You?ve made the step into the World Wide Web. Now you need to get the most out of your website.
So we?ve spent some time putting your website together, getting the content right and making it look appealing to visitors and it’s now published and out there.? What now?? Sit back and let the business roll in? Well, you can do and hopefully you will get some. But there?s a lot more to be gained from treating your new website as an ongoing project.?
This article gives our Top 10 suggestions of things you can do to help ensure your new website remains an effective tool for you and your business.
1. TADA!? Anounce your website
Tap your existing network to spread the word. Consider sending an e-mail to past and current clients, service partners and friends announcing your website. This can be quite informal, but let us know if you want to do it with more of a flourish ? we can help you with the content and design of an e-mail, postcard or flyer.
2. Promote your website
Make sure you include your website address on all your communications from now on – stationery, e-mails etc. Support your website with business cards, a postcard or flyer that you can hand out wherever possible. All these things are relatively cheap ways of promoting yourself and can be easily left anywhere you go. Don?t be shy ? this is what you have to offer to the world!
We can produce any of these items for you ? let us know if we can help.
3. Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool for businesses and organisations to manage your online presence across Google platforms, including Search and Maps.? Claiming, verifying and keeping you GMB listing up to date and relevant is a must.
Details of how to get the most out of Google for your business can be found in our Guide to Local SEO, available free to Waving Moose clients on request.
4. Links to other websites
Good links from established sites to your website are important in increasing visitors and are also becoming more and more important to search engines like Google. Think of other businesses that you could exchange links with. And find out what your competitors? links are and try and exchange with them.
If appropriate to the type of service you offer, contribute to forums with a link to your website, or encourage blog owners to write articles about your business. Again these are good ways to attract visitors and help your search engine ranking.
Get listed on online directories.? Many directories are waning in popularity with the rise of Google as the major way of finding things on the web, but some, such as Yell.com (Yellow Pages) are still widely used and a basic listing is free. It is also still worthwhile thinking about directories and forums that are specific to your service and/or locality and submit your site to them.?
However, DO NOT think about using ?tricks?, such as ?link farms? (computer generated sites that offer automatic linking) as Google ignores these, and you may even get blacklisted.
5. Keep adding content
Regular visitors and Google love fresh content. A stale website is unlikely to keep its rank on search engines. Keep your content relevant and try and make some changes periodically. Adding a news page or blog to your website is a good way of creating a space for new content. It also provides a useful way to keep visitors engaged. Tweaking existing content is also important to make sure it stays true to your message and up-to-date with changes in your service.
Getting a decent ranking on the search engines takes time, patience and experimentation ? you should allow time to see results. But a lot of it is in your hands now. You might want to think imaginatively about some further promotion measures. Flyers, brochures, cards, giving talks, for example.
How about adding a video to your website? Or perhaps using Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. These are so popular nowadays that creating a (non-salesy!) entry and linking to your site could help you see results. We can integrate social media into your website – just ask.
7. Understand your website visitors
You can learn a lot from your visitors but you need to know what they?re doing on your website. How are they coming to your site? Has something you have done (a flyer, an event etc.) had an impact?
We can provide statistics and analysis for you, or set you up with Google Analytics so you can see for yourself. But also ask your friends and customers – what would they/did they search for to find you, where did they come from etc?
8. What about paid advertising?
Advertising online is not for everyone, but can be a quick way of generating traffic to your website. Google Adwords is probably the best place to start.? Adwords allows you to advertise on the right-hand side of Google?s search results.
A Word of Caution – there is no doubt that these schemes can be a good way of drawing visitors to your site, but the drop off rate is usually very high. This means that a click through might cost ?1.20 but the visitor may spend no more than a few seconds on your site. Then of course, you have to hope they make a purchase or enquiry! So this could be a very low conversion rate.
9. Start thinking about the next phase
Your website might need to grow and change to stay in step with your business. Making larger changes to your website can take time and thought, so plan ahead. Talk to us at any time about developments to your business (and therefore your website).
10.? Finally…? Always do what you say you can
At the risk of stating the obvious – do ensure that you can provide what your website says you can. Also if you have given a phone number, make sure you have an appropriate answer message when you are unable to get to the phone. Check your e-mail regularly. Always respond promptly to enquiries, whether by e-mail or phone. If you get comments from customers, pay attention to them and be sure to respond courteously.?
There?s plenty to do, but don?t feel overwhelmed! Regularly spending a few minutes reviewing your website and having a think about whether there is anything that could be added to keep it fresh and relevant will help sustain it as an effective, powerful tool.
If you need any further help or advice about getting the most out of your website, please do not hesitate to get in touch.