Recently one of our clients, Gina Romero, emailed us asking for some info about the etiquette for testimonials on websites. This inspired me to write this post and share my thoughts based on years of experience creating websites here at Top Left Design! People often ask:
Insight, advice, news and chit chat
You may remember the story of The Walrus and the Carpenter from Alice in Wonderland. One of the movies I used to watch over and over when I was young was the Disney version and I loved this bit when the Walrus told a story to the unsuspecting oysters about “cabbages and kings”. It made the oysters engaged and they all followed him out of the water.
We have been working hard on our newsletter, as we always do. And it’s ready to send! In this one the illustration was done by Tina and Amy worked on the graphics for the rest of the newsletter. Other newsletters often feature illustration work by Tamlyn – who drew our owls! Those of you who dont subscribe, you’re missing out! We almost always do special offers, games and prizes. Our latest creation involves a theme – “Make Do and Mend” which goes with the whole “January Austerity” feeling. No point in being frivolous and overly extravagent – it’s just not the done thing! So, in our newsletter we have listed “8 free or almost free ways to improve your presence online.” We do like the number 8!
We also like the number 3 – so watch out for the 3 offers within the newsletter.
Read it here and let us know in the comments below what you think!
We have just sent our latest newsletter masterpiece and this newsletter was dedicated to the number 8. We all worked on it – writing copy, coming up with all the little details, checking for typos, putting together the HTML and images – a real team effort! Thanks to all those who helped with proofreading our test previews!
Having good quality images on your site can set you apart from your competitors in a big way. Have you ever been to a website and thought “those pictures are awful”? How did that affect your impressions of the company? I’d be willing to bet that your perception of the company went down some – the quality of your content is directly linked to how your visitors perceive the overall quality of your company.
When it comes to making websites look good, there are a plethora of ways to set a design apart from the rest, without needing to delve into the pit of cliché doom.
A strong design does not need gimmicks, just as it does not need uninspired generic content. The tricky part is finding the balance!
Here are some common culprits, steer clear of these or you might end giving people a migrane – or worse – they might steer clear of your site completely…
There are many people who are using blogs as a replacement for a website.
A blog can make up your entire web presence, and has many benefits. Blogs are easy to update regularly, which means you can keep your content fresh. The most recent “post” comes up at the top. You can use it for text, images, video and audio and it takes very little time to put content online. Blogs are also brilliant for search engines as varied and frequent content means search engines will visit your site more often and this will mean higher rankings. Blogs are also less expensive than a full website. And by having a blog you can build on your credibility because you can continue to showcase your skills, knowledge, expertise and work. And blog posts are more easily shared amongst people on social media, which means your post will have many more views than without a blog.
So, we really love blogs!
For those with a limited budget – having a blog instead of a full website is something we regularly recommend.
In many ways this is better than the other way around – having an out of date website without any social presence or blogging can nowadays look static and old fashioned.
But for optimum usability and to really showcase your business, there are some things that are more easily navigable on a website.
What makes more sense as part of a website
- A section called”Case Studies” where you can tell some stories about work you have done in the past
- Specific pages for each of your Services which can explain to people what they can expect
- A “Meet the Team” section with pictures of the staff and brief bios (we recommend links to their LinkedIn pages)
- Contact Us page with possibly a form, a map to where you are, and all your main contact details
- A really clear proposition of what you are actually selling – so people can see what your business is!
Note: Testimonials are good to have everywhere – within each page, on your homepage, and on pages with related content.
What makes more sense as part of a blog
- Recently launched projects
- Events and workshops you are running, attending, have run
- Video blogs reviewing events
- Video testimonials from clients
- New partnerships, new deals, new hires within your business
- Interviews with people in your industry
- Guest blogs from people who would be of interest to your audience
- Tips, Step by Steps, and How tos for your clients and contacts
- Collections and Roundups of things within your industry
- Reviews of software or tools which are relevant to your audience.
In addition, a standalone blog can have an “about this blog” type area and a blog can often be designed to even look like a website, with the categories placed horizontally accross the top.
So the best option is to?
The ideal scenario is that you would have a website with a blog. This is something we specialise in here at Top Left Design. It allows you to have the best of both worlds – showcase your expertise and be as clear as possible about who you are, what you do, how you add value to your clients/customers.
Below are some examples:
Book now to our next Blogging Seminar, on Tuesday the 29th March from 12 noon to 5pm! (And – bonus – our seminars are CPD certified)
Let’s say you launch a new business website, it’s nicely designed and up to date, and and tells the world all about the services you offer. But after a couple of months it’s not feeling quite so up-to-date – The answer is blogging – and learning about blogging from Top Left Design!
Show how cool you are (and how smart you are)
A good blog on your website can ensure that your website is constantly ‘current’, and lets visitors know that your company likes to keep track of what is happening in your particular niche. Not only does it broadcast your company’s motivation to keep it’s online presence in the here and now, but blogs are also a fantastic outlet for you to share relevant information to your industry, gain valuable feedback, and discuss topics that are on the forefront of your businesses interests.
Just like everything great, there are challenges that come with it
Of course, not everyone is born with the ability to write easily. Nor does everyone have the time to sit around writing – especially after a long day doing the “more important things” that your working life demands.
We want your business to succeed
And we want to help you “improve your presence online”. For most businesses, whether they are B2B or B2C – blogging has to be a major part of the marketing plan.
It’s been proven
Many studies have shown that blogging not only improves the impression people have about your business, but also generates a huge amount more traffic and visitors to your site. Partly because blogging allows you to add more pages easily to your website, and partly because there is much more current and interesting information on your site for people to see.
It’s almost like a spa
Many people find that, surprisingly, writing can be therapeutic – a good way to relax and unwind. What’s more, every word you write contributes to the worth and influence of your business.
We invite you to learn from us!
We would love you to visit us at Top Left Design and attend one of our London-Famous blogging seminars – the perfect tutorial and motivational boost, which will send you on the correct path, ensuring you do not waste your time by doing things ‘wrong’, and begin your blogging endeavour with only the good habits. All of our seminars are also CPD Certified!
Here are some of the things you will learn and experience in the seminar:
- Why blogging would be good for your business
- Blogging do’s and don’ts
- How often should I blog?
- Different types of blog post
- Using WordPress and other blogging platforms
- Avoid the pitfalls of blogging
- The best free blogging tools
- How to fit blogging into your busy working life
- How to make sure your blog increases leads to your business
- How and where to find images for your blog
- Resizing images
- How blogs can integrate with other social media
- Q+A session
- Takeaway notes
- Sandwiches, Tea and Cake
- Prize draw to win a free Twitter strategy training session, including Twitter background design
- Other things we will think about before then – we are ideas people!
There are some rules
It’s one thing to write a blog post, but without practising a few simple rules, it could all be for nothing. In our seminars, I lay down the golden rules of blogging, and give precise tips on how to effectively write Google-friendly posts, to generate inbound traffic to your site, along with invaluable instructions to cross-promote your blog (and website) using various free social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Tina will even be doing a guest slot – on her birthday, no less!
And a free lunch!
Of course you won’t only be learning, there will also be a fully catered (healthy) lunch! Which should ease away some of the guilt incurred by your current lack of blogging, and also our famous Top Left Design cupcakes (homebaked and branded by our very own Tamlyn!), which you be challenged to resist!
If this little post inspired, motivated or even guilted you into getting your blog off the ground, be sure to book in at our next blogging seminar
Keren will be speaking about “9 ways to improve your presence online” this week at The Oyster Club Seed Pearl Breakfast. If you thought there were only 5, 6, 7, or 8 ways, then you really need to come along. It will be at 9am on Wednesday the 9th of March. To book you just need to visit this link