Whenever someone logs onto the internet and opens Google or Bing, they are looking for something—something to buy, something they need done for them, or something they need to know. Think about that for a second: Search engines do more than 2 billion searches per month in Australia alone. And if you have products, services or information to offer, they’re looking for you.
To get your business in front of the people that are searching for it, you need a strategy. Anyone who comes to your site through a search engine can be considered a promising lead—someone who’s willing to pay for what you do. To turn them into a client, you just have to convince them that you are actually what they’re looking for! To do that you need to decide on a number of points, some before you even launch your website:
Define the purpose of your site.
What do you want your website to do? Be as specific as possible. Think of both new customers and existing customers—what will they come to your website for? For instance, your specifics can be “I want to sell 100 items per month” or “I want to schedule 20 potential customers per month for a free estimate” or “I want to reduce the number of calls to the office by 40 percent.”
Translate your objectives into customer actions.
You are going to meet your objectives when you get a visitor to convert to a client through an action. For example, you may want to reduce the number of phone calls to the office, but you first need to understand what those calls are about. The calls may pertain to directions, hours, insurance, warranties, purchasing a product or making appointments. All of these items can be handled by the website, which would then free up your staff for more important roles in the business. But you must make sure all the information callers are looking for is easy to locate on the site. You build a site around your requirements.
Design the website around the tasks.
It always seems like a good idea to put as much stuff on your website as possible—polls! feedback forms! testimonials! Kids’ Korner!—but sometimes more can be less. You want to get visitors interested in your site, and provide some content for them to look at, but you also want them to be able to complete certain tasks so that you can do business with them.
Design each web page with a key objective.
By focusing each page on one aspect of your business, you build a unique selling proposition (USP) for each product and service. This USP can then be linked in with search engine optimisation, or SEO—keywords and meta tags to ensure that people who are searching for specifics are directed to the right page on your website. If all of your services are on one page or mixed in together, you could lose visitors and customers because the page is too cluttered.
Be true to your brand.
Your website is the face you present to the world. Visiting it is probably the first time a client will see your logo, USP and mission, and it is an opportunity for you to educate your visitors. Always try to emphasise the value for money that your business brings to your visitors.
Improve your site.
Improving your site is an ongoing process. The internet spiders (components of the search engines that catalogue key words on your website) look for two main things: freshness, or regular content changes, and truth to life, or the comparison between content and meta tags. These two things have to match, or the spiders lower your ranking.
Ever wondered why two companies sell the same thing, but one is on the front page and another is on page 10? That is what SEO will do for your ranking. There are many components of SEO. To add to the stress of managing your website, the processes Google uses to rank your site can change and move you from page 1 to page 10 overnight.
As you can see, your website is not something that you just plonk up there and walk away from. The content you put online should be carefully thought through, and updated regularly. A good website is crucial, but it’s even more effective if you also have frequently updated social media, blogs, video blogs and forums.
Below you’ll find links to some companies who can help you make sure the website you show the world represents how you want to be seen. We have no affiliation with them; we just use them because they know what they are doing and we consider them value for money.
Website hosting: Webcity have packages for as little as $100.00 per year and include 1 GB storage and 50 GB of traffic. You can use your hosting account for your website and email.
Domain names: WebCity.com charge about $22.00 per 2 years. If you want a .au domain name, Webcity can provide that as well, but there are further criteria that you need to meet.
Website building: TheNet (get the free e-book), 2B, and Sigma Infotech are all good choices.