As we enter 2016 the role that digital media plays in most people’s daily lives has changed drastically. We are only ever a couple of minutes away from finding out the answer to a question, the latest news reports or finding a supplier to fill a need, irrespective of where we are or what we are doing. The internet now plays a central role in most companies’ marketing strategy, yet still today we regularly see companies who are not maximising the potential of their website. In order to get your website working harder for you, follow these key 6 steps to online success.
Having a great looking website is one thing. However cosmetic appearance won’t generate you sales if the right people are not finding your site. You need to ensure that your site is being found for relevant search terms by your target audience. This can be achieved via natural search (also referred to as ‘organic’) or through paid advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook Adverts etc.). In order to maximise the visibility of your site you need to understand the keywords that people are searching by, you can use Google Keyword planner to help you decide on the right keywords to target.
Google Adwords offers you the opportunity to drive traffic to your site instantly (at a cost per click), whilst natural search often takes a considerable amount of time to build up. However if you get the structure of your site correct, playing by Google’s very specific rules, you should be able to build up a considerable volume of natural traffic (assuming your offering isn’t too niche or too localised). Structure covers how your website has been built – whether the pages have appropriately length titles, that images have tags, the site has a sitemap, no duplicate content, redirects are in place for redundant pages, the site is responsive to mobile devices etc. There are a lot of different factors to consider and your web developer should be bearing all of these in mind when building the site, although these can be fixed retrospectively. A good free online tool to check how you shape up is WooRank .
So let’s assume that #1 and #2 are in order and you have bucketfuls of traffic coming to your site through whatever means. Does the site provide the right impact on arrival? Is it visually appealing, is it talking to me about something that was relevant to my search, does the business look professional, are you reassuring me that you could possibly be able to service my needs? If the answer is no then I will be off again. Your “bounce rate” within Google analytics may provide some insight here as a ‘bounce’ is a visitor that left the site from the same page he came in on. Average length of time on site will also provide insight. However, sometimes it is simply getting people from outside of your organisation (that you don’t know) to take a look and give an honest opinion!
#4 Content & messaging
This is one of the key areas most people get wrong. The trouble is it is very difficult to view your own company from an impartial perspective and most companies’ haven’t even taken the time to work out who their key target markets are, what their core purchasing drivers and behaviours are, or even how their own business should be positioned within the market or what their company mission and values are. Without any of this already mapped out it is unlikely your website will be working effectively. Ensure your site enables browsers to take a path through the site that is relevant to them and succinctly communicates the benefits of working with you in a language they can relate to. If this is done correctly you should be able to seamlessly direct them to…..
#5 A Call to action
Surely the purpose of any website is to make someone do something – whether this be to make an enquiry, purchase online, request a quote, book a meeting, request a call back, be added to a mailing list or register for a service. If your site is not being used to capture data, then you are missing a trick. You could argue that your site is merely to provide information for clients, but that is like saying shops are merely locations for people to browse around and see what they sell. You need to have clear calls to action on your site and the process in taking a visitor from entering the site to completing that action should be as simple and pain-free as possible.
#6 Follow-up process
Steps 1 to 5 show you the fundamentals you need to consider in order to generate enquiries or orders from your website, but unless you have a watertight follow up process in place, all of the above is pointless. You could have a site which generates 200 enquiries a month but unless a prospect’s enquiry is dealt with promptly and efficiently it will all have been a waste of time. Consider how long as a customer you would be prepared to wait for someone to get back to you? Is it 48 hours, 24 hours, an hour, a few minutes? You may be able to automate to some degree with emails or SMS messages that inform them you are dealing with it and someone will be in touch soon. Ensure you are keeping track of your enquiries and conversion rate, otherwise it could take months before you even identify that there is a problem.
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