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Have The Balls To Tell It Like It Is

This is a Bushel

This is a Bushel

I have said it before but, down my way (Topsham, near Exeter, in Devon) everyone seems to be an SEO expert, everyone. Great, farming’s not what it was and they closed all the Devon coal mines and heavens when did you last see a working steel mill in the South West? So I guess it’s good to have a new sustainable industry…er.

In recent weeks I am pleased to say that I have saved a number of my customers money in various ways though not related directly to design or photography. One customer was paying for Broadband but didn’t have a modern router (still using an ancient USB device). They now have an improved contract and up to date technology, meaning to that they will be able to work better and communicate more easily. I have other customers who were getting invoiced for hosting packages they didn’t need.

Finally some are looking to improve their position on Google by, each month, throwing Google’s way the equivalent of an,

  • Interesting old motorbike
  • Well sourced Omega Seamaster (SH)
  • Pleasant weekend away for two

Well that’s my perspective on it, yours may be different but you get the idea I’m sure.

The problem with this last customer is that they are actually already page one numero uno on a Google search of their primary keywords anyway. That’s what we try to do when we create a website.

Now, here is the rub, the awkward truth. Most of my work comes from direct word of mouth referral. I have in the past paid thousands of pounds to advertise in online and printed directories but saw little effect other than worried mothers phoning me looking for work placements for young Jade or Dean.

It seems to me that it is almost naive to believe that everyone can be a winner in the SEO game and, unless your services are ‘niche’ in the extreme, you will risk an overly expensive bidding war that won’t actually bring the dinner home. That’s not to say there isn’t a job to be done but please be realistic.

You Know What It Looks Like So Don’t Hide Your Light Under It

I am lucky, I work for a number of companies and individuals who are incredibly talented and capable. The funny thing is that some of them seem to do a really good job of keeping it secret. No one likes a braggart but most companies have a treasure trove in the form of their history and this is where the company and its products and services will start to make sense to others. I’m not suggesting becoming fixated on the past but if there is a good story to tell why not tell it?

Back to SEO and Ads

You’ve paid the King’s Ransom for your ad words or your ‘luxury weekend supplement reduced but still lots titchy ad’ that you find it on the third flick though of the mag. And like a the salmon returning upstream the customer who has beyond all reasonable expectation survived the journey found the ad, done the search, and in one last desperate act has clicked through to the website, your website, sees.

Flash-loader 12% 16% 21.5% 22.5%………. Next!

Get The Coffee on & The Bread Baking

Once at your doorstep there needs to be a welcome, a reason to stay, something to be interested in and I’m sorry but ‘look, the logo turns round, there see it’s done it again yep, here it goes again’, is not going to amuse most people worthy of customer status for very long. Let’s also remind ourselves that customers are different to sales and that whilst we all like sales, customers make a business viable.

What you undoubtedly have, what will differentiate you from the rest, the others, the competition, is your story. There will probably be themes, how you have impacted on others and made life better for your customers. Here’s some of mine,

  • One of my customers recently sold around six thousand pounds worth of chairs through a website that we recently launched. That for me is the point where this all makes sense.
  • You have already read and understood that our services and advice stretch beyond design and photography, a bit more of my story.
  • Another customer feels that their website, designed by us, has put them ahead of the opposition and is now looking at how to develop and extend that lead

These are little stories, flavours, aromas. So how about something bigger,

Oh yes, Cosmo asked me for some sketches


Yep our stuff was involved in the construction of the new Zaha Hadid building

Yes these were just a couple of lights that we found hidden under bushels recently.


Lets make it clear, it is very, very easy to get to the top of Google. I’ve written about it here before, and as a reminder, try searching,

It’s not big, it’s not very clever. The clever bit is when people click on the link and land on your website and stay there a while.

Bounce Rate

Nearly there.

Bounce Rate = Total Number of Visits Viewing Only One Page / Total Number of Visits

The bounce rate for this site is currently standing at 9.19%

According to Google Analytics Guru Avinash Kausik “It is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying”.

Very Good 0% -25% Less than 6% of the sites we measure have a bounce rate this low. If you have metrics this good you are doing something very right!


Low bounce rate equals good news (there are some caveats), use your guile and wit, or maybe just loads of folding happiness to get people to your site but it’s all a bit of a waste of time if once they are there, the door is opened and shut again before a word is uttered.

This is where the stories come in, you need to welcome the site visitor, respect the viewer, meet their needs and interests and then go some. Putting it simply you are looking to connect with people emotionally, and this is where it is different now, this is what ‘social’ communication adds. People’s expectations and needs were probably always similar but as we all grow together stop and pause to remember this piece of paper, the internet is still very young.

Now a quick video. I will be honest here, after some fairly dry words I wanted to drop something bright and visual in, a simple literal type of reference to bounce rate, a bit like a “Pan’s People” dance.

But, after watching this video about the making of the Bravia advert…no, you think about it…

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