Web Dev Company Reviewed

January 28, 2010 Steve

James runs a web development company and wanted to get the docs opinion on how he could improve his site to attract and convert more customers.

“I run a web development company, Anoveta, and although it’s not an affiliate site I don’t have much experience in SEO beyond the basics of the on-page stuff.  I’m looking for some general suggestions as to how the site could be improved.

I’ve recently changed the design on the site and it seems to be getting between 10 and 30 uniques a day, but I’ve only had one conversion from it in the last month, so I’d appreciate any advice on how to improve that.”

Here’s what the docs had to say …


Who is your target market?  What is your USP?  If you can answer both those questions you should get a few ideas as to how to portray that and further improve your site.

From an SEO point of view, it would make sense if you could hone your target market in order to choose keywords.  Do you have a geographical area that you wish to target?  If so you might consider ‘web design Durham’ or ‘web development Durham’ as your target keywords and ensure you have a page named after this on the site.  This will narrow the number of websites you are competing against in SERPs (as opposed to the entire of the North East of England) and might also give you a local appeal.  You’ve got a great link from a well trusted domain, dur.ac.uk (a Durham-based site, so great context for targeting Durham) thanks to your previous work – and you’ve used great anchor text so keep up the good work there.

I’d also recommend targeting the homepage to catch your ideal client’s eye.  For example, the ‘hero image’ on your homepage is of a girl in a field.  Perhaps this could be a snapshot or scrolling gallery of your work, linking through to your portfolio page.  If that doesn’t appeal, an image of a successful small business owner could also work; someone who looks very happy with their website and has a booming business as a result!  It’s a cliché, but clichés work.

At every step of your site design, ask yourself what route you want your website’s visitors to take.  In your case, keep suggesting to the viewer that they should find your contact details, and now, through obvious buttons and text.  Oh, and keep all contact details and calls to action above the fold!  Simple technique, but it’s proven to work wonders.  I expect your portfolio page is probably one of the most visited too – it’s how web design is normally sold to a prospect – so make sure that it’s easy to get to and digest.

In order to get visitors to act as fast as possible, perhaps sell web design to them through how it’s the perfect timing in the current economic climate to be thinking about marketing (i.e. web design).  Or you could have a time sensitive offer, or promote festive web development examples that you have.  You just need to keep answering your visitors’ questions at every turn: “what’s in it for me?”, “why should I contact you rather than the next person?”.  If you can do that, combined with a bit of SEO, you should have a steady flow of traffic to a well-converting site.  Don’t forget to let a bit of personality shine through – some character makes you more human and approachable and can actually form part of your USP.  You could do that through a blog or news section – great for SEO!


Hi James.

5 headliners for you “Content, Title Tags, Links, Links, Links”.

I see your site is built on WordPress so that’s cool, it’s going to make things a lot easier.  So before I talk about the “5 headliners”, let’s get some of the basics that I would do if it was me.  Others will have their own view on what plug-ins they like better, but I can only tell you what I have used and what has worked for me.

You have no site map from what I can see, so who’s pinging Google with your site changes and all the pages that can be found on your site?   Sure, Google and pals are great for crawling the web, but they have site maps to help them do it better, so get the “Google XML Sitemaps” plug-in.

I see you have a SEO plug-in called “Platinum SEO Pack”; can’t comment on it, but I have a feeling it’s not as good as “All in One SEO Pack”.  Personally I would remove the other and get that one instead, but it’s your choice.


OK … on to the content, and by this, I mean what you have on page and what you have in your meta-descriptions.  I am not the worlds best at copy (a wordsmith I am not!) but your own page copy seems alright.  Try and make sure you that you have keywords you want to rank for peppered across the site (not stuffed, but at least included once or twice in the site copy).  You’re not going to be in the top 10 for “Web Development”, “Web Design” or “UK Website Hosting” so stop trying.  Instead, go more local like “Durham Web Development” or whatever areas you’re after.  Sure, we all want work from all over the place, but honestly, you would do better finding a large local area to be number 1 on first before you go national.  Use the H1 etc. tags to your advantage, get your keywords to stand out, but don’t over do it.  Your meta-descriptions are boring, no one is going to read them and think, “Hey should click this link”.  It’s a pain to do, but if you can craft all your meta-descriptions per page as if you were paying £1 a click for someone reading the text, then you’ll get a much higher click through rate.  Something I need to do more of myself.

Title Tags

Title Tags are so important, and yours I am afraid are shocking.  I suspect it’s the “SEO” plug in that’s doing the work, but why on earth it’s using a non-standard dot thing as a separator is beyond me.  Use a “-“ or “|”, or even a “,” or “.” is ok, but personally I use “-“ or “|” when I separate my words.

“Web Development, Web Design, UK Website Hosting • Anoveta” is your main page title tag, so that’s clearly all of your important words as the rest of the pages have nothing!  Instead I would have a page for each of your main areas and customise the title to that page and go longer tail; you will not be top 10 for “Web Design”, so go for something like “Durham Web Design”.  You should be able to get in to the top 5 for that with a little work.

Links, Link, Links

Links, Links, Links.  So we are clear, all the on page optimisation is a complete waste of time if you don’t get links.  You should do it to give you an edge over people going for the same keywords, and indeed, if your on page stuff is good, you might not need many links – but you still need links.  You need links to your main page and you need links to your key pages inside your site.

OK … so on to the good news.  You have designed a site for a college; way hey!, happy days you can get free .ac.uk links back to your site ;)  The problem is you have targeted ‘keyword links’ back to your site.  There’s nothing really wrong with that other than that the main page you link to contains the mixed message page of “I don’t know what I want to rank for”, yet your keyword link back clearly says you want to rank for “Durham Web Development”.  Why don’t you have that in your title tag, your meta description and text on your main page if it’s important?  So fix that and it will do wonders, but don’t forget to get more links.

By the way, have you researched if that’s even the right keyword you want to go for?  Do more people type in “Durham Web Development” or “Durham Web Design”?  You should look in to that using your logs and tools like Google Adwords Keyword Generator.

Last bit of advice, always try and get links back from work you have done for clients, however be aware, as if you were doing work for the likes of me, I would have already told you up front I am paying you for the design, without credits, because I am a control freak as to where I link to LOL, so expect that from time to time; a jobs a job :-)


Hi James – the first thing I look for when I’m interested in a product or service is some indication of the price, which I think is important for prospective customers, especially those who may only want a very simple, entry site, at the moment it seems that you’re mainly looking for larger projects – you could be missing out here.

I also found the site a tad technical, it might be helpful if you had a glossary section which explained everything in simple, layman’s terms – and I mean everything, we do forget that 90% of the population have no idea when it comes to the internet, phrases such as web hosting, e-commerce websites, customer management systems etc..

I’m also surprised there’s no mention of SEO and if/how you can help them create a presence on the web – organic and PPC options – another area that most folk find totally confusing.

I’d hurry up and finish the portfolio page, this is probably not helping, it does look very sparse – I’d consider removing it until you had a wider selection to showcase.

I’d simply make it more simpler, let prospective customers know exactly what you can do for them, and some indication of price, especially for the lower end.

Good Luck.


Hi James

First thing I’d do is make your call to action more explicit, for instance instead of saying ‘get in touch’, have it say ‘Call or email us now for a quote!’ and move this from the bottom right corner to somewhere much more visible such as the top left.  Your navigation also feels a bit oddly placed, maybe consider moving this to the left hand column or another more common placing.

There’s so many things you could tweak really, my main piece of advice would be to get Google Site Optimiser on there and start running tests, and always treat the site as a work in progress, not something to have a ‘redesign’ every year or so.  I’d strongly recommend you read Google Website Optimiser 101, it’s a fantastic article from the guys at Conversion Rate Experts and should give you plenty of inspiration for improving not only your site but any future sites you build for clients.

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