Blog | Rhys Hughes

How to get a quality website for your money

The world of web development is unregulated.

As with any unregulated industry, any man and his dog can offer web services.

I saw a post on facebook from someone needing a website, it had over 30 replies after a day. Leaving the original poster more confused then assisted.

Additionally, people that require a website made for them are often inexperienced with web development themselves, so they’re relying on others to give them information.

This post provides a rule of thumb for anyone considering buying a website.

Firstly, you need to be very clear on what the website is trying to achieve for you.

If the website is a backbone for your company, and you’re expecting it to generate leads for you for years to come, then you should consider the website an investment, not an expense.

Don’t skimp out, if you use cheap, free, or DIY options, then most of the time, you’ll paint yourself into a corner in the long term. Your code standards will be shit, you’ll have a hard time performing updates or major changes, and you’ll end up having to re-do the whole thing.

I don’t do websites for anything less than $6,500.

I’ve had competitors laugh at these prices, saying they can do the same job for $900.

I always tell prospects I won’t be offended if they choose “Jimmy the website guy”.

I also tell them my sites average $20,000 per month in revenue for my clients, and all of a sudden, $6,500 doesn’t seem like such an expense.

Meanwhile, Jimmy has no idea how much his websites generate.

As with anything, you get what you pay for.

So if it’s a hobby, you’re fine to build it yourself or get a recommendation. Alternatively, you can enrol in training courses and learn to DIY.

If you’re wanting a professional website to represent your business to the highest degree, then do your research and compare reputable developers.

Explain your goal is revenue, not just a website

If the web company you’re working for is serious, they should have a pretty good idea how much cash their sites generate.

If they say “we don’t know, we just make the website and give it to the client”, walk away. 

The exception to this is if they say “we don’t perform marketing, however we know the marketing company that takes care of that”, then ask them the same questions.

If they say “we don’t track conversions”, walk away.

If they say “we don’t record revenue, just keyword rankings, and our websites rank really well” meaningless info. Walk away.

You want some sort of indication the developer understands the end goal for YOUR business, not just their role in the project.

Take a look at the screenshot below:

This is a screenshot from just one of my clients over a 30 day period.

The website generated 43 phone calls, and 10 contact form enquiries.

Additionally, the website has over a 7% conversion rate, meaning 7/100 people convert. Or for every 1000 visitors, 70 people will convert.

Most importantly, the site led to $23,000 in sales.

This is the information business owners actually care about.

The biggest problem I see, is that people start the website project with the wrong ideas, people talk about nonsense like

  • Logo’s
  • Website design
  • Colours

While design elements, branding & personality have their place, they shouldn’t be at the forefront of your project, instead, start the website project with the end goal in mind. Focus on:

  • Existing sites you can reverse engineer and extract ideas from

Take the guess work out of it. I recently had a client, who’s one of Australia’s top 5 online PC retailers. They were having a hard time choosing a new layout for the site and asked “Rhys, what do you think?”. So, instead of just “thinking” about the new layout and suggesting my opinion, I went online and looked at:

  • What Amazon is doing
  • What eBay is doing
  • What leading competitors are doing

All three of these websites used a very similar layout. We can also assume eBay and Amazon have already done a large amount of testing we can benefit from.

It was a simple solution to a large problem. Reverse engineering can be applied to most website projects and challenges.

In summary, if a the web company is a professional operator, they’ll be able to show you existing sites and revenue. Then, base your website off successful sites – there’s no need to do everything from scratch.

Agree upon a due date

Setting a due date can potentially save you a lot of headaches. This might be a simple one, but by purely setting a due date you can save a tremendous amount of hassle.

Ask them to include on the invoice “Project to be completed by DD/MM/YYYY”. This helps in many ways

  • The developer and you are 100% aware of completion date. There’s nothing vague about it, there’s no “it will be done in March” and you go back and forth with 30 emails type of crap.
  • You have an invoice with a due date, should things go pear shaped, you will hold the upper hand

There should be no reason why they shouldn’t agree to this.

 

Ask about future support

If you’re website’s role is to support your business, then no doubt, you’ll need to update it in the future. Anything from including a chat program, to changes to a contact form, layout changes or re-branding the website in the future. Ask them:

  • How many hours of updates do I get in this invoice?
  • How much are additional hours, should I need them?

A website is rarely a one time investment. The majority of small to medium businesses, will not have an IT expert on hand, and likely out-source their work.

Ensure the developer is able to provide you assistance in the future, and you know exactly how much that will cost.

Quality of workmanship

Every man and his dog can setup your website 1000 different ways.

There’s no two developers the same. It’s also difficult for a business owner to understand the technical differences. With that in mind, every business owner wants a website with the following features:

  • A website they can take pride in
  • That looks good, and represents the business to the highest degree
  • Understand how the website operates, and how it supports their business
  • Who they can turn to for help, marketing or updates

By just using common sense, you can browse over the website developer’s portfolio and just assess them.

  • Are the websites accurate, compelling and engaging?
  • Are the websites seamlessly guiding me through the site?
  • Do the websites use a less is more approach, or is there 10,000 things flying around the place?
  • Are they good websites, or are they amazing?

Conclusion

Thinking about the long term is key.

Sure, you can pay Jimmy $900 and get a website. Jimmy might even say “your exposure is up 300% and we use good SEO practices” to make that $900 feel like a real winner.

Or you can research developers, and understand the long term objective – which is, sales, enquiries and revenue. On-board a web company with a proven record.

Ask yourself, is it a question of money, or value?

Find a reputable web company that knows, with absolute certainty, how well their websites converts, and what your options are moving forward.

How SEO reporting should be

If you’re a bit more of a visual learner, take a look at one of my example reports here.

Download that, and tell any prospective SEO you want to work with to provide something equivalent.

Reporting is very important because you can not only see what’s been performed, but also understand the return on investment that you’re getting from your money.

There’s a big confusion in the industry that SEO should be based off keywords and rankings, and while this plays a part, it’s definitely not the main area we should be concerned with. The main area we should be concerned with is customer enquiries that lead to sales.

In this sense, we’re talking about successful phone calls and email inquiries to a business which can be tracked and measured.

Let’s talk about SEO reporting and learn how it should be.

Reporting Field Number 1: Overview

This is a short and sweet paragraph outlining the work at a high level. “This month we focused on the following areas, as per our strategy discussion”.

Reporting Field Number 2: Conversions

The most important metric is conversions. I can use tools  such as Google analytics to track the amount of phone calls and email enquiries my clients receive. So in my conversions area, it usually is very simple and has amount of phone calls and email inquiries to the business.

Really, the report could end here, because this is what matters to business owners, revenue and growth.

Reporting Field Number 2: Onpage Optimisation

This would be what the SEO provider has actually done for your website. In my case, I’m usually producing pages of content for my clients in the form of traditional pages or blog posts.

This is a list of pages I’ve authored and published.

My client can quickly refer to the new content that has been uploaded to the site. Note: my clients “sign off” on all the content, meaning, they approve it before I publish it, so the information is 100% correct and upholds the values of the business.

I focus on creating pages that correlate to my client’s business and the direction that they want to go in.

For example, you might have a law client and they might desire family law enquiries opposed to criminal law enquiries, and in that case it would make sense to write content related to family law and to focus efforts there.

Reporting Field Number 3: Off page Optimisation

This is where we look for link building opportunities and fix anything relating to Google Search Console.

I do this through reverse engineering my client’s competitors, viewing their link profile, and identifying what’s working for them.

I use different tools to achieve this, such as Ahrefs, Screaming Frog and Semrush.

As an example, I recently discovered my law client’s competitors had links from lawsociety.com.au. I was able to inquire with lawsociety, and easily have my own client listed there.

Off-page optimisation, is just icing on the cake. The war is won through quality on-page optimisation, so I typically don’t place a huge amount of emphasis on off-page.

Reporting Field Number 4: Miscellaneous Tasks

Again, a lot of people think SEO success is based upon rankings and amount of traffic to the site. That’s obviously part of it, however, a huge aspect of SEO is just improving the website as a system that supports the functions of the business.

Before I even commence an SEO campaign. I confirm the website is setup correctly. So it’s easy to navigate, it’s easy to contact the business and the information on the page flows correctly.

It’s all about proving expertise, and making it easy to make contact with the business (i.e. reducing friction, like slow pages or contact forms that are painful to fill in).

Some examples might be:

  • Implementing very easy to use contact forms
  • Improving how the website looks on a mobile phone
  • Deleting content that adds no value
  • Implementing schema.org markups

All these things allow for better user experience, and very slowly improving the website as a whole.

Another task is simply talking with my client and evolving our strategy.

Let’s say my client is a physiotherapist, and we originally focuses the SEO efforts on a specific area of their business, for example, acquiring aged care contracts. We might have focused on aged care for a while and they’ve reached capacity.

In this example, the client wanted to move away from aged care to lean occupational therapy. So it makes sense to re-align my efforts with their goals.

This point leads me into the next section.

Reporting Field Number 5: Upcoming Work

Let’s say my client is a dentist, there’s obviously a lot of sub-categories of dentistry they will wish to acquire leads for.

So I’ll work with my client and provide them a list, something like:

www.dentistry.com/braces/

www.dentistry.com/crowns/

www.dentistry.com/mouthguards/

www.dentistry.com/teeth-whitening/

www.dentistry.com/cosmetic/

www.dentistry.com/dental-implants/

You get the idea.

Basically, I ask the client to prioritise these for me. What’s the most profitable, what’s the one you like to do the most, what direction do you want to take your business, and I’ll focus my efforts there.

In the 12 hours or so I work per month, I’ll create the content that best aligns with my client.

Pretty simple really – but something a lot of SEOs miss.

Reporting Field Number 6: Recommendations

Recommendations are somewhat separate to SEO, however play a role.

For example, some common recommendations I make are:

  • Implementing a process to ask for a Google review after each job
  • Implementing a chat feature on the site
  • Suggesting tweaks. Like moving the website to an insanely fast host.

The job of an SEO is to help our client’s succeed online, not just rank in Google. So sometimes we’ve got to think outside the box.

Reporting Field Number 7: What I require from the client

SEO is a 50/50 partnership with the business. They need to contribute, or it just won’t work. Additionally, the client knows the in-and-outs of their business, and I do not, so I need to work alongside them to extrapolate that information.

I always tell me clients this on day 1, because I don’t want to have an arkward conversation when they ask “Can’t you just do it all yourself?”

Some common things I ask of my clients

  • Suggesting new content (do they get the same question 10x a day? If so, let’s create content based off that)
  • Booking strategy meetings
  • Signing off on created content

And this brings us to our last item

Reporting Field Number 8: General Notes

This is the fun part where I can talk about anything, but the most common things are:

  • Mentioning if they want to speed up the campaign, they can buy more hours. Client’s usually read this and say “How much do you think we need Rhys?”, depending on the level of competition, I’ll give them an honest answer. Generally speaking, when people receive a positive ROI, they’re happy to increase their investment in the campaign.
  • Mentioning my referral program. For each successful referral, they get free hours. It’s a win win.
  • Hours worked. So the client is reminded of what they’ve received for their money.

That’s it.

SEO reporting done right.

No crap about keywords or rankings, just what matters, which is enquiries and the work performed.

If the client knows exactly what you’re doing and you’re aligning your efforts with that business, everyone is going to be happy.

The importance of business model in regards to SEO and Google Ads

The success of my online marketing services is dependant on my client’s business model.
If your business is on the rocks, SEO and Adwords cannot really dig you out of a hole.
Business model is everything.

Rather then talk fluff, let’s talk about two scenarios based off some real world examples I recently reviewed:

client a) dentist, each lead is worth about $500 to him, self employed, one location, typical clients intent is to buy, customers repeat purchase. $500k revenue per year.

client b) private tutor, leads are worth $100, offers in home tutoring service, requires more new leads then returning customers. $85k revenue per year.

Now, dentist vs anything is pretty unfair, but you get the idea.

The point is that both of these businesses can spend $10,000 on Google Ads and SEO over the next 12 months and see differing results.

Due to client a’s business model, they’ll see more revenue growth, each customer is worth more, each phone call is worth more and being based off repeat customers means the business can discontinue advertising after 6-12 months, and rely purely on return customers, word of mouth and organic SEO.

Unfortunately client b) needs to keep running adwords, each job is worth less, and you need new customers.

This is a black and white example, so what about businesses that are doing “well enough”, will SEO and Google Ads work for them?

Let’s say you own a profitable business and you’re able to page yourself a salary of $80k-$120k, can you leverage SEO or Google Ads to earn even more?
The short answer is yes, providing you setup everything correctly.

In terms of Google Ads, you should run a very targeted campaign to your highest paying services. Here’s some examples
* If you’re a physiotherapist- Use Google ads targeting large scale contract providers. Don’t use ads to acquire single patient visits.
* If you’re a builder – target bigger projects, like commercial and industrial works, forget cheap residential stuff.
* If you’re a new business. Use Google Ads to target your local area, use them for 6-12 months to build brand awareness, work very hard to take care of each customer.

In terms of SEO. It’s similar to the above in that, you should align your efforts with the gold. Meet with your SEO provider, and go over your services and allocate a percentage value for them to work on. For example, you may own a large fitness studio. Ask them to work on

Physiotherapy services = 60% (most income)
Class intake = 20% (recurring revenue)
Single memberships = 10% (not that valuable to business but still a core requirement)
Other services = 10%

There’s no point engaging in Google Ads or SEO and targeting your cheap services, or allocating an even amount of effort to all your services.

So, in summary, “blanket SEO and Google ads” are probably a bad choice for most businesses on a budget or bringing in under a million a year in revenue. So for most businesses, you need to focus your advertising to a very specific audience, opposed to a more broad approach.

Spend your efforts wisely.

Bonus question

“If you were to choose one, instagram, facebook, google or youtube ads, which would it be?”

My answer would be….”It’s not a huge deal, focus on acquiring ONE customer, and service the crap out of them, so they become your next marketing tool”. As you know, word of mouth and referrals are much better leads than any internet traffic.

One customer can be the catalyst for 10 or more.

How to choose an SEO agency (How to ensure ROI)

Let’s assume you’ve searched and looked at reviews and have a shortlist of SEO agencies.

Quality checklist

No contracts

Reporting of work performed

Conversion focused, not keyword focused

Higher price tag (you know when they are expensive it’s good for you)

First call with ’em

“Hey, my business XYZ needs SEO, can I ask a bit about your service?” If they are serious they will load your website and have an open chat with you.

The agency should touch on

  • Campaign objectives
  • Learn a bit more about your business
  • SEO pricing and contract structure
  • Reject you if SEO is not for you

SEO Poison Ivy:

  • Contracts
  • “My manager Greg will call you back”
  • “You rank you faster than Usain”
  • “Our rates are $149 USD for every keyword”

Ask them these curly questions:

  • How do you measure SEO success? We use Google tools to track the amount of phone calls and email enquiries you receive, success is measured by increasing the minimum amount of enquiries over the long term.
  • What do your reports focus on? Conversions
  • Can you outline your process?
  • What do you think of the situation that we’re in? Based off a low level audit of your website and competitors, I think XYZ…

See if they sway.

Set up another meeting with the short list

To seperate the chaff from the grain:

  • How are we to keep in communication during the campaign? 
  • How long until we see results? SEO takes time, realistically, you should be looking at the 12-18 month outlook. 
  • How do you create content that aligns with our business? 

Since they’ve had a bit of time to analyse your business, they should bring a little bit to the table, ie:

  • Identified any problems with your existing site
  • Explain how you get a return on investment
  • Their SEO process and time frames

From here, you should have a pretty good idea in your head who to choose. Just remember, the project must focus on conversions as the success metric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wix to WordPress – A conversion focused website re-design

I recently had a client with a fairly poor performing website made on Wix.

Wix is hosted in the USA, meaning, it’s very slow for website visitors in Australia. Personally, I dislike Wix very much, because it appears cheap at first – and many small business owners are tempted by its simplicity, soon enough they run into problems and unforeseen costs.

In this blog post I’ll show you exactly what I’ve done to re-design the site, so now people actually enjoy using it, it’s literally 10x faster and makes loads more sales.

Part 1 – Wild Elegance Florist: Before

The client of mine is a local florist in Newcastle, Australia. They are a duo of hard working people that are exceptional florists and love what they do. They provide daily delivery of flowers around town, and are looking to expand in the form of affiliates and floral catering for larger events.

Free business tip : Model your business around LESS clients paying MORE, opposed to the opposite.

This is what their home page looked like before

Actually, it’s not bad at all. I think the hero image could be slightly more impressive and the space could be used a bit better, design is fairly personal, but overall the owner did exceptionally well. Let’s overview the problems of the site:

Problem #1 – Speed and Bounce Rate

If you don’t know what “bounce rate is”, it’s basically a measurement of how many people visit your site, and whether or not they take an action.

If you have Google Analytics added to your site, you can see your bounce rate.

You can see in the above photo, 62.07% of people are visiting the site, not taking any action, then leaving the site. I’ve seen this site with a bounce rate of higher than 70%.

A high bounce rate and low session duration usually suggests your website is either slow, not satisfying someone or un-engaging, or a mixture of all three.

My site currently has a 45% bounce rate and a 6 minute average duration.

The website was loading in around 8-12 seconds, in this day and age, we give websites a 1 second chance to captivate our attention.

Why is fixing the speed the most important thing? 

If your website is slow, everyone will leave, and never return. They don’t care that your product or service is awesome.

More importantly, if you’re using paid ad to drive traffic to your site, and your site has poor performance, you’re just wasting your cash.

How do you fix speed issues?

In one of my earliest blog posts, I describe how you can do a ping test, so you know how fast your site is.

So, if your site is hosted in a different country, when people visit your site, their information is literally travelling across countries and sea floors. If you’re site is hosted locally, your visitors are connecting to a server close to them, and it’s usually over 10x faster.

You need to use Australian hosting (or hosting, in the country that you are from). I personally use Media Fortress for all my hosting, I’m not affiliated with them (yet), they’re an awesome company that take care of all their clients.

Problem #2 – Conversion focused design

Like I said, the owners did VERY well for their first website.

What can we improve upon?

Conversion focused design – The page needs to offer more VALUE, to turn visitors into customers. So I’ve written extremely interesting content throughout the site

Did you know there is a species of orchid that blooms at night?

Do you know how or why flowers get their color?

You get the idea, lots of content that proves to people they’re professionals in the florist game, and include many more call to action buttons.

There’s even a bird that gives you information as you scroll through the site.

Do you have an existing website that looks decent, but you can’t quite figure out how to make it look professional?

Follow these design principles:

  • All your main pictures must be awesome, if they are only “pretty good”, then your site will never look awesome. I paid a professional photographer for my home page image.
  • Stick to two colours (outside of black and white) and two fonts.
  • Try to use two widths for everything, for example if you have three pictures on your page, and all three are different sizes, it will look bad.
  • Everything on your site should be there for a reason, and improve the user experience. Don’t just put something there because it’s cool.

Problem #3 – Structure

Structure is essentially the pages on a website and how they are layed out. It is important for both users and search engines, for your site to have a good structure. The existing site was very basic and had little content, so I’ve expanded upon this.

Old website structure:

wildelegance.com.au
wildelegance.com.au/send-flowers
wildelegance.com.au/contact
wildelegance.com.au/delivery-areas
wildelegance.com.au/blog
wildelegance.com.au/philosophy

New website structure:

wildelegance.com.au
wildelegance.com.au/send-flowers
wildelegance.com.au/contact
wildelegance.com.au/delivery-areas
wildelegance.com.au/blog
wildelegance.com.au/philosophy
wildelegance.com.au/services
wildelegance.com.au/shop
wildelegance.com.au/services/
wildelegance.com.au/services/newcastle-flower-delivery
wildelegance.com.au/services/maitland-flower-delivery
wildelegance.com.au/services/lake-macquarie-flower-delivery
wildelegance.com.au/services/reminder-service
wildelegance.com.au/services/affiliates

Now, each page is filled out with a very well written 400-1000 words of salient information for readers with many opportunities to buy or connect with the business.

The idea here is to attract searchers looking for “wedding flowers” and “flowers in lake Macquarie” etc to improve the chances searchers find my clients’s website.

Part 2 – Wild Elegance Florist: After

So now we’ve addressed speed, structure and a conversion focused design. Let’s take a look at the new website: https://www.wildelegance.com.au/

 

As you can see, it’s simply gorgeous now. However more importantly, it’s loading in one second, and it’s impossible to miss the call to action or contact buttons.

I’ve also implemented a “One click order” button to reduce friction for purchasers. If someone can’t be bothered filling in the form, they can call the florist at the touch of a button within the same page.

And that’s it! I just made the site go live, In a few weeks I’ll update this post to show updated statistics on bounce rate, conversion rate and average time.

How’s your website doing? Do you know how many visitors lead into customers?

 

How to run Google Adwords cheaply

A lot of businesses are burned by Adwords and never come back.

With rising cost per click prices and complicated systems, it’s very easy to toast a marketing budget quickly.

It doesn’t have to be that way, even in 2018, there’s ways to run Adwords cheaply and allow your dollar to go further.

First, let’s cover the basics.

There’s a few Adwords settings I’m assuming you have in place.

  • Make sure you are using Single Keyword Ad Groups (SKAGS).
  • Make sure you are not using broad match for your keywords.
  • Set your geographical location to your region, if you are a local business.
  • Monitor your search terms and continually set negative keywords.
  • Set your advertisement time frame to correspond with your business.
  • Ensure you are using a call extension and location extension so people can write it down if they wish.

During the first month or so it’s important not to over-optimise your account. Actually, in the first month of my campaigns, I use broad match modifier keywords, with a large list of negative keywords, before I move to exact match keywords.

After a month of data, analyse it to find opportunities

In a months time you will have data on your:

  • Keyword quality score
  • Average position of your ads/keywords
  • Estimated top of page bid
  • Estimated first position bid

Add these data columns to your view. It’s very important to take this data with a grain of salt. Google wants us to spend as much as possible. So be conservative here.

Here’s a screenshot of one of my campaigns:

Let’s analyse this data to find the low hanging fruit.

In the first highlighted field, you can see first position bid is $5.43, which is far too expensive. I’m using manual CPC and have set this to $1.35, achieving a position of 4.8 (probably even higher due to the high quality score). So, I likely don’t need to go any higher than $1.50 to get a ranking of 2-3.

In the second highlighted field, you can see I’m bidding $1.75 and getting a ranking of 1.1. So I’m actually going to lower my bid on this, until I’m at average 2-3.

As you can see, I’m able to still be competitive on certain terms, yet bid far lower than the person bidding for rank 1.

Bid on the long tail (3 + words) Keywords

These are often much cheaper. Let’s say your business is physiotherapy. Instead of just bidding for the keyword “physiotherapist” or “physio sydney”. Consider some longer tail ones

  • Physiotherapist near me
  • Specialist knee physiotherapist
  • Aged care physiotherapy Sydney
  • Mobile physiotherapy bulk billed

These keywords are often much cheaper, and if you are using SKAGS, your advertisement copy is likely to be very salient for these prospective searchers.

Long tail keywords allow you to saturate search in a much more cost effective manner, than bidding aggressively with shorter keywords.

Don’t be afraid to include your brand in your advertisements.

Bonus Information

I’m sick of every marketing company asking people to sign up to their newsletter for awesome information. So here’s something for nothing.

What motivates someone to click on your advertisement?

Answer = Benefit. Offer a solution that makes people better, or happier, or their life easier, or sexier or healthier. Challenge people to click on your ad, without the BS.

Don’t forget to check what price Facebook is offering per website click too.

That’s it, 3 huge tips that make the different in Adwords spend and allow your dollar to go much further, so hopefully, you can raise the minimum amount of interest in your business over a long term.

 

 

 

 

SEO – 12 Month Plan – Do it yourself

The majority of small and medium businesses can do a decent amount of SEO themselves

SEO is fairly mystified for business owners. Unlike website design, SEO is not something they can see or understand immediately. That's why there's so much confusion on the subject.

How much does SEO cost?
Who's a good SEO?....And Why?
How can I measure SEO performance?
How much caffeine will I need?

There's answers to all of these, each freelancer or marketing agency should be able to give you a straight forward answer. But there's another question you might be asking.

Can I do SEO Myself?

Yes! (for the most part!)

Sure, your results might not be on par with a dedicated SEO expert, but you should be able to do decent job. In this blog post I will give you a framework to follow.

Providing you can do the following, you can do your own SEO

  • Have 2-3 hours per week available
  • Have access to your website and understand how to create pages and write blogs
  • Are above average in terms of computer literacy
  • check
    You're an expert at your craft

Firstly, I'm going to assume your website is good, and already leading to sales and enquiries. If you have a crappy Wix website, then doing SEO is like adding gold rims to a Hyandai Excel, it just won't work. Go ahead and read my SEO starter pack blog and apply everything there.

Prepare for takeoff

It's easy to start and then get stuck with technical things.

Don't worry about anything technical, the worst thing you can do is start Googling "How to SEO in 2018" and reading every article you find. Just begin creating expert content for your site, REGULARLY!

Just remember the following advice:

SEO in a nutshell

SEO is making your website a resource for people, do this by providing content on the topic you're an expert at. In time, visitors and search engines will view you as an authority in your niche and wish to connect with you.

1) Check your existing services pages.

I see a lot of websites with a service page that looks like this. I'm using an architect as an example:

Services 

ABC Architecture is highly experienced in the following areas:

  • Drafting
  • Town Planning
  • AutoCAD
  • arrow-right
    Project Management

Please get in touch if you have any questions

The problem with this is that you're not giving Google a whole heap of text to crawl, and to learn more about your sub services. Secondly, if a website visitor is deciding between you and another architect, you have not provided any evidence or a compelling reason for them to choose you.

If you have a boring services page like this. Do the Following

1)

Create a master level services page where you provide a brief description of ALL your services. 

Ie
florist.com.au/services

*Daily flower delivery in Maitland
*Daily flower delivery in Newcastle
*Wedding arrangements
*Funeral arrangements
*Shop
*Affiliate program

Write a summary paragraph of salient information on each service, at least 150-250 words per service. Then, include a link to learn more about that service.

Chances are, most visitors can simply read the services page to understand your business, and they can navigate to your sub-services if they are seeking more information.


2)

Create a page dedicated to each service, where you provide in depth information on each.

Ie
florist.com.au/services/weddings/
florist.com.au/services/funerals/
florist.com.au/services/flower-delivery-newcastle/
florist.com.au/services/flower-delivery-maitland/

This improves the chances your website will satisfy a searcher's long tail phrases, for example, someone looking for "flower delivery in Maitland" usually ends up on my client's site.

Here's some headings you may consider placing on your services page:

*Service overview
*Pricing
*How it works
*Your experience, with before and after photos
*Why us?
*FAQ
*Results
*Suburbs we service

These pages should end up at at least 600-1200 words, or as much as necessary.


2) Write 36 articles in 12 months

This is where the coffee comes in.

You need to write high quality articles that your visitors will enjoy. This is so good for your SEO, it improves user engagement, average time spent on your site, new visitors to your site et cetera. Search engines love fresh content. Chances are, you'll acquire some links too.

If you don't know what to write, just think about, what helpful emails have you sent recently? What common questions are you asked? What do you feel is mis-understood in your industry?

As an example, if you own a dog daycare you could write blog articles on

  • Leaving your dog at home? It's not ideal, but use these tactics to give them an enriching day
  • A review of the best dog toys for problem solving 
  • How to make a safe place for your dog

People will love this. It will prove to them you're the best dog day care around! Share them across social media after you write them.


3) Aim for 100 Google reviews

Where possible, ask your customers to provide you with reviews. If you ask for honest feedback, you will grow as a business. It's fine to get the odd low review, it's natural.

Side note

Be wrong.

Seriously, I'm amazed at how the majority of humans are infallible. People rarely apologise or admit fault. People would rather get angry or point fingers, than be wrong.

These people never grow.

Pride yourself on being wrong. It's a unique attribute. I've had bosses that were so nice to me, and when I screwed up and it inconvenienced them, they'd turn on me instantly. The better bosses will just say "you know what happened and I'll let you sort it".

Be wrong and allow others to be wrong.

PS - if you're getting criticised, it means you're actually doing something. It's a lot easier to say "the referee needs glasses" than to referee a game yourself.

I got a bit sidetracked there but the point is, Google reviews are excellent for your SEO. Don't cheat either. You can use this amazing guide by Andrew Doyle on how to ethically increase your Google review count.

That's it!

If you actually do this, you'll have a great SEO presence within a year.

Don't forget to ensure your website foundation is good, we don't want to put good curry on a crappy naan.

PS - Plenty of people don't have the time for this. In that case, if you're employing someone to do it for you. Make sure you measure results around revenue and quality customer acquisition.

Until next time.

How to eliminate back pain from sitting

A no nonsense approach to improving your back's welfare 

Authored by someone who struggled with pain for 10 years and overcame it with the guidance of a master physiotherapist and yoga instructor


I had regular back pain for years between the ages of 15-25, hospitalised multiple times, placed on drugs for way too long, several embarrassing spasm episodes, you name it. I'm proud to say that I'm now grown 30 year old man who is completely pain free and moving even better than I used to. I'm here to show you how.

Let's clear the air first. Unless you've had a terrible accident, injury or have some extreme condition. The reason you have pain is because a) you're weak or b) you're stiff, or both.

If you're currently in pain and thinking "why me?" and looking over at your friends who are much less healthy than you and have no pain and think "there must be something wrong with me / my genetics are bad / I do everything right this is so unfair". Trust me, I've been there.

It really doesn't matter if someone is better off than you, because life sucks for you right now, all you can do is figure out what helps you, how to move forward, and how to stay healthy. 

So, in this article let's look at a few things:

  • A stretching routine that will take you 30 minutes per day and will heal your back in time
  • Habits you can begin forming to prevent future episodes
  • After you feel a bit better, some advanced movements to increase your current strength 

Why should you listen to me?

I really have no scientific standpoint for my claims, as I have a technology degree, not a physiotherapy degree. What I can tell you is that, I've tried and tested hundreds of different rehabilitation plans.

Finally, towards the end of my decade of back pain, I met a physiotherapist and a yoga instructor (who has a degree in astro physics, so his approach is both scientific, and true to the yoga way). They told me the truth - I was a weak and stiff excuse for a human (actually the yoga fellow said this much nicer - but let's call a spade a spade). I've worked with these guys for over 1,000 hours and refined workouts and routines. So I've compiled what I know and I'm going to give it to you.

Firstly, sitting is not the problem, not moving is.

Sitting is inherently not a bad position. Our bodies are extremely capable, we can do hand stands, we can squat, we can do backflips. The problem is that we sit in ONE position, and our bodies adapt to this. In time, we develop kyphosis (forward head posture) to stop our head falling off and we become stiffer than a block of cement.

So if you're sitting all day, change it up a bit, squat at your desk, do a runners lunge, go for walks, do yoga, get the blood going.

Secondly, you can't undo 10+ hours of sitting per day with 30 minutes of movement.

That's just unrealistic. Seriously, if you're sitting all day at work, and come to do my routine below for 30 minutes, then go and sit on a computer to play games or sit on the couch for another 3 hours before bed. Forget it, you're gone. 

"But Rhys, I've got a $2,500 herman miller spine controlling massage chair that was custom fitted to MY back and the doctor said it's good"

A chair is a chair, sure, some will allow you to feel more comfortable, or even help your pain in the short term. But honestly, you're still in a compromised position, buying a good chair for back pain is akin to bucketing water out of a sinking ship.

Without further delay, here's exactly what you should do to be on the road to recovery.

Of course, take my advice with a grain of salt. I'm trying to give advice that is salient for all humans. Take this advice on board, apply it to your life, and pick and choose what elements worked for you.


Get a standing desk / sit less

The advantage is that your spine is in a neutral position, meaning its natural curve is intact. This curve is lost when you are sitting. Additionally, your hamstrings are not in a shortened state.

Note:

A standing desk isn't the silver bullet to counter the problems caused from sitting, it's just a big improvement. Standing is still just ONE position, that we must vary.

If you can't afford a $1,000 electric desk, just grab two milk crates and place them on top of your desk for the time being.

You should be able to talk to your work's HR department and get a standing desk.

A good employer will understand, they have contracts with existing furniture suppliers so just book a meeting with them and explain your reasoning.

I used to get all sorts of  looks when using mine, here's how the conversations usually go:

Office Clerk:

Do you use that because you have back pain?

Rhys: 

No I use it to prevent back pain

Office Clerk:

Do you feel weird using that?

Rhys: 

No I find it weird that people sit all day and consciously choose to degenerate.

Office Clerk:

Oh, you should just get a posture pedic chair.

Rhys: 

Note:

It might be a while before you can get a standing desk. In the mean time, just try to vary your posture. Sit in a squat, kneel at your desk, stand while you are on the phone and find something to hang from at lunch. 

Make sure your monitor height is at eye level or above. In this photo i lowered my desk a bit, noticed how I started to develop a forward head tilt? You can proper your monitor up with yoga blocks or a box of paper.

Perform a daily mobility routine.

This is the one that works best for me. It's suitable for beginners, and can be scaled as you progress.

I recommend at least thirty minutes of mobility per day, at the very least. In addition to this, I recommend you engage in at least 3 hours of strength work per week. Of course you can do any other activity on top of all this.

30 Minutes Per Day. Perform the following exercises for 3 minutes each, perform this for two weeks and see how you feel.

Half Saddle ~ 3 mins each side

If you're just starting out you might only get into this position. That's fine, just spend time here.

Eventually you can move into a full half saddle. If this is too easy, do a full saddle with both legs.

Runner's Lunge ~ 3 mins each side

Your legs probably spend the majority of the day IN FRONT of you. This stretch is amazing for your hip flexors.

Do lots of variations, whatever feels good for you.

Foam roll & Yoga Wheel ~ As long as feels good

Great position to counter kyphosis and make a bit of space for your lungs.

You can also roll out your hamstrings, lats or whatever while you are here.

Front splits ~ 3-5 mins each side

Sitting shortens your hamstrings. Give them some length.

Full Squat ~ 3+ minutes

Pretty basic. Do it. You'll feel your spine lengthen. I can sit in a squat for 10-30 minutes comfortably. At first, your ankles might not be on the ground, that's cool, stick with it.

Sphinx and updog ~ 3 minutes

This is just a lovely position to extend your back, you can work on your laptop like this. Do some up dogs after you're warm, which is a slightly more intense variation.

Cat Cows~ 3 minutes

These just feel nice.

Supine Twist ~ 3 minutes

Rock slowly side to side. This should feel amazing. Add your own flavour to it.

That's really the basics of it. Take them, try them for two weeks, disregard what you don't enjoy, employ other movements you do enjoy.

Conclusion

You should now be a) creating ergonomics that are conducive to your spine health and b) employing a mobility routine to counter the sitting that WORKS FOR YOU. 

The next step is to introduce a strength program. I'm going to post another blog in the coming months that goes over exactly what I do. Personally, I recommend mixing weight lifting, yoga and calisthenics.

Thanks for making it this far!

I wish you all the best with your own back-pain problems, let me know in the comments if this plan has worked for you.

5 tips for physiotherapy website owners to increase clientele

1) Optimise for mobile phones

Poor Mobile Optimisation

Versus

Mobile Optimised

 

You can see in the above example, the first website is quite vague and unclear what actions they want the website visitor to take. These actions should be calling you, navigating to your practice and enquiring about your accessory services.  As you will know, mobile users comprise approximately 70% of users. So make the experience optimised for small screens. 

Mobile users are expecting tap to call buttons, tap to navigate, large enough font and button sizes. If you’re struggling to find good designs, take a look at my example physiotherapy design, where I have basically combined all the best elements of physio websites that I’ve come across.

2) Create a sense of immediate trust

So many websites have a vague first impression. Don’t be one of them.

Versus

Good Physio Website

My suggestion is that you have at least one professional photo of your staff, your practice or your director. Preferably all three. Pretty basic really. Definitely include an “Our Staff” page.

3) Offer resources for your prospective clients

Lots of physiotherapist’s websites just have a heading that just says Services and a bullet point list that says Dry Needling, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation Programs, Aged Care etc, without going into any detail.

I’d suggest you expand on your services, describe what you do exactly, how it can help the client, some quality photographs, include an FAQ and additional information. Including this additional information, will prove to the website visitor that you’re an expert on that subject, and will most likely choose you over the site that offers little to no resources. Additionally, Google will love you for it.

I’d personally do one page per service, and aim for 300+ words (as long as necessary and salient), your website structure should look like this

myphysiotherapywebsite.com.au/services/ – List a summary of the services here

myphysiotherapywebsite.com.au/services/dry-needling/

myphysiotherapywebsite.com.au/services/hyrotherapy/

myphysiotherapywebsite.com.au/services/rehabilitation/

myphysiotherapywebsite.com.au/services/aged-care/

Rinse and repeat.

4) Consider Automated Schedule Software

automatic scheduling software

There are now loads of system that you can install on your website so users can either a) book and pay for an appointment or b) view available bookings and call, here’s some of the bigger ones that I would recommend

https://acuityscheduling.com/

https://www.healthkit.com/

https://10to8.com/product/

Administration staff hate change, so I recommend one that has the most seamless integration for your business. Your IT staff should be able to install this easily, just notify your staff and your product vendor the week you go live with this, so everyone is on hand if (when?) things go wrong.

5) Update and Contribute to Your Website

You should be writing regular, helpful content and articles for your physiotherapy practice. Why? Because people will organically find this content and wish to connect with you.

A client of mine recently wrote an article “How The 2018 Budget Impacts Aged Care and NDIS providers”. After publishing this, scores of people were researching the subject and came across his article, which had well over 1,000 views in the first month. Other businesses could see he was an expert in the subject, he was immediately contacted by several aged care providers wishing to setup meetings.

No one cares about a newspaper written last year, keep your website fresh.

Cool story Rhys, but I don’t have time to write articles.

Ask your administration staff to convert your Newsletters into articles or blog posts, convert your helpful emails to someone into a FAQ, take a photo with your last successful patient and write a paragraph about them.

That’s it! These are 5 actionable steps you can take, that will no doubt increase your client numbers, and the retention of your current clients.

 

 

 

 

 

How to style gravity forms

Gravity forms looks pretty bad out of the box.

Luckily for you I will give you the code it make it look nice, like in the image above.

If you are more experienced then just visit their documentation website, they provide pre-made CSS classes for us. If you don’t know what that is, just read below and I’ll baby you through.

If you would prefer to watch my video tutorial, go ahead and do that.

 

How to make fields go into rows/columns of your choosing

Click Forms > Select the form of your choice > Select the field > Appearance > Custom CSS Class.

 

 

 

So, if you’d like two columns, use gf_left_half and gf_right_half in your first two fields, and repeat for as many fields as necessary.

If you want thirds, use gf_left_third, gf_middle_third_ and gf_right_third in your first three fields.

How to hide field labels, and just use placeholder text

This option is actually disabled by default. That’s because it’s not recommended, people using screen readers or those with poor eyesight might actually have a hard time seeing your form. So you’re only doing this to make your form look cool.

Open your functions.php in WordPress and enter this line of code at the top, after <?php is opened

add_filter( ‘gform_enable_field_label_visibility_settings’, ‘__return_true’ );

Your file should look something like this.

This now unlocks the option to hide field labels, which you can find under appearance for each form. Bear in mind, each time you update your theme, this line of code will get removed, but it will not change your existing forms.

 

Here’s the CSS you’ll need

Cool, now you’ve got the right columns and field labels set to how you want. Now it’s just CSS. You need to enter this code in your custom CSS area for your website.

/* This is styling the Contact Form Button */
#gform_submit_button_1 {
    color: #fff;
    background-color: #00A759;
    border: 1px solid transparent !important;
    cursor: pointer;
    outline: none;
    text-align: center;
    text-decoration: none;
    background-image: none !important;
    padding: 7px 50px 7px 50px;
    font-size: 18px;
    font-family: Source Sans Pro,sans-serif;
    font-weight: 400;
    -webkit-transition-duration: 1.0s; /* Safari */
    transition-duration: 1.0s;
    border-radius: 3px;
}
/* This is styling the Contact Form Button Hover */
#gform_submit_button_1:hover {
    background-color: #4cc18a; /* Green */
    color: white;
}
/* This is styling the contact form */
body #gform_wrapper_1 {
    border: 1px solid red ;
    border-radius: 10px;
    padding: 15px;
    border: 1px solid #bbb;
    border-top-color: rgb(187, 187, 187);
    border-top-style: solid;
    border-top-width: 1px;
    border-right-color: rgb(187, 187, 187);
    border-right-style: solid;
    border-right-width: 1px;
    border-bottom-color: rgb(187, 187, 187);
    border-bottom-style: solid;
    border-bottom-width: 1px;
    border-left-color: rgb(187, 187, 187);
    border-left-style: solid;
    border-left-width: 1px;
}
/* This removes margins from the top rows of the form */
#field_1_1, #field_1_2, #field_1_3, #field_1_5 {
    margin-top: 0px;
}
/* This centres the button in my contact form */
div.gform_footer.top_label {
text-align: center;
}

 Changing the colour of your form confirmation/error text

In addition to above, you might need to change the colour of the confirmation or error messages, depending on what background you chose. Here’s the CSS.
/* This makes the error text on my form white instead of red */
.gform_wrapper div.validation_error, .gform_wrapper .validation_message, #gform_confirmation_message_1 {
    color: #ffffff;
    font-size: 18px;
    padding: 10px 10px 10px 10px;
    text-align: center;
}
If it’s not working for you, check your form ID, and change the code above, from 1, to that ID number.
And that’s it! Your form should look exactly like mine, and you can just play around with this code to suit you.
Let me know if you have any questions.