Monday, 25 October 2010 11:53

Getting the most from AdWords (part 2)

The first part of our series on getting the most from AdWords focused on the basics of creating more clickable advertising. Part two looks at where to send your traffic what to do with it once it arrives!

Create relevant landing pages

How many times have you clicked on an ad, only to arrive at a generic page that seemingly has nothing to do with the search you performed?

You hate it. I hate it - everyone who uses Google hates clicking through to irrelevant pages.

Guess what? Google hates it too.

Monday, 18 October 2010 14:23

Getting the most from AdWords (part 1)

How many times have you performed a search for a product or service and been delivered sponsored results for something completely unrelated? (Locksmiths, I'm looking at you!)

It's exactly this kind of issue that causes businesses to lose faith in PPC advertising. When a user is served ads that don't meet their needs both the user and the business become disillusioned as to the value of search marketing. 

Fortunately for all parties involved, Google has a vested interest in serving relevant ads to users. Google provides a strong financial incentive for businesses to ensure their ads are properly crafted and relevant to the needs of searchers.

Here are some simple tactics for ensuring a better CTR (Click Through Rate) while saving money on your online marketing.

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 11:54

Alkalinity chart

EnergySuperfoods wanted to create added value for their site visitors and provide an incentive to join the mailing list.

After weighing a number of options, the idea of an Alkalinity Chart was agreed upon, providing customers with a handy cheat-sheet outlining the properties of various food groups.

Rather than be presented as pedestrian tables, we decided we'd use dramatic and evocative images to reinforce the message.

The chart has now been downloaded extensively and is used in real-world promotions also.

Monday, 06 September 2010 09:55

The fallacy of validation

Validating a website has become standard practice among designers over the last few years. As a site nears completion, the designer tests the site against the W3C Validator service to ensure that the code meets the standards, allowing them to proudly display a badge declaring their competency.

I have no real problem with this, except insofar as it provides no value (except to the designer's ego!) to show this badge.

The real problem lies with the claim that validation is inherently valuable as an SEO tactic. Sites like Google, Amazon and a plethora of other high-ranking sites stand as proof positive that validation alone will not ensure your site ranks highly.

So why is validation touted as an SEO technique?

Wednesday, 01 September 2010 12:10

Caught out by a rogue facebook app?

This week nearly 20,000 Facebook users were duped into 'liking' a rogue fanpage called 'The argument that disproves atheism'.

Like many other users, I clicked on the link that appeared in my newsfeed, mainly due to curiosity at what had come over my friend to post such a link.

A sizeable group of us were caught out, suddenly and inexplicably 'liking' a fanpage without the usual button-clicking. Just clicking a normal looking link seemed to be enough, which has scary implications for Facebook's 'social graph', if it can be gamed so easily.

Fortunately, while people might have difficulty removing the notification of the 'like', it's simple enough to remove the application from your profile altogether.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010 17:30

Fashionably Yours

Fashionably Yours approached us to redesign their online store with an eye for flair and modern professional design.

With the Spring Carnival season looming, it was also a vital consideration to have an extremely fast turnaround, only two weeks from starting work to going live.

If there's one thing we love, it's being able to deliver on time. We said we'd have the site up by the end of August: the site went live on the 31st with enough time to write up the case study.

If there's a problem with this site, it's that the ecommerce platform actively defeats SEO and is extremely inflexible. Not to mention the awful table-based coding that harks back to the bad old days of 1990s design.

Check out the before and after shots after the jump.

Monday, 30 August 2010 09:14

DIY Web Design Mistakes: #1

I'm starting a new series, DIY Web Design Mistakes, quick examples of real-life problems caused by DIY design.

Today's candidate is The Boat Shed Restaurant in Maroochydore.

DIY Mistake #1: Not checking your site's listing in organic search

Otherwise, this can happen:

DIY Web design mistakes #1, not checking your search results

Yes. That's the Joomla! default description Meta Tag. Why this is bad and how to fix it, after the jump.

Monday, 23 August 2010 09:19

Royalty free isn't free

Finding imagery for your site is hard, whether it's part of the design or for an ongoing blog.

If there's one thing I loathe, it's shiny-happy people images that say nothing except "I don't care enough to find evocative pictures".

As Tim Reid would say, "It's an EPIDEMIC!".

An epidemic of bland, faceless marketing that toes the corporate line but fails entirely to engage the humans who are forced to deal with the drivel. It's the visual equivalent of this kind of sentence:

GenericMarketingCo is a leading performance-based marketing company with enabling technology that connects marketers to consumers through a comprehensive set of email marketing and online media services.

I get it. It's hard to write good copy and it's hard to find good images.

But when you do find the perfect image, for the sake of your business, don't steal it.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010 10:00

What incentive to checkin?

As hype-laden services go, FourSquare must be right at the top of the hysterical ladder. It's up, it's down, it's the next big thing, it's a flop.

I'm a FourSquare user. I like to checkin, just not everywhere. Who cares if I'm the Mayor of Coles? I am however in a running battle with my sister-in-law for the Mayorship of CoffeeGuy, a small boutique coffee house in Wooloowin, Brisbane. Best coffee going and an ambience that's hard to beat.

It's just one of those places that you want to tell your friends about. For this purpose, FourSquare is genius. An ongoing stream every time I checkin, either boasting or bemoaning my status and the wonders of the coffee - which is then published to my FaceBook and Twitter accounts.

Of course, CoffeeGuy isn't the only place I visit, but my checkins elsewhere are rare. I see this as more symptomatic of the business than of FourSquare: most businesses simply don't inspire you to checkin.

Thursday, 12 August 2010 13:03

Our work on Joomailer

There are some days where you get to sit back and feel proud for the work you've just done.

Today's one of those days.

We've spent a large part of the last week working with FreakedOut, German Joomla developers, on their new offering: an integration of the award-winning email marketing tool, MailChimp.

This was a fantastic project for us. We've done a reasonable amount of User Interface work in the past, but due to confidentiality issues we've never been able to discuss or use these past projects on our portfolio.

Here's how it worked out.