Category Archives: blog

Web Design Plans

A Guide To Planning A New Website Build

If you’re building a new website for your business you can save yourself some time and hassle by doing a bit of planning first. Don’t just dive straight in and start building.

Instead, there are some important aspects that you need to consider. And don’t worry this part of the process doesn’t have to be long or labour intensive. Even the simplest of plans can help you to get your website off to a good start.

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at 8 steps you can take when planning your new website to ensure you create a site that delivers.

Create an audience persona

It’s a good idea to start by creating an audience persona (sometimes known as a buyer persona). This can help you to think about the wants and needs of your visitors rather than your own and tailor your website accordingly. This will help to offer the best possible experience for your target audience. 

Do some competitor research

Checking out what your competitors are doing can be a great source of inspiration. It can help you to see what they’re doing well and what they’re not so good at, so you can apply this to your website.

You can also navigate your way through their website to see what the user journey is like and if there’s anything you want to do differently.

Just be careful not to get sucked in by their design. Remember, just because something looks great, if it’s not very functional or user friendly it’s still no good!

Think about your SEO strategy

It might seem very early to be thinking about search engine optimisation but it’s important to consider this in the planning stage of your website. Trying to incorporate good SEO into a site that hasn’t been built for it can make things much trickier down the line.

You should also do some keyword research. This will help you when planning the structure of your website and deciding what content you’re going to need to create early on.

Working with SEO in mind right from the start will help you (or your team) to build your website in a Google-friendly way.

Plan the structure

When it comes to planning your structure, you don’t have to spend ages getting this perfect. That being said, the more thorough you are at the planning stage, the easier life will be for you later on in the process.

Whether you simply jot down some notes or you choose to draw out a diagram, your structural plan must contain a list of the main categories that will go in your header and any sub-categories that will lead on from them.

Just make sure that you keep user experience in mind at all times and don’t make your structure too complicated. You should try to avoid choosing any more than seven categories as this can become overwhelming.

Remember, the simpler the better.

And this is also your chance to implement your keyword research to start making your website as SEO-friendly as possible.

Think about your budget

It’s important to consider your budget during the planning stage as this may have an impact on how you build your website.

There are several costs associated with starting up a new website but not all of these will apply depending on the services you use. Some of the key costs you might need to consider are:

  • Domain name
  • Web hosting
  • Content and SEO – if you’re paying people to write/do this research for you
  • Web design
  • Testing tools
  • Cybersecurity

It’s worth doing your research during the planning stage to get a better idea of what these costs will be and whether you want to outsource some of these tasks (such as content creation) or do them yourself.

Consider what content you’ll need

Next up, you need to think about what content you want to go on your website. This might be page descriptions, your ‘about’ page, blog posts, product descriptions, etc.

This is your chance to put together a quick list of how much content needs to be created and to consider what keywords you’re going to be targeting with this.

Depending on the nature of your website, you might have relatively little content or you might have a lot to create before you can officially launch. So carefully consider the time you’re going to need to dedicate towards writing this.

If you’re writing this yourself that is.

Decide what other assets you’ll need

However, it’s not just about content and pages when building a website. You also need to think about the other aspects that make your site great. For example:

  • Are you going to need to create a logo?
  • What colours and fonts will represent your brand?
  • What photos will you use?
  • Will you include links to social media accounts?
  • Do you need a sign-up form?

All of these additional aspects are important and although you can think about these and even change these later on, it’s helpful to create a full plan of what you want your site to look like and any must-have features you want to include.

Choose a suitable CMS

Finally, you have almost completed the planning stage of your website build but there is one final thing you need to do. You need to choose a content management system (CMS) to build your site on.

In a nutshell, this is the framework that your website is built upon. So for example it could be WordPress, Wix, Magneto or Squarespace.

The CMS you choose will depend on which you’re most familiar with, most comfortable with and what features you want on your website, so do a bit of research into this before settling on your final choice.

If you’re considering a website project and would like a little help or advice feel free to get in touch.

Web Design - Cornell Studios

Why is web design important? 

When it comes to building your presence online, web design should be a hugely important part of your strategy. It affects all aspects of your user experience: how they perceive the website, how easily they can navigate the site, and the likelihood they will return to your website. Here at Cornell Studios, we have a team of expert web designers who are always keeping on top of the latest trends and know not only what customers want from a website, but what is going to achieve results for your business. In this article we are going to explore a few top reasons on why web design is so important.

SEO

Web design is one of the foundation blocks of SEO. Before you can even begin to optimise your website, you need to have a well-designed one in place. When your agency is designing your website, the decisions they make and how they lay out each page of your site will have a knock-on effect on your SEO. The easier the customer finds it to navigate the site, the more likely they are to return, and the more likely Google is to rank your website higher.

First Impressions

How appealing your website is when the customer first lands on it is going to determine whether they continue to browse on not. Can the customer immediately see what they came for? Will they know how to navigate their way around the site? Is the website cluttered with information or is it easy to read? All of these questions not only determine if the customer will stay on your website but whether they will come back and browse the website to make other purchases.

Competitors

When it comes to ecommerce businesses, the competition is fierce. You are no longer just competing against other shops on the high street, but against the world wide web of global competitors. You can be assured that your competition is utilising web design to outrank you, so make sure you make your business stands out and have a website that will encourage search engines to find you first.

Trust

If a potential customer lands on your website and finds it particularly hard to find what they are looking for and none of your information is made clear, it is going to throw the integrity of your website into doubt. A customer is going to be unsure if placing a transaction on your website it secure and if they will receive exactly what they are looking for. This is why it is vital your web design clearly shows the products you are offering and gives the customer all the relevant details they need at a glance. The checkout process should be simple and clear, only asking for the information you need to complete the transaction, leaving the consumer in no doubt that you are a business they can trust.

Customer Service

Consider your website like a customer service representative. This is the face of your business and it needs to be one that shows your customers you care for them. If your website is dull, doesn’t make it easy for customers to use, and is hard for them to get answers – this reflects negatively on your website and on your business, suggesting you don’t have time for your customers. On the other hand, if your website it bright and beautiful and has everything the customer needs, customers are going to trust you as a business and feel they are somewhere they can return to and feel comfortable carrying out transactions because they know your business can be depended upon.

Your website is a reflection of everything your brand stands for and is usually one of the first points of contact between a customer and your business, so website design should not be taken lightly. It not only forms a good impression, but it can guide users through your products and help nurture leads into more conversions.

Cornell Studios

So if any of these reasons have made you think twice about the current design of your website, or if you would like more information on how your website can be improved, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can get in touch via the ‘contact’ section on our website, and we can advise you on the next steps for your website to help boost your sales and tailor a digital marketing strategy to continue to help you grow.

E-Commerce - Cornell Studios

What makes a successful e-commerce site

If you’re a small business, taking the first steps into e-commerce can be daunting. You’ll not only be opening up your products to a much wider audience, but you’ll be setting your business alongside huge global companies. The competition is strong, but that’s where we come in. Moving your business online is becoming increasingly necessary for brands to stay alive and continue to reach customers, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as it first seems. Here at Cornell Studios, we provide our customers with help and guidance to create a website they will love, that is easy to maintain, and that will help your business get a strong footing in the online world.

Presentation

One of the primary considerations when building an e-commerce website is presentation. Consumers are going to be immediately attracted to a website that is aesthetically pleasing. This means a good theme, so each page is connected and no sections appear jarring. It also means a pleasing structure, each page and dropdown flowing naturally to the other. Once a user has landed on your website, an easy to navigate website will be instrumental in improving your click-through-rates and ensuring customers are browsing your website for longer. The longer a customer stays on your website, or the higher the likelihood of them returning to your website, the more confidence you can have that the customer will make a purchase.

Smooth Process

To aid in customers making purchases, you will need your e-commerce website to have a smooth process from initial landing page to check out. This could mean the addition of a search bar so the customer can quickly find what they are looking for, and it could mean the addition of an ‘add to basket’ button without a customer having to click directly onto that product page. When a customer has added their items to their basket and decided to check out, it’s vital this process is streamlined as much as possible. Each additional step in the checkout process increases the chances of the customer abandoning their purchase, so try only to ask for essential information: billing information and shipping address. This is all you will need to complete a transaction.

Customers should never be forced to create an account on your website. When people are shopping online, they are fast-moving and don’t like to be slowed down by the details. You can add a prompt to create an account that will speed up their shopping process on their next purchase, however, it is important there is a ‘guest’ checkout option, allowing people to quickly purchase what they need. The easier the process, the more likely they are to return to your shop.

Customer Emails

Whether you already have a well-known business or are just starting out, the need to promote your products never ends. We recommend when you start your e-commerce website to build a strong customer base, and an excellent way to do this is to collect customers emails. They can choose to subscribe to your business and you can make them aware of any latest offerings you have. Having customers emails is also great for sending out shopping cart abandonment emails. If a customer is reminded of a product they had forgotten about, it is likely they’ll return to your website to purchase. If you have a blog on your website, subscribers could even receive the latest updates straight into their inbox.

SEO

It’s important to remember, that by putting your website online, you are no longer targeting your current customers, but also looking to gain new customers too. Keeping this in mind, we must understand that not all customers will land directly on your website, but rather will be using a search engine such as Google to search for the product they are looking for. It is up to your digital agency to prioritise SEO when maintaining your website. SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ and is used to ensure you are appearing at the top of the list when potential customers search for your product.

Finally, remember that the internet can often seem like a cold and distant place, and consumers can often feel at a loss if they don’t have a physical person to speak to about a product. So, make yourself available to your customers still. Have a contact page with your phone number and email address, if you’re feeling up to it you may even add a chat function to your website. This allows your customers to feel connected, and the more informed they can stay about your products, the more likely they are to purchase.

Cornell Studios Can Help!

It’s clear that 2020 has led us into a predominantly online world, and the only way to stay ahead of a fast-paced market is to have a business that is just as fast. Whether it is time to upgrade your website, or introduce your goods to the world wide web, Cornell Studios is here to help. From initial design concept, right through to the build of your e-commerce website, we’ve got the skills and the expertise to make sure you have a website you’re proud of. We continue to look after our customers long after their website is built also, applying digital marketing strategies to help boost your sales and give you confidence as you enter the world of e-commerce.

Digital Trends 2021

Key Digital Trends for 2021

When it comes to social media, digital marketing, and the online world, things are always changing. It is an ever-shifting market that can be hard to keep on top of as new ideas are constantly being brought out and features being updated. It is important if you want your business to thrive in this busy landscape that you have a digital marketing team that can keep pace.

During 2020, having an online presence became more vital than ever before. As a result, many companies are fighting it out for prominence on the world wide web. So, what does this mean for 2021? What trends can you expect to see? Our team have been having a think and this is what we’ve come up with.

FIND YOUR VOICE

Voice search is rocketing month after month. We wrote an article on it a few months ago, which you can find on our blog. Most homes now have an Alexa, a Google Nest, or some form of voice assistant in their house (if not in a few different rooms!) As a result, search engines are having to consider this new form of search query. The way a person speaks a question and types a question can be quite different, so take into account when updating your content that it should be optimised for voice search also.

STAY RELEVANT

With so many social media channels out there, how can you stay on top of them all? The short answer is, you can’t. Don’t put pressure on your company to have a presence on every social media channel if you don’t need them. As the old saying goes: it’s quality, not quantity. Your target audience is likely to have a bigger presence on some apps more than others, so use your budget wisely and target your content where it is most likely to be consumed. If you’re not sure where your target audience lies, this is a job for your digital marketing company who can easily provide you with answers.

THE RISE OF ZOOM

Many of us have grown weary of zoom calls by now, having spent a large portion of 2020 meeting virtually. While virtual meetings arose out of necessity, they show no signs of going away. Many large (and small) businesses used the opportunity to interact more with their audiences and this is something that will remain relevant. Showing the faces behind the business bring a humanity to any brand and something that is craved now more than ever.

STAY LOCAL

Online meetings aren’t the only new trend that have arose out of 2020. More and more people have been shopping locally, and this is something that is here to stay. There was a shift for small local outlets recognising the need to have a good online presence and to increase their online efforts .It is important that those who are nearby know that you exist. This is where SEO services come in and the need to make sure when people are searching for a local business that your name appears right at the top of the list. Your digital marketing company will be able to ensure that your business is geographically defined, and local customers will be able to come straight to your door.

A DIGITAL WORLD

Our fifth and final prediction for 2021 is further growth of online presence. While we are all excited to get back to the real world and socialising, there is no doubt that 2020 lit a spark on what can be achieved online. Virtual reality experiences have been around for some time now, but we will increasingly find not only the quality improving, but the experience being made readily available for the masses. Whether this is the ability to visit showrooms online, or virtually try a new product – we suspect there is a lot to come in this growing business.

The key takeaway for digital marketing in 2021 is the need for an increased presence online and to find new ways to reach customers online. This can mean making your customer journey a seamless user experience, optimising your content for all online formats, and being able to reach your target audience through various online experiences such as live interactive features or through the use of virtual influencer marketing.

Cornell Studios

Have any of these trends caught your eye? Are you looking to improve your digital marketing strategy for 2021? Contact Cornell Studios and we can organise for our experienced digital marketing team to give your website an audit. We love watching brands grow and are passionate about furthering our customers businesses, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can find our email address and phone number on the contact section of our website. 

Google AMP - Cornell Studios

What is Google AMP?

Is there anything more irritating than a website that takes too long to load? We are all guilty of getting frustrated with poor loading times, and many of us often give up without even reaching the page we had hoped for. Websites with poor loading times tend not to rank well with search engines, and for good reason – search engines know that people only want the sites that can give us the information we want fastest. It’s why voice search is on the rise and it’s why content is tailored for micro-moments. We are in an age of instant gratification: when we want something, we need it instantly. That is why Google developed Google AMP. A solution to slow webpages.

Google AMP

Google AMP has been around for a while now, but what is it? And perhaps more importantly, how can your website benefit from it? Simply put, AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Google AMP allows website to dramatically speed up their load times, so landing pages appear almost immediately when they are clicked on. This is fantastic for user experience and is likely to increase conversion rates as one of the primary reasons that customers are lost is due to load times. If a page is taking too long to appear, a customer will usually just give up and try another website. Speed is also one of the ranking factors that Google takes into account for SEO, so unless your website is already super speedy, Google AMP is a great addition to speed things up.

Google AMP can be utilised for any format: you can design ecommerce pages, both mobile and desktop websites, speedy advertisements (that can be linked with Google Ads), and even emails. By using AMP, you are increasing the speed of your entire website. So, how exactly does it work?

Pages utilising Google AMP load all of the page’s content at once and the layout of the pages is known to browsers beforehand. This is different to non-AMP pages which function by loading one asset at a time. This is why AMP pages don’t allow custom JavaScript as it could interrupt simultaneous loading times. Web fonts are quite large, so AMP pages download them first while minimizing style and layout recalculations. The optimisation of fonts on web pages is crucial for the page to load quickly and perform well.

Resource Downloading

Resource downloading is also a top priority for AMP pages so users have the most important aspects of the website. Images are downloaded secondary, but they are only fully downloaded if the web page determines that the user is likely going to see them. As a result of this intuitive thinking, the most important visuals are downloaded first and the user is able to see everything they need almost instantaneously. There is no point is downloading all images immediately, especially considering some websites contain hundreds or even thousands of images. It is much more economical to only download the images that need to be seen as the user works their way through the website: and this is the approach that Google AMP takes. This gives the user the impression that the whole website has loaded instantly, when in reality they are only being shown the snippets they want, exactly as they reach them. This is why Google AMP relies heavily on page layout and tracking the user’s movement onsite.

Of course, because AMP pages work by having all content pre-downloaded, if there are any changes to a webpage and its layout, the browser will have to redownload all the correct and updated info. However, it will still prove to be much faster than non-AMP pages, as these pages will not know the pre-existing layout. AMP pages have the ability to comprehend and implement changes seamlessly, providing a wonderful user experience.

The CSS for AMP pages is inline. This removes the need for HTTP requests to facilitate the rendering path. Inline files are also capped at 50 kilobytes, which is great for load times, but also gives enough detail for a fully comprehensive and detailed website layout.

Google AMP Test Tool

When working with Google AMP, Google provides a Google AMP test tool which will make sure your webpages are matching the requirements it needs to function correctly. If all is working as it should be, you will be able to preview search engine results and view what the user will see when browsing.

Getting your website to load instantly is a tremendous challenge which relies on so many elements: from image sizes, to SEO, to functional servers, there is a lot to consider. However, it is necessary. Users expect fast load times and if you can’t provide…your website is going to fall behind. Google AMP can transform your website loading times and with it transform your business as you watch your Google rankings climb. 

Cornell Studios – SEO Services

Never fear though – this is not a task for you to undertake alone but is exactly what digital marketing companies and SEO services are for. Here at Cornell Studios, our developers are tech wizards and know a thing or two about speedy websites. So, whether you are looking a site built from scratch, or a revamp for your existing website, we’d love to hear from you. You can contact us via our website, where you will find our email address, or you can contact us by telephone on 028 3833 9100.

SEO Northern Ireland

Local SEO Services Strategies

SEO. What is it? For starters, it stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. Maybe this clarifies what SEO is…or maybe you’re even more confused! Don’t worry, the team at Cornell Studios are here to help. We help lots of local businesses by boosting their business rankings and improving their websites – all without the technical jargon. Therefore, in this post we are going to explain exactly what SEO is, the strategies involved, and how local SEO can work a treat for your business.

It will come as no surprise to you that the majority of searches on Google are local. People want to know about the area surrounding them. If they need something fixed, they are going to want to find the closest repair shop. If they want a coffee, they want to know where the closest coffee shop is. Therefore, if you are a local business, it is vital that your company is appearing when people are searching online for local businesses to support. The first step to do this is through local SEO.

Google

Let’s unpack first how Google works (for Google is the search engine that the majority of people use). When a potential customer is searching for something, let’s say ‘Thai restaurant near me’, the first results that come up are called a ‘snack pack’ and will show a map of your surrounding area, followed by a small selection of businesses that match your query. The results that follow this are known as ‘organic’ results. Users are most likely to click on the results that are at the top of the page, so the point of SEO is to get Google picking up your business and ranking it as close to number 1 as possible.

The first two steps to helping this process, is to make sure your business is ‘owned’ on Google. This allows you to make sure the address, telephone number and opening hours are all correct. When you have claimed your business on Google, it will boost your rankings as Google can trust that your information is correct and reliable for customers. The second step to boosting your local SEO rankings is to make sure your website is optimised for mobile. A huge percentage of search engine queries are now from mobile devices. Your website is not going to perform well if it is not optimised for mobile. Therefore, ask your website provider to ensure your website is optimised for both pc searches and mobile phone searches.

SEO Strategy

The next important step in SEO strategy is keyword research. This is carried out by a digital marketing expert who will be able to give you all the keywords people search for when searching for businesses like yours. For example, if people are looking for a local coffee shop, they may be searching ‘how long to walk’ there, or ‘what is the phone number’ of said business. Using keywords are vital for all content (we even did it for this blog post!), so it is worthwhile spending some time making sure the language and words you choose are maximising your SEO efforts. This is an easy step for a digital marketing team, who can effortlessly research keywords your competitors are using and ensure your content is up to scratch. It is important to note you shouldn’t overuse words that users are searching for, this is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and Google can pick it up a mile away. The best approach to take when using your keywords is to remember that the people searching Google for your business are human…so talk to them like humans.

The next step is accuracy: all details must be correct on your website. This means correct phone number, correct email address, correct opening hours – and of course, correct address. This allows Google to accurately show where you are on the map, and your details will appear when people find you online. This is particularly important for mobile searches, as people can then tap on your phone number straight away to call you, or they can simply click on the map to get directions straight to your door.

While you are ensuring all details on your website are up to date, on-page SEO can be improved also. This means keywords in H1, keywords in URLS, to-the-point meta descriptions and alt-tags for all images. To put it simply, Google needs to see very, very clearly that your business is exactly what it claims to be, with no confusion. When your website is being built, your design team should be taking into account SEO optimisation and your digital marketing team can run a fine-tooth comb through all content to ensure it is optimised. Here at Cornell Studios, we are happy to run an SEO audit for your website to take a look at how your business can be further optimised and raise your local search results.

Link Building

The last step to take for SEO is link-building. To further build your credibility on search engines, you will want to gather back-links from other websites. This means that other companies are mentioning your business. You can do this through a series of steps: by ensuring your business is mentioned on local business listings and business directories. You can also reach out to other reputable sites to request an exchange of links. Link-building is one of the most time-consuming aspects of SEO, as it is important the links you are gathering are from reputable sources that will show search engines you are a credible business.

You should also link your website to your company’s social media accounts. It’s important to show Google that you are relevant and actively producing content. A great way to do this is through social media, where you can regularly update your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Another wonderful way of creating content is through a blog. We always recommend a blog or news section for our client websites: this is a space where they can easily share company news and updates, while also benefitting their SEO.

Cornell Studios

We’re working with lots of business throughout Northern Ireland and beyond to help them rank for local searches. If you want more information on how you can up your SEO game and boost your business rankings, we would love to hear from you. Our small but mighty team are experts in what they do and love nothing more than helping local businesses. So, get in touch today via the contact section on our website.

Optimise content for voice search - cornell studios

Strategies to Optimise Your Content for Voice Search

“Alexa, how can I improve my website for voice search?”

Smart speakers are one of the most popular home purchases of recent years. They are no longer a new and rare phenomena, but a common sighting and many homes even have several dotted throughout their house. Whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa, or the Google Nest, companies are battling it out for the smartest speakers within our home. Whether you want to know the weather, play your favourite song, or set an alarm – there is very little these speakers cannot do. Of course, the smarter these devices get, the more popular they are. Voice assistants are being trained to pick up all the nuances of language, and as a result are able to answer more queries than ever before. This means that it’s not just millennials using Siri on their iPhones who are using voice search, but everyone from children to grandparents are finding themselves speaking to their smart speaker within their home.

So, if voice search queries are becoming the norm and a rapidly increasing way of finding information, what does this mean for those of us that have the information to give? For so long, we’ve been building websites and optimising social media to appear in the top results in search engines…but can the same endeavours also work for voice search queries? The short answer is no – natural language, that is spoken language, is rather different to written language. Consider the way you speak and how this compares to how you would type; one is much more formal than the other. Therefore, it is important you optimise content for voice search.

Here are some facts on voice searches and smart speakers:

50% of searches now occur via voice search queries

72% of people who own a smart speaker say it is a part of their daily life

Here at Cornell Studios, it is our job to optimise your content so it performs well across all mediums. Therefore, in this article, we are going to look at some of the top strategies for optimising your content for voice search. To start with, we need to understand how voice searches are most frequently being used. Voice search is heavily reliant on micro-moments. These are moments throughout our day, when we have a small query that we need answered immediately. Questions like, “Where is my nearest coffee shop?” or “What time is it in New York?” These are brief questions that will have a short answer, and solve your micro-moment problems.

It is also important to know that voice searches are much more likely to be local. Whether you are at home, or visiting somewhere new, your top queries are most likely to be about your surrounding area. “Where is my local Thai restaurant?” “What time does the supermarket close?” “Is it going to rain tomorrow?” If you are a local business, you are going to want voice search queries to bring up your business as the top result – and just as importantly, you’ll want the right information to be relayed. It is important therefore that your website is optimised to clearly show search engines the information they need. Often, the best way to go about this is to have an FAQ page to answer all the micro-moments people may have about your business. What are your opening hours? If you are a restaurant, people may want to know if you can provide vegan dishes? If you are a local shop, people may want to know if there is parking nearby? Anything you believe may be a commonly asked question by those who need your services, it is a good idea to put together a useful page for search engines to pass on this information. Regularly update this page if there are any changes to your company and use the words: who, what, when, where, why and how to guide you on the important questions. Don’t forget to also keep your address, phone number and other contact details correct and up to date on your website.

Consideration for the way users speak

Content optimised for voice search needs to take into consideration the way users speak. Shift your focus from keywords to phrases. If you are googling information, it’s likely you’ll only google the keywords, such as “café Belfast”, but if voice search is being used, you’ll use a full sentence such as “Where is the best café in Belfast?” Conversational words and contractions are also more common, such as “Where’s the best café in Belfast?”

In 2020, we’ve not only been confined to our homes more than we have ever been before, but we have also been prioritising a shift to hands-free and contactless processes. This has been a catalyst for voice assistant purchases for the home.

If you would like Cornell Studios to review the content on your website or social media, you are welcome to get in touch. You can reach us through our website on the ‘contact’ section, or alternatively you can phone us on 028 3833 9100 or email info@cornellstudios.com. We are experts in our field and we’re constantly learning to stay on top of the latest trends. So, get in touch with us today, we would love to talk to you about all things website and social media related.

The Advantages of E-Commerce over Traditional Retail

The Advantages of E-Commerce over Traditional Retail

Your business may have started out in a physical building, a place to keep your products, to manage the books, and somewhere for customers to visit and browse. Having a traditional retail store is great, it is somewhere to have your name on the high street, and customers are able to breeze in and browse throughout the day. However, more and more companies are choosing to set up an online store to boost their business. This move to online retail has become increasingly important in 2020 with many stores having to either close their doors completely or reduce their hours. More and more consumers have found the benefits of shopping online over this time, and studies have shown that this is a trend that is only going to get bigger. Therefore, in this blog we are going to look at some of the top advantages of having an e-commerce store over a traditional retail store.

No Geographical Limits

This is a huge benefit for small businesses that may be hard to find or are situated off where the main footfall of the town is. When putting your business online, the world becomes your oyster. Your digital marketing team will tailor your e-commerce website so as to reach as far as you are willing to ship. This could be local, nationwide, or even global: as far as your business will allow. Having this option for your business can hugely increase sales when you are no longer reliant on customers coming through your door.

Increased Information

What happens when a customer comes into your store and has a few questions about a certain product, but the employee looking after them doesn’t have the answers? It’s a common situation: not everyone you hire is going to be an expert in the field from day 1. However, this isn’t a problem when you have an online store. Your digital agency can populate your site with all the information about your products that your customers could possibly need. You will also have a contact section, so if they have a question, they can send you an email and the best informed person can respond. If you really want to interact with your customers, we can even install a live chat. There is a lot of flexibility with ecommerce sites and we’ll build it to look exactly as you want it to.

Always Available

If your store front closes at 5pm and a customer isn’t there on time, they will have to return home without making a purchase. However, when you can sell online, there is no closing time. While you close your store and head home to relax for the night, customers can continue to browse your website 24/7 and make purchases.

Cost Efficient

If you are looking to take the leap of starting your own business and are unsure of whether you should invest in a physical store or an ecommerce store, choosing ecommerce is the much more cost-effective option. Having a building comes with a host of other bills besides employees. You will have to pay for rent, heating the building, and electricity costs also. This is not the case with a website – you’ll pay your digital marketing agency or ecommerce website builder to create your website and any other extra costs are up to you. (No heating bills required!)

Encouraged Sales

Last, but by no means least, we love that online businesses have so many ways of encouraging further sales. Customers are not only enticed to purchase from your e-commerce site because it is available 24/7 and they can purchase products from the comfort of their home – but they can find your products SO EASILY. Instead of going into a store and hoping they have your item in stock, they can simply use the search tool on your website to bring them straight to what they want. Ease of access means everything in business, the quicker the consumer can find the product they are looking for, the more likely they are to make a purchase. You can also invest in PPC and SEO to boost your business and your products in search engine results pages, allowing you to beat the competition and boost your sales.

Online Presence

Having an online presence and being able to sell digitally is more important than ever. If you are looking to expand your business and thrive, going online and having an e-commerce platform is the way to do it. Here at Cornell Studios, we have built a number of e-commerce websites and put in place digital marketing strategies to boost sales and promote an online presence. We take pride in our websites being user friendly, easy to navigate, and beautiful to look at. If you have any queries about e-commerce sites: whether that is how they work, or how one would fit for your business, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We have a contact section on our website where you can send us an email, you can phone us, or if you would like, we can set up a meeting to discuss your business possibilities in person.

PPC Agency - Cornell Studios

The Benefits of Using PPC Advertising and Google AdWords

Pay-Per-Click advertising. You’ve heard of it. Your digital marketing company is more than likely recommending it to you. It’s a great way to further your business. But…what exactly is it? PPC is not a new form of advertising or digital marketing, it has been around for quite a few years now. Quite simply, PPC (short for pay-per-click) is a strategy used by digital marketers to run ads, and this can be used across several platforms. Google is the most popular platform to run ads on, however there are many others such as Bing, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook has started to use ads now too. When it comes to PPC, you choose the frequency of the ads and how much money you wish to spend. Your digital marketing agency can then create your with their graphic designer and get them placed in the most profitable areas. Smaller businesses can spend as little as a couple of pounds per ad (or even pence), and larger businesses can invest much more. PPC advertising is a great investment for any business, and so in this article we are going to outline the top benefits of using PPC Advertising and Google AdWords.

Targeted Ads

The number one benefit of PPC is the ability to get your ads in front of your target audience. Your account manager will be able to use specific keywords to reach the people that are most appropriate for your business: this may be through location, age, gender, or shared interests. By tailoring your ads, you will reach people that are most likely to engage with your business and avail of your products or services. Unlike a traditional mailing list, an ad listed on a platform such as Google AdWords is going to have a much further reach: not only to existing customers but also to people who may not have heard of your brand before.

Visible Results

Unlike SEO, which takes time to show results PPC acts faster and you will also have access to reports that will show the progress being made. It is important your digital agency is taking the time to review your pay per click advertising and using this information to adjust your PPC campaigns. If certain ads are doing better than others, spend can be increased here. Similarly, if some ads are not doing well, you can review if you want to maintain the amount you are spending there. There is a lot of flexibility that comes with paid advertising and it is up to your PPC agency to help you review your reports and adjust your spending as you go. (It is also important to remember that ad spends don’t always have to be changed, especially if the results are good. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it!)

A Great Team

SEO and PPC go hand-in-hand and both are essential for your business’ long-term success. However, as mentioned before, PPC is often much faster acting than SEO and will allow you to make profitable campaigns at the touch of a button. We recommend a long-term SEO campaign that is kept topped up with PPC to keep your brand relevant and reaching as many people as possible.

Flexibility

When it comes to PPC advertising, you are never tied down. Whether you are using Google ads, Amazon ads, Facebook ads, or any other platform – they all give you the same flexibility. This means you can not only increase your ads appearing on search engines, but you can also decrease them at any time. You can increase how much you are spending, or you can decrease it. You can also remove your ads at any time. You have total control which a lot of companies like.

Increased Business

Whether your business is big or small, PPC can greatly increase sales. This is because it is tailored for customers who are already looking for a brand just like yours: and who doesn’t love a motivated buyer? When these customers are searching, your business ads will appear on their landing pages. Considering these targeted consumers were already searching for such products, the chances of them making a purchase are already high.

In a nutshell, if you are looking to increase your business and reach more customers in a fast and efficient way, a successful PPC campaign is the way to go. Here at Cornell Studios, we have numerous ongoing PPC campaigns under our belt and are accustomed to working with a variety of social media accounts and digital marketing platforms.

If you would like to know more about PPC options for your business, we would be more than happy to carry out a PPC audit and help you assess the possibilities. You can click on the PPC section of our website for more information on our services, or if you would like to speak to one of our team directly please email your details to info@cornellstudios.com.  Thanks for reading!

PPC - Cornell Studios

“Is Your PPC Account Being Properly Managed?”

Here at Cornell Studios we are an integrated advertising agency, meaning that we offer everything under one roof. We have graphic designers, we have web developers, we have digital marketing specialists, and everything you could possibly need get your business out and making some noise. Any digital agency will tell you the importance of PPC, it is a great way to drive traffic to your website and that is why we have a PPC specialist under our roof also. It is vital that any PPC account is professionally managed to avoid wasting your money. In this month’s article we are providing you with a checklist to ensure your PPC agency is keeping things running smoothly and following best practices.

Stay Up-To-Date

It is important your PPC Agency reviews the latest features in Google Ads, Microsoft Ads or whatever platform you are working with. Just like website optimisation and SEO, PPC is not a one-off task but something that needs to be worked at. New ad extensions can be added by your digital agency. These extensions could be promotion extensions, which are available in Google and is a great option for advertisers who have been using sitelinks or ad copy for promotions. There are also Gallery Ads which show at the top of search engine result pages. Another great way to gain more traction through ad texts is through Image extensions: depending on your platform this may be through uploading images or the images may be automatically pulled from your website. Extensions are always being updated and improved upon, so here at Cornell we make sure to stay on top of things to ensure our clients get the best results from their PPC campaigns.

Branch Out

Just as we recommend staying up to date with the latest ad extensions and their updates, we also recommend trying new things for your PPC campaign. Don’t let your campaign fizzle out: your digital marketing agency should be updating and managing your pay-per-click account. One of the most important best practices is testing new paid channels rather than sticking with the usual platforms of Google and Microsoft. Facebook uses PPC, as does LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Each of these platforms targets different demographics: ranging from teenagers to working professionals. Google ads is no longer your only option and your digital agency should be carefully considering who they are targeting and how best to reach your target audience. Audiences are simply users that are grouped together by shared interests and behaviours online, and therefore there are unlimited ways to mix and match audiences and reach them with different appoaches.

Reporting is Key

PPC is proven to drive results, and it is important you see these results. If your agency has been using the same performance report for years, it may be time to switch things up. Often there is data shown that is absolutely not essential – and many older reports are leaving out valuable information. Recently Google Ads removed the average position metric and recommends using the search top impression rate and search absolute top impression rate as a replacement. Graphs are always a great way to show results easily: both Microsoft Ads and Google Ads can provide these. When your agency is reporting to you, it is important to ask the question: are we using this data? The report is pointless if the information is not actionable and allows important decisions to be made on the account. Here at Cornell we are always transparent in our reporting, ensuring we get you accurate and easy to understand data that allows us to make informed decisions to help propel your business.

Mobile Optimisation

Just as SEO takes into account optimising websites for as many devices as possible, so too should your PPC campaign. Mobile ad traffic often surpasses that of desktop and yet many PPC campaigns are not optimising for mobile and therefore losing opportunities and of course, wasting money. Best practice for this strategy is to start by assessing the volume of traffic on different devices from mobiles, to desktops and even tablets. This data can then be analysed and used to adjust your ad spends.

Re-evaluate Budgets

As PPC accounts are monitored, it is necessary to keep evaluating ad spends. Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and neglect reviewing their budgets; however, this can lead to poor performance. Can spends be eliminated in some areas and moved to others? For channels not performing well, it would make sense to move these budgets. Consider if there is additional traffic to capture to grow results. Competitive metrics data can help and include search impression share and click share. It is important to review how effectively your budget is being used and if your company should invest more in your pay per click advertising and if this would result in a more positive campaign result.

Cornell Studios – PPC Experts

When it comes to social media and paid advertising, it can be hard to know where to start. Perhaps your account manager is reporting to you each month but you don’t really know where your money is going, how it’s being spent, or if PPC advertising is really worth it. It takes work, but with the correct management services, paid search can be really fruitful for your business. Here at Cornell, we have numerous successful PPC accounts under our belt and want our customers to get the most from their advertising campaigns. If you are interested in trying PPC for your business or would like a PPC audit for your current accounts, we would love to help you out. Head over to our contact page and get in touch with us today – we’re here to help.