What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

To understand the question, you first need to understand what web presence actually means. This isn’t the time to go consulting Wikipedia because, for some absurd reason, they have the definition of web presence backwards on the site.

Web presence, also called online presence or Internet presence, simply means your online penetration. This is the simplest definition anyone can give you. But for the sake of folk that might beg to differ, here is a list of interpretations we can go with:

  • Online penetration. I’ve already mentioned that.
  • Your online visibility.
  • Your digital footprint, which is a summation of all online files, destinations, and touch points you own or that refers to you.

So can we safely say that web presence is all about your online penetration, about establishing your presence or that of your brand online, about making yourself or your brand known on the Internet?

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to what makes up a successful web presence.

When people hear web presence, the first thing that comes to mind is a website. But then our interpretations above clearly suggest that web presence is more complex than that — in fact, as complex as a person’s public image, which basically entails where they are from, what they do, and who they associate with.

With web presence, you are basically trying to put forward content that promotes your brand’s public image and in so doing help you sell your products or services. Take a look at the table below.

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Looking at the table above, you can easily identify the core elements you need to focus on to build a successful web presence around your brand. And thus we have:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Blogging
  • Email marketing

Let’s look at them one after the other

Website

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

As I mentioned before, this is your base of operation. It’s where your brand’s web presence begins and ends. Every other aspect of your web presence should direct people back to your website. Hence, you need to put a lot of thought into making your business website as focused, informative, coherent, and on-brand as possible. Learn more about setting up a website for your business.

Social Media

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Now that your business website is set up, you need to draw people to it so they can learn about your business and products and possibly go on talking about them afterwards. For starters, take your business to where consumers gather. Think social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Think forums like Quora and Reddit. You could try to connect and engage consumers organically or you could run paid marketing campaigns on these channels. A combination of both is a better strategy, and your efforts here have to be perpetually ongoing and consistent for you to constantly achieve tangible results.

If running multiple social accounts is daunting for you, then you might want to check out Social Republic, which offers a central dashboard for managing all your social accounts.

Blogging

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

You don’t just create a website for your business and then forget it. To achieve the goal of building a web presence, you need continuous participation. This is where blogging comes in. Sadly, many companies online don’t have a blog integrated into their websites. Even many of those that have rarely update theirs. Online presence is all about penetration and visibility, which you can then leverage to drive conversation and sales. For better penetration, more visibility, and more traffic, you need to continuously inject more relevant content into your digital footprint. Regular blogging can do that for you, just as ongoing participation on social platforms also can.

Email Marketing

Macaulay Gidado - What Makes Up a Successful Web Presence?

Say, your website and blog are booming and you have people flowing in from social media and search engines. How do you keep them coming back? Surely, if the content of your blog is valuable, many of your readers would want to come back. The question is: will they remember to come back?

This is why you need to be very proactive when it comes to retaining leads. These days, email marketing is the way to go. Simply sign up for a service like MailChimp, Aweber, and Mailgun. Then integrate an email subscription form into your blog and website and configure it to actively encourage your site visitors to join your mailing list. Getting them to sign up means you no longer have to wait for them to come to you. Instead, you can take your content, marketing offers and promotions to them.

Of course, there are many other elements of a successful web presence, but these four are the basics you need to cover before anything else. Do let me know what you think in the comment area.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado Medium blog.

Mistakes Businesses Make When Setting Up a Website

Mistakes Businesses Make When Setting Up a Website - Macaulay Gidado

Okay, I’m not going to drone about the usual stuff you are likely to find online when you Google this topic. You know, points like “failing to customize your theme”, “forgetting to make your business site responsive”, “not implementing a good SEO strategy”, “poor navigation”, “using too many pop-ups”, blah, blah, blah…

I’m not trying to demean the validity of these points. It’s just that the Internet is riddled with them, and I have no intentions of adding to the clutter. So instead, I will take you on a journey through the various mistakes many of our clients (typically small and medium businesses) make prior to approaching Macaulay Gidado to build their web presence.

In fact, when you mind the mistakes I’m going to elaborate on below, you automatically avoid many generic pitfalls like the ones mentioned above.

No business is an island

No Business is an Island

Yes, a bit of a cliche. A bad one at that. But some of our clients, like many other businesses out there, started out thinking they can go it alone. Trust me, even if you were a genius entrepreneur highly skilled in copywriting, web design, and web development, going it alone is still a bad idea.

Why? Because you need objectivity. Subjectivity would only produce a website that appeals to you mostly. You need input from people less emotionally attached to your business. People that can give you the hard truth.

You’ve got to ask yourself. Why does my business need a website? It goes without saying, but you most certainly are trying to reach a certain demographic. Should your business website then be built to appeal to you or that demographic?

Let me know your answer to that in the comment area.

Shop for value, not trinkets

Shop for Value Not Trinkets

Many of our clients were comfortably knee deep in this pitfall. One would think that coming to us meant they had figured out why their cheap-looking websites weren’t delivering the desired results. But no, most of them came with the same pathetic budget that funded the mess they were in. It was like doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a better result each time.

God, I want to scream. These things drive me crazy.

Okay, let’s face it. When you see a cheap website versus one built with value in mind, you just know it. There’s no debating that. Not saying you should throw all your money at copywriters, designers, and developers—um, hello 🙋, please throw your money at me. It all depends on what you want to achieve with your business website and whether your resources can accommodate that goal. In other words, go for cost-effective.

Yes, there’s a big difference between “cheap” and “cost-effective”. The latter has value written all over it. And that’s my recommendation. That and the saying, “When you want to do something, do it well.”

Vision & strategy need each other

Vision Strategy Need Each Other

When building a website for your business, vision and strategy should be at the core of everything. They address the questions: “What do I want to achieve with this business website?” and “How is this website going to help me achieve those goals?”

These two questions, if addressed properly, will determine what goes into the copy, design, and development of your business website. Unfortunately, a good fraction of our clients came with half-baked goals. Well, fortunately for them, we like to be thorough at Macaulay Gidado. So we typically start by getting them to ruminate on their visions. Then we work with them to develop a working strategy.

I have to say, there’s a great satisfaction that accompanies knowing we have helped a client solve a dire problem. Here are more stuff to consider when setting up your website.

Being responsive goes a long way

Being Responsive Goes a Long Way

Not referring to making your business website responsive, but that’s also highly important. So what the hell? What a turn of phrase.

Anyway, I’m talking about being responsive as a client. Imagine how frustrating viewing a mobile unresponsive website on your smartphone can be. That’s how working with an unresponsive client feels. Makes me want to pull hair out. It basically cripples the progress of the project. If this passage inspires you to become a responsive client going for a responsive website, then good job to me. Now, time to go congratulate myself with a cup of Malagasy coffee.

Still here 🙋. Will get the coffee when I finally visit Madagascar.

So my fellow businesspeople. When you hire a professional—me, of course—to build your company website, remember that talking about your business is a good thing for the project. Every business is unique. While there are similar businesses online from where the professional can source info and inspiration, the last thing you want is for your website to turn out just generic or worse, a replica. Certainly you want the content, design, and other features to zero in on pertinent aspects of your business you want to convey to your audience.

The bottom line is: you want to hire me to build your website? You must be ready to make out time to discuss, really discuss, your business.

Don’t leave your assets behind

Dont Leave Your Assets Behind

At Macaulay Gidado, we have what we call a handover document. Basically, this is a comprehensive documentation of all tasks completed under a particular project, all login details, and a linked DropBox folder containing all files and data generated throughout the project development process. As soon as the client has approved the completed project, we close the contract by passing the handover document to them.

The unfortunate truth is that the majority of clients we have worked with in the past didn’t ask, much less expect, a handover document. They typically imagined that all they needed was the finished product–that is, the link to their website, thus forgetting that:

  • They would need to take control of their hosting, domain, and other accounts, change the login details, and update their payment details so that their subscriptions can renew automatically.
  • By leaving their assets behind, they are leaving themselves open to extortion. This is how some developers hold people’s websites hostage.
  • They need access to the raw assets that make up their branding identity.

The list goes on and on, and it’s pathetic. Please, if you are a business, never leave your assets behind, no matter what the project might be.

Phew! I think I’m done emptying myself. Now let’s hope that someone listened. Please do let me know what you think in the comment area. Would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Thanks a lot.

This article also appeared on Macaulay Gidado Medium publication.

Eight Things To Consider Before Building Your Website

Eight-Things-To-Consider-Before-Building-Your-Website - Macaulay Gidado

In this digital age, there are a lot of individuals and businesses on the Internet offering services for building your website. For someone new to the idea of setting up a website, the sheer number of available options can be confusing. It’s no wonder many people end up finding little to no satisfaction in running their own website.

You bring out your hard-earned cash and pay for a web development package, but then what you get in the end is a website that makes you frown.

Whose fault is it? Yours or that of the people you paid to do the job?

A wise man once said that knowledge is power. When you have the right information, you avoid pitfalls, you make the right decisions, and your chances of success increase. Therefore, why not equip yourself with the right information before jumping into building your website?

First, ask yourself the following questions:

What’s the Purpose of My Website

This should be the first question you ask yourself. If you can’t answer the question, then you probably don’t need a website.

Do you need the website:

  • For your business? Perhaps you want to open an online store or set up a page where people can make inquiries about your bakery.
  • For your career? Maybe you want to publish your CV and professional profile for employers from all around the world to see.
  • For blogging about a topic you are very conversant with? Or perhaps you want to set up a forum where like minds can discuss various topics?
  • Or something else?

Once you have determined the purpose of your website, then you are ready to go.

Is There a Market for What I Want to Do on My Website

That business you want to showcase with your website. Those skills on your CV. The topic you want to blog about. Is there a market for it?

How do you know whether or not there’s a market for something? You do a market research. If your website and the business/career/idea behind it don’t solve a major problem or add value to the lives of a good number of people, then maybe you don’t need a website.

Do I Know My Target Audience

What’s that saying? Jack of all trades, master of none. No site can meet all needs, just as no business can solve all problems. It’s just not feasible. Thinking your website is for everyone simply translates to setting yourself up for failure. It’s like shooting an arrow blindly and expecting to hit the mark. First, you need to discover who needs what you are selling the most and then target them.

What Will Make My Website Stand Out

It’s highly likely that someone already has a site similar to the one you plan to build. Therefore, before you start, you need to first find out who and who is already doing what you want to do. Once you have done that, then it’s time to brainstorm and give your own idea extra value, a unique selling point. This will give you a competitive edge.

How Far Are You Willing to Go for Your Idea?

People get great ideas every day, but very few ideas become successful. The question is: how dedicated are you to your idea? How far are you willing to go to see it through? This is where passion comes in. When your website idea is something you are passionate about, chances are that you will go the extra mile to keep it alive.

Who Will Manufacture the Content of My Website

A lot of work goes into a website. For starters, you need a copywriter who will discuss with you and help you produce compelling written content for your site. Then you need a competent web designer and developer who will help translate your idea into a visual design that will appeal to your audience. Our honest recommendation is that if you can’t do the work, outsource it to experts that can.

Who Will Run My Website

Websites don’t run themselves. You don’t just publish them and that’s it. Nope. Someone has to log in every day or week to run software updates and add to or change the content. If you don’t have the skill or time to do this yourself, then you will need to pay someone else to do it for you.

Expect Ongoing Expenses

Running a site is an ongoing commitment. After the expenses that come with the initial setup, you still have to pay for yearly web hosting subscription. Websites don’t sit in the air. They live in servers, and since you don’t own a server, you rent one from a web hosting company for your site. There are other ongoing costs like yearly domain and site backup subscriptions, depending on the features of your web hosting package. If hire someone or a company to manage your website, then the ongoing expenses will go into the yearly amount they charge you for management and maintenance.

There you go. Equip yourself with ample information pertaining to the above-mentioned points and you are ready to begin work on your site. Of course, if you need any help setting up your website or if you want to make the process seamless, then talk to one of our staff at Macaulay Gidado and we will get you started.

Online Ads Success: Eight Unobstructive Ways to Get Them Noticed

MACAULAY GIDADO makes it easier for entrepreneurs to do what they love.

The way we do business is rapidly shifting from physical to online presence. So it can be tempting to launch a website with the intention to make money overshadowing the need for quality content or services. Very often than not, we all bump into sites whose idea of making money via online ads borders on ferocity.

Banners in the middle of posts. Several monetized pictures inside a post. Misleading links. They all rank among the top reasons visitors click away as soon as they land on a site. You, of course, want those visitors to stay long enough to see your online ads and click on them.

Here are eight simple, non-technical tips that will ensure your online ads get a firm amount of attention.

Always Put Content First; Not Your Online Ads

There’s nothing more satisfying than great content. When your content is of stellar quality and serves your audience’s need, you gain reliability. And when your visitors find you trustworthy, they want to linger and check out more of what you have to offer. By spending more time on your website, they are bound to notice those unobtrusive strategically-placed online ads on your sidebars and footers, and they will click on them because you have already made them believe that everything on your website serves their needs.

Don’t Start Out Desperate for Income Through Online Ads

This is one of the biggest mistakes new website owners make. They launch a site and a day later, they have plastered every part of it with online ads. This can be very damaging to the reputation of a website, because it doesn’t serve the site’s audience. If you have ever stumbled upon one of those websites whose daily posts are monetized lists of products from Amazon, you begin to understand how frustrating a site riddled with adverts can be.

First build your content. Let your audience flow in. Gain their trust. Then start out with a few online ads placed in the right corners of your website.

The Reputation of Your Hosting Company Matters

Before choosing a web hosting service, it’s essential to make sure the uptime percentage of your favorite hosting company is as close to 100% as possible. A low uptime percentage means a host is likely to develop issues more frequently than ones with higher percentages. And whenever the issues arise, the websites hosted under them will become unavailable to visitors. This can be very detrimental to the reputation of a website, as readers are unlikely to return. This in turn translates to fewer eyes to notice your online ads.

So be wise in choosing a host.

A Good Design Can Go a Long Way

If your website is a product or service, then its design is the packaging. And in today’s world, packaging has become as important as content. Purchase a professional theme, one that suites the concept of your website. Hire a good designer—maybe an illustrator also.

It, however, isn’t all about how beautiful you make your website. It’s rather about whether the beauty complements the purpose. A tech site with lots of flowers and pink in its design can be a huge turn off for visitors, especially male ones—you have to consider that the tech world is dominated by men. If your design turns your visitors off, then be sure those visitors aren’t going to bother noticing your online ads. They, however, will surely turn away.

There’s also the issue of navigation. It’s paramount for visitors to easily find what they are looking for in your website. Any confusion brought by poor structure can most certainly scare them away. Thus your online ads become meaningless.

Update Your Site Regularly

Regular fresh content is what pulls visitors back to your site. No-one wants to read or watch the same thing over and over again. Post new tips every week, or better still twice a week. Make them relevant and interesting. Is your site an online store? Then update the images of your products and services with more creative images. Make your audience salivate with the promise of new, tasty content.

The more people that return to your website, the more likely your online ads are going to get noticed.

Don’t Stick Online Ads Everywhere

This is very simple. Don’t place online ads on every part of your site. Not in the middle of a post—this is very bad when it comes to image ads. Also not on pages like the ‘Contact’ and ‘About’ pages. And certainly not as a pop-up—this one can be especially annoying. Some very successful sites today know to limit their online ads to the sidebars and sometimes to the bottom of posts. You should learn from them.

Focus each content on one topic

By focusing each post on one topic, you help google Adsense easily learn which ads are relevant to your content and which ones are not. That way, you avoid the mistake of letting your readers, who visit your site to, perhaps, get your pig farming tips, see ads about first-class airline tickets.

Don’t Slow Your Pages Down with Ads

Too many ads, especially image ads, on a single page can slow the page down, and reader don’t have the patience to wait for a page to finish loading. If you make them wait, they might turn away to a faster website, and this defeats the purpose of you putting up all those ads in the first place.

So why not limit the number of ads on your pages. Make it reasonable. Two ads that get a hundred clicks per day are more profitable than ten ads that slow down everything to the extent that nothing gets clicked.

There are, of course, many other tips that can help you guarantee your ads get noticed. With these ones, however, you are on your way to safely making money with your adverts without annoying your precious audience.

Nine Ways to Boost Your Company Website’s Credibility

Nine-Ways-to-Boost-Your-Company-Websites-Credibility - Macaulay Gidado

Trust will always play an important role in the purchase decisions of consumers. The questions are: How reliable are you? Do your prospective customers trust you? What does you track record say about you? And ultimately, does your website engender trust in your leads?

When consumers don’t trust you, good luck selling your product, and it doesn’t matter if the product offered on your site exudes quality. Here is a good example of lack of trust in business.

You are an avid computer user on your morning jogging routine. Then a stranger stops you and offers you a brand new laptop for £50 but only if you can pay immediately. Assuming you inspect the laptop and it’s good, and you also have the money on you, would you buy it?

The truth is that most people wouldn’t buy it, and that’s where trust comes in. This instance is a close depiction of what online store owners do. They set up products for sale and expect consumers to part with their hard-earned cash when these consumers don’t really know anything about who is selling the products.

This is why people would rather buy from big ecommerce sites like Amazon rather than from a small or new e-store.

According to the sales expert, Zig Ziglar, “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”

In business, you might not be able to do much concerning the first three. But as you can incite desire for your product, you can also build trust. Do this on your website by using these simple trust elements.

1. Let Consumers Know There’s a Genuine Person or Outfit Behind Your Site

This is among the simplest ways to build trust, and there are four main ways you can achieve this:

  • List your physical business address on your website.
  • Display at least two photos of your office. If the photos offer different views of the same place, then better.
  • List your membership with a governing organisation in your field. For instance, a membership with the chamber of commerce.
  • Depending on the product or service you offer, you can also display a picture of you and, perhaps, those of top members of your establishment.

2. Make It Easy for Consumers to Confirm the Information on Your Website

You can do this by reinforcing the information on your site using testimonials, citations, or by linking your source material.

This is why relevant outbound links are an essential part of website content. By linking to credible external articles with authority in your topic, you are basically providing evidence of the correctness of your content.

3. Don’t Hesitate to Emphasize the Expertise in Your Company, Content, and Services/Products

If you have experts in your establishment, by all means show them off alongside their qualifications. If you are connected to a renowned body, make sure that’s also visible on your site. The same goes for if your sponsors are authorities in their field.

However, be mindful not to link to, or display your connection with, disreputable websites or organizations. That would only discredit your website.

4. Can Consumers Easily Contact You?

Some people might like to call in or email to verify whom they are doing business with. Therefore, list your contact information on your site. While some other people may not check in, your phone number, email address, and physical address being on your site enhances your website’s credibility.

5. Ensure that Your Website’s Design Is Professional

They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but the issue is that people will always do that. If your website’s design is the cover of your content, product, or service, then ensure that it looks professional.

This means that the design must complement your purpose, and make sure the typography, images, layout, and other aspects don’t look amateur. Otherwise, your website too will be considered amateur, and trusting it would be like trusting a rascal.

6. Regularly Update the Content of Your Website

Regular updates don’t only suggest that your company is still active, but also provide visitors with more useful content with improved quality. Site visitors will assign more trust to your content when they see this.

7. Is Your Website Easy to Use? Also, Is It Useful?

Usefulness and ease of use will boost the credibility of your website. Why? Because people love simplicity and quality—traits that could imply that your site not only has nothing to hide, but is also beneficial to users.

Always remember that you are in business because of consumers. Don’t make your site and thus product or service difficult to access.

8. Display Promotional Content Judiciously

Adverts, popups, blinking banners, hypes—nobody likes them. In fact, they are spammy. If you can’t entirely avoid ads on your website, show them sparingly and clearly tag them as sponsored content.

9. Watch Out for Errors

Whether it’s a typographical error, a mistaken link, or a misquote, errors will make you appear careless and does not echo credibility at all.

Your website is where your leads funnel and are converted to sales. Why not take care to build trust so that you don’t miss the opportunities that those leads brought with them?

Protecting Your Personal Brand Online: Important Things You Need to Know

Protecting your personal online brand

Gone are the days when business owners and corporations are the only entities faced with protecting their online brands. That’s a truth that can’t be disputed. Individuals now need to protect their personal brand.

Of course, it’s easy to imagine that, since you don’t own a business, there’s no brand to protect. However, instead of imagining, first try to understand what a personal brand and brand security mean. How their absences can affect his or her personal life.

Personal Online Brand

Your personal online brand is your public image online. That is, what you represent online. How people perceive you online. It’s your online visibility. Your online authenticity. Your online authority. It’s that name you use across all online channels. It’s the opinion you share on various web platforms.

Online Brand Security

Online brand security, on the other hand, is all about protecting that image. It’s all about plugging all holes via which an unauthorised person can leverage or hijack your brand (or some aspects of it) as their own. Usually, such a person would be looking to achieve a dubious goal with your brand. Perhaps, one that profits them, harms your online reputation or presence, or even hurts you as a person.

Therefore, while you may not have a corporate brand to protect, there are still your online handle and image. If you think nobody could be interested in stealing them, then think again. The threats to a brand can come in many forms:

  • As a desperate corporate competitor looking for an edge over you.
  • A cyber squatter.
  • A scammer.
  • Even as a spammer.
  • It could even be someone that answers the same name as you trying to establish their own online brand. This can be especially damaging if the person posts ideas that go against your values.
  • Or as your abuse of the internet. For instance, what you post on social media today can hurt you tomorrow.

There are many other possibilities. And if one doesn’t poke a hole in your online image, another might.

Why Do You Need Personal Online Brand Security?

  • About 48% of recruiters check their prospective employees’ personal websites before deciding whether to hire or not.
  • Even if you have no need for a personal online brand today, chances are that the need will arise in the future. For instance, an aspiring writer could become a popular professional author tomorrow. It’s only reasonable to secure your name across all channels from the onset.
  • About 63% of recruiters use social media to learn more about prospective employees.
  • Secure your online name against cyber squatters.
  • Protect yourself from scammers.
  • Protect yourself from competitors.
  • About 8% of companies have laid off an employee because the employee abused social media

Hence, if your personal online brand is compromised, so might your chances at some great online and offline business or employment opportunities.

How to Protect Your Personal Brand Online

Secure Your Domain Name

Since you are looking to secure your personal brand, it’s ideal to choose a domain name that is closely related to your legal name. If possible, use your legal name. Thus, if your name is John Lock, then use JohnLock.com or something close to that.

Depending on your resources, it’s also ideal to register variations of the name or the same name under top domain extensions. Example, [dot]net, [dot]co.uk, and [dot]org. This will tightly distinguish and protect your personal brand from other people answering the same name.

You can also register free subdomains with WordPress and Blogger. It doesn’t matter that you might not use them. This will help prevent someone else from stealing your identity there.

Build a Personal Website or Blog

There are many reasons you need a personal website or blog as a way of protecting your personal brand online. Here are the major ones.

  • It’s a way to build your authority online. When you run a personal blog, and share original, compelling content—your expertise and experiences—you create awareness about yourself, people get to know you, and with time you could become established as an influencer.
  • You offer yourself a better chance at landing business and employment opportunities.
  • You increase your visibility on search engines and put your name out there. Hence, when people, an employer or a potential business associate, google your name, you site appears. This can be especially beneficial when there are many other people online answering the same name as you.

Secure Your Social Media Handles

Be sure to register your social media accounts using your legal name or something close to that as your username. It’s recommended that you use the same username across all channels. That’s including in your domain name. If you have multiple domain names, one of them should reflect your social media username.

Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn may allow you to answer the same profile name as another user. But then your username must be unique. And that’s what you should focus on securing. To simultaneously check for the availability of your legal or chosen name as a username on multiple social media sites, use this tool.

If there are social media platforms you don’t want to use, you can prevent someone else from registering your username. Simply create accounts on the sites for the sake of locking the username down.

Interconnect Everything

A very important way to establish and protect your personal brand online is by interconnecting all your online accounts. For instance, connecting all your domains to your website and connecting your social media accounts to your website and vice versa. That way, people can find your website via your social media profiles. Or your social media pages via your website. It’s a powerful way of showing your authenticity.

Select the Domain Privacy Option

When you register a domain, your personal information (that is, your phone number, address, email address, fax…) is publicly listed on the WHOIS directory. Other info like your domain registration and expiry dates is also listed publicly. This means that anybody can easily find your personal info by running a search for your domain name on the directory.

This exposes you to many security issues:

  • Scammers and spammers looking to take advantage of you and your personal brand.
  • You become vulnerable to identity theft.
  • Domain hijackers looking to take over your domain name.
  • It becomes easy for stalkers to find your personal information.

To protect your identity, simply elect the domain privacy option. That way, your registrar will have dummy domain registration info, instead of your true personal details, published on the WHOIS directory.

Finally, never stop researching more ways to build and secure your brand online. Because as the years go by, new threats will sprout. And you want to be ready for them. Leave nothing to chance.

Seven Things You Can Do with Your Domain Name

Seven things you can do with your domain name - Macaulay Gidado

When people say they need a domain name, the first thought that comes to mind is, “they want to set up a website”. While that may be appropriate, a domain name can do much more. Are you holding off on registering a domain name? Perhaps because you are not quite sure what to do with it? Here are seven ways you can use it.

Secure Your Online Identity with a Domain Name

Cyber-squatters and domain investors are getting more desperate to make money online every day. Securing your online identity has never been more important. You may not need a website for yourself or company today (very unlikely). But you most certainly will in the future. Registering your ideal domain name now will save you the headache and cost of acquiring it tomorrow from any domain investor who beats you to it.

Also, if you own a company, then securing your domain name become paramount. You might also want to secure similar names relevant to your brand. This will protect you from competitors or traffic hijackers looking to divert some of your customers or site visitors to their websites.

Even if you aren’t currently making use of the domain name, you can let it sit there, until you are ready to use it. This is referred to as domain parking.

Make Money Through Monetized Parking of Your Domain Name

People sometimes confuse domain parking and monetized domain parking. With domain parking, you simply register a domain name without using it. But with monetized parking, you opt in for your registrar to set up a dummy webpage for your domain name and list adverts targeting type-in traffic to the domain.

Making tangible money with monetized parking is not as easy as advertised online. Going with the meaning of ‘type-in traffic’, your domain name should be a popular keyword or keyword phrase. One people are likely to type into the URL bar out of curiosity or when searching for a website related to the keyword. Example: people.com. Your domain can also be a misspelling like twtter.com. The goal is capture people searching for twitter.com, but who omitted the “i” by mistake.

In any case, the number of such domain names you register will also count towards how much you make from monetized domain parking.

Sell Your Domain

Many people are into domain investing. And it’s extremely profitable for those that understand the mechanics. It involves registering domain names you believe will be in demand in the future. It also involves a bit or a lot of waiting. After which you then sell the domains off to whoever is willing to pay the price you want.

While many domain investors make hundreds or thousands of dollars on a single name, some great domain names go ahead to land their owners deals worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars—sometimes even millions.

If you have some domain names you want to sell, here is how you go about doing it.

Set Up a Website

This is the major reason for domain name registration. When someone types in your domain name into the URL bar of their browser, your website is what they should find. It doesn’t matter what type of website. It can be:

  • A blog, where you share regular compelling content about a topic in which you are an expert.
  • An ecommerce website where you sell products online.
  • A company website where you display information about your company and your product or service, generate leads, and relate with your customers.
  • A personal website with info about you (this can come in the form of an author website, an online resume, even a virtual business card listing where you can be found online and offline, and so on).

You can set up a website at your domain by selecting a webhosting plan.

Setup a Personalised Email Address

Have you have ever wanted an email address that says @yourname.com? Perhaps for your personal use or for your business? You must have at a point wondered how to procure it. Well, it all starts with you registering a domain name that equally says yourname.com. Whether you set up such an email via your domain registrar or Google app, there is no denying that it will make you appear professional to whomever sees your email in their inbox.

The best part is that you can even set up as many email addresses as you want at that domain.

Forward Your Domain

There are many applications for this. You can forward your domain name to your website, Facebook page, twitter timeline, or to some other social media profile. This is especially handy when you have high-traffic domain names you simply don’t want to park. Instead of letting the traffic waste, you redirect it to any webpage of yours that needs it.

To forward a domain, simply login to your domain account manager, select the domain you want to forward, input the URL of the page you want it forwarded to, save, and you are done.

Lease Your Domain

This is another alternative when you don’t want to sell your domain name. However, it’s not a very popular one. Even so, if you find someone that is willing to pay monthly or yearly to host a website on your domain, by all means enjoy the opportunity. With leasing your domain, you can eat your cake and have it. But your domain must be a hot cake (commands much traffic or benefits whatever the renter wants to do with it) for anyone or company to want to lease it.

Just make sure that your contract with this person clearly states what they can’t use the domain for, as you don’t want them jeopardising its value by doing something illegal or something that may get it blacklisted by bodies like Google. The contract should also include the conditions under which any of you can terminate the lease.

These are the major ways you can utilise your domain name. Here are other alternatives, although most of them fall under the abovementioned ones. Learn more about domain names here.

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

6-Reasons-People-Leave-Your-Website - Macaulay Gidado

The Internet is swarming with information—some great, some not. With a few keywords and a click of the mouse, a reader can easily compel the search engine to display thousands of results related to their research. Each result, belonging to one website or another, is competing with the others for the reader’s attention.

This means the reader has plenty of options to go through. Should they land on your website, you have around fifteen seconds to convince them to not leave. Even if they linger for more than fifteen seconds, you have to also worry about engaging them and making sure they return next time.

To understand how to make your site visitors to stay, you must first understand why they leave. Below are some of the notorious reasons that make people leave a site.

Misleading domain name

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

It’s very unlikely that your domain name will make your visitors click away from your site as soon as they land there, unless your domain name or site title are misleading—then it’s very likely. It would be like a tech geek looking for Wi-Fi tips visiting a website with, say, ‘hotspot’ in its domain name, only him to discover it’s a site about sex toys. He will most likely leave the website.

Therefore, it’s important that your domain name depicts the content of your website so that you don’t attract the wrong people who would only leave as soon as they come.

Monotonous Content

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

When you get visitors and ask them what they want to drink, some may say tea, some others may ask for coffee, another may request for a beer, and others may choose water. Likewise, every one of your website visitors cannot be interested in the same way of digesting information.

Some may prefer sliding through pictures to reading, some others may be into watching videos, while a few others may love reading but only when words are integrated with graphics.

It’s all about preference.

Experiment with new ways of presenting your content. Use slides, infographics, videos, reviews et cetera to capture and keep the attentions of different types of visitors.

Too many adverts on Your Website

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

There is nothing more annoying than ads appearing everywhere, nagging to be clicked, obstructing visitors from acquiring the information that brought them to your website.

The worst types are popup ads. They are in the same league as mosquitos. Try visiting a site with lots of them and you will understand why anyone would click the ‘back’ button as soon as they start emerging.

As a general rule, avoid using them in places they will obstruct your visitors’ view. Also avoid large picture or banner ads—if you must use them, they shouldn’t be the first thing your visitors see. And be subtle with your monetisation efforts.

Disruptive videos and audios

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

While videos and audios are viable ways to diversify your content and the ways you present it, they can be disruptive if not used properly. They can make a visitor turn around and leave.

Instead of videos that play automatically, give your visitors a choice to play or not play your videos. Humans love free will. Taking it away from one is like pushing the person away. Also, sometimes a visitor might come across your website while in a library. If your website’s background sound is loud, then the person will definitely leave.

Bad Navigation

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

A bad navigation is like a washed-out map. And a washed-out map is so useless that we often crumple it up and toss it into the wastebasket. A main navigation scattered all through a web page, hidden, or designed with unclear images will only frustrate your visitors. Or, worse, make them leave.

Also, your main navigation should entail links to the essential pages on your website. Those pages should be easy to find. For instance, if a visitor that wants to use your service can’t find a link to your ‘about’ or ‘contact’, the opportunity they brought will be lost to you when they leaves.

Your main navigation should be well-grouped, well-placed, and should list your major pages. Ideal positions for your main navigation are the top of the page and the sidebars. Those are the places people look first.

Other navigations should also be easy to find. If you are selling a product, then the ‘buy’ button had better be under the image of that product. If you want people to subscribe to your newsletters, the ‘subscribe’ link or button should be very easy to find and should be present on your landing page.

Read more about navigation pitfalls.

Bad content and design

6 Reasons People Leave Your Website

The purpose of designing a website and filling it with content is to engage visitors. But then you can’t engage them if your content and design are neither helpful nor coherent.

Your design is like the packaging. And, much as it has to be appealing, it will be defeating your purpose for it if it obstructs the content—a good example of this is a website design that favours beautiful fonts and colours over readable texts.

Your content, on the other hand, will be defeating its own purpose if it’s chaff and not updated regularly.

Perhaps you have examined your website and believe it has none of the flaws mentioned above. Well done. But to be sure or to discover other reasons (general ones as well as those unique to your site) that push visitors away from your site, check out this list of helpful tools.

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

Quality web design is the building block of great websites and thus is an invaluable investment for any company looking to establish its online presence. An excellent design will cost between a few thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars—sometimes even millions for hefty websites—depending on the features and the type of website.

The big question is whether or not the investment of using a professional web designer is worth its price tag. How does it positively impact your business?

Professional Web Design Improves Identity and Uniformity

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

Professional web designers are experts in their field, with years of mastered talent and skills. To ensure your web design resonates with your brand, they consider every aspect of your business (your niche, products and services, target customers, company logo, business cards, online profiles, and so on) before tailoring out a uniform visual representation.

A consistent design will not only improve your company’s identity, but also make your site speak to the heart and soul of your brand. Thus, instead of your website looking like that of three different businesses, the design identifies it as a brand.

Professional Web Design Makes for a Great First Impression

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

It’s human nature to worry about first impression. We hate rejection and disapproval, because we understand they leave us isolated. In business, isolation can be a deadly blow, especially because every brand needs customers’ approval to thrive. It’s only when customers approve that they are willing to swap their hard-earned money for whatever you are selling.

You can set your brand up for a powerful and lasting first online impression by investing in your web design and ensuring that it identifies with your current and prospective customers. An unprofessional company website will destroy whatever credibility and reputation you hope to build and can manifest through poor loading speed, template, colour integration, and so on.

Professional Web Design Plus Great Webhosting Boost Loading Speed

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

Research shows that a single second delay in the load time of a webpage can result in 11% decrease in page views, 16% in customer satisfaction, and 7% in conversion. This makes the loading speed of a website very vital to the survival of the brand that owns it.

A great load time can be achieved by choosing a reputable webhosting company, one with an exceptional uptime, one that allocates the ideal amount of RAM and bandwidth at a good price. There’s also the issue of whether the RAM and bandwidth can be scaled as traffic to your site grows.

But then you would be defeating the purpose of taking out a quality hosting service if your website design is poor and hindering the performance of your hosting package. This is why you should always go for a professional design service.

A professional web designer will know to simplify your web design to reduce HTTP requests for various parts of your webpages like images, scripts, flash, and stylesheet, compress your website’s resources, enable browser caching, optimise images, minify your resources, optimise CSS delivery, reduce number of plugins, reduce redirects, and perform a host of other design tasks that can tremendously speed up your site.

Professional Web Design Helps You Stand Out from Competition

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

The last thing you want is for your company website to drown in the crowd of similar website designs that populate your niche. These overused designs, no doubt, deliver some good results.

But then a company that aspires to stand apart from competition doesn’t need good results: it needs great results. Don’t imitate; imitations are never as good as their originals. Instead hire a professional designer that will build your site’s design from scratch and imbue your company’s unique selling points in the design.

Professional Web Design Generates Revenue

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

It’s naturally a human thing to be drawn to attractive, useful and important things. That trait remains the same even on the Internet. In the case of your company’s website design, the look of your pages, what they say, and the features they highlight will go a long way in converting traffic to your site into sales.

The designs of your calls to action and their locations on the pages are all part of your web design. They should be able to compel site visitors to do exactly what you need them to do.

Professional Web Design Integrates Content with Structure

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

When people visit your company website, their interest is in the content. The design is merely a means of making that content easier to digest. This implies that while design is important, it’s not the purpose of your site.

To deliver the message you are trying to pass across with your site, you need a professional web design. One that leverages useful and well-positioned navigation. Readable fonts and font sizes. A great blend of page colour and text colour. Good content organization. Well-structured catalogues. And many other design aspects.

Always remember: a great design is like an architecturally sound structure. Without the beams, columns and a strong foundation (which make up the framework of the structure), everything else crumbles.

Professional Web Design Offers Your Website an Objective Point of View

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

There is no doubt that you are the expert in your business. Or that your imagination may have cooked up a fantastical design. Putting such a design, if it can be created, to use may result in issues. Like poor loading time. A website too colourful or too dull for your niche. A design that hinders the digestion of the content, and so on.

A professional web designer understands what’s feasible and what’s not. He or she can serve as the objective perspective that can trim your raw idea to deliver an effective blend between your concept and what’s practical.

Room for Cost-effective Development

Eight Benefits of Professional Web Design - Macaulay Gidado

By using professional web design, you avoid having to pay for web design in the future when you realize the disadvantages of a poor design.

Also, a quality design is a solid foundation on which you can add extra features and tweaks in the future. You can do this without needing to give your website a complete redesign. Even when many tweaks are needed, you benefit from having developed a relationship with a professional designer. One that is familiar with your design and can make the adjustments without ruining your website.

Your website is the online equivalent of your business premises. This implies that it requires as much attention as your physical the business premises? Just the way you hired a professional to set up your physical office, hire a professional to design your website.

Get in touch with Macaulay Gidado for a professional website design.

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business

Create a Home for Your Marketing Offers - Macaulay Gidado

A Landing page is simply a web page for capturing the information of visitors that land on the page. It typically does this through a conversion form, also known as a lead-capture form.

A good landing page does the following:

Targets a specific audience

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

For instance, leads from a pay-per-click ad, traffic from an email campaign, or blog visitors.

Offers the audience something of value

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

For example, a downloadable informative e-book, a webinar, a free trial, coupons for a product, and so on.

Captures visitors’ information

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

That’s including who they are, how to reach them, and why they offered you that information.

Convert as many of the visitors as possible into leads

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

It does this by combining Points 2 and 3 above. This means enticing visitors with a valuable offer (as stated in Point 2) but only giving the offer to them when they have fulfilled Point 3 (that is, offered you their information by filling out a lead-capture form). Example: having visitors sign-up to get your free informative e-book.

A Little Bit About How Landing Pages Work

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

Problem: John recently bought a horse, but he knows very little about grooming horses. He needs help.

Problem Solver: You groom horses for a living, and you run a blog about owning and taking care of horses. You need clients. So you create a landing page and connect it to your blog or ad campaign using a call to action.

John Seeks a Solution: John searches “how to groom a horse” on Google Search and Google leads him to your blog or ad campaign. He reads your content on grooming horses and at the end finds a call to action prompting him to download your free e-book on grooming horses.

What John Thinks: He needs help grooming his horse, and he thinks your e-book might be helpful. In other words, valuable.

What John Does: John clicks on the call to action and it takes him to your landing page. The landing page asks him to register in order to download the e-book. Now, he has no choice. He needs that e-book (value). So he fills out the form with his information.

Conversion: You now have John’s information. You can now entice him with more offers or perhaps get him to hire you to groom his horse. Chances are that after reading the e-book and noticing your expertise in the field, he would come running back to you to groom his horse.

The above example isn’t the only way a visitor could move from a stranger to a lead. Visitors can also find your landing page through PPC, referral traffic, social media, email, a website, or even directly, perhaps, because you shared the link to the landing page somewhere.

The most important set of things is to set up the landing page and make it easy for your targeted audience to find it.

Difference Between a Landing Page and a Full Website

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

A website is meant to be informative, to give visitors information about your brand and product/service, to educate your visitors, to establish your expertise in a certain niche topic, and so on. A website can also aim to convert those visitors to leads. However, it’s not focused or concise enough to convert visitors before they get carried away.

A landing page, on the other hand, is meant specifically for driving conversion. It’s succinct, persuasive, and compels visitors to make the decision you want them to make in the shortest time possible. It’s like a funnel through which prospects from a website or a marketing and promotional campaign flows into your leads pool.

Make no mistake, a landing page can’t function alone. It will not convert visitors to leads if no one lands on it or if no one knows it exists.

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

  • First, you need to create it.
  • Second, you need to get it noticed. Make it easy to be found.

Therefore, you need to direct visitors to the landing page from one or more of the following places:

  • A blog you run.
  • Your website.
  • Search Engine
  • A marketing/promotional campaign.
  • Social media.
  • Email marketing.
  • Referral traffic.
  • Forums and online places where you share the link to the landing page.

Fail to do that and your landing page would simply be a fancy web page sitting in oblivion on the internet.

Four Benefits of a Landing Page

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

Generate More and Better Leads

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

Of course, a website or blog can generate leads, but a landing page does it better. It captures leads at a much higher rate. That’s why many successful companies that have a website or/and blog also have landing pages. Many even use landing pages as their websites’ home pages. For higher conversion, you might need to have multiple landing pages, each targeting a specific audience demographic by making them an offer unique to them.

Create a Home for Your Marketing Offers

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

Website visitors looking for informative content typically frown at marketing offers, especially when they are not interested in the offers they are seeing. This makes putting marketing offers on your blog or website dicey. It can piss off your visitors. This is where a landing page comes in. It simply separates those marketing offer from the informative content on your site or blog and gives them a separate home to live.

Also, marketing offers are simply meant to convert users, to motivate them to purchase a product or service. It thus becomes reasonable to put the offers on a page designed specifically for conversion.

Gather Information About Your Audience

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

Do you know that your marketing and sales team gather valuable demographic information whenever a visitor fills out a conversion form on your landing page? The information can help your team understand the type of people that are converting because of the offer made on the landing page. It gives them a better understanding of the type of people interested in the product or service associated with the offer on the landing page. This will help make your targeting more direct and efficient.

Improve Your SEO

Why You Need a Landing Page for Your Business - Macaulay Gidado

Ask yourself this simple question: when last did you click to the second or subsequent pages of a Google Search result? You probably don’t remember. This suggests that pages that don’t appear on the first page of search results are doomed to be ignored by search engine users. In fact, 68% of the time, search engine users only click on the top five search results on Google’s first page. Therefore, if you truly want organic search traffic, you need to be one of the top five results for search terms relevant to your brand. By creating multiple landing pages, you get multiple chances to rank high in relevant searches.

And when you rank high, your landing pages attract more visitors, and more visitors translate to higher conversion.

Now that you have the benefits of landing pages at your fingertips, don’t dawdle further. Go and develop your own landing pages and start converting more leads.

This article also appeared in Macaulay Gidado’s Medium Publication.