Inevitably people build a website and think “that’s it, it’s all done.” Then they sit back and wait for the sales or website visitors to roll in. And, inevitably their website and business fail. Why? Because, it just doesn’t work like this. Websites are not a “build it and they will come” type of entity.
Failing to make sure you are properly doing the three things below for your website will leave you totally frustrated at the state of your site traffic (or lack thereof). Your best chances at success for your website will come if you have the following three things.
You can have the slickest, most beautiful website in the world and it won’t mean a thing if people can’t find it online. To make sure your website is found you need to consider two things 1) on-site optimization and 2) off-site marketing.
On-site optimization is how well the pages on your site are optimized for search engines to crawl them, index them, and then serve them up to your potential visitors. Having website copy that is optimized with the correct keywords to drive traffic, as well as adhering the the wide variety of other factors search engines take into consideration when ranking pages, is essential.
On-site optimization also includes publishing lots of relevant information for your target audience, on a regular basis. This is, more often than not, the area where I see website owners failing the worst. They figure once their site is up and running they are done, but nothing could be further from the truth.
You can have the slickest, most beautiful website in the world and it won’t mean a thing if people can’t find it online.
To stay relevant and beat your competitors in search, you must constantly be updating and adding to your site “meaty” information that your target audience is interested in. Think about some of the most successful websites and the thousands of pages of information they offer their visitors to choose from – sites like Mashable, LifeHacker and Bloomberg.
They are constantly putting out new information, and people are sharing that info on social media and other websites. They are going to beat the five or seven page website every day of the week in search engine traffic. Whether you want to call it blogging, or “adding articles” to your website, continuously adding information for your visitors is a must for website success.
Off-site marketing has to do with how well you are driving traffic to your site via links from Facebook ads and posts, other websites, print marketing, and paid ad placements, among other things.
Generally you need to have a good mix of both of these factors to drive traffic to your site, and sometimes it may even mean opening up the pocketbook a bit to pay for some traffic. But, ultimately, this is the most important factor to take into consideration. Because, if you can’t get the traffic to your site, you basically have a cyberspace paperweight.
So, you have driven traffic to your site, but does it come across as “credible” to them. First impressions are important and it only takes a second or two for your website visitors to determine if they find your site worthy of their time or not.
This is why it is so important to have a professional looking website, that is on-brand and on-message at just a quick glance.
First impressions are important and it only takes a second or two for your website visitors to determine if they find your site worthy of their time or not.
Is your site filled with dozens of different fonts and colors, with no rhyme or reason? Are your photographs blurry? Is your website copy filled with typos and grammatical errors? All of these things will turn off a potential visitor in a matter of seconds.
Before you begin the design of your site you must know who your target audience is and make sure that your design appeals to them, so they don’t turn around and flee right away.
And, this also means that the professionalism extends to more than just the home page. Often times visitors actually get to your site through interior pages that are found in outside searches via Google or Bing, so you must keep the level of professionalism throughout the entire site.
Now that you have brought them in, and your website visitors are convinced your site looks professional, chances are they are ready to explore it a bit. You need to be sure that doing so is easy for them. Having a poorly designed and structured website can turn a visitor away very quickly, and you may never have the chance to get them back again.
So, you must make sure that your content is easy to read, navigate and search. Your navigation links should be user-friendly. Your calls to action should be prominent and enticing for visitors to act on. It needs to be easy for them to find what they are looking for within your site.
Having a poorly designed and structured website can turn a visitor away very quickly and you may never have the chance to get them back again.
Unfortunately, many novice web designers or DIYers don’t take into account the various funnels through which a website’s potential visitors must travel to get to their final destination.
All of these factors can be daunting to website owners, which is why you may want to consider hiring a professional to help you with them. It just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to spend hundreds of hours designing your own site, only to have it not convert for you when the rubber meets the road.