22 April 2016 By Northern Lights
One of the most frequently asked questions I’m asked is ‘how do I get more visitors to my website?’ or ‘how do I rank more highly on Google?’. These two issues are intrinsically linked. Without lots of people clicking on your website, reading pages and sharing links, you won’t find your way to page one of Google. And, without appearing on page one of Google, you won’t get lots of visitors and potential customers visiting your website.
At a recent meeting about their website, a client referred to the hit Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams, saying: “If you build it, they will come.” This is a commonly held belief among many but, as one person in the meeting very succinctly pointed out about the film: “But they were all dead people.”
In the film, Kevin Costner builds a baseball pitch and the ghosts of a long dead baseball team turn up to relive their glory days. While it raised a laugh in the meeting, it’s a fantastic analogy of most websites. Many build a website and then sit back and expect customers to come flooding in. The reality is that you will most likely only see a few existing customers visiting for a contact number or the ghosts of customers past stumbling across the site wondering what you are still up to. With a static website, you’re unlikely to see “live” visitors who are wanting to buy.
So, how do you build a website that will attract new visitors in droves and how do you make sure your business appears at the top of Google? Here, I share five simple tips that will help to make sure your website is engaging, encourages new visitors, ranks well on Google and, most importantly, turns clicks into customers.
This phrase is repeated over and over but many still don’t appreciate the magnitude of its importance. A successful website needs a regular supply of fresh content like blogs, videos, news items, testimonials, case studies and pictures.
Google wants to see an active website that is updated with quality content on a regular basis and visitors will keep returning if they know they can read or watch interesting articles or get expert insights into the issues they are facing.
By developing a stream of quality updates, Google will reward you, your visitors will keep coming back for more and you will become a trusted thought leader within your sector.
This may sound like exactly the same thing, but most businesses use their websites to shout about their successes and why they are great – not what they can do to solve the problems their potential customers face.
Really think about the services you offer and put yourself in the customers’ position. Think about what they need to know when they visit your website. They won’t care that you have won a big contract overseas or your staff triumphed in a local charity quiz, but they will want to know how your expertise or product will instantly solve the problems they face and save them money. Evidence this with case studies or testimonials that show how you solved key issues and added value.
Bring everything back to your services – look up the dictionary definition – and avoid falling into the trap of justifying your position in the world or just shouting about how great you are.
By tapping into the mind of the customer and providing answers to the questions they are asking, you’ll inevitably start using the keywords and phrases customers are typing into Google and that means you’ll appear at the top of the rankings.
Terminology and acronyms are the curse of the modern business world. Don’t fall into the trap of using your own terminology, think what words your customers will be using and use them. For example, one client referred heavily to Six Sigma online but their customers were typing “leadership training” into Google as they didn’t know they needed the Six Sigma programme.
Finally, apply the “so what” rule. With every service or piece of content ask “so what?”. Why will my customer care about this?
Like it or not, but most people are now accessing online content through mobile devices. If your website is not mobile enabled, people will find it difficult to navigate content and will simply turn to a rival provider that makes it easier to find what they want and buy. Mobile is now an absolutely critical element of the online mix and if you’re not mobile-ready, you are losing out on potential customers.
Mobile is now so important that Google is actively penalising websites that aren’t mobile enabled and that means you are quickly slipping down the rankings regardless of what else you are doing.
Engagement is key. Make your content interesting and make customers want to share it, comment on it or link to it from their own websites or social media platforms. Your content should not only add value by answering questions, but should also ask questions of your customers and encourage them to share their own insights. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and seek alternative answers. The more engagement and conversation you provoke, the wider your community becomes and Google will recognise you are delivering quality content.
Social media is also hugely powerful for driving visitor and engagement. Use it to share links to your website, ask questions and encourage others to share and comment on your content.
Also make sure you provide frequent calls to action. Some visitors may only visit one certain page so make sure they can see how to buy from you or share the content they are reading on each page.
Far, far too many websites almost appear to be actively trying to stop customers from calling them. Usually, the contact page is buried at the bottom of the website and is just a form customers are expected to fill in.
I have never filled in a contact form. I want to speak to someone straight away and, if a number or personal email isn’t available, I go elsewhere. I’m sure I’m not alone in this thinking.
Show who the people behind the business are and provide images and a description. People buy from people and by showing customers who your team are, their personalities and how they can be contacted, you are far more likely to attract visitors, drive engagement and win new business.
By applying all of these tips, you should start to see a marked increase in traffic and rankings for your website. Do you have any tips to add? If so, please leave them in the comments below or share them via social media.