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Author Archives: Dave

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google-ads

Using Google Adwords

Category : Advertising , Posts , Services

Using Google Adwords

The Google Adwords interface can be a bit overwhelming - seek professional help!A large percentage of websites that you visit will have Google Analytics code embedded within them which affords Google the ability to track and record certain information about your browsing activities. This information is then used by Google to supply targeted advertising to its customers in the form of AdWords. The AdWords interface allows a customer to access this statistical information and place their advert in front of customers, categorised as being likely to purchase their product or service - as opposed to an indiscriminate ‘view and hope’ campaign. The facility accommodates budgets and allows you to set spending limits. AdWords will also allow you to target Geographical areas, it provides the ability to display adverts at certain times of the day and has many other useful features that enable a customer to get value for money from their advertising budget.

"If Adwords is this good, why isn’t everyone using it?", we hear you say - well, like everything, there are ‘downsides’ to its use. For one thing, the AdWords interface takes a bit of getting used to – it has so many features and utilities that at first glance it can appear to be complicated and off-putting with unfamiliar and often bespoke terminology. Secondly, and more importantly, AdWords, like all other advertising mediums … comes with a risk. If you don’t get value for money (a good return on investment), then the costs involved could easily spiral out of control and be very damaging to a small company.

Adwords gives you access to lots of useful tools designed to let you make targeted advertisingThere are many companies who specialise in using AdWords and AdSense for a living and although their services will also need to be paid for – many businesses opt for using someone who knows what they are doing. Saxon Websites concurs on this point … we advise that it is better to be safe than sorry, and remember that paying for advertising isn’t suitable for everyone. We will take a look at your product range or services and with the knowledge that we’ve gained through years of experience, advise you if we believe you are likely to get a good return on investment (ROI) … or not. In addition to providing targeted advertising, a well thought-out AdWords campaign can benefit a company in regard to SEO … providing valuable back-links which can enhance a websites ranking. Please be aware that the back-links will disappear soon after you stop advertising, so this benefit should be regarded as temporary help only and a ‘perk’ for using the manufacturers products.


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Increased Sales Conversion – Typical Examples

Increased Sales Conversion – Typical Examples

Sales Conversion - Example 1Company A called us and asked to help them increase productivity, their website was not performing even though they had a number one position in the search engines. Analysis of their site showed clearly that although customers were placing products in their basket (which indicates an intention to purchase), they would often abandon and leave the site. Further research showed exactly where they were leaving and the solution was to offer a ‘purchase without creating an account’ option. This websites account creation form was off-putting and when the obstacle was removed – they saw a marked increase in sales conversion.

Sales Conversion - Example 2Company B contacted us to investigate why their sales conversion was dismal when similar sites boasted good, healthy revenues. We installed Google analytics on their website and returned the following week. Our data highlighted an important problem that was overlooked in the design process. They had installed an attractive slideshow in the header of each page – the problem was that it didn’t work in Internet Explorer (represented around 60% of their visitors). Our analysis showed virtually all visitors with the browser leaving early. A bit of CSS soon cleared up the problem and their sales conversion ended up a lot healthier.

Sales Conversion - Example 3Company C was actually big in the US and they didn’t even know it. They asked for help and it was soon apparent that the bulk of their visitors resided in the US. The company hadn’t targeted the US and only provided the option for UK shipping. Once their shopping cart was reconfigured, they enjoyed a big sales conversion increase and now trade globally.


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Understanding Sales Conversion

Understanding Sales Conversion

The efficacy of sales conversion is measured by the sales conversion rateThe efficacy of sales conversion is measured by the sales conversion rate, a common term familiar to most website owners and is defined as being the percentage of website visitors that complete a websites recognised goal – this maybe a product purchase or possibly membership registration depending on the type of site. It is fairly easy to determine the sales conversion rate for websites that are trying to generate an on-site response but more difficult for those attempting to generate off-site responses like making a telephone call or additional footfall to a city centre store for example. The only real way of determining the effectiveness of your efforts at increasing the sales conversion rate for these off-site examples, would be to solicit the customers entering the physical store or making the phone call – quizzing them about their referral status.

Research on the types of website visitor attracted by your site is essentialOnce you have defined your goal, you will be able to accurately determine your websites sales conversion rate, provided that is, you have the means to calculate how many visitors your site is acquiring. There are several ways of achieving this and several definitions of what an actual website visitor is, so be careful. Research on the types of website visitor attracted by your site is essential here. You do not want, for example, to spend time and effort in trying to make a sale to someone who isn’t interested in your product and has landed on your site in error. Google analytics is very useful for this purpose and ‘analysis software or scripting’ should be installed if not already pre-integrated into your website.

Increasing your sales conversion takes time unfortunately but can result in great rewardsHopefully by now, you have been able to identify your targeted customer and have accurately determined a sales conversion rate. This is your benchmark or starting point. Your next step should be to decide on a method of increasing your newly calculated sales conversion rate – but you can’t do this unless you know where things are breaking down or going wrong. More analysis is required – this time to track customers through the site and see what they are doing and at what point they abandon you. Increasing your sales conversion takes time unfortunately but can result in great rewards in the form of increased revenue and more targeted visitors, because every sale you make is an advertisement in its own right and a potential referral.

When you decide to get help with your sites sales conversion, ensure you go to somebody that has experience with e-commerce websites. It may be that your particular goal is not a product, but the under-lying methodology is the same and most e-commerce website designers’ deal with sales conversion problems as part of their daily activity – they are most likely to possess the sales conversion experience that you need.


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Website Administration – The Essentials

Website Administration – The Essentials

Can your website administration area be found easily and is it adequately protected from cyber-attack?

Every control panel or website administration area will have its own set of features and tools and all will be laid out in a different fashion, but all website administration areas should have a basic set of essential elements – if yours lacks any of these, then you are being short changed and should be looking for a change. Firstly, is your control panel secure? Security is a massive subject admittedly, so consider the basics – can it be found easily and is it adequately protected from cyber-attack or malicious-employee infiltration? Secondly, does your website administration area provide you with the means or ability to create and publish new website content? Consider things like a built-in editor capable of video deployment, text formatting and re-arranging layout. Thirdly, in order to effectively manage website administration, you will need to assign tasks or delegate work safely and securely – multi-user, role-restrictive accounts are essential for efficient administration … you have that right? Remember that these five elements are just the basic requirements in our opinion, your website administration area can be the source of all sorts of information if compromised, so accept nothing less. PCI Compliance and standard, good working practice dictates that access logs and certain reporting functions should be available – this is our fourth essential element recommendation … your website administration area should provide adequate logging and reporting functionality. Lastly and by no means least, is ‘user-friendly’ controls. Your control panel or website administration area needs to be laid out so that you can easily access all features and control the flow of work using simple, push-button, menu-driven technology.

  • Secure Access
  • Ability to Create and Publish New Content
  • Multi-User, Role-Restrictive Accounts
  • Logging and Reporting Facilities
  • User-Friendly

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Website Administration – The Nerve Centre

Website Administration – The Nerve Centre of Many A Business

A typical modern website administration team wears many hats

Does your company or business have one or more people assigned to looking after your website on a permanent basis? If not, the chances are that you are not making full use of it or seriously under valuing its importance to the success of your business. Website administration to a lot of small companies starts off as a secondary role for some poor person within the company, but should and does grow into a full-time position in its own right very quickly as the website develops and takes on more and more of the businesses functionality. For a lot of businesses, the website administration team is the ‘nerve centre’, linked to each internal department and the new public face. A typical modern website administration team wears many hats – Company Receptionist, Sales Co-ordinator, Order Processor, Advertising Executive and Logistics Technician … are just a few examples. Website administration – make sure your developer has provided you with a control panel that enables your website to be wired to your business!


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Top 10 Tips for E-Commerce Websites

Top 10 Tips for E-Commerce Websites

1. Tailored Solution
Our first tip to building a successful online store is to ensure that your newly acquired E-Commerce website is tailored for your actual products or services. There are many off-the-shelf e-commerce solutions being advertised that appear to be cheap and quick to set up – they generally are. What you need to consider is that these E-Commerce solutions are template websites built to serve many different applications and you will end up having to market your products and services with what they have available in regard to features (if any). In most cases, this is far from being ideal and the compromises you are likely to have to make could well loose the business to your competitors who have invested in bespoke sites built for the sole purpose of selling your product.

2. Clear Navigation and Accurate Product Search
Most E-Commerce websites require the visitor to drill down several levels to reach things like product details and attributes. For this reason, visibly clear navigation and extended product search facilities are often required – ensure that your E-Commerce solution makes it easy for a customer to find his/her way around … otherwise you may find them going elsewhere. It is essential that your customer does not get lost and that you provide a clear way backwards as well as forwards.

3. Layout and Product Presentation
A well thought-out E-Commerce website will have addressed the two very important issues of layout and presentation. In a lot of cases, a store owner may need to show a lot of product-related information is a limited amount of space – ensure your E-Commerce solution gives you layout and image presentation options. Examples of items to have in your marketing arsenal include ‘tabbed’ product page elements, ‘expandable’ divisions and eye-catching image Galleries or Slideshows.

4. Data Feeds
Your own website should be only one of many outlets for your products. Data feeds are common practice and ensures that one way or another – the public gets to see your wares. Some common marketplaces include Amazon, Twenga, ShopMania and Yahoo. Ensure your E-Commerce website has the facilities to export your products easily – you do not want to have to copy and paste them every week, especially if your range runs into the hundreds.

5. Customer Confidence
At some point, you are going to ask your customer to put his/her hand into their pocket – and this important step is where a lot of E-Commerce websites fall over. Ensuring that your shopping cart ticks all the right boxes when it comes to security goes a long way to gaining and maintaining your customers trust. To this end, it is important that your E-Commerce solution provides the means to demonstrate the steps that you have taken to safeguard the customers’ personal details. Items to consider here include SSL and PCI compliance certificates, the use of common/trusted payment gateways and privacy policies.

6. Incentives to Buy
Another valuable tip is to give your customer an incentive to buy. Although not always necessary, more and more E-Commerce websites are providing money-off coupons, loyalty schemes and up/cross sells in order to win the business. It is recommended that your E-Commerce solution has something up its sleeve to compete in this regard.

7. Checkout Process
The checkout process is a thing that is often over-looked by store owners, but can be the point at which your customer says ‘bye bye’ – so it does need to be configurable as a minimum. Ensure that whatever E-Commerce website you opt for allows you to configure or even by-pass the signing-up process … ask for too much information, or include too many steps and your customer will abandon the order. A lot of template E-Commerce websites use fixed forms or only allow for minor changes, be careful!

8. Feedback and Product Endorsement
Quality feedback is essential for so many reasons, as is, the ability for your customers to endorse your product by way of recommendations and testimonials. Not all E-Commerce solutions have the built-in ability to solicit for this vital information – ensure that yours does and reap the rewards!

9. Order Fulfilment
Unless your products or services are virtual, you will need to include shipping and carriage – this can result in resentment if you overcharge or provide a poor, restricted delivery service. This can lead to bad press or even order abandonment if you get it wrong. Any E-Commerce solution that you choose should have integrated order fulfilment that you can configure and, it needs to be as robust as is possible providing the customer with options. Provide your customers with several affordable delivery options and safeguard the order. Your E-Commerce website needs to allow you to offer variety or run the risk of loosing the order.

10. After Sales Strategy
Our final tip in respect to choosing the right E-Commerce website is to choose one that allows you to easily access the customer information gleaned from the sale. This is important information that can be used for after sales campaigns – like new product advertising, future sales promotions and seasonal offers. Your E-Commerce solution should facilitate the export of customer information for use in external applications and provide integrated mailing functionality to compliment your after sales strategy.


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Popular Content Management Systems

Popular Content Management Systems

Popular Content Management Systems


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HTML5 and CSS3

CSS3 and HTML5

CSS3 and HTML5

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) have finally released CSS3 after the 12 year over-haul of CSS2.1. Now, all major browsers are HTML5 compatible and have adopted the new CSS3 features - giving hope to struggling web developers. Combined, these two powerful tools, can create fantastic solutions for modern websites needing to cope with the explosion of differing screen resolutions as the mobile markets come online. Both CSS3 and HTML5 are still not completely 'signed off' and there will be further releases in the future as pockets of 'recommendations' become finalised and ear-marked for general release. An exciting future for sure and a timely response to the many problems facing designers derived from the rapid advancement in mobile technology.

HTML5 Logo

W3C have now modularised CSS and in CSS3 there are currently in excess of 50 modules that we can count - each addressing different subjects of styling and layout. Without doubt, the most important of these modules is 'Media Queries' which quite simply allows website designers to apply conditions to a style sheet to accommodate fluidity.

CSS3 Logo

HTML5 and CSS3 are merely two of many technologies that are evolving and adjusting to the problems presented by the modern internet. Understanding these changes and picking the right solutions (of which there are many) is something that we at Saxon Websites™ do well. All new websites designed by ourselves are built specifically to our clients instructions and will include all of this new technology and lots more besides - we only use current and up to date web technologies.


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Focus on Website Graphics

Focus on Website Graphics

Focus on Website Graphics

Most graphic design companies are market-orientated and are set up to provide a number of solutions across a number of different platforms - platforms like posters, business cards, advertising boards and even TV adverts. Saxon Websites™ focuses solely on websites, so, when it comes to graphic design and company logos, we are able to give you just what you want and need – a 10ft, pixel perfect image costing thousands of pounds is what we call ‘over-kill’ in the context of website design.

Focus on Website Graphics

We know that a quality, 800 x 600 high resolution image is as good as you are ever likely to need (in most cases) – and we don’t need a team to produce it either … all we need is a skilled web designer that knows his way around Photoshop. The benefits of trading solely in website graphic design is that we also understand about loading times, penalties handed out by some search engines for non-optimised images and image security techniques … amongst other things.


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Logos and Graphic Design, Free!

Logos and Graphic Design, Free!

Logos and Graphic Design, Free!

Logos and Graphic Design, Free!

There are many, many companies that provide logos and graphic design services but it’s just another invoice that you can expect in the post if you use them without really needing to use them. In most cases, our clients are happy to use our integrated logo and graphic design services, included free as part of the overall web development service that we provide. To be honest, there is very little that we can’t do that a specialist company can – but we are ‘man-enough’ to let you know when we can’t provide what you require and professional enough to point you in the direction of someone that can. Logos and Graphic Design are services that we provide for free here at Saxon Websites™.