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Bam Creative

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About Bam Creative

Working from the heart of Northbridge, we've been creating websites and digital marketing strategies for businesses Australia-wide since 2002.

Started by Miles Burke, Bam Creative is built on strong foundations and has cultivated a team of like-minded people who are passionate about what they do.

Our secret is making your success our success. We firmly believe our role is to give our clients the tools to achieve the goals they have set out for their business through a mix of innovative and effective digital marketing, and clean and responsive web design and development.

Team size 5-10
Locations Perth | WA
Contacts Miles Burke
[email protected]
(08) 9228 2233
Website www.bam.com.au
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Showcase

A selection of works by another talented AWIA member.

Baked 180

The Brief

Baked 180, despite being Perth’s favourite cupcake bakery, previously only took orders by enquiry and manually processed payment. They came to Bam Creative for help in streamlining their online workflow, automating their order scheduling, and offering online payments with instant confirmation.

Online orders already made up a large percentage of Baked 180’s sales. It was essential that the website stood up to the growing needs of their business.

The Solution

We wanted to highlight Baked 180’s scrumptious cupcakes and let the baked goods do the talking. With high-quality photos of each cupcake on sale, we whipped together a simple design with just the right amount of sprinkles to give it some flare.

Read More!

News Items

Latest news from this AWIA member.

9 Awesome Methods to Find Blog Topics to Write About

You've been tasked with writing a new post on your business blog, yet you are all out of fresh ideas for topics to cover? Have no fear! That's a common issue and this article was written to solve it for you.

Writing inspiration at a low? It's ok. We’ve all been there at one point or another. 

You understand the benefits of blogging, and you have a good publishing workflow. You have been writing and publishing new blog posts regularly, and your website is naturally enjoying more traffic and engagement. Then you find that your topic ideas start drying up. It’s getting harder to think of blog topics to write about.

This is one of the biggest problems facing business bloggers across the globe. Thankfully, there are some fantastic ways to fix this, and fast. In this article, I will cover nine different methods that I personally have used in action, to discover interesting blog topics to write about, that both engage your audience and provide real value to them.

The nine methods to find great blog topics to write about, are;

You can click on the names above to jump straight to that section, or scroll down to read this article in full (recommended).

Ok, let’s get into each method to find blog topics to write about in more detail.

Embrace search predictions

No doubt you have noticed this before. When you start typing a search query on Google, they often display search terms in a drop down as you type. These are what are called ‘search predictions’. These search predictions are generated from popular and trending topics that are relevant, your own search habits (if you are logged in) and popular topics.

Let’s say you have a blog on your plant nursery website, and you want to write an article about indoor plants. You could find interesting topics by simply typing ‘water indoor plants’. The search predictions that appear can either be longer blog posts or they could be included as part of a future blog topic.

A blog post on watering indoor plants with ice cubes would be interesting; I didn’t realise that is a thing.

If you don’t find a few topics immediately, try variations of the topic query. Maybe ‘home plants’ or ‘pot plants’ will generate more suitable topics for you.

Be aware though, that you should be writing for humans first, and search engines secondly. My previous post on lessons from building a high traffic blog goes into more detail why you need to consider it in that order.

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Ask your customers

Another fantastic way to get blog topics to write about is to literally ask your audience. If you can, just ask your customers when you interact with them. It could be as simple as ‘what did you want to know more of, when it comes to [your industry or product]? For example ‘Hey Miles, what did you wish you knew about indoor plants?

Obviously, you will get plenty of strange one-off questions or topics, however the more customers you ask, the more themes you will start to see, that are worthy of a well written blog post.

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Spy on your current readers

You can easily take a look at your best performing posts as well as other important metrics in Google Analytics, and see if there’s anything else you could pen on a similar topic.

Let’s say you notice that your top five blog posts are all about how to propagate various indoor plants. This could then lead to topics on growing plants from cuttings, both indoor and outdoor, growing plants from seeds, which are the easiest plants for beginners to grow, etc.


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Review your search performance

As well as analytics, your Google search console reports also have some real gold in there too. In the example below, I have looked at the Performance page. The first column are search queries, the second are the amount of searches that resulted in a click to your website, and the third is the amount of times your page was shown in results (also known as an impression).

As you can see in this example, although 2,658 people saw our page in search results, only a measly four people clicked on it.

This could be because the page is out of date, or the topic is not as engaging as other similar websites. I would search that phrase in google, and look at the top handful of results. What makes theirs better than your page?

Writing a bigger more detailed and more valuable blog post or guide on this topic, may be the answer. Could you add more images, or provide a downloadable resource, or a growing guide and calendar specifically for Australia, etc?

If you don’t know your way around Google search console, we have written a great guide to Google Search Console for website owners.

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Bestselling book contents

There’s a very good chance that there are books for sale about your blog topic or business industry. For example, there’s a million and one web design books, and there are tens of thousands of books on gardening.

Amazon have a really good feature, called ‘Look inside’, which appears above the books cover image on many of their book results pages. This allows you to take a quick look at the table of contents, without having to go into a physical bookstore and thumb through their shelves.

Take a look at best seller lists that are related to your topics. If people are buying copies of the book, then it stands to reason there’s some real value inside. Don’t read the chapter, just look at the naming. Does this spark some inspiration for blog topics to write about?

In this example above, every one of those chapters could easily be a detailed blog post in itself. Couple that first column with the list of house plants, and you’ve got dozens of topic ideas. You could start lists such as (topic) for (specific plant). An example would be Best Soil Types for Growing Kangaroo Plants or How to Prune Snake Plants to Encourage Growth.

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Ask your team

Another interesting way to find blog topics to write about, is to ask your front line employees. They are the ones who often give advice or answer questions from customers, so they are likely aware of what are some common questions or topics of conversation among your clients or customers.

Ask your reception staff, sales people or customer service employees for questions they often get asked. The answers will often be surprising, and be worthy of putting a great post together, to save the repetitive answering your team have to often do, and also provide valuable content at the same time.

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Look at current trends

Notwithstanding the current coronavirus or USA election fever, there are plenty of other search trends that are growing and subsiding over time. If you type in a topic idea into Google Trends, they will display a page such as the below.

This example, last 12 months search trends in Australia for the search query, ‘indoor plants’, gives you some great blog topics immediately, under both the Related Topics and Related Queries panels.

Sadly, we can also see that it seems WA are the fifth state for green thumbs. Lift your game, West Australians.

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Answer questions asked on communities

Question and answer websites such as Quora or broader communities and discussion forums such as Reddit are great feeding grounds to find blog topics to write about that people are actually interested in knowing about.

Plus, if you take care to write a helpful reply, you could link your new blog post in an answer to those questions that inspired your post.

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Look at your competitors

When in doubt, look at your competitors. You can do this a number of different ways. You can search for topics and look at the top 5-10 results, and see what they cover. Then you set about writing your own version of that topic.

Secondly, you can use specialised software such as Ahrefs, and dig down for keyword data, to reveal what is missing.

In this example, I used the very handy Content Gap feature, and compared three competitors for my blog on indoor plants. This then shows me phrases and keywords that my competitors rank in the top ten for, which my blog or website doesn’t.

For example, my second competitor is in 10th place for the term “how often to water indoor plants” and my blog doesn’t rank at all.

There were 37 keywords here that my blog doesn’t rank for. Do this a few more times with other competitors, and I am sure to have a list of 100+ keywords that are likely to make great topic ideas.

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In Summary

There we have it, nine super effective methods to find new blog topics to write about. If you do a handful of these each time you find your inspiration waning, it should keep you full botte with creative ideas for many posts ahead.

To recap, those nine methods to find great blog topics to write about, are;

All the best with your blogging into the future, and for providing great value to your ever growing audience!

12 Powerful Benefits of Blogging for Businesses and Brands

You’ve seen all your competitor’s blogging, and you’ve wondered if there’s really any value in doing so. This article, we break down the main benefits of blogging for your business, and why you should start today.


We started blogging for Bam Creative way back in 2005. Seems like lifetimes ago now. Since then, our blog design and content, our planning and our goals have changed direction many times. However, one thing is clear. Over the years, it has been a very successful part of our marketing, and has helped us pick up a fair amount of business over the last one and a half decades.

It’s not just us though; businesses the word over are singing the praises of business blogging. Let’s go through 12 benefits of blogging, and why you can enjoy these perks for your brand.

12 benefits of blogging

Before we get into it, here are the dozen benefits of blogging we will discuss in this article;

  • Creates authority in your industry
  • Create Value for your customers
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Attracts email subscribers
  • Creates awareness of your offering
  • Valuable content for your social curation
  • Builds important backlinks
  • Helps you virtually network
  • Highlights your business values
  • Supports PR and other marketing activities
  • Generates website traffic
  • Encourages valuable enquiries

We’ve been doing content marketing for quite some time, both for ourselves and a number of clients. This can range from social media strategy, posting and management, as well as blogging strategy, writing and promotion.

We have seen all of these benefits ourselves or through our clients. Let’s go through them one by one, in more detail.

Creates authority in your industry

For many industries, it is often hard to cut through the noise, and position yourself as someone the media can turn to for a voice bite, or for a potential customer to trust as the authority on your areas of expertise.

One of the major ‘soft’ benefits of blogging is just that; positioning yourself as an authority in your subject area. Do a google search right now for ‘[industry name] experts’ and you’ll find that many of these authority figures have business or personal blogs.

Create value for your customers

This is one of the frequently overlooked benefits of blogging, yet it has huge value for your existing customer base. Being able to answer their concerns or questions in long form, and help educate existing clients at scale has big benefits for them, as long as you let them know about your posts.

A real world recent example of this, was my article last month about how to do your own SEO health check. I had a client a few weeks before that ask me about the best way they could keep an eye on their own search engine optimisation, and I took my few paragraphs of email response, and turned it into a lengthy and actionable blog post, for their benefit and the benefit of everyone who reads it.

Search engine optimisation

Speaking of SEO, one of the top benefits of bogging is the additional text and visual content that you are feeding search engines such as Google by regularly posting on your website. There are a few positive boosts for SEO. There’s both the additional content they can crawl and index, but also the overall freshness of your website, especially if you post a new blog post every week or two.

SEO benefits of blogging: Google results
SEO benefits of blogging: Google results

Attracts email subscribers

So, you want to get to the first page of search engines, so you have better consumer awareness, and by bringing traffic to your blog, you hope to encourage these readers to give us their email address to receive a monthly email newsletter?

With both organic search (people coming from search engines organically, that is, not paid for) as well as direct (typically typing in their URL)

This shows that the majority of visitors to the site, by a long shot, is organic visitors, who account for 66.52% of all traffic.

Many of these visitors also are willing to share their email address, so our client can send a monthly email full of additional great content (and offers). We track these as well, so we can see how we’re going with our email marketing.

That’s a great mailing list; 28,122 people who enjoy their website and specifically, their blog, enough to trust this company with their email address.

A number of these subscribers have gone to be customers as well, so we are building a community and growing the customer base.

Creates awareness of your offering

Let’s take this blog. One of our Top 10 posts so far this year, was posted earlier this year. It got a small amount of interest at the start, and then, over time, it was indexed by search engines and received a very healthy ranking – first page for a number of keywords.

The traffic to this one post looks like:

Now the point of this post, and many of our posts, is to raise awareness that we not only offer services in these areas, and that we know what we’re talking about. So, whilst there’s no immediate financial return, we’re building branding and we do receive enquiries that turn into new clients as a result of our blogging.

Valuable content for your social curation

Let me guess, every week when you are scheduling your business social posts for the week ahead, you spend most of the time trying to decide what topics to cover, or find articles from trusted sources, to share with your audience?

Now imagine if you were regularly posting your own content, which means that you have a whole library of existing material that you can share and re-share with your social followers. Sound good? As someone regularly scheduling social content, that’s another one of my favourite benefits of blogging.

Builds important backlinks

I’m assuming your understand the value of backlinks for SEO, and that you know how important each and every inbound link is for your brand. Blog posts are by far way more attractive for people to link to, than your product page or homepage, no matter how good they look.

Here’s an example. Let’s imagine you have just written an article, and you want to link an external source about saving the environment. Would you link to a local not for profit homepage, or would you rather link to an article that goes into 26 ways you can help save the environment? The latter, of course.

Some of our clients have built thousands of backlinks through blogging consistently, and publishing high quality content. This has been a massive boost to their SEO, which in turn generates traffic and then customers.

Helps you virtually network

Another one of the more ‘soft’ benefits of blogging, however I still feel there’s significant value in this. I’ve been to a few conferences in the last few years, where I have had people introduced to me, who have recalled a blog post they have read of ours.

This, in turn, helps me build real relationships with people, both in the face to face space (pre COVID, of course) and via email and social media.

Highlights your business values

Many modern brands, ourselves included, have strong business values that we work to uphold. A blog helps you promote this, and subconsciously you are likely to be reinforcing your business values, purely in the topics you cover and the articles you publish.

This can help attract new customers, as well as new suppliers and new employees, who find your values align with their own.

Supports PR and other marketing activities

Hopefully you aren’t only using one marketing channel to promote your business, and there’s a good chance that you are also leaning in on public relations, as well as offline marketing as well. One of the lesser considered benefits of blogging is being able to reinforce the messaging you are using elsewhere, on your blog as well.

I am not suggesting that you turn each media release into a blog post, that content is frequently too dry for blogging, however you can offer a detailed analysis of any news, or more behind the scenes perspective on your latest service or product on your blog.

Generates website traffic

Earlier in this article, I already covered backlinks and SEO benefits of blogging What these naturally do is increase the amount of exposure you get on search engines, which in turn, drives more users to your business website.

This, in itself, has no real benefit for your business, however it is far more likely that some of these new visitors will send an enquiry or get in touch, which leads to more sales and profits as a natural result.

Website traffic benefits of blogging
Website traffic benefits of blogging

Encourages valuable enquiries

Now that we have mentioned attracting enquiries, let’s look at a real example. The results of blogging for a client of ours.

Using pay per click campaigns, which we also manage, we know that a new enquiry costs about $38 to attract. So, could they reduce their spend on pay per click, and make more from their blog? Absolutely!

One of their most popular blog posts has had 10,250 people visit in the last six months. Each visitor on average, spent 3 minutes and 53 seconds on that page, presumably reading it. Out of those, nearly all of them, in fact 10,109 visitors, arrived at this specific article first (called an Entrance page).

Great work on getting new people exposed to the brand, right? Yes. However, we’re interested in enquiries, not just readers.

So, drum roll, how many enquiries have they received?

Google Analytics doesn’t lie; they have received 281 new enquiries, as a result of a single article.

In value, that equates to 281 x $38 = $10,678. That’s how much it would have cost to attract 281 using the pay per click campaigns we have also run for them.

The article certainly didn’t cost anywhere near ten thousand dollars, in fact, the whole six months of blogging would have been covered with that income.

Obviously, that’s not actual sales or profit though – we would expect 100% of enquiries to become sales, and we also know that profits would be far greater than $38 per sale.

All in all, this is an example of a very successful campaign.

via GIPHY

5 Tips on Blogging for Australian Businesses

Now that we have covered the benefits of blogging, what about a few tips for beginner bloggers? Here are five quick tips to help you get started blogging for your business.

1. Have a goal in mind, it could be like these three examples; raising brand awareness, generating sales leads, building a subscriber list.

2. Understand it isn’t an overnight success. Things take time. As shown in the first graph of this article, traffic builds over time to a fantastic article.

3. The more you blog, the better the returns. Some blog posts will get great attention, and others will seem like virtual tumbleweeds. Whilst you can follow a formula, to maximise the chances of the former not the latter, don’t expect all articles to be killer traffic generators.

4. Think of the reader. A great article shares knowledge, such as this one. It’s not all about ‘How awesome our product is’. That’s a long form ad, not an article.

5. Measure everything. The only way I’m able to share some of these success stories, is by measurement. Track everything you can, down to the sale value.

Here's another post we've written on the twelve essential items every business blog should have, which I am positive will also provide value.

Summary

I trust that the above dozen benefits of blogging spelt out, as well as the beginner tips on starting a blog will help make up your mind on the importance of blogging.

Those 12 benefits of blogging again, are;

  • Creates authority in your industry
  • Create Value for your customers
  • Search engine optimisation
  • Attracts email subscribers
  • Creates awareness of your offering
  • Valuable content for your social curation
  • Builds important backlinks
  • Helps you virtually network
  • Highlights your business values
  • Supports PR and other marketing activities
  • Generates website traffic
  • Encourages valuable enquiries

Now you understand and appreciate the importance of investing time and money, creating valuable content that attracts readers. Good luck in starting that blog!

Why and How to Run a DIY SEO Health Check in Under 10 Minutes

Search engine optimisation. It sounds like a voodoo science, right? In this article, I’ll explain why it is important you know how well your website ranks, and give you the knowledge and free tools to run a DIY SEO health check.

Let’s talk search engines. Did you know that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine? If you aren’t appearing in organic search results, you’re missing truckloads of potential website visitors, which equates to missed sales opportunities. Let's look at how you can perform a DIY SEO health check, and review how well your website is performing.

So how do you run a DIY SEO audit on your own website? Definitely NOT by just searching your business name using your usual browser. The results will give you a very skewed perception of your website performance. In this article, I will explain why that happens, and share ways you can do your own research with a DIY SEO health check.

There are three types of website owners

When it comes to search engine optimisation, there is three types of website owner.

Those who enjoy great rankings

These websites tend to get a lot of traffic, enquiries and possibly sales. It is very likely they have made a conscious effort to improve their rankings. Some are lucky enough to have just managed it without any effort, however that percentage is tiny and shrinking smaller by the day.

Those who are improving their SEO

Done well, SEO can have a huge impact on most businesses bottom lines. This segment of people is the majority, who week after week, month after month, compound their efforts to get great rankings for their websites.

Those ignoring search engines entirely

There’s a percentage of people out there, who believe that search engines don’t matter for their business. I hate to break it to you; this is highly unlikely. Even if you believe all your enquiries come from word of mouth or existing customers, there’s a large market share out there who you could attract with a little effort.

The search engine market

Yes, it’s true there are dozens of search engines getting tons of traffic, however in Australia, the playing field is definitely skewed towards one brand. Google has a whopping 94% of the Australian search engine market share, a percentage that has barely changed for a number of years.

For the purposes of this article, we will concentrate on Google.

Why keywords matter

Chances are, if you search for your own business name, you are likely to rank fairly highly for it. Assuming it is pretty unique, then there’s no reason why you should rank well.

A small amount of your potential audience probably do search for your business name. Those that have heard about you already. However, what percentage of your possible market have heard of you? Unless you are Apple, Amazon or Coca-Cola, it’s unlikely the majority of your potential market have heard about you.

You are better off being found on Google for keywords that you potential market searches for.

In order to do that, you need to first understand where your website currently ranks, and then look at various offsite and onsite SEO factors that you can update or improve, in order to improve your SEO.

How to run your DIY SEO health check

There are basically three simple steps to running your own DIY SEO health check. They ma

  • Research and choose relevant keywords
  • Use private/incognito browser to search
  • Track data in spreadsheet

Ready? Let's get into the nitty gritty of it all.

So how do you get found?

By using the right keywords. When I say the right keywords, I mean the keywords other people would use to find services or products like yours. These are not what you would search for necessarily, but rather, what your potential market searches for. We are all guilty of using industry acronyms or internal phrases; what are the words that people who do not intimately know your products or services search for?

Ok, here's a quick survey. Imagine for a moment you are looking for a place to stay in Margaret River. What phrase would you type into a search engine? The exact phrase; would it be something like "holiday Margaret River", or maybe "Margaret River house", or some other phrase?

Now, remember it or write it down, and we will now look at the actual search data.

Keyword statistics, October 2020
Keyword statistics, October 2020


In the above table, you can see that ranking on the first page for the phrase “houses for rent margaret river” would be fantastic, with 300 people every month searching for that. However being on the first page for “Margaret river accommodation” would be 24 times better than that, with a whopping 7,200 people searching for that phrase.

If you were an accommodation provider in Margaret River, what phrase would you rather rank for?

It’s also true, looking at the above statistics, that accommodation is a hard word to spell. The single M misspelling ranks highly in our list for similar phrases.

Find the right keywords

Now that you understand the importance of relevant keywords, the first step in undertaking our DIY SEO health check, is to create a list of keywords that you’d hope your website would rank for.

Start by identifying a few keywords you feel would be searched for, frequently. You can either come up with these on your own, or ask a few colleagues or family members for ideas.

Then you can visit the Ahrefs Keyword Generator for some suggestions. Make sure to change the country to Australia!

Using Ahrefs Keyword Generator for DIY SEO
Using Ahrefs Keyword Generator for DIY SEO

When you do a search, the resulting page will have a list of keyword ideas, and there will be three additional columns.

The first is KD, or keyword difficulty. This is a score out of 100, showing how difficult it is to rank on the first page for that keyword or phrase. The smaller the number, the easier it would be to rank for that phrase.

The next column, Volume, is also very important, because it shows how many people search for that phrase. The higher the search volume, the better for our purposes.

Lastly, they display the date in which the data on that specific keyword was last updated. Most of the data will be less than a month old, which is fine for our needs.

When assessing keywords, you should consider two main elements, that is, potential and relevancy.

Potential

In an ideal world, you should be able to find relevant keywords that have low keyword difficulty, and high search volume. When researching, you may find a keyword that is searched 10,000 times a month. You'd naturally assume you should target that, however if the keyword difficulty is high, like above 40 let's say, then maybe it is better to target 5 keywords that are searched 2,000 times each, but have a keyword difficulty score of less than 5.

It really is a balancing act, and there's no hard and fast rule about metrics to aim for here.

Relevancy

The relevance is important. Don't just choose keywords with low difficulty, if they aren't relevant. For example, "margaret river accommodation with spa" is not useful to you, if your accommodation doesn't have a spa. All that does it upset web visitors, and won't help get enquiries. 

There is a train of thought that complementary keywords do work though. So in this case, "margaret river activities" may suit, as well as "hotels margaret river".

Reviewing your own website

Now that you are looking through these various keywords, you should create a simple spreadsheet, and start to populate it with your chosen keywords or phrases. You can use Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, whatever software you are comfortable with.

What you will do in our next step, is start populating this sheet with your actual position numbers, and the date you checked, as shown in the image below. That way, you can see if your ranking is improving, staying the same, or getting worse, month by month.

Tracking ranking in DIY SEO
Using spreadsheet to track search ranking

How to check your rankings

You can’t just search Google normally, to find where your website ranks. The reason for this, is that Google personalises their search results for you. That means if you and I both searched for ‘holiday homes Margaret river’ for example, that we may actually see different websites in the results.

What we need to do, is use private or incognito mode, to check Google search results for your website.

Using incognito mode in Chrome browser
Using incognito mode in Chrome browser

If you use Chrome browser, click on the top right corner, where the three dots appear. Then choose “New incognito window”. If you use Safari, go to the File menu, and choose “New private window”.

Using private mode in Safari browser
Using private mode in Safari browser

In this new window, type www.google.com.au into the address bar. Bingo! You now have a vanilla non-personalised version of Google to search the keywords you have listed in the previous step.

When you do start looking, remember also that there are advertisements, so don't include them in your position count. If your website appears on the second page, halfway down, then that would be 15th place. Write a 15 in the column under today's date for that keyword or phrase.

Don't go past say 5-10 pages. If your website does not appear in the first 10 pages for that keyword, just mark it as not found. It is very unlikely people are clicking on it, if it appears after there, anyway.

How to see what keywords currently bring traffic

The easiest way to see what keywords are bring you website visitors at the moment, is to look in your Google My Business account, assuming you have set it up. If you haven't yet, read our article on setting up your account on Google My Business

The main menu, on the left hand side, includes a link to an Insights screen, which gives you lots of informative metrics and stats, including the keywords that have been clicked on to reach your website.

Insights screen in Google My Business
Insights screen in Google My Business

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Looking in Google Analytics for more information

The next tool I want to quickly mention is Google Analytics. Using this, you can find all sorts of interesting data points as well, such as what pages people arrive at first on your website. As we know, it's not always the homepage that gets new visitors. For example, one website we manage, the homepage only received 1% of new visitors. The internal pages rank better than the front page.

Read our article on Important Metrics in Google Analytics for more on other metrics to look at.

In Summary

Using the steps above, you can quickly get in the habit of doing a DIY SEO health check of your website once a month or more.

Simply follow the second and third steps as mentioned above, being;

  • Use private/incognito browser to search
  • Track data in spreadsheet

When you have a few months of data collected, you can then determine an SEO strategy to improve your ranking and get more visitors to convert to enquiries or sales. Let us know if we can help in any way, and all the best of luck!

Launching a New Website? Here’s a Website Redesign Checklist

Before launching your redesigned website, it is important to ensure everything is correctly set up, to avoid any issues with website visitors or search engines not being able to access your website. This article takes you through the key elements to look for.

Congratulations! You have a new website ready to unleash on the world, and you’re just about ready to ‘flick the switch’. Before you do, however, it is vitally important that you don’t lose any SEO rankings or visitor goodwill by making a website redesign launch mistake.

In this article, we’ll go through all the elements you need to keep an eye out for. We should know – we have successfully launched over 1,000 website redesigns in the last 20 years of business. Some of these mistakes we’ve seen others do, time and time again, much to their own detriment.

The website redesign checklist items are;

You can click on the names above to jump straight to that section, or scroll down to read the article in full (recommended)

Ok, let’s get into each item on our website redesign checklist in more detail.

Check your website speed

A large factor in the SEO of any website nowadays, is the speed in which it renders. If you are moving to a new web host, or you’re significantly changed the website, as you do during a redesign, it is worth checking and confirming that your new website will be faster, and not slower than your old website.

We’ve got a great article on website speed that goes into further detail, why it is so vital to keep an eye on. I encourage you to read it.

One of the easiest methods to test this is to use Pingdom’s free website speed test tool. Test your existing site first, and then the staging version of the new website, and compare them. You’ll want to ensure your website is hosted nearest the audience, for example, if your audience are primarily Australian, choose an Australian hosting company or server location.

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Check all redirects are in place

The amount of times I see websites lose a lot of rankings, because they haven’t considered redirects, is very frustrating for me, and definitely frustrating for the website owners when they realise months later.

Simply put, every old URL needs to either be the same on the new website, or pointing to the correct page. For example, let’s say I had a pizzeria website. Maybe one of the pages is called “Gourmet Pizza, and the address for this page is www.bam-pizza.com.au/gourmet-pizza/

On the new website, we don’t have a page called gourmet pizza, but we do have a Pizza Menu page at www.bam-pizza.com.au/pizza-menu/ We can add a file on the server, which tells Google and web browsers that the Gourmet Pizza page has now been replaced with the Pizza Menu page. That way, when someone goes to the old page, the web server will automatically direct them to the new address.

Redirects listed in an .htaccess file
Redirects listed in an .htaccess file

Ideally, every page is checked and then redirects are created to the most appropriate page, rather than just all to the homepage. We’ve had instances of client websites with hundreds of pages needing updating, which is dozens of hours of work at times.

Don’t skip this step. This is possibly the most important item in our website redesign checklist.

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Copy over Google Analytics, or Google Tag Manager

It is very likely that your current website has either Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager installed. Always make sure that the moment you are launching the new website, which you update the new website to include this tracking code, so that your analytics continue to work.

It can be frustrating, weeks down the track when you go to evaluate your website performance, to find the analytics are out of date.

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Check SSL certificate is current and correct

Sometimes when migrating a website, you may unintentionally break the SSL certificate, which is vital for security and good Google rankings. Make sure that you have your certificate copied over correctly, and it is up to date.

You can view details about any secure certificate in Chrome by clicking on the padlock icon at the left hand side of the address bar, as shown below.

SSL certificate information in Chrome browser
SSL certificate information in Chrome browser

As you can see in this example, the certificate is valid until the 30 December 2020, and is issued to www.bam.com.au – say we changed the website address to website.bam.com.au or to www.bamwebsite.com.au it is likely we would need a new certificate as well.

Read our article SSL: Certificates, Securities and SEO Benefits for more information about the benefits of SSL certificates.

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Check all internal links are correct

Just like the redirects above, you want to ensure that any internal links between pages are also updated with any new addresses. Perhaps on your menu page, you have a text link to Gourmet Pizzas that will now need updating to point to Pizza Menu instead.

You can either use your content management system (CMS) to search for these links, or you can use link or web crawling software to check. We use and recommend Screaming Frog SEO Spider for this.

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Duplicate any meta tags such as description and keywords

Although not as relevant for SEO any more, Meta tags such as description still appear in Google search results, and meta keywords are still used by some crawlers. 

If you don’t have time to write all new ones for each page of your newly redesigned website, then at least copy the existing ones over, so there’s something there to begin with.

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Make sure your non-www domain redirects

This is another item on our website redesign checklist that can often be overlooked. Particularly if you are changing web hosting providers or servers, it is worth ensuring that you have your non-www domain set up correctly. 

For example, if your website is https://www.examplewebsite.com, that https://examplewebsite.com also points to the same place.

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Confirm all forms and interactive elements work

Another super important point in this website redesign checklist is ensuring all the parts of your new website are working as expected. I’ve lost count of the times I have heard about websites being redesigned and launched, and nobody checked the contact form works until they notice nobody contacting them – often weeks after the first enquiry was ignored! 

Website form checklist
Website form checklist

Always double check all forms on your website, by completing them and submitting to see where they end up.

You may want to, depending on the size of your website, start a spreadsheet like the above, and confirm with the email recipients that they have successfully received the form submissions.

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Make sure you have a custom 404 page ready

There’s nothing worse than getting a plain white page with 404 Not Found written on it. That’s such an opportunity that has been missed. You are better off creating a specific 404 page, which encourages website users to find the appropriate content.

Say you go to www.yourwebsite.com/fjwhdrkfewnv/ what does it display at the moment?

A great 404 page has links to a few elements that make website users happy when they’ve stumbled into a broken link. These are;

  1. A search box to allow keyword search of your website
  2. A succinct sitemap, showing major pages and sections
  3. Your contact details, if they still cannot find the information
Example of a 404 Error page
Example of a 404 Error page

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Take a static snapshot of the old website

It’s always wise to take a static snapshot of the current website, just in case you realise later that you needed something from it. I recommend you use HTTrack to do this. It’s relatively straight forward and should only take a few moments.

Alternatively, you can install a Chrome extension to screen grab pages, however that makes it difficult to cut and paste text content or save any images.

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Confirm CMS users and passwords

If you are migrating to a new content management system, such as Craft CMS or Wordpress, always check that you have the same user accounts set up on the redesigned website. 

Whilst working through our website redesign checklist, this is a fantastic opportunity to check everyone who has an account actually needs it, and that you set new passwords for everyone.

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Take a copy of your DNS zone files

A zone file is a text file that your website host uses to tell browsers and search engines what servers to visit to see the website, and to send email, etc. For example, your website may be hosted on a large web host, and your emails may be in Google Suite or a local Exchange server within your office.

This doesn’t matter if you are staying with the same hosting company, however if you are moving hosts, especially the name servers, then you will want to obtain the current DNS zone files first.

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In Summary

Using all the above knowledge means that you are far closer to having a successful launch for your newly redesigned website. Those website redesign checklist items, again, are;

All the best of luck with your newly redesigned website!

8 Fantastic Product Blog Designs and What Makes Them So Good

For many software companies like SaaS products, their product blogs are one of the key channels to attract inbound leads. In this article, let’s review eight product blog designs, and what makes these examples work so well.

If you’ve read any of our other articles about blogging, you know how important I feel blogging is for businesses. None more so than cloud based products, who often have smaller marketing budgets and are taking a lean startup approach to growth. I often discuss the content and topics, however for this post let's turn out attention to product blog designs.

The following eight product blog designs have caught my attention more than once. I list them here, along with example blog posts and a few points on why I feel they work so well.

In alphabetical order, the product blog designs we will look at, are;

You can click on the product name to jump straight to that section, or just scroll down to read them all. So, without any further waffle, let’s get into it.

Autopilot

An Australian software product, Autopilot is all about marketing automation, such as in-app messaging, SMS, email marketing and more. The Autopilot blog topics reflect this, with product releases, trends, email optimisation and marketing.

The Autopilot blog
The Autopilot blog

What makes it so good

The Autopilot blog has a focus on bold hero images and beautiful type. The three main elements that attract me to reading their blog, are;

  • The huge, bold banner images at the start of each post
  • Their in-content CTA (Call to action) banner
  • The use of static social sharing links down the left hand side

An example of this in action, is their post, How to identify lead source using UTM parameters.

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Clearbit

Clearbit is a product that combines over 250 public and private data sources and sorts it into actionable business intelligence. The Clearbit blog covers topics such as new product releases, marketing, sales and more.

Screenshot of Clearbit blog
Screenshot of Clearbit blog

What makes it so good

The Clearbit blog has a very white and minimalist layout, which is a nice change from many other websites. The main features about their design and content that get my attention, are;

  • The super minimalist design, ensuring no distractions when reading
  • The topics around transparency about their own business and marketing results
  • The sticky top banner, which helps readers quickly get to topics and the subscribe form (which pops up)

An example of a nicely formatted post on the Clearbit blog, would be Searching for healthier revenue — the process behind Clearbit's new ideal customer profile.

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Close

A very well known CRM, Close has a fantastic blog which is often referred to for the latest sales leadership, with many very helpful articles across the whole sales spectrum.

The Close blog
The Close blog

What makes it so good

One of my favourite product blog designs, there are a few key features of the Close blog that I really enjoy. They are;

  • The fixed width of body content which makes it very easy to read
  • The nice line spacing, which encourages the eye
  • The use of funny GIF's in content
  • A table of contents which highlights what section you are on

A good post to view all the above in action, is How to sell consulting services: 12 methods you can start using today.

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Helpscout

Helpscout is a support email and knowledge base solution used by thousands of customers across the globe. Their blog has a focus on customer support and experience, and every article they publish is always insightful.

The Helpscout blog
The Helpscout blog

What makes it so good

One of my absolutely favourite product blog designs, the Helpscout blog has had so much design love applied to it, which makes it a delight to read.

  • The illustrations are beautiful and on brand throughout
  • The main blog index page is very well laid out
  • Every blog post has plenty for visuals to break up the often lengthy text

An example of their posts is 16 Research-Backed Customer Retention Strategies.

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Podia

Podia allows course and digital product creators to sell membership and product access online. Things like membership, online courses, digital downloads and the like.

The Podia blog
The Podia blog

What makes it so good

The Podia blog has a number of really good ways to encourage readers to stay engaged. These include

  • Large hero images that break the standard width
  • Fun GIF's within content
  • Lots of links to back up their statements
  • A great colour scheme, using purple in moderation

An example from the Podia blog is 6 video editing tips you can learn this weekend.

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Slab

A product designed to help internal teams with knowledge management, Slab has a beautiful interface and a powerful wiki type product. As a result, their blog has a focus on writing and knowledge management.

The Slab blog
The Slab blog

What makes it so good

The Slab blog has a heavy reliance in type, rather than visuals. This seems to be reflective of the wiki product that they sell. This doesn't make their blog plain, however, with a few likes such as;

  • Their three categories stay static at top right
  • Great use of block quotes and headings plus sub headings 
  • A simple yet very legible and complimentary colour palette

A recent blog post of thiers, is The Financial Benefits of Remote Work for Companies.

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Spaceship

An Australian startup, Spaceship is bringing the concept of personal finance in the form of investing, into popular mainstream by making it easy to invest. Their blog deals with topics like saving, investing and personal finance generally.

The Spaceship blog
The Spaceship blog

What makes it so good

The Spaceship blog has a great way to make often boring topics sound interesting, and a pleasure to read. Features of their blog include;

  • Their posts turning complex and boring topics into something approachable and interesting
  • The two call to action panels in footer
  • The usage of large type sizes for both headlines and body copy
  • The use of a related articles panel

A post worth reading of theirs, is 15 clever ways to make more money.

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Toggl

A time tracking product, Toggl is a very easy to use product, and has a large userbase across the globe. Their blog covers a wide range of topics such as hiring, remote work, productivity and work/life balance.

The Toggl blog
The Toggl blog

What makes it so good

The Toggl product blog designs have some beautiful elements that encourage an audience, such as;

  • Plenty of illustrations within the posts
  • Superb typeface choices throughout
  • A deep footer helps you navigate into their product
  • Encourage social sharing with left hand side buttons

A good blog post to see the above in action on the Toggl blog, is Agile Planning: A Beginner’s Guide To Planning & Executing Iterative Projects.

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In Summary

No matter what sort of blog you are publishing or creating, I am positive you’ll find some inspiration in the list of product blog designs above. Whilst blogging is important for inbound traffic, thanks to SEO, it’s equally as important that the blog is readable and attractive to your human visitors.

Ensure you spend some time in reviewing your existing blog, and comparing it to these examples of product blog designs. Is there an element you could include, or a way to tweak your design to be more appealing? You should make this a regular habit, as well as constantly reviewing your overall blog content planning and workflows.

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