So you have a website.  It’s well-designed, you have your content uploaded, and you’re ready to start working towards Internet success!  But what do you do now?  These 12 tips will help you build a successful website that will convert leads and make sales.

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Create relevant, timely content.  This is important for every single website, whether you’re a blogger or a medical professional!  Good content is critical for SEO, establishes you as someone knowledgeable within your industry, and shows that you can meet your customers’ needs.  Spend some time figuring out what types of content your target audience is looking for.  Tools to determine this include:

  • Quora.  Search keywords related to your industry and see what questions people are asking. Answer those questions in your blog posts!
  • Google Alerts.  Get posts and news topics sent right to your inbox for your chosen keywords!  This is a good way to see the types of content similar companies are writing about.
  • Social Media.  Search hashtags and keywords related to your industry and see the types of content that members of your target audience are sharing.  Then, write about similar topics!

Make sure that you post regularly, and that every blog post is well-written and engaging.  Utilize bullet points to make information easier to navigate.  Include attractive images.  Encourage comments.  If you’d rather spend your time elsewhere, consider hiring a content writer!  We love our content writer, Caitlin!

Make sure your website is easy to use.  You don’t want potential customers to leave your site because they can’t figure out how to use it!  Just because you can find what you’re looking for easily, doesn’t mean that your site visitors can.  Ask friends and colleagues to spend some time glancing over the site and see if they struggle to navigate; ideally these will be members of your target audience.  A few key elements of a user-friendly site include:

  • Great navigation.  Your menu labels should be clear and concise; site visitors should know what they’re clicking on.
  • A search page.  Make it easy for your site visitors to search for what they’re looking for!  Include a search box in the header, footer, or sidebar of your site.
  • A clear route.  Users should also know how to get back to their original location on your website.

Not sure if your website is user-friendly?  Get in touch with us for a free website review!

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Reduce load time.  One of the most common things that contribute to bounce rate is load time.  Your website needs to load quickly (2 seconds or less) to keep visitors on your site and increase your SEO value. Some of the important factors to consider are image compression, browser caching, and file minification. If you’re a WordPress user, check out our comprehensive post about speeding up your WordPress site!  To view your site speed, try Google PageSpeed and Pingdom.

Check your website on mobile devices.  Responsive design is one of the most important keys to a successful website.  In fact, 72% of users want a mobile responsive site (source: Google Research).  So, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be losing sales!  Screenfly is an excellent tool that allows you to view your website on a ton of mobile devices.  While you’re at it, check your site on various screen sizes and browsers (Chrome and Firefox are the most popular ones).  Make sure that nothing is cut off, the text is easy to read, and your website is easy to navigate.

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Optimize for valuable keywords.  You want people to be able to find you, right?  Of course you do! Optimizing your site for SEO keywords that fit with your brand is incredibly important.  Ideally, you want to be on the first page of Google for those keywords.  So how do you figure out what keywords to use?  Here are some tips:

  • Strive for a balance of popularity and accessibility.  For example, if you’re a real estate agent, the keyword “real estate” would be extremely hard to rank for!  It’s popular, but there are so many large companies (like Trulia and Zillow) ranking for that keyword, that you would have to put a ton of time and money into SEO in order to have a chance.  However, the keyword “real state agent in Nashville with staging experience” probably doesn’t have a ton of people searching for it; even if you rank well, that might not result in a ton of traffic.  Something in the middle, like “Nashville realtor” is both achievable and something that people are actually searching for.
  • Use Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner.  Start with a term that relates to your industry, and AdWords will give you recommended keywords, as well as the volume of searches for each one.
  • Integrate Google Analytics to see what your site visitors are currently using to find your website. Build upon the search terms that you’re already starting to see traffic from.  This is a great place to start!

Make it easy to get in touch.  If someone wants to reach out to you, then it should be as simple and easy as possible!  Integrate an easy-to-use contact form, without too many fields, that site visitors can use to get in touch.  Add your contact information – phone, email, address when applicable – to the footer, so that it’s easily accessible on every page of your website.

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Integrate with email marketing.  Email marketing is an excellent way to keep clients/customers interested, announce new sales and show that you’re knowledgeable and experienced.  For example, we send out a monthly newsletter that features a “client of the month”, shows our latest portfolio work, makes any announcements necessary, and shares our latest blog post.  Tools like Mailchimp and Aweber make this easy!  Once you have a list created, simply add an email capture to your website, with a clear call to action (what they get for signing up – an ebook, free consultation, etc.) and you’re good to go!

Engage on social media.  Determine 2-3 social media platforms that fit well with your industry and that you can get passionate about, and engage!  Post regularly, but NOT all about you!  It’s fine to occasionally post a blog post or product launch, but also ask questions, post photos, and share related industry news and others’ blog posts.  Comment on other peoples’ profiles and respond quickly and professionally to any comments and questions on your own.

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Use clear calls to actions.  Decide what you want site visitors to do when they’re on your website.  Do you want them to purchase a product?  Sign up for an email list?  Fill out a form?  Download something? Then, tell them to do it.  Make it easy and obvious that they should take whatever action you want them to take.  Make a call to action that’s captivating, utilizing images, compelling text, and bright colors.  Any buttons that you use should be very clear – “Buy Now”, “Get Your Free eBook”, “Sign Up”, etc.

Offer freebies!  If it’s appropriate for your industry, create a resource library of free tools.  For example, someone who offers social media marketing might include templates for social media graphics.  A business coach might include a checklist to grow your business.  eBooks, webinars, online courses, downloads, etc. are all great options here.  Why give away your knowledge for free?

  1. It gives potential clients a taste of what you have to offer.  If they find your resources useful, they might come back and purchase from you.
  2. It proves that you know what you’re talking about within your industry and builds trust.
  3. You can offer access to a resource library in exchange for an email or phone number.  Then, you an add this new lead to your email list and potentially convert them in the future.

These are all steps that put you on the right path to a successful website!  Remember, it takes time and effort, but you’ll get there!  And, if you need any help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  You can see our full portfolio here.