Websites are undoubtedly the most important marketing asset a business can own. Without this, businesses become difficult to find, and very often are not considered a serious proposition if they don’t have a good website. The general perception is if the website isn’t much good, then how the company performs is probably very much the same.
The first challenge for any website is to be found, whether it’s driven by traffic from other locations, or through an organic search.
Many businesses see Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as the holy grail of search engine ranking, and indeed spend a small fortune on SEO without actually achieving a fully optimised site, or even having the initial ingredient search engine optimisation implemented. We see many businesses that are a few days work from a being found, and achieving driving more traffic for the future.
SEO is now a much less technical task than it ever was, and when Elan sets up full SEO compliancy on websites, we ensure our clients are trained to take control of this important task in the future so that as pages are added or business goals change, the website can be adapted quickly and effectively to maintain search engine presence. We have seen websites transform from lowly positions on the search engines to page one in just a few weeks, especially where the terms the site needs be optimised for are specialised or not so competitive.
So what happens once your website is being found?
Driving the traffic to your site is one thing, but keeping the visitors there and engaging with them in a positive way is another. Your home page is THE most important page on your website, and has to engage. There are many simple additions you can make to improve visitor retention, therefore reducing ‘bounce rate’.
Video or animation – introducing your business using highly visual communication is statistically more powerful than using static images
Intuitive content – A site menu is not nearly enough, and doesn’t compare with the strengths of image-based calls to action. Images and text need to grasp why your visitor has landed on your website. What are they looking for, and how can you easily point them in the right direction? The impatient visitor will move on quickly if your site doesn’t inform and point them to where they want to go from your home page, or importantly where you want them to go.
Visitor data capture – Many sites do not feature tools or specific calls to action to capture visitor’s details. If they are interested in what you have to say by virtue of the fact they are there, they will be interested in more details. Creating an offer or a download visitors find irresistible, captures valuable marketing data for the future.
Social media share buttons – Allowing visitors to share your content to others cannot be ignored. Every good website now has high levels of social media interaction.
Measuring and refining your content – One of the key aspects of a great website is its ability to evolve and continually perform. Utilising Google Analytics code allows you to measure your websites performance – you can find out which pages your visitors are clicking on, which links perform the best, and where your traffic is coming from. All of this allows you to continually improve and fine-tune website performance.
If you are in the B2B market, there are some fabulous [paid for] tools, such as Lead Forensics, which allows you to drill down website visitors to find out which companies are viewing your website. Imagine how powerful this information would be to your sales and marketing team. Of course, Lead Forensics are just one of the many companies offering software to create this level of insight.
Social media platforms (especially Google Plus), and many other online providers give businesses the opportunity not only to maximise exposure online, but also to increase the ranking of their website by providing highly relevant content (whether internally or externally sourced) that can relate and link to their site. Search engines reward businesses who are active online, and not just on their website. It is no surprise Google Plus is probably the most relevant of these platforms, since Google is the most commonly used search engine.
Putting the human face on a business
A blog is now a must have acquisition on website. It not only allows you to communicate in a more conversational way, it also provides a platform to produce content that is much easier to come by. Whilst it is not good practice to continually self-promote goods and services, businesses have the opportunity to talk about a specialist subject or display knowledge and express opinions through articles and content which, if optimized properly, can be very useful for driving traffic and, of course sharing across social media channels.
Let others tell your visitors how great you are
Most websites now feature product reviews, case studies and testimonials. How they are featured is dependent on the business. By not featuring your latest testimonial or not pointing to a great case study that gives an insight into the quality of your services or products you are merely saying thank you for visiting, look how good we are, but leaving out the proof, i.e., the third party referral.
Every website should have some form of third party interjection of this nature, to qualify your business claims.
Can you tick all of these boxes?
Final thought: David Brailsford, Team Sky and Team GB cycling coach, talks about “The Aggregation of Marginal Gains” where a 1% improvement in everything we do can have a much greater overall impact than improvements in just a single discipline. He attributes the teams’ recent successes to the application of this theory.
In this case, applying his theory to every aspect of structuring a website and indeed our marketing online will surely emulate the successes of our cyclists!
…thank you Mr. Brailsford for such a brilliant analogy.