Read my extended blog post on style, tone of voice and personality on my website:
Read my extended blog post on style, tone of voice and personality on my website:
An update on the final changes made to my Bicycle Doctor website following the final crit session:
The only specific flaw mentioned in class was the lack of a clear telephone number. Although I had struggled to fit this in the design without the navigation becoming cluttered, it was pointed out to me that the tagline could easily be placed beneath the name instead of to the side. Why I missed this I can’t really explain – it just goes to show how helpful it is to get feedback from others and to look at what you’ve been working on with fresh eyes.
I also hadn’t felt that it was very important to get the address at the top, but in retrospect I decided people could easily be quickly searching for a bike shop within traveling distance.
I managed to get my jquery slideshow sliding in the right direction (with some frustration and without adequate knowledge as to why – further research is clearly required in this area!) and made some refinements to my logo as well as setting the background image as a percentage to avoid it becoming displaced if a user were to zoom out.
Following decisions made on the architecture, I moved on to the design.
-The main objective of the homepage is to get across what is being offered to the user. In this case I felt the site had fallen a bit into the trap of imagining those that come to the site will be interested in details about the organization, rather than just looking for a solution to a particular problem they have (i.e. wanting to buy a bike or have one repaired)
– As the name clearly indicated the repair work they do, I felt it was important to get immediately across that they sell bikes too, especially since I imagine it is this that brings them greater profit. Using a few lines of text in a bold red font to sum up their services helps this. Images of bikes currently on sale also give an immediate visual signal.
– The USP of the business is clearly the expertise of the team and the time they spend on service. I think this comes across fairly obviously just with the business name, but I also backed it up with the logo and slogan ‘Bespoke service since 1982’ to pick up on the old-fashioned service ideal they mentioned. Puns never hurt either!
– I did consider going down a route of designing the visuals along this line also, but I felt that it would be inappropriate for the target market – (according to Alexa at least ) males 35 -44 presumably into sporting activities. I would imagine that perhaps these people would prefer something a little more active and dynamic than quaint.
– Having said that, I wouldn’t want to alienate any non bikey types by giving it too much of the extreme-sports type biking style, so I didn’t go over the top. I also wanted to include a scrolling slideshow showing all different types of biking (as well as the bike shop team) so that all potential customers can see what is offered that relates to them.
– The overall look of the site was based on trying to mimic bike frame shapes, fonts and colours. I tried to give it a masculine, dynamic kind of feel by sticking to square shapes and using italics. The slideshow was also to feature bikes facing and scrolling to the right.
– The social side of the business seems important, and may generate quite a lot of traffic for them. The social media side of things could probably be expanded further and articles published across the web. I have some social media icons above the fold at the top of the page because of this (phone number expanded to make it clearly visible to those who may be put off by this sort of thing and just want to call the shop!)
First thing to consider was the site architecture and keyword targets. The pages and navigation needed to be reduced to a manageable quantity with information located where you would expect to find it. Keyword selection and landing page requirements made some of those decisions for me.
(1) Home Page – (keywords: ‘bikes Manchester’, ‘bike shop Manchester’, ‘bike repairs Manchester’).
Include search function to assist navigation, as site is quite large. Feature opening hours, telephone number and social media links.
(2) All Bikes – (‘cycle shop Manchester’ ‘buy bike Manchester’ ‘bikes for sale Manchester’)
Show a full spread of all bikes with images of each arranged in categories. This will help the customer to get a good overview of the options without clicking back and forth. Images to link to individual category pages (optimized) featuring full details on each model:
(3) Mountain Bikes (‘mountain bikes Manc’. ‘all terrain bikes Manc.’) (4)Road Bikes (‘road bikes Manc’, ‘city bikes Manc.’, ‘classic bikes Manc’ ‘racing bikes Manc’) (5)Women Specific (‘womens bikes Manc.’) (6))Childrens Bikes (‘kids bikes Manc.’, ‘childrens bikes Manc.’) (7)Folding & Seperable (‘folding bikes Manc’) (8)Unicycles, Tricycles & Tandems (‘tricycles Manc’ ‘unicycles Manc’, ‘tandems Manc’) (9) Trailer Bikes & Trailers (‘trailer bikes Manc’, ‘bikes trailers Manc’) (10) Single Speed Bikes (‘single speed bikes Manc.’ ‘fixed gear bikes Manc.’) (11) Surley Bikes & Frames (‘surly bikes Manc.’, ‘surley frames Manc.’) (12) Cyclo-Cross Bikes (‘cyclos cross bikes manc.’) (13) Touring Bikes (‘touring bikes Manc’
(14) Accessories (‘Bike Accessories Manc.’ ,‘cylicng accessories Manc.’)
A similar layout featuring images of products. Links to a second level page optimsed for cycling clothing:
(15) Cycling Clothing (‘cycling clothing Manc.’, ‘cycling shoes Manc.’, ‘cycling helmets Manc’)
(16) Bike Repair (‘bike servicing Manc’, ‘bike service Manc’). Details on services and price guide.
(17) Special Offers (‘cheap bikes Manc.’) frequently updated page to include offers. Bikes on offer will also be featured in the right hand column on all pages to draw interest.
(18) Fitting Advice (‘bike fitting Manc.’, ‘bike fitting service Manc.’, ‘bike frame size’) – these keywords don’t have large search volume but as it is a large part of the companies USP it is worth featuring a page for those who do search. Guides, tools and video content can add value to the site and may increase organic link traffic.
(19) Ask an Expert – adding to the perceived value of the service offered, this page will feature the FAQ section as well as the staff information and an online query form.
(20) Community Page – to feature the blog as well as twitter feed, and flickr link. Also to feature the outgoing links to other blogs and communities and resources.
(21) Find us – map, contact details and quick contact form.
A diagram showing site structure:
The red arrow indicates which pages the homepage links to within the content. Normally you wouldn’t link to secondary pages (most important keywords would be on top level) however given the good SERPS and high internal page PR they already have I think it is more important here to have the most usable content and most logical site structure.
– Generally the keywords with the highest search volume should be optimised on the homepage (which carries the highest authority). However, as the company name contains the word ‘bicycle’ keywords including this are doing well and therefore need less attention. Focus should be placed on the top keywords and those with scope for a good improvement in traffic.
– Other effective keywords should also be considered – for example ‘buy bike Manchester’ has a small search volume, but would be used by those ready to buy immediately. Other specific products that bring the company a large profit margin might also be worthwhile.
– Likewise, those searching for specific bike types are more likely to convert. Therefore it is worth improving the position on these keywords, as well as ensuring that they are connected with an appropriate landing page with an informative and enticing meta description.
– Alexa indicates queries people use and click on site with are ‘what size bike’ and ‘frame size’ – although people using these phrases are not necessarily looking to buy, making more of these queries on the website (e.g. bike fitting calculator, bike fitting guide) fits with the USP, and provides added value which will be of interest and may generate more organic backlinks.
-Update site build to current standards and ensure it validates without errors.
-Images to be save with keyword rich file names where possible.
-Footer links to be added for each page to assist search engines in crawling the site.
-File names to include keywords within reason (to preserve the page rank and existing links, 301 redirects could be used).
-The homepage currently shows under two addresses – http://www.bicycledoctor.co.uk/ and http://www.bicycledoctor.co.uk/index.html. Search engines could view this as two separate pages. Remove /index.html file name and ensure links are pointed to correct page.
-Page titles include keywords in order of priority and to be unique throughout site. Quantity reduced to those specific keywords targeted for each page (roughly about 3). Page titles no longer than 70 characters.
-Minimum of 250 words per optimised page with keywords used for heading tags (max of 7 words) and integrated (but not spammed) throughout content.
-Alt text, title tags and image files to include keywords if relevant.
-Keyword meta tags for each page– not relevant in terms of rankings but potentially useful to anyone working on the site in future. Currently keywords listed make little sense e.g. ‘women’ and ‘touring’ make little sense on their own.
-Unique and enticing meta description tag for each page between 100 & 150 characters. The current ones do not get across the range of goods and services offered or the USP.
-Amend all dead links.
-Internal links through site using every keyword and particularly focusing on those with priority – use of keywords in anchor text to be restricted to one page in order that search engines will home in on the page designated.
-Google Analytics to be set up for the site to collect more thorough and accurate data.
-Sitemap page with filename ‘sitemap’ to assist search engine robots.
-XML sitemap submitted through Webmaster tools to assist in quick indexing – priority tags used to indicate greater importance to optimised pages.
-The vast majority of backlinks have the company name as anchor text– greater benefit could be achieved by requesting these are altered to covert a range of keywords.
– There are a large number of links to other sites – many of these could be changed to ‘no follow’ links in order to stop the sites page rank ‘leaking’ to these sites.
– Link building and social bookmarking campaign.
Current SERPS and Statistics
– The website has a high PR for a local business of 4. This has also filtered down through the site to give a strong PR3 to internal pages. Positions for the major keywords are high considering the lack of keyword targeting.
– I would speculate the major reason for this is the age of the domain name and the time the site has been live (13 years, 3 months).
– They have external backlinks from 136 domains (according to Open Site Explorer), some with high PR.
– According to Alexa, the main demographic for this site is males between the ages 35-44.
– Alexa estimates users spend around 2 minutes on the site – which is a good quantity of time, so presumably people are finding content of interest (although they may also be spending some time trying to find info on a cluttered site as well!)
– Compete.com estimates the number of unique visitors to the site over the last month is 1153. Again I would say this is a reasonable amount for a local business, however only a small quantity will actually turn into a paying customer and each actual purchase would not bring a huge amount of profit to the business, therefore there is definite room for improvement.
I would suggest targeting the Manchester area rather than national area as the company focuses on in-shop adjustments and does not offer delivery of most products to a wider area.
Whilst some potential Manchester customers may make non-regional specific searches, the competition on these phrases is very steep from both UK wide retailers and ecommerce sites. The resources required to achieve a good position with these phrases is therefore unlikely to bring a good return on investment in time or money.
To assist in selecting keywords that will be most beneficial, the Google AdWords tool has been used.
As searches for small regional areas are commonly too small to list, searching for the same term in London can help with decisions on which keywords to prioritise.
Google has been targeted over other search engines as it has approximately a 65% share of the search market.
A little round up of final changes made to my small business website, and some lessons learned: