9 Website Redesign Mistakes That Kill Your Website’s SEO

A web redesign can either boost your SEO… or erase all the traction you’ve earned so far. The choice is yours.

You may opt to give your site a “facelift” to keep up with changing user preferences, web design trends, or Google’s evolving algorithm. Or, you may decide to blow the whole thing up and build it again.

In either case, the last thing you want is a very expensive and beautifully designed website that just sits there. It looks great, but nobody sees it. More importantly, it’s being ignored by search engines and not producing any leads.

“What went wrong? We put all this time and effort into this and we’re no further ahead. In fact, we’ve lost ground!” This is the cry of too many business owners after a website rebuild. Now, they’re looking for a new SEO agency in Toronto.

So what went wrong? In a lot of cases, it’s because a design was prioritized over SEO. This can’t happen. You and your team need to stay focused on SEO before, during and after the redesign process, or all that work you’ve invested in SEO over the years may be undone.

Let’s make sure your SEO rankings stay intact and your new site is set up to move the needle forward. Here are a few common mistakes that companies make.

Mistake #1: Removing or Renaming Pages That Rank on Google

You will probably choose to get rid of (or rename) some of your existing web pages. Maybe you’re moving everything over to a new domain name or you’re trying to simplify your existing website layout.

Whatever the case may be, remember that Google uses the URL addresses of these pages when ranking your website. If you suddenly change the URL, you’ll have to start from scratch when it comes to SEO. Each page goes back to square one.

Your best bet is to use a 301 redirect when deleting or moving web pages. This shows Google and other search engines that your website has permanently moved to a new address, so you won’t lose your search rankings.

When moving pages to a new domain, this should be fairly straightforward. But, if you’re deleting pages that rank well on Google (more on that later), redirect them to the most relevant page of your new website.

If you’re simply cutting certain pages without offering a replacement, you’ll have to say goodbye to those search rankings.

And let’s not forget about backlinks, still one of the most important factors for SEO. Your backlinks account for about half of your SEO clout. But if you change or delete some of these pages, the links go with them.

Users that click on these backlinks will be greeted by a 404 page, which renders your link building efforts null and void.

Again, you’ll need to use a 301 redirect to salvage your existing backlinks. Users that click on these backlinks are redirected to your new website instead of staring at a blank screen.

Mistake #2: Not Checking Internal and External Links

Your new website needs to be navigable. But when you’re working in the development environment, things get lost.

The development environment is a separate workspace where web developers and SEO professionals build the new website before it’s live and accessible to users. Things are bound to get lost in the shuffle as you move your new website from the development environment back to the live server.

For starters, you’ll probably use separate URL addresses in the dev site (development site) from those that eventually get published on the live server.

For instance, one of your web pages might be listed as “domain.com/client/products” on the dev site. Yet, on the live server, the web page shows up as “domain.com/products.”

This means you could be looking at a complicated puzzle of missing or broken links when you finally go live. Some internal links may appear as external links. They’re still pointing to the domain used in the development environment. It’s messy.

That’s why it’s so important to check all internal and external links before you launch your new website. Don’t worry! You don’t have to do it manually. Use a web crawl tool like Screaming Frog or SEMrush.

These programs quickly crawl and test every link on your website to make sure they’re all working. When you’re done, spend some time navigating the website to make sure everything looks, and works, the way it’s supposed to.

Mistake #3: Not Testing the Website’s Overall Functionality

Just like all those links, don’t forget to test the website’s overall functionality.

This means testing all:

  • Input/lead forms
  • Interactive programs
  • Videos
  • Slideshows
  • Any other features on your new website

Users don’t like broken things. If something isn’t working properly, your users will abandon your website in seconds. This ruins your SEO efforts. If they land on your site from a search engine results page and leave because something is broken, Google will notice.

We tend to create entire web pages around individual features, so users don’t feel overwhelmed. Thus, inattentional blindness takes over as the user focuses on the task at hand. But if one of these features isn’t responding, there will be nothing else keeping users on the page. Make sure all your features are working properly, so your users can interact with your website with ease.

Mistake #4: Overlooking the Little Things: Renaming Images, Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Don’t forget to pay attention to all those tiny details. They can make or break your search rankings.

On-page optimization is the core of a successful SEO strategy. If you’re not familiar with the dos and don’ts of on-page optimization, take a look at Google’s official SEO Starter Guide.

You may have already optimized the individual pages of your old website, including:

  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Alt text for images

But if you change this information when launching your new website, your search rankings could take a hit. If some of your pages were ranking well, leave this information as it is.

One of your web designers might speed past this step and rename one of your images “new image,” instead of using the alt text from the old website that earned you some SEO wins. If you decide to change some of your metadata, make sure it’s up to Google’s standards.

Mistake #5: Letting Search Engines Index the New Site Before It’s Live

Like an artist painting a masterpiece, you don’t want anyone to see the work in progress.

And you don’t want Google seeing your new website before it’s ready for its big debut. But Google might have other plans.

Unless you insulate your new website from Google’s robots, it might crawl your new website while it’s still under construction.

This means Google may create two separate versions of your website, which will frustrate even the most patient web designer. Your links will all be out of whack with some pointing toward the old website and some pointing toward the new website. Again, it’s a mess and untangling this yourself is awful.

To avoid this nightmare scenario, you can:

  1. Build your new website using a test domain
  2. Hide your website from Google’s robots
  3. Combine the two for even more peace of mind

If you want to build your new website with a test domain, choose a domain name that’s never been used before. Something like “www.skljgkllk.com” is sure to remain hidden, considering no one will be linking to that site.

Once you have a test domain, disallow Google’s robots by disabling the robot.txt feature in your website settings. Set up an empty index page, so your test website isn’t connected to your old website.  Finally, you may even want to set up a password for your test website while it’s still in development to make sure Google can’t access it without your permission.

Mistake #6: Forgetting to Let Google Index Your Website After It’s Live

We absolutely did not want Google crawling the site before it was ready. But now it’s ready, and we desperately want Google to crawl it.

Whether you’re working in WordPress or another website building platform:

  • Reconfigure your settings so Google can crawl and index your new website
  • Change your robot.txt feature to open the door for Google’s robots
  • Swap out your test domain for your real domain
  • Disable any passwords you might have used to hide your test website in the development environment.

Mistake #7: Not Optimizing for Mobile

Mobile traffic is now ahead of desktop traffic and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Your new website needs to be responsive and mobile-friendly.

You may say, “Yes, but most of our target market won’t be using our site from a mobile device.” Fair, but don’t forget that Google has already started rolling out its mobile-first index policy. Which means it will crawl the mobile version of your website when composing its search results.

Even if you don’t think users will care about your mobile site, Google still will!

Make sure the web browser automatically resizes your content for the specific device. Otherwise, your users will have to scroll left and right just to see the heading of the page. You don’t want your users to have to pinch the screen to zoom in on a specific piece of content. This means everything needs to be visible from the get-go.

The text should automatically appear larger on smaller devices.  You also don’t want to have two buttons too close together. Or your users might click the wrong one, which is insanely annoying.

To help users see your content more clearly, use image expansion tools that blow up an image when a user clicks on it. This is especially important for e-commerce websites where users will want to see a larger image of the product before making a purchase.

And don’t forget to avoid full-screen pop-ups on mobile devices. While it might work for desktop users, clicking out of pop-ups can be a major pain on mobile devices. So the user leaves.

With all that in mind, make sure you test the mobile version of your website before you launch using a mobile-friendly test like this one from Google.

Mistake #8: Forgetting to Minify Your Code

Start a project with the right mindset so you don’t waste time fixing mistakes down the line.

Minifying code improves the usability and speed of your new website. If you’re unfamiliar with this term, it essentially means simplifying your website code by removing redundant characters and processes.

If you have a large website with hundreds of indexed pages, this is especially important! If you wait until the end of the redesign process to minify your code, it will cost you more than time and money. It may even delay the launch of your new website.

Be practical when building your new website and start minifying from the start.

Mistake #9: Sacrificing Speed for Aesthetics

Your old site was ugly or outdated, so you upgraded and updated the look. But never sacrifice speed for aesthetics!

Sure, all those fancy graphics and background videos might look great, but they could dramatically slow down your new website.

Why? Because a single second delay in load time can result in a 7% loss in your conversion rates. And 40% of web users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

If you want your new website to be successful, you can’t afford to overlook the merits of speed. Google is driving users towards fast, responsive websites. Unless you speed things up, the competition will beat you to the punch.

Use these tips to speed up your website as much as possible before you launch.

Build it Once. Build it Right

When you’re building a new site, you basically have 3 choices:

  1. “We’ll worry about SEO after it’s live.”
    You don’t think you have the time or resources right now. But, the new site goes live with no SEO value. You actually drop in the rankings as you undo what you’d previously earned. Now, your site isn’t ranking or producing leads. You scramble to retroactively optimize your site…. Which may take months.
  2. “We’ll Worry About SEO After We Finalize Design”

Using the minifying code example from above, you now have to fix hundreds of pages that were built without SEO in mind. This could be massive rework. And rework destroys budgets and delays deadlines.

  1. “We’ll Worry About SEO Right From the Start”

Now, you’re thinking about SEO, right from the whiteboard stage. All considerations are met as SEO and design can work hand-in-hand to create something that is built the right way from the very start.

The site works out of the box, your previous SEO wins come with you to the new site, and you can start earning new clout right away.

Are you facing a site rebuild and want to make sure you do it the right way? We can help! Get in touch with us today for a free consultation today.

8 Ways to Drive Your Customers Away: Avoid These UX Mistakes at All Costs!

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So, you’re building a website, or you already have one online, and no one seems to be taking the bait. There are several reasons why some websites succeed while others fail. Some websites are filled with too much text, while others have hardly any text at all.

Creating an effective user experience is about catering to the user in question and finding the right balance between text, images, utility, and navigation. Avoid these common UX mistakes at all costs, so you don’t scare away your users.

1) Relying on Hidden Text

There are a lot of websites out there that try to use hidden text to their advantage. Back in the day, hiding text was considered a crafty SEO tactic, as websites would hide keywords and links to boost their search rankings without taking away from the user’s experience.

But today, Google considers these tactics spam more than anything else and your users will just be confused as to why your website pops up in the search rankings if it’s not related to their original search query. If you’re hiding text to try and manipulate your search rankings, you’re probably using the wrong approach.

You should only be hiding text if it makes sense for the user, your business model, and your website. Some common reasons to hide text include:

Subscription-Based Content

While you might drive users away, you don’t want to give away valuable content for free, especially if subscriptions are an important part of your business model.

If your content is just a regular blog post and you’re not a reputable news organization with the credentials to back you up, you’re better off showing your cards and letting users read your content for free.

Satisfying Mobile Users

Some mobile users may not have time to scroll through large chunks of text, so giving them the option to hide some content can work to your advantage. But only if you have something else to offer on the page.

No one wants to click on a webpage just to see a bunch of hidden text. Remember that some people may not realize that the text is hidden. They’ll just move along without giving your website a second thought.

Hidden text shouldn’t be a major part of your UX strategy unless you’re The New York Times or another subscription-based website. Keep it simple and show your users your content right off the bat.

man hiding

2) No Text and Too Many Images

Web pages without a lot of text can be incredibly annoying, especially when people are looking for actual information. Turning your back on text also won’t help your SEO strategy, as Google’s web crawlers depend on on-page content when ranking websites.

Even if you’re not writing an epic blog post on some compelling topic, you can still add a few hundred words to help users make sense of your website, especially if they’re visiting your site for the first time. Adding some text to a simple contact page is an easy way to encourage people to interact with your business.

And let’s not forget about images. While visual imagery can pique the user’s interest and break up the text, going overboard with your images can distract from the overall message of your website. Your main goal is to sell your products and services, so refrain from filling up your website with images unless it’s part of your business model.

People can find dozens of images elsewhere. Instagram exists for a reason.

Too many images will also slow down your website. Images are much weightier in terms of data than text, so use them sparingly unless you’re prepared to use a content delivery network (CDN) to speed things up. Remember that 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if the images won’t load or take too long to load. Speed should be your first priority, not turning your site into a Google Image search.

3) Using Unrelated Images

While we’re still on the subject of images, let’s remember that images exist to supplement the message behind your business. Whether it’s an original meme, a stock photo from Shutterstock, or an infographic, every image should circle back to your business’s products and services.

If you run an e-commerce website and you use an image of a consumer shopping in a brick-and-mortar store, some of your users are bound to get confused. People make up their minds quickly when visiting a website and first impressions can make all the difference in the world.

Users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image, while spending an average of 5.59 seconds looking at a website’s written content.

Your images are bound to get the most attention, so if they don’t make sense for your website, you need to rethink your approach, or you’ll end up confusing your users before you can say Mississippi.

4) Engagement Desperation: Too Many CTAs

Everyone wants their users to do something, whether it’s a fill out a form, sign up for an email newsletter, or place an order online. But all those calls-to-action (CTAs) may be ruining your conversion rates.

Make sure you give yourself some time to make your case before you start asking your users to complete a certain task. If a stranger ran up to you on the street and asked you for your name, address, email, and phone number—you’d probably keep walking. The same idea applies to your UX design.

While you might be tempted to add a CTA at the top of the page, remember to add some basic information about your business before you start pitching your users, including who you are, what you’re selling and why your users should care. This is what’s called the value proposition. In fact, adding a CTA at the top of the page above your content can decrease conversions by 17%.

Users can also smell engagement desperation from a mile away. Telling someone to do something more than once isn’t going to help your cause.  Instead, people will see your website as spammy and your content as having little to no value.

5) Too Many Headings, Not Enough Substance

Headings are great when it comes to breaking up large sections of text, but they’re not always a great source of information. Your headers should accurately describe the text to follow, but you need to make sure that your website actually has text in the first place.

Far too many websites will fill their pages with catchy headers that do little to drive the conversation. Headers are meant to lead your users down the page as they read or skim through the text. If you’re stuffing your pages full of headers with little text in between, there’s nothing for people to grab onto except a few empty promises.

Headers and subheaders are also commonly used for SEO purposes, but you don’t want to stuff your headers with keywords, especially if there’s nothing underneath them except another header. Focus on adding value to your website by creating useful, informative content.

Once you have some text on the screen, you can start breaking things up with sub-headers. While there’s no golden rule, try to use headers every 100 – 200 words, so your website doesn’t look barren.

6) Boring or Missing Landing Pages

Landing pages are an important aspect of web design and SEO. We typically define them as a single webpage that users land on after clicking on a search result or an online advertisement.

These pages should provide valuable information to your users as they look for specific information about your products, services, and business locations. But they’re also a valuable opportunity to rank for some additional keywords.

While having too many landing pages can get you into trouble, creating a healthy portfolio of landing pages is essential. Businesses with over 40 landing pages generated a whopping 12x more leads than those with 1-5 landing pages.

If you’re running an ad campaign or offering a special discount on your products and services, you’ll need to create separate landing pages for each campaign. But use them wisely. Your goal is to convert these users and lead them to your main website.

Like a billboard, landing pages will be the user’s first impression of your business and website, so you can’t afford to mess it up. If you want to convert these new users, add some eye-catching imagery, some basic information about your promotion or products and services, and a strong CTA. Otherwise, your landing pages are simply taking up space.

A bad landing page can cripple your advertising and SEO efforts or make a bad impression on your target audience. Invest in some quality landing pages, especially if they’re the backbone of your ad campaign.

7) Cluttered Homepage

Some homepages are just too busy for their own good. This page represents the main lobby of your website, so it needs to make the right first impression.

Filling your homepage, or any webpage for that matter, with too many ads, videos, headings, menu options, and images can send your users running for the hills. People only have a few seconds to absorb your content, and, if they feel as if they’re being pulled in too many different directions, your conversion rate will start to suffer.

Ask yourself what’s the first thing you want your users to do when they land on your homepage. Is it to fill out a form, click on your products and services, or contact you for more information? Whatever the answer, make this action your number-one priority from a design perspective.

Your homepage CTA should be front and center, encouraging your users to complete one, specific action, not five different things at once.

You should also limit your ads and images, so you don’t overwhelm the user. Otherwise, this central message will get lost in the shuffle.

8) Poor Legibility

If you add text and headers to your website, you probably want people to read what you’ve written. Makes sense, right? Otherwise, what’s the point of adding all this information?

If you want people to learn about your business, your text and menu options need to be clear and legible. Your text should contrast with the background, helping people see individual letters on the screen. Use normal, thick fonts instead of thin, faded letters.

Remember that some people may be surfing the web with the screen brightness turned down to save on battery life. Even if you think your text is legible, it may be hard to read on certain devices or in certain environments. Some people may also have vision problems, so make your text as easy-to-read as possible.

Mobile web traffic continues to rise, so some people may be outside in the hot sun, riding on the subway, or riding in the back of a car when they stumble onto your website. Use strong fonts and text colors to make sure everyone can read what you have to say.

If you’re not sure if your web copy is legible for these users, you can try loading your website on different devices and in different environments. Invest in website testing to make sure the average consumer can navigate your website with ease.

As you can see, there are plenty of UX design mistakes out there to avoid. Every decision you make can have major implications for your conversions, SEO rankings, and the overall accessibility of your website. Remember to test your website extensively before launching to make sure you’ve got all the kinks out of the way.

Mistakes are bound to happen. There are so many factors to keep track of that it’s easy to miss a few crucial imperfections. Give yourself plenty of time to design the right UX and keep these mistakes in mind every step of the way.

If you’re looking for more information on creating the best UX for your website, get in touch with SEO Toronto for a free SEO consultation today.

Influencer Marketing and SEO: 7 Ways to Build Links and Grow Your Audience

Yellow Cheerful Smile in Pile Blue Sad Emoticons

Influencers are everywhere. From ads on the subway and commercials on TV to social media and YouTube videos, major companies are jumping at the chance to work with some popular talent.

With their massive followings, influencers can introduce your company and its products and services to all kinds of new audiences. You can capitalize on their success if you choose the right influencers for your marketing campaign.

But influencer marketing isn’t just about getting more “likes” on Instagram, it’s also a way of attracting more eyeballs and links to your website, giving a boost to your SEO campaign and helping you earn a top spot in Google’s search rankings.

Learn more about the connection between influencer marketing and SEO, so you can increase your rank and grow your audience.

The Age of Influencer Marketing

With the rise of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, people across all different industries and interests are uploading original content online and sharing it with users all over the world. They’re cultivating a powerful network of followers that tune in every time they post to these platforms.

And marketers are looking to cash in on this built-in audience by reaching to and working with influencers on different promotional projects. In fact, nearly half of marketers in the U.S. plan on adding more room for influencer marketing in their marketing budget.

Instead of a traditional advertisement where a company asks consumers to buy a particular product or service, influencer marketing uses online celebrities to generate organic interest in their company’s products and services. This may include:

  • Featuring a particular product or service on an influencer’s social media channel
  • Inviting an influencer to participate in a survey, study or interview
  • Influencers and companies working together to create original media

Consumers want to hear recommendations from people they trust, whether it’s their friends, family members, coworkers or someone they admire on social media. 74% of consumers say they use social media to guide their purchasing decisions. Traditional forms of advertising don’t seem to woo over consumers the way they used to, especially when it comes to millennials and younger consumers.

As you continue pouring money into your marketing campaign, remember that consumers may not trust your overly-promotional print ad, but they will trust a beloved online celebrity if they endorse your products and services.  

Entrepreneur Leadership

Why Influencers Are Important for SEO

While influencer marketing can be a great way to grow your audience and effectively woo over new consumers, it’s also a fundamental part of SEO. If you create content in collaboration with an influencer, whether it’s an original video, infographic, blog post or an ebook, you’re bound to get people talking in your industry.


Obviously, attracting more people to your content is a good thing. But with an influencer at your side, you should also see a spike in backlinks or other web pages that link back to your website.

These backlinks give your content more authority by showing Google that other digital publishers are willing to share your content. Google wants to drive its users to reputable content and websites, so, if you want to rank at the top of Google’s search results, you’ll need a healthy portfolio of quality backlinks to back you up.

People want to hear what influencers have to say, so if you feature them on your website, people will start looking at your page and linking back to your content. It’s just that simple. If you do an in-depth interview with Justin Timberlake or the equivalent in your industry, all kinds of people will start sharing the piece.

Ranking for Additional Keywords

Try Googling one of the influencers in your industry and see what pops up in the results. You might see their Wikipedia page, an official website, and a number of related news articles and stories. If you create content around this influencer and treat their name like any other keyword, your content will also show up in the results.

If people are searching for this influencer online, you can drive more traffic to your site and hopefully convert some of these new viewers into paying customers.

Quality Content

Along with backlinks, high-quality content is currently the most important ranking factor for SEO. Google is driving its users towards content that’s considered useful and reliable. While you might think that your content is up to snuff, featuring an influencer in your content can make all the difference in the world.

Interviewing an influencer or somehow incorporating their expertise into your content are great ways to add value and authority to your content.

How to Reach Out to and Work with Influencers

Now that we’ve established the benefits of influencer marketing and how it relates to SEO, it’s time to start putting this information to good use. Keep these tips in mind when reaching out to and working with influencers in your industry.

1) Finding the Right Influencers for Your Business

The trick to influencer marketing is choosing the right people to work with. Yes, Kim Kardashian is famous, but the chances of her working with your business are slim to none. Besides, do your consumers even care about someone like Kim Kardashian? Unless you sell beauty supplies or women’s clothing, the answer is probably no.

Reaching out to movie stars and celebrities with millions of followers is probably a waste of time. They’re most likely too busy to give you or your colleagues the time of day.

Instead, try reaching out to high-profile individuals that work in or are related to your industry. This might include:

  • Prominent CEOs, marketing experts or other business professionals
  • Lifestyle and advice gurus
  • Makers of popular YouTube tutorials
  • Consultants and mentors
  • Journalists that regularly cover your industry
  • Bloggers and vloggers
  • Published authors

If you focus in on the people directly related to your industry, they’ll be much more likely to respond to your emails and get involved with your business.

Red Carpet

You’ll also have to choose between influencers and micro-influencers, which usually have tens of thousands of followers or less. If you’re a smaller company, you might want to start with less notable influencers and work your way up the ladder. Reaching out to the biggest fish in the sea right off the bat won’t help you get your marketing campaign off the ground.

2) Content Collaboration and Choosing the Right Topic

Now that you have your eye on a few key influencers, you’ll need to come up with a marketing strategy before you start sending out all those email pitches. It’s best to be as specific as possible when reaching out to influencers, so you should already have a few ideas in mind.

  • You could do a paid promotion and ask the person to publicly endorse your products and services, which may cost you a pretty penny or two.
  • You could write a compelling article on a topic of interest in your industry and interview the influencer to gain valuable knowledge and quotes.
  • Or you could create an original piece of media in collaboration with your influencer.

Choosing the right topic or idea all depends on what your business is trying to accomplish and what kinds of content your target audience wants to see.

If you want to wow young people on social media, creating an original video or a paid promotion might make a lot of sense. If you represent a B2B business, you may want to create an industry survey or in-depth report. Keep your target audience in mind when pitching ideas and get your ideas in order before reaching out to influencers.

3) Original Media and Creative Marketing

If you choose to go the more creative route by commissioning an original piece of media, you can come up with all kinds of interesting projects that might appeal to your target influencer. People love to see their favorite influencers in action, so it makes sense to feature them in a video, infographic, or photo reel instead just mentioning them in a blog post.

Visual content tends to be more effective when it comes to winning over B2C audiences as opposed to B2B audiences. More B2C marketers than B2B marketers say that visual content is the most important type of content. While businesses will be looking for facts and statistics, traditional consumers love to be entertained, so using an influencer as the face of your campaign can be an advantage.

Videos continue to dominate social media. In fact, videos will likely represent 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021. You can work with your influencer to create a tutorial, an eye-catching video ad, or an inspirational speech. It all depends on whom you’re trying to reach.

4) Paid Promotions and Shout-outs

Of course, you can always pay an influencer to promote your products and services on your company’s behalf. This makes a lot of sense for e-commerce websites, major retailers, and other product manufacturers. You can have an influencer verbally endorse your products, much like a regular TV ad, or have them wear or use your products in a series of social media posts or videos.

If you go this route, it’s best to find influencers whose brand aligns with that of your company’s. Some people may be skeptical to wear or use your products unless they fit with their current style.

You’ll also have to spend some money on these kinds of promotions, especially if the person has hundreds of thousands of followers, so be prepared to break out your checkbook. You can try throwing them some free swag, but that might not be enough to get them interested in your project.

5) Interviews and Surveys

If your company caters to a B2B audience, you might want to do an industry survey or a formal interview with an influencer. To find the right topic, look at trending news stories in your industry and find something that seems to get people’s attention.

Make sure your chosen influencer is considered an expert on this topic before you start putting together a questionnaire for them to fill out. This is an easy way to collaborate with an influencer considering you can quickly send off your questions via email and they can respond at their earliest convenience. While interviews don’t require any in-person collaboration, setting up an in-person meeting can be a great photo op.

Help Pull Up Mountain Adventure

6) Coming Up with a Professional Pitch

Once you’ve settled on a marketing strategy with clear, actionable ideas, it’s time to start pitching. You can use email or a direct message on social media to get their attention.

When Pitching, Keep These Tips in Mind:

  • Be as precise as possible, including what you expect from the influencer, how you plan on achieving it, and how you found them in the first place.
  • Create a relationship between the influencer and your company, including some information about your company and why you think they’d be a good fit for your campaign.
  • Keep it brief. Some people may not have time to read large chunks of text.
  • Leave room for feedback. Some influencers might have interesting ideas of their own.

7) Making the Most of Your Collaboration

As you work on getting your project off the ground, don’t forget about coming up with a release strategy. If you’re meeting in person, take photos of the experience that you can use on social media and your website. Don’t forget to ask the influencer’s permission.

Once the content has been published, you should also post about it on social media to make sure as many people see it as possible. You can include the piece in your email newsletter, share it on LinkedIn, or write a press release in case another news organization wants to do a story on it. This helps you make the most of your efforts instead of solely relying on the influencer to spread the word.

Influencer marketing is an effective strategy that works for almost any business. Regardless of what industry you’re in, you can capitalize on an influencer’s success and turn it into a winning SEO and marketing strategy. Remember to keep your target audience in mind when coming up with ideas and reaching out to influencers. If you continually reach out to new people, your audience will only continue to grow.

If you’re looking for more information on how to incorporate influencer marketing into your SEO campaign, get in touch with SEOToronto.ca for a free SEO consultation today.

Is Your Website Generic?! 5 UX Tips for More User Engagement

If you spend some time scrolling around the internet, you might start to realize that so many websites look more or less the same. You see the same menu options at the top of the screen, a clickbait heading, paragraphs of text and the same stock photo.  Does this sound familiar?

There are nearly two billion active websites scattered around the internet, and that number has doubled over the last four years. With so many websites online, it’s easy to see why so many of them look the same. But that doesn’t mean your website has to follow the same tiresome approach.

Creating a generic user experience (UX) has its pros and cons. For starters, you probably won’t offend anyone with your website as it may appeal to a wide audience. But, on the other hand, you also run the risk of shunning your target audience if they feel that your website doesn’t have a lot of value. Your users have seen it all before, so why would they bother interacting with your website?

People are busy and they either want to find what they’re looking for fast or they want to find something truly original and entertaining. Learn more about the dangers of having a generic website and how you can improve your UX design to drive more engagement.

Playing It Safe with UX: Why All Websites Look Alike

Creating a website is like working with a bare canvas. Platforms like Shopify make it easy to design a website and publish it online in a matter of minutes. As these tools become more popular and accessible, more people are using premade templates to design a site in record time. But even with these handy tools, the possibilities are endless.

You can do so many interesting things with your website to make it more attractive for your target audience. Just like designing a logo or building a product, every detail is an opportunity to astound and amaze. From the color and font of your text to the images on the homepage and the options on your menu, there are all kinds of ways to get creative your design without taking away from the overall utility of your website.

With so many people uploading content and designing their own website, convenience seems to almost always win out. People might not have a lot of time to get creative with their website; they just want something online as fast as possible. But launching a beautiful website takes time, patience, and an eye for design.

The Risks of Having a Generic Website

Just because you can design a website in three minutes or less doesn’t mean you should. Having a generic website means blending in with the crowd. Just like a bland blog post or a mediocre product, there’s relatively nothing to set you apart from your competitors.

If you have a truly original product or service that basically sells itself, it probably doesn’t matter what your website looks like. You could have a black page with a few misspelled words and people would still buy your products and services.

But this isn’t the case for most companies. The competition is real, so you need to do everything you can to stand out and woo over the users that land on your website.

Given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain. People are inundated with images, content, and ads everywhere they go. So, if they’re choosing to click on your website, you need to give them something of value from a design perspective.

Here’s another statistic to get you thinking: 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive. People simply don’t have the time to look at, much less interact with, a boring website with an unattractive layout.

The Importance of Customizing Your Website for Your Target Audience

Web design is not an all-or-nothing science. What one person considers boring, another person might consider simple and useful. These terms are often subjective and based on the individual user in question. One size does not fit all. Creating a more compelling UX is about catering to your target audience.

Some users may be looking for hilarious memes and videos, while others may be looking for detailed, actionable information. You need to keep your target audience in mind when coming up with a UX design strategy. The goal is to engage a certain type of user, not all users (unless you’re Amazon or another major retailer that carries just about every product under the sun).

Focus your efforts on creating an ideal user experience for your target audience or you run the risk of over diluting your design efforts and scaring away the people you need to reach the most.

UX Tips for More User Engagement

Now, let’s dive into our UX design tips for fostering more user engagement. Again, how you implement these tips into your design strategy should all depend on your target audience, so keep those user profiles handy.

1) Be Specific with Menu Options to Drive Clicks

It’s amazing how many website menus all look the same. Nearly every website has a menu bar at the top of the screen and for good reason, considering it helps people navigate your website, but you don’t need to be so rigid when labeling your menu options.

Most website menus include the follow options: Home, About Us, Products/Services, Pricing, Contact Us, or some slight variation on these themes.

While all those menu options are valid and necessary, they could literally describe just about any business in the world. There’s nothing to set this menu apart from its competitors.

Think about things from a user’s perspective, they land on your website, blog post, or landing page and they see these menu options at the top of the screen. How do they know if they’re in the right place?

Be specific with your menu options to help your users navigate your website more easily. Instead of “Products/Services”, you could insert the specific name of your products and services, such as “Appliance Repair Services” or whatever’s applicable to your business.

Remember that, once on a company’s homepage, 86% of visitors want to see information about that company’s products/services. Help your users get around by telling them exactly what they’re going to find on a page before they click on the link.

2) Use Detailed, Industry-Specific Language

When someone lands on your website, you need to help them make sense of their surroundings. Using generic language in your web copy can muddy the waters.

Some of the first things that your users will see when they land on your website is the title of the page and the first sentence of your copy. If the person doesn’t find what they’re looking for or isn’t sure if they’re in the right place, they will click off your website in a matter of seconds.

To avoid this, use detailed, industry-specific language in your titles and web copy to help your users make sense of what they see on the screen.

Let’s say you publish a blog post titled “How to Get Rid of Wrinkles”. Some people may not know if you’re talking about ironing a piece of clothing or reducing the aging process. Instead of just jumping into specific tips, give your readers some context for the piece with words like “anti-aging”, “beauty” or “cosmetics”. This also gives Google more information about your website, so it can better categorize your website for SEO purposes.

3) Help Users Find the Info They’re Looking For with Specific Headers

Everyone knows that writing for the internet means breaking up large chunks of text with headers and subheaders. Web pages need to be skimmable and easy to read.

But, ask yourself, are your headers just breaking up the text or are they giving your readers important information about the text below?

Some of the most widely shared articles online contain thousands of words or more, but your users may be looking for an answer to a specific question within that maze of copy and they may not have time to sort through all that information.

That’s why you need to use specific headers every time you introduce a new topic within a post. For example, if someone wants to find out the average lifespan of a cat, they may not want to read through a giant post with tips on how to help a cat live longer.

If you know that some aspects of your post may be more valuable than others, you can highlight certain words or use bold or italics to make these sections easier to find.

4) Invest in Original Media

Yes, visual media makes the internet go round. Just about every website should have visuals of some kind. But instead of downloading the same old generic photos you’ve seen a thousand times before, use nontraditional images or create new ones of your own.

You don’t have to be so literal with your images. If you’re writing about helping people save money, insert a picture of an animal jumping for joy instead of two concerned homeowners consulting with a financial adviser.

Get creative with your image selections and remember that, while original photos can be costly, you can always find up-and-coming photographers online that are willing to hand over images for a lower fee. You can even look for images on Instagram and ask people if they’d be willing to license out their work.

5) Cater to the Searcher’s Intent

Everyone is looking for something different online and you should be aware of the searcher’s intent when using certain keywords in your copy. More product-based keywords like “beauty supplies” usually mean the person is looking to make a purchase, so help the person find what they need quickly by pitching the benefits of your products and guiding them towards the checkout option.

Yet, other keywords and search phrases like “how to unclog a toilet” are more about knowledge and information, so help the person find what they’re looking for by using thoughtful headers and skimmable text with clear, actionable steps.  

6) Speed and Efficiency Are the Keys to Success

Have you heard the news? The majority of internet traffic is now taking place on mobile devices.

So, what does this mean for your web design? For starters, you need to have a mobile version of your website. The text should appear larger on mobile devices and the margins of the web page should automatically readjust for mobile screens.

Your site also needs to load quickly, especially if people are browsing on mobile devices. People typically leave a site after just a few seconds if the content takes too long to load.

You also need to write content for mobile audiences. That means no long paragraphs of text and having clear menu options that help people find what they need when they’re out and about. The menu should be easy to find and collapse or expand to make more space on the screen.

If you want people to buy one of your products or services, you need to make this process as easy and as efficient as possible. You should have a clear “Buy Now” button or something similar that points users in the right direction.

As you can see, creating a compelling user experience all depends on the website in question. While these tips should point you in the right direction, you need to customize your website interface to make it more appealing for your target audience. Different web pages will serve different purposes. One page may be filled with valuable information, while another may be all about helping customers complete a purchase as quickly as possible.

Look at the websites of your competitors to get a sense of what’s already online. Do your best to shake things up by taking your website in a new direction. Good luck and happy designing!

If you’re looking for more information on creating a compelling UX, get in touch with SEO Toronto for a free consultation today.

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