A website is not like the Field of Dreams. You can’t just build it and hope your customers will come. It takes marketing with a number of different spokes in that marketing wheel.
Many of the successful online businesses, particularly the large ones, have a highly specialized marketing staff running their SEO and marketing.
But by focusing on a goal, obtaining some knowledge, and putting in the time, you can become that specialized marketing department for your company. Invest some time in educating yourself on simple marketing strategies and you will discover a whole new level of business
Don’t try to implement everything all at once. You would be overwhelmed, throw up your hands and give up. Take it one step at a time and build as you go. Then, little by little, you’ll build up your marketing efforts until you can just sit back and watch the sales increase.
Pull up your website and take a good look at it. Pretend you are a new prospect as you ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does your homepage come up immediately?
Speed is one of the more important things that Google uses to rank websites when people search. I looked at a new website the other day which the designer had created a beautiful entry page with a button to click to go to the site. These are called flash pages and some of them even have fancy animations. Many of you have websites that have a fancy animated flash page that appears when you type in your website address. If you have a flash page that comes up before your homepage, get rid of it regardless of how beautiful it is or how much you are in love with it Flash pages are pure graphics and search engines see text, not graphics.
Sliders are also no longer recommended by most SEO experts. A static photo is recommended instead.
2. Will your customer know right away what your website is about and what you are selling?
You have very limited time (just a few seconds) to convince your visitor that they should stay. . If there are too many
distractions on the page, they won’t take the time to figure out what they should do and you will lose them.
3. Is the most important information above the fold?
The most important things on the page should be visible without having to scroll down the page. Most site visitors want to see the details of what you are selling without doing a lot of work. Make sure that your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), or in simple language why should someone do business with you, is clear.
4. Can you easily find the benefits of buying your product?
A visitor wants to know why they should buy your product. The page should make the visitor feel that your gifts or other products will make an impact on their life or on the life of the person they give it to.
5. Is there a clear call to action?
If your visitor sees something they like, can they see where to go to order it or at least to find more details about it? This is one reason that websites that are just brochures without the ability to order online are not nearly as satisfactory as an e-commerce website. Like food, sex, and other things, people like instant gratification.
6. Are the colors and images pleasing to the eye?
Color affects emotions. But too many colors, colors that clash, and even jarring shades of color will lose you visitors. Our business is very visual. Your photographs should be good quality and easy to see.
7. Is the font easy to read?
Senior eyes find it hard to read small print and light print. I’ve noticed that a lot of websites are using light blue for the text color and I find that hard to ready. Black on white is the easiest on the eyes. Size of font is also important. A minimum size of 12 points is preferable.
8. Are there bulky sections of text anywhere on the page?
I see many sites that create long paragraphs of text on the page, thinking this will please the search engines. Long bulky paragraphs get skimmed over. If you have a lot of text, break it up into short simple paragraphs. Use bullets and other formatting to make it easy to read.
9. Does your navigation list clearly say where the link will take you?
Think about what you would be looking for if you went to your site as a visitor and plan your menus so that they are clear.
10. Does your site have an About page, A Contact page, and a FAQ page?
They create trust. Many website businesses don’t think they are important but you would be amazed at how many visitors actually read those pages. I get regular comments about my own from customers who check them before ordering.
11. Is there an easy way to contact the business? This also creates trust. Many of your sites have just an email form that can be filled in to contact you. No phone number will make many readers go to another site if they have a question that needs to be answered before they place an order. I understand that you are trying to prevent spam email but what is more important — having to delete a few (or even a few hundred) spa m messages daily or having your customers trust you.
11. Have you made your potential customer feel personally connected?
Visitors who feel personally connected are more likely to stick around and become a customer. Take the time to tell your story and make your customers feel they know you. Of course you don’t need to talk about your divorce or the six kids at home who need you to make money. You can personally connect with your visitors by being honest, using a conversational writing style and including real testimonials from other customers.
12. Have you optimized your website for the search engines?
Google (the most used search engine) uses a number of different metrics determines how a page ranks when someone searches for something and they keep that list of metrics and how important each one is a big secret.
Fortunately, we do know the top three metrics:
- Content: The meaning of content, as used in this context, is things like your page title, the use of keywords within the content, the use of related keywords in the content, the way you use your subheadings, and even your use of images and videos. Put your Main Target Keyword in the H1 Title Tag but don’t have more than one H1 Title Tag on a page. Use your secondary keywords in your H2 tags. You should also add your keywords into the Permalink (URL) of your page. For example, if you are aiming for the keyword “best kids gifts” then your URL should say “http://yourwebsitename.com/best-gifts-for-kids.” Also place the keyword phrase you are trying to rank a page for inside your Meta description and within your content two or three times. Add your target keywords into the Alt-tags and descriptions of your images.
- Backlinks: The more quality websites that link to your own website (and it really is quality over quantity), the higher your site will rank. The Internet is built on links after all. Every link is like a “vote” in favor of another website. If all else remains equal, the site with more links, and better links, will outrank its competitors. But note that the important word is QUALITY – links to quality websites.
- User Engagement: Google knows that people can still artificially boost their rankings by doing decent on-page SEO, building decent backlinks, and these sites do still find their way to the top. This is why Google is now relying more and more on user engagement metrics as a way of gauging how good a site really is. Google has a way of measuring how often a visitor says on your site and how many pages they look at. This is all considered in their ranking.
- Speed – How fast your website loads is important in your SEO ranking as well. It used to be not as important but is very important now.
As I said earlier in this article, don’t try to do everything at once or you will get frustrated. If you have an existing site, go through the list and see if you need to make any changes. If you’re building a new site, consider all this as you proceed.
One last thing. Don’t give up because you’ve been working on your SEO for several months and it doesn’t seem to be working. Google is slow and it takes time.
For more information about starting and growing your business, check out Gift Basket Business INSIDER