This is part two of a two-part series which will help you improve your website. In the previous article, we discussed how researching and creating great content can lead to impressive search rankings and engagement with visitors and potential customers.

Don’t expect to have a great website overnight

As with all good things, creating a good website takes time and effort. Website owners who know and respect this fact will always find that their results are better. Take your time, set goals, measure performance and enjoy the experience.

Don’t expect people to know about your website

‘If you build it, they will come’, an oft-misquoted line from the film, Field of Dreams. This quote could not be further from the truth within the field of websites. ‘If you build it, nobody will come unless you tell them about it’ is more accurate – so if you want your Mother and the dog to be your only visitors, that’s great – otherwise, you’ll need to market your website as much as your business.

Free tools, part one: Google My Business listing

Google has a number of free tools for business that all business owners should be using. The Google My Business listing is the most important of these, particularly for local businesses. If you do not have a My Business listing, go and get one nowwww.google.com/business.

Within search results involving localities, Google shows results from its My Business directory on the right of the main results. These results are hugely important for local businesses and signing-up for a My Business listing is so easy that it’s silly not to.

It takes a couple of weeks to complete because after signing-up, Google will send a postcard to you (not from holiday) with a PIN which verifies your address.

Free tools, part two: Google Analytics & Search Console

As with any project, it is very important to set clear and measurable goals when planning a website.

Google Analytics is a hugely powerful tool which, at its most basic, allows you to see how many hits your website has over a certain time period. Digging a little further into Analytics, its reports cover everything from search terms used to find your website to the pages visitors have entered and exited the website from.

Google Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) is an altogether more complex tool allowing website owners to optimise visibility of their websites. It shows the amount of website pages in Google’s index and allows submission of sitemaps for Google to add new pages to its index.

Don’t confuse visitors and give them the content they’re looking for!

Nothing will send a visitor and potential customer to your competitor’s website quicker than having to use their brain. It’s a sad thing but it’s true, so make sure that you include this fact in the planning of your website.

Make your website navigation simple and clear, allowing quick and easy access to your most viewed content. Use Google Analytics to find out what your most viewed content is, then make it easy for visitors to get to it!

Work hard on the customer journey through the website. A visitor lands on your homepage, they’re interested – where now? What’s the goal? Point your customer to the content they require, then onto the page which makes the sale!

Target only one search term per page

Closely linked to not confusing visitors, is not confusing search engines. While it is possible to create a page that is able to target multiple keyword phrases, doing such a thing is more likely to confuse Google. A much better plan is to create each and every page of your website to target only one phrase and to optimise the page by using keywords in your headings.

Don’t overlook links from other websites

Links from other websites are hugely important in ranking any website. Just a single link on a highly-trusted website can propel your website up the rankings quicker than any other optimisation technique so ask your customers, friends and any other businesses that you deal with for a link to your website from theirs.

Another way to earn links from nice, high-ranking websites is by offering to write articles in trade magazines and blogs. If you know your industry well, write something about it – Google loves a knowledgeable source and if you can become one in Google’s eyes, your website will pull in more visitors.

Don’t turn away visitors using mobile devices

Since April 2015, Google no longer shows non-mobile websites in searches made on mobile devices. Google has a mobile friendliness test which all websites developed for mobile devices will pass with ease. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you can kiss goodbye to all mobile search traffic.

Don’t bother adding a blog or using social media

Unless you intend to use them. A good blog with interesting, well-written content is brilliant for creating conversation and a connection to your customers but a blog with one article entitled ‘Welcome to Our New Website’ written in 2011 will have the opposite effect. The same thing can be said of social media, if you have a Facebook page, brilliant – if you have two likes (from your Mother and the dog), your customers could lose trust in your brand.

If you don’t have the time for a blog or social media, you have two simple choices – don’t bother, or engage the services of somebody who has got the time and inclination – a member of staff, your Mother, the dog or a professional.

Don’t do it yourself

Your time as a business owner is extremely valuable. Learning how to be a website designer, search optimisation expert and blogger probably isn’t the best use of time for you in the business, so let somebody else do this work for you.

 

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