We all know how important a website is to a business’s online strategy. Almost every business, whether B2B or B2C, non-profit, local or global needs an online presence to reach buyers. A company’s website is its virtual storefront. Shockingly, a recent survey by 1&1 Internet reported that up to 40% of small-to-medium sized businesses still don’t have a website. Even if you’re on social media, operating without a website is just plain silly. A website is an essential piece of your online marketing strategy for your Canadian business.
Whether you’re looking to build your first website, or if your existing site just isn’t getting the traffic or leads you were hoping for, you may wonder what it really takes to have a great website.
Having a website alone isn’t the key to great results. Instead, it’s the ability to turn your website into an inbound marketing machine. Your website has a lofty goal and it needs to wear many hats. A website needs to perform not just exist. It needs to attract visitors, educate them and convince them to buy. But I know what you’re thinking – easier said than done. Well, nothing great in life is easy but maybe, just maybe we can help you out a bit.
PART 1: GET FOUND ONLINE
A great website isn’t so great if no one visits it. Kinda like getting all dressed up for the prom but never leaving the house. This is why the first step is dedicated to getting found online, which covers the very top of the funnel of your inbound marketing strategy. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an absolute must for any website strategy, but it takes hard work and consistency when aiming for the top spot. These simple tips will help get you on your way to increasing your organic (non-paid) search engine rankings.
- BUILD INBOUND LINKS
- INVEST IN ON-PAGE SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO)
- CREATE TITLE TAG & META TAGS
- GENERATE XML SITEMAPS
- ENSURE 301 REDIRECTS ARE IN PLACE
PART 2: DESIGN & USABILITY
Now that you’re generating some good traffic by getting found online, your next focus is getting that traffic to stay on your website. It depends on the industry, but most websites have a 30-60% bounce rate on average. This means a large majority of web traffic entering your website leaves without navigating to any other pages. And many times they may never come back. Yikes!
Here are some tips you need to consider to improve user experience and decrease your bounce rate.
- CREATE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION
- MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY THROUGHOUT YOUR SITE
- USE THE RIGHT IMAGES
- HAVE A SOLID NAVIGATION SYSTEM
- ELIMINATE FLASH AND ANIMATION
- ENSURE ACCESSIBILITY ACROSS ALL DEVICES
PART 3: CONTENT
Content is one of the most important aspects of any website. With the rise of inbound marketing, content has become front and center in the minds of marketers. It is what search engines and people are looking for. It’s what drives visitors to your site and turns prospects into leads. Take a look at these next must-haves for creating killer website content.
- MESSAGING, Ideally, you want your visitors to get the answers to their questions
- EDUCATE AND OFFER VALUE
- UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF QUALITY CONTENT
- AVOID ALL GOBBLEDYGOOK
- BE CLEAR, NOT CLEVER (nobody likes a smartass)
- BLOG REGULARLY
- MAKE CONTENT SHAREABLE AND SOCIAL
- USE MULTIPLE FORMS OF CONTENT
- VALIDATE WITH REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS
PART 4: CONVERSION
Now that you know what it takes to drive traffic and engage visitors with great content, the next step is to get your visitors to convert from a prospect into a lead. You don’t want them leaving without providing some information or else you will lose the opportunity to nurture them until they are ready to buy. Here are some must-haves for increasing your website conversions.
- ADD EFFECTIVE CALLS-TO-ACTION
- CTA POSITIONING (So you have Call-to-Actions, but how will people find them?)
- DRIVE TRAFFIC TO DEDICATED LANDING PAGES
- FORMS (They are the key to a great landing page)
- NEWSLETTERS SIGN UP’s
The Internet has changed everything. Internet usage is growing rapidly and you need to be there when potential buyers come looking. A business website may be the most important factor in your inbound marketing strategy, but it’s more than just having a website, it’s the integration of SEO, social media, blogging, content, CTAs and landing pages that will drive traffic, leads and sales. After all it is these components that generate sales and revenue for your business. Inbound marketing is the key to filling your sales funnel with qualified leads and your website is where education, engagement and conversion
take place. Follow these guidelines and you will soon have a great website that generates traffic, leads and sales. But don’t stop there. A website never truly stops growing. Keep learning and stay tuned for more updates.
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