Shortlisted in the Investors in People Awards 2021

We are extremely pleased to announce that we have made the final shortlist for UK Employer of the Year – Platinum in The Investors in People Awards 2021. In a record-breaking year for entries, with nearly three hundred organisations involved, this is an outstanding achievement and one that everyone in the business is proud of.

The Investors in People Awards celebrate the very best organisations and individuals from around the world across various organisational, people, wellbeing and leadership categories. Each year hundreds of organisations from the UK and abroad battle it out to take home one of the sought after trophies to show their award-winning commitment to investing in their people.

Amanda Brooke, Managing Director, said:

It is a privilege to be shortlisted for this award; a clear indication of the dedication and hard work the team has invested in the business. We are passionate about developing our team to help us deliver our business aspirations, they are pivotal to our continued success.

Paul Devoy, CEO of Investors in People, commented:

Now in our 8th year, it always makes me feel immensely proud to see so many fantastic organisations staking their claim to be the best. And every year, the entries do get more and more competitive and the judging even tighter. Reaching the final shortlist is a testament to the amazing commitment these organisations are making to make work better for their people, and they truly deserve this recognition.

How do you migrate a website?

What is website migration?

Website migration is a broad term used within Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) to describe any large scale or highly impactful changes to a website’s location, structure, platform, design, content or user experience (UX). A few examples include:

Why is site migration necessary?

Whether website migration is something you want to do or something you have to do, the general aim is to improve the form, function, and security of your site. Some reasons might be:

Asking yourself why site migration is necessary is an important first step, as well as thorough analysis to ensure there are no simple fixes to the problems you are encountering.

How do you migrate a website successfully?

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to perform site migration with no loss in traffic or revenue. But this takes research, planning and careful execution. So here are some steps for you to consider…

Strategy

Objectives: Whatever your reasons for wanting/needing to perform a site migration, it is vital to have clear objectives in place. Firstly, determine realistic goals for each aspect of the migration. For example, if you are moving a site from HTTP to HTTPS, your objective would simply be to retain existing performance and traffic levels; whereas, if you are making changes to the site navigation to improve user experience, you should aim to increase existing levels of performance.

Risks: Identify the risks associated with different aspects of the site migration and put safeguards in place to counteract any negative effects.

Research: Find out what the changes will mean, both positively and negatively, to as many stakeholders as you can. Try to work out your ROI for each migration activity, prioritise them, and manage expectations to increase understanding of and engagement with the changes. Identify priority pages where changes will have the greatest impact.

Planning

Assign tasks: Especially important for more complex migrations – assign a task owner, dependencies and delivery date for each activity and its phases. A project manager may oversee all the associated activity to ensure the whole migration remains on schedule.

Launch date: It can be useful to have a definite end-date in mind for the site migration. While a certain degree of flexibility is required, an idea of launch date can help keep activity focussed and on track. The launch date, like all other details of the migration, should be carefully considered to maximise results and minimise any issues; for example, avoid large-scale changes to a website during or just prior to peak business times or limited-resource periods.

Consultation/Collaboration

You may be the experts at what you do, but conveying that to customers successfully via your website can require skills and experience that you might not have. And that is where collaboration with experts can assist you in making the right changes in the most effective way for your business. ExtraMile has SEO, Design and Development professionals who will work closely with you to gain an understanding of your business and goals, identifying the consequences and benefits of each change before any decisions are made.

By extending the collaborative approach to internal work, any specifications identified in the planning of a project can be detailed, communicated and factored into the process and tasks to be accomplished. For example, the SEO requirements of a project having been determined, should be translated into clear actions for developers to complete – this results in a consistently holistic approach which pays appropriate attention to every area of your business, whilst not losing the forest for the trees.

Testing

Testing is vital both during and after site migration. Proposed changes can be mocked-up and tested to identify any issues early on. User journeys and content updates may be tested earlier in the process, while other changes can only be tested once the migration is complete. It is important to remember that specific mobile testing should also be carried out.

Redirects

Redirects are one of the most crucial factors in site migration – implementing them will assist both search engines and users in finding pages that have moved. They also help search engines make the connection between the old and the new, allowing ranking signals to be exchanged and retained. Testing of redirects should be done before an updated site goes live.

Downtime

Downtime, while the new site is replacing the old one, should be kept to a minimum. But a server response to advise users and search engines that the site is temporarily down will also avoid negative effects on visibility.

Analysis

Benchmarking: Gathering data on the existing site will give you something to compare back to once changes have been implemented, and identify what went well during the migration and what could be improved upon in the future.

Testing and review: Once a site has gone live, both repeat and additional testing should be carried out to check that your updates have been implemented correctly and are performing as hoped. Testing for and correcting any issues should be done as soon as possible. However, determining whether the whole process has been a success can take longer, maybe even months for larger websites.

How ExtraMile can help with your site migration

Our close working relationships and wealth of experience make ExtraMile the ideal partner for your site migration, whether it involves design, content writing, user experience improvements, search engine optimisation, development or all of the above. We will work diligently to ensure your website migration is a success from the moment it begins. If you would like more information about the services we provide, please get in touch with us or contact a member of our team.

How do you find the best SEO agency?

SEO agencies and digital marketing

It goes without saying that enlisting genuine expertise is a foolproof method for improvement in any given field. In terms of digital marketing, SEO agencies are able to provide a wealth of information, guidance, and expertise in what can sometimes be quite a complex field to navigate – helping you to get things moving in the right direction, and keep them on that trajectory for years to come.

  So, with your business’s digital marketing efforts in mind, you may well have found yourself pondering the question: ‘How do I find the best SEO agency?’ 

The best is relative

  ‘The best’ is a relative term. What’s best for you beyond any shadow of doubt might only be mediocre for someone else. Difference in circumstance dictates difference in preference, choice, and action. 

  As such, a more focused and beneficial question to ask yourself might be: which SEO agency is best for me and my business

  To answer this question, you’re going to need to ask yourself a few more questions.

Q&A

  Chances are, you already have an in-depth idea of what it is that you’re likely to need from your SEO agency. However, to understand which SEO agency will be the best for you, it’s important that you have a precise understanding of what it is that you are looking for. 

  Taking some time to clarify your thinking will undoubtedly assist you in your endeavour to find the best SEO agency – meaning, the agency that is the perfect fit for your business. This clarification can be achieved by considering your answers to the questions below.

  (Consider involving multiple stakeholders from your business so that you come away with a holistic representation of where you are now, and where you want to get to.)

Think about the following:

  1. What are the objectives that you want your digital marketing function to achieve?
  2. How would you divide these objectives up over the short, medium, and long term?
  3. What is your top priority?
  4. How will you measure success?
  5. What’s your budget?
  6. What type of relationship are you looking to enter into with your SEO agency? E.g. consultancy-based or fully-managed?

  Answers to these questions will help to define:

The best SEO agency

  Any SEO agency that fails to appreciate the uniqueness of each of their customers will be doomed to fail their clients and, ultimately, themselves – given enough time.

  The best SEO agency for you will be the one that merges a holistic understanding of your business’s circumstances and ambitions with their knowledge, expertise, and techniques in order to get you to where you want to be.

The ExtraMile way

  At ExtraMile, we understand the irrefutable fact that without our customers, we are nothing. We would simply have no reason to exist if we did not have clients to serve.

  That’s why our customers are truly at the heart of everything we do.

  We do things slightly differently at ExtraMile. Compared to some marketing agencies who might give off all the right signals and say all the right things without actually getting to know their clients, our SEO projects are designed from the ground up to always place you, our customer, at the center of our universe.

  From the very beginning, we seek to understand you fully, so that we can identify how best to integrate our extensive experience and expertise with your business’s unique objectives and circumstances.

  This understanding informs how we work alongside you to design your SEO project, and how our relationship delivers on your digital marketing ambitions. 

Get in touch

To discover how we can help you and your business move forward, get in touch with us today.

What are the benefits of conversion rate optimisation?

What is conversion rate optimisation?

The basics

Let’s start at the beginning. Conversion is defined as the process of changing something from one thing to another. In the case of your website, your goal is to change/convert visitors into customers by taking a desired action. This action, conversion, or site goal will depend on the purpose of your website, and can be either a micro-conversion (e.g. signing up to a newsletter) or a macro-conversion and the primary goal (e.g. buying a product).

Conversion rate, expressed as a percentage, is the number of these successful conversions compared to the total number of visitors/visits to your website.

Conversion rate is a useful metric in marketing. A simple percentage shows you where you are, how you compare to other businesses in your industry, and what improvements you have made with changes to your websites or sales and marketing strategy.

Conversion rate optimisation, therefore, is the practice of increasing the conversion rate, by incentivising and encouraging more visitors to complete the desired action on your website.

Calculating conversion rate

Conversion rate optimisation can only begin after visits have been made to your site.

Depending on the number of conversion possibilities on your website, you can calculate the conversion rate by using either the number of visits or sessions (where multiple types of conversions are possible) or by the number of unique users (where there is only one possible conversion on the site):

Number of conversions Number of visits (or Number of unique users) 100 = % Conversion rate

For example, for an e-commerce site, if you have 3 visits to your site and 2 of those result in the purchase of a product, then:

2 3 100 = 66% Conversion rate

Gathering and using the data

Once you have your conversion rate figure, you can begin optimisation. Initially, it is important to consider what you are optimising (e.g. design, content or functionality), who you are optimising for, and what targets you are hoping to achieve. Analysing both quantitative and qualitative data will give you answers about your users, how they engage with your website and what you can do to improve your conversion rates.

Quantitative data can be gathered from sources such as Google Analytics and conversion rate tracking, and give information on:

Qualitative data can be used to support the facts and figures above, using customer surveys and user experience testing to find out why the behaviours above happen.

Combining all of this data will help you decide where to spend the most time and effort making adjustments to your site –  as in the pages with the most website traffic or those that most frequently cause users to abandon their search.

Why is CRO important?

Your website, like all other aspects of your business, has a purpose. Whatever that purpose is, your website takes time, money and effort, and you need to ensure that it is performing well and earning its place in your marketing strategy.

Conversion rate optimisation offers a number of benefits to your business:

  1. Increased ROI – as mentioned above, your website costs money, so a better conversion rate means a better return on that investment
  2. Improved user experience – by learning more about how your target audience engages with your website and improving that engagement, you also improve the overall user experience, helping to build trust and brand loyalty
  3. Improved ranking on SERPs – by reducing the number of times people abandon a visit to your website, you demonstrate to search engines that you have what users are looking for, helping to bump your site up in the rankings
  4. Beat the competition – you want to be the best, obviously, but being the best is a lot about being better than your competition, and making improvements to your website will make you stand out from the crowd

How ExtraMile Communications can help

At ExtraMile, our SEM Specialists have all the experience, knowledge and tools to carry out effective conversion rate optimisation. We will collect the data and collaborate closely with you to understand your business goals and objectives in order to optimise for the best results for you.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more, or visit our website to learn more about CRO or some of the other SEM services we offer:

Tower to Tower – ‘the Everest of rowing’

ExtraMile’s Managing Director, Gabrielle Hadley, has never been one to turn down a dare – something that frequently got her into trouble in her younger days.

So when Melanie Williams of The Donna Louise Children’s Hospice suggested that Gabrielle could become a company sponsor and participant in the showcase expedition that formed the pinnacle of the hospice’s Year of the Challenge, of course she said yes.

That was in August 2014 and when Gabrielle found herself rowing along the South Coast and in heavy seas around Dungeness, she probably regretted her decision to participate. Sea sickness, exhaustion and very sore hands were just a part of the privations suffered by the 24 participants (companies, celebrities, students and physios) who set off from Tower Bridge in London to row the 450 nautical miles (518 land miles) to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Gabrielle and team mates (Mark Orpe, Louise Mason, Amy Houston, Travers Wallett and Mo Chaudry) rowing up the Seine. Photo taken by Steve Burgess (he was coxing at the time) using Mark Orpe’s iPhone!

A total of seven days rowing, 24 hours a day, 2 hours on and 2 hours off takes its toll. In the two hours off, the rowers had to eat, sleep and freshen up – needless to say, there was little time for any of those activities. Gabrielle’s experience was that she slept only one or two hours in the whole of the first three days. So, when the little boats (Cornish gigs) reached Le Havre on the French coast, most people were grateful that stormy conditions enforced a 24 hour lay-over.

From there, the teams, in their two boats of six rowers and one cox, ploughed their way upstream on the river Seine – a mighty river that is home to vast ocean-going barges, cruise ships, tankers and container vessels. Another two days of rowing faced them as they struggled against the current, shepherded on their way by the constant attentions of the three support vessels and the land support team who pursued them by road.

The entry into Paris however, made all the pain worthwhile. Crowds of well-wishers had seen them off from London and no lesser crowds were waiting for them as they triumphantly rowed under the Pont d’Iéna, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Why did they do it? What motivated Gabrielle to take all that time out of her life? It’s simple. The hospice provides care and respite to the families it supports in Staffordshire and South Cheshire. The children they look after have serious and life-limiting illnesses that mean that a family’s life can never be quite normal. Sleep deprivation is constant and the need for respite, change of scenery and new activities and friends is only part of what sends people to the hospice. It needs a lot of money to run – an awful lot – over three million pounds at the last count. So the challenge’s massive contribution of well over £300,000 is a huge boost to a valuable local service.

As for Gabrielle, she’s back steering the ship called ExtraMile and you better believe that she has a firm hand on the tiller! If you want to help further her contribution to the fund, you can donate here. Alternatively, why not visit the Tower to Tower website (donated by ExtraMile) and read the news stories which unfolded each day? You can also see the #TowertoTower slideshow on Youtube.

Nick Evans from ExtraMile