Change Control Principles

We all have to make changes to our websites from time to time. It could be a straightforward change to prices or text, or it could be a relaunch of a whole new site. There are some fundamental principles around how we do those changes which can

  • save time
  • save money
  • reduce stress
  • convey professionalism

Plan Ahead

Change Control PrinciplesPerhaps the most fundamental aspect in making a change is measuring the impact and taking enough time to plan ahead so that wherever possible the change is proactive and not reactive. Making changes ‘on the fly’ may affect other parts of your site or cause confusion with your own personnel or customers.

Document your Changes

Take note of what you do and when you do it. Later, when you are measuring the effectiveness of a change it is easy to confuse dates. This also effectively provides a ‘handover’ to colleagues if you are absent or leave your role.

Don’t make changes too frequently

If you are able to spread out changes, then it will be clear how each change independently impacts your business. This may not be possible if you want to present one ‘set’ of changes so that customers only see one design shift.

Schedule Changes Sensibly

This is certainly the case if your change is going to require some ‘downtime’ in the system or site. If your peak hours are 9-5 Mon-Fri, then try to schedule changes at the weekend or overnight.

Communicate Effectively

Within your own company and particularly to customers. You can promote the updates in advance so that regular visitors to your site will expect a different ‘look’ on your launch date. Effective communication will reduce the stress of getting to know a new process and will reduce the load on customer service afterwards. Use your social media accounts to create a buzz around new features or design. You could even ‘trail’ a sneak peak of the ‘new look’.

Provide Customer Service

change control blog contact details copyWhen making changes, update processes and procedures as well as Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). When there is a potential for confusion or new education, ensure a helpline number or email support details are visible and easily accessed.

Break it Down

Change Control PrinciplesComplicated changes may be able to viewed as a series of small revisions. In this instance, even if one component fails, other parts of the change may still be on track. If you hoped to accomplish tasks A, B & C, would A & B alone be enough to move forwards? This analysis should all be a part of the planning process.

Have a backup plan

What happens if your changes don’t work or are not well received? Make sure you know how to either revert back or create a workaround. If personnel are key, ensure you have cover or on-call resources.

Measure Effectiveness

change control blogIf your change was designed to increase traffic to your site or increase calls to your business, measure the success. Take time beforehand to quantify your goal and then review after a reasonable time. You may be able to use analytics to help with this.

Be Flexible

When everything goes as planned, great! It takes experience and confidence to adapt when things go wrong. Bring in your experts, make sure you have done your research up front and then be prepared to improvise.

If you’re looking for help with Change Control Principles and adapting your website, why not contact us today  info@trulium.com

Practical Hints and Tips for Website Content

Some advice on creating websites and website content is so academic, the nitty-gritty helpful tips are overlooked – so this is a common sense guide to setting off on the right path.

 

Only List Prices in One Place
It’s a slippery slope when you start listing prices across your site. Sooner or later, the inevitable will happen and you will update some – but not all – of the new prices. What’s the guessing that your next client finds the only one at the discounted rate and holds you to the bargain? Use links to track back to a master price list if required.
website content blog

 

Think Generic
If you can reuse content at some point in the future then think generic. Avoid mentioning current events or pinning down dates on a calendar. A good example would be a campaign designed for the Holidays. Choose your colors and style then rotate out the look when you’re ready. Next year at the same time, dig out your generic campaign and it will only need a minor revamp instead of a major rework.

 

Naming Conventions for Pages
The links are displayed at the top of the browser so keep them consistent and logical. They may follow your menu structure but plan ahead in case your menu structure changes, does the page name stand alone and make sense? This also helps with any optimization of your site – thinking ahead about the perfect page name will help later.

 

Naming Conventions for Images
When a picture is new and you can’t wait to showcase it, you’ll upload it immediately. Perhaps the name is a filename like DCS00345.jpg. Take a few extra seconds to rename the file first and adopt a naming convention that works for your business eg sunflower design fluffy pillow. In the future, whenever you need to find that great picture again, chances are you’ll search on at least part of the title and will find it. Spending too much time  thinking of how best to rename the images? Just stick to sunflower fluffy pillow1, sunflower fluffy pillow2 etc. They’ll still come up on the search and you won’t agonize over how many permutations of the words you can find.

 

Don’t Duplicate Content
Utilize internal links to other parts of your site. Not only does this ‘de-clutter’ the pages, you will only have one source of data to update with changes. If you want the same data displayed on multiple pages there are better coding solutions (eg widgets, headers, footers).

 

Open Links in a New Window
Especially if you are linking away from your site, make sure to select ‘open in new window’ so that if your viewer clicks and then looks around on the new site or gets distracted, your site is still open and they are reminded to continue on your page.
website content blog

 

Responsive Design
It’s not enough to use a responsive design template. Take the time to look at your site on a variety of mobile devices. Check out not only the layout, but the page load times and the ease of navigation.
Website Content

 

Organize your Source Data
When you start a folder and have maybe a few dozen files, it’s easy enough to see the screen and find what you need. As your number of source files grow, this can become a time burden. Start out with logical folders and subfolders then stick with your system. It is your own personal virtual filing cabinet. This also reduces the need to fit every keyword into a filename, if a picture is within the ‘summer’ folder the need to add ‘summer’ to the title is negated.

website content blog

Planning ahead is critical and can save you many hours in the long run. If you want help with a website design project or want to refresh the look of your site, contact us today at  info@trulium.com

What is the purpose of your website?

Why do you have a website?

Nowadays it is so commonly taken for granted that everyone and everything has a website, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals of why you have one and what is its purpose.

The answer varies from business to business and the lessons we can learn by addressing this question can help us understand how much time and investment it is worth spending on the website and your online presence.

Broadly speaking there are several types  of sites and their goals differ.

Educational Websites

Sites which pass on information or knowledge. This could be directions, methodology, background information, instructions. The education can be provided without enticing visitors to take a deeper look at products or services offered. For these sites, it is more common for clients to seek out the site than for the site to promote them (hence lower investment).

Entertaining websites

The curse of every office manager – sites which you visit to play a ‘quick’ game or browse through some news items, check out the latest fashion trends or find out the showbiz gossip. The sheer volume of traffic makes it worthwhile for the game developers to keep finding new incarnations and for news sites to update throughout the day to keep drawing visitors in to their online world. These sites often rely on word of mouth to reach a greater audience and may be popular only until ‘the next big thing’ inevitably takes over (in the case of games).

Social Media

Hugely popular, these sites keep you in touch with your personal or professional circles of friends and colleagues. From private accounts which can be shared with a select few, to public marketing campaigns reaching millions, the influence and popularity of social media continues to increase. Social Media Marketing is a critical component of a modern business plan.

Business Websites

Business WebsiteThis broad swathe of sites are looking to promote and market their product or service to new clients as well as retain their existing client base. The website acts as a virtual storefront and a gateway to communicate 24/7. In some cases, the website is the only viable storefront. For instance, a small business on a low budget that doesn’t have a physical office. Likewise, if you’re a landscape gardener integrating waterfalls and rockery design, it’s hard to display in the middle of Colorado in the winter – your website offers the opportunity to not only showcase your offering without seasonal limitations – you can choose the very best images when the sky was a perfect blue to invite clients to imagine the same in their garden.

The site could initiate a connection between a client and the business or it could be a website where sales are processed directly.

Likewise, where customer service is of high importance (as it always should be), enabling your customers to contact you at least via email or through a form on the website makes up to some extent for only having a customer service agent or employee at the end of a ‘phone line 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

These are the websites which are most likely to invest in SEO – search engine optimization and web site design as the site can generate business which translates into your profit . Customers expect

  • a credible business to have a website
  • consistent branding
  • ease of navigation
  • quick page load times
  • responsive design (being able to access the site from a mobile phone or tablet)
  • to find the information they need without too much digging around
  • clear information

Your site may also directly save you time and therefore money if you provide an interface for orders to be tracked, results to be checked, progress to be determined online, quotes to be started.

As a business, you are hoping to be found on a search engine results page and be given a chance to present your site when clicked on. It sounds easy, in practice there are usually competitors in every field and clients looking for professionalism and trust – it’s rarely only about price point.

If your website is not fulfilling the purpose you intend, let us help with a plan to get your online presence back on track, contact us today  info@trulium.com

5 Ways to Boost Business Following a Re-launch

It can be tough to re-brand or diversify. Loyal clients might be confused by changes in image or it may be you’re hoping to appeal to a new client base. Either way, it’s a stressful time for any business (no matter how big the turnover). We’re exploring 5 ways to boost business at that critical time.

Host an Event

This could be a launch (or re-launch) party, a BBQ, a meet and greet with a local celebrity, basically a way to attract people to a particular place at a specified time so you have the opportunity to pass out brochures, leaflets, samples or promotions. To maximize your chance of success, create and promote that event in your social media. Within Facebook, you can spread the word and encourage interested parties to click that they are going. This creates a buzz online and all their Facebook friends who maybe didn’t know about your event can see it and find out more if they choose. You want a catchy name or a great visual to command attention and get noticed.

Coupons

If you’re starting out with a new ice cream parlor in a cozy neighborhood, what better way to win over your first customers than by enticing them to give you a try by offering cut price (or even free) products? If you know that getting people in through your door will give you the chance to win them over and become loyal customers, it may be worth the initial outlay. If your services or products are good and delight those who try, word of mouth alone could be worth many times your original investment.

Don’t be afraid to phase out the old brand

We’ve all seen it. A new name with the tagline ‘formerly Brand X’, or ‘the new, improved Brand Y’. If you spent years cultivating a great reputation and set of customers, don’t ditch all that hard work with a re-launch. It’s fine to phase it out over time. Let your existing customers come on board and get used to the new ‘you’ before dropping the old branding altogether. Just run them alongside each other letting the old logos get smaller and the new ones get bigger in each successive ad.

Trulium blog

PPC Advertising

Pay Per Click Advertising is a great way to attract new customers at precisely the time you want to engage them. PPC advertising for most business interests is a good idea when you’re ready to boost business, finding new leads or simply catching the eye of clients who maybe had started to look around in your niche marketplace. It’s not a long-term strategy like SEO where making a change today could bring in customers months down the line, this is immediate, effective and gets proven results.PPC Advertising

Community Spirit

Be an active part of the community you hope to win customers from. If you’re a local business looking for local support, enter a float into the 4th of July parade or provide water stations with your brand promoted on the bottles. Enterprising business promotion ideas work for you and your potential client, for example if you want visibility and the local pet shelter needs a tent to shade the dogs, you show your community spirit and gain exposure. If your community is online then actively participate in forums and posts. Show yourself to be an authority in your specialty and you’ll build a strong reputation, which leads to winning new customers.

 

If you’re looking for ideas to re-brand your online presence, contact us today  info@trulium.com. We know each client is unique and will work with you on a customized plan to move onwards and upwards.

 

Exploring bounce rates

What is a bounce rate?

First things first, let’s clear up the definition of a bounce rate. When related to websites, the bounce rate is the statistic which tells you how many visitors click on your site and then leave without further exploring your site.

For example, 50 people visit the home page of your website on one particular day.  35 of them click around the site accessing menus like packages or pricing and the other 15 don’t look further on your site (it doesn’t matter if they go to another site or just stop the session there). The bounce rate is

15/50 X 100% = 30%

Your bounce rate can be found in the analytics for your site.

Need I worry about a high bounce rate?

 

This depends on what you want your site to achieve.  A very high bounce rate can actually be a good thing if you are attracting the visitors you want and they are getting all they need from just one page on your site.

Examples would include:

  • directions to your business – your page is clear enough to get people to your address
  • opening hours – a visitor is interested in your service and just needs to know when to visit
  • contact information

Obviously, the smaller the amount of content on the site, the more likely the design can cram valuable content into that first page that the visitor ‘lands on’ (usually the home page).

 

How can understanding bounce rates help me?

This is where the value of the statistics really kicks in. Instead of just knowing the figures, we can use them to help tweak the site. From the raw data, it is impossible to know why your visitor didn’t click on more pages:

  • the site was boring
  • your site took too long to load
  • your site content is poor and you are being presented in search engines when other sites would be more appropriate
  • it’s unclear how to navigate around the site
  • the site looks overwhelming with blocks of text
  • worst of all – the site wasn’t easily recognized as yours due to lack of branding or an inconsistent message so you did all the hard work in getting that engagement and then failed to capitalize
  • the website was hard to read, literally (this is especially relevant from tablets and mobile devices)
  • all the information required was gathered on the landing page

Analytics can help tackle the ‘responsive design’ issue easily – if your bounce rate is being influenced by poor interaction from tablets or phones.

Look at the data inside the section

Audience -> Mobile -> Overview

bounce rates

 

The first column will display how your visitors are accessing your site. In this case, nearly 47% use mobile devices, about 45% use desktops, and only 8% use tablets. Understanding this pattern will help you know if it is worth looking at the experience a mobile device user is having. If 90% plus of your clients are accessing your site from a desktop, it may be worth concentrating on them. This is highly unlikely and the trend towards mobile and away from desktops shows no sign of slowing.

bounce rates2

Following the data table along, look at ‘bounce rate’ as well as ‘pages per session’ and ‘average session duration’. If the visitors to your site are having trouble navigating your pages or reading your text, you would expect the bounce rate for those devices to be significantly higher than from a desktop. That would also translate into a lower number of pages viewed per session and a shorter session duration. In this example the site has the highest bounce rate from a desktop and the other values (between the two device types that make up over 91% of the traffic together) are very similar. The conclusion would be that this site is mobile friendly.

If you’re looking for help with your website, why not contact us today  info@trulium.com

Website Redesign: Tips & Tricks for Building a Competitive Site

Have you sized up your competitors’ website lately? With website design you don’t just want to keep up with the Joneses. You want to outrank the Joneses in your industry with your search engine optimization. After all, most of your new customers are likely to find you while searching the internet and you want to be the one they notice first.

 

While you don’t want to be just like your competitors it pays to know what they’re doing on their websites. This can help you do better within your industry, especially when it’s time to redesign your own website. Here are tips and tricks Trulium recommends when you want to redesign your website. These can help you to not just keep up with the Joneses but outrank them in today’s competitive marketplace.

  • Determine the best keywords for search engine optimization and rankings within your industry.

Trulium can help you identify them with tools such as Google Analytics or help you refine your market niche.

  • Try doing your own searches and notice what comes up on the web.

This will show you where you are and who shows up along with you.

  • Check out your competitors’ websites and compare them to yours.

Are your competitors’ websites easier to navigate? Are they more organized than yours? Do they contain more content and pages than yours? We don’t recommend copying your competitors, but seeing what they do well or aren’t doing well is very valuable information. Take that kind of data, fill in the gaps for your own business, and redesign your website to be even better and stronger than the rest. This will help you bring in more customers and it will likely boost your search engine optimization.

  • Build a new site with a fresh look, better navigation, and lots of relevant content, plus more ways to generate content.

Identify what works with your old website and add to it. Build clean navigation, better website links, and add more channels for creating new content regularly. These include articles, new ages, blogs, and social media.

  • Create your new website so that you can become a content-generator and an industry expert in your field.

Google rewards you in the search engines for generating fresh, new content on a regular basis. Be sure to build your website with a blog and social media links so you can add new pages easily and quickly.

  • Make sure your new website redesign is responsive design and mobile ready. If your website doesn’t include these elements you are likely losing customers and business.

Today 46% of people use their mobile devices exclusively to search the web. (Statistic from www.searchenginewatch.com.) It’s critical you redesign your website to be responsive design and mobile – meaning that the website is designed so that the layout adjusts to be readable and accessible from multiple formats (computers, smart phones, tablets, and mobile devices).

Customize your website redesign to beat the competition today

A customized website redesign can put your boost your business and search engine optimization almost immediately, but you’ll also want to make sure it’s done right from the beginning. Otherwise it can fail. At Trulium we understand the complexity that a website redesign entails. It takes professionalism, experience, attention to details, and web designers who care about and listen to your specific and unique business needs, and who also understand the evolving nature of SEO. That’s what you get here at Trulium. We take the guess work out of website redesign and make it easy, manageable, and affordable