Nine Problems with DIY Website Builders 

DIY website builder

There have been an explosion of DIY website builders1 over the past ten years. They promise to be easy to set up and simple to maintain, but are they really as good as they claim to be?

If you’re a small business owner, finding the time to work on your website can be a challenge, especially when you’re working 12 hour days already. The claimed convenience and alleged affordability can make these DIY website builders start to sound pretty attractive. However, when you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll soon discover that they aren’t all what they’re packaged up to be.

The Truth Behind DIY Website Builders

They do a good job of selling themselves with the 'quick and easy' set-up slogans and the 'cheap to run' tag lines. So if you genuinely don't know what your looking for and just want 'a website', it's pretty easy to see how they’d sound tempting.

The thing is, nobody really only just wants ‘a website’. You want a shop window for your business, an online method of generating leads; to grow sales; a digital marketing strategy; to attract new customers; to increase your customer loyalty and countless other things. You see, your website is there to serve your business objectives, whatever they may be.

When you pause to consider why you want a website in the first place, and what you need it to do, you'll quickly realize that your needs are specific. And if you want your website to perform as best as it can and market your business effectively, then you need it to do exactly what you and your potential customers want it to do. This is where DIY website builders start to falter.

The Problems

To help you make an informed decision and put those DIY website builder sales pitches into perspective, we've put together some of the top reasons why DIY website builders honestly aren't likely to meet your needs.

Standardized Sites = No Originality

DIY website builders often have a limited number of templates (or designs) to choose from. This means that there’s a large chance of many other websites using the same design as you. If thousands of websites look exactly the same as yours, you’ll struggle to stand out, which will hurt your online brand, especially if you’re running an e-commerce store2.

2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Implications

Getting to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) when your potential customers search for something related to your business on Google, Bing, Yahoo and so on, is one of the best ways to find new customers online. With DIY website builders, the help on hand to achieve this is limited and the effect of built-in SEO capability is often below par3.

3. Domain Name Restrictions

It’s important to have an easy to remember web address (or domain name) for your website. It’s what people will see in search engines and on your marketing materials. Most website builders don’t allow you to create your own domain name3, so instead of, you’ll have or something just as hideous.

4. Unintuitive Content Management Systems (CMS)

When you make changes, create new pages or edit your web content, you’ll use a CMS. Some of these website builders have a difficult to use CMS, which makes it hard to create new pages, edit content and make changes on your website4 quickly and simply. Some only let you build one page websites too, which is more restrictive than gardening in a straight jacket.

5. Inefficient Support

If you’re new to the internet or you’re creating your first business website, having support on hand when things go wrong is important. Some DIY web builders can take a while to respond to service requests, sometimes taking longer than a day to get back to you4. How many sales might you lose in 24 hours?

6. Poor e-Commerce Facilities

Few website builders come with e-commerce facilities either as standard or as an added extra, and those that do tend to be poorly executed. You might be able to get your online store up and running, but making any customized additions and specific changes is virtually impossible5, and expanding is also a challenge6

7. Hard Blogging

When it comes to online marketing, blogging keeps your website fresh and is often the cornerstone of your user engagement. DIY website builders often make blogs difficult to customize, hard to maintain and they usually have less flexibility over RSS feeds7and social sharing. Some might not even help your SEO8, which is one of the primary reasons for blogging in the first place!

8. Sub-Standard Website Analytics

To make your website better and increase sales and leads, you need to know what’s happening on it; what your users are doing and why they’re leaving. You can use website analytics to do this, but many DIY website builders use old tracking scripts9, which lack accuracy, or only offer limited features10, which won’t help you make informed decisions.

Making the Right Choice

DIY website builders are well intended and mean no harm. As comparably cheap and easy to set up as they may, in some cases be, they almost certainly won’t meet your business needs and you’ll outgrow them quicker than a toddler does its shoes.

I’m yet to find a DIY website builder that can address each of the above points, like you would if you went to a proper development company. So don’t fall for the sales pitch; take your time, do your research, understand what you want, then speak to people (link to who can help you achieve your goals properly.

This way, you’ll have a future proof, professional, unique and purpose-built website that will grow with your business and constantly meet your needs. And isn’t that what a website is supposed to do in the first place.












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Posted by Sunday, August 17, 2014 3:51:00 PM Categories: B2C retail marketing web design web development website

Web Designers: Don't Be Scared of White Space 

white space in web designMany web designers feel the need to fill the screen with their design. They avoid white space as if they’re masking a pixelated plague that threatens to thwart users, shepherding them away from their site and nudging them deeper into the ether of the internet, never to return.

But is white space really that bad? Should we fill every available pixel with ‘stuff’ in an attempt to create an engaging web site?

What User’s Want

Users want clever, content-rich websites, don’t they? They want colors, images, words, widgets, feeds, links, tools and ‘stuff’, don’t they? The more content, the merrier, isn’t it? If we can cram enough carrots on the screen and tantalize with enough temptations, we can encourage our users to spend, can’t we? Surely, the more content we have on our web pages, the more chance we have of keeping people on our site and converting them, right? Wrong. It’s all wrong.

Unfitting Distractions

In actual fact, when you avoid white space and remove the available screen real estate, you do the opposite of what you’re actually aiming for: you don’t encourage engagement and conversions at all. Instead, you distract. 

Distractions aren't good when you're looking to convert your browsers into paying customers because distractions, well… distract.

When you start adding distractions in an attempt to meet every single need or want that every potential visitor might, at some point need or want, you end up sacrificing your user's experience. It gives your users more opportunities to get distracted and more chance to forget what they were doing and leave your site.

Embrace White Space

Showing some skin and being brave enough to embrace white space will actually help you increase conversions. 

“But how can removing ‘stuff' and having less on our pages help us convert?”

Simple: by removing the irrelevant and focusing solely on your site or page’s objective1. Everything that’s not purposefully edging your user closer to a conversion is a distraction and is vulnerable to the chop. And be brutal because nothing else matters more than your single page objective.

Embracing white space also helps you design clean, focused and simple web pages that are esthetically pleasing. It helps you space things out and direct your users eyes towards relevant content. This, in turn, can help users feel more comfortable and less overwhelmed while they’re on your site, which genuinely can keep them on longer and nudge them along their path to purchase. 

Users Want White Space

Users don’t really want clever websites. They don’t want to be overwhelmed. They may well be easily distracted, but providing willing distractions won’t help you increase conversions. Your users will only end up converting if you make things easy, simple and distraction-free. And you could do much worse than cleaning up your site and making more use of that white space.



View User Profile for Power Site Power Site is subsidiary of Fast Track. It's a robust, customizable website solution package especially developed to help small businesses how to leverage their website as a marketing tool. Follow Power Site on Twitter as @FTPowerSite.
Posted by Power Site Tuesday, August 12, 2014 11:12:00 PM Categories: web design website

Sure-Fire Ways to Cause Shopping Cart Abandonment 

Shopping Cart Abandonment

Minimizing shopping cart abandonment is the Holy Grail for ecommerce. Less people abandoning = more sales and revenue. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. But what’s causing your users to abandon? And how can you encourage them to hang around and persist with their purchase?

First, it’s important to understand what your abandonment rate is. You need to know where you are in order to understand where you want to end up, and every site in every industry is different. The average shopping cart abandonment rate is around 68%1, so you may well be loosing literally thousands of sales through sometimes simple nuances that cause users to either abandon or switch to a competitor.

There are plenty of reasons why most of your users abandon their shopping carts and we’ve put together four of the major points to look out for:

1. Hidden costs2

Not being up front with the total cost of your items is a sure-fire way to obliterate trust and negatively effect the perception of your company, as well as lose sales. This may have long lasting effects and could mean you lose a customer for life as a result of trying to skim an extra few cheeky dollars.

Ticket companies like Ticket Master and Get Me In do this all the time. You’ll find your ticket, agree with the price, choose your seat, head to the checkout and then you're hit with a booking fee and delivery costs that are sometimes as high as an extra 20% on the ticket price. 

People these days don’t trust businesses that aren’t transparent. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Be up front or remove unnecessary costs that don’t add value to your products and serve only to tacitly increase revenue.

2. Postage

If you can, offer free shipping. This will add pleasant value for your customers, helping push them over the conversion line and will be a strong pull for them to return. 

Whether you can offer free shipping is entirely dependent on your type of business. Selling books for a dollar and charging an extra dollar for postage isn’t such a big deal. However, a $50 shipping charge for a $500 TV starts to sound off-putting. 

73% of online shoppers note free shipping as a critical factor in their purchasing decisions and 93% claim they’re likely to spend more if free shipping is included3. If you’re making more sales and people are spending more, the hit you’ll take on offering free shipping will be recuperated by all those extra sales.

3. No ‘Guest' checkout

If you don’t offer a Guest checkout facility and force every would-be customer to register with your site before making a purchase, you can kiss goodbye to a potential 45% increase in sales2. A forced registration can easily lead to abandonment for those that just want to make a purchase then leave. You may as well redirect 20% of your traffic to a competitor and save yourself from having to pick through your poorly performing web metrics.

It might surprise you to learn that most people don’t care enough about your brand to register before checking out. Some just want to pay and get on with their lives. The best thing you can do is let them pay. Focus on taking the payment. Do this well enough and, if everything else works well (your website’s easy to use, the product is as expected and it arrives on time), they’ll be back. 

If it’s customer insight you’re striving for through a forced registration, then include an option to subscribe to updates by email and lure them into registering this way. Play the long game and don’t be desperate.

4. Mobile optimization 

People usually act with more urgency on mobiles, so optimizing your ecommerce website for mobile could see an increase in impulse purchases. With 30% of ecommerce web traffic coming from mobile devices4, they're very few excuses for not having an optimized site these days. 

Picking and pinching and zooming and aiming are all laborious tasks to do while you’re on a phone or tablet. But, this is exactly what users have to do on desktop sites when they access them on mobiles.

In a world where brands are investing heavily in fingerprint5 and facial6 recognition to unlock your mobile phone, simply to save you the energy expelled from moving your thumb up two inches to type in a pass code, removing any unnecessary friction is imperative when crafting a seamless user journey. If you don’t have a mobile optimized site, it takes a heck of a lot of dedication on behalf of the user to make a purchase. It’s far easier to bail or head to a competitor with a website that’s easier to use. 

Finding Your Holy Grail

Realistically, you’ll never have 100% of users pass through the checkout. Plenty of people simply use their shopping basket as a wish list and never intend to check out in the first place. Also, there’ll always be small nuances that cause users to abandon and you’ll always have small tweaks to make here and there. Your work is ever truly done. However, optimize your processes and minimize the above issues and you’ll certainly tempt some of the current defectors into checking out and surely see that abandonment rate reduce.








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Posted by Tuesday, August 12, 2014 9:53:00 PM Categories: B2C online marketing retail marketing

Landing Pages Vs Micro Sites: Which Should You Choose? 

Landing Pages Vs Micro Sites

Micro sites and landing pages are often used interchangeably. However, to get the most out of either, you need to understand the benefits and pitfalls of each. 

In our opinion, there are specific instances where micro sites will provide more value than landing pages and, conversely, occasions where the opposite is true.

What Is a Micro Site?

Micro sites are typically temporary websites, often with 2 or more pages1 that are created for specific marketing purposes such as:

  • Promoting specific products
  • Limited edition or anniversary products
  • Sales, deals or offers
  • Lead generations
  • Email subscriptions
  • New product launches
  • Re-releases
  • Brand awareness exercises

So What’s a Landing Page?

Similar to a micro site, a landing page can be used for the same marketing purposes, although landing pages tend to consist of a single page, often with a prominent call-to-action (CTA) or a form of some kind2.

Both landing pages and micro sites can lead to the generation of leads, conversions and sales by engaging users and providing value, but which ones should you use and when?

When to Use a Micro Site

Micro sites are better suited for times where you need to do some convincing. Let’s say, you’re releasing a new product into the market that no one is aware of. You’re likely going to have to convince those that land on your site that this product is right for them. Micro sites are great for this, as you can dedicate a page to each feature, provide tutorials of how to use it, screen shots or images, videos, stories, social recommendations and any other form of content that might persuade the user to make a purchase or enquire.

With micro sites, you have more time with your user and, if you make something that’s engaging enough, you’ll have more attention. You can turn a sceptic into a friend right there and then if you’re respectful, provide genuine value and don’t ask for too much too soon3.

Micro sites are best placed following a relatively subtle CTA, such as a flat banner ad, a Tweet or a ‘find out more’-style prompt. When the user lands on a micro site, they ought to be inquisitive. This gives you the opportunity to engage them by allowing them to prod around and investigate. All the while, you’re priming them to convert, so the more dynamic and personalised, the better4.

When to Use Landing Pages

Landing pages, on the other hand, are best served when you've already convinced someone or if the convincing is done somewhere else. For example: if you see a 'Free Coke, sign up today' label on a Coke bottle, then a landing page could be used to simply finish off the transaction. Or if you’re having a flash sale or you’re discounting an existing product, you can use a landing page following a strong CTA, such as “Get 25% off X when you sign up today”. Here, the user has already been convinced as they:

  • Know the product,
  • Are aware of the offer
  • Have built up some interest in the deal
  • Understand what they need to do to benefit (i.e. sign up)

Again, a landing page can be used here to seal the deal.

Landing pages, then, should be free from distraction, include a strong CTA and be consistent with the preceding interaction. If the user sees “Free Coke, sign up today” in red and white with an parasol and sunglasses on the Coke bottle, then the landing page should use the same design, the same tone and reinforce the same message.

Alternatively, you can use landing pages following content where the user has already spent time engaging. Here, the user has again already been sold to elsewhere, such as a blog post about your product, or a rich media ad where users can interact with your proposal. When they land on your landing page following an engagement elsewhere, they are again in a position where they have an urge to convert. All you need to do with your landing page is help them over the finish line.

Micro Site Pitfalls

Both micro sites and landing page aren’t without their faults. Those most notable for micro sites include:

  • They’re typically more expensive to implement,
  • They take longer to create, as there’s more content,
  • They’re harder to maintain for the same reason,
  • They take longer to analyze,
  • More pages = more room for drop outs,

If you don’t position micro sites correctly, you’ll have trouble, too. For example, if you have a strong, long or informative CTA leading up to the micro site, and the user is ready to convert when they land there, they could be distracted by the content, loose momentum and drop out. So go easy on the convincing in your CTAs, let the micro site do the work.

Landing Page Pitfalls

Alternatively, with landing pages, if you don’t provide sufficient motivation or incentive before the user lands on the page, you’ll have a harder time converting users through a single page. In this instance, the inclusion of additional content such as videos will help increase the conversion rate of landing pages with poor CTAs preceding them.

Landing pages are relatively quick and cheap to create, so plenty of brands don’t put as much thought into landing pages as they should. They can sometimes be an after thought or a rushed job. Be sure to take enough time, do your testing and optimising first and strive for a high single digit conversion rate5.

The Choice Is Yours

Although seemingly similar in theory, micro sites and landing pages are two entirely different beasts in reality. Choosing the right one to use in your given circumstance could be the difference between generating leads and making sales and crying yourself to sleep at night, thinking about the money you’ve wasted.

Don’t make the same mistakes as everyone else and get it right first time.







Wednesday, August 6, 2014 1:40:00 AM Categories: B2B content development inbound marketing landing pages website

Is This Common Oversight Screwing Up Your Google Analytics Data? 

Google analytics data

Google Analytics is like a jigsaw in that we can have great fun and joy studying it, but it doesn’t come fully assembled out of the box. We need to piece it together bit by bit in order to create a more reliable picture of what’s really happening on our website. As standard, Google Analytics is lacking in accuracy because of: 

  • Cookie deletions or disabling, 
  • Server reporting errors, 
  • JavaScript errors or disabling, 
  • Private browsing, 
  • Cross device usage,
  • Browser timeouts,
  • And much more1

All this makes it difficult to track what’s happening on your site with any kind of certainty. Some of these are more important than others and some of these we can fix quite easily. One of the most important things, often-overlooked, but relatively easy to fix, is the inclusion of staff’s behavior in your Google analytics data.

Internal Traffic: A Cardinal Sin

Sometimes, your website is used by staff for information gathering, checking, referencing, answering customer queries and the like. Other times, there may not be a difference between the front and back end, with staff using the online checkout to process phone orders. Either way, if employees uses your website regularly for anything at all, you should remove that data from your analytics.

If you don’t remove your internal traffic from your Google Analytics metrics, you’ll skew your data and cloud your vision of what’s happening on your site.

Your Staff’s Sixth Sense

Staff that use your website regularly tend to know the site like the back of their hand. They know it from front to back, on a subconscious level. This means they’ll do things like:

  • Skip over pages on their way to finding something in particular, improving your user journey stats.
  • Use short cuts and workarounds when searching for information, helping hide the hard to find sections.
  • They won’t read because they know where things are, so their average time spent on page is a lot less.
  • They may use it a lot more, making your unique user engagement higher than it naturally is.

Staff will overlook nuances and navigate with efficiencies that casual users wouldn’t and they’ll do it all on a subconscious level because they’ve done it a million times before. This will warp your view of what’s happening and compromise your judgement of your sites performance.

How to Fix Internal Traffic Data Compromises

If you haven’t removed your internal traffic from your metrics yet, all is not lost. You can get things under control by filtering your internal IP address/es from your stats, like so:

1. Go to Admin:

2. Check in the ACCOUNT, PROPERTY and VIEW sections and make sure you’re viewing the correct website that you wish to disable the internal traffic for:

3. In the VIEW menu, on the right hand side, go to Filters:

4. Click + NEW FILTER.

5a. Make sure that Create new Filter is selected, then give your Filter a name. Use something recognisable like ‘Internal traffic’. 

5b. Ensure that Predefined Filter is selected, then change traffic from the ISP domain to traffic from the IP address.

5c. Enter the IP address that you want to exclude and click Save.

Note: If your company has more than one IP address, you’ll need to create a new filter for each separate IP.

You’ll now see your new Filter in the Filters menu:

This won’t remove internal traffic retrospectively. In fact, nothing you do with Filters or Goals or Event tracking will work retrospectively. They’ll starts tracking from today, so whenever you make a change like this, use annotations to mark it on your timeline2

Accurate Data = Informed Decisions

Without removing your internal traffic from your Google Analytics data, you’re leaving yourself open to needless and unhelpful inaccuracies and errors. This will create an inconsistent picture of what’s happening on your website and cloud your decision making judgement. If you don’t have accurate information, you can’t make informed decisions. That’s the whole point in using something like Google Analytics in the first place, isn’t it?




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Posted by Wednesday, August 6, 2014 12:45:00 AM Categories: Google Analytics SEO
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