Today I thought I would look at some common struggles with the online world with those that aren’t trained and are trying to find their way through, remember this is said in the same vein as saying ‘I not bad with maths but I am not an accountant’ – we have all tried one accounting bit of software or another or used spreadsheets, and you can guarantee an accountant would have plenty of advice as to how we can do it better – right?

So, I have had over 15 years of experience in the online marketing world and this blog is simply outlining some of the main struggles and giving advice to make them less of a struggle. I have chosen a few of the main ones.


Ok, so most online is a challenge and becomes ‘mediocre’ in approach and response if one does not have their brand defined properly. From logo to website, from information sharing to customer journey, if we have not thought through our branding and message – online business becomes a challenge and very frustrating. It seems like such an obvious point and one which most people will read and think ‘yep, got that covered’ but I am talking about really challenging yourself and your colleagues to deep dive into your brand and message.

So, let’s look at an example. I listen to the radio a lot and one advert stands out as something that jars with me, a well-known insurance company opens their advert with ‘life is complicated, our car insurance isn’t’ – so yes, we can see that they are trying to promote an easy of use message for their product, but the fact remains, car insurance is complicated and there is no getting away from that. The context of the ad is essentially correct ‘portray our car insurance as simple to use’ it provokes most people to think ‘but car insurance is complex – no one really knows what is covered and what isn’t.

Most people go 80% and leave it there; they don’t ask the difficult ‘time consuming’ questions such as ‘ok so the content is informative but is it said in a way our customers understand’, ‘what is our brand message?’, ‘who are our customers and so on. Take the time to really understand every facet of your brand, does it work, does it make sense, what are we saying, what do our customers want to hear? How can we make our customers feel welcome and at home on our site, what questions are they asking that we have the answers to? Push the boundaries however hard it is, believe me, you get your brand spot on, and everything online becomes a joy.

Paid Search

The number of times I have heard a customer say, ‘I have dabbled with paid search [AdWords] and I didn’t really know how it went, but it was expensive’. This is very common, and it is mostly to do with perception, most people think the simplest high-level keywords are the most effective ones, and in some cases that could be right but generally it means you are paying a premium for keywords that are ‘in the ballpark’ of what you do.

Let’s put this in content, take a flower shop as an example, the shop owner wants to target people who want to buy flowers (yes I know obvious right?) and he uses ‘Flowers’ as a keyword. Now it can be argued that some of the people searching for ‘flowers’ in google, want to buy a bunch of flowers, but some might want images of flowers, some might want to buy flowers they can plant and some might want a book on flowers (please bear in mind that Google AdWords, the example, in this case, shows ads for any search with the keyword ‘flowers’ in, so even if someone puts in ‘books on flowers’ the ad will still show).

What then, is a better solution? Consider the following points:

  • Can you add to the keyword to make it more specific? ‘Bouquet of flowers’

  • Can you add a location to only target those in a certain area ‘bouquet of flowers Portsmouth’?

  • Can you add an action to make it even more specific? ‘Buy a bouquet of flowers Portsmouth’

The AdWords experts out there will be shouting ‘you can do that through the settings’ and of course you can (you can set campaign target location / and keyword match type) but my point here Is that it’s about thought again, think it through a little more, use a keyword research tool, there are plenty of free ones. Find keywords that are specific and target your products, services and location, you will find it more cost-effective and generally yield better results.

SEO / Keywords

You have your brand and your new site built and now it needs optimising. There is one thing you can do that will help your web pages rank significantly better. Change / optimise the <title> tags of each page, this is still a hugely influential way in which you can label a page with important and relevant keywords for the major search engines to pick up and understand each page’s content.

By default, most CMS (content management systems) will put in the page name and the site title into the <title> tag which means you get a lot of site switch <title> text such as ‘home – brand’ – which as you can imagine lends little to your ranking/marketing efforts.

A couple of things to consider:

  1. Try to only use two keyword phrases per page, there is an upper limit of 60 characters (consensus) but this is because anything past that does show up in the search results – so there is leeway but try and keep titles short and concise.

  2. Include at least one location that you are targeting, this will help localise the keywords.

  3. Add your brand at the end, so in the case of the flower shop, it might look something like this:

Buy Bouquet of Flowers | Occasion Flowers, Portsmouth | Joe’s Flower Shop

There are so many CMS’s out there that I would advise finding the name of your websites CMS (and getting the log-in details) then Google ‘how to change the title’s in [CMS]’

That was a bit of a whistle-stop tour, but I hope I have been of some assistance and helped you all to at least understand online search and marketing a bit better.

Published On: July 19th, 2022 / Categories: Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategy /

About the Author: Joe James

Joe has been working in the world of online marketing for 15 years, he has a large amount of experience in SEO, social media, paid search and content marketing.