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Posts Tagged ‘Wordpress’

Marketing expert in BerkshireIn his blog on Wednesday, Yan talked about why the current generation of website Content Management Systems (CMS) makes website marketing even more effective these days.  Being able to make changes to your own website relatively easily and when you want to is a huge improvement to the old days when only someone with a degree in html programming could do it.  So, now you can make the changes, what should you be doing?

What is imperative for any business wanting to use their website as one of their marketing tools, is that websites cannot remain static.  You need to plan how you’re going to use your website in order to promote your business.  If you’re in the B2C market, it’s easier as you probably have products you can update regularly.  For B2B companies you need to think a bit harder about how you update your site.

Let’s stay with B2B websites.  First things first.  What is your website for?  To promote your business services, to both existing and potential customers.  Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time is tricky, but the new CMS technology has led to this being much easier to achieve – if you plan for it.

Here’s a few suggestions for how we use manage our clients’ websites on a regular basis, via their CMS.

Content – most people think that once they’ve written their web page copy the job is done.  Far from it.  Whilst you shouldn’t be re-writing what your company offers each month, you can make lots of updates to keep your audience engaged.  Use your home page to highlight new services, special offers, great customer feedback, new images, and company news.  You can also personalize your call to action based on a particular campaign.  This increases your chances of connecting with your audience and enhancing the chance of converting the lead.

Blogs – in my opinion are a must for B2Bs today.  Delivering valuable, interesting content to your customers is a really effective way of staying in touch with them regularly.  Become an expert in your particular field.  All this again leads to customer engagement and increased lead opportunities.  If you use WordPress in particular, it’s really easy to have a blog page on your website. Post regular blogs, then use your social media accounts to drive people to the blog posts on your website = returning visitors.

Newsletters – another great way of keeping in contact with your customers and prospects, and again, it’s really easy to add each issue to your website.  It also gives you an easy social media update and a link to your website again.

Testimonials – should never stay static. In order for people to believe them, they need to be updated regularly, and include names and company names (where possible).  Update your home page once a month with a new testimonial.

By using all these tools, you’re making your website dynamic, and with a user-friendly CMS such as WordPress or Drupal, it’s soooo much easier to do than it used to be.

If you want to know how you can plan your website updates, and integrate them with the rest of your marketing, get in touch. We don’t have programming degrees, but we know about website marketing!

Marketing Apprentice in Berkshire and OxfordshireDo you have access to your website? If you do then how easy do you find it to make a change, post an update or even create a new webpage? The face of website development and management has really changed over the past few years. This change has a massive benefit to those who would like more control over their websites but lack the knowledge of website techy. So how do you control the content on your website?

Have you heard of WordPress? Joomla? Drupla? These are examples of  pretty well known content management systems (CMS). A content management system is how you control the content on your website and as of the last few years they have really developed into something much more effective. Because of these easy to use content management systems more and more business leaders are able to make updates themselves (and saving money in doing so as you no longer need to pay for every little page update).

The majority of the websites that we work with use a WordPress CMS and I have to say it is a very easy to use system. Through WordPress you log in and amend so much of your website and still through very little training (if any at all). Once logged into WordPress you can create new pages, upload a new blog entry, add photos to a gallery and even reply to any comments you may have. If you are feeling adventurous and want you can install plugins – plugins are a tool for your website that you can install. Different plugins offer different improvements to your website. For example you can install plugins to improve your websites SEO, or a plugin to improve the security on your website. There is a vast range of plugins to choose from with detailed descriptions on what they do.

Drupal and Joomla are very user-friendly content management systems and again are easy to use once you get the hang of it. However I would recommend sticking to WordPress if you want a basic CMS that is very easy to use. Drupal and Joomla have been nicknamed the adult versions of WordPress and offer the user a lot more web technician experience as you work a lot closer to the coding and HTML of the website. However if you want that upgrade and feel that WordPress is a little too basic for you then i would suggest moving up to Drupal or Joomla.

A content management system that you can personally use can really make the difference to your site. If you’re still having pay for someone to make updates to your website then I do recommend that you look into transferring your website to a content management system you can use. For more information keep an eye out on Friday as Debbie will be talking more about how an effective CMS can help your business.

Marketing expert in BerkshireIn our previous blog we wrote about how easy it is to develop a website using a platform such as WordPress.  What was known predominantly for blogging, it can also be used to make great websites.  Once you’ve created the site, there’s a few simple ways to make it effective as a marketing tool.  As well as creating sites for our clients, this is what we do to ensure their sites work as hard as they should.  Here’s a quick summary.

Use your keywords only when needed

Just remember – what you and your colleagues think of as keywords may not necessarily be what your prospective customers are using when they perform their searches. Do some keyword research into what words people are actually using to find your website, and your competitors websites.

Make your content social

Think about topics that interest your audience in general, those that both directly and indirectly relate to your business.  Create compelling and meaningful headlines that engage with people and make them react to them.  Pose questions and ask for feedback – people love giving their opinion!

Create a resource that’s highly useful

Make sure you create content for your site that is useful for your readers.  Focus on content that addresses topics your audience are interested in and give them a use for it.  This makes it far more interesting to search engines.  Videos are a great way of adding value to your site.  ‘How to’ videos are really popular, and are relatively easy and cheap to make and feature on a website.

Create content for other websites and blogs

If you’re writing a blog for your own site, why not write guest blogs that can be published on other sites.  This extends your reach, and can earn quality backlinks.

Regularly publish a newsletter

This is still arguably the best way to keep in touch with your customers on a regular, unobtrusive basis.  Content must be topical and timely, and not based on self-promotion.  This again lends itself to what Google and other search engines are constantly basis rankings on.

Although you should have search engine rankings in mind when writing website copy, it shouldn’t be your main focus.  In general, always focus on effective content writing for your site, blogs and articles.  Keep this in mind and you’ll achieve great content, and avoid being penalised in the rankings.

At Appletree we deliver websites for our clients that don’t just look nice, they perform.  If you’re considering creating your own website using WordPress or Drupal, get in touch to discuss making it work for you.

Alice

I read blogging blogs that exalt the virtues of WordPress and what a fantastic platform it is to create a blog. But what they are mainly talking about is WordPress.org, the sophisticated version that is independently hosted, and can perform in total synchrony with your website, or even become your whole website!

But its problem is its expense, it requires a webdeveloper who understands how the platform works, and it can take time to set up. Even so, once accomplished, the results are totally professional, collaborate extremely successfully with the search engines, and are very much worthwhile the expenditure.

This is all very commendable, but what about the blogging sceptics? There are plenty out there that are uncomfortable about starting a blog, are not sure of the expense, may be on tight budgets, or would like to find out more about WordPress before making a commitment.

Enter WordPress.com, the ‘free’ version hosted by WordPress that can be set up in minutes. Its minimal expenses are to activate Akismet, the ‘spam eater’, and if you want to convert the URL WordPress gives you to one of your own.

Here is a blogging platform ideally suited to enable you to ‘practice’ blogging before embarking into this section of social media properly. By creating a WordPress.com blog, you will be able to learn how to fully use the platform, discover all the tricks there are available, excel in the intricacies of blogging and enjoy producing a fully-operational blog with the minimum of fuss.

OK, there are some restrictions: you can’t put advertising or sell from a WordPress.com blog, as the blog police will close you down. Only certain forms of HTML are accepted (RSS, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc) so it is not a medium to make money, only to education, entertain and publicise your business.

But if you want to create a blog to practice blogging or to dip your toe into the blogging world before expanding into more elaborate and profitable realms, then WordPress.com is the platform to use.

And don’t forget, it is extremely easy to transfer the contents of your WordPress.com blog over to your new WordPress.org website without losing a thing! A perfect example of continuity to maintain consistency.

Alice

WordPress comes in two versions, .com and .org – so how do you use WordPress efficiently?

WordPress.com provides free hosted blogs that take about 20 minutes to set up. Everything is virtually done for you: the hosting, template, applications available, SEO, social sharing – even the URL. The CMS (content management system) is designed to be extremely easy to use, and applications to add in images, video, audio, other media and polls are fully integrated. In fact, WordPress are improving their free hosting service so much, there are frequently new features available to play with whenever I go in.

However, there are restrictions, you don’t get something for nothing. You don’t get an independent URL, it has to end in wordpress.com; even though there are about 100 templates (themes) to choose from, and some can have their headers and link colours changed, you are still stifled as to design; extra HTML is not accepted, unless it is for RSS subscription sign-ups and social media feeds; and selling or advertising results in having your knuckles rapped by the blog police (and sometimes your blog taken down), unless it’s automatically generated Google Adwords from your keywords.

The upside is that this version is brilliant if you are a blogging beginner and want to start with an easy version, or you want to quickly set up a blog ‘on the side’ that links both ways from your website and feeds to your social media.

But if you want to create a blogsite (a website with an incorporated blog, or a website created using WordPress), then you need to use WordPress.org, the self-hosted version. This requires your own web-host and some technical knowledge to set up. You can either add on WordPress as an extension to your website (eg URL/blog or blog.URL), or create it as an independent blogsite.

You will need a host that is compatible with WordPress. There are two kinds: those that are semi-compatible, and you have to undergo a lengthy procedure to set up the right conditions, create databases and configure WordPress; and those that are totally compatible using Fantastico, which does virtually everything for you and your blog can be created within minutes.

The beauty of a blogsite is that you have total control of what it does, what it looks like (there are literally thousands of themes to choose from, and they can be easily adapted to suit your corporate style by changing the CSS and image files within them), and you can add as much extra HTML and selling mechanisms you like, as well as check your stats on Google Analytics. You won’t be bothered by the blog police, but you will have to remember to upgrade and back it up regularly. You will need to research into which plug-ins are suitable for you, and be aware of the latest additions to WordPress so you can install them.

Your blogsite could be an identity by itself, or a fancy blog that’s attached to your existing website, and can easily be incorporated so you can’t tell the difference. It is as easy to use as the WordPress.com blogs, plus extra features to help with SEO and other benefits.

So which one should you use? If you budget is restricted, you don’t have much time and aren’t technically minded, you just want to write some posts to promote your brand and educate your audience, then a blog is the answer. If you want your corporate identity to be seamless, use extra pages to sell your products or services, or even incorporate it into your new website that can easily be updated by you and your colleagues, then a blogsite is the answer.

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