Want to grow your business? There are many places you can start, but one of the easiest and potentially most profitable is to start with your website. Think of it like you would your physical location. If it has been a while since you redecorated or did a remodel, you might be overdue. Your website is the first impression a user will have of your site, and you don’t get a second chance at that.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your website and set yourself up for amazing growth.
Determine Where You Are Now
When is the last time you looked at your website? Really looked at it. Have you looked at your competition’s websites? How do you compare? If you haven’t, a website audit is in order.
Every year, more modern themes and plugins are developed that enable your site to load faster, work more smoothly, and add a more modern look. These sites are also designed to be responsive and mobile friendly.
Especially if you sell products or services online, these elements are essential. Over 60% of searches originate on mobile devices like phones and tablets, and many users also make their purchases right from these devices. If your ecommerce platform or domain name is not meeting your needs, when you are doing a redesign, you might consider switching.
Think of it like a relocation: if your physical location is not working for you and you can’t make remodeling changes to resolve those issues, you have to relocate. The same is true for websites, hosting, and ecommerce platforms as well.
Also, examine several metrics about your site, including traffic, conversion rates, and Google ranking in keywords related to your industry or niche. Until you know where you stand in these areas, it is hard to determine where to go next.
Set Traffic and Ranking Goals
Once you know where you are now in relation to your website, you can start to set goals regarding where you want to go next. These goals should shoot not for numbers, but for improvements in percentage.
For instance, if your site is seeing 3,000 unique visits a month, setting a goal for a million site visits a month is unrealistic in the short term. The goals you set need to be achievable so you can measure and celebrate your progress. Conversion rates should be the same: going from a 2% conversion rate to 4% is a huge jump on the marketing side of things, but it is achievable in a short period of time with the right strategy. However, shooting for 8% short term will leave you discouraged.
The key is to dream big, start small. Dream about ranking #1 (or even ranking #0 in voice search) for certain search terms, but make your short-term goal to be in the top ten. Dream of 8 and even 10% conversion rates, but start with going from 2 to 4% and building from there.
At the same time, set goals about what you will do to get where you are going. What are specific marketing steps you will take to achieve these goals, and how can you measure your progress? How often will you revisit numbers to determine if your efforts are working.
Be prepared for some things not to work. You will experience failure, but think of that as information about what not to do. This may mean you have to revamp the timeframe of your goals, but you do not have to give them up.
Create Great Support Content
One of the first things you can do to create more organic content is to create great support content on your site. This not only includes blog content, although that should be a major part of your strategy, but it includes the content on your regular web pages as well.
This means you should implement site personalization where practical, making each buyer’s journey as unique as possible. You should have high quality product photos, using the principle of the hero shot: get a photo of your product being used as it is intended or how you want it to be portrayed. Think of Red Bull, which constantly portrays its product being consumed by someone doing something that requires a lot of energy.
The product descriptions and product pages should resemble landing pages except that they will also include navigation tools and checkout options. There should be a main headline, a supporting headline, and a compelling description. A more detailed section should follow for users who want more information about ingredients or specifications.
All of this content should be purpose driven: you need to attract users to your site, and you need to offer them the full buyer’s journey, from the top of the funnel curiosity stage to the bottom of the funnel purchase stage.
Use Link Building and PPC
Once you have developed great content on your website or expanded the content that is already there, you are ready to build your traffic. There are two kinds of traffic that will boost growth on your website.
The first is organic traffic. This is traffic that comes from either search engines or social shares and signals. The user did not type your URL into a website bar, but instead clicked on a link. This click can be either as a result of a search using a service like Google or Bing, or because they saw a post or link to your site on social media.
Note that organic traffic does not include social media ads. It includes links of yours either to blog posts or products other users have posted, or that you have posted on your own business pages or accounts. This can be because you have great content for them to share, or because you have offered for them to share their purchase on social media when they make a purchase on your site.
Organic traffic can be increased by intentional link building. Once you have built great content, you can gain organic links in a number of ways, including blogger outreach and guest posting campaigns. This creates natural backlinks to your website, and is an entire blog post in and of itself.
Paid traffic comes from paid advertisements, like social media ads or Google AdWords campaigns. These ads usually cost you a certain amount per click, so are known as Pay Per Click or PPC ads.
It is important to your ranking to have both paid and organic traffic coming to your site, and that you have a full profile of natural links. If you are going to develop a strategy to achieve a ranking goal, you will need to include all of these forms of advertising. In general, these can all be categorized as content marketing.
The organic traffic that results will result in growth provided that your content is excellent, and you have followed the other steps to get your website3 in shape.
Understand the Long Game
Rapid growth will come when you get your website in tip-top shape, but it will take some time to build viable backlinks and for PPC and other marketing campaigns to be effective. Rapid growth will come within the first few months of a solid campaign, but you must sustain those efforts for that growth to continue.
Having a solid web presence, a good search engine ranking, and keeping organic traffic coming will help you experience business growth year over year. Start with your website, and you will build a good foundation for the rest of your efforts.