A non-converting website is nothing more than a decaying collection of pixels rotting away on the internet. And that’s something that nobody wants. To avoid that grim but all too common fate, you need to take action — and soon.The following are our expert-curated top tips designed to make sure that your website wows in the search rankings. Do them all and you’ll be luring in visitors before you can say “SEO optimized!”
1. Use SEO to Boost Your Google Search Ranking
In order to help your customers find your website on Google, it makes sense to use the tools that the search engine experts themselves, Google, have put together. Thankfully there is no shortage of free resources which you can use to make it easier for interested users to discover your site. And better yet — they’re free!
- Google Analytics: This totally free tool can be installed on websites as a tracking script and allows webmasters to gain real time insights into who is visiting the website, what pages they are accessing, and even where they are located in the world. A Google account is all that’s needed to sign up.
- Google Search Console: For reporting information about how your website is indexing in Google, Google Search Console provides tons of detailed information. Using the tool, webmasters can see details such as whether submitted sitemaps are being crawled and how many pages, in total, are in the Google index.
- Google Keyword Planner: Keyword Planner provides webmasters with keyword ideas, backed by data, as well as trends about what things people are searching for on Google. Using Keyword Planner, users can see how much competition keywords face and discover long tailed keywords.
Most of the best website builders like Weebly and Wix should have their own build in SEO tools.
Here’s your to-do list to get going:
- If you don’t already have one, sign up for a Google account
- Sign up for Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Keyword Planner
- Get to grips with Google’s SEO suite. And remember, if all else fails, there are always freelancers!
2. Invest in Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Despite throwing sweat, tears, and everything but the kitchen sink at guest posting, backlink building, and blogging, there are still three or four websites outranking you at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). The possible explanation: they’re paying for advertising (if Google marks the listings as ‘ads’ then you can be sure that they are).
While not being able to land the top spot organically can be frustrating, the good news is that the online advertising game is an open invite party. And all you need to do to beat your competitors to the top of the rankings is to sign up for Google Adwords, invest enough, and spend smartly.
Here’s your Top10.com approved to-do list:
- Calculate how much money you’re prepared to spend on paid advertising every week
- Once you have a budget in place, do your keyword research to find keywords with a cost per click (CPC) that will fit into your budget and provide a good return on investment
- Open up an account on Google Adwords, set up a campaign with your budget limit, and get advertising
Soon, your competitors will be the ones scratching their heads wondering how you landed the top spot. (And don’t forget, if all else fails, there are always freelancers!)
3. Attract a Following on Social Media
Have you ever looked around and noticed that humanity has a serious case of cellphone addiction? Maybe you didn’t even make it that far because you’re hooked yourself. Either way, we’re not here to judge.
The all-captivating force that is keeping many glued to their devices like zombies is social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — you’ve probably heard of them. The bad news is that society is probably going to remain captive to their devices for the foreseeable future. The good news is that, as a marketer, you can capitalize on this fact.
Here’s what you need to do to make the most of this opportunity:
- Figure out where your target audience hangs out online. Selling B2B? They’re probably on LinkedIn. B2C? Instagram or Facebook might be good venues.
- Invite your friends. If your friends are good for nothing else, then hopefully they’ll at least like and follow your page on social media. Fixed your uncle’s spare tire ten years’ ago? Now is the time to call in the chips of familial goodwill and ask him to start following your posts. Every road towards amassing worldwide online fame for your site begins with building up a small but engaged mass of users.
But don’t get complacent — there’s still more to do! After luring in your audience, you’ll want to make sure that you’re regularly sharing great content with them in order to keep them engaged and coming back for more. Roll out a social media editorial calendar so that they keep coming back for more. Soon, you’ll be ranking with the best of them.
4. Reach People in their Inboxes with Email Marketing
Email marketing is an effective tool for introducing people to your website and for getting them to come back whenever you have a special promotion or must-see content. There are a number of email marketing platforms, such as Constant Contact, that can help grow your email list, craft visually stunning messages from customizable templates and make sure you’re not relegated to the spam folder. These are easy-to-use, drag-and-drop programs that don’t require any coding knowledge.
Here’s what you need to start using them:
- Sign up for an email marketing program. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are popular options.
- Create collector forms so that people can sign up. These are typically inserted into websites.
- Ask existing leads if you’re okay to opt them into your email marketing database. Nobody likes unsolicited spam - especially the guys that invented GDPR. So make sure to have recipients’ permission before you opt them in to your system.
Once you have this up and running you have a powerful marketing channel at your disposal which you can use to reach many recipients’ inboxes all at once. And the good news — this can be used time and time again.
5. Make Your Brand Unforgettable
Your brand is a key part of your business identity, arguably your most valuable intangible asset. And if you want your website to scream “I’m a professional” then you’re only going to be as good as its weakest link.
To make sure that you give off a professional opinion you should:
- Use a logo designing tool. These will take your logo from looking like something your child scribbled at breakfast to a polished and professional piece of digital craftsmanship.
- Buy yourself some designed business cards. Yes, everything’s on LinkedIn these days. But when it comes to branding, this isn’t a time to scrimp and save. (And remember, when all else fails, there are always freelancers!)
- Invest in visuals. Make sure that all visuals shared on social media, and on your website, have benefitted from the expertise and experience of a professional designer.
Once you have your professionally designed assets at your disposal start using them liberally. On your website, in your email signature. Wherever eyes are looking, your branding should be there too.
6. Keep Your Site Updated with Fresh Blog Content
Content marketing is one of the most cost effective means of reaching a wide audience. Thankfully all that you need to get started is a blogging platform, a bit of creativity, and a good measure of time.
Here’s our quick cheat sheet to help you get blogging in no time:
- Come up with a series of ideas for post topics that will be distributed throughout the year. Pencil these into a calendar. This is called an editorial calendar.
- Install something on your website that makes blogging easy. Wordpress is always a good choice.
- Get going! Close your office door, get into the writing zone, and let the ideas flow.
A well-written and interesting blog post has the potential to be shared by users, bringing new readers to your website. In addition, a blog gives you an opportunity for cross-promotion with other blog writers who are also looking to expand their audience.
7. Use Content Discovery Platforms to Reach New Audiences
Have you ever been on one of your favorite news or entertainment websites and seen a side widget with “Sponsored Articles,” or a box of several articles with the header “You may also like”?
This is a form of native advertising through content discovery platforms such as Taboola and Outbrain. It’s a way of advertising your content without giving the appearance of an advertisement. Your promoted content is presented like all of the other content on the site and it is impervious to ad blockers, because it is essentially part of the site.
To get going with content discovery platforms do the following:
- Calculate how much budget you have to devote to the effort.
- Speak to a content discovery platform operator
- Join their platform and begin advertising more smartly
8. Take Advantage of Free Marketing Offers
If you’re as keen on free stuff as the next guy or gal, then the good news is that you probably already have some sources to tap into.
Web hosting is a competitive industry and providers are falling over one another to lure in customers. What that means: sometimes they’re throwing around advertising credits worth hundreds of dollars.
If you’re eager to get scavenging then:
- Make a list of all the services you currently use. See if there are any free marketing offers that you already have access to.
- Consider switching providers if you’re not happy with your current one. You never know — there could be some bait on offer to lure you in.
- Keep an eye out on Facebook and LinkedIn. If you’re a user, then you may come across offers for free advertising vouchers from time to time.
9. Add an Online Store to Your Website
Do you have products that you could potentially sell on your website? This could be merchandise connected to your brand, or even non-physical products, such as music or eBooks, that you can sell for digital download.
Having products on your website opens you up to all new channels of promotion. For instance, you can send your merchandise to other sites or bloggers who review products. Thankfully it’s not hard to get going.
- If you already own a domain name and hosting, then a free ecommerce CMS is all that’s standing between you and running the online store of your dreams. If your site is running on Wordpress, for instance, then all you need is the WooComerce ecommerce add-on to get selling online. Prefer a dedicated platform? Try Magento.
- Figure out a way to keep track of the inventory that you have for sale if you’re selling physical products. Small solopreneur retailers don’t typically need a dedicated stock keeping and tracking system like an ERP. Rather some functionality for stock keeping is built into most eCommerce SaaS tools.
10. Focus on Delivering a Good User Experience
Imagine showing up at the hottest new restaurant in town only to find that the average wait time for tables was six hours. Would you stick around? Probably not.
Websites are a bit like that too. Even if your site is wonderful, if it’s being hosted on a host that uses infrastructure from another era speeds are going to be slow and visitors are not going to stick around.
Make sure that:
- Your website is hosted with a decent provider. Focus on speed. Are they reliable? What are their uptime averages? Do they resell or operate their own infrastructure?
- You’re doing everything you can to ensure that the site performs well. If your site has lots of images, then consider using a CDN to speed up delivery. A caching plugin can boost performance even further.
- Design your site with usability squarely in mind. Is your site easy to navigate? Are pages laid out in a logical order? Or is it cluttered beyond usability with popup advertising. If you’re displaying banner advertising then make sure that it’s not so obtrusive that users can’t access the pages that they need to.
Your Audience is Waiting
There are a number of ways to promote your website, some of which are free, and some of which require an investment. You’ll find it’s much easier to promote a site that looks good, is easy-to-use, and functions smoothly for users on all devices.
If you’ve taken the time to build such a high quality website, then you should strongly consider making an initial investment in promotion as well. If you do it right, your website will get the large audience it deserves, and your business will be rewarded handsomely.