Archive for May, 2010

Free Website Critique

May 14th, 2010

So there I was in the pub after a gruelling cycle ride, talking to a regular, about her website.

Like so many other small businesses there is no money for development or marketing at the moment.

Her business relies on clients signing up for her paid seminars, on her website.

In a nutshell, the site needs qualified traffic to convert to the goal of an application for her seminars.

So where is the site in Google? Despite the small niche’s name being in the domain name it does not rank on the 1st page in the SERPS. It is in fact on page two.

Some PPC advertising is happening to ensure the site has 1st page presence. There does not seem to be any competition keeping the click price down.

Why is it not ranking on the first page?

There is a lot of content and lots of links to subsequent pages which is great. (10/10)

The title tags for each of the pages are unique although the home page does not include the niche’s main keyword.

The meta description tag is the same for all pages and needs to be unique.

Interestingly the site is in DMOZ and its description in the SERPS is being pulled from this entry. Again more emphasis on the main keyword is required here.

There are very few other links to the homepage suggesting a link building campaign is required.

There may well be some duplicate content issues with the domain.tld and domain.tld/home showing the same content.

With a days consultancy and a link building campaign this site could easily rank on page one and probably in position three after one site and a wikipedia entry.

I know that the money is not there for a days consultanc, and to be honest the website owner is pretty tech savvy and in my mind is a great candidate for DIYSEO.

DIYSEO is a relatively new service that mentors the user in optimizing their site through bite size steps that they can do at their own pace.

They are currently offering a free trial for 7 days although £30 a month for SEO ongoing is not a bad price either.

Here is the link again:

DIYSEO – SEO for SMB – Get a 7 Day Free Trial Today!

So now we have got the traffic rolling in through our optimised site we need to concentrate on the conversion.


One of the first things that struck me about the site was no obvious call to action.

As previously stated there is a lot of content on this site and the call to action is hidden within the navigation in text format.

If the end goal is to get an application from a visitor it should be the first thing they see.

I would replace the header image with a banner advertising the online seminar with a huge apply now button and emphasis on online so anyone reading considers themselves a prospect irrespective of where they live in the world.

The banner rather than the current ‘mailto link’ would go to a form with a simple request of an email address followed by another form for date choice and even payment in the future.

So why have a form?

A two stage form will allow you to capture the email address ensuring if the date choice and payment is not made you can follow up with a three stage email campaign. (More about that later)

Some development work is going to be needed here in order to program the form and store the data.

At least three different banners should be created and tested using Website Optimiser from Google. One should have some emphasis saying last few places available even if it is not true to promote a faster reaction to the call to action by the visitor.

Traffic is low to the site but considering the end goal never changes within months rather than days you should have a winner.

Using a service like Mail Chimp, email addresses that are captured but goals are not completed could be sent the following emails.

  1. Thanks for your interest would you like some more information before booking.
  2. Have not heard from you would you like me to call you to make the booking.
  3. OK last ditch attempt – I have one place left that I can offer you for 10% off if you book today.


To understand how users interact with the site I would recommend having a go with Clicktale that records random sessions from users.

You see their mouse movements and clicks. It is not real time but easy to implement and view. You can learn an awful lot about your users in a short space of time.

Further Work

Further enhancements could be made by using information from Google Analytics such as which pages have the highest exit rates, see where drop off is using funnel visualisation.

Finally a PPC campaign here would allow the website to gather lots of keyword data and suggestions that could then be implemented into the natural SEO. That is another blog post!

So to summarise

  2. Banner creation witha strong call to action
  3. A two stage form with the option to pay in the future.
  4. A 3 stage email campaign on drop offs using Mail Chimp
  5. View all of your hard work working using Clicktale
  6. Get to grips with Google Analytics and set up funnels and goals
  7. Think about a PPC strategy really soon.

Hopefully my findings will help the regular in the pub, and anyone else in the same situation.

If anyone has any comments or additions please feel free to leave them here.

If you need any help with your website please get in touch.