Whatever kind of business you’re in, from logistics to construction and everything in between, awell-performing website is a crucial sales tool that you can’t afford to get wrong.
As website content and SEO experts, we often see businesses fall into the same trap with their websites, so we’ve put together this free guide to the 7 biggest mistakes business owners make online to help you avoid these common pitfalls and give your website the best chance of success.
Most businesses have a website. In an age where over 70% of all purchasing decisions are now made online, they’d be crazy not to. But it’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing your website as a cost, not an investment – something you know you should have, but don’t really want to spend money on.
It’s enough to have a basic website with a few pages and a contact section, right? You can certainly get by with a basic website, but the chances are that it’s not doing a very good job for you. If you think about it, your website is the final destination in a marketing journey. It’s the place where you want your audience to end up, whether they’ve found you through a Google search, social media, paid ads or printed material like leaflets and brochures.
It’s the natural‘end goal’ in all your marketing efforts - the place where your customers are most likely to take some sort of action. In that respect, your website is ultimately your best salesperson. That salesperson can be the difference between getting you zero customers or 1,000 customers – so why would you not invest in getting one that will pay back dividends?
There’s now more competition than ever, and businesses like yours are investing in their websites every day a bid to constantly outrank the competition. You can’t afford to see it as just a cost.
Many businesses spend money on web designers who can make their site look fantastic, but then wonder why it’s not getting any traffic.
Imagine yourwebsite is a shop; investing all your budget in web design alone is like decorating your shop with beautiful furniture and artwork, but no one ever visits because it’s located down so many side streets that no one can ever find you. Meanwhile, similar outlets on the High Street are getting constant foot traffic from passing shoppers.
It’s exactly the same online. If you’re not on the virtual ‘High Street’, you’re probably going to be almost invisible. In fact, the internet is filled with beautifully designed websites that no one can find, because they haven’t been optimised andare languishing deep in the pages of Google searches that customers never reach– if they’re even ranking at all.
While good design definitely plays a role in the success of your website, it shouldn’t be your main focus. Making sure your website is structured, clearly presented, easy to navigate and interesting to engage with is important, but the success of your website doesn’t depend on the design – it depends on how visible you are to your customers in the first place.
Every business needs an effective strategy for how they’re going to become more visible online. That’s what search engine optimisation, or SEO, is all about. It’s the difference between your website appearing on Page 1 of Google and Page 17 – and very few customers ever browse beyond Page 2 or 3 of search results.
Lots of businesses make the mistake of assuming that once their website goes live, Google will automatically find it and present it on Page 1 of a Google search. Say, for example, that you run a carpentry business based in Telford. You invest in a new website (or make the mistake of using a cheap, off-the-shelf DIY template, which is never a good idea!), and you publish it online.
Weeks go by and you wonder why no one’s heard of you. That’s why you need a strategy for how you’re going to capture all those customers searching for a ‘carpenter in Telford’ because without one, you might as well be invisible.
Website traffic – or, in other words, customers – can come from a variety of sources, including paid online adverts, search engines like Google or Bing, review platforms, social media channels, blog posts and many other methods. A good SEO specialist will be able identify the best traffic sources for your business and develop a strategy that uses these tactics to help your customers to easily find you –before they find your competitors.
Once you’ve become visible, you need to stay visible. SEO, unfortunately, isn’t something you do once and then forget about. New businesses are launching online all the time, competitors are moving up the rankings, and every day, there’s more and more digital noise to cut through.
Getting the basics of SEO right will certainly help you to maintain a strong position online, but to stay on top of your game,you need to create regular content. To understand why, let’s look a bit more closely into how Google works.
Imagine a typical customer, browsing on their iPhone one evening. They’ve recently seen a friend’s new kitchen andare wondering whether it’s time they had a new one themselves. They open up the Safari app, type in ‘Fitted kitchens Shrewsbury’ and are instantly presentedwith the results.
You won’t see search engines like Google doing this, but when someone searches for something, they don’t just pull together a few pages of random information. They pick the websites that seem most relevant for the search. How do they determine relevance? That depends on how many keywords you have on your site, how effective your SEO strategy is and how recent your content is.
If you invested in SEO two years ago but haven’t produced any new content since then, Google may not think your site is relevant to the search because it hasn’t been updated for so long. That’s why it’s important to keep it fresh, and the best way to do this is by writing things like blogs, tips and guides. An expert copywriter can draft professionally-crafted blogs for you that include all your main keywords and help to ensure your website stays fresh, relevant - and visible.
You can get blog posts cheaply with companies like Fiverr, but these are not always the best as you need quality written content. We use Venti Comms for all our copywriting needs as they are a professional copywriting team.
We now know how important it is to keep your website updated with new content. But how will you be able to do that if your website is built in a complicated programme that means you have to go back and forth with a web designer or web developer to make even the smallest updates?
That’s why a Content Management System(CMS) is one of the most essential features you can have on a website, andevery site worth their salt should include a CMS that’s easy to update -whether you’re adding a new blog, tweaking your services or changing your opening hours.
Without a CMS, you’re at the mercy of whoever built your website in the first place – you’ll have to make therequest, wait for them to change it, then pay what can add up to be a substantial cost, just to update your own information or share something new.
A good website builder will use a system that features a tried-and-tested CMS that’s easy for you or your staff to use, so that you can update your website whenever you need to as your business evolves.
As we know,online visibility is essential to the success of your website – and your business. But once you’ve become more visible, how are you going to turn thattraffic into actual sales? If you’re getting lots of clicks but those customers aren’t following through on their purchase, it may mean that you’re missing a piece of the puzzle.
This brings us to the next important part of an online strategy; conversions. There are lots of tricks to achieving this. Making sure your products and services soundcompelling, making the sales or enquiry process as quick and easy as possible, adding testimonials and including contact information on every page are all important elements of a good conversion strategy.
But there are lots of other important factors involved too – things like tracking conversions to see where the majority of your sales are coming from, looking at what extravalue you’re providing customers while they’re on site and evaluating your digital marketing strategy are also essential.
Do you have an email newsletter? How clearly and frequently are you communicating with those customers to inspire a sale? How effectively are you using social media, andare you wasting time on the wrong channels? Could you offer referral incentives for customers who’ve already spent money with you? All of these activities are worth considering.
While it’s tempting to think you might be able to have a go at some of these activities yourself,they require technical skill and expertise that take years to learn. No one knows your business or your customers like you do, and no one knows SEO and content like we do. Let us help you give your business the best chance of success and leave you free to concentrate on doing what you love.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful, and that it’s steered you away from making some of the most common mistakes we see with business websites.
If you’d like to get some professional input on your current website or SEO efforts, we’d be glad to help. We offer a free 30-minute website strategy call to see how you could improve your search rankings and conversion rate.
Book your call today or visit www.craigthomas.online for more information.
Thanks for stopping by and hope to chat with you soon,