How to tune your website to get business results
Have you already paid a lot for your website but not getting the business results you’d like? It’s not easy keeping up with developments on the internet as well as staying on top of everything else in your business.
Successful website optimization is not just about getting high Google rankings. It’s about sales – or some other outcome like subscriptions, bookings, or enquiries.
Attract more visitors by getting your site ‘recommended’ by links
The best known aspect of website optimization is “search engine optimization” (SEO) which gets as much traffic as possible to your site from the likes of Google. One aspect is getting links from other websites which are like ‘votes of confidence’ to your site – e.g. if you had a backpackers business, it could be listed on your town’s business directory:
You can pay for directory listings like in Finda or Yellow Pages, or place ads on the right side of Google’s search results page.
You can also leave comments on social media sites, forums, and blogs – with your ‘signature link’ pointing back to your site:
Quality is more important than quantity. Links are most effective from pages with high ranking themselves – and directly related to the subject of your website.
Now we look at the other aspect of search engine optimization….
‘Onsite optimization’ – getting the right search words in the right places
You need to connect with the language of your target audience – the phrases they use when looking for your kind of product or service. These can be found on the Google Adwords keyword tool.
To optimize for good search rankings, we need to concentrate on just a few phrases. Then we need to embed these phrases in the right places on your web pages:
- ‘Title’ meta tag – the title searchers see in the Google results page (and showing at the top of a browser)
- ‘Description’ meta tag – the paragraph they see straight after the page title
- Page headings – the main and sub-headings on your web page
- Main text – the detailed text on your web page (especially the first paragraph)
Narrowing down to longer, specific, phrases is more effective than using short general phrases. You need to find a niche where you can compete – where your page won’t be lost amongst thousands of others. e.g. “second hand Cajun cook books” is better than “cook books”.
Don’t over-saturate with key words or it will be unnatural and difficult for viewers to read – plus search engines may penalize you. Also, don’t duplicate the same content onto multiple web pages, or search engines may ignore all but the original page.
Now that we’ve got people to your site, we need to ensure we don’t lose them…
First impressions can make or break success
The visual presentation of your website is the first thing to hit people – either drawing or repelling them. There should be a balanced layout of visual elements – with enough white space to give viewers’ eyes a rest to avoid sensory overload. Images need to be of good sharp quality and well designed.
A consistent recognisable look is important across all pages to avoid confusion going from page to page – including a clear and simple menu structure. Once they’ve got this far, it’s a matter of…
The critical element for sales ‘conversion’
Text has the final say on website success, but many businesses just don’t get this. They typically give ‘DIY’ text to their web designer to dump on their website as an after-thought to the design. It’s often poor English or dry product information which viewers have to wade through to find what they want.
The text needs to be optimized for the customer – meeting them right where they’re at. Getting them to take desired actions on your site once they get there is what we call “conversion” – the ultimate aspect of website optimization. Here are some key factors…
- Get first things first…prioritize text clearly to avoid information overload, by using bigger text only for important information vs mere details
- Make text ‘scanable’ with plenty of headings and bullets to give the gist of your message easily at a glance:
- Talk in terms of customer interests – offering benefits directly related to their needs, fears, dreams, and questions – not just a bland list of product features
- Earn credibility by keeping claims realistic and believable – supported by testimonials, guarantees, qualifications, and industry memberships.
- Include a clear ‘call to action’, with clear benefits, making it easy to do business with you:
Payback on website optimization within weeks
Effective website optimization can double your sales. Addressing both conversion and search engine optimization will get the best results. These are quite different skills so you’ll need a good sales (“copy”) writer who understands SEO, plus maybe an SEO specialist for link building.
Have a look at how Spectra can help you optimize your website…