fbpx
 
 

When a customer wants to know more about your business, one of the most common things they will do is search for your business on Google. Or, if someone is searching Google with an intent to find out more about a certain product or service that you offer, hopefully, they’ll come across your website.

In this episode, I pick the brains of Ollie Brooke, website developer and founder of Cloud Concepts.

Ollie has been helping small business owners build websites for years and honestly, the topic of websites is so huge we could publish a whole season of content specifically about this topic. And also, the importance of having a good website for your business can sometimes quite frankly be a bit overlooked!

So in this episode, I ask Ollie to explain the definition of a good website. And what are some of the biggest mistakes that he sees small business owners make with their website? What strategic considerations do we need to think about? And how do we measure if our website is performing in a way that adds value to our business?

Join in the conversation about all things marketing in the How to do Marketing Facebook Group.


Episode Transcript:

Jane:

So Ollie, tell us about your super power. Tell us why listeners should pay attention to what you have to say today.

Ollie:

I have a number of superpowers, but I suppose the one that makes most sense here is that I think over the years I’ve worked out that my superpower is figuring things out. So as a kid I used to like taking things apart just to figure out how they worked. And I used to love playing with technic Lego and imagining things and then building them. And the same process applies, but writing code and with strategically building a business is figuring out exactly why things operate the way they operate, and how they do it. I guess it’s that kind of, how did you seek first to understand. That sort of underpins everything. The more deeply you can understand something, the more effectively you can work with it. So I guess figuring out is my main skill that I bring on all of this sort of stuff.

Jane:

So then how does that figuring out, transcribe to building a website. So say coding is obviously something that’s pretty foreign to anyone who’s not a coder or a left brain analytical, techie person. Yeah. So that kind of analysis or that technical side. What are you figuring out with your coding? Like what’s going behind the scenes when we’re talking about the coding is obviously something that sits behind everybody’s website. So talk us through that.

Ollie:

Well, I mean largely speaking people are paying me to code, so that’s sort of a matter of skill. But in terms of what I’ve done, what I’m endeavouring to do and continuing to do, which is a never ending process, is figure out how to build the most effective websites that I can build. And so staging that as my goal of the thing that I want to figure out. Everything I read and everything I take in and everything I do is subservient to that goal.

Jane:

Okay. So say for example, if a small business comes to you and says, I need a website what’s the process of figuring out that you do, to make sure that you do give them that best practice website for their business?

Ollie:

One of the questions, and I very rarely ask this question directly to the client, but the question is do you in fact need a website? And let’s assume you do need a website, why do you need a website? What is it that you think you want your website to do? And at least then I know roughly what their outcomes are that they want. And I can use that, I can then triangulate where they think they need to be versus where they are versus where I think they should be. So it depends on the context of the client as well. Like a small business client is a very broad type of client. So whether they want to be selling product online or whether they want to be getting calls through their website or whether they want to rank number one on Google for a particular set of search terms whether they want just a refresh of a website or just something to say, you know, content for them because it’s an online business card sort of a thing or whether they want to blog or whatever it is. So it’s a matter of figuring out, well, what kind of a business are you running? Who are your clients? What is it that you need your clients to discover on your website about you in order to push them closer to giving you that call or getting in touch.

Jane:

Yeah. And that’s a nice segue into my next question, which is really to ask you, what are some of the strategic considerations that small businesses, and I completely understand what you mean in terms of small businesses are in every industry that you can imagine. But in terms of just say I guess a smaller business with a smaller budget versus, a corporate or a medium sized business where perhaps they have a budget to build a behemoth of a machine that is their website, but for smaller businesses with smaller budgets, what are some of the strategic considerations? So you’ve touched on, what is it that you’re trying to do with your website? Who is it that you’re trying to actually get to interact with your website and what is it that you want those people to do and those questions that businesses can easily answer when you ask them that. Like, do people know the answer to that? When you ask those questions.

Ollie:

Often they don’t. And if I had to consider another secondary super power it would be empathy. I think that like, say if I want something to look a particular way, I’m not a visual designer. I’m not a graphic designer, but in my mind’s eye, I know what the finished product looks like and I’ll know it when I see it. And I think that’s the case for most small business owners. They know what they’re doing in terms of running their business. They don’t really know or fully understand how a website intersects with everything else that they do. So one of the thought experiments is where you have a business owner, maybe they don’t need to pay someone like me or anyone else to build their website because they can do it on Squarespace or Wix or any of these platforms. And that’s fine. But that assumes that they have the time, it also assumes that they know how to articulate what it is that they do in a in an optimal way.

I see there are a few golden rules with websites in terms of how you structure them and what you should and shouldn’t do. And you see them breached, but people just don’t know they’re breaching them. So they’re are lots of reasons that a small business owner shouldn’t necessarily build their own website, but then the trick for a web developer or not the trick, but the field for web developer and perhaps this is what separates some development agencies from others, is that more than just physically building a website from HTML, which is a pretty narrow skillset. Yeah. Understand what to build and why to build it. So I don’t think that the small business owner really understands, broadly what the point of the website is at all. Yeah. So it’s just to sort of walk them through that.

The model that I have adopted after significant consideration is that there are three types of users who will visit your website, right. People who are already your customers and they just want your contact information. They might need your phone number quickly or to get your address or to send you a message through your website or your email or whatever. Yeah. Easy to take care of. We just have a contact us very prominently displayed and that’s job done for them. Then there are the groups of people, who are people who have been referred to you by your existing clients. Yeah. They’re really almost already buying. Yeah. We just need to convince them that you can do what it is they’ve been told you can do. Yeah. And then the third group of people who may need your products or services now or sometime in the future, but they have no previous interaction or  exposure to you or your brand. And they’re the harder ones to get over the line.

Jane:

That’s right.

Ollie:

But you have to build a website in a way that it takes care of all three of those people’s needs simultaneously, very cohesively and very succinctly. Because you know what? While on the one hand, it’s easy to convert the people who are already your clients. You don’t want to ignore the fact that you need to be speaking to them, in favor of speaking to the people who you might have as clients in the future. So it’s a balancing act between making sure that what you’re delivering is a singular message that works for all three of those target audiences.

Jane:

Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And I think certainly in my experience, I would do it myself. I’m guilty of it. We’re all really guilty of I guess not understanding that new people to our business, even existing customers to our business, not understanding that they don’t have the full context about what we are trying to do and how we are trying to help them. And because we know so much about our business, we know everything, particularly a business owner, you know your business inside out, it’s sometimes really easy to forget when you’re writing copy or when you’re designing a series of pages for the website? It’s easy to forget that people don’t know what you know. And I think that’s a really good point in terms of, sometimes when business owners are actually going down the process of going, okay, well I need a new website, they have that unconscious incompetency where they just don’t know what they don’t know. They know they kind of need to and I say need in quotation marks that they need to have a website. And they have a general idea of what should be on their website because they’ve visited a bunch of other websites. So they know there should be a homepage. They know there should be a button that says contact us and the page that shows the address and a page that talks about us, et cetera. But as you said it’s actually layering that kind of foundation information with the more nuanced yes, but you know, how is this business going to work for you? So in terms of,  if a business is at the point where they’ve got a little bit of extra time because we are recording this episode during the crisis of COVID-19 and there are lots of small business owners who might have the time to actually rethink their website. If that is the case from the strategic planning and the strategic considerations, what are some of the questions that they could start asking themselves now or start looking at before they actually go and engage their web developer and copywriter and graphic designer?

Ollie:

I think one of the things to think about, and I struggled to do this myself. It’s easy for me to give this direction to other people, but it’s harder to apply internally, is what is it about your business that your existing customers really value? Like I don’t think that there’s anything particularly special about the finished product that I deliver. I think it’s almost like a bottle of wine. I would challenge many people to tell the difference just on a taste test between the $30 bottle of wine and a $200 bottle of wine. Yeah. Like there’s really marginal differences between the two. So then if it’s not the quality of the product that people are buying, what people value, then what is it? And that to me then forms the foundation of where you begin your conversation with those people who don’t yet understand that you know more than just building you a website, which you could do for free yourself on Wix or on Square Space.

As I said, it’s more about, what are the other things that they’re actually valuing? It’s the relationship. It’s my ability to articulate relatively complex concepts in relatively simple, easy to understand terms. It’s the ongoing support. It’s the can do attitude and nothing is too hard. It’s the flat rate billing, the trying to spruik my service as a whatever. It’s all of these sorts of other things that set the bar. And I had a conversation with an existing client who’s sort of been, not pivoting our business, but adding in an additional service through some personal experience that she’s had given her the option or the ability to deliver an additional range of services. And so she’s talking to me about this over the phone and we’re having a conversation and as she’s speaking out loud to the person who she’s hoping will be able to articulate this message more clearly than she is to me, this conversation that really is where the value is happening and where I’m building the value and the trust with the client, it’s like, okay, this person gets what I’m trying to articulate and they’re saying back to me in ways that I hadn’t considered et cetera.

But actually during the course of that conversation, the concept of which is a marketing, I think it’s a copywriting and sales concept of problem, agitate solution. Yeah. You identify the user’s problem, you agitate it a little bit. And then you provide a solution. So you’re speaking the person’s language, they’re identifying as your target audience and then they see that, yeah, you can help then with this problem. So they immediately form some kind of bond. I don’t know how deep the bond is, but it’s like someone gets it. These guys can understand.

Jane:

So rather than your website, so in the case of your example, rather than your website be a commodity, and we could call websites a commodity. Like there are millions, billions, probably websites out there. For you, it’s going beyond that and going, well, I’m not just going to create a website that shows that I, you know, create websites. My website has to be about demonstrating the value and in this case, the value of the relationship and the conversations. And I guess the transcription of a client coming to me and going, well, I think I want this and this and this. And then me knowing and in me knowing, I mean you knowing then technically how to then be able to interpret that into a product. So I guess the benefit is the relief I guess and the comfort that that person gets when they come to you and they have that conversation and they know that their website’s going to be all like, Hey, as opposed to, yeah, just knock me up a website. Is that right?

Ollie:

Yeah. And in theory, that seems to me to be the main thing that people value. And when I look at the reviews that I get on Google and the testimonials I get sent through, it’s always about how easy I am to work with and all of this sort of stuff. But the difficulty is how you articulate something that’s like that. That’s such a personal, subjective experience in a general way, without coming across as being salesy or ingenuous or contrived. I put myself up and said welcome to my web, wonderful world of website support where we give you virtual hugs and hold your hand. And like, I don’t feel like many small business owners are up for that.

Jane:

But you do actually give the virtual hugs and endless support and love down the phone. Well obviously a key way to communicate that to people is to have other people say it for you. So you know, integration of review sites that sit within your website would be, I imagine a great solution for that so that you’re not the one that has to be going, yep, we’re awesome. We’re so easy to get along with, we can interpret your brief, we can deliver what you need technically and we’ll give you lots of support because all of your reviews are saying that for you. So then in terms of an action for people to take away from this before you go and see your web developer understand what value it is that your small business gives above and beyond the features of your service. So your service might be a restaurant, it might be a truck company, it could be a furniture shop, it could be a financial planning organisation.

But if you just talk about financial planning or trucks or furniture or whatever you sell, you’re going to soon get lost in the sea of other trucking companies. Other restaurants, other people that sell coffee, whatever. So you need to actually work out what that value is first so that you can actually then communicate that to the website developer. What else do people need to consider at a strategic level before they start going, well, I want the about page and I want this image here and I want that there. What else can they think of that from a business strategic point of view before they come in and start talking to you about building a website?

Ollie:

I think strategically, it’s worth looking at your website in terms the part of the role it plays in your broader marketing mix. There are not many clients that I have to monitor the source of their inbound leads. Yeah.

Jane:

And when you say inbound leads, what do you mean by that?

Ollie:

When someone calls, how did you find us?

Jane:

Yeah, so there’s not a lot of businesses who are monitoring where their customers are coming from. Yes.

Ollie:

There is one that does, it is an electrician. He’s been a longterm business mentor and client of mine, I’ll just give a shout out today from never day because you’ll never see this. He reckons that 80% of his clients are repeat business. And the other 20% is referrals, Google and Yellow Pages, not so much these days, radio ads that he does. But he reckons that Google and the website largely they go hand in hand. Yeah. He reckons it’s probably 10%.That extra 20% that’s the make or break. And the 10% can actually be the make or break without that 10% even though it’s only 10% without it, the business fails.

Jane:

But as you said, he measures where his customers come from so he can emphatically kind of say to you, 80% of my business comes from referrals, 10% comes from Google. And when you say 10% comes from Google because obviously people have got to put the website address into Google. Now they’re either going to put the website address of, and in this case Never Late electrical into Google because they’ve heard of it from somewhere or heard an ad on the radio or whatever. Or, what’s probably more likely they’re going to actually whack in the search term ‘electrician, Port Macquarie.’ So when he’s saying Google and website, that’s what he means and he’s able to track that because there are tools and I’m going to ask you about this later. There are tools that can help you actually track with that Google activity or even where some of your other activity is coming from, how it fits in. So you said to assess how it fits into your broader marketing mix and I think that’s actually a really good point because your website itself is not marketing, it’s an asset, it’s an asset to your business, but it’s not a working marketing dog. If we put it that way, you know, your website is there. It’s pretty passive unless someone goes looking for it or unless you’re driving traffic to it, your website is just going to sit there and nothing’s going to happen.

There’s a lot of businesses that I’ve seen along the way who will just launch a website and then dust their hands. Job’s done. Cool. Got the website done. Marketing for this year. Let’s move on. Your website is not going to be seen by anybody unless you’re actually driving people to it. So when you’re considering that website and as Ollie is saying here, work out how that’s actually going to fit into your broader marketing mix. And certainly from my experience how we are integrating websites into a broader marketing mix is what will drive people from Facebook. For example, a really classic example of this is that we will have a blog page on a website. Let me just go for an example so I can articulate it easily. So professional services site, we write regular blog posts.

When we write those blog posts, they go and they sit on the website themselves. And then we actually take those blog posts and we post those out via social media channels, depending on where the type of audiences for that client could be. It can be Facebook could be, LinkedIn, could be Twitter or whatever. So then someone actually sees that blog post in Facebook or LinkedIn clicks on the post to read the full article. And then get sent back to the website to consume that article within the blog page. Hopefully when they’re on the website reading that blog post, they might actually start ducking and weaving around your website to find a little bit more about you. So whether that’s going to the home page or whether it’s going the about us page, which it typically is, whether it’s going to your services and your products page. So when you’re actually considering that website, think to yourself, well, how am I actually going to drive people to it? Will it be going to run a print ad or a radio ad, you’re probably just going to send people to the actual address itself. That the homepage. So what are you going to do on the home page to make sure that you’re taking that visitor on the journey to contact you or find out more about you or access your offer? Is that what you mean by that?

Ollie:

Yeah. And it’s also like a conversation I had this morning with a client whose website I built probably two years ago and during the course of this crisis is now undertaking some work that should have been done by her own admission many years ago. And we can touch on this later about how you can take advantage of your website more effectively to deal with this current situation that we’re in. But we just got to talking strategically about what she’s doing and about the services I do and don’t offer. Because she was saying, Oh, I would struggle to validate the cost of the website that I had commissioned you to build because I don’t know necessarily how much benefit it has been to my business. And when we talked and expanded on that, I was like well arguably for what she’s doing. This is where I feel safer because I’m not engaged in outbound sales. So someone comes to me asking me to build a website, I haven’t convinced them that they should get me to do it. And then two years later they’re like, well that was a waste of money. They’ve come to me looking for this. So I said, you know, that’s why I don’t want to be convincing people to buy things that they don’t necessarily by default want to I’d rather them be motivated to come in.

Jane:

Yeah. So hang on. So she came to you and she said, in order to update my website, I’m struggling with the idea of assigning a value to this activity because I’m just not sure how much value having a website done two years ago actually gave to my business. Is that right?

Ollie:

Yeah. So the business itself is a small take away predominantly Catholic. I know thereare many cafes that are in that same category and I wouldn’t think that they would really need a website. I think that type of business is served better. If they just focus their time and effort on Instagram and social media channels. Right. I don’t see that as a compelling need for a takeaway cafe to have a website. It’s not as compelling as it would be. Say if you were a veterinary clinic .

Jane:

And why do you think that? Why do you think it’s not important for them to have websites?

Ollie:

It’s not necessarily that I don’t think it’s important for them to have websites, but I will answer that question. It’s, more that I don’t think it’s as vital to their role as the electrician or as, I don’t think people are Googling but by default. So I’ll explain why I think they do benefit from it. The answer I gave to her is, because you do have now a presence on Google. So when someone comes to town and Port Macquarie is a heavily tourist driven town and someone comes to town and they’re looking for a cafe or they’re looking for boutique and they punch that into Google, your website is there. And you suddenly have a presence in that person’s mind that they find the thing they’re looking for. But for the likes of you and me who already live in the town, who are also the people who probably provide, not specifically you and me, but the locals probably provide 70 to 80% of that business is revenue over the year. Yeah. The website isn’t essential. Like we’re not jumping online before we go into town on a Sunday morning going, I wonder what cafes we should go to? We already know them all. So in that regard, I could name three or four businesses that I visit regularly that are in that category and I don’t really even know if they have a website. In fact, I don’t think that many of them do. I certainly never bothered to look.

Jane:

No, you’re right.

Ollie:

Yeah. So from that perspective, it’s not as essential as say I’m looking for an electrician. These guys didn’t even have a website. Like, I have no idea whether there’s some dodgy bloke’s going to turn up to my door in a pair of thongs and a BB muscle tee. Or whether they’re a professional operation and I can reliably send them to my elderly grandmothers home to fix it.

Yeah, so that’s much more important they have a website.

Jane:

Interesting perspective. Cause I would say the presence of a website just to actually prove that you’re a thing is important even if it is just like a one page. And a lot of those businesses typically do have a really, really good Facebook page. So a lot of cafes that I know though locally, you know, some of them don’t have a website at all, but they are super proactive with their Facebook page. So if I was to Google them, their Facebook would page would come up as the number one listing and if they filled out their Facebook profile, I can sufficiently get all the information I need.

There is absolutely no reason for me to actually then go and check out their website on top of that. So I can see what you mean. I guess in terms of if you are a cafe and you are starting up, you do need some sort of digital presence of some sort. Whether it is that Facebook page and I’d say Facebook over Instagram because you know, if people are searching well on their desktop or whatever, generally Instagram won’t necessarily appear, but Facebook is the second biggest website after Google. So if you’re not going to have a website, make sure that you have a Facebook page. And in terms of that Facebook page, it’s really how much activity you put behind that and make sure that you fill out all the fields, your address, your phone number, your hours of operation, your menu, put all your keywords in there just as you would with a website. Make sure you really fatten that up with lots of content and make sure you’re posting regularly to it. Because otherwise even that might not come up in Google. And I think the general rule of thumb, if I’m right, Ollie you can tell me, but is if you’re not on Google yet, you don’t exist.

Ollie:

Yeah. Effectively more and more. That is the case. And it is difficult because I think in one of the books I’ve read recently, Jim Collins, ‘Great by Choice’. Paranoia is one of the qualities that he sites most of the successful business leaders have. Bill Gates does it. Like they all do it. And its looking for what is this that could happen that could render your entire business model useless.

Jane:

Yeah, right.

Ollie:

For me there is a particular set of features and growing set of features that bring more and more into question the validity and necessity to have an actual website. One of those is Google business listings and the increase in the zero click searches, which is for the lay person is when someone searches Google, but they don’t click on anything that takes them away from Google. So they click to call straight from the Google result directions or they click to see your opening hours like a more and more Google are removing the necessity to have websites. So you think you’re okay, you know, maybe some businesses don’t really need it. Certainly startups like, I find it very hard to justify a start up spending thousands of dollars on a website. Maybe after two or three years. But the thing is, once you’ve established those social media profiles and got the traction, you have an understanding then of what it is that if you do need a website now, what is it that I can do on my website that I know I can’t do on the social media channels that I’ve been wanting to do. You know, maybe I can’t sell merch as easily and we spend a lot of merch in the shop and I want to make it available online. Whatever those things are, do you get a better understanding. But just there are a lot of businesses that just by default spend big and think that we’ve got to get this, we’ve got to get that.

Jane:

Yeah. Cause they think it’s the marketing kind of checklist of okay. Website, tick. Set up the Facebook, tick. Logo, tick. Business cards. Now like our business cards for me, seem redundant for a lot of business’. I had some but I never know where they are and I can never give them to anyone. But you know, if we’d said that 10 years ago, there’s probably people who would, turn over and die. Like if business cards are the first thing that you get as a business, you know, whereas these days that they’re redundant, I find it really interesting that you make that point about the Google business listings and, and just for our listeners, you know, cause I know sometimes when I talk about a Google business listing, people get confused cause they’re like, do you mean the listing of my website in Google? No. Two separate things, aren’t they? What’s the difference between them?

Ollie:

Yeah, totally. So the Google business listing, is an asset that’s owned and controlled by Google. Yeah, you can claim, and modify it and update. But the most common positioning for it is off to the right of the search. If you’re on a desktop, it’ll have a little map above it. Maybe a view from the street of your premises. And then if you’ve taken ownership of that, which is pretty straightforward to do. If you take ownership of that, then you can upload your own imagery and logo. You can set your opening hours, you can add descriptions, you can do special offers. Without wanting to shoot myself in the foot, you can actually build your own website.

Jane:

I didn’t even think of that yet.

Ollie:

Yeah, you can do all that. I mean, it’s, again, that just comes back to the, I theoretically could fix my own car? But I would certainly be looking for a divorce lawyer afterwards.

Jane:

Yeah, yeah. No, that’s right. And, I must say, what I’ve noticed about Google business listings is because, for our clients we collect a lot of metrics each month. One of the metrics that we collect is from a software tool called Google analytics, which I think Ollie will touch on soon. And basically that Google analytics will tell you how many people have visited your site. And it can tell you what pages people are accessing, how they’re interacting with the site, etc. But we also monitor their Google business listings and Google business listings, while it certainly doesn’t give you the detailed insights that Google analytics does you can actually see how many people viewed your Google business listing, how many people clicked through on the little website button, how many people clicked on the call button.

And then it will tell you, what days of the week you’re getting more calls, et cetera. And I have noticed that yes, you now can add a website, you can add photos to it, you can add description, opening hours, et cetera, et cetera. And the most important thing is when people are actually searching on their mobile for your business. The Google my business listing will actually be the first listing before your website that even appears. So obviously if you’ve got a website, you can list that on your Google business listing. But Google is pushing that Google business listing to the absolute forefront of its real estate. So I think that’s a really good point. But as you said, and it depends on what the business is. If it’s a startup business that needs a lot of explanation, a lot of convincing, and they’re selling product or service or whatever online they need landing pages, et cetera, you’re going to need a website. But for a cafe perhaps where all you need to do is give your customers the assurance that you are actually a business, that you can pour a good cappuccino and that you’ll location is an excellent location, Google my business listing or a really well filled out Facebook page might just be the ticket to do that.

Ollie:

Yeah. And it is interesting to see what that trajectory looks like in the long-term. From a web developer and someone who’s potentially built a business that could soon be potentially be pulled out from underneath me. I don’t think that’s reality. I think, there’s still definitely a need for that. But it is interesting to consider what maybe Google’s long-term strategy is. Yeah. Like, why is it that Google, are so averse, maybe you could say they’re averse sending people to websites or maybe they’re just consistently doing what they’ve always been doing, which is working on delivering the best experience for their users so their users keep coming back and so they haven’t deployed this feature. And then Google’s just out of the game because I suppose Google comea from a place where they weren’t a player in a very heavily dominated search engine world.

And this is, in the late nineties early two thousands when AltaVista and Yahoo where the very big and dominant players and Google just out of nowhere yeah. No matter the game. And who’s now delisted as a public company. Yeah. And that is basically single hand to be achieved by Google. So they are acutely aware of power of disruption, the ability for them to potentially be disrupted. So there, I don’t think they’re necessarily got a vendetta against web developers. I do think that they focus heavily on how to provide the most positive user experience and that’s great. But that’s what they’re doing. That’s what keeps you in business.

Jane:

So now this is where you’ve got to be really honest and don’t hold back here. What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see? It doesn’t even have to be small businesses. Any businesses we can all learn from those mistakes. What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see people make when it comes to their website?

Ollie:

One of the biggest ones that I see is like, there are things that are bugbears of mine. I think poor user experience is one.

Jane:

So talk us through an example of a poor user experience.

Ollie:

If I’m on my mobile and I type in a the name of a gelato store. Yeah. And their website comes up on my phone and I tapped the phone number to call them and nothing happens. Yeah. I’m like, dude, come on. Yeah. It’s not that hard to make that a clickable thing.

Cause you then you get frustrated. So now I have to copy that phone number. Yeah. And like Google even does this. Like you can hold down that phone number on an Android and probably on iOS and it’ll give you the option to call it. Like the operating system will identify that as a phone number. So they’re like compensating for the web developers who have built sites to prevent this, and it still is an issue.

Jane:

Yeah, totally annoying experience. What else is another annoying user experience?

Ollie:

Lots of competing moving elements on a page. The lack of clarity. Different and an inconsistency is in layouts, like an inconsistency branding consistencies where you’ve got big blocks of color that have nothing to do with the brand at all. And you can just tell that, Stevie wonder perhaps has put this together on the side. Just things like that. That is so no one really knows what the goal is here. Like when we’re not being clear about where we want the user to click or what we want the user to view. Yeah, and that’s, I think those, that’s the sort of thing that comes down into some of that knows to put a website together from a technical perspective, but doesn’t really understand why they’re doing it or what the outcome is. Yeah. I’ve always looked at the comparison between the likes of being a search engine or versus Google.

Ollie:

Yeah. If you go to Google, there’s a search box and basically a button, you type in the thing you want and you click, you go to Bing and this like all the news. I didn’t really give a shit what the Kardashians are up to now. I’ve just remembered how much I hate them and everything they stand for. Yeah. Now I’ve forgotten what I was going to search for. Probably not that important. Obviously if I could fake it, throw me off so easy, but there’s all this distracting stuff. It’s like I just came here to do one thing.

It’s your website. You want me to do one thing? Presumably why is it that you are making it hard for me to get to the point where I want to be or where I should be? Like talk to me.  I think one of the things that doesn’t happen is there’s lots of pontificating about what we stand for. All this sort of stuff. They don’t really care necessarily what it stands for at this point in time. Yeah. I care about whether or not you are capable of solving my problem. And you’re making me read volumes of content to find this out again. I’m just not going to do it.

Jane:

Yeah. And I think that’s a classic case of where the business owners get caught up in their objectives of what we have to let them know that, we’re the leader in this and that we stand for this and, Oh I’ve seen somewhere that we need to have a sustainability cause. Right. We’ll put that on there and make sure people know about that. Oh, plus we’ve got this product now that we want to sell, so we’ll make sure we put that on there too. And they forget that the user doesn’t, as you said, really give a shit about all of that stuff. They’ve come to your website for a specific purpose. It’s your job to make it the easiest journey as possible for them to actually access that. You know, you hear a lot in the world of marketing about people making businesses, making it really hard for customers to buy.

You know, your website is an absolutely prime example of where you can make it really difficult for your customers to buy if you’re so obsessed in trying to get all your messages and all your products and make sure they know about these. The other thing I think there too, which is really important is understand who your target audiences. Because, if your target audience is millennials, well they kind of do like to have a bit of a snoop about to see what you stand for and you know which charities you support and are they going to feel good and wholesome about that purchase. So if you know that they’re your target audience, then make that information available. Gen X however, couldn’t give a shit. We’re just wanting to go Stripe, you know, we want these, we want this product, we want this service, we’ve probably heard about it from somebody else. We already there. We just need to know the details about the value we’re going to get and how we actually go about buying this. Then that’s a really rudimentary sweeping statement.

Ollie:

The other thing that bugs me a lot and I benefit from being very technically savvy and as a result, no offense to my wife, but she doesn’t need to be as technically savvy because she knows I can just do all this stuff. So it’s interesting to watch her trying to do things on websites literally around booking activities for our children. Yeah. And the language that she can sometimes produce frogging to book something online. It’s like, if you cannot deliver that booking process smoothly online in 2020 and you have, or you haven’t engaged someone who knows how to build a form that’s mobile responsive, if you’re having to pinch zoom in and out, just don’t do it, don’t offer that service. You’re doing your business and your brand service a favour.

Jane:

I think that’s a really good point. Now, one thing that people won’t know about is all the stuff that goes on in the back ends to make sure that their website is visible to Google so that when people go, I need an electrician in Port Macquarie, Google serves up their page as one of the options on page one. So what are some of the mistakes that are made with the back end and optimizing your site for search?

Ollie:

So we both commented on a post that Adam Franklin put up yesterday, which was an SEO PDF overview. Yeah. That really covered everything. And that being very recent, I’d probably refer to a few points within that, but there’s a hierarchy of information on your website when Google looks at your website. So Google is not a office full of tens of thousands of people who are looking at all the websites and taking down notes about what they think that website should rank for. It’s that in effect. But what they’re basically trying to do is figure out what is this page about. Yeah. And what is it in order of the thing it’s mostly about but what else is it about also? But there is a way for you to communicate that to Google directly and indirectly. And the direct way of doing it is to recognize that there’s an order of information and you’ve got your page title and you’ve got the URL of your page, you’ve got heading level one, you’ve got the volume of text on the page, but that’s a gray area but there are lots of specific ways for you to articulate that information. Google, which can be subject to abuse by people who do SEO.

Google are a very smart organization and as much as it has been possible in the past and it’s still possible today to trick Google into ranking you or your website or terms that perhaps your competitors should be better ranked for, it’s still possible to do that. Google, it’s like the casino. The house always wins. Like Google will evolve and adapt to mitigate those tricks. So while you can technically instruct Google about what your website’s about, they get better and better and they can go right, well you say it’s about red buckets, but we can see clearly this is about yellow buckets and you just want to rank for blue buckets cause they sell for more money. So, I do all the technical stuff and I make sure the heading one occurs once and it includes the keywords and the page titles.

I have the keywords in them, but what Google says, just don’t worry about that stuff. You just focus on building a website that’s good and easy for humans and useful for humans and we’ll take care of the rest. And you wouldn’t ignore the ability to use a keyword, but I know of companies who have a page that they want to rank for. They want to rank for web design, Port Macquarie. So you google ‘web design Port Macquarie’ up comes their website or their page. The title is website design for Port Macquarie. And is says we design websites for businesses, informal, formal who need websites designed in Port Macquarie. Our website design service in Port Macquarie is blah blah blah. And it’s like, it still works, but it’s a matter of time before it doesn’t, so yeah, don’t do that sort of stuff. Even though that sort of stuff technically does work. A human reading that is like, what in the hell talks like that. You got me in the door, you’ve got the view, most beautiful window dressing and I walk in and actually it stinks, so I’m getting out of here as quickly as I can.

Jane:

Yep, yep. That’s exactly right. Yeah. Andthat’s where I guess subconscious, you know, all of this stuff, all of the stuff that marketing does happens at a subconscious level. So, that kind of stuff is, is one of those little notches that would just be knocked back a bit from somebody’s level of trust when they’re reading that going, what on earth are they on about? They’ve said website design, Port Macquarie about 10 times, this is annoying. Now in terms of measurement and optimizing their business website. So we’ve mentioned Google analytics and the insights that are available on Google business. How do you suggest that businesses actively measure how their website is performing as part of their business? So not on its own because we don’t want to necessarily understand how it operates on its own unless it’s assigned revenue driver. How’s it actually adding value to the business? How do you measure that?

Ollie:

There is the adage that 50% of marketing budgets are wasted, but we just don’t know which 50% it is. So it is difficult to accurately measure and I’m not someone who’s ever comfortable not knowing why something is the way it is. So I work quite hard, to develop deeper insights into why some websites perform well, and why others do not. I conversely know that there are many, many businesses out there who provide services in this space. They take advantage of how muddy those waters are and charge whatever they want cause they know. But even the experts don’t really know exactly how you measure this stuff effectively. So there’s no way the guy Bob from The Fixes is going to have a clue.

Jane:

They just bamboozle you with all the reports. Here’s the bloody 20 pages of analytics and graphs and pretty pictures and numbers, , and the amount of businesses. You’re absolutely right the amount of people I’ve spoken to that go, I don’t know, I get a report but I have no idea what it means.

Ollie:

I’ve seen it used as a sales tactic by a directory based business who has presented graphs and 17,000 unique monthly searches and the business owners going sweet. That’s good. Yeah. They’re searching. They’re not looking at your website. I can see the numbers are looking at your website and it’s not 17,000 and that’s that. So that being the case, it’s like what, what is it? How do you work that out? Okay. I had some technical issues the day before yesterday that I resolved and one of them wasn’t fully resolved and my client called me this morning and said “someone said that they couldn’t load our website”. Yeah. And what was the book that I read? I think it might’ve been zero to one but it was like these people were talking about this product that they built and they had all these subscriptions and all these people paying for it and then it found the product was broken.

It was a digital product and it was broken. It had been broken so five days, but no one had noticed. And the guy was like, thank God for that. But then he’s like, shit, no one noticed. Yeah. Far out. Like that’s not good. So you know, if someone does call up and say your website’s not working, that’s a sign that your website is working in, that people want to use it. People do send and comment and feedback too to a number of clients I have. So I’m not privy to that feedback directly. It’s the odd occasion where my client will say, one client who owns physiotherapists left me a testimonial months, and months after I launched, they relaunched their existing website and he said, we get regular feedback on how easy our website is to use and how simple it is. So that’s kind of what you want and it’s not even necessarily that. So it is useful to obviously be able to get metrics around them, actual usage.

But it’s also, it’s good to know that your website, if nothing else, paints your business in a positive light. Yeah. So even if no one clicks to contact you or downloads your thing or whatever, they’ve had a positive experience with your business through your website. So that is intangible. But tangible, the values are, so you know, I went back to my bugbear, which is not having a clickable phone number. If you have a phone number on your website, you can within Google analytics trigger particular events to be recorded in Google analytics, every time an action happens. So I have triggered an event when someone clicks to call. So that’s the context. So I send that to my clients every month. And I say, your website had 57 conversions this month and a conversion is either someone tries to call you. Sends you a contact for your website. Secures the address, to open it in Google maps. So this I think helps business owners understand that yes we are getting leads through our website and if we didn’t have a website, maybe those people would have found a number another way. But that’s by the by, that’s a separate conversation. But the fact is that people are making use of our website. We know they are. Even if we’re not asking people how they found us when they called. Yeah. We’re being told reliably. But people are finding us and engaging with our website and contacting us and sending that information out, giving the owners regular updates of how their website’s being used makes it go shit, I’ve got like three people that in a week might be on our website.

But it turns out we’ve got 250 visits in the last three weeks or the last few weeks or whatever. Yeah, yeah. Oh wow. Maybe we should pay a bit more attention to this asset that’s been sitting there for years lying dormant because our previous developer, only since we only heard from them every 12 months with an invoice looking like Stevie wonder had designed it. So just to me it’s how do you spoon feed this information to, let’s say, paint the picture of the business owner who’s already busy running a business and the website. They’re not going to spend 10 minutes pouring through Google analytics, looking at conversion rates and time on page. Here are your top five pages that were viewed here. The number of reviews they’d had. Here’s the average amount of time people are spending on your website.

Yeah. That is all I feel like I can do. That information is useful. Yes. If you choose that you want to take action on the basis of that information, that’s cool. There are many options for us to look at here, but let’s first of all, you know as I started this conversation, seek first to understand so you now understand a little bit more what’s happening on your website and you can maybe make some better informed decisions on the basis of that about- is your website working? And if it is working well, what is it that’s working? Are people looking at your product pages? Yeah, that new product we launched last week. There is no traction. We did a Facebook campaign last week. Oh, we can see because you send out, I send up top five sources of traffic. Facebook is our second biggest source of traffic after Google. It never used to be a source of traffic. We can see we’ve had 200 picks from Facebook. Yeah. I’m not going to go into any more detail in the initial report. Yeah, but at every stage, shoot me an email, call me. We can dig deeper into that Facebook data if you want. How long are those people spending on the website. Are they going to secondary pages, whatever. Yeah. The website is working or not working. And you can see at the very basic level.

Jane:

Yeah. And for those of you that haven’t heard about Google analytics, it’s a free tool. So like you literally just can speak to your web developer or you can Google, ‘Google Analytics’ and follow the instructions to set it up and link it to your website. It’s free. It’s crazy not to use it because it does give you so much insight. And we will need to wrap this this up though, even though I’m loving discussing all the intricacies of websites because I do love what they can do for business. So if someone actually wants to start kind of really thinking about how they plan for their website before they hit the developer up do you know like what kind of resources or their books or their podcaster there, you know who guides or something that you could recommend people access just to kind of really try and get them thinking about the strategic considerations that we’ve covered. And anything else that we haven’t covered so that they can put that brief together and make sure that they get a decent website.

Ollie:

Yeah, yeah. I mean this isn’t to blow smoke, but when you released your book, I immediately skipped to the chapter about websites. So I was like, I hope she’s saying the same things that I think about websites and everything that you had written in that is exactly on point. So I would recommend your book, but I would also recommend Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand. He talks a fair bit about websites in that and he’s got a second book that I bought, but the name escapes me, but his perspective is pretty solid, In terms of resources, like I suppose my expertise has been built up over a couple of decades at this stage, so I don’t have particular resources that I go to because I’m taking in incremental information. On my blog, I try and talk more about things like bounce rates, whether or not you should have a website, all of these sorts of things. I’m speaking to small business owners in those blog posts. So that I feel like there’s probably half a dozen posts there that would be useful.

I think really to me the conversation is a conversation to have with your web developer and just covertly trying to ping them on questions beyond just the technical build of a website. Ask them what do they feel about the quality of the copy on the website and the messaging and just because it’s not always the case that they know how to do that. I’m a relatively articulate person, and I can produce website copy and I have done in the past, but I outsource that now to copywriters because that’s just not, it’s not my core skillset. Yeah. And I could do it and I could save myself $200 by doing that and make a bit more money. But to me it’s the scalability and the efficacy of that source. And that is good.

So there are heaps, and maybe it’s just the way I network on LinkedIn, but there are dozens of really good copywriters all over LinkedIn and I actually think that making sure that your web copy is on point is to me that’s at least 40% of the value of a website. And I hope my copywriters don’t listen to this because she doesn’t get paid 40% of what I charge. I mean she does actually. But I think it’s important to get the messaging right and if your web developer is not capable of doing that, which you know, no offense to the web developers that aren’t capable of doing that, but if they aren’t capable of it, don’t use them.

Jane:

Like it pisses me off to no end when people tell me that they can do something and then clearly they can’t. They’ve just said that they can do it because you know, they want the cash. And I think all small businesses are like that. Like just give me the expertise that you can give me and for the stuff that you can’t, you know, point me in the direction of someone that I can work with because we all just want the best result that we can get. So to wrap this up, Ollie, tell us where can people find that beautiful blog of yours that you were talking about or can they follow you on social media? Where can people find you?

Ollie:

I spend most of my time social media wise on LinkedIn days.

Jane:

So Ollie Brooke, Oliver Brooke? What are they looking for?

Ollie:

Yeah, Oliver Brooke and Brooke with an E. LinkedIn. And then my website, www.cloudconcepts.com.au  which is where my blog is. I’ve I spent a little bit of time on Instagram, but generally I find that it’s not where my people are. Yup. But yeah, LinkedIn is where I promote my content. That’s where I’ve sort of dropped the ball a little bit on video output lately. But I’ve got a few lined up put up after this.

Honestly, I think LinkedIn is almost an entirely different conversation. But LinkedIn as a resource for small business owners.. If you’re going to waste, time on social media, do it on LinkedIn.

Jane:

Yeah. Well Ollie, you will be pleased to know and I hope you listen out for the episode that we have coming up with Lucy Bingle who is LinkedIn expert. And she’ll be running us all through how to get active on LinkedIn cause I 100% agree with you. That’s where I spend the most time. It’s where I get the most value.

Thank you so much Ollie. It’s been great catching up with you Friday afternoon as we’re recording this. What a great way to spend it. Thanks a lot.

Ollie:

Thank you very much for having me.

 

 

Ready to get started on a project?
Let’s chat about it!

Book a Free Consultation

You want more? Check these out...

Our Blog

Business Banter

Access the first chapter of 'How To Do Marketing - A Comprehensive Guide For Small Businesses FREE

Simply sign up to our small business marketing newsletter to receive really useful articles about how to get the best bang for your marketing buck.




    Follow us on Social Media

    © 2022 Dragonfly Marketing All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | ADMIN