Category

Design

SEO improvements

Improving SEO with better usability

By | Design, Web Design | No Comments
SEO improvements

Website usability to improve SEO ranking

Useful, high quality, relevant content

“Dwell time” is the amount of time visitors spend on your website and it can affect SEO ranking. When you provide useful content, visitors tend to stay longer on your website.

Based on this research, content between 2,000 – 2,500 words seems to rank the highest in search engine results.

Although word count doesn’t rule the SEO world, longer content does give you the opportunity to provide more value, include more keywords, incorporate more outbound links, and of course, get people to spend more time reading to increase dwell time.

Page Load Speeds

Both Google and Bing take page-loading speed into account in their website ranking algorithm.

Users may leave your site if they have to wait even just an extra few seconds for each page to load. That would hurt your dwell time, increase your bounce rate and reduce the number of pages viewed – all of which could hurt your SEO ranking.

There are many ways to increase page load speed, some of which include using a caching plug-ins, making sure the code is clean and streamlined, optimizing image sizes, reducing the number of plug-ins, and minimizing redirects.

Research has shown that using good quality images can increase the conversion rate. Properly optimizing your images can help you take advantage of using photos to generate empathy, increase trust, and improve a visitor’s experience without hampering load time which could affect your SEO ranking.

Using Header Tags

Good formatting of your content helps improve the user experience of your website tremendously. It makes readers more willing to spend time to read your content and come back for more, which will ultimately signal your relevancy to search engines.
Proper use of header tags can help break up your content into sections that are easier to read and utilize.

It’s easy to insert header tags in WordPress to improve user experience and improve SEO ranking of your website.
Search engines also rate keywords in header tags more heavily. By including relevant terms in your header tags, you are also boosting your SEO ranking against those keywords.

Outbound Links

To make your content more useful and relevant, you can link out to authority sites for more in-depth information your readers can use.
Linking out to well-respected authority sites will not only increase the relevancy of your content and time readers spend on your site, but it is also believed to send trust signals to Google and improve SEO ranking.

Use Different Multimedia

Images, videos, slideshows and audio can help enrich the user experience and allow you to deliver information in a way that is most suited to your ideal site visitors. They also act as a signal of quality content to search engines… after all, you have put in the work to make your content look good and interactive.

Video marketing has become an increasingly integral element in driving user engagement and conversion. It’s found that websites using videos can achieve a 4.8% higher conversion rate, compared to a 2.9% average on websites that don’t use videos.

Use Different Multimedia

Even if you have a well-educated audience, they probably don’t want to be deciphering a PhD dissertation every time they visit your website and read your content. You don’t want them to give up reading your content and click away because it’s too difficult to digest. Making your content easy to read and understand, helps make it useful to your readers. Some experts also believe that Google takes readability into account when ranking webpages.

Layout and Formating

When visitors can’t find what they need on a website right away, they most likely leave the site and this contributes to high bounce rate, low dwell time and a low number of pages viewed.

A well-thought-out site architecture reflected in clear navigation is critical in helping visitors find what they want on your site, accomplish their goals and come back repeatedly (repeated visits can improve SEO ranking.)

A “flat” site architecture not only makes content easier to find, but it can also help improve SEO ranking as it surfaces links of all critical pages making it easier for search engines to crawl the entire site.

Site Architecture and Navigation

Proper formatting and a user-friendly layout can help improve user experience and make your content easy to scan and digest, so your readers will stay on your site longer and consume your website’s information.

Formatting can help dramatically improve a webpage’s usability by making the content easy to read:

  • Font size and typography that are easy to read.
  • Bold type and colors – sparingly and strategically
  • Shorter paragraphs and ample line spacing in between
  • Bulleted or numbered lists for clarity.
  • Techniques such as sliders, tabs, progressive layouts, structured grids, modal windows, rollover elements to organize content and add interactivity.

Still confused or want somebody to create a website. Have a look at our portfolio or contact us.

Social Media Agency

Social Media Growth Hacking

By | Design, Graphic Design, Social Media
Social Media Agency

Social Media Management (Growth Hacking)

Lincoln Collective is a social media agency, in Cape Town. We offer social media management and various other services.

The face of social media management has changed and everyone is jumping on the social media bandwagon. How can you use these social media management opportunities to grow your business quickly?

Growth hacking is a new term, refers to a person whose job is to rapidly grow and engage the user base of a start-up business. Their target is rapid exponential user base growth – every strategy they implement is to produce growth.

If your social media manager is doing their job well, they should be hacking into your online growth in the form of followers. Followers generate leads, leads generate profit. Here are a few growth hacking tips to up your user base and engage them.

Social Media Management

The best social media management consultant Cape Town has to offer will tell you that the best growth hack is competitions. Competitions engage users, they funnel them to your product, they give users incentives to like and want your product.

Competitions are great growth hack tools. As they can be run at any time of the year, they are diverse and engaging. “Sharing competitions,” says one social media agency Cape Town has on offer, “is a great way to use your user’s follower base to increase your own.”

What sort of competitions can you run?

The most popular for new business is called the ‘distribution hack’. The idea is to give away your product or partner with another company to give away one of their products in conjunction with yours. The competition should be aimed at generating likes on your social media pages. Or a landing page where you can mine user data.

Another great competition campaign can revolve around a holiday or company milestone. 12 days till Christmas? Milk those twelve days with great deals, discounts, and product giveaways, holidays are the eggnog of the marketing world. Did your company’s Twitter page just get 2000 followers? Share the good news and your appreciation of your followers by giving them the opportunity to win free things.

The best social media marketing seems to always come with a consolation prize. Announce your winner, but also thank other followers with a discount code. Still confused or want somebody to manage your social media? Have a look at our portfolio or contact us.

Shopify stores

Building a Shopify Site

By | Design, Web Design
Shopify stores

Building a Shopify Site

In this post, I am going to go through Shopify and some of the other technology to make the process of setting up your own shop. Launching a store is a massive undertaking, but it is made easier by the World Wide Web.

This is one of the easiest ways to open an online store. Shopify offers a 14-day free trial for each and every store you wish to open, so giving it a try will cost you nothing and, during that time, you can experiment with shop design, plugins, inventory selection, payment processing and other aspects of the site.

After your trial, pricing is available at $29, $79 or $299 per month depending on the features you need. The Basic Shopify plan at $29 per month is more than adequate for most beginning online retailers.

Setting Up

When you sign up for an account with Shopify, the system will ask you to name your store and it will then assign you a site address. Choose a store named “Lincoln,” for example, and your site address will be “lincoln.myshopify.com.” While you’re always welcome to keep this site address as the home of your store on the web, you’re more than likely going to want to change it to something better, and not focused on Shopify.

Upon joining Shopify, after entering your shop name, the system will ask you a few questions about the type of shop you are opening and then ask for some personal details. After that, you’ll be on the main dashboard page. Simply click on the “Add Domain” button here and then either buy a new domain from Shopify or follow the instructions to connect one you’ve already purchased from a different registrar.

Window Dressing

The next step in opening your virtual store is to figure out how you’d like it to look. You can do this by clicking the “Customize Theme” button on your dashboard screen. Click on the “Explore Free Themes” button to check out the options available as part of your Shopify package. You can make a shopify site this way, but at Lincoln Collective we develop Shopify site. With a custom developed site, you get what you want and something different to everybody else. If this is something you are interested in drop us a mail or fill out our quote form.

Once you find the template you like, click the “Add” button in the pop-up window. Then, somewhat counterintuitively, scroll down and click the “Actions” button and select “Publish.”

After your theme is selected, click “Customize” and you’ll be able to add pages, change photos, add text, create a blog, customize your header and footer, and more.

Products

Of course, no matter how good your online shop looks, it won’t really do much for you if you don’t have any products displayed. There are two basic ways to populate your page with products. The first would be if you already have possession of the physical products you want to sell.

To set up your products, click the “products” text link in the left-side menu. Then click “Add product.” This will take you to a page where you can enter your product title, images, variants (like sizes and colors), shipping weight and other details. You can also set a “Compare At” price, which will show next to the actual price on your site as a crossed out amount, letting customers know that they’re getting an item for less than the suggested retail price.

If you don’t already have products to sell, you could consider drop shipping, a system whereby someone else warehouses and ships your products for you. You basically become the middleman, marking up products you find and selling them through your online store, while another company (or set of companies) manufactures, stores and ships your products.

Pages

While your Shopify template will automatically place each product you add on its own page, you might want to add additional pages to your site for such things as FAQs, contact forms and shipping information. If so, it’s as easy as clicking on “Online Store” in the side menu, choosing “Pages” and then clicking “Add page.”

Enter the details on the next page. If you want to include a contact form, be sure to select the “page.contact” option from the drop-down menu on the right.

Once you have created a new page, it will be available for you to link to from other areas of the site. You can also include a link to the page in your footer by clicking on the “Navigation” link beneath “Online Store” in the menu on the left. This is also where you can adjust what appears in the menu at the top of your site.

Blogs

Adding a blog to your site is equally straightforward. Choose “Online Store” in the left-side menu, then “Blog posts,” followed by “Create blog post.” After writing your post, be sure to click the button next to “Visible” in the upper right. Also, you might want to copy the first paragraph of your post and paste it into the “Excerpt” area.

Once a blog post is created, add it to your homepage if you’d like by clicking “Online Store,” then the blue “Customize” button on the right. Click on the “Add section” link on the left and choose “Blog post.” You can also adjust the flow of your home page here by clicking on the six dots to the right of the choices in the left-hand column and dragging the item to the position in which you’d like it to appear.

Payment Processing

A Shopify store automatically comes with credit card processing as part of your monthly fee. Shopify charges you 2.9% plus $.30 of every transaction they process. Your store also comes with the ability to process PayPal payments, although you’ll need an account of your own in order to activate that service.

This feature of a Shopify store can be a huge cost saving. If you were to set up an online store on your own, you’d have to contract with a third party credit card processor such as Authorize.net, who would not only charge you a per-transaction fee in the same neighborhood as Shopify, but they’d also likely hit you with a setup fee in the hundreds of dollars, as well as a monthly maintenance fee which tends to be in the $30 range. When you’re just starting out, those extra fees can put a lot of drag on your launch, so using Shopify’s payment gateway is a smart move—unless you already process payments on another site with a third-party provider.

To set up payment processing, click on the word “Settings” next to the gear icon in the bottom left-hand column, then click on “Payments.” If you’re happy to use Shopify as your processor, click on “Complete account setup,” and follow the steps provided. Otherwise, click on “Change provider” (top right) and choose another processor.

Communication

Shopify has an impressive set of email templates baked in, which are sent out to your customers during certain trigger points in the shopping and purchasing process. To access them, click on “Settings” again and navigate to “Notifications.”

Here you can tailor which notifications you send to your customers—such as order confirmations, tracking information and notes about cancelled orders—and edit exactly what those emails say. You’ll need to feel comfortable working in a bit of code, as the email templates are displayed in HTML, but it’s pretty simple to figure out where the text is and make amendments as needed.

Summary

If you’re looking to set up shop fast on the web, you’re really not going to do much better than Shopify—especially if you’re not too familiar with the under-the-hood workings of the internet. The interface is super smooth and navigating around the site comes pretty intuitively. There is also great customer support in the form of the site’s super-responsive live chat, a feature that is disappearing faster and faster these days from online companies.

If there are any downsides, it’s that you may find the site a little constrictive if you really have a need for out-of-the-box design or functionality. Also, because you’ll need to purchase an app to add in enhanced features like email or discount popups, the monthly fees can climb pretty quickly. Still, the site—even in its un-enhanced-by-apps format—provides plenty for a beginning e-retailer to sink their mouse into.

Want to get a custom build Shopify store or need some help with an existing store? Have a look at our portfolio or contact us.

Wordpres Website

Is WordPress the right CMS to use?

By | Design, Web Design
Wordpres Website

The WordPress CMS

WordPress is a brilliant Content Management System(CMS), that allows people to build a blog, standard websites and even e-commerce stores, but is it the right CMS for you. In this blog post, we go through a few of the pros and cons of this CMS.

The biggest and most widely known positive to using WordPress is that you don’t have to have a dedicated team of programmers to do basic updates to the website. Also, the basic elements of WordPress, are completely free and it doesn’t cost to install WordPress on your server. This is a very big thing for commerce platforms and online shops. There are still various limitations to WordPress but most of these can be overcome by using 3rd party plugins.

Pro: Easy Content Updates

Basic tasks are easy to do with WordPress as it is a Content Management system, it is much easier to update with new content and images once the theme has been developed. There is a sizable amount of WordPress developer so if you need something developed or maintenance it would be easy to find.

Pro: SEO integration

There is a wide variety of SEO plugins for WordPress which makes it easier to keep the SEO up to date. But this being said SEO is still a massive challenge and often you will need the help of SEO experts in order to do well.

Pro: Security Plugins

There is a collection of very good security plugins for WordPress. Many of these provide Web Application Firewalls which monitor all inbound requests and blocks malicious requests before they can do harm.

Con: difficulties with the visual design

With WordPress, there is no universal drag and drop system like that of Wix. Everything needs to be hand coded to a certain extent. This is where it can become impractical for smaller companies to develop themselves.

Con/Pro: Open Source

There is many advantages to open source software, are here is also a few pitfalls. One of them is that WordPress is licensed under a GNU General Public License v2.0, this basically means that the code your create will be licensed under the same license.

WordPress being open source has a big positive as there is a large developer community, which constantly helping improve and revised plugins and various other aspects of WordPress. This leads to the next positive of using WordPress and that is:

Constant Updates

There are many updates to the various plugins, themes and the CMS itself. This means that the website you create won’t become null and void, with time. Your site will be able to stay up to date with new versions of the CMS and improvements to the coding languages. Most of these updates are simply to do.

Con: Custom Layouts are tricky

Custom layouts and themes can be tricky to come and make a website that is truly custom and doesn’t look like every other WordPress site. Working with experienced responsive website designers and developers is the best way to make sure your site fits all of your business’ needs. Of course, once you have your custom site set up, it’s possible to edit content and create new pages and posts with little to no previous experience.

Con: Constant Need to update.

WordPress needs constant updates to combat pirates and hacker, and patches are getting released often. You will want to make sure you have the proper skills to make these updates yourself or that you work with a web development company to ensure your site software is always up to date.

Con: Pagespeed

The speed of WordPress, this is an issue as there is a lot of themes that contain a lot of generic code that slows down the wordpress site. This can be a major problem for first-time users and people who don’t much about coding and the workings of WordPress.

Still confused or want somebody to create a website. Have a look at our portfolio or contact us.

e-commerce

E-commerce – WordPress (Woo-commerce) Vs Shopify

By | Design, Web Design
e-commerce

WordPress (Woocommerce) Vs Shopify

So you want to build an e-commerce store, but don’t know which platform to choose. In this blog post, I will discuss the difference between Shopify and WordPress. There are so many options but these are two of the best.

The main differences between Shopify and WordPress

The main difference between these two is that Shopify is an online tool/service, whereas WordPress is a stand-alone software that you need to install yourself.

In order to use Shopify, all you have to do is go to Shopify.com and sign up for an account. Once done, you only need to go through a quick setup, and your e-commerce store is up and running.

To use WordPress as your e-commerce platform, on the other hand, requires a lot more steps:

  1. First, you need to buy a domain and a web hosting account where you can have the default version of WordPress installed.
  2. You need to pick a theme (design) for your website, plus a handful of plugins to take care of things like SEO, social media integration and whatnots.
  3. After that, you need a plugin like WooCommerce to provide you with all the e-commerce features (those are not built into WordPress out the gate).
  4. Finally, you need to go through the configuration process of your e-commerce store (the store details, payment gateway integrations, products, and etc.). Those can take a while of its own too.

And last but not least, with Shopify, you also get support, which means that should you ever encounter any trouble with the platform, you can simply contact the support team, and they will (likely) solve it. That been said the support with Shopify is not far and you will encounter many problems when developing a site on Shopify. With WordPress, there’s no support but there is just so much information out there, you don’t need direct support often.

Shopify

  • An all-in-one e-commerce solution/tool. It allows you to build a functional e-commerce store from scratch, without a designer’s or developer’s help.
  • No coding skills required to use Shopify.
  • It’s a paid tool – from $9 to $179 per month.
  • It allows you to sell whatever you wish (goods, services, products both digital and physical, as well as dropshipping).
  • Use it offline and online (you can use it as your online store, but also use something called Point of Sale with Shopify, which is their system for retail stores that allows you to integrate your on-location store with your setup in Shopify).
  • More than 100 online store designs to choose from (some of them paid).
  • Every new site gets a custom subdomain for free. For example something lie: YOURSTORE.shopify.com.
  • There’s 24/7 support.

WordPress with WooCommerce

  • An all-in-one website software. It allows you to build any kind of website, provided that you can handle the slightly technical setup – involving installing the software itself, installing plugins, installing a theme, and then installing an e-commerce plugin to handle the store operations.
    Some website building skills required. Depending on the customizations that you want to perform, you might need coding or design skills as well.
  • The WordPress software is free. But in order to use it, you need to sign up for a web host and buy a domain name. When all put together, you can get started with WordPress for about $5 / month.
  • Great content management features.
  • Thousands of themes/designs to choose from, both free and paid.
  • Exceptional extension possibilities through plugins.
  • No direct support, but a very helpful support community.

Reasons to use Shopify over WordPress:

a) Use it if you don’t have any kind of website and you want to launch a quality e-commerce store fast.
b) Use it if you don’t have any design, coding, or website building skills, and you don’t want to hire anybody to set an e-commerce store for you.
c) Use it if you want to integrate your online store with your offline on-location store.
d) Use it if you need a great e-commerce platform with access to customer support.

Reasons to use WordPress over Shopify:

a) The cost of the Platform per a month is much less if you have an understanding of HTML and CSS you can Setup yourself.
b) You need a robust solution that involves custom themes and code. It is very difficult to find a Shopify developer (A good one, especially in South Africa)
c) Running Costs are low.
d) Blogging is the main focus.

Quite simply, if you already have a WordPress website running then it’s always going to be quicker and cheaper to just add an e-commerce component to that website instead of building something new. On the other hand, if you don’t have a website yet, then it’s quicker and easier to go the other route and launch an e-commerce store with a specialized platform like Shopify.

If you need help designing/developing a Shopify or WordPress Site, drop us a mail and we can help you decide on the best solution. At Lincoln Collective, we work with both Shopify and WordPress(Woocommerce), you can view our portfolio here.

Corporate Identity

Corporate Identity

By | Design, Graphic Design

A logo is not your brand, neither is it your identity. Logo design, Identity design, and branding all have different roles but together they create a perceived image for an organisation. Logos are not just there to look pretty, they serve multiple functions. A logo makes you stand out from the competition.

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Logo design

Logo Design

By | Art, Design, Graphic Design

A logo is not your brand, neither is it your identity. Logo design, Identity design, and branding all have different roles but together they create a perceived image for an organisation. Logos are not just there to look pretty, they serve multiple functions. A logo makes you stand out from the competition.

Read More