How to Make Your Website Work for You

As a business owner, you know that having a website is vital to your business. But why? What does it do?

The Website Challenge

Of course, you know that it is the equivalent of hanging your sign on your storefront, but in the digital world. The challenge is, rather than competing with 20 other businesses on your street, you are competing for consumers attention against hundreds of thousands of other businesses…around the world! (Of course, this all depends on your industry and target market as to who you are really competing with).

Your website connects you to the world - maximize it

Website Optimization (to Be Found on Search Engines)

Essentially, just because you build a website doesn’t mean people will find you. When building your website, you should optimize it to be found on search engines (so that the search engines can then share your site with people who are looking for your products/services). This is standard for a website development project, but make sure it is covered if you go for a budget option.

Optimizing your website includes:

  • – Planning the content that is on your website (that it matches what your ideal customers are searching for)
  • – Matching that content to title and page descriptions
  • – Having a mobile version of your website
  • – Purchasing an SSL certificate to have a secure https:// URL
  • – Optimizing the layout with schema to appear on Google search results
  • – Creating a website sitemap
  • – Submitting your website to search engines
  • – Connecting it to Google Analytics (more for tracking than optimization, but a best practice)

 

Ok whew! So, you’ve done all that, now what?

Well let’s backtrack a little. Those are the technical details that your web developer should be handling for you, but what about the front end of the website – your user experience? What does your website do for your customers? How does it lead your potential clients through your services to help them make a decision (yay or nay) for your services?

Planning Your Website (Purpose & Customer Experience)

The most important thing you can do for your website is plan out the user experience; how visitors will explore your website.

To do this, you need to understand your target market: what pains/challenges do they have, what are they looking for, why are they on your site, how can you help them?

You want to understand these so that you can address them as quickly as possible on your site. It is important to have a visually appealing website, but it’s even more important to have an effective website!

I talk about target markets and client personas a lot because they are so integral in creating an effective marketing message and strategy.

When you know your target market, you can use the language that speaks directly to them to address their needs. You are magnetically attracting them as they know you are the perfect solution to help them – this message is shared on your website as well.

When I first start discussing websites with my clients, the first thing I ask is, “what do you want your website to do?” “Are there any features you specifically want to see or to have it offer?” and more. I also help with this brainstorming process as this is my area of expertise and I can help direct clients to solutions that they didn’t know were available. From there, the design process includes these elements so that the website is built with a purpose behind it.

Making Your Website Work for You

The purpose of a website is that it attracts clients, educates them, and preps them to work with you before you even talk to them. That way you aren’t talking to a cold lead! You are talking to a potential customer who is excited and eager to work with you so that you don’t even have to sell them on your services/products.

This can include:

  • – Having a free guide/offer to help educate them on their challenge/problem
  • – Adding them to a drip campaign educating them on you and your business, including them on your monthly newsletter (which is entertaining, adds value or offers insight and updates), etc.
  • – Automating your scheduling process/lead sales process
  • – And more!

 

The possibilities are endless and are only limited by your needs and imagination. I had fun the other month developing a quiz to help a client screen out her ideal clients. I was strategizing the automation process for another client’s new website for setting up a hiring and client application process to increase closing rates / decrease no-show appointments.

If you’re wondering how your website could be doing more for you – let’s chat! Also, this guide on website must-haves is perfect for you to review!

25 Website Must-Haves - Free Download

3 Steps To Better Website Marketing

There are two ways to improve your marketing on your website and both are extremely important for growing your business through increased clients and sales.

1) Review how you use your website to attract clients (to get leads)
2) Review how you actually market your website (to get traffic)

You may be wondering why I focus on the website itself first when it is further down the marketing funnel than marketing your website (it is about creating leads from the traffic you already have). However, you cannot get quality traffic to your website without first having the right content on your website.

Website Marketing - Attract Your Ideal Client

1. Set a Goal For Your Website

Websites can have many different purposes, they can be purely informational, they can be a lead gathering source, they can position you as an expert in your field, they can be educational, they can build trust, they can sell your products and services, and many more opportunities!

The first thing you must do is know why you are creating a website. What is the goal for your website?

If it is purely informational, then all you need is to ensure you have the right content to share what your sales team or customers need to know.

If it is a lead generating source, you need to have the right content on there to magnetically attract clients. You also need to have a marketing system in place on how you will attract clients to your website (Search Engine Optimization).

If you are selling on your website, you must ensure that you have a smooth, user-friendly buying process. Is it easy for customers to find what they want? Is the payment process simple, secure and trustworthy to your customers?

Once you know your website goal, you can then build a plan to create that.

2. Create Content That Appeals to Your Ideal Client

Success! You have potential clients coming to your website (strangers, networking contacts & referrals, etc.). Now you must check that your message speaks to them. If you have content on your website that is unclear either in what you do, or what action your visitor should take, you will lose business opportunities.

The reason I consider you website content marketing more important is that you must have a website that serves it’s purposes and converts the traffic you are receiving. If you focus on marketing your website to get more traffic and then can’t convert them, it was all a waste of effort and money.

You convert traffic on your website by understanding your ideal client persona to create messaging that addresses their paint points and offers a solution that compels them to sign up with you. (No you aren’t brainwashing them, you are just letting them know that you understand them and CAN help them.) Understanding and creating magnetic content for your ideal client leads to a more qualified lead and a higher closing rate in sales.

3. Market Your Website on the Internet

The next step to improving your website marketing is to get it to show higher on the correct search terms for your business. The art to this is understanding the phrases that your ideal clients are using, and optimizing their use throughout your website in order to be found for those search terms.

These terms are called long-tail keywords and a recommended for several reasons. The first is that there is so much content on the internet that you need to find a way to stand out. You have a higher chance of being found for “real estate attorney in Eugene” than you do for “real estate attorney” because it is more specific and localized. Another example is “smooth Italian olive oil” rather than just “olive oil”.

You want to be specific so that you are found by your ideal client, rather than everyone (everyone is less likely to close than your ideal client). You also have less competition the more specific your keywords are, and therefore are more likely to be found in the top results.

The most important thing to remember with SEO is that search engines want to show the right content that their customers are looking for. You improve search rankings by producing the results (information, products, etc.) that you promise so that your visitors stay on your website.

Related Articles:

https://designflairstudio.com/blog/seo-keywords-influence-web-traffic/

https://designflairstudio.com/blog/seo-v-s-inbound-marketing/

Have questions? Schedule your Get Acquainted session by contacting me. Can’t wait to hear more about your situation and see if I can help!

 

SEO v.s. Inbound Marketing

Search engine optimization! Inbound marketing! These are some of the latest buzzwords that you will hear from marketers, other business owners and even spammers warning you of impending doom if you don’t hire their services! (Don’t get us started on some of the scare tactics that spammers use…) Search engine optimization and inbound marketing are utilized in a variety of strategies, which made us wonder; how are search engine optimization and inbound marketing related? Taking a deeper look at SEO and inbound marketing, we found that the two overlap in many ways and, most importantly, have the same end goal.

SEO is used by many businesses and companies to reach certain goals.

Here are some common reasons why SEO tactics are utilized:

  • Increase your ranking on search engines
  • Improve traffic to your website
  • Increase your website engagement
  • Establish a strong online digital presence for your business

Many of the goals of SEO are interdependent; having a higher ranking on search engines will consequently increase traffic to your site because it will be one of the first pages people see. Overall, SEO is focused improving your website’s search engine rankings so that you appear at the top of search result pages, leading to more traffic to your site and more clients for your business.

Inbound marketing strategies are employed to:

  • Gain new clientele through marketing materials
  • Increase traffic to your website and turn traffic into leads
  • Increase conversion rates
  • Set your brand up as an expert resource, creating valuable content that increases your brand identity while attracting new clients to you
  • Update and maintain your website with content that markets your business

Overall, inbound marketing is focused on creating high quality content which will cause people to seek you out as an expert resource on your chosen subject and will rank well in search engine results. By generating this interest in your business, you will be increasing your website traffic and your search engine results.

So while SEO and inbound marketing involve varying techniques, the end goal is the same – to increase the visibility of your business.

Through our experience, we’ve discovered is that inbound marketing and SEO overlap when it comes to content creation. When using inbound marketing strategies, you need content that is search engine-friendly and engages users. 

SEO and inbound marketing require content that:

Speaks to Your Audience

Creating content that is tailored for your audience is what makes inbound marketing effective. Knowing your audience also allows you to effectively optimize your content for search engines. For example, if you know what search terms your ideal market is using then you can build content based on those terms.

Is Authentic to Your Business

Any content that your business puts out should be true to who you are. This is important because marketers can get carried away with getting higher rankings, and use SEO tactics ingenuinely. Examples include putting keywords into blog posts and meta descriptions just to be found, even when it doesn’t apply to the content of that page. All content for your business should speak from your business and carry a coordinated tone; be mindful of the personality your business is developing through content. Content creation takes time, but it’s worth the investment.

Is Visible Online

If you’re spending time and possibly money on developing inbound marketing material, you want people to be able to easily find it online. This is how SEO really supports your inbound marketing strategies. Using on-page SEO techniques improves the chances of your website being found. Ensuring that your page has quality information, useful keywords and proper meta descriptions will bring people to that landing page when it is part of a larger campaign!

SEO and inbound marketing are linked in a way that is inseparable, as they both stress the importance of quality content for marketing your business. This is why content marketing is all the buzz now.

Businesses are currently shaping their marketing strategies with the user in mind, as they should. Several years ago, when SEO started to gain momentum, some businesses got carried away with taking into account Google’s algorithm changes rather than focusing on the larger picture – providing value to their client through their website. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way, as marketers are discovering it’s more effective to create content with the user in mind, not the computer. Remember that all the tools out there are helping you to be found by people who are searching for what they want to find online. Creating useful content is how you will be found, create leads, and gain business.

Creating content for your business can be daunting, but it’s worth the investment to create quality content for your website because it will truly improve your business. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you reach your target market! You can also leave us a comment on Facebook to tell us what marketing strategies you currently use.

Is SEO Really Worth It?

It’s been just a little too long since we’ve talked about search engine optimization (SEO). Since it’s one of our favorite topics and involved in much of what we do here at Designflair, we figured we would should chat about it.

In February, we defined SEO and what it entails. It’s the development of traffic from search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. Authentic SEO strategies gain traffic to your website from ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ search engine results. (Still confused? We get it, it can be complicated. Check out The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz for a helpful guide.) The thing about SEO is that it is an evolving landscape. Google is constantly engineering new ways to crawl websites and people are constantly searching the internet in new ways. So we’re here to tell you why search engine optimization is valuable to you in 2015.

SEO strategies establish quality content for your site or blog.

In order to rank higher in search engines, you want shareable content. ‘Everyone’ has been told that content is king and ‘everyone’ is creating new content, (both high and low quality) so what makes you stand out? It will be your unique voice or message that sticks in people’s minds. If someone likes it, they are more likely to share it with their contact sphere as well. This is the key to being found online in the 21st century and building clientele. Establishing a site or blog with quality content will result in content that people want to share, and a major part of SEO strategies is making the experience for users of your website more enjoyable. Hiring an expert to do SEO for your site is worth it because it will benefit the content of your website overall.

Quality content as part of SEO strategies will:

  • Use focus keywords, but stay away from spammy tactics such as keyword stuffing.
  • Provide relevant information in your niche that is helpful to your target audience.
  • Include helpful and working links that support your content, adding value to the information your site or blog provides. Links will also add authority to your site, which is something search engines are looking for.
  • Contain powerful images that are optimized for being found on search engines. Search engine optimized photographs are particularly instrumental for commerce sites. Product images with proper title images, for example, will allow them to appear on Google image search results.

Utilizing SEO will increase your brand’s awareness and visibility.

Last week we explained the importance in having a strong brand identity for your business. Increasing your business site’s ranking on search engines is a major part of that. Employing SEO tactics for your website will increase your chances of being found online, allowing your brand to be discovered.

Another aspect of SEO is to format your website so that it is compatible with smartphones and tablets, which adds to your brand’s reputation. Make it easy for people to find you, whether they are searching for you from mobile or desktop.

SEO Strategies & Techniques

There are a variety of ways to approach search engine optimization. Marketers are gaining knowledge and realizing that strategies such as key-word stuffing are worthless, and that proper SEO takes a bit more time for much better results.

  • Change Content On-site. On-site SEO strategies including changing your website’s infrastructure and content. The infrastructure of your site includes developing a content hierarchy, making it mobile-friendly, and engaging users through an appealing interface. Again, developing a website with quality content is the main way to get people to your site – which is why we ensure our clients have quality content on all their branding and marketing material.
  • Social Media. Implementing SEO on your social media platforms gains traffic, refers people to your website and builds your brand identity. Digital media marketing is a means to increasing your website’s ranking.
  • Marketing Research. Understanding your target audience will allow you to tailor SEO strategies to reach those desired people. When search engine optimization is backed by market research, it’s more effective.

The goal of SEO is to gain traffic.

Every business should have a website, and if you’re paying for a website you want it to be easily found online and for people to access your information. Employing SEO will allow your website to be more effective by increasing the amount of online traffic for your business. So yes, SEO is still worth the investment in 2015.

At Designflair we take into account the ‘computer aspect’ and ‘human aspect’ of SEO. We stay on top of relevant information, such as the latest Google algorithmic updates, while creating a beneficial user experience through well-designed websites.

In order to improve your SERP ranking and increase traffic on your site, we look at the overall picture. Speak with us today to set up a meeting to discuss your business’s website.

Dishonest Link Building Techniques

Let’s talk SEO (search engine optimization).

Link building can be can be a difficult part of search engine optimization, however, it’s one that can greatly benefit your site when done well. As we’ve discussed on the blog previously, there are various SEO strategies and within that, link building techniques. As Google comes out with more algorithms refining search results, strategies either gain or lose relevance and usability.

“Any link building pattern that appears non-standard, unnatural, or manipulative will eventually become a target for advancing search algorithms to discount.” (Moz)

Let’s take a look at what not to do when building a link profile for a site.

Link Comments

Using other blogs’ and sites’ comment space to advertise your site

This is a strategy that may seem harmless, but in the long run it has no benefit for your site traffic. It seems like a good way to refer people to your site, yet it actually keeps people away. The problem with this is when people see a link in a comment, they automatically assume it’s spam. Many sites now have filters to catch these “spam links.” Creative spammers will use the space for “name” in leaving a comment to put a link to their site. Commenting on another site is a great way to engage and network, but using it as an advertising space will be fruitless in the end.

Buying Links

Paying for services to build SEO credit

This is a flat-out bad idea. This is known as a “Black Hat” SEO strategy because it’s a shady, manipulative technique. Paying for links is different than using link building as part of a larger SEO strategy. There are companies that offer specific text links that will boost your SEO ranking. Google is known to penalize link builders and sellers, so we advise to avoid this tactic at all costs. Save your money and your sites reputation; don’t purchase links.

Link Farming

Automated services to gain higher ranking through links

Link farming may have begun with good intentions, but is now labeled as a form of spam. Link farming is the process of loading your site with links; it takes much time and in the end may be fruitless. This is often seen as cheating because it’s shortcutting the natural way of building links and traffic to your site – you obviously have so many links that they were planted rather than built organically. Check out this About Tech article if you are unsure if a site is offering link farming.

Be aware of SEO and marketing strategists touting these techniques. Some of these are outdated techniques that have proven faulty (like link farming) and others are wrongful tactics.

Don’t worry, there are good strategies out there. Use quality, inbound links. Use relevant links. Use updated links. Fix broken links. Provide intelligible comments on other sites.

In short, you want your site to be trustworthy. Therefore, use trustworthy ways of gaining traffic through links. The saying by Bill Gates, “Content is King,” still stands in the SEO world today. An authentic and efficient link building strategy is one that simultaneously supports the design, layout, and content of your website. Don’t settle for anything less.

Get in touch with us today to discuss honest SEO strategies that will benefit you! At Designflair, we implement Google analytics to see what your site is doing for your company. We’ll take a look at your website’s traffic and track patterns. Building online traffic naturally and honestly will protect your company’s reputation.