If you’ve been scrolling through our website or liking our social posts you will have heard the term ‘bespoke web design’. But do you actually know what it means? In this article, we’re going to explain what the term actually means and how effective a bespoke website can be for your business as opposed to a traditional off-the-shelf solution or DIY option.  

Bespoke is an adjective and by the English Cambridge dictionary definition means something that is  

 

What makes our websites bespoke? 

When we use the term bespoke, we don’t just use it loosely like other digital agencies. We truly offer a unique website tailored to your business. PageNorth doesn’t believe in templates and carbon copy solutions. Every website we build is finely crafted and designed from the ground up. We guarantee that by the end of the process you’ll have a website that is unique to you. Since our websites are built from the ground up we can offer leading PageSpeed scores and performance benefits for your site. Usually off the shelf themes are bloated from containing loads of unnecessary features that aren’t used , . This drastically decreases site performance and overall PageSpeed scores which in return can have a detrimental effect on SEO. A simple and intuitive website for your business will give people a great first impression of your brand. Every line of code we write serves a purpose and maximises your website’s potential for SEO gains.  

As a small business, it’s easy to spot an eyecatching website theme and think that it would be easy enough to build a website yourself. But having expertise, support, and a strategy in place, works wonders for driving traffic and conversions in the long term.  

Are you interested in a bespoke website for your business? Find out more about how we can help by filling in our short contact form below and one of our friendly project managers will be in touch. 

Introduction

In today’s world if people are searching for something, the first thing they do is run a Google search. So, if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on those leads for your business. A good website is beneficial. It showcases your products and services, plus it allows your customers to find your products and get in touch.

Ability to sell online through e-commerce

Prior to the global pandemic, e-commerce growth was skyrocketing. A report from  2018 showed that sales reached 688.4bn GBP. Clearly, e-commerce is well worth the investment. With physical locations being forced to close, at PageNorth we’ve seen a noticeable growth in sales on all of our client hosted websites.

Easy to apply updates

Websites nowadays are easy to update, especially with the inclusion of the blogs and managed website services we offer at PageNorth. In just a few clicks it’s easy to create a new blog post for your website and provide updates to your audience.

Look professional

A branded website makes you look professional and more reputable. Websites convey trust to users. They serve as a point of contact if anything were to go wrong. A trustworthy and reputable brand will have  a great website designed with their audience in mind.

Target local customers through Google Business

It’s easy to promote your local small business through Google Business. If someone searches  for ‘plumber in fife’ Google will rank your listing on Maps which will showcase your website and contact details. Your business will also show up with a marker on Google Maps so that it can be discovered by address.

Do I need a website for my business if I’m on social media?

A lot of  businesses question whether  they need a website if  they have social media. In short, yes. Having a website  allows you to control the content and the experience. Part of the reason you started your own business is so you don’t have to follow other peoples rules and guidelines, right?  So why would you limit yourself to the constraints of a social media platform? Not only that but social media trends and platforms change over time.  Twitter may be relevant today but in five  year's time, who’s  to say we won’t have moved onto a new platform? With a website you can guarantee that it’s going to be relevant in years to come and with PageNorth’s Managed Website Service your site will always be up to date and looking great.

Alt text, technically known as alt tags, are snippets used in HTML code that describe the appearance and function of an image on a page. Alt tags have 2 primary functions:

The Importance of Alt Tags

Now we understand the two purposes of alt tags: they hold great importance for both technical and legal requirements. 

If your website does not meet certain design standards and is not accessible to disabled users then you can be sued for discrimination. For those with disabilities such as sensory loss or mobility problems, the internet is a place of convenience for home shopping and grocery deliveries. Thus, it is fundamental that your website is accessible for all as so many people rely on the internet to complete everyday tasks and live their lives without any discrimination or prejudice. 

From a technical perspective, as briefly discussed, alt text is extremely beneficial for SEO and improving your SERP. If you have alt tags on your images, videos and voice clips you will be able to target highly searched keywords and make these images readable for crawlers. For example, this is an image of an employee from Shepherd Roofing and Slating standing in front of the company van:

Google may just see this image as ‘man standing in front of a van’ and not take into account it’s an image of a branded van for a company offering a service. However, if you are trying to rank for something along the lines of ‘professional roofing and slating company Fife’ then you must implement alt tags which include these keywords. Alt tags provide you with the opportunity to include and target keywords in addition to including on-page keyword targeting and thus, increasing your chances of ranking. 

How to Write a Good Alt Tag

It’s all very well to understand and appreciate the importance of alt text, however the key to success is recognising what makes a good alt tag and what can have a negative impact when deploying alt tags on your images. The code for alt texts looks like the following in HTML: 

It is important to note that when deploying alt tags every <img> must have an alt= attribute to ensure that crawlers are able to read and understand the code to best rank your website. When writing good alt text there are another few factors you must consider to ensure you are optimising your website as best as possible: 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, it is apparent that alt tags are extremely beneficial to all SEO campaigns however it is fundamental to remember that their primary purpose is for accessibility to those who need it. As marketing specialists, we must above all ensure that we are implementing alt texts to all images so that we follow legal guidelines, but use this opportunity to further target relevant keywords where appropriate.

Your website is a key tool for generating leads, increasing sales and reaching new audiences. A good website has the potential to be the most important asset of your business and can provide you with opportunities to grow and develop at a fast rate. However, with this being said, the digital world is ever-changing which is why it is crucial that you are kept updated with trends and designs. The PageNorth team has put together a list of ways you can improve your website to ensure you are staying ahead of your competitors. 

Optimise Your Site Speed

47% of online users expect a webpage to load within 2 seconds and if it doesn’t, chances are they will leave your site without completing any action, which will result in an extremely high bounce rate. We live in a world where people expect things here and now and when they don’t get it, they can become extremely frustrated and will often never visit your website again. There are many ways you can improve your site speed such as compressing all images before uploading them to your website, reduce redirects, remove render-blocking JavaScript, leverage browser caching and much more. 

Use Calls to Action (CTA’s) Throughout Your Website

CTA’s provide you with the opportunity to motivate your users to take the steps required to become a customer or client. This can be the determining factor between a lead and a conversion which is why the CTA button has become such a necessary aspect of a website. By including attractive CTA’s throughout your website you are guiding your users through your sales funnel and instructing them on what to do next, prompting immediate action. Additionally, your customers want to be told what to do and need to have clear buttons in-between content so they can make quick purchases and get back to scrolling through their social media feeds. 

Be Responsive and Mobile Friendly 

Over the years technology has adapted to meet our mobile needs which is why it is crucial your website is mobile friendly and responsive. By being mobile-friendly, your users will find it easier to navigate throughout your website whilst on the go and therefore improving your conversion rate. More so, Google penalises websites that are not optimised for mobile which could result in a significant decrease in visibility and thus traffic. If you are unsure if your website is mobile-friendly you can use this free tool.

Include Engaging Content and Images 

Content is a fantastic way to target highly searched relevant key phrases, however you must be careful not to overload your website with words. Images are a fantastic way to break up large pieces of content and provide your users with a visual to support the points being made. Infographics are a fantastic way to easily share information without spamming pages with heavy content. Although you may think that you need content to target keywords, you can use alt-tags within images to do so. It is important that your content and images are engaging and relevant and provide users with the information they are seeking. 

Contact PageNorth today and discover how we can improve your website and ensure that it is optimised for search and mobile, driving more traffic to your site to increase your conversion rate. 

On 23rd February 2011 Google deployed it’s latest algorithm - Panda. The stated purpose of this was to reward high-quality websites and decrease the visibility of low-quality and spammy sites within Google organic search results. This algorithm assigns websites with a ‘quality score’ which is used as a ranking factor within SERP. This was one of the first steps Google really took to ensure that sites were being ranked based on their quality and not spammy links or other forms of manipulation to the initial algorithms. 

An SEO Timeline 

To really understand the purpose of Panda, it is important that we discuss why it was introduced in the first place by examining how SEO used to be deployed.

Google, as we know it today, has some of the most advanced AI systems and algorithms, however, it has not always been this way which is what made manipulating the technology and ranking much easier. Before these algorithms were really in place (between 1998 and 2001) people would achieve their rankings by ‘keyword stuffing’ which is effectively repeating the same keywords and phrases to the point it does not read cohesively. Thereafter, Google began to introduce more complex crawlers which would pick up and penalise those who were ranking by keyword stuffing so specialists began to spam other websites blogs by including links to their own sites regardless if both had any relevance to one another. 

What is Panda?

Panda was then introduced to rank websites based upon their rich content creation, use of targeted keywords in metadata, page quality and website authority and trustworthiness. By introducing Panda in 2011 those who had previously ranked by keyword stuffing and duplicate content began to see a massive decline in website traffic as they received penalties from Google for doing so. However, this did not address the issue of toxic backlinks which is why not long after Penguin was introduced. 

Triggers for Panda

The main factors which trigger Panda are: 

As long as you are ensuring that all content on your website is relevant and of high relevance to the user, you are avoiding duplicate content and you have not spammed your website with ads then you should not be hit with a Google penalty. 

How to Identify if You Have Been Hit by Panda and How to Recover

Much like all Google penalties, there is no clear answer given to why exactly you have been penalised so you must inspect the traffic coming to your site and establish what changes have been made that have resulted in a penalty. Firstly, it is important to compare dates and find where traffic began to drop, if it was around March 2011 there is a high chance that you have been hit with the Panda update. However, some websites may not have been hit until after the roll-out of Panda as strategies may have been implemented thereafter which went against Google guidelines which have resulted in a penalty. 

To recover from a Panda penalty it is fundamental that you examine all content that is on your site and identify any duplicate pages of content to ensure each page is unique. Additionally, you must examine all metadata (titles and descriptions) and make sure that these too contain unique content as the Google crawlers will pick up on this too. Lastly, it is important that you make all content on your website relevant to your business and avoid pop-up ads and an overwhelming amount of display ads so that users are able to navigate throughout your site easily and access all information and products with ease. 

As a business owner, you should already be aware that your customers are the lifeblood of your business and that is why it is fundamental that you engage with them. Many businesses don’t understand or value the importance of meaningfully engaging with their customers and instead push hard sales pitches on their customers. Brands which will thrive for years to come are those who value their customers and will make the time to interact with them and use feedback to better their services. Read on to find out how you can engage better with your customers. 

 

Develop Emotional Connections 

 

Over the years, research has supported the importance of building strong and emotional connections with customers. One of the best ways to do this is break down the walls between the consumer and the brand and tell your story and show that there is a person behind the business. Through social media, blogging and your website you can introduce yourself and welcome new users with a welcome message telling them a bit about yourself and share your brand values. Make yourself (or an employee) the face of the brand and to be the person who represents your business. For example, when people think of Apple they will usually associate Steve Jobs with the brand. This allows you to humanise your business and give customers someone to relate to. 

 

Build a Community 

 

Community forms are nothing new and something which is here to stay. One of the main advantages of online community forms is that you are able to directly engage with your loyal customers and provide them a platform to meet other people around the globe who share the same interests and values. Many businesses use social media platforms to create communities and will use this as a means to answer questions, share news and discuss any changes to the business. 

 

Make Your Customers Part of Your Team

 

Most people enjoy being part of a team and your customers are no exception. Use your community to ask your customers for feedback and ideas that can help your brand flourish, whether it’s something as simple as introducing a new product or to even contribute to the redesign of the brand logo. If you provide customers with the means to contribute to your business they will be more likely to invest in your brand and share your content. Additionally, you should also take the time to be a part of your customers ‘team’. For example, if you notice that one of your regular customers is holding a charity event you can share this on your social media accounts and support them. 

 

Appreciate Your Customers and Reward Them

 

Make sure that your customers know how much you appreciate them and value their custom by offering discounts, sharing exclusive content with them via email marketing and holding competitions. This will encourage your users to regularly engage with your content and share the benefits of being a part of your community with their friends and family. Furthermore, by offering discounts to your loyal customer base, this will encourage users to join your community, sign up for newsletters and follow your social media accounts which is a fantastic means to increase brand awareness and target lookalike audiences. 

If you are needing more information on how to best engage with your customers contact our marketing team at PageNorth and start your digital journey with us today.

Do you find that no matter how many blog posts you churn out each and every month you are not finding there to be a consistent traffic coming to your site? Or that when you do publish a blog post it generates high volume traffic for a period of time before dropping again? This is probably because the content you are publishing is not ‘evergreen’, however fear not - we are here to give you the top tips for creating evergreen content!

 

What is Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is simply content that is relevant regardless of the time of year, aka search trends should not affect this as the content is something which can be useful and ‘fresh’ for users for a long period of time. 

 

You might find yourself saying ‘but my content is always relevant’ however if you look back at your past blog posts are they actually always going to be useful for users at all times of the year? As marketing specialists we can all be guilty of focusing on the current trends in keywords and not considering whether they will have an ongoing impact. For example, seasons can be a topic to many blog posts, whether it’s ‘how to style your spring wedding’ or ‘best fashion trends for summer 2020’ - these of course are great for those specific periods of the year but they will not continue to bring traffic to your site throughout the rest of the 

year. 

 

Why is Evergreen Content Important

 

There are a few reasons to why evergreen content works so well and is the forefront of all content based marketing strategies: 

 

 

 

 

Evergreen Article Ideas

 

A majority of searches come from a user who has a question that needs answered, so when creating content think about a way that you can answer these questions related to your business. Here are a few article ideas for a range of sectors. 

 

Fashion 

Oil and Gas

 

Sports 

 

Food and Drink 

Notice that the above examples are all answers to questions, include tips and guides, include bold statements such as ‘best’ and centre around saving money and improving yourself? This can be applied to other sectors of course, but when you are brainstorming for articles it is important that you consider the below points which people tend to always search for: 

 

 

The aim is to apply the above topics to your own business and from here you will see a continuous increase of traffic. Additionally, it has been found through various case studies that list posts work extremely well when applied within evergreen content. 

 

Yes evergreen articles are brilliant for constantly bringing traffic to your website however it is important to just focus on creating this type of content. Throughout the year people will be searching for things based on current events, seasons and trends so you must take this into consideration too. I would suggest creating a content plan where around 70% of your content is written with the aim of being evergreen and the other 30% of your content is focused on trends, season and current events. 

 

If you are looking for more information regarding evergreen content, please get in touch with us today. We also offer further digital marketing services such as SEO, PPC and Social Media. 

As the weeks turn into months, all non essential workers are now more familiar with their homes than ever before. With the global COVID-19 pandemic, those who can are working from home (for some this may be a first for them) and are expected to be just as productive, if not more so in order to keep businesses afloat during this uncertain time. PageNorth’s team have now been working from home for over a month now and have been busier than ever with new website development projects and more and more digital marketing enquiries coming through the door - we have certainly had to adjust quickly to our new working environments! Here are some of our most effective tips for staying productive whilst working from home during lockdown. 

 

Create a Work Space


Regardless of what your job title is, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of separating your workspace from your living space. This can be incredibly tricky for those who live in smaller housing or for those who are spending lockdown in a busy house (especially those with children). If possible create a space solely used for work and work only, whether that be a dedicated room, table or makeshift desk. This way you will train your brain to associate this space to work and will be able to remain productive during your working hours. Additionally, when it’s time to log off you can leave this space and enjoy other areas of your house, hopefully without the temptation of logging back on unless it’s urgent! 

 

Stick to Your Routine

 

The idea of working from home sounds luxurious, rolling out of bed at 8:15am to join the Zoom call at 8:30am all the while staying comfy in your unwashed pyjamas - wrong! Just because the 45 minute commute is now a 30 second commute, make sure you still get up as you normally would. Set an alarm, hit snooze a few times before showering, getting ready and dressed and if you have 10 minutes spare why not use it to follow a yoga tutorial on YouTube before starting your day. I know, it sounds really trivial but we promise it will help you get into the mindset of ‘going to work’.

 

Take Regular Breaks and Get Some Fresh Air

 

Sitting around all day isn’t healthy for anyone, even if you do work in an office all day. Make sure that you take regular breaks during your working hours whether that is stepping away from your desk for 5 minutes to make your afternoon cuppa or stretching your legs and just walking about the room. Additionally make sure that you let some fresh air into your home office and if possible enjoy your daily walk on your lunch break. If possible try and get out in the garden before work or in the evenings to ensure you are not cooped inside all day (or if the sun is shining take your laptop outside and write a blog on ‘How to Stay Productive Whilst Working From Home’). 

 

Stay Connected

 

If you work within a team, make sure to check in regularly with your colleagues and create discussions that you would usually have around the office. Create to-do lists and share them with others so they are aware of what you are working on (this will also keep you motivated to complete tasks within the time frame) and ask others what tasks they have scheduled and make sure to offer a lending hand if you can. Teamwork is what will get businesses through this pandemic stronger than ever and it is crucial that this is reinforced by management. Besides daily emails, use of Microsoft Teams/Slack and phone calls, it might be beneficial for you to organise daily team calls to encourage discussions, you never know some of your colleagues may be isolating alone so a daily conference may be the only human interaction they have that day! 

 

By working together, we will come out of this stronger and hope our tips have helped you stay productive whilst working from home during lockdown! 

 

During this time there has been a massive increase in website sales as more users spend more time online. If you, or anyone you know are looking to start their digital journey with a new website, web redesign or a new and bespoke digital marketing strategy get in touch with the PageNorth team today. 

Is your business suffering due to the current global COVID-19 pandemic? Are you looking for new and meaningful ways to engage with new audiences online? Do you find yourself trying to look at ways to adapt your business so that you come out stronger on the other side of this lockdown?

 

Over the past 5 weeks during the UK COVID-19 it has become more and more apparent that in order for businesses to survive, they must adapt. With the closure of all non-essential shops, eCommerce is thriving in this current pandemic and those who have not taken the opportunity to market and sell online are suffering. It has been reported that leading high street retailer, Primark, has gone from making a whopping £650m in sales a month to £0 as the coronavirus has forced them to close all stores across Europe and US. Before now, Primark had little to none online presence and no eCommerce platform and thus, were unable to sell and promote their products. This is one of many examples of businesses who now need to adapt and rethink their entire business plan in order to survive. Here are 5 ways to help your business stay ahead during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

 

Get Online

 

Now more than ever is the time to get your business online, whether that be with a website, social media marketing or both. With the example above in mind, it’s clear that in this current climate businesses will not survive without being online and engaging with your already established customers and reach new users to generate more sales and leads. It is fundamental that you use these crucial weeks to create and deploy an effective and manageable digital marketing and web development strategy. 

 

Find Leads and Customers Ahead of Time

 

For some businesses, it might not be possible to make sales and close deals as of now, however this does not stop you from networking and generating leads. Whilst others are focusing on the here and now, use this time to get to know your target audience and reach out to them to ensure that you have a pool of potential users and customers once lockdown ends and things begin to calm down. 

 

Adapt Your Services to the Current Situation

 

Now is the time to get creative and adapt your services in order to meet the needs of what people need now. An amazing example of this is Peaches and Pearls Boutique who are renowned for their eco friendly and high quality eyebrow products and tools. When lockdown began and people were panic buying and supplies were low, Peaches and Pearls Boutique owner Chantelle took to the opportunity to produce and sell her own hand sanitiser which gained the brand a larger audience and further sales overnight. Be sure to find a way to adapt and support your audience during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Ensure Your Products/Services Will Still Be Relevant Further Down the Line

 

As much as it is important to adapt your business during this time, it’s fundamental to ensure you do not completely change your products or service to what customers need now. You must have a strategy in place for after this as well as trying to maintain business now. For instance, when looking at the example above it would certainly increase sales for now if Peaches and Pearls was to purely invest in hand sanitiser supplies, however when things calm down there may not be a need for this and thus could result in an immediate stop in sales which could be fatal. Make sure you are planning for the future because we do not know for certain how long this will last for and we may see business return to normal sooner than expected. 

Show Your Support

 

Since the lockdown began there has been a certain community feel amongst everyone across the country. Whether you are painting a rainbow, clapping at 8pm or running 5k to donate £5 near enough everyone across the country is doing what they can to support the NHS and their key workers. Be sure that your business is also showing your support to all NHS staff and other key workers, whether you are offering discount prices, donating your services and products or even if you can just put up a social media post showing your thanks and support. Additionally, this is a time for businesses to show support to one another, be sure to share what other companies in your community are doing and in turn they will be more likely to support you. 

 

PageNorth is here to help any business who needs support whether you are looking for a new website, need a new digital marketing strategy to ensure you are still reaching your users or even some web or marketing consultations to help you launch your services. Get in touch with us today and start your digital journey today. 

 

Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.

Protect Your Employees

Something which has become apparent from lockdown is that those who are kind will thrive and those who put money before safety will jeopardise their reputation. Protecting your brand starts with protecting your employees, they are the frontline of your reputation so be sure to look after them and do what you can to support them during this uncertain time. Word spreads fast and the last thing you want is for an employee to share a bad experience with your company during this, especially on social media. Businesses who are looking after their staff and putting processes in place to protect their health and jobs will be remembered after this. 

Proactively Communicate with Your Customers

They say that the key to all successful and long lasting relationships is effective communication, and yes this includes the relationship you have with your customers and not just the one you have with your significant other! Speak to your users and keep them updated. Share as much information as you can over email, social media and online so that they know you are still operating and available to respond to their enquiries. Additionally, if you can contact your regular and loyal customers be sure to do so. A simple message asking how they are and if there is anything you can do to support them can go a long way.  

Update Your Business Listings, Social Media Pages and Website

As well as keeping your current customers updated be sure that you are keeping potential customers in the loop too. If you have had to close for the time being don’t forget to update your website, social media and business listings, it will take a few minutes to do so and will avoid disappointed customers if you fail to respond to their messages. If your business is operating as usual make sure to voice this across your social pages and website, or if there have been some changes to services make sure your users are aware of this.   

Support Other Businesses

If your business works with other brands such as suppliers be sure to check in with them to ensure they are still operating as normal (so that you can still provide a service to your customers) and to let them know you are here to support them. Be sure to share their social media posts and in turn they are more likely to do the same for you. Additionally, a lot of independent businesses will be under immense pressure so make sure to support them anyway you can, whether that is buying their products or sharing a post on Facebook. As already stated, those who show kindness and offer support will be remembered once things calm down.  

Respond to Customer Concerns and Act on Them Quickly 

More than ever, it is crucial to be responding to and monitoring your customers concerns in order to protect your brands reputation. Provide your customers with effective solutions and listen to their concerns and offer support. If you are finding that you are getting an overwhelming amount of concerns (for instance if you have had to cancel bookings, orders or services due to the pandemic) then it would be extremely beneficial to monitor your customers enquiries and create a landing page dedicated to FAQ’s during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Make sure to stay safe and look out for your brand, employees, customers and others. If you are looking for any web development or digital marketing support be sure to contact us and  make your digital dreams a reality today!  

PageNorth Limited is a company registered in Scotland (No. SC513895).