometimes, this important message gets lost in translation because of all of the other important SEO factors. Never lose sight of the point, which is an awesome user experience.

Images, videos, title tags, subheaders, long content, links, etc. – these are not just boxes you check off when you’re done adding them.

The reason search engines value these things is because when they’re present, people stay longer on the page, link to it, share it, and interact with it on social media.

The worldwide web then becomes richer and more usable, and everyone benefits.

When visitors engage with web pages, search engines see them as valuable. If your only goal is to rank high in search engines, you’ve lost the plot.

A high ranking is only one part of the equation.

What happens after someone gets to your page is the most important thing. Optimize for that, too, so that the rest can fall into place. For a highly detailed report about On-Page Search Engine Optimization from our friends at Ahrefs.

On-page SEO is one of the most important parts of website design optimization. Let us help you get it right. Contact One & Zero today to learn more about what we can do for you.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.

OUR TOP 5 EFFECTIVE WEBSITE DESIGN OPTIMIZATION TIPS

How To Optimize Your Website For Search, Easily & Effectively.

This is part 3 of 7 in our series on providing our Top 5 Website Design Optimization Tips. Subscribe to receive our latest news and updates.

strategy is an actionable plan for reaching your goals. Strategy answers the question, “How are you going to do that?” In website design optimization, your strategy should be focused and specific.

Think through your target clients and customers. The strategy you come up with is based on the research that you’ve gathered.

If you’ve researched well enough, you should know the keyword concepts for your website and have brand and competitive analysis you can use.

Think of website design optimization strategy as what you do after you have come up with some goals for your website and defined your ideal visitor. Imagine you are playing a game of Chess and there are multiple moves you can make.

Which one will be the best one? The answer to that is going to depend on a lot of factors. Some moves will be better than others. Some moves will be game changers, either for better or for worse.

In Chess, if you’re good at it, you don’t just make moves and hope for the best. You keep in mind the desired outcome, and then map out a series of moves, including trade-offs, that get you to where you want to go.

It’s the same with website design optimization strategy.

You already have a goal – or a vision – for your website. You already know who you want to reach. And you know what keyword themes you want to focus on. You can also prepare for your website project with a design sprint, check out our complete guide to performing a design sprint.

Now, it’s time to think about how you plan to accomplish all of this.

In this article, we’ll cover the following topics:

  1.  Strategy vs. tactics
  2. The 5 Elements of an Effective Strategy

STRATEGY VS. TACTICS

First, it’s important to separate strategy from tactics. A strategy is a plan, or an approach. A tactic, on the other hand, is a task. Strategy informs the tasks.

In other words, the strategy creates the framework for the tasks. Many business owners think about website design as a set of tasks, and forget to think through strategies.

The reason that tasks, such as “start a blog” or “put up a link to my Facebook page,” aren’t sufficient strategies is because they are not tied to outcomes or any rationale.

What will setting up a blog do for your specific business? Does linking to a Facebook page make sense? If you don’t know the answer to those questions, you should wait until you do. The process of figuring out the answers to that question is strategic planning.

THE 5 ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE STRATEGY

Objective and Keyword Themes

Start with the objective. How do you want your target clients and customers to interact with your website? What do you want your website to do for them?

What should the website accomplish? Another way to think of the objective is the end goal. Why are you building or optimizing a website to begin with?

As for your keyword themes, how will they help you attract customers? Consider if the keyword ideas you’ve come up with will attract the right people – based on your objective – to your website.

If your objective is to build a list of prospective customers, your keyword concepts might be different than if your objective is to sell a certain amount of a particular product.

Digital Strategy

Next, incorporate the research about your target clients, your brand analysis, and the competitive analysis that you’ve already gathered. Use this information to determine how you plan to use the website as part of your business model.

Digital strategy is really about how technology will support your objective.

Digital strategy is going to be different for every business. It sounds technical and complex, but it can be made simple through brainstorming.

Think about the technology that needs to be in place in order to facilitate the buying process or run the business. What platform should the website be built on, and why?

Does the website need to have an ordering system? How does mobile fit into the picture? Should there be a click to call feature? How will the audience view the content?

The key here is to be discerning and focused. Resist the urge to do it all.

Strategy is just as much about what not to do as it is about what to do.

Read our article on how to perform research to form your website design optimization strategy.

Content Mapping

Content mapping is about making sure you have appropriate content for your target customers, based on where they are in the buying process.

This is about meeting customers where they are at. Someone who is still just discovering that they have a need to fill (discovery phase) needs to be shown content that helps them learn more about their problem and the potential solution.

On the flip side, your target customer might be someone who is already ready to buy.

Why does content mapping matter? Because, for effective optimization, you have to have content that is appropriate for various buying stages.

Someone who is ready to buy doesn’t need a lot of reference information such as blog posts or white papers. Free trials, discounts, or free estimates are more suitable in that stage.

Someone who’s looking for the difference between single pane and double pane windows, for example, isn’t ready for you to come to their home for a new window consultation. They’re still in the discovery phase.

Ideally, your optimization strategy includes content mapping for customers at all stages: discovery/awareness, evaluation, purchase, and post-purchase. Map the content you plan to have to each of the stages. A visual content map can be a helpful tool, this article from The Moz blog is an oldie but a goodie.

Online Sales Funnel

The online sales funnel is the set of exact steps that convert prospects into leads, and then leads into customers. On your website, this is the path people will take to ultimately do business with you.

Not everyone who comes to your website will eventually be a customer. The funnel starts out wide and gets narrower at every step.

  • Step one is usually landing on your website. Hopefully, you’ve done through all of the previous steps and are able to successfully determine ahead of time where most of your traffic will land. If that happens to be your homepage, consider what needs to be there in order to convince your prospects to take the next step.
  • Step two is going to depend largely on your specific path from prospect to lead to customer, but it always involves asking the visitor to take some sort of action – even a small one (like clicking a link). The same is true of all of the other steps in the funnel. They always involve influencing the visitor/prospect/lead to take an action and continue their relationship with your business.

Web Build Strategy

This is the last element of the website design optimization strategy. It involves coming up with a strategy to build out the website. Strategic design, when done well, is natural.

The website should make sense based on your target audience, what you want them to do, and how you will measure the actual outcomes against the intended outcomes.

Conclusion

We hope that you’ve found these website design optimization tips helpful. The most difficult part about strategy is making hard decisions. It’s human nature to want to do everything.

At the same time, it’s natural to be resistant to settling on a particular strategy, wondering whether or not another strategy would be better.

No one wants to miss out, or choose the wrong path. But to be successful, you have to make some decisions, and know and own the trade-offs that come with them. Plan smart moves based on data and insights. If the outcome is less than desirable, tweak the strategy and keep going.

One & Zero Digital Agency

One & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.