Let's face it. You are in a highly competitive industry. You cannot afford to have a weak website. Each day that your website remains outranked and smothered out of view in search engine results is costing you thousands of dollars that you could have earned from customers that chose “the other guy.” Why did they go with him, instead of you?
Sometimes, the answer is simply because they didn't make it all the way to the bottom of the search results page to find your website. Lost sales because of a weak website? Not good.
Marketing is a HUGE component to your website's online ranking, but before you put your entire focus on promoting your site, you had better make sure the site is good enough to convert traffic to customers.
Let's get started by looking at your current website and breaking down the features …
Review Your Google Analytics
When was the last time you actually looked at your website's Google Analytics? Take a moment and do that today. You may notice how the look and feel of the Google Analytics platform has changed. Not only that, but they added some new areas to study.
A great place to start is by finding the “Visitor Flow” option in Google Analytics. There you will notice a very easy-to-understand flow chart that shows how many visits you have received in the last month. The chart displays how many people started on your home page and what pages they visited from there. Most importantly, the chart shows how many people “dropped off” each page along the way. See a sample of this chart in Figure 1.
Just by checking out your Visitor Flow chart in Google Analytics, you will be able to see what pages need improvements and what pages seem to keep your customers interested. Make sure to factor in the amount of time they spend on each page.
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Keep in mind, your main call to action is for customers to call your phone number, so it is common to have “drop offs” once they decided to pick up the phone, but at least this will give you a good idea of your bounce rate and what pages customers find the most interesting.
Once you decide to make changes to some of your pages on your site to improve conversion and interest, you can run trials, then turn back to this part of your Google Analytics to see if your changes were effective or not.
Once you have reviewed your analytics, you should have a good idea of what content your visitors are interested in. The next step in increasing your website traffic and profits is to update your website content.
When was the last time you added fresh content to your site? Adding fresh content to your website works to your benefit in a number of ways. For starters, it shows a sense of growth. Website growth is especially important because it entices search engines to crawl your pages. The more pages that you have indexed in your website, the more likely you are to come up in search results for different keywords in your page's content. It is important to note that most search engines rank higher for websites with regularly updated content than sites that have the same content for a long period of time.
In my opinion, updating your site's content weekly will give the best results. Many people do this by adding a blog to their website and uploading fresh blog content routinely. If you are considering this method, then make sure you actually integrate the blog into your website and not locate it separately on a completely different URL. If you've integrated it into your site, your blog posts will give strength to your website as a whole. If your blog is separate, you will lack the same benefits, and you could be wasting efforts to improve your website ranking because of this mistake.
Adding fresh content to your website with the proper linking will keep visitors on your website longer and give you even more chance to convert your visitors to customers. You should always include links within the relevant content of your blog posts that direct to other service pages on your site. Also, end your blog post with one final call to action.
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Content for Conversion
Another major role of your site's content in terms of conversion is crafting content that will get your visitors to opt-in to knowledge you already have locked away in your head. It is possible to create material that you can give away for free in exchange for a first name, last name and email address. Something that you are an expert in and can easily communicate to your visitors should take only a short amount of time but has huge benefits in creating a solid customer base from the Web.
For example, you could offer a five-part series on do-it-yourself tips for common issues that wholesalers face at the service counter. Crafting material such as this is beneficial to your site's visitors, and most visitors would gladly exchange some basic information in exchange for knowledge they otherwise would have been unable to obtain. This kind of exchange can be valuable to your business because if done correctly, it creates a relationship between you and the visitor. That can easily be turned into a new customer because you have already provided proof of your expertise and given them information that you would not have otherwise shared.
Getting visitors to opt-in to the knowledge you already have is an easy and effective way to create a database of new leads and takes a minimal amount of time to implement.
Suggested Visual Features to Add to Your Website
Aside from content, there are many things you should have on your site that appeal to your customers visually. Remember, the amount of time people spend on each one of your pages tells search engines how interested they are in your website. The longer they visit each page, the better you rank.
Here is a list of suggested features you could add to the various pages on your website to keep visitors interested:
Traffic Generation Tips
Video: You can introduce your staff, do a mini commercial, show real customer testimonials or showcase jobs well-done.
Call-to-Action Top Right: Consider making this green. People subconsciously proceed with green and stop with red. The top right is the most common place customers look to take action.
Ongoing Focus to the Success of your Website
Mobile Compatible Phone Number: Make sure that your number is in text form on the top right, not in image form.
Newsletter Sign Up: Try to come up with wording that interests customers. You can call this something like “Receive Seasonal Discounts.”
Time-Sensitive Offers: Everyone loves a deal, especially when they feel like they caught it just in time.
Weekly Local Temperature: This can provide a sense of urgency for some customers in need.
Social Widgets: These can include live feeds from your recent Twitter posts, most popular blog posts and similar such content.
Live Chat Agent: This is totally a matter of your own personal preference. Some people love this. Some don't. It does keep people on the page longer while they chat, but it can also take away from the “local neighbor” feel. Your choice.
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Now that you have some new features to implement on your website, it is time to step up your marketing efforts to bring fresh traffic to your site and see how well those new features are working based on your findings in Google Analytics. Here are some organic marketing methods that are easy to implement:
Article Submission: Taking the time to create articles related to content pieces on your website is a great way to create backlinks and also take advantage of article websites' traffic. The best way to use this approach is to craft articles and have links back to your website. There are a number of article websites on the Web, and most are listed by categories. Article submission can be a very effective tool in driving traffic to different pages on your website and tends to work best if you target as many article websites as possible.
There is no point in submitting to one or two sites since this is just placing all of your eggs in one basket. If you can submit to many sites, you are not only creating backlinks to your site in a variety of places but also giving yourself the benefit of tackling larger search terms in your article headings across several websites your articles are placed on. Don't worry, though, you don't have to submit your article one site at a time. Here is a great site for submitting your articles (for a modest fee) to many sites at once: www.submityourarticle.com
Create Videos: Another great way to generate traffic to your site is through the use of video submission. Creating how-to videos and other informative videos will work in driving traffic right where you want it. Now for the same reason as above, I suggest using as many video sites as possible and not just submitting to YouTube. To make life easier, a great video distribution website is http://www.oneload.com.
The proper way to create these videos is to have a link to your website written with the full website URL (i.e.http://www.yoursite.com) in the lower part of the video so it is in front of the viewers' eyes throughout your whole presentation. Next, include a link to the website in the video's description at the beginning and end of your description. This will not only create more valuable backlinks to your site but also help your site's page ranking.
Use Press Releases: Probably one of the most beneficial tools in driving traffic is creating and publishing press releases. This method is one of the best because, if done correctly, it will drive a ton of traffic to your website. Using press release distribution services usually costs around $199 a month, but the impact of spreading your press release to thousands of potential visitors is priceless. A public relations expert can also help direct you to great news websites.
Since your website ranking is such an essential part of how many new customers you get, and ultimately how much new profit you make, you should constantly be tweaking your efforts to improve your page conversions, provide the most relevant content and drive new traffic to your website.
Remember to refer back to your Google Analytics frequently so you know how well your efforts are working. Taking care of your website is one of the most important things you can do to secure your success in such a competitive market.
Josh Eigner and Malia Smith are the founders of Niché Online Solutions. They specialize in web development and organic Internet marketing. Contact them at 858/356-2542 or visit www.nicheonlinesolutions.com.