Website strategy to increase conversions

With all the problems that people seem to be encountering with social media sites at the moment, it’s now even more important to ensure that you have a website. Social media sites are dependent on algorithms and they decide who sees and who doesn’t see your business page. But if you have a website, you own it and your domain, and are in control of how it’s seen by your target audience.

The most obvious reason to have a website is to convert your visitors into customers. Your website is your shop front and, if your products or services are what your audience is looking for, you’re more likely to get customers that buy from you.

A good homepage

The first thing people will see when they visit your website is your homepage. It can feel a bit overwhelming to try and decide what you want your website visitors to see first and it’s really tempting to give as much information as possible on that first page. You want to show off your products, services, awards, contact info etc., but keeping your homepage (and the rest of your website) simple is the key to more conversions.

  • Keep text to a minimum so it’s easier for your visitors to scan the page and focus on the headlines.
  • Have good headlines
  • Don’t have too many tabs that people have to go into to find what they want, and keep the navigation simple
  • Have a clear message on what you want your visitors to do – this is via a Call to Action (CTA). Position this before they have to scroll, so near the middle of the page. This could be asking people to sign up to your newsletter or sign up to a service for free. It could be a direct link to your product page
  • Your homepage design needs to make it obvious what you offer your customers in a clear and concise way
  • Use your brand colours, but don’t overwhelm you visitors with colour – again, simplicity is the best way to go

Conduct a website analysis

website analysis

The first step to making sure your website is effective is to conduct a website analysis.

  1. Review your navigation bar (or tabs) to ensure that anyone visiting your site can easily find and access what they’re looking for – are they labelled clearly
  2. Look at the font sizes and colours – are they easy to read? Can any images be seen and do they load quickly?
  3. Check out your website on all devices – desktop, iPad or tablet and mobile – most people use a mobile these days and it needs to be easily viewed or people will find one that is.
  4. If you use Google Chrome, log into other browsers, such as Firefox or Bing and make sure it can be loaded easily from others, as well as the one you use.
  5. How long does it take for each page to load? People will lose patience really quickly if your site pages don’t load quickly.
  6. Look at your content – is it easy to understand, written in plain English and more importantly, written with your target audience in mind? Does it give them solutions to their problems and tackle their biggest challenges? Are your headlines attention grabbing?

Once you have all this information, you can focus on fixing anything that doesn’t work or that needs a little tweaking!

Search Engine Optimisation

The next thing to look at is to ensure that your website is optimised for SEO. This is all about making your website attractive to search engines, such as the browsers that your audience use.   

Use keywords and keyword phrases that are relevant to your business, and words and phrases that you think your audience will use when looking for your type of products or services.

Keyword research is crucial to your website being found and ranked on search engines. There are lots of keyword research sites out there that you can use – the Google Keyword Tool is a good one. It will help you find terms that are relevant to your type of business and help you understand how many people are searching for those terms online.

Once you have a list of your keywords and phrases, plan your content to include them. I don’t mean changing your content to absolutely stuff it full of keywords so that your content no longer makes sense or is valuable, but use some them to help your content – still make sure that your content is informational and entertaining, so it adds value to your visitors once they arrive.   

On-site optimisation – Another way to boost your SEO is to look at your headlines, Meta descriptions, images and image tags. Use keywords in these.

Link Building is another important factor. Search engines look for content links to help determine whether the content on your site is valuable. You can do this by submitting your site to different business directories, register your website with Google My Business, and to other browsers, such as Bing.

start a blog

Add a blog to your website, giving valuable information about you, your business, your special offers, competitions or discounts. A blog can help you be seen as an expert in your field. You can share the blog link to social media, which will help drive traffic from there to your website.

Set up an email list – if you haven’t yet got an email list, it’s a good idea to set one up, that your visitors can sign up to. This gives you their email address. You can then send them a monthly email giving details of new products or services, special offers or discounts. In order to be compliant with GDPR, you must get the permission of anyone who gives you their email address – they must know that you will be emailing them with your newsletter and it must be clear that this is what they are signing up to.  

Adding a pop-up on your site is the best way to get people to sign up to your email list – AND if you ensure you use the double opt-in, you will be  compliant with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). As well as a pop-up, you can also set up a landing page, which entices people to sign up to your newsletter, by offering them something for free in exchange for their email address. This could be a checklist, eBook or pdf. It could be a recording, a podcast or instructional video. People like to get freebies and this is the ideal opportunity to do this for your customers and get something back in return.

Add testimonials – add a testimonial or review of your products or services on your website. It’s a good idea to put a testimonial on your homepage – this is social proof that you can be trusted and that your business is what you say it is – or that you do what you say you do. Generally, before people buy anything, they look at reviews or recommendations.

Images – make sure your images are good quality, clear and are not too large in size and don’t use too many. This makes your page slower to load. Use images in jpg format wherever possible as png format is slower. DO NOT take images from Google – they are often subject to copyright and you could find yourself with big fines. Use your own photos, or find images on a site whose images are free for commercial use. Sites such as unsplash, pixabay or pexels are good. When you add an image, add a caption to your image (this can be hidden), as this helps with SEO.

Paid ads – you can also use paid ads to boost your visibility and bring more visitors to your website. This could be through Google or through social media sites. You can also tailor your ads to a particular target audience by age, gender or interests.  

Although not done as much as it used to be, if your local area has a freebie paper or magazine, you could advertise in there too. This still works for a lot of people.  

Social Media

Social Media can help you in driving traffic to your website. Pick a couple of sites to focus on and use content to attract and engage your target audience. Don’t try and use loads of sites as being on social media is very time consuming, so ensure you do at least two sites really well…research your target audience, so you know which sites they hang out on and use those for your content.  

Keep your branding consistent on both website and social media, so your customers know that it’s you. As I said before, you can use social media to publicise your blogs – give your audience a taster sentence, then put the link to your full blog article. On social media, you can also show the human side of you too, by posting the odd personal thing – what you did at the weekend, or a photo of your pet or a family day out. This helps your audience relate to you on a more personal level and let them get to know you better.   

Contact details

Finally, make sure that visitors to your website know how to contact you. Give them your telephone number and email address. Make sure that this is prominent and obvious on your website, so that visitors don’t have to go searching for it. Usually, this is either on the homepage, on a tab at the top of the page, and also in the footer of your website. If your business has physical premises, make sure you include your business address.   

I hope this has helped you think about your website and how you can maximise the opportunities you have to convert your visitors to customers.

If you don’t yet have a website and want to find out about the best web hosting company for your small business, check out digital.com who have a fabulous list of the best hosting providers for 2021.

If you need help with your small business, feel free to email me – cindymobey@outlook.com

An introduction to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

“SEO is the process of affecting the online visibility of a website or
a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results
– often referred to as ‘natural’, ‘organic’ or ‘earned’ results.” 

Wikipedia

If you mange or promote any online content, such as a website or blog, then it’s important to know about Search Engine Optimization. In simple terms, this is how your content gets recognised and found by search engines, such as Google or Bing.

How will I know if I can be found?

That’s easy…simply type in your business name or your website URL into google search and see what comes up. If your website or links to your business show in the results, you are in the Google index.

What if nothing shows?

If the results don’t find you, then your site is not in the Google index. Google crawls billions of pages so I guess that sometimes it will miss a site, but if nothing shows it’s often for one of the following reasons…

  • You might only just have launched your website, so if that’s the case, Google hasn’t yet had time to find it – so try again in a few weeks
  • Your site design may make it difficult for Google to crawl the content easily
  • Google may have received an error when attempting to crawl your site
  • Your site isn’t very well connected from other sites on the web

How to get your site on Google and Bing

It’s free and very easy to register your business and be included in search engines.

How to rank higher on search engines

Keyword test

keywords-letters-2041816_640OK, so you’ve tested whether you can be found, you’ve registered your business to make it easier to be found in search engines. Now you need to look at your website and ensure you have the right keywords and phrases in place.

  • It’s time to do some brainstorming – put yourself in your customers’ shoes – if you were looking for your services, what would you type into the search bar? Make a note of three or four things you’d type in – ask your friends and family what they’d search for and make a note of those too. The chances are some will be the same or similar and you’ll quickly see which words or phrases are most likely to be searched for.
  • Now, type those phrases into a search engine and find out where your website comes in the results. If you can’t find it after 10 pages, no one else will either. If you can, note down other sites that come up on the first page of each query/keyword or phrase. Are they similar to your business? Are they competitors? Are they local to you or national businesses?
  • Now it’s time to pick your top keywords/phrases…be realistic about these words as some will be very competitive and there will be loads of other businesses using the same keywords/phrases to keep their website at the top of the list.
  • Next, ensure your homepage contains those keywords/phrases. For small businesses who generally have one main page, add a couple of sentences that naturally describes what you do and weave in those keywords or phrases…but make sure it still makes sense. You don’t want an overload of keywords which don’t mean anything to your customers.
  • Then, wait for a couple of weeks and go back and search again on those keywords/phrases and see if your ranking has got nearer the top.

Page or blog post

  • In order to show your customers you know all about the products or services they are interested in, write a new page or a blog post about that subject, again weaving in the keywords. This doesn’t have to be long…just a short 200-300 words. Keep the text straight forward and easy to read and don’t use the keywords more than two or three times.I used to work in a big office and when I had to explain something, I’d always think, ‘how would I explain this to a friend over a drink in a pub?’ I still do this and find it easier to write.
  • Then use your social media sites to post links to your new page or blog post. This serves two purposes; search engines will track these links back to your website, so improve your rankings; it’s a great way to let your customers and friends involved in your business
  • Ask your friends or any contacts you have to post something about you on their website – ideally using your keywords – you can do the same for them. This is known as a ‘link exchange’. It is not ethical to do it loads of times, but as long as it is relevant and provides value to your or your friend/customers business, it will work to help your rankings.
  • Search engines like sites with external links sending them to other sources or websites.

 Don’t get consumed with SEO!

composing-2391005_640

  • Although SEO is important in helping you get your website recognised on search engines, don’t let it overtake everything you do, so that your content becomes just a bunch of words. You still want pages, articles or blogs to be interesting to read, so you still need to keep your reader at the heart of what you write. This is what content marketing is all about; writing for your audience, but being aware of keywords. It’s also good to write content that has a long sell-by date – something that doesn’t ‘get old’ too quickly.
  • Also, keep an eye on those competitor’s sites that you identified and see what they do on their site and on blogs etc. to keep their rankings high.
  • Use internal links too. For example if you’re writing a new blog or article that includes a reference to something you’ve written about before, include an internal link to that previous blog or article. This not only helps rankings but also helps your readers find more useful or related content.
  • Use images and ensure that your images have labels or tags, which include your keywords

Finally, have fun with your website and don’t get too obsessed with SEO. It is something that takes time, it’s not something that gives instant results. It’s a long term strategy that you can keep chipping away at. And never rely totally on search engines to get business…what would happen if search engines were abolished? Would your business still be able to operate? Things are always moving forward and changing, and whilst SEO is important, don’t get too obsessed with it and still have fun with your website and enjoy your writing.

Supercharge your customer touchpoints

This sounds like just another one of those buzz word things – so what am I talking about?

Every business wants their customers to be happy with the service and experience they receive. But, unless you have your customers in mind at every single touch point, you could be missing out on some great opportunities to delight them and keep them coming back for more.

What is a touchpoint? According to SurveyMonkey, the definition of a touchpoint is “…any time a customer or potential customer comes into contact with your brand…before, during or after they purchase something from you”

meeting-1002800_640You may have great products, delivered on time and with a smile, but if your advertising isn’t on target, or they receive billing mistakes, or have to deal with a clumsy and clunky website, you can scare your customers away. Luckily, these touchpoints are easily fixed and within our control.

Let’s take a look at the general touchpoints a customer will come across…these are just some examples.

Before a sale – Social Media sites, Website, Customer reviews, Advertising/Marketing.

During a sale – Shop or office, Catalogue, Phone.

After a sale – Billing, Emails, Newsletter

Make a list of the touchpoints your customers have with you, then look at them in turn, e.g. your website…is it easy to navigate? Do the tabs point to the right things? Do the links work? Are you easy to contact? Do customers get a quick reply if they do contact you?

Supercharge your touchpoints

Now it’s time to supercharge your touchpoints for a better customer experience.

Personal touch – Try and speak to a customer wherever you can as most people like to beard-2286440_640be treated as individuals. I prefer to speak to a real person, not an automated service as I can ask questions and, if there is something I don’t understand, I can simply ask. It is also easier to build a relationship with your customers if you actually take the time to talk to them, as it makes them feel valued. They will feel that they are important to you and your business, that their custom is appreciated and that their opinion matters.

Consistent Service levels – Be consistent across all your dealings with customers, not just on the phone. You have won their custom and now it is time to build their loyalty and gain that all important customer satisfaction. So, not only ensure that you give excellent customer service on the telephone, ensure that they receive the same experience if they email you, such as a prompt reply, with the answer or solution they want wherever possible.

Know your customers – Know what your customers want and who they are. If you can team-2651912_640.pngsolve a problem for a customer, do it…they will always remember that you went that extra mile…and will recommend you to family and friends. Something that you did this year that went really well, might not work next year – never make assumptions where your customers are concerned. One of the simplest ways to know what your customers want is to ask them. This could be via a courtesy phone call (but be careful not to be a nuisance), via a short survey or hold an event, where you can interact directly with your customers and they can see who you are and meet you properly.

Resolve any mistakes – If you make a mistake, own up to it and put it right quickly. Don’t blame anyone else, just resolve it and offer some kind of compensation, such as 10% off their next order. The four step system is a good way to deal with complaints.

sculpture-2275202_640Listen to the complaint…don’t argue or put the blame on someone else – the customer doesn’t want to hear this – he/she just wants you to listen to what they have to say.

Acknowledge the complaint – let the customer know that you understand their complaint by relaying it back to them. This not only shows that you have been listening but gives hope that something will be done. Thank them for bringing the situation to your attention and assure them that something will be done.

Solve the complaint – if you can, resolve the issue, keeping the customer informed along the way. In the first instance, after you have acknowledged the complaint, say that you will look into it and will get back to them within 24 hours – even if you haven’t resolved the problem yet, ring them within 24 hours to let them know what’s happening. Keeping them informed every step of the way is very important in keeping that customer in future and lets them know that they are a valued customer.

gift-553150_640Thank them – you have already done this when you acknowledged the complaint but do it again. If the issue has taken or is like to take a long time to resolve, maybe offer them some kind of compensation – a money-off voucher or a free gift.

Appreciate your customers – Let your customers know they are valued, e.g. send regular customers a ‘thank you’ card, or give them a money off voucher for being loyal, or ask if they’d like their purchases gift-wrapped.

It’s also really crucial to look past the sale…once your customer has bought something from you, don’t make it the last time they hear from you…follow up the sale and ask how they are getting on with the product. Are they happy with it? Do they think it could be improved? Do they have any questions about that or any other product that you sell? They may tell you about a problem they have that you can solve for them, or give you an idea for a new product.

smiley-163510_640If your customers are really happy with the goods and/or services they receive from you, ask them if they could write a short review, either on your Facebook page or on your website…or if they prefer, they can send to you on email. Ask if it’s OK to share their review with other customers and potential customers.

Whether your business is a huge concern, or just a one-man/woman team, excellent customer service must be at the heart of everything you do. It can take extra time and resources, time and money, but good customer service leads directly to customer satisfaction, which can generate great business for you via word of mouth. It can also you’re your business thrive and ultimately be a success. Never underestimate the power of good customer service – it’s your businesses life-blood.

 

8 reasons why every business needs a website

13
If I want to find out how to do something or where to buy something, the first thing I do is look online. Most transactions these days take place online and therefore some of the traditional marketing techniques have been replaced with online strategies. However, a surprising number of small businesses do not have a website.

Every second, more than 20 million people are looking on the internet, on their mobile devices or PCs, buying everything you can think of….from books to houses, from kitchen gadgets to garden tools. If you, as a business owner don’t have a website, you are missing a trick as your business won’t be found, so you are missing out on potential sales.

I did it myself and I hear many people saying, “I don’t have a website, I’ve been meaning to sort it out, but just haven’t had the time,” or “It’s too expensive to have a website.” Unless you do it yourself, of course there is a cost involved. So, if you are still hesitating, here are 8 good reasons why you should go for it in 2016…

Promote your business 24/7

ID-100213463As the title suggests, having an online presence means that your business is ‘open’ 24 hours a day, 7 days a week….even when you are asleep. Information about your business, your services, what you sell, are there at your customers’ and potential customers’ fingertips. People are always looking online – they research products before they buy and if you have an online presence, and you happen to sell what they want, you could make a sale. If you don’t have a website, you are invisible….and in this day and age, you can’t afford to be.

Building reputation and credibility

A website gives you the chance to showcase your abilities, your products and services for the world to see – they can see the quality and price, and if you have an online shop, they can buy directly from you. If you don’t have a website, your potential customers will go to a competitor.

ID-100302355Through your website, you can be seen as an expert in your field, and through the recommendations and comments from satisfied customers, you can be seen to be reliable, trustworthy and that your products are top notch.

When you give out your business card, it will tell potential customers a little about your business. If you’ve given them your card because they’ve seen your stall at a local market, they will assume that they can log onto your website when they get home and see more of your products. Imagine their disappointment if they get home to find no website details…and of course, this will lose potential sales.

First impression

ID-100178914Not only does having a website make you more credible, it also shows that your business is established and that you are experienced at what you do. Even if your competitors are stronger than you, a well-built, mobile friendly website can entice customers to choose you instead. You might operate your business from the tiniest desk space in the corner of your dining room, or make your products in your tiny spare bedroom, but when you have a website, your customers don’t see this. All they see is the power of your brand – size doesn’t matter!

Advertise your business

Your website is your ultimate advertising tool. For a relatively small investment in the cost of setting up your website, you can reach millions of people. It is that one brochure that the whole world has access to – no printing and re-printing when you have new ID-100360651products – you just add them online at the click of a button. You can include tons more information and images than you could afford to put into a brochure.

Of course, there is a place in business for brochures and flyers and also advertising in local magazines or newspapers, but your online presence is always available, not just for the limited time that you can afford, or until your product set changes. It’s a fantastic marketing tool that is constantly relevant and up to date.

Save you time

Your website can tell people who you are, where you are and what you do. Without a ID-100291979website, you may spend endless wasted time on the telephone or email giving people directions to where you are, giving details of the products you sell or the services you offer. Your website gives all these details in one, easy to access space, available 24/7. Not only does it give these basic details, it also gives more detailed information about your products. Then, when people do contact you, it’s generally about something more specific or to actually buy from you or use your services.

Reach a wider audience

ID-10080142Advertising in your local paper, putting out your business cards and attending markets, conventions and networking events, are all brilliant ways of getting your products and brand out to a wider audience. However, with a website you literally have a worldwide audience. Business often comes from word of mouth and this is a great way to get local business, but in order to expand and reach customers that don’t know you, the internet is the way forward.

Beat your competition

If you have a business, you only have to look on Facebook or on the internet to know that you have hundreds of competitors who do the same as you. If your competitors have a ID-100160542website, then why shouldn’t you have one? The joy of having a website is that it doesn’t matter how big or how small your business is, it will help you reach more people and increase your sales. Through your website, you can gather information about your customers. You can use your website to host an online survey to find out what your customers want and online forms can be used to easily contact you to request a quote or ask for further information. When you know what your customers want, you can develop products or services to solve their problems or meet their needs.

Customer Service

Your customers are the most important part of your business. You can improve the service you give them by including FAQs and a Contact Us page. Customers can not only leave comments and recommendations, they can also ask questions. You can collect your ID-10069301customers email addresses, and with their permission, can send them regular updates about new products. This makes them feel valued and valued customers will come back to you time after time.

I hope that I have helped you to see the benefits of having a website. You may have thought that a website is a waste of money, but it is the exact opposite. You may have to invest a little to get your website written and built professionally, but you will soon get your investment back when new customers find you and start buying from you.

 

Images courtesy of  1) 2) 3) 4) Stuart Miles, 5) hywards, 6) Danilo Razzuti, 7) mapichai 8) Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net