Are you one of these hard working entrepreneurs who puts so much energy, time and efforts on their website but for some damn reason it is still not driving sales? This piece is for you! In this post you will find the right formula for creating a website that fulfils its main purpose - sells your products and services.
Working with startups and relatively young businesses puts me in a position where I have to constantly explain that SEO is not magic. Converting websites are not built in a month and your work doesn't stop with creating blog posts every now and then.
So what should you be really doing?
Let's break it down. Use the below questions as your checklist when you audit your website and your activity around it.
- Is your website mobile optimised?
One of the first thing Google will look at when ranking your site is whether it is mobile optimised. In 2018 websites are developed first for mobile devices and then for desktop, because users prefer to use their smartphones and tablets to access the Internet.
- Is your website easy to navigate?
Make sure all of your pages are labelled clearly. It is important for users to be able to find what they are looking for easily. In this case less is more and simplicity does go a long way.
- Does your website load quickly?
Nobody stays on a website that loads slowly. Your pages should load in less than 2 seconds. To achieve that you can check the strength of your servers and optimise your images for the web.
- Does your website look appealing?
Research shows that users decide if they will make a purchase in the first 10 seconds of looking at it. Your design must be catchy, modern, but simple at the same time.
💡Tip: Remember that user experience is extremely important not only from an SEO perspective, but also when a prospective client makes the decision whether to buy from you or not.
- Is your website copy clean and engaging?
Anyone that comes to your website will first look at the design. If they like what they see, they would want to read what it is all about. That's why your website copy plays such a big role in conversion rates. It must be clear and engaging. No spelling and grammar mistakes (except if they are intentional). A call to action must be included but in a natural and creative way.
- Does your copy send the right message?
You need to know your target audience and their needs well. This will help you create the right product for them and the message with which you will present it.
- Do you converse with your audience?
Traditional copywriting is not trending anymore. People want to be part of conversations. So when you write, do it as if you are talking to your ideal client. Personality is key.
💡Tip: Your website copy is a vital part of your brand. It has a pivotal role in the decision making process of a prospective customer.
- Do you have your contact details on your home page?
A lot of people don't realise that making it super easy for the consumer to get in touch with you is essential for SEO and also for sales. Put your contact details on the home page, in an area where they will be clearly visible.
- Do you have social media buttons on the home page and are they linked properly?
In today's market social media is essential for any business. A website without social links will not do well in the eyes of the search engines and in the eyes of consumers.
- Have you connected your website to the Google Console?
For your website to rank high on Google you should connect it to the Google Console. You can do that by creating a Google account and verifying that you own your website. Follow the instructions the Console will give you. Once you are ready to go submit the links to your site pages and force Google robots to crawl them immediately.
- Are you following Google keyword recommendations?
I am amazed how many people still think that in order to rank higher on the search engines they need to dump a certain amount of keywords on the home page. This approach is so 2008. Fast forward 10 years, in present times we use content that is keyword optimised but not necessarily keyword rich! Official Google recommendations for keyword density in 2018 are 0.5% to 2.5%. In simple terms, if you have a page of 500 words, you need to use your keyword 3 to 12 times on it, without affecting the readability.
- Is your meta data optimised?
Include keywords and phrases in your meta titles, meta descriptions and alt text. This helps Google find your pages easier. It also gives quick readers an idea whether your content is what they are looking for before they even land on your page.
- Are you linking at all?
Backlinks (links from other high authority sites to yours), external links (to other reliable sources) and internal links (to other pages of your website) are also very important for high SEO ranking. Make sure you have no broken links on your site and do not approve spam links on comments.
- How old is your domain name?
It is harder for new domains to rank higher because search engines need time to determine whether your site is a reliable source and if it provides value content.
💡Tip: SEO isn't a quick job and a magic tool that guarantees high sales. It is time consuming, complex and involves other activities to be effective. It also takes time to show results.
- How often do you post new content to your website?
It takes about six months to rank on one of the first pages of Google if you add new content to your website every week. Content marketers recommend that you post twice a week for best results. If you update your content every day you have better chances of reaching the dreamt for first page much quicker.
- Is your content optimised?
The SEO rules above apply to every new blog post or every new page you create on your website. Include keywords (be careful to not overdo it) and optimised meta data.
- Do you include images?
Imagery content should be included in your blog posts and on your web pages. As cliche as it sounds, a picture does speak a thousand words.
- Do you include videos?
Websites featuring videos on their pages are 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google. Now you get why vlogging is so popular and why video production is so expensive.
- Do you solve problems with your content?
You will rank higher on search engines and you will build more trust in your future customers if you produce value content. Analyse the questions your target audience has and answer them in a blog post, video or a landing page.
💡Tip: Keep up with the interests of your ideal clients and produce content that relates to them as frequently as possible. Quora can help you with some of that.
- How active are you on social media?
Your level of activity on social media for your business will determine the success of your website and sales. In May we will dedicate 4 weeks to exploring all major social media platforms and show you the best practices for driving traffic to your website, building relationships with your audience and converting leads.
- What do you do to drive traffic from social media?
You should join business groups on Facebook, group boards on Pinterest and Instagram communities to drive more traffic to your website. Some paid promotions of new blog posts and landing pages will also help.
- Do you comment on other people's blogs?
Part of being social is providing engagement, not only seeking it. Comment on other business' blogs and articles not just because it is nice. It's alright to have an agenda here. Most websites built with Wordpress will ask you for your name, email and website when you submit a comment on their page. It's a great opportunity to build some backlinks and referrals.
- How many social media channels do you use regularly?
Post regularly on all social media channels that your ideal client uses. Promote your site, products and services, provide solutions to people's problems, entertain and inspire. Look beyond Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. However, having said that, it is also important to not waste time and resources on social media platforms that your target audience doesn't care about. Get this cheatsheet to help you decide what channels to focus on.
💡Tip: Daily posts on at least two social media channels will increase your chances of selling your products and services.
So as promised at the beginning of this unusually long post, here's the right formula for creating a website that sells.