We’ve been doing some work in IIA.ie over the summer including moving the site to a managed server and improving the voting system to allow members more say in an easier manner in the running of the association but I think our latest update is going to appeal much more than all that!
Every member company in the IIA has a company profile and a number of users. The primary user is the user responsible for keeping the company profile up to date. This user can now add all the social networking sites where your company has a presence. Some are predefined to get you going but you’ll see from the IIA profile that we have added for example our YouTube page and our Pix.ie profile too. Other possibilities are RateMyArea company profiles, WhoseView company profiles, company Ning networks, Speakerrate profiles, Flickr pages, Google Reader Shared Items – the list goes on!
Each individual user within a company can also choose whether to display their name and role on the company profile. There is also an option for users to include a LinkedIn profile. You can see mine and Fergal’s displayed towards the end of the IIA Company profile.
All users can also continue to add news, feeds, appointments, and vacancies. If your company is a member I would strongly recommend that you take the time to update the site. We are regularly contacted by businesses seeking contractors and partners in a range of areas and while we cannot recommend one company over another we always suggest they search the Members Directory. So it’s imperative that your profile is updated. Adding feeds and other social sites will allow a potential client or partner get a better idea of your latest news, views and crew.
So what are you waiting for? Get updating!
(Have you forgotten your login details? Has your primary user gone on to pastures new? Other login problems? Email me, Roseanne, and I’ll try to sort you out.)
IIA Members iQContent have launched iQPrize. They want to help grow a good idea into a great business and they would like to hear from everyone and anyone. They plan to invest EUR10,000 in the idea that impresses them most. Closing date for entries is May 12th and at time of writing they had 16 entries. Not bad odds.
Find out more at iQPrize.ie or watch the video below where Morgan McKeagney, iQContent CEO explains all.
I have some great ideas for the IIA website that EUR10,000 could put a serious dent in; maybe I should have a wee chat with them… 🙂
I’m going to be busy this week meeting business people at the Donegal Enterprise Board Enterprising Donegal Week on Tuesday and others at the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Enterprise Week on Wednesday. So this is just a quick (late night!) post to say if there are any members who would like to come and meet business people who are looking for advice on using all aspects of the internet in all kinds of business I would welcome your expertise at the IIA stand between 4pm and 6pm on Wednesday 25th March. All details via the link above. At a previous enterprise event I was asked questions about choosing web developers/ designers, email marketing, using social media for business, as well as more bizarre and thankfully expected questions about the IIA and the internet in general!
If you are a member of the IIA and you think you have half an hour to spare please email me at members at iia dot ie.
But one of you is more of a winner 🙂 Congratulations to IIA member PillarProjects who, having renewed their membership before January 31st like nearly all of you, was randomly chosen as the recipient of a EUR250.00 IIA events voucher. May they wear it well and we look forward to seeing them at future events.
I often talk with our members about the work they are doing on their sites. Like our experience, they often tell me that for every new public facing feature that is developed there are usually five back stage features brought online that help streamline the business. One big feature that we brought online that fell into that category was online renewal. This has really simplified the process for you and for us here in the IIA this year. I have to take your word for it because I wasn’t around on previous renewals. All you need to do to renew now is log in and follow the instructions. This is also the perfect opportunity to update the company profile, add in company news, vacancies or appointments and, one of our most popular new features, your company blog feeds and news feeds, which are used to populate the IIA homepage.
If you are one of the last few member companies who have yet to renew please do so at your earliest convenience. You don’t want me to ring you to ask you because you will NEVER get me off the phone. I talk A LOT!
www.reverbstudios.ie is the website for Reverb Studios Multimedia and Website Design, a small company based in Co. Leitrim.
I have had many people comment on my choice of dark colours for the website with the general consensus so far being that “it’s too dark” so I’d like people to look at that issue please. Bear in mind that there needs to be a good contrast between background and text colours and in that regard I believe White on black is as good as black on white! Also bear in mind that a significant number of people have said to me that my colours were “different” and it made my site “memorable”. My influence for the design was the iPhone if that’s not immediately obvious!
I’m planning a re-design soon so any comments may be influential!
Here are some other issues I’d like feedback on too please:
- Clarity of purpose.
Thanks to Leon for volunteering. Please don’t forget the guidelines when you are giving your feedback.
If you would like to volunteer your site or a client’s site please email me at members /at/ iia /dot/ ie
Imagine if you have a meeting with a client and you want to highlight the areas on their site that require development how helpful this could be. Do get their permission though!
Have a look at previous Feedback Friday entries to get an idea of how it has worked so far.
Okay not strictly true 🙂 But I have something free from RocketJobs, one of the IIA’s first new members of 2009.
RocketJobs is an industry-wide job site with the focus on removing as much clutter as possible and keeping the focus on making search quick and easy. Launched in December, our list of jobs and clients is growing rapidly. Following RecruitIreland’s recent good example, RocketJobs has gone one step further and is offering three free posts to any employer in Ireland. Check out their own blog post about this.
For any additional roles over and above these free postings we are offering 30% extra roles free to all IIA members.
First up are SpunOut.ie and coming from the community and voluntary sector I have been aware of the work SpunOut have been doing for some years. They are a National Youth Organisation Charity promoting positive personal and social change. Considering the manner in which young people use technology, offering them support and advice online is a no-brainer. I always think that initiatives aimed at young people make their first mistake when they mention the word “cool”. The approach of the SpunOut team undermines all previous “cool” efforts. I saw the SpunOut crew at the Irish Web Awards and I don’t think they care whether they’re cool or not. I wonder would they dress like that for the Net Visionary Awards 🙂
Foran Enterprise is as they say themselves “a professional company specialising in business design and training solutions.” They are based in Killarney, Co, Kerry and not only do they look after your electronic marketing but also print based marketing too.
The IIA Membership have seen many of their members scoop awards this year in all sorts of industry awards and new member Impact Media, based in Galway, can count themselves among those who helped bring home the piece for the mantel. Their clients FRS Recruitment won Best Recruitment Agency in the National Recruitment Federation (NRF) awards recently. Nice!
I was delighted to see Gorta joining towards the end of October especially when I looked at their brand spanking new website. It makes it very easy to make donations to assist them in their valuable work in making hunger history. The navigation allows all types of browser to find the required information quickly. They also include Field Blogs which is a great use of social media technology giving a real, up-to-the-minute view of what there volunteers are doing all over the world.
A big welcome also to the Web Office of my alma mater, Trinity College Dublin. Their representative Maura Horan is already getting stuck right in as she has agreed to chair the User Experience Working Group for 2009.
XennaNET.ie are also another welcome addition to the IIA. They availed of one of the special offers I made on Twitter a while ago and joined. While their website is currently in the minimalist phase I can tell you that I know that their claim to be “purveyors of fine web apps” is true. They are responsible for URL.ie which is indeed a fine, comprehensive URL shortening tool which I use regularly. It allows you to paste in a big long URL, shorten it and then share it via a number of different social networking and bookmarking tools. There is also a link for your browser toolbar and you can even generate a QR Code which while I see the potential value in is even getting a bit techie and geeky for me 🙂 Sweet though!
A big IIA welcome to Luxury Dublin Apartments. I’m sorry to say that I personally will probably never have the need for their service seeing as I hail from Rathmines which is the location of the beautifully appointed Luxury Dublin Apartments. However, having many family and friends scattered all over the globe it’s nice to know that there is a flexible option like this available in the area. As their local amenities page attests there is plenty to see and do in the area and it’s not far from Dublin city centre.
If you are thinking that it’s about time you snazzed up the office a bit you could do worse than Newform Office Interiors who joined the IIA recently. They are “a company who specialise in providing complete interior fit-out services to the Retail, Corporate and Commercial Sectors. With over 20 years experience, Newform give a complete turnkey fit-out service providing everything from office furniture, walls, partitioning, flooring.” Ever the geeky magpie I was particularly attracted to their Audio Visual Multimedia Wall. Shiny!
A guest post from Will Roche who works with IIA Member company Bluecube Interactive with some great tips if you are looking into starting an AdWords Campaign on Google to attract targeted traffic to your site. Will previously worked with Google so he knows a thing or two!
“The noblest search is the search for excellence”
-Lyndon Baines Johnson
Advertising on search engines is one of the most effective methods for driving qualified traffic to your website. Compared to traditional forms of advertising, it is more cost-effective, you can measure performance from the very beginning of the campaign and you will be reaching out to potential customers at the precise time when they are looking for information on products and services they want to buy.
At its very heart, this form of advertising is wonderfully simple – a user sees an ad based upon their search – but there are many factors that you must consider to ensure you don’t pay more than necessary and that the clicks you receive are actually contributing to your profitability.
With this in mind, Bluecube Interactive has created this guide to help you get started in this much-misunderstood area. The advice that follows will help you to lay the foundations but remember, our search team is always available if you need to take your advertising to the next level.
The structure of an AdWords account is vital to achieving a great return on your investment. The right structure will ensure that users are served the most relevant ads at all times and it will make reporting, account navigation and optimisation much easier.
The ideal account structure is one which separates the products and services offered into their own campaigns. A good example would be a company who offers two services – web hosting and web design.
Each service should have its own campaign. This has numerous advantages. For instance, if web hosting is the more prominent service, a greater proportion of the overall marketing budget can be allocated to that campaign. It also makes comparing the cost-per-click performance of both services much easier as you can see at a glance which campaign is driving the most traffic, achieving the most conversions and is providing better value for your business.
Within each campaign, there should be numerous ad groups which group related keyword phrases together that are reflected by specific ad text variations. Examples of ad groups would be:
- web hosting
- website hosting
- UK hosting
- Linux web hosting
The goal should be to make your account as granular as possible and to think about the user who is searching for your keywords. If they are served an ad that relates directly to their search, the user is more likely to click on your ad and convert into a sign-up, lead or sale.
As mentioned previously, keywords should be as specific and targeted as possible and they should relate directly to the ad that the user sees. If a user is searching for product codes or other specific terms, they are likely to be further along the purchasing cycle than those searching for more general terms and therefore, more likely to convert on your website.
General keywords like ‘photocopiers’ or ‘printers’ can be very good for driving large volumes of traffic and can also be beneficial for branding purposes. However you should be aware that general terms are also more expensive and may not lead to the same return on investment that can be achieved with specific keywords.
Another keyword type that you should be aware of is the negative keyword. Almost as important as the keywords which trigger your ads, this type of keyword prevents your ad from showing on irrelevant or unrelated searches. For instance, if your keyword is ‘printers’, this term is liable to be expanded to show for searches like:
- inkjet printers
- laser printers
- free printers
- screen printers
- second hand printers
If your business only sold inkjet printers, you may not want your ads to be displayed for searches on laser printing terms so you could add ‘laser’ as a negative keyword and reduce the amount of irrelevant impressions on your ads. This would result in the same amount of clicks, less impressions, a higher clickthrough rate and because Google’s system rewards highly targeted advertisements, you should see a reduction in your average cost per click.
The actual ad text shown to users searching on your keywords is very important and we recommend using three variations which the AdWords system will rotate evenly until it determines that one variation is performing better than the others.
As mentioned previously, the ad must relate directly to your keywords. It is also very good practice to have the keyword in the ad text itself. If the searched keyword is part of the ad, that text will be highlighted in bold letters and makes your ad stand out to your prospective clients.
Another best practice is to give the user an idea of what you expect them to do once they reach your website and you should certainly use call-to-action phrase to do this. Phrases like ‘order online now’ or ‘contact us today’ can be very effective in driving conversions. If your goal is to have potential leads call your sales team, you may wish to try an ad variation which has your phone number. In this way, you could potentially solicit leads without the need for any chargeable click activity.
Once a user clicks on your ad, the landing page is the next important step in ensuring a strong conversion rate and ROI. More often than not, advertisers use their home page as the destination for their ads but if you have many products or offer different services, you should choose the webpage that is most relevant to the keyword searched and the ad displayed to the user.
It is always worth remembering that more you make a user click, the less likely they are to convert. Generally speaking, if a user is searching for ‘accounting software’, you should bring them to the page with all the relevant information about that software to make their purchase decision. We would also recommend not bringing users directly to ‘contact us’ pages unless those pages contain an adequate amount of information on the product or service itself. Landing pages which only contain large contact forms and no information tend to have very high bounce rates (the amount of users who leave your website) and do not convert very well.
If you are mostly interested in driving phone calls to your sales teams, I would recommend having your contact details and phone number on every page of your website. Once again, this prevents the user from having to navigate your site for the information they require. As with all things related to Google advertising, the focus should always be on the user experience and how you can make their conversion as easy as possible.
About Bluecube Interactive
We are a small company with big ideas, and we have a lot of big ideas about search engine marketing. Our experienced search specialists offer a range of services to ensure the success of your campaigns.
Our Services include:
After researching your existing online environment we will create keyword lists, text ads and calculate your optimum cost-per-click settings to ensure your ads appear on the first page of results for the most relevant searches. Our expertise will ensure detailed campaign performance analysis and increased budgetary control.
One of the key success factors with a PPC campaign is the continuous refinement of keywords and ad texts based upon historic performance. Our specialists can recommend and implement changes that will noticeably improve the performance of your campaigns.
We use traffic analysis software that allows us to see how valuable each keyword really is, if your conversion goals are being met and what we can do to maximise these conversions.
We offer full-time account management services that make us solely responsible for the success of your PPC campaigns. We will discuss your marketing goals, research the online environment for your industry and create the campaigns that will deliver strong results. We also provide regular reporting on account performance and how users are interacting with your website
Our account management service ensures that all areas of your search engine marketing are in the hands of experienced professionals who will be in regular contact with your marketing team.
A big IIA welcome to Spicendipity a company who facilitate one of my favourite things in the whole world: baking. I have sampled Spicendipity’s brownies and I hate to say it but they are better than mine. Deborah Hadley, the woman behind Spicendipity, was also recently shortlisted in the Net Visionary Awards for Best Business Blogger. A quick gander at her blog will tell you why she was nominated and then chosen by the judges. I also had the luck to hear Deborah presenting at PodCampIreland in September and was very impressed by her approach to setting up Spicendipity. Social Media has been very much at the core of her business plan. She also made very good use of her market research as a starting point for her future email communications which I thought was a very clever approach. If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak, take it.