A Jargon free
guide to why
sell and others
Make your website succeed’ hits the spot that others simply
do not dare to touch. From the first page to the end, this
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1
guide keeps in mind the number one requirement of almost The four stages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
every business website on the internet; make profit! That may
not be new, but the direct way in which Elton approaches the Be seen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
subject certainly is.
Be worth it . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Nick Rees, WTTL
Befriend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Become regular . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
This short book is a must read for anyone involved with a
business website. Elton’s observations are simple and often A clear strategy and focused objective . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
obvious, but they will throw light on problems faced by many
people trying to make a profit from their website. Key phrase (search term) research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
Barry Shadbolt, Blue Arrow Competitor analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Your first milestone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Ethical search engine optimisation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Elton has always had a way of demystifying the internet and
making the subject available to all. This guide has been a Link strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
long time coming. Now everyone can start to understand
what is quite a simple subject when presented the right way. Pay Per Click . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
John Williams, Interpak Usability – allowing users to score your goals . . . . . . . . . . . .14
Accesibility – allowing all users to score your goals . . . . . . . .15
Elton‘s no nonsense attitude to the Internet has the effect of Visitor conversion tracking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
saving companies thousands of pounds. This guide provides
an excellent starting point for anyone considering a new Email marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
website project or confused as to why their existing site is
not turning out as they planned. Elton can be very direct and Measuring return on investment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
sometimes abrupt! This is part of his unique style and it
comes across in the ‘make your website succeed’ guide.
Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) and the snowball effect . . . . .19
Stick with it, this guide will save you making costly mistakes Choosing an Internet marketing partner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
and show you the way to increased website revenue.
Where do you go from here? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Paul Frost, Best Cruise Deal
Worksheets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Elton would like to say thank you to all the clients that have worked with Make it tangible . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Urban Media to build successful websites. Also to those that have
Run the numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
participated in the many training sessions run both in house and at various
seminars. Your feedback and experiences shape our thinking as we push Choose a partner checklist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
the boundaries of internet marketing. Your success is every bit deserved.
Thank you. Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26/27
Introduction The four stages
Hi, and thank you for picking up this no jargon guide to creating a I believe that there are four stages to a successful website. These four
successful website. Whether you are new to internet marketing or a stages lead to a long and mutually beneficial relationship. Since I think the
seasoned pro, you probably realise the significance of the internet and the most important thing in business is our client (and supplier) relationships,
value it can bring to your business. You may also be aware of the effect it I have used the relationship scenario below. Imagine for a minute, 2 single
is having on your business. This may be good or bad. The problem is, if people looking for their very own, long lasting relationship (stay with me on
you don’t understand internet marketing, it can be quite daunting. More this!) if you were one of these individuals, you must go through four stages.
worryingly, you could be about to spend a lot of your valuable marketing First, you must be seen. When your perfect partner is out there looking for
budget on what could be a huge gamble. Keep reading! I aim to make someone just like you, there is no use hiding.
your decision less of a gamble and more of an educated choice.
Second, if you are seen, and you are looking for a long term relationship,
Regardless of where you are in terms of the internet, your business has you are going to need a date. To get your dream date, you need to be
been, is being and will continue to be affected by the web. For some, you worth it. This is where all those first impressions come in.
will have been an early adopter. You will (I hope) have gained a wealth of
Third, if you manage to get the date, you will need to spend time
experience and by now, you will be making extra profit as you eat up the
befriending, showing your date that you have some common ground, a
online sales that your not-so-savvy competitors are missing. For others,
connection that might just benefit you both.
you will be the not so savvy competitor. You may not have seen it in this
way before, but the sales enquiries that have gone away have not actually Finally, given that your date was a real success, you need to become
gone away. They have moved and now come through the internet. For the regular to that person, your new relationship. If the relationship is to
majority, you will be somewhere in the middle. Wherever you are, this prosper, you have to maintain communication.
guide is for you. It will either be a book of enlightenment or simply back Over time, you will both profit (benefit) from your relationship.
Throughout my 11 years in website development, I have received regular
feedback on how I have simplified the internet for my clients. During this BE SEEN
period, I have only lost one job due to my lack of ‘techie talk’. It’s worth
noting that we went on to recover that job after their ‘techies’ failed BE WORTH IT
miserably. You see, designers talk about how great the site will look,
techies talk about what it will do and the third more recent group, the
search engine guys talk about getting to page one of Google. Is it just me BECOME REGULAR
or are they all missing the point? Surely your websites main aim is to
generate more business.
Take a minute to think about what this could mean for your business.
That is why I decided to write this guide. I wanted to help strip away the
hype, the jargon, the smoke and mirrors and frankly the confusion. It’s time Next, we will explore the four stages. These are common to all successful
to put some common sense back into the internet. websites.
Be seen Be worth it
First, you must be seen. When your perfect partner is out there Secondly, if you are seen, and you are looking for a long term
looking for someone just like you, it is no use hiding. relationship, you are going to need a date. To get your dream date,
you need to be worth it. This is where all those first impressions
The first thing we need to do is establish where your potential clients are come in.
looking. As the internet continues to grow, so do the variety of ways in
which you can promote your business online. This is a great sign of how Just as in the physical world you can not underestimate the importance of
the internet is growing. However, if we are building a successful website a first impression, so is the same with your website. The first impression
we need to be careful where we spend our marketing budget to get the a visitor to your website should experience is one that provides them with
best return. confidence and a desire to continue their journey into finding out more
Think back to our example on the previous page. There are many places
where a single person might find a partner; through friends, at the gym, in Quite often people interpret this to mean the visual look of the site. Whilst
church, on a dating website, down the pub etc. Each one of these could the graphic design is important, the interface design is what provides the
provide a ‘lead’, but I would suggest that one would outperform the others necessary experience. So what is the ‘interface’ design? It simply refers to
every time; the dating website. It’s simple, this is a place where people go where and how things are placed. Are things obvious or awkward?
to find a date and be found for a date. Consistent or random? Etc. Put yourself in your visitors shoes for a minute.
If a page looks fantastic, but you can’t find what you need, how will your
Our options as a business are equally as wide. We could use web
visitor feel? If the site lacks the polished look, but everything is obvious to
directories, banner ads, natural search listings, Pay Per Click etc. These
use, how will they feel?
can all bring ‘leads’, but we need return on our marketing spend. Which
one do you think would bring more people to your site? Hands down If you actually placed yourself in their shoes, chances are you drew upon
almost every time, a top of first page listing in Google will outperform any your own experiences in those situations to understand how a visitor may
other method of delivering visitors to your site. Despite this, many feel. Which site would you prefer to use? You have just experienced one
otherwise intelligent marketers waste money in many wrong areas of of the keys to a successful website. I want to clarify my position at this
internet spending. My advice is as always very simple. Put your efforts into point. I believe that it is possible and indeed important for a site to look
being seen where your potential customer will be looking. great and work great. My observation above simply shows which
requirement should always take priority.
Over 87% of all online transactions start with a user searching for a specific
product/service. In the UK, over 80% of searches are carried out in Google. Remember, you need to look at each page individually. If a visitor landed on
Less than a third of users go beyond the first page of results (they simply that page as the first time they had ever come across you, does it tell them
enter a different search term). Putting it into context, 90% of your internet all they need to continue the journey? They are looking for a specific
marketing efforts should be put into securing a first page listing in Google. product/service, not your company name/history. What do they currently see?
Cutting corners here will cost you in the long run. Be strict on yourself.
Befriend Become regular
Thirdly, if you manage to get the date, you will need to spend this Finally, given that your date was a real success, you need to
time befriending, Showing your date that you have some common become regular to that person, your new relationship. If the
ground, a connection that might just benefit you both. relationship is to prosper, you have to maintain communication.
Stage three is when a visitor has found your site, clicked on to it and It is common knowledge that selling to existing customers is far less
decided to stay and see what you have to offer. You have a date with your expensive than finding new customers to sell to. The internet makes it easy
potential client. You have started the relationship. It is now vital that you for us to maintain customer relationships with lots of customers.
make the connection. To do this you need to understand what your
Surprisingly, this is the point where the majority of companies fail. They put
customer wants. This is not necessarily what you currently sell. It may be
in all the hard work and achieve that all important first sale. Not only did
that what you sell can solve the problem or requirement that your potential
the potential customer find them, they considered them worth a click (visit).
customer has, but look at the emphasis. At all times, view your website
Once on the site they were so pleased that they stuck around and made
from the visitor perspective. Let me give an example.
a purchase as a sign of their commitment to the relationship. Then, sadly,
Think of an accountant. Why do we use them? Personally, I want 2 things. you decided not to stay in touch. The usual reasons are time, cost and not
I want peace of mind and I want to keep more of the profits. knowing how. Hopefully, this guide will help to show why staying in touch
is worth the time, money and the finding out how.
If an accountant tries to tell me about P11D’s and corporation tax, I will go
blank. These are the services they offer, but they are not my ‘wants’. If you can add ongoing value to your customers, why wouldn’t you? Aren’t
these customer relationships really important to you?
In the same way, Urban Media offer various programming languages,
design, search engine optimisation and a myriad of other things. What ‘added value’ content could you provide free of charge on a regular
Fortunately I realise that these are not things that our clients care about. basis? This is often the most difficult activity to justify until you have started
Our clients want to generate more business through their website. to receive regular repeat business from it. However, that can work to your
Effectively, they want more sales. They also want to feel informed. This is advantage. If your competitors can’t justify it and choose to ignore the
why we avoid the tech talk. It is one of the languages that we understand potential profits of providing regular free ‘added value’ content to existing
and use in the right environment, but not with our clients. clients, you will stand out even more. Since you have already created the
content, why not let the potential client who is stood on the edge, still
Take some time to think about what your clients really get from you.
considering their buying choices, have a copy too. It might just sway them.
Remember, no one ever wants a 12mm drill bit; they want a 12mm hole.
The best format to provide this regular content is through an email
Once you have a list, think about how you could offer this to a new visitor newsletter. Note the title, newsletter, not sales letter. By helping our clients
to your site. Be their friend, add value to your new relationship, sales will to understand more about internet marketing, they are in a better position
come. If you force visitors to read about your wonderful products/services, to make the correct buying decisions. They make the decision on their
without addressing their needs, you will fail to establish profitable customer terms, not ours. In this way, we both win which leads to many ongoing
relationships. sales without the need for selling.
Clear strategy and focused Key phrase research
objectives Your online success could swing either way based simply on your choice
of key phrases. It is vital that you carry out key phrase research. This is
So far we have discussed the four stages of a successful website. Now I
research into what key phrases your potential clients will use.
would like to take a step back before proceeding into the next sections.
Think of this from your user’s perspective. Let’s imagine that our user is
Think of someone you know (could be you) that has failed to achieve
looking for a leaking tap to be fixed. On the other end is our extremely
success from their website. Now focus on what they failed to achieve.
professional, national property maintenance company.
Finally, what did they write down as their stated objectives when
they began? The user may try key phrases (search terms) such as ‘plumber’, local
plumber’, ‘handyman’, ‘fix leaking tap’, etc.
Although there are web developers that can take a good plan and destroy
its chances of success (we will discuss this later), it is more common for Our property maintenance company are the perfect company to help. To
website owners to have such vague plans that it is impossible to succeed. show just how professional they are, they have optimised their pages for
terms such as ‘reliable property maintenance’, ‘all areas covered’, ‘reliable
‘Make sales’ is not a focussed objective. How many sales constitute
friendly staff’, etc.
success? How will you get the sales? What will it cost?
Now that I have written it down, it’s obvious. Think about how frustrating it
In my mind, a clear strategy involves research and a very specific plan
is though when you can’t find what you need easily.
with measurable targets. It includes knowing what your site will cost, what
a sale is worth to you in gross profit and a clear understanding of how Take a minute to look at your own site. Read the text with this new
many sales you will need to break even and move into profit. You will need perspective. The words that keep cropping up, are they really the terms
a motivation to keep moving the project forward in the initial stages. What that your potential client would use to find you?
is it? Take a minute to create a picture of what your success will bring you. Thankfully there are tools to see which phrases are more popular. Again,
Remember, if you have no idea of how many sales you need, you can’t don’t cut corners here. Carry out key phrase research. Ask clients what
measure success. If you can’t measure your success, how will know when you they would have used to find you. Ask non clients the same question. Then
have achieved it and how will you increase your target when you reach it. use the tools to find out the actual popularity of the list of search terms. The
software tools will also show similar terms that you may not have
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Take time out to write down your plan.
Use the worksheets at the back of this guide. Run them past your web
developer. They will know whether you have unrealistic expectations, but
ultimately it is your time and money that is at stake. Take realistic advice,
don’t allow yourself to believe that something will happen just because you
would like it to. Your web developer should help by challenging your plans
in order to strengthen them.
Competitor analysis Your first milestone
Armed with your key phrase research, you should check out your Well done for staying with me! You have now reached your first milestone.
competition. Your online competition are often different to your off line We have learnt that all successful websites have four distinct stages. We
competitors. The good news is that they are easier to find and compare know that we must have a clear strategy and focused objectives. To
yourself against. support our ideas, we have researched both our key phrases (what clients
will use to find us) and our online competitors (those that clients will
To find your competition, simply enter your key phrases into Google and compare us to).
write a list of all the sites that come up in the top 3 pages. I suggest Google
as it has the majority of the market share. You need to be on the front
page of Google. The top three pages change over time and any of the
S Sit down
results from the first 3 pages are close enough to be competing with you
for the first page listing. This doesn’t even take into account the people who
T Test the
are currently trying to get to the top and don’t yet appear in the first 3
pages of results. Using all 3 pages of results will give you a wider O Opportunity before
What are your competitors doing? Who are they? Can you match/beat P Proceeding
their offer/attractiveness? What makes you different? To get this far, we have essentially carried out a feasibility study. If you
It would be a good idea to get some outside feedback on this. Write out can’t genuinely offer a better product or service, profitably, than is already
the various offers. Print out the various website ‘screens’. Create a few easily found online, your chances of success are limited. This is very direct,
direct questions and ask independent people who they would buy from but I am in the business of generating internet success stories, not failures.
and why? The answers should be enlightening. You may have been about This guide has been created to help you, not flatter you.
to create a website offering something that was great in unimportant areas If you do believe that after your research, you can take on the competition,
and lacking in more crucial areas. This research can be used in a wider you are probably in a good position to do so. The following pages will help
context than just your website. to explain the route you will need to take to success. We will explore the
This all sounds obvious and not a mistake you would have made. Good individual components of the four stages and more.
news! Your research will confirm your existing belief. Given the number of Each page simply skims the surface of a specific area. It will be enough
companies that get it wrong, I would still advise that you do not miss this to help you to gain a basic understanding of what will be required to create
exercise. Even large companies like Coca Cola get it wrong when they fail your web success. I have tried to keep it simple at the same time without
to carry out enough research. Think back to ‘new recipe Coca Cola’. It was discussing too much unnecessary detail at this stage.
a disaster and had to be retracted after a very expensive roll out.
Ethical search engine optimisation Link strategy
By far the most profitable way to promote your website will be through the We have already discovered that the search engine creates its results by
natural (organic) search engine listings. As previously mentioned, Google analysing your pages via a large algorithm. However a quite often overlooked
has a huge market share and although you should appear across all area is the ‘off page’ score given to your pages. This is called the ‘Page
search engines, Google will account for the majority of your visitors. Rank’. A very complex part of the search engine algorithm assesses the
The natural listings receive a lot more clicks than the paid listings (Pay pages that link to you. Each of these pages has their own value (Page Rank).
Per Click, Adwords). You will typically pay an internet marketer for their Based on this rank, you receive a ‘vote’ from each page that links to one of
work (expect to pay around £400/month) and there are no ‘per click’ your pages. The higher the score of the page that links to you, the higher the
charges as with Pay Per Click. At the same time, the number of clicks that vote you receive. The more pages that link to you, the more votes you
you can receive is unlimited. receive. This adds up to make your own score. I have simplified the
Search engines are basically software programs that use large algorithms explanation somewhat, but the basic message is that gaining links from other
to decide the order of millions of pages in relation to a search term entered high page rank pages is vital to boosting your own Page Rank.
by a search engine user. An internet marketer should know what criteria There are 3 areas to look at.
the search engines are using for their algorithm and therefore be able to
The Yahoo and DMOZ directories have a huge impact on your listings.
make your pages fit the bill from a mathematical viewpoint. This in turn will
provide you with the first page listing that you desire. Because they are manually edited, not automatic, they can be very difficult
to get into. Do not let this put you off. You may benefit from using an
Look out for cheating in this area. Due to the value of a first page listing,
internet marketer who is also an editor for either of these directories.
it is tempting to ‘cheat’ the system. This method is quick, but short lived.
DMOZ editors have a unique insight into how the listings work from behind
The danger is that should a search engine pick up on the method, it is
likely to blacklist your site and exclude it totally from their listings
permanently. You should insist on ethical search engine optimisation. The The bulk of the link strategy works by searching out relevant directories or
terms white hat and black hat are used to describe ethical or non ethical sites and requesting links from them. This sometimes means offering a
search optimisation techniques. link back. It is far more effective however if a reciprocal link is not required.
It is not particularly useful to know all of the details of page optimisation, but There is no direct benefit to your own search listings by adding links to
you should look for changes made to the pages that you can see. Your key other sites on your pages. Link strategy work is purely about getting high
phrases need to be prominent and at least 4% of the total words should be value relevant links from others to your site.
your key terms. When your mouse (cursor) moves over images on the page,
Another very effective way of building first page listings through external
your key phrases should appear in a text box (alt tag). When you look at the
top of the browser window (the blue band on Internet Explorer) you should means is social networking. There are various sites where you can build
also see your key phrases. You should only use 2 related key phrases per ‘social networking’ profiles. These profiles become web pages that are
page, you will gain spin offs from these phrases but you cannot expect to indexed and rank well in the search engine listings. Not only do they bring
appear for two completely different subjects with 1 page. their own string of visitors to your main site, they have a huge effect on
your own natural listings. The main sites that are used for this activity are
Ask your web developer/internet marketer to show you example
sites/references and ask them how they intend to optimise your site. The Stumble Upon, Squidoo, Facebook, Ecademy etc.
key words to look out for are H1 tags, bold tags, alt tags, key word density Whichever methods you use, obviously, the more you can commit to, the
and frequency, key word prominence and on page optimisation. This is a better. Link Strategy has a very important role to play in gaining first page
very specialist area and we are scratching the surface, but you have listings for your website.
enough to evaluate whether an internet marketer knows their stuff.
Pay Per Click Usability – allowing users to score
Pay Per Click is the quickest way to gain ‘clicks’ (visitors) to your website. your goals
All of the search engines carry paid for listings alongside the unpaid
(natural) listings that dominate their pages. From the moment a site is live, Once you have got visitors to your site, whether through a lot of hard work
you can build an advertising campaign for paid listings and make the in the natural listings or through spending heavily on Pay Per Click, you
campaign live. This means that you can effectively get high volumes of need to make the most of it. The fact that a user has searched for you, tells
visitors to your site within hours of the site being launched. you that they want to find what you have and buy your product/service.
Allow your users to score your goals.
As with all of the other areas, there is a lot to learn about Pay Per Click to
really maximise your expenditure. There are some basics to understand Think back to the last time you went to a store to buy something that you
and these are the things I would like to discuss here.There are 3 main expected them to sell. Try as you might, you couldn’t find the item and
things to look at with any Pay Per Click campaign. either left to find it somewhere else or gave up and asked an assistant. On
How much are you willing to pay to receive 1 new visitor to your site? This your website, you will rarely get the second option. It is so easy for a user
isn’t too difficult. If you need 100 visitors before you make 1 sale of £200 to go elsewhere. Think about what your visitor may be looking for and give
at 50% GP (leaving £100 profit), you break even at £1.00 per click. Pay any it to them.
less and you make, any more and you lose! There are scenarios where There is only one simple rule for this area of website success.
you may choose to lose on the first sale. This is discussed later in ‘Lifetime
Customer Value’. Keep it simple whilst making it obvious.
How much can you afford to pay each month? This figure can keep This means for your visitor, not you. You know your company, products
increasing whilst you are making profit and able to deliver your and services like the back of your hand. You therefore have very little
product/service effectively. To begin though, how much will your monthly chance of being a suitable critic. It is important to view each page and
budget be? If you set a daily limit of £500 and pay £1.00 per click, you will consider the following;
get 500 clicks before your campaign is paused automatically until you have
Is your logo prominent?
more budget. The budget is spread out across the month. If you set £500
Do you have a prominent tag line that clearly states what you do
and your adverts are not seen after lunchtime, chances are by doubling
for your clients?
your budget, you will be live until the evening.
Is your menu easy to understand?
When and where do you want to be seen? You can set specific times Do the words speak of what your user will gain or what you do?
and/or regions to show your adverts. For example if you are not exporting, (This should not be the latter by the way!)
you can choose simply ‘England’ or ‘United Kingdom’. If you know that you Have you pointed out clearly what your visitor should do next?
get a higher conversion later in the day, you can target these times. A If something looks ‘clickable’, can you click it?
courier company is far more likely to convert a sale during 4.30pm – If you want something clicked, does it look ‘clickable’?
9.00pm than through the early part of the day. This is because the
requirement is a far more urgent one rather than a general enquiry to The specific placement of items such as special offers etc. can also greatly
tender for a future account. improve your effectiveness. This should be done over time and the results
monitored. To start though, ensure that the list above is all taken care of.
There are lots of benefits to Pay Per Click, but remember that you are
If you have an ecommerce site, there are some really basic but fantastically
paying for every click in an auction against your competition. If they bid
effective methods to use to increase sales. If you would like more
more, they will show up higher. Therefore the cost can only ever go higher
information, email email@example.com.
as more businesses choose this option.
Accesibility – allowing all users to Email marketing
score your goals There is a lot of misunderstanding about email marketing and different
A less well known fact about running a website is the legal requirement of people hold very different views. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Once again,
the Disability Discrimination Act. This is a piece of English Law that states bring it back to basics.
that you should make reasonable steps to ensure that your site can be
If you have a specific product/service for ‘young new dad’s’ let’s say, how
used equally by all.
effective would the following be;
If you have narration on your website, you should have text to accompany
the narration etc. This is a rare scenario, but one that is common to all sites A blanket mailshot to any household demonstrating your offer
is how your pages appear to the visually impaired. This includes your blind A mailshot to households that have recently bought from
visitors. A blind visitor will be viewing your website through a text to speech ‘Mothercare’, demonstrating your offer
device. This device will read the content of your site to the visitor.
A specific message to your existing customers to help them with
Depending on your viewpoint and the priority you place on social
your products and in doing so demonstrate other products that
responsibility, this could seem like a good thing to do or it may seem like
unnecessary effort and expense. Because of the range of views, I will you could offer.
approach this from a position that everyone can understand. Websites that It is fairly obvious which one will generate more response or a better
are DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant are typically W3C conversion rate. It is the same online. You could buy email addresses very
compliant (think ISO 9001 for the web). Sites that are W3C compliant are
cheaply (per name) and send out a mass mailing. Even if you send enough
also better optimised for the search engines. Sites that do well in the
that statistically you reach a large number of recipients that could use you,
search engines get more visitors and obviously sites that get more visitors
your mailing will have only limited success.
tend to sell more and make greater profits.
It wouldn’t take me long to explain the very convincing argument that says If you mailed a specific target audience, you could tie something in to
websites that fulfil the social and legal responsibility of the Disability ‘make a connection’ and you would improve your results. However, you will
Discrimination Act have more chance of generating long term profits. This still receive a far lower response than a ‘news’ letter that aims to help
is whilst at the same time, not risking the fines that could come as a result existing customers. They will not only find a benefit and feel that your
of not complying. So, what do you need to do? relationship is strengthened but they will also potentially pass it on to other
The easy ones are items such as your text should be capable of changing suitable recipients.
size. From your browser, if you do not have a ‘text size’ function on your
Whatever you do, ensure that any email that you send is permission
pages, the browser will have a function to change the text between
based. This is not only the law, sending unsolicited email is not good for
smallest, small, normal, large, extra large. If you change the view, does
your text size change? Including your buttons? When you move your
mouse (cursor) over an image, does a small box of text appear with a I would always suggest sticking to the ‘news’, not’ sales’ letter approach.
description of the image? How about colours? Subtle colour changes are Remember this communication is about adding value. The added value
harder to distinguish between for the visually impaired. The lack of contrast will in turn influence your client’s perception of you and their eagerness to
can make your site difficult for these users to read. repeat buy and refer others to you.
Each site has different challenges, but you can be sure that a site has
passed the ‘test’ when you see the ‘A’, ‘AA’, or ‘AAA’ rated logo. 2 things
to remember; the law states that you should make ‘reasonable steps’ and
taking these steps will help to increase your profits.
Visitor conversion tracking Measuring return on investment
The internet offers a unique and powerful way to track, analyse and As you have seen, there is a lot to think about and do in order to create a
improve your visitor conversions. Unlike any other form of marketing and truly successful website. It wouldn’t make sense to put in this effort or
advertising spend; you can see how your prospects are interacting with expense without a way to measure what your return is. Your website should
your site. bring profits to your business. It should be an investment, not an expense.
It is possible to see which key phrases are bringing the sales and which Now it is fair to say that these profits will not be instant and you need to
are not. It is also possible to see which traffic generation methods (banner consider the payback term.
ads, natural listings, paid listings etc.) are bringing the actual sales. There To understand your return on investment, you need to add all of the costs
are many website statistic programs. Google Analytics is one of these. It in producing the site and running the site over a given period. Since we are
is free and is a fantastic tool if setup and understood properly. This analysis used to 3 year plans, I will use that timeframe. After all, a good website
software will allow you to monitor every aspect of your website and find should not need to be totally rebuilt in less time than 3 years. Remember
areas to improve or concentrate on. to add the initial build costs to the cost of maintenance for the whole 3
Your web developer will be able to setup conversion ‘goals’. These may year period. Then add the cost of promoting the site. This includes Pay Per
simply be actions such as downloading a technical spec sheet or going to Click, internet marketer costs and any management time you will have to
the contacts page. A more powerful use would be on an ecommerce site. put in. Depending on how good your internet marketing partners are, this
Various goals can be set. This allows you to see where visitors are ‘turned could be minimal or extensive. The figure may well be staggering, but it is
off’ the purchase. your real cost.
Imagine the scenario where a goal is placed on the ‘view category’ page, Next, work out what your average gross profit is in percentage terms. Let’s
the ‘view item’ page, the ‘add to basket’ page, the ‘checkout’ page and the say your total costs were going to be £80,000 and your gross profit is 50%.
‘thank you’ page. You will see detailed information as to where your buyers This means that to simply break even you must sell £160,000 over 3 years
leave the sale. This will help you to identify problems such as or £4,445 per month. You now have a number to work with that means
incorrect/insufficient product range, pricing issues, problems with the something. Taking this a step further, if you know that your average sale
checkout i.e. payment options, delivery charges etc. is £450, you need to sell 10 items per month.
By reviewing the data, it is easy to alter strategies to fix any problem areas However you monitor your return on investment, make sure that you do.
and get your site selling. Websites have a way of soaking up budget if you don’t. If your web
Probably the simplest but potentially most critical statistic will be your developer is more interested in the design or the technical aspects, alarm
bounce rate. Bounce rate tells us how many times a visitor lands on one bells should ring. Your (and their) main priority should always be getting a
of your pages and leaves without venturing further into your website. In return from your expenditure.
conjunction with another piece of data for the keywords used to find your If you do not sell in the traditional sense, you should still set performance
site, you will know that either your site is optimised for the wrong keywords targets. This may relate to time saving such as ‘what is the value of a user
or that you are getting quality (correct) leads into the site, but failing to downloading your service guide rather than calling tech support’ for
show them that you are relevant. Either way, again, you are armed with the example. This can then be tracked and you can see whether your website
information you need to make amends. is saving you money.
Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) Choosing an Internet
and the snowball effect marketing partner
You should never forget the value of your ongoing relationship with a client. This part is crucial. It is very rare for a successful website to be run in
This can seriously affect the view of your website profitability. This is house. It is a lot to get right and therefore outsourced help is usually the
termed ‘Lifetime Customer Value’. way that this goal is achieved. This presents a problem. Who to choose?
This is another simple equation to work out. If we know that our average Firstly, and the most obvious one, you have to get on with the team you
product is £450 and that the gross profit is 50%, then the sale value is choose. It may be worth asking to see the person who will actually carry
out the work before commissioning a team. You need to get on with the
£225. It may take a lot of these to break even. What if though, you sell to
developer and the internet marketer, not just the account manager. This
the same customer monthly and you keep the customer for three years. In
team should consist of a separate developer and internet marketer. The
profit terms, the customer is worth 36 of the £225’s. This is £8,100 just in
roles are very different and it is impossible to be at the top of both. One
profit. There are other knock-on benefits. How many people does he tell side will suffer if this is the same person. You need a company that
about you and how many of those also spend regularly with you over a specialises in providing website/internet services.
prolonged period and tell others etc.
A good track record is naturally a big key to your success. If the team have
It is immediately apparent how looking at the lifetime customer value can done it before, they should be able to do it again. If they haven’t, you are
significantly improve your return on investment figures. Is this a realistic their test case. If you offer to be that test case for a reduced fee, they don’t
way of looking at return on investment though? I think that it is. If you are have the budget to do the work properly and everyone may lose.
in business for the long term, you will generate the profits that you have Testimonials are a very quick way to find out whether their existing clients
predicted through lifetime customer value. would use them again. Phone their clients if necessary.
In the early days of our customer relationships, we take it as a given fact Visit them. Not in a hotel lobby or meeting room facility; at their office. Get a feel
that we will make little profit. This is a massive incentive for us to do a for their environment. Working in a pleasant environment makes a difference to
good job in order to be recommended and also to keep each account long the work and attitude of the team. How long have they been going? The web
enough to move into the more profitable ongoing relationship part. Since has changed and continues to change at a fast pace. Companies that have
been around longer will have a wealth of experience and a more balanced
our client makes more profit later into the relationship, we are both ‘sharing
outlook. This will help you to avoid fads whilst seizing genuine opportunities.
the pain’ and benefiting from the long term relationship.
What training or help do they provide free of charge? If they are good, this
Although it is encouraging to think of the referral business that a web
is a tell tale sign. Providing free training means that potential clients can
enquiry will eventually provide, I suggest that you only include the repeat
see them in action before making a decision. Visit their training events.
business from the individual customer. The rest is just a ‘knock-on benefit’. They will typically have existing clients there. Talk to them.
Of course if you are including lifetime customer value into your equations,
You will find it difficult to tick all of the boxes with all of the web developers
you need to consider the timescale. Can your business afford the outlay you meet. The most important consideration is that they have current
ahead of the return? This is the difference between a ‘cash flow forecast’ satisfied clients who are generating profits from the efforts of the same
and a ‘Profit and Loss’ where the website would be an asset and the cost individuals that you will work with.
shown over the full 36 months.
Finally, don’t jump at the first web team you see. Unless you are absolutely
convinced by the first team or have gone on recommendation, I recommend
getting a comparison. Also, don’t go overboard. It will make your decision
making harder and you will never move forward. See only 2-4 suppliers.
Where do you go from here? Make it tangible
So, you are ready to begin using your website to increase business or
What does your business sell?
keen to see how much more your website can do. You need to speak to
someone. If you speak to an internet marketer, you have made a
commitment. You now have turned your desire into something concrete.
Before you get to this point, it will be very easy to let the project drift.
This is not enough on its own. You have a lot of thinking and planning to What do your customers buy from you?
do. It doesn’t have to be onerous or take up lots of time, but you do have
to work out the offline bits such as profitability. Work out what you can put
aside in terms of budget. Know what your break even points are. Know
what cash you need to generate in what time frame.
Your web development/internet marketing team should work with you on
this. Look for a web company that publish their prices. This means if you How well is your website currently performing (circle below using 1-10)
do share your budget with them, they won’t simply alter their costing to fit
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
your budget. An ethical company should be always looking at how they can
maximise your budget, not their profits. Expect this to mean as much being Not delivering business Bringing regular business
spent on the ongoing marketing as on the initial build unless your site has
to be particularly complex. What are the consequences to you of not having a successful website?
Naturally, Urban Media would love to speak to you regarding any
new/existing website project you have. But, this doesn’t mean you should
only look at us. You should at least gain 2 viewpoints as a minimum.
Whatever you choose and whoever you want to speak to, my final word
would be to ‘do something’! While you delay, your competitor is taking the What would it mean to you if your site delivered regular leads/sales?
advantage. It’s time to get things back in your favour.
Thank you for reading this guide. I really hope it has helped to stir some
thoughts and improved your understanding of what it takes to make a
website successful. Of course there have been many details missing. It
was never the idea to get stuck into the detail. You are very welcome to In 12 months, where would you like to see your website?
attend our monthly training sessions for a more detailed insight. Brochure site, not really used for new business
New site design representing the company professionally
I wish you all the best with your internet marketing and I would be really
pleased to have my team help you out along the way. Sales being generated through the site
Customers using the site to find information, saving time for them and us
Managing Director moved into e-commerce and selling certain ‘standard’ items online
Urban Media (GB) Ltd growing subscriber base to our well received monthly email news letter
P.S. Call Urban Media on 01494 538441 to get the ball rolling. I don’t know, but want to find out. I know it can do more!
We would love to hear from you.
Run the numbers Choose a partner
Using the last full 6 months as your timescale, fill in the following: checklist
A Total Sales Value £
Did you speak to the Web Developer?
B Number of Sales
Could you work with them?
C Average Sale Value (A ÷ B) £
Did you speak to the Internet Marketer?
D Total Gross Profit £ Could you work with them?
E Gross Profit Margin ((D ÷ B) x 100) % Are they both Specialists?
Do they have relevant examples?
F Each sale is worth on average (C x E) £
Does their website display named testimonials?
G How many times do your clients spend per year? Can you speak to their existing clients?
Did they understand your requirement?
H How many years do you keep each client
Did they challenge your ideas?
J Your Lifetime Customer Value is (F x G x H)
Did they add anything new to your ideas?
Did they speak in plain English?
*At this point you may not know the following. In the future, it will drive
the success of your website. Do the team work in a positive environment?
K Number of visits to your website Do they provide free training?
How long have they been established?
L Number of sales/enquiries
Was the price agreeable?
M Website conversion rate ((L ÷ K) x 100)
Did you get a good ‘gut feel’?
N number of enquiries per 1 sale Which Partner do you prefer?
*Remember, the price relates to what kind of success the partner can bring you. It has
O Value of a website visitor (J x M x N)
been deliberately placed low down the list. Work with your partner to bring about the best
solution within your budget.
Database Driven (see CMS) Link Strategy Search Engine Result Pages
Glossary Disibility Discrimination Act
The process of finding high Page (SERPs)
Accessibility Rank links for your site. This The search engine page that
(DDA 1995) process involves finding sites to displays results based on the
The art of ensuring that, to as large UK law governing a guideline of
an extent as possible, facilities are link to you, not necessarily from user’s key phrases.
rules to ensure accessibility. you. However, it is sometimes
available to people whether or not Search Term (see Key phrase)
they have impairments of one sort DMOZ necessary to offer a reciprocal link.
or another. The human edited web directory Natural Search Results
belonging to Google. Once a site (Listings) Creating profiles on various
Adwords is listed in DMOZ, it’s ranking websites that are set up as virtual
Google’s Pay Per Click system The natural listings that a search
across various search engines will engine returns based on its (internet) networks.
(see Pay Per Click). be greatly improved. algorithm and in order of its Usability
Analytics Email Marketing estimated relevance. The ease in which a site visitor is
Google’s Web stats programme. It Bulk messages sent via email with able to navigate your site and find
runs on Google Servers and Organic Search Results (see
the intention of marketing. Done Natural Search Results) what they need.
requires small peices of code to be professionally, data will be recorded
inserted on your individual pages. in relation to number of emails Page Rank W3C (World Wide Web
opened and links followed. There are A score given to an individual web Consortium)
Bounce Rate A non-profit organisation setup to
The rate at which visitors arrive on strict laws governing the sending of page, by a search engine, based
mail to unsolicited addresses. on the links that link to that page. improve standards across the web.
a page of your site and leave They are responsible for setting
without going further into the site. Flash Pay Per Click (PPC) standards for usability and
Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) A platform that supports the Various paid advertising systems accessibility.
A file used to format layout and text authoring and display of multimedia that display paid for listings
content (e.g., graphics, audio, and/or alongside natural search results. Web Conversion Rate
of pages to improve the quality and The ratio between the numbers of
efficiency of the website. streaming media). Flash content can These are ordered based on the
appear in a web page or be stored maximum amount an advertiser is visitors that you receive compared
Clickthrough in file. Playing Flash content within a willing to ‘bid’ in an auction to with those that carry out your
When a user moves from one site browser is typically done through a secure the top position. website goals.
to another. The term is most Browser Plug-in that includes the Web Directory
commonly used when referring to Flash player. The Flash player is Reciprocal Link
Two websites that link to one Directories of businesses,
a user moving from a search pre-installed in several web browsers websites, groups or other.
engine to your website. and on different operating systems. another.
Directories work different to search
Clickthrough Ratio Internet Marketing Return on Investment engines in that you enter your
The ratio at which users The title given to marketing The amount of cash received in details into categories and users
clickthrough from a site compared activities that specifically relate to return for the cash outlaid. search by categories.
to the total number of users who the internet Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Web Stats (Web Statistics)
could have clicked through. Marketing, both paid for and
Key phrase Statistical programme that runs in
Content Management System A phrase used by a search engine non-paid for, that is based purely the background of a website
(CMS) user. This term is entered into the on search engine result pages. gathering information about visitor
A web application that allows search box and the search engine Search Engine Optimisation activity. This information can then
website business owners to edit uses this term to find relevant pages. (SEO) be used to report various activities
their own website to a greater or The process of optimising a web
Keyword in order for the website owner to
lesser degree without any web page to ensure that it is well
programming. It is usually A word used by a search engine make improvements to their
user. The word is entered into the received by the search engines and website.
achieved through a database. ranks highly. This is achieved by
search box and the search engine
Cost per Click uses this word to find relevant understanding how the search
The cost per single clickthrough from pages. engine algorithm works and
a Pay Per Click advert to your site. adjusting the page structure to suit.