Make sure your business is seen online
The internet is growing at an exceptional rate and as every year/month passes us by, business owners across the UK and the World see the importance of ensuring that their business has a robust, prominent website or online store and that their business Social Media and SEO is up to scratch.
For this blog I am going to come away from SEO slightly and discuss the other, equally important aspects to consider and implement in order to achieve a sturdy online presence for your website or online store, your social media and the important factors of SEO when it comes down to driving sales through your website or attracting more customers and followers.
For all our clients who use our Social Media Marketing and/or Search Engine Optimisation services along with our business marketing, we generally work with them to ensure that their businesses are up to scratch so they don’t miss an opportunity for gaining new customers or generating sales.
If you would like to talk to us about our web design, social media marketing or search engine optimisation services then please do get in touch.
Now, on with our top tips …
First of all, to stand any chance of generating good search engine positions and gaining good visibility make sure your website is built correctly
This really is SO important. Your website must be clear and easy to understand. No large images that will take an age to download, no long pages that scroll forever and ensure that the main elements of your website are consistent across the whole site – like navigation position for example.
Ensure that each page on your website or online shop is ready for SEO
I have other blogs that explain the main SEO elements that need to be done correctly on your website in order for Google and other search engines to index you correctly and put your website or online shop in a decent position on search engine results pages, but the main focus in this blog is to get all the page elements right – this includes the page title, the page descriptions (being careful not to exceed the maximum number of characters allowed or preferred by Google and other search engines when writing your page titles and description’s) and to make sure that you use things like sub titles and images that relate to the content / topic of the page.
Social media is also just as important – you must ensure you get this right
Among the MANY social media platforms in existence some of the best to use for promoting and marketing your business include the obvious like Facebook and Twitter, but also LinkedIn and Google+. Mr SEO himself – Matt Cutts of Google has suggested over recent months that a Google+ account will benefit websites greatly as a Google+ account linked to your website will build trust between your website and Google. Again, this is something we setup for all our clients and do all the linking, therefore ensuring that their websites build trust with Google quickly.
Another point to add here is that Twitter is a powerful marketing tool for businesses. A very good and suggested practice is to follow other local businesses in your area, and re-tweet some of their tweets. It is also advisable to limit the length of your tweet so it allows enough space for others to re-tweet your tweets without running the risk of cutting off your tweet … wow that’s a lot of tweet tweeting in that last paragraph!
It’s all about blogging too
Blogging is a highly effective and powerful tool – it allows you to communicate with your customers in a more informal way. Your customers / website visitors are more likely to come to your website if you have something interesting to talk about, and blogging is a great way to promote services or products you may offer.
Blogs should also be published on a regular basis – by ensuring you blog regularly your readers will know (and come to expect) a blog every month / bi-monthly, etc.
Also use your blog as a way to launch a new product or to build excitement around a new service you might be offering by talking about that product or service in a way that will connect with your customer’s and build hype.
Your website should reflect your passion – this builds confidence in your customers
A website can send extremely powerful messages to your customers. If your website doesn’t reflect your passion and enthusiasm for your products and/or services through the ways in which your website is conveyed, your customers will be off in search of a better website with a better offering.
Some things to keep in mind include:
- Address the needs of your main target markets first of all – what problems do they have? What solutions in the form of product or service will they be looking for?
- Make sure your Unique Selling Points (USPs) are clear right from the off – what makes your business different to your competitors – what makes you better and why should your website visitors buy from you? Make sure your content gives them these answers!
- Always make sure your website is easy to read and digest. People browsing the internet tend to skim-read, so avoid lengthy paragraphs of text.
- Always include pictures or illustrations on your web pages to draw the eye in and add visual interest.
- Always use clear calls-to-action. What do your website visitors need to do in order to use your services or buy your products? Ring you? Fill out an online form? Provide clear instructions.
- Build trust and confidence between your website and your customers by displaying full company details, any terms and conditions, contact information and any other relevant detail.
- Do you have special offer products or web only prices? Make sure you push these in prominent positions using banners, images or links across your website especially on your homepage.
Encourage return visitors to your website by increasing interaction
It is a fact (in my opinion) that people like to get involved with commenting and contributing on websites so it’s really important to create areas on your website where people can do this. Blog posts that allow commenting is a prime example of visitor interaction. An important point to make here is that Google Analytics will show you that visitors really do return if the information you publish is worthwhile and interesting and search engines really do like user generated content.
Some other ideas to help engage your website visitors include:
- Product reviews
- Reviewing in general
- Compare products functionality
- Commenting on blog posts and other pages
- Opinion polls
- Voting system that allows customers to rate and/or like products
- A forum or chat area within the website
Put yourself in the shoes of your visitors … if you go to a website and the content remains the same, or the gallery is never updated, or new products aren’t featured you would eventually grow bored of this and go elsewhere.
Depending on your website offerings, here are some ideas to keep your website fresh and up-to-date:
- Create regular blog posts and update on a regular basis – make sure you keep your posts regular as returning visitors will eventually “expect” to see a new blog post on the frequency (weekly/monthly) you specify.
- Invite visitors to send you questions and answers. Listen to the questions people ask you (online or offline) and add these to FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) pages.
- Add detailed advice pages for your service / products to help your customers understand what you sell or what service you provide – buyer’s guides or service guides for example are a great idea.
- Add interesting, information-based pages that relate to your service or product(s) like “How To” or the “What, Where, Why and When’s” of your service and/or product.
- Make it clear to your visitors what Social Media platforms you use and then make sure you keep your Social Media updated on a regular basis. Vaccoda Design is on Google +, Facebook and Twitter.
- Create a resource / knowledgebase section that you can update and add to on a regular basis – make sure you make it clear to your visitors know that your resource / knowledgebase is updated regularly too so they know to come back.
- Hold interviews with an expert / guru / well-known figure within your industry.
- Add an area for client case studies and/or testimonials and keep it up-to-date.
- Create a news section for current/latest industry news and goings-on. Use local papers, online resources, industry news releases, etc. to keep you up-to-date.
- Conduct your own product and service reviews – people are more likely to make an informed decision as to whether to make a purchase or use a service based on the reviews of you/others.
Make use of all cross selling opportunities
This is probably a blindingly obvious point to make here, but it is surprising how many website owners miss this trick – it is something that we always keep on top of with our clients and it pays – literally – to keep on top of cross-selling opportunities. Remember that cross-selling isn’t just for online shops, but also businesses that offer services too.
For example, if you sell electrical products, make sure you offer any accessories that go with that product – cables for electronics, bulbs for lighting, ink cartridges for printers, etc. It is surprising just how many shoppers forget these essential accessories and related items … it’s a bit like forgetting to buy the all-important batteries for electronic gadgets on Christmas day!
There are many ways to effectively deliver the message alerting customers to purchase accessories or related items including:
- On product pages include “Customers that brought this also purchased this…”
- On Product description pages include “You will also need this” or “you can use this product in-conjunction with this…”
- Offer bundle discounts
- Provide incentives – offer a free product, a product discount for all purchases over a certain amount or offer free delivery.
- Get your product endorsed by a famous face/celebrity.
Using Google tools!
It has to be said that one of the very best tools that Google offers is Google Analytics. Using Google Analytics means that you can review your website from a technical perspective, monitoring and improving the usability of the website, increase its interaction and so much more. We always use Google Analytics on our client’s websites and keep on-top of their website stats on a monthly basis.
Some of the many aspects you can check on Google Analytics include:
- The use of Keywords / SEO – are people able to find or discover your website or web pages?
- Which pages people enter your website and what ones they leave on – are there any patterns which you can maximise on by adding incentives / special offers or deals on these pages?
- How long people spend on your website – is your website content compelling enough to keep your customers on your website? Which pages are they staying on the longest?
- Searching – does your website have a product search facility? Not only will Google Analytics show what your customers are searching for, it will also help identify which products or even services are the most popular.
Are your website visitors getting the very best out of your website?
The last topic for this blog will look at user experience. It is SO important to get this bit right. If a website visitor can’t find what they are looking for or your website is slow to load, they WILL go elsewhere.
Some of the things to keep in mind are:
- Your website navigation needs to be clear, consistent and remain in a fixed position so your website visitors don’t become confused or struggle to use your website. It is key to remember that your website shouldn’t really be any more than 2 clicks to get to a product to “add to basket” or if it’s a service related website, for the customer to get that service information they require. Pages and pages and pages of content that your customer will have to wade through just won’t cut it.
- A clear and easy to use website structure and user journey that will allow customers to understand very quickly what you are offering. Keep your content easy to understand, clear and simple.
- An easy to use search function will help your customers get to where they want to be on your website quickly and easily.
- An easy to use checkout function – never over-complicate your checkout function – a quick and easy checkout will be favoured by your customers rather than an over-complicated checkout process.
- Customer accounts – encourage your customers to sign up for an account. This will ensure they keep coming back, and you can offer customers with accounts special deals or incentives.
- Responsive website – this basically means that your website is viewable across all devices – from mobile phones including iPhones and android devices, iPads and smart devices, laptops and monitor screens. Remember that people do purchasing and browse websites on the move so make sure you don’t miss out on any opportunities and ensure that your website is easily viewed across all screen sizes.
That is it for this blog – I hope we have been able to offer some helpful information. Of course if you want someone to do this for you and guide you along the right paths, remember that we offer all of the above services and have a lot of experience in building and growing online businesses and websites including business development, branding and marketing, search engine optimisation and social media marketing – check us out at www.vaccodadesign.com
Thanks for reading!