Your website serves one central purpose – to support and boost your business. However, many websites fail to achieve this because they have not been built with this goal in mind. Fortunately, there are some simple tasks you can carry out to make your website work harder and channel some new business.
Why your website isn’t working
Over the past decade competition has increased exponentially and as more businesses use the Internet to increase their geographic market, it is becoming almost impossible for others, especially new businesses, to get a foothold online.
Every month we hear from SMEs in the region who have paid thousands of pounds for a website only to discover that nobody is finding it. Even if a website is well designed with a brilliant user interface and a perfect sales funnel, if it receives no traffic, it is a wasted investment.
Fortunately, there are a few simple things that can be done to improve search engine ranking and ultimately, develop more business leads. Here are our top 5 tips for turning a dormant website into a business marketing machine.
Know your market
You may think that you know your market well, but do you know how they think? You may be losing out on customers because your website is not optimised to meet the needs of your market.
People may be searching for your services, but if your site is not talking the same language, they will never find you. This is why keyword research is as relevant today as it was when Google first launched its search engine. Your customers think keywords, which they then type into Google.
For example, you may be selling the most economic compact fluorescent lamps in the UK, but if you have not also called them energy saving light bulbs, you will be missing a trick because nobody ever searches for compact fluorescent lamps!
Calls to action
Another common problem is that a website often looks more like Wikipedia than a shop front. Sometimes, there is simply too much information and readers cannot find out how to connect to make an enquiry.
On every landing page you need to provide a call to action. This can be a telephone number (with click-to-call code), an email address, contact form or order button.
Attention spans are extremely short on the Internet and people are more likely to press the back button and try an alternative website than to dig around and find your contact page or telephone number.
Don’t mix your service pages and blogs
A modern website really needs to clearly differentiate between its service pages and blog posts. Although a business blog is an excellent way to drive more traffic to a website, the blog itself will rarely convert readers into customers – this is what service pages are for.
Service pages need to be concise and have a clear call to action. For example, compare our Fixed Fee SEO Packages page with this blog post. The service page is relatively short and provides an easy to read list of features. At the very top of the page is the call to action “Call Us” and the Quick Quote Form on the right. By comparison, blog posts have no call to action and rather than a contact form on the right, we display recent posts.
Don’t expect people to pick up the phone and call if your business website looks more like a blog than a service. This is not a new concept, one of the best books on web usability is Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability”, which is 13 years old, but still one of the best books on the topic for business owners.
The key message is that if your customers have to think to find an answer, you will probably lose them. This is essentially combining marketing and calls to action – by knowing what your customers want before they ask you can send them to the optimised call to action – well done, you have just gained another enquiry.
As an entrepreneur or business manager, you will understand the importance of networking. Making connections within the local business community is a vital way to gain a stronger presence in the market. Well, the same rule applies to your website.
A website that is not networked with other sites is like a ship lost at sea. Nobody will ever discover it. The trick is to get your website mentioned and linked by other sites. This includes social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter; directory sites, such as FreeIndex and Cylex, and mentions on other business websites. It is free to sign up to these sites and create a business profile. The trick is to make each profile as useful as possible by adding unique descriptions and photos of your business.
Developing a strong web presence is an ongoing task and the ever changing nature of the Internet means that you cannot afford to become complacent. Take a look at our website marketing services to learn how we can help you develop your business further.