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5 Must-Have WordPress Plugins You NEED for Your Next Business Website

Showing You Which Basic Plugins Are Beneficial for Your Website and Explaining What They Bring to the Table

Welcome to the world of WordPress.

A place that contains enough plugins to satisfy your business needs AND your wildest imaginations.

With over 50,000 plugins to choose from, you might find yourself thinking…

“How do I narrow down which WordPress plugins I actually need?” 

It’s overwhelming, right?

That’s why I created this blog. 

I’m going to reveal to you the 5 must-have WordPress plugins you need for your business website. 

Explaining why I love them and what benefits they’re going to bring to you and your business. It’s a great place to start if you know you need to install plugins, but are unsure which ones will actually bring you benefits.

Here we go!

For Optimisation: WP Rocket

To have a streamlined website, optimisation is a MUST.

Optimising your website improves user experience, reduces your bounce rate, and increases your conversion rates. 

And this is where WP Rocket comes in.

This popular WordPress caching plugin is loaded with a range of features to help speed up your website and improve its performance. 

Including caching, minification, lazy loading, database optimisation, and more. They all work together to help your website load faster. 

Reducing your server load, and improving user experience.

For SEO: SEOPress

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is essential to make sure your website’s seen.

With proper SEO optimisation, your website can drive traffic from search engines. Funnelling visitors to discover your products and services.

SEO Press is a powerful and user-friendly WordPress plugin that provides a range of features to help improve your website’s search SEO. 

Think on-page optimisation, social media integration, content analysis, and much more.

And its user-friendly interface and powerful tools makes it a good choice for both beginners and advanced users who want to improve their website’s search engine rankings and visibility. 

For Backups: UpdraftPlus

Even though your hosting should be doing daily backups, I TRULY believe you can never have too many backups (including off-site backups).

It might just save your whole business! 

Here’re a few reasons why I love using UpdraftPlus:

  • It’s easy to use with a simple and user-friendly interface that allows you to back up your website in just a few clicks.
  • It allows you to schedule automatic backups, so you don’t have to worry about remembering to back up your website manually. 
  • There are multiple backup options, including backing up to cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox, as well as locally to your server or computer. 
  • It’s super easy to restore if something goes wrong with your website.

And by using Updraft, it means you can ensure that your website is always secure and protected against data loss.

For Security: Wordfence

If there’s one plugin that you MUST install…

It’s a security plugin!

Don’t scrimp when it comes to the protection of your website. You need a WordPress security and firewall plugin to scan for malware, block suspicious activity, or monitor your website security.

So you’re protected from any unexpected attacks.

Lucky for you, this is the specialty of Wordfence. 

They’re constantly collecting data from websites all over the world. Helping them learn how to spot threats, how they work, and what’s new on the block. Meaning they’re always looking out for you and your business baby.

By using Wordfence to protect your website, you can say NO to security threats and ensure that your website remains secure.

For Spam Prevention: CleanTalk

The minute you put your website on the internet is the minute you become vulnerable to spammers.

And if you’re finding keeping up with the comments is wearing you out, CleanTalk is going to be your guardian angel.

It’s here to help keep your website squeaky clean. 

You can customise your spam protection settings to suit your needs, and the plugin will automatically block any spam content that it detects.

Its cost-effective pricing plans make it a good choice for website owners who want to protect their websites from spam and unwanted content. And although it has a small charge of $1.50 per month, in my opinion, it’s 100% the best option out there.

And that’s a wrap!

I hope this blog has given you the starting point you need to create an efficient, optimised, streamlined website. 

Introducing you to the world of WordPress plugins and the benefits they can offer you. If you find you need more advice about plugins for niche functions, get in touch here! 

I’m always happy to help and offer my advice.

P.S. If you need more help with subjects like this one and want to be in the know, join my email list to stay updated. 

5 Reasons People Are Running From Your Website (and What To Do About It)

A Guide To Show You How To Reduce Bounce Rate And Turn Your Potential Customers Into Paying Customers

So, you’ve got your website up and running.

The design is just as you imagined. Everything seems to be in place. There are no malfunctions or technical issues. 

But it’s not doing the ONE thing you’ve been wanting it to do…

Turning potential customers into paying customers.

“What’s going on?!”, you’re thinking to yourself. 

How do you reduce your bounce rate and entice your visitors to want to know more?

In this blog, I’m going to show you the 5 most common reasons people are running from your website. Plus show you what to do about it. Explaining how to reduce bounce rate in 5 simple ways so you can make money and do what you LOVE.

1. There Are Too Many Ads or Pop-Ups

Cluttered, busy, unclear.

These types of sites turn people away.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with pop-up ads. And they can actually be quite effective when done right.

But, if done wrong, their intrusive, pushy nature can cause visitors to exit your site and never come back.

Leading to a drop in the ad’s success rate AND your website’s retention rate.

If you have a pop-up, limit it to one and make it relevant

If you have ads, then space them tastefully and well so they don’t interfere with your user experience.

2. It’s Unclear or Difficult to Navigate

Make sure your website navigation is user-friendly and easy to navigate.

Because if not, then frustration happens.

And if your users get frustrated navigating through your website, this will cause them to hop over to the next site 

(In other words… Your competitors!)

To make it appealing, clean up your main menu navigation, slash distractions, and get rid of any unneeded copy. 

For example, instead of “See My Work Here” opt for “Portfolio” instead.

3. It’s Not Mobile Responsive

If your audience is coming to your site on mobile, they ain’t messing around.

Yes, your website can look amazing on a desktop BUT if the mobile version needs some work, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

  • Visitors don’t want to have to zoom in and out to see important information
  • They don’t want the navigation to be too scrunched
  • And they don’t want it to be difficult to click or select a feature

They want it to flow as effortlessly on their smartphones as it does on their desktop.

4. It’s Not Secure or Looks Outdated

You need your site to look and feel secure.

That means keeping it quick and responsive. Having security measures in place. And always ensuring it’s clean and minimalist.

The main things you can do to prevent this are…

  1. Install SSL: Using a simple Secure Sockets Layer certificate is a must-have.
  2. Keep your website up to date: Because using out-of-date software is like leaving your back door unlocked.
  3. Run regular backups: To always be prepared and ready for the worst-case scenario.

5. You Have No Call to Action

What do you want your visitors to do when they reach your site?

  • Check out your portfolio
  • Book a consultation
  • Sign up for your newsletter

A call to action is directing your visitors to take action (or as close to it as possible) whenever they come to your site.

For example, have you ever seen a ‘Buy Now’ button? 

It’s there to prompt an immediate response or encourage an immediate sale.

I hope these 5 tips have opened your eyes and taught you how to reduce bounce rate in a way that’s simple and easy to digest. So you can make improvements to your site from the comfort of your own home.

If you still feel a little unsure about putting these tips into practice, feel free to reach out here.

As a professional Canberra-based web developer, I’m always happy to offer my advice to anyone who needs it. 

P.S. Do you want to have access to more of this easy-to-digest information and become part of my amazing community? 

Make sure to sign up for my newsletter HERE to receive all the goodies.

How Does Google REALLY Work? Breaking It Down Into 3 Simple Steps

Your Easy-to-Digest Guide Giving You an Insight Into The World of The Globes’ Most Popular Search Engine

Did you know in 2006, “Google” became a verb in the Oxford Dictionary?

*Cue loud gasp*

Google is SO popular, it’s integral to many (if not all) businesses around the globe.

The world of Google can seem like a mind-boggling place. And yes, I’m not going to lie, it’s a complex process if you really get into the details. 

BUT like anything, it can be broken down into digestible steps. 

And there are three basic ones that make up their process:

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Ranking

So, how does Google work?

In this blog, I’m going to delve into these 3 steps and explain how Google processes your website. How it analyses your content. And how it chooses what to reveal in its search results.

Step 1: Crawling

This is the process of searching for new pages online.

Google is trying to find all the new sites and information available around the world. Bringing it back to its servers (just like a back-of-house filing system).

Its crawlers basically search around the internet.

Looking at web pages and following the links on those pages, just like you would when browsing the web.

Step 2: Indexing

Google’s search index is essentially an inventory of websites that Google draws from to provide search results to users. 

And indexing is the next step, where Google is trying to understand what the page is all about. 

Only indexed sites can appear in search results.

So it’s Google’s job to be constantly scouring through the content of new websites and adding them to the array of options available.

It picks through your website…

  • Analysing content
  • Looking at pictures
  • Searching for files 

Gathering content and information to store in Google’s index.

Step 3: Ranking

Google ranking is its algorithm that measures the relevance, quality, and importance of what’s being revealed to you in your Google search.

It works by using your location, language, device, etc.

For example, if you were to google ‘web developer’, Google would show different results for a person Googling this is Sydney vs somewhere in New York.

Appearing higher in the search result pages for a search query means you’re the most relevant and authoritative result, according to Google.

So, has your question of “how does Google work” been answered yet?

I hope this blog has given you a basic insight into the world of the globes’ most popular search engine. Showing you have your website is processed and served so potential customers can find you. 

Want to have more techy subjects explained in an easy-to-digest way?

Make sure you sign up for my newsletter! 

It’s a place where you can get all the juicy web development gossip that’s *actually* easy to understand. Plus be the first ones to know about new services or offers. 

I can’t wait to see you there.

This is Why Website Navigation Design Is More Important Than You Think

Revealing Three Easy Ways You Can Make Sure Your Website Visitors Have a User-Friendly Experience. Every. Single. Time.

How many times have you left a website because you couldn’t find what you were looking for?


Yes… I thought so!

I hate to break it to you, but your website visitors aren’t willing to trawl through a messy website. They want everything easily mapped out in front of them. 

So they can find their desired information in SECONDS.

That’s why in this blog, I’m going to reveal three super easy steps you can take as a business owner to guarantee your website navigation design is clean and concise. Ensuring your visitors are there to stay.

Why Is Website Navigation Design SO Important?

Navigation does more than help us move from one page to another…

It helps us understand the relationships between individual pages on a website.

By understanding this, you can allow your website visitors to access the information they want as quickly as possible. Presenting an enjoyable, intuitive layout everyone will LOVE to use.

Why do you want this?

Because it’s ultimately increasing trust, and letting your visitors learn more about your products or services. 

Meaning, in the long run, you’ll have a reduced bounce rate and increased sales.

1. Limit the Number of Menu Options

Less is more when it comes to website navigation design.

Keep your menu minimal, with a maximum of five or six items. By doing this, your visitors can process the information and reach their desired pages faster.

If you really want to fit in more items without clutter, think about sub-menus.

This means breaking your pages down into sections using a dropdown menu. So when your visitors hover over one item on your menu, a list of options show up that they can choose from. 

This keeps it MUCH cleaner and easy to get around.

2. Use Short, Concise Words 

Too many words are confusing.

Keep it relevant.

That way both humans and search engines will understand.

Once you know which items will appear on your main menu, think strategically about how to label them. Your biggest priority is clarity, so try to refrain from using creative copy and keep it simple.  

For example, instead of “Examples of Work” use “Portfolio” instead.

Do you see how it’s clear, short, and to the point?

The aim is for your navigation to be foolproof.

3. Include a Call To Action Button

A call to action (or CTA) is like an instruction to your visitors, encouraging them to take an action. 

For example,  “Call Us” or “Book Now.” 

It makes it easy to guide your visitors to where you want them to go. Encouraging them to interact with your website and get to know your brand more

Think of it like a shortcut to your destination of choice.

Because if you’re anything like me… I know after devoting all that time, money, and effort into creating your beautiful website, the LAST thing you want is for your visitors to leave without taking any action. 


This is your chance to honour your hard work and encourage your visitors to take action, rather than just snooping around and leaving your site. 

Having well-thought-out and clear CTAs are a simple and effective way to generate conversions and boost sales.

Do you need help setting up your website?

Or perhaps you have a few more questions about your website navigation design?

I hope this blog has helped inspire you to create a kick-ass website navigation design strategy. But if you’re still in need of any advice or have a current website you’re interested in updating, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I’m always happy to answer any questions you have! vs What’s the Difference and Which One Is Best for You?

Your 5-Minute Guide To Put an End to the Confusion of vs

Did you know and are two VERY different platforms?

Yup, you better believe it! 

Those three little letters following the period make a huge difference to your website and if chosen incorrectly, could impact the success of your business in the future.

If you’re thinking “Oh my goodness, what do I do?!” right about now…

Don’t worry!

Because in a few minutes, it’s all going to become clear. 

In this blog, I’m going to compare the differences between vs so you don’t have to. Bringing you the clarity and confidence you need to find the right platform for your needs.

Ready to dive a little deeper?

What Makes Them So Different? 

Besides sharing the ‘WordPress’ branding, there are some significant differences to be aware of. 

The key one…

Who gives you the most ownership of your website and the most flexibility to make it your own.

1. An Introduction to… is a self-hosted, open-source component of WordPress that powers millions of websites across the globe.

When people refer to ‘WordPress’, they’re probably talking about this one. is 100% free for anyone to use, but to get going you need to purchase your domain name and web hosting separately.

You can install any plugin or theme, customise it to your heart’s content, and really, do just about anything you want. Meaning it’s at the forefront when it comes to scalability for your business. 

2. An Introduction to… is a limited version of that has been simplified for a different demographic. 

When you have a website with you don’t control the server or the hosting… does.

Because you don’t fully own your site, it’s great for personal blogs as it’s super easy and simple to set up.

However, if you’re a business website that wants flexibility and scalability, you’re very limited with what plugins and themes you can add, and how much you can customise and scale your website.

So, How Do They Compare?

1. Cost

When you’re building your business, money matters. 

So naturally, investing in your website is going to be no different. is totally free. But you’re going to have to do some research into domain names and hosting to find the best place to ‘store’ your website online. 

My personal choice is Cloudways, and I use it for the majority of my clients too. They have great support, affordable plans, and great performance. is all integrated. 

They have free and paid options depending on what you need for your website. And because everything is included within the platform, there’s no reason to pay for any extras. 

What you see is what you pay!

2. Hosting

When you own a website you have to ‘rent’ part of the world wide web to store your website’s data. 

Think of it like renting an apartment…

You need a place to put all your stuff, right?

The web host (or landlord) is responsible for maintaining your web server and ensuring you get the fastest speed possible. requires external hosting, which means more work and research to find a suitable place. 

But because of that, you have more scalability, more choice, and more power.

While lives on the WordPress servers (it’s self-hosted), meaning you just have to think about designing your site… And that’s it!

If you’re looking for a suitable external host, be sure to check out my favourites, Cloudways and Flywheel.

3. Security

Did you know is the most hacked CMS due to its popularity?!

But don’t fret.

Although this statement is true, with you have the power to put your own measures in place.

If you’re proactive and keep on top of site maintenance, you’ll put yourself at a much lower risk of being attacked. Plus there are SO many great plugins available to ensure your site is super safe from hackers.

On the other hand, is dependent on the security of the platform.

Meaning, because everything is integrated, you put your faith in

4. Themes

If you’re anything like me, your ability to customise your website and bring it to life is a HUGE deal.

You want the ability to brand your website and make it your own, right? has THOUSANDS of themes that you’re able to customise further with code. You can even make your own custom themes too.

In other words… The possibilities are endless.

While has fewer themes with limited options.

If you do want to make your website a little more personalised, you must have an upgrade. And even so, you’ll always have to keep the WordPress branding within your site.

5. Plugins

Plugins are a crucial aspect of building WordPress websites.

They allow you to add additional features without touching a single line of code and customise your website to your heart’s content. is KING when it comes to plugins.

With over 60k plugins in the WordPress repository, there’s an almost endless choice of functions. Plus, you have the ability to install third-party themes on your own.

However, only has plugins for business and eCommerce plans. 

Meaning you’re much more limited in what your website can do.

6. Support 

When you’re building your first website, the right support is essential. has no official help desk.

However, there are thousands of paid and free resources online. As well as group forums and dedicated support for individual plugins

On the other hand, has access to email and live chat support.

This means you can be a lot more confident to fix any problems that might occur with the help of a professional.

7. Monetisation

Last but not least…

It’s the BIG one.

How much potential do you have to scale your website? tops the board here.

Yes, it can be monetised and you take the FULL profit. Meaning more ability to scale, grow, and develop your business in the future.

While can be monetised, a percentage of the earnings go to Meaning you’ll always have to give away a part of your potential earnings. 

Which over time, can add up to a LOT.

The Verdict

Sure, is great for casual bloggers or those using their websites as a hobby. 

But ultimately, if you intend to make money with your business, self-hosting a website with is the best choice available to you. As it offers you a powerful array of tools to build any type of website you want.

Now tell me, has this blog cleared up your vs questions? 

Let me know! 

If you’ve been thinking about setting up a website of your own but still need some advice, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me

I’m a Canberra-based Web Developer, who’s dedicated to helping your business grow. That means I’m always happy to answer any questions about the process and provide advice tailored to your individual business needs.

Your Breakdown Guide: What Is An FAQ Page and Why Do They Matter?

Your Guide To Why FAQs Are So Important To Your SEO Strategy and How To Write A Kick-Ass FAQ Page For Your Website

Does your website have an FAQ page yet? If not… it definitely should.

“Why?” you ask. 

Because it’s a business investment! Not only does it save you money and time in the long run, but it also boosts your website’s organic traffic and provides a wealth of advice to your customers.

If you don’t know already, FAQ stands for frequently asked questions.

In this blog, I’m going to give you a brief overview of why an FAQ page is so beneficial for your website. And answer your questions of “what is an FAQ page?” and “why do they matter?”

Read below to find out more.

What Is an FAQ Page?

Imagine receiving 5 emails a day enquiring about your working process…

You spend at least 20 minutes typing out a personalised answer, only to open the next email and find the same question.

Now imagine only ever having to type out that answer once! Cutting down your admin time and directing potential customers to your FAQ page on your website. Amazing, right?

*Cough cough* Introducing the FAQ page…

Your FAQ page is your business’s hub of essential information.

You (and many other business owners) repeatedly get asked the same questions by potential customers. An FAQ page allows you to cut out the repetitive emails and provide a central place where visitors can find the answers they need.

Helping users navigate your site and build trust with you over time.

What To Include In Your FAQ Page?

So, first things first… 

It’s essential that an effective FAQ page is constantly updated to keep it relevant. It needs to be an accurate representation of your business at ALL times.

Some things to include are:

  • Common Questions: Gather common queries your customers have asked you in the past and include them in your FAQ page.
  • Categories: Use categories to organise questions related to specific topics that customers may search for.
  • Links: Add links to blogs or services on your site FAQ to provide additional details and improve SEO.
  • Precise Answers: Your potential customers are there for a reason. So keep it short and to the point.

Why Is An FAQ Page Important For Your Website?

Benefit 1: It Boosts Your Organic Traffic

An FAQ page offers an amazing opportunity, not only to provide answers about your business, but also general questions about your industry.

That means people who may not even know about your company but who have questions about your industry, might find their search query on your site via Google. Clicking through, learning more, and being exposed to your site and services.

TOP TIP: Do keyword research to find trending searches in your industry and use your FAQ page to provide answers.

Benefit 2: It Saves You Money

Tell me, how much time have you spent typing out emails and answering phone calls? 

Now think if you had one webpage you could direct people to instead… 

It’s a game-changer, trust me!

With a quality FAQ page to answer common questions, you can spend your time helping with more complicated issues and putting your energy where it matters most.

Benefit 3: It Improves User Experience

A user-friendly website is key!

Because no matter how clear and well-organised you think your website is, there’s always room to improve in whatever you do. And an FAQ page is one more step in the right direction. 

Instead of sending people to browse through a few pages looking for the right answer, an FAQ page gives visitors a central place to find the answers they need. 

And who doesn’t love an easy-to-use, transparent company that goes the extra mile for its customers?

How To Create A FAQ Page?

Now let’s get to the good stuff. 

Here’s my guide to how to build an FAQ page from scratch:

  1. Brainstorm questions you’re commonly asked by customers. But also questions that will help people learn more about your business, products, and services.
  2. Where possible, optimise these questions for SEO and allow them to be searchable (SEMRush and Google Keyword Planner are awesome resources for this!)
  3. Write some compelling copy that encompasses the first two steps.
  4. Create a new page on your website (depending on how your website is built this will vary). 
  5. If your tech skills allow it, add FAQ Schema. A specialised markup you can add to your webpage’s code that contains a list of questions and answers. It allows Google to read the markup and use it to generate an intriguing snippet.

So what do you think?

I hope this blog has helped inspire you to create a kick-ass FAQ page for your website and answered your question of, “what is an FAQ page?!”. If you’re in need of any advice or have a current website you’re interested in updating, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I’m always happy to answer any questions you have! 

How Long Until I Rank On Google? 5 Tips To Improve Your Google Search Ranking

A Guide To Help You Figure Out How To Improve Google Search Ranking So You Can Have an Optimised and Effective Website

Now you’re reading this, I have a little confession to make. The time it takes to rank on Google… It’s NOT a one-size-fits-all thing. 

There’s no secret formula.

It depends on a LOT of things. Your strategy, your budget, the frequency of new content, etc. 

But one thing is for sure… Don’t be expecting instantaneous results. 

Search engine optimisation (otherwise known as SEO) is a slow grower. However, once you’re there, it’s incredibly effective at bringing organic traffic to your website and will be one of the strongest tools in your repertoire.

In this blog, I’m going to be telling you how to improve Google search ranking on your site. 

Helping you understand how SEO works and how to give your website more of the right ingredients that will assist you in how to improve your Google search ranking.

So, are you ready to learn more?  

1. Have a Proper SEO Strategy

Here’s the thing… 

To even consider the option of ranking on Google’s first page, you need to have a plan! 

An SEO strategy is the process of planning and implementing steps designed to improve organic search engine rankings. And to know how to do that, you need to get down into the nitty-gritty.

Yes, I’m talking about analytics. 

  • Who’s looking at your website?
  • Why are they leaving?
  • What content is doing well and what’s not?

If you don’t know how your site’s performing right now, it’s impossible to put together a plan to level up your site.

2. Submit Your Site to Google 

If you want the public to be able to find your website, it needs to be indexed.

Indexing is the process where Google organises information before a search to enable super-fast responses to your questions. Kind of like an inventory of websites that it draws from to provide search results. 

There are two ways to submit your website to Google. 

You can either submit an updated sitemap in Google Search Console or submit the sitemap URL using Google’s “ping” service. Both options are entirely free and only take a second. 

Find out how to do this here.

3. Do Your Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of finding and analysing search terms that people enter into a search engine. 

It uncovers which questions to target, what their popularity is, their ranking difficulty, and more. 

By understanding the search intent for a search query, you’re able to create content that aligns with why people are using a keyword to find what they’re looking for.

That means, once you get familiar with keyword research, you’ll be able to target low-competition keywords. 

Increasing the odds of your content attracting more visitors.

4. Add Regular Content

Let me tell you, Google crawlers LIVE for new content. 

It shows your website’s relevant, it shows it’s valuable, and it shows it’s current. 

Google crawlers spend their time discovering and scanning websites to seek out what’s new. Then once they find something, they explore the page to understand what it’s about and rank it according to the retrieved data.

So that means, the higher quality your content, the more Google rewards you for it.

PLUS: You can also use your content to target keywords (see point 3) which means people searching for solutions can *actually* find you.

5. Set Up Google My Business 

You know when you type into the Google search bar, ‘best coffee near me’

These results are driven by your Google Business Profile. Your Business Profile allows you to control how you appear on Google Search and Maps. You can chat with customers, list your products and services, post updates, and more.

An optimised Google Business Profile puts you in the best position possible when people are looking for products and services like yours in their local area. 

And improving your local SEO means more people in your area are likely to come to you rather than your competitors.

Have you set up your Google My Business profile yet?

If the answer is no, then I want to invite you to get in contact. I’m a Canberra-based Web Developer, who’s dedicated to helping your business grow.

So, if you need any advice, I’m all ears! 

I hope this blog has given you a basic understanding of how to improve Google search ranking, to give your website the best chance possible of coming out on-top.

Which tip will you be implementing first?

3 Reasons Why You Need to STOP Using Linktree In Your Instagram Bio

Your Go-To Guide To Help You Effectively Direct Traffic to Your Website With Your Own Custom Linktree Alternative

Picture this… Your favourite Instagram account posts an incredible photo, enticing you to read the caption. 

As you skim through, your eyes flicker over the words…

“Link in bio to find out more!”

If you’re running a business Instagram account, you’ll know that this “link in bio” trick is essential for driving your audience to your site from social media. But imagine a world where you NEVER have to go through third-party apps like Linktree to market your content ever again.

A place where an effective Linktree alternative allows all that traffic to right slap bang into your website, no questions asked!

Increasing your traffic and giving you an extra boost in Google’s search results.

What *Actually* Is Linktree?

Instagram’s link in bio can feel limiting when you want to highlight multiple website pages. So being able to link key destinations and share them via a single URL is groundbreaking for small businesses. 

With Linktree, you’re able to make your Instagram ‘link in bio’ a clickable URL that you can add to your profile section.

Meaning you’re able to direct your followers to your website, product page, content, or some other significant page through the free social media plug-in.

So, What Are The Linktree Alternatives?

Let me share something with you…

Did you know every time someone clicks the link in your bio via Linktree, you miss out on direct traffic to your website? 

That’s why I often ask people, why would you want to pass YOUR traffic to a third-party app and miss out on juicy rewards? Stop rewarding Linktree and start rewarding yourself. You worked hard for your business, and your website deserves the best chance it can get to boost its visibility in Google.

How do you do that?

You create your own custom Instagram Links page!⁣

Why Should You Create Your Custom Instagram ‘Link In Bio’ Page?

1. You Get to Increase Your Website SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) helps your website grow, see which content resonates most with your audience, and provides you with vital stats to keep your website on top.

When you use a third-party app like Linktree, it creates a bump in the road. You’re unable to access all the data available because it’s not yours anymore! It belongs to Linktree and the analytical data they share with you is limited. 

It doesn’t tell you:

  1. When a link was clicked on – so you can’t match it with the Instagram post you published.
  2. When a visitor reaches Linktree but drops out – so you don’t know how much traffic you lost via Linktree instead of the actual content.

2. You Eliminate That ‘Extra Step’

Social media is about resonating with your audience and getting you at the forefront of their mind at various stages of their journey.

With one intention in mind…

Get them back to your website so they choose to buy from you.

Linktree adds an extra step in the journey that just doesn’t need to be there. When you create a custom Instagram link page, you’re providing the most direct route possible between possible customer and product. Cutting out the fluff and keeping them on track.

3. You Get to Stay on Brand

The free version of Linktree has very limited branding opportunities and this can be frustrating if you want to keep your page on brand.

When your branding is lost mid-journey, it can cast doubt in the back of your audience’s mind. 

“Why does this look so different from everything else I’ve EVER seen?”

Sure, you can upgrade to a paid plan with Linktree, but why would you when you can build your own for free!

With your own custom Instagram ‘link in bio’ page, that doubt is eliminated. Seamlessly transitioning your audience on your branding journey to build more trust, more loyalty, and more credibility.

So tell me, is this blog inspiring you to create your own custom Instagram links page yet?

If you’ve been thinking about using a Linktree alternative, I hope I’ve opened your eyes to the world of opportunities a custom link page can give you!

And if you ever think, “YES, I want to set up my own custom Instagram links page… But I don’t know how” click HERE and get in touch with me.

I’m always happy to answer any questions about the process and provide advice!

5 Signs To Look Out For: The Benefits of a Website Redesign For Your Business

Your Go-To Guide To Help You Understand The Benefits of a Website Redesign and What It Can Bring To Your Business

When you set up your business, one of the first things you think about is, “What will my website look like?”

You go to great heights making a super sleek professional website and at the time, it’s a masterpiece.

But as life moves forward, the priority of your website is pushed back, and suddenly, your state-of-the-art website isn’t so state-of-the-art anymore. Instead, it’s five years out-of-date, not optimised to today’s standards, and is not doing your brand the justice it deserves.

84% of consumers think having a website makes a business look more credible, so it’s a no-brainer to utilise its power to bring your business back into the limelight.

Come with me as I explore the FIVE most common signs to look for when deciding whether it’s time to update your website. Plus what the benefits of a website redesign can bring to your business.

1. It’s Not Reflecting Your Brand Anymore

As your business grows and develops, things can often change.

  • Perhaps you want to focus on a different ideal client?
  • Perhaps you’ve changed your branding colours?
  • Perhaps you’ve decided to direct your business in a different direction?

Whatever it is, it’s vital your website is an accurate representation of your brand now. 

That means your branding has to be consistent across all platforms (such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, AND your website) to maintain a professional appearance.

2. It’s Not Mobile Optimised

In today’s society, we treat our mobile phone like it’s an extra limb.

So if your website is outdated and not mobile-friendly, you’re ruling out A LOT of traffic.

Responsive design ensures that your website adapts to whatever device a user is using, making it a positive experience for everyone. 

One of the main benefits of a website redesign means you’ll open yourself up to more people and ultimately direct more traffic to your website. In turn, you’ll be able to connect with more potential clients and customers!

3. It’s Not Bringing in Leads

It’s all well and good to focus on a good-looking website, but it also needs the content to match. 

So if you’re struggling to find leads, it’s time to revisit your landing pages, calls-to-action, and conversion paths and see where you’re falling short. If you don’t give visitors a clear idea of what you want them to do (in other words, a strong call to action) they probably won’t stay on your site for very long.

Be direct about what you want people to do when they come to your site.

TOP TIP: Check out your Search Engine Optimisation and see if you are ranking for any keywords. If Google can’t find you, then it’s very likely your audience can’t too!

4. It’s Very Slow To Load

When your website is slow to load, you’re directing your audience STRAIGHT into the hands of your competitors.

If you’re unsure why your website’s slow, there’re actually several aspects of your site that can cause it to be slow such as:

  • Unnecessarily large images
  • Huge video files
  • Bloated code
  • Inefficient page builders 

And much more!

By staying on top of your website’s loading speed, you can make sure your audience stays engaged and doesn’t end up elsewhere. 

5. It’s Hard To Navigate

Not everyone has the patience to jump from one page to another to find what they’re looking for.

Bad navigation can HUGELY affect your bounce rate, and therefore the number of people who choose to do business with you. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your website’s easy to get around.

After all, you built your website for your audience, right?

And the benefits of a website redesign show you care about their experience. Building up trust and loyalty, and the likely hood of increased business.

So what do you think?

I hope this blog has helped show you where your website might be in need of an update and has opened your eyes to the benefits of a website redesign. If you’re in need of any advice or have a current website you’re interested in updating, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

I’m always happy to answer any questions you have! 

Do any of these reasons ring true for you?

9 Simple Yet Effective Ways To Optimise Your Content for Google 3-Pack SEO

A Simplified Guide To Help You Become Visible And Establish Yourself In The Local Search Results

It’s Friday night, you look in the fridge… EMPTY! “Ah-ha,” you think as you have a lightbulb moment. Reaching for your phone you start to Google…

“The tastiest takeaways near me”

Sound familiar?

Well, this is where small businesses like you could be missing out if you haven’t optimised your content for Google 3-Pack SEO! 

Google is notorious for constantly tweaking the way they show results to users. But the Google 3-pack update doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. 

That’s why in this blog I want to share with you nine ways you can optimise your Google 3-pack SEO, so you have a fighting chance of showing up. Ready to get learning and boost your reach?

What Actually is Google 3-Pack? 

You’ve probably noticed the three Maps results that pop up when you conduct a local search on your smartphone or desktop, right?

Well, this is Google 3-pack working its magic.

For example, if you search “takeaways near me”, Google 3-Pack displays three of the most relevant and accurate results local to you. But results are only shown if you’re a highly optimised, relevant, trustworthy business. 

We know this because, in December 2021, Google 3-Pack saw a major update where they rebalanced three of its key ranking factors. Focusing on proximity, relevance, and prominence.

This leads me to my next point.

How Can You Improve Your Google 3-Pack SEO?

Here’s the thing…

You can’t optimise specifically for Google 3-Pack.

That’s because Google 3-Pack is location-dependent, so it’s ultimately based upon where your ideal client is searching from. 

But what you CAN do is optimise your web presence in a way that’ll increase your chances of showing up and being number one. So when your ideal client does happen to be in the area searching for a business like yours, your name is there in shining lights ready for business.

How to Optimise Your Google Business Profile

1. Fill in every section of your profile 

It’s so easy to pass by a section because you don’t have the relevant information to hand. But I’m telling you, filling out every section is vital to prove to Google you’re a relevant business. 

2. Ask for customer reviews and respond within 24 hours

The more you respond to feedback, the more this shows Google you’re active, ready to show up, and are a valuable member of the community. Plus it also shows your audience you care about your customer service.

3. Optimise the business description and use keywords that are likely to be searched for

Never pass up the opportunity to strengthen your Google 3-pack SEO. What terms are people using when they search for a business like yours?

For example, for me, it’s terms like ‘WordPress Developer’, ‘WordPress Web Design’ or ‘Canberra-based Web Developer.’

4. Encourage people to ask questions and respond promptly

Like above, it shows Google you’re a valuable member of the community and ready to reach out to your customers.

5. Upload new photos weekly if possible

Utilising every form of content Google offers is a great way to increase your chances of coming up trumps when using Google 3-pack. 

6. Make sure your content is accurate and consistent 

When Google crawls your content, it takes note of how consistent your business is. In other words, the more accurate your messaging is, the more likely you’re seen as trustworthy.

7. Try to get locally relevant backlinks 

Backlinks are links from a page on one website to another. If someone links to your site, then you have a backlink from them. It basically says to Google your content is valuable and worth reading.

8. Build a strong presence on social media 

Although social media doesn’t affect your Google 3-pack SEO directly, it can help with your organic rankings. You can leverage social media to direct traffic to your website and boost visibility. 

9. Improve your websites user experience

A huge part of SEO is how your website actually works when a user is navigating it. The easier it is to use and the more relevant the content, the more likely you are to rank higher.

And that’s a wrap! 

I really hope this guide has helped simplify things down for you and taught you a few simple tips you can leverage to help boost your Google 3-pack SEO. 

If you have questions about your Google Business Profile or need some help setting it up for your business, get in touch HERE. I’d be more than happy to help you out and give you some trustworthy, professional advice.

So tell me, which tips will you be using first?


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Google Universal Analytics is Shutting Shop: All You Need to Know in 10 Mins

A Guide To Shed Light on What Google Has In-Store and How You Can Prepare For The Introduction of Google Analytics 4

📣 Have you heard the BIG news, my friends?!

On 1 July 2023, Google Universal Analytics will STOP processing new hits and make way for the new kid on the block.

Google Analytics 4 (GA4).

You might be thinking… “2023! That’s ages away.”

But if you’re still relying on Universal Analytics and want a smooth transition to Google Analytics 4, then you’d better get a move on. 

Why do you ask? 

Because it takes time to collect data. Especially if you’re starting from the bottom up. If you’re proactive and start recording data now, you won’t have to start from scratch next year and that’s huge.

Read below to see how you can get started and make your transition as smooth as butter.

How Do Google Universal Analytics and Google Analytics 4 compare?

Now, let’s go back to basics for a minute. 

Google Analytics is a tool that is used by almost 30 million websites in an effort to understand user behaviour and create an optimal user experience.

Google Universal Analytics is a version of Google Analytics that was created in 2012 to set a new standard for how user data is collected and organised. Its main job was to provide new tracking codes for websites and features that can more accurately measure user behaviour.

GA4 is not an upgrade to Google Universal Analytics, but actually a different version of Google Analytics that works on event-driven-based models. 

Events are triggered as users interact with your site or app. For example, someone visiting your page or clicking a button to perform an action. You simply create an event for your chosen activity, add the parameters to describe the event, and let GA4 work its magic.

What Does This Mean For Your Data?

Well, it means you can continue to use and collect new data in your Universal Analytics properties until 1 July 2023. 

But after the cut-off date, your Google Universal Analytics properties will become read-only.

In other words, you’ll still be able to access the data, export it, and make configuration changes. But from July onwards, there’s no further data collection. So it’s best to try and gather as much information as possible until July 1st so you’re not left in the dark. 

Also, if you haven’t gotten up and running with GA4, I recommend starting NOW.

This gives you time to get used to the new software and start collecting data before transferring over completely.

How Should You Prepare For The Big Move?

Like all relocations, it’s best to get organised and familiar before you dive in

Here are 4 tips I highly recommend to get started and feel confident about the move:

  1. Document all your existing tracking in Google Universal Analytics
  2. Take a step back, look at your business model, and think strategically about what you need to measure to get the best results
  3. Plan out your event naming classification in Google Analytics 4 and take advantage of their new structure
  4. Look into training for yourself and any other people you work with so you can get the most out of GA4

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see the new innovative benefits GA4 will provide in today’s mobile-optimised environment. And while Universal Analytics will continue to be available to users, it’s going to be imperative for both to be set up and run parallel to get the most out of the experience. 

I hope this blog has given you a better understanding of what’s coming on July 1st, 2023 and shed some light on what you can do to get ahead in time for the deadline! 

What do you think of the new announcement? 

If you have questions or want some support and professional advice, get in contact now. I’m always happy to help. 💌

WordPress vs Squarespace: How To Successfully Create Your Own Custom Website

Deep Dive Into Two of the Most Popular Website Building Platforms to Find out Which One Will Work for You

Congratulations! 🎉 You’ve decided you want to create your own custom website, you’ve conducted the research, and now you’ve narrowed it down to two options… vs Squarespace.

They’re both super well-known platforms and power MILLIONS of websites each. But both have major differences that may or may not work for you depending on what you’re looking for. So, which one’s for you?

Well, that’s a complicated question.

The best platform for you comes down to what you *really* need, so it’s important to understand what they offer before making a decision. 

In this blog, I’m going to give you the low down of each platform so you can make an informed choice about which one is best for you and your company to create your own custom website. Ready to start the comparison?

Then let’s begin!

1. Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is the process of your website gaining visibility in search engine results pages.

Squarespace has SEO tools inbuilt so it saves the process of learning how it all works, BUT you don’t get anywhere near the level of optimisation available from WordPress.

Being self-hosted, WordPress gives you full control over your SEO setup. And with a wide array of plugins, you can do almost anything you need for SEO. Including being able to determine your site speed with the freedom to choose your own hosting provider.

Squarespace can be expanded if you have coding knowledge. But compared to WordPress, you’re still limited with what you can do.

Winner: WordPress

2. Cyber Security

Due to Squarespace being self-hosted, your website’s security is the responsibility of the company. 

So for those of you who want to set up your site and have minimal maintenance, Squarespace is for you!

WordPress is a different story…

How secure your website is, comes down to how well your site is maintained. One of the BIGGEST reasons WordPress websites get hacked is because of out-of-date plugins. 

Regular updates are a must! But that’s not the only thing you need to think about when it comes to WordPress security. The following also need to be considered:

  • Installing security plugins
  • Using a content delivery network 
  • Choosing a reputable host

TOP TIP: Remember to take regular backups of your site, so if something does go wrong, you’ll be able to restore your website quickly.

Winner: Squarespace

3. Pricing and Subscriptions

It’s that classic question: Which one’s cheaper?

Well, did you know is free? 

However, to have a website you need to invest in hosting and a domain yourself. Domains are generally around 15 to 20 AUD per year, and hosting can be from as little as 2 AUD a month. 

But it can vary greatly depending on which company you choose to go with.

While Squarespace has a very clear pricing plan.

Although not the cheapest, it’s paid monthly or annually and their rates start from around 16 AUD a month. So it’s easy to see how much it will *actually* cost per year to run your site.

Winner: WordPress

4. Design and Flexibility

WordPress and Squarespace have a HUGE variety of themes available both paid and free.

Squarespace falls short with its flexibility. 

Sure, Squarespace templates are beautiful, but you also run the risk of your website looking like it’s just come off the shelf. Lacking its own originality and flare.

While WordPress has the added option of custom design. 

Through coding, access to plugins (software add-ons that allow for customisation of your site), and its virtually unlimited options, you can create your own custom website that’s truly one of a kind.

Winner: WordPress

5. eCommerce

Squarespace offers a practical and easy online shopping setup.

You can easily insert a product page, control your inventory, add product variations, AND manage shipping options.

However, it can be costly, with an increased eCommerce subscription and commission on sales through the site.

While with WordPress, you can create your own custom website and turn it into an eCommerce store with the click of a button. Well… You need to install a free plugin such as WooCommerce, but it’s super easy!

At first, WooCommerce might be difficult to navigate (if not a little overwhelming)

But if you can spare a bit of time and figure it out, it’s a powerful, customisable open-source platform that offers even MORE functionality than Squarespace.

(AND more than Shopify, but that’s a blog for another day 😉)

Winner: Draw!

6. Ownership of Content 

So, who owns what and what can you actually do with your content?

When you set up a website with WordPress, you’re in control of your data.

Meaning it belongs to you and only you! Content that you put on your website can be exported and used anywhere without worry of interference.

A Squarespace site is at the mercy of Squarespace gods! 

They’re the middle man and you don’t technically own your site. So, if you set up a Squarespace site, be prepared for the eye-watering possibility of losing ALL your content. 

NOTE: It is possible to download Squarespace content if you’re tech-savvy and not afraid of a manual task.

Winner: WordPress

7. Customer Support

When you’re with Squarespace or WordPress, you’ll NEVER feel alone.

With every subscription they offer, Squarespace comes with dedicated personal email support, live chat, and a HUGE array of tutorials on hand to help you with any questions.

While WordPress has a big community of resources and tutorials. 

And although WordPress doesn’t have a specific support line, they DO have support for each theme, plugin, and builder. 

The downside is that you need to know who and where to ask for help, which is where it can get a bit technical.

Winner: Draw!

8. The Verdict

Now, I want you to ask yourself a question.

Rather than focusing on what website you want now, ask yourself this: 

“What kind of website do I want 5 years from now?”

If you have minimal needs and crave a website you can ‘lock up and leave’ then Squarespace is going to be the platform for you. But if you want to create your own custom website and have big plans for expansions and development, then WordPress is going to be your best bet.

Now tell me, are you team WordPress or team Squarespace?

If you’re sitting there thinking, “I still don’t know!” or need help deciding whether WordPress is for you, then don’t worry. There are people out there who can give you professional, trustworthy advice… Like me! 😉

As a Canberra web designer, I’m here to help you create your own custom website and lead along the way! Head over to my Web Design and Development page to learn more and if you have any questions get in touch now.

5 Ways to Speed up Your WordPress Website and Increase Conversion

Having a fast website is crucial to the success of your website. It impacts user experience, search engine optimisation and conversion rate.

How annoying is it when you visit a website and you sit there staring at a blank screen waiting for it to load? Poor user experience is a big no-no with websites. Google did a study in 2017 that found that as page load time went from 1 second to 3 seconds, the bounce rate increased by 32%!

Following on from that, Google have stated on their website that speed is now a ranking factor for search engine optimisation. I don’t care how amazing your website is, Google have literally said they aren’t going to be sending people your way if your website is too slow.

Slow websites also have an impact on conversion rate and this doesn’t only apply to small businesses. The BBC reported that for every extra second that it took their website to load they were losing 10% of their traffic!

Okay, I’ve made my point, we can all agree that speed matters. But the thing is most people are not aware of what the speed of their website is, or how they can improve. I’m here to change that with my top 5 tips on how to increase website speed.

Image Optimisation

Who doesn’t want to spruce up their website with nice pictures to look at, it would get a bit boring if it was only text.

Yet, one of the biggest causes of a slow website is images. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them (I mean I use them), it just means you need to be smart about what you use.

Optimisation is key, I optimise EVERYTHING before upload, those KBS add up. An example of this was a previous client I had who hired me to speed up her website, one of the first things I looked at was the images. She didn’t have a lot on her website but the files were huge!

By following a few simple steps I was able to reduce the image size from 40MB to 3.4MB… that was only 20 images!
Want to know the steps I used to optimise the images for her website? Read the steps outlined below.

Tips for Image Optimisation

  1. Crop to correct dimensions
    If you want to load up a fabulous photo of yourself to put on your about page, and it’s going to be 400×600 pixels. Please tell me why you would upload an image that is 2000×3000 pixels? That’s a whole lot of pixels for no reason. I use Resize Image which is a free Windows App, but you can use whatever software you’re comfortable with. Some free online options are Canva, or
  2. Run through TinyPNG
    Once your image is cropped to the correct dimensions you want to give it a little boost by compressing the image. Enter TinyPNG. TinyPNG compresses your image without losing the Image Quality.
  3. BONUS: Give the image file an SEO friendly name
    While this has no effect on your site speed it’s an important step you should take when uploading images to your website. Make sure you are naming all images with optimised titles before upload. For example, if you are uploading an image of a pink dress rather than keep the image file as IMG_444.jpg you want to call it exactly what it is pink-dress.jpg

Use a Good Web Host

Cheap hosting is the best option for my website performance… said no one ever. I get it, $1/month hosting sounds pretty amazing right? But for what you save in money you are losing in site performance, I’m sure there are exceptions to this… I mean I don’t know any but if you do send them my way, please.

See below for examples of real client sites before and after migrating their website to a better hosting provider.

What’s a good web host? Well, I love and use Cloudways and I recommend them to everyone. I don’t want this to turn into an ‘I love Cloudways‘ post, but honestly, they’re great.

They keep my website and my client’s websites safe, secure, speedy and as an added bonus their support is top-notch!

Install a Caching/Speed Plugin

Cache is the process of storing temporary data for a website, browser, app etc. This is important for websites because rather than loading a page fresh for every time someone new visits your website, caching skips that step and will show visitors a ‘copy’ of a previously loaded screen and as such reduces the load time for a visitor.

Caching plugins are powerful, they give you the ability to control dozens of different settings and as each website is different, each website needs to have different settings configured for it.

Enter my preferred caching plugins:

W3 Total Cache – FREE
WP Rocket – PAID

Install a CDN

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) speeds up the delivery of content to a website visitor, by using a network of geographically distributed servers. What this means is that if your host server is located in Sydney, Australia and someone is accessing it from the US, rather than the data travelling all the way from Sydney, a CDN can deliver that data from somewhere closer in the US.

CDNs are not only good for site speed, they are also an extra layer of security for your website. My preferred CDN is Cloudflare, they have both free and paid plans available.

Regularly check your website

Websites need ongoing maintenance and if you follow the steps above you’re off to a good start. However, it’s worth your time to run your website through tools such as GT Metrix and Page Speed Insights so you can see how your website is performing and where it can be improved.

Having a fast website is crucial to your visitor’s user experience, search engine optimisation and of course conversion rate. Does your site need speeding up? I offer Site Speed Audits to get you started, or if you’re looking for ongoing site management check out my WordPress Care Plans.


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Difference in White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. *Hint* Black Hat SEO is bad!

White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO refers to the techniques used to improve your websites search engine ranking.

You know how in old western films the hero wore the white cowboy hat and the villain would wear the black cowboy hat? Well, it’s the same with Black vs White Hat SEO.

Black Hat SEO = Bad Practice

White Hat SEO = Good Practice

Black Hat SEO can be tempting for some as it is seen as a quick and easy way to climb up the search engine rankings. However the success is often short-lived, search engines are quick to penalise those that try to manipulate them.

SEO is a long game and White Hat SEO acknowledges that.

The best thing you can do for yourself, your business and your website is to know what tactics to implement and what to avoid. Continue reading to find out more and what you can do to improve your search engine ranking and what not to do so you don’t get penalised.

What is White Hat SEO?

White Hat SEO refers to the correct and ethical way to optimise your site for search engine ranking by following search engine guidelines, focusing on the site visitors and users, and taking a long-term approach.

Follows search engine guidelines

Google literally tells you what to do and what not to do, have a read of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to make sure you’re following the rules!

Focuses on the user

If you are providing useful content for your site visitors, you are likely to get return visitors and referrals. Search engines acknowledge this, by being a source of information you are benefiting your search ranking.

Long-term approach

Ranking higher in search engines doesn’t happen overnight. SEO is a long game, and White Hat SEO acknowledges that. It takes time to build up your website as a reliable source, by implementing best practice every day you will eventually build the authority that gets you one page 1 of search engines.

What is Black Hat SEO?

Black Hat SEO is the opposite of White Hat SEO, it uses manipulative and unethical practices to attempt to rank higher in search engines. It violates search engine guidelines, focuses on search engine crawlers and is about making “quick-wins”.

Violates search engine guidelines

Again, check out Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to avoid Black Hat SEO tactics.

Focuses on the search engine crawlers

The search engine crawlers do not see what the users see and vice versa. They see what is going on in the background, this is where Black Hat SEO techniques come into play which I will cover further below.

Making “quick-wins”

Many people who use Black Hat SEO techniques do not respect that SEO is a long game. They are focusing on how to rank as quickly and as easily as possible, which is not sustainable. It may not always be immediate but search engines do eventually catch up to you and they will penalise you.

White Hat SEO Techniques to Implement

1. Quality content

At the end of the day, this is exactly what search engines are looking for. They want you to provide quality content so that they can reference THEIR site visitors to you! If they are not providing quality content to their users, then those users will not return. It is a domino effect.

2. UX and UI

Build a website that is user friendly and easy to navigate. A site that is well laid out for visitors and takes them to where they need is going to improve bounce rate which is a considered factor for search engine ranking.

3. Mobile-friendliness

Related to user experience, search engines prioritise websites that are mobile friendly. Again they want the best user experience for their visitors. Google has a free Mobile-Friendly Test for you to see if your website is mobile-friendly. For more on responsive design read my blog post here.

4. Site speed

Your site speed signals to search engines that again your site is user-friendly. A slow-loading website is jeopardizing your search engine ranking. To check the speed of your website visit GT Metrix.

5. Proper use of keywords

Do proper keyword research, look for gaps in the market and build your content around those keywords. Don’t keyword stuff when writing your content either, stick to a primary keyword and a few secondary keywords, and make sure your content is legible!

Moz and Ahrefs both have great keyword research tools for you to use.

6. Optimised code

Write lean code and use properly structured code to assist search engines to find what they are looking for. Use proper heading tags so crawlers know what an article is about, use alt tags on your images. If you aren’t sure where to start, enlist the help of a web developer who can ensure your code is fully optimised.

7. Link building

Link building is a way to drive traffic from your website to other relevant sources and vice versa. This can be linking for further reading, linking a related source, linking a relevant document/image/video. It is another way to build your authority, keep in line with White Hat link building and avoid Black Hat practices described below.

Black Hat SEO Techniques to Avoid

1. Keyword Stuffing

Probably the more common technique people use to get their content to rank higher. By repeatedly using keywords you may be getting noticed by search engines but you are making your content unreadable.

Check out Google’s example of keyword stuffing:

We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at

If your content has a higher percentage of keywords than actual useful information – you’re keyword stuffing.

2. Hidden Text

Exactly as the name suggests, this is hiding your text and links so that the user can not see it but the search engine is picking up on it and so potentially improving your ranking.

There are a few ways this can be achieved:

  • changing the colour of the text to match the page background (i.e. white text on white background).
  • linking a bit of punctuation such as a full stop or comma
  • making the font size so small it can not be seen

If your user can’t see it – don’t do it.

3. Cloaking

Similar to Hidden Text, Cloaking is when you are showing one thing to your visitors and another to search engines. For example, a visitor looks at your page and sees an image, however, a search engine sees hidden text and links coded into the page.

4. Duplicate content

You visit another website that is ranking well, you like their content, you copy it and publish it on your website. We learnt in school that plagiarism is bad – don’t forget that. Search engines won’t look at your site and think “oh wow this is great information”, instead they will think “hmm I’ve seen this somewhere else, this is not useful this is just duplicate content”. Don’t do it.

5. Doorways

Doorway pages are of little use to visitors but are used to funnel visitors to the final destination. Generally, they are keyword rich and can appear useful to search engine crawlers which can temporarily increase your search ranking. However once a search engine discovers it you will be penalised and don’t think you’re safe if you’re a big company either, in 2006 Google penalised BMW for using doorways!

6. Comment Spam

How annoying are spam comments? Most people who have a blog will get spam comments at some point, and you will notice most of them have links. This is a Black Hat technique to build more backlinks to their website. It’s not cool, it’s annoying, and search engines will not like you for it.

These are but a few Black Hat SEO techniques you need to avoid to make sure you are not at risk of experiencing the wrath of Google or any other search engine.

For a full list of Black Hat SEO techniques to AVOID check out the guidelines given by the masters themselves at Google.

Penalties for using Black Hat SEO

With all this talk about how bad Black Hat SEO is, there have to be some consequences for using these techniques.

For starters, search engines will update their algorithm so the techniques you have been using will no longer be effective. Your “quick-wins” have become “quick-loses”.

Examples of this are:

Hummingbird: targeted exact-match keyword targeting and keyword stuffing

Panda: targeted low quality, thin content and spammy websites

Fred: low-value and affiliate heavy content

For more examples read this article here.

These are general updates, however, if you really p*ss off Google you can get handed a manual action that means a real human has looked at your website and said NOPE. This can blacklist a web page or an entire website and you can lose your domain authority. To fix this you need to read the manual action report, fix the issues that have been described and then request a review.

But I bet you want me to name names, don’t you!

Asides from BMW that was mentioned above, here are some other companies that have suffered the wrath of Google!

JC Penney – JC Penney had a paid link strategy to rank better on Google search results. At the time every trending product you searched for you were supposed to see their website at the top. Google penalised them and their website ranking dropped to almost the hundredth position in the search results.

Gourmet Gift Baskets – after outsourcing their SEO, the owner woke up one day to find their site had disappeared from Google. It was discovered that one of the companies managing their SEO had been buying links and as a result, they were hit with a penalty right before the holiday season which ended up costing them almost USD 4 million!

Mozilla – Mozilla was penalised for hosting a webpage that had more than 21k spam comments! Although this wasn’t their fault, it serves a lesson to everyone with a website the importance of managing spam comments. The page lost some of its rankings, however, Mozilla ended up completely removing the page.

Google doesn’t just punish others, they have also penalised themselves FIVE times!

It goes to show it doesn’t matter who you are, how big your company is, Black Hat SEO tactics are to be avoided! You may experience quick-wins and a short time at the top, but search engines will catch up to you and the results can be devastating.

Need help with your SEO? Check out my SEO audits or head to my contact page and get in touch!


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