The following 10 simple steps are centred around principles that will help you see a tangible return from your investment.
Significantly it's that which many business owners forget; a website really is an investment and just like any other investment, with focus and ongoing work, it can pay off many times over...
1. Make your website your business showcase
In today's world, a website is often the first port of call for customers looking to engage with a business. As well as a well-designed, easy-flowing website, the importance of showcasing your company starts here with consistent branding applied to all forms of documentation and marketing material. Make sure your message and branding is consistent throughout any contact people may have with your business.
2. Review, reflect and reassess
The expression "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" certainly does not apply when wanting to grow your business. An uncared-for website is akin to a poorly maintained motor vehicle; no maintenance means no longevity. A regular review can help ensure your original requirements continue to be met. For example, is your existing content still relevant in today's market? Has your target audience changed and if so, have you made changes to adapt to this shift? Does it continue to accurately promote your business and send the right message?
3. Your website is a work in progress
A finished website is never a completed website. Many business owners fail to realise that a website is a continually evolving project and so to remain competitive, it should always be a considered a work in progress. By making website updates part of your weekly 'to-do' list will mean your website is continually evolving and looks fresh. In addition to revising old content, writing new material with keywords should improve your search engine visibility. This can be compounded by frequent blog posts as well as adding a news section to your website. These additions, along with an influx of new visitors, will show Google's search engines that your website is very much active
4. Stand out from the crowd
With vastly improved software and broadband speeds, website design has also evolved. Images, graphics and videos hosted on your site can now be higher quality than ever before which improves user experience. By delivering a professional yet captivating design, visitors to your site will be less likely to leave in those crucial first few seconds. If your website proceeds to functions as well as it looks, you will likely retain (for longer at least) these important visitors
5. Get search engines working for your business
It's a misconception that only large businesses can achieve high visibility in Google... any size company can grow their business through search engines if they are familiar with the techniques and are prepared to put in the time and effort. As search engine algorithms are constantly changing, this means SEO is a never-ending task but one which is worth doing right including: a well optimised website and ongoing SEO, linking to and from other high authority sites (off-site optimisation), social media marketing and content from blog and news postings. Get these things right and search engines will begin to be a key part of your business success.
6. Attract 'ready-to-buy' visitors with online marketing
The Return on Investment that a well-executed online marketing campaign delivers is unmatched by any other form of offline marketing. Online advertising such as Google Adwords is demand driven and time has shown they are more effective traditional advertising methods. This means that people who are actively searching for your product or service will be directed towards your site giving you the best chance to convert them into customers. Best of all, every visitor to your website can be tracked to determine where your budget has delivered the highest ROI.
7. Make sure your website is mobile ready
In this last decade we've seen a transition in the usage of smartphones and tablets. Increased popularity means that your website really must be mobile-friendly. With more than half of website visits coming from mobile devices, a ‘mobile-first’ approach is essential. If you've put in the hard work and expenditure to drive traffic to your website, be assured that an archaic looking, hard to navigate site may see your new visitors leave as quickly as they arrived. Make your mobile site quick to load, easy to navigate, with a simple call-to-action and you will reap the benefits quickly.
8. Seek out a specialist
Your web designer may have built a good looking website, but are they the right person to grow your online business? The key channels for growth: SEO, online advertising and social media require specialist skills to ensure your budget works effectively. Identify the key areas for your business and hire a specialist in those disciplines – the investment is worthwhile and can pay-back many times over. Someone without specialist knowledge in these areas will be in danger of not understanding how to reach your target customers cost effectively resulting in higher costs and lower return.
9. Focus on your best performing media
With the rise of online marketing, there has been an increase in the advertising options available including YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google Adwords, Bing Ads….the list goes on. If you are working against both financial and time constraints, you will have select the media that you believe will work most effectively for your business. Concentrate on the ones which work best for your business and focus on optimising these rather than spreading your time and budget too thinly.
10. Get in touch
If you've managed to provide the customer with a positive website experience, don't fall at the last hurdle by failing to make it clear how to contact you. As obvious it seems, it is astonishing just how many websites make it difficult for potential customers to contact them! A simple "phone us" or "email us" button that is easily visible and running across each page will make sure people are only a click or a tap away from contacting you. A "Call me back" button is also good for generating warm leads and a "Live Chat" function can engage website visitors in real time.
Follow these 10 simple steps and your business website will be well on the way to more traffic, more leads and more sales.