I have a website. Now what? Getting found on the Internet
So your business has a website — good for you! You’ve taken the first step toward getting more leads, saving more money and making more sales for your company.
If you’re saying to yourself, “I have a website. Now what? How do I get my website found?” we’re here to help.
While using inbound marketing (more on that in a minute) is the most effective way to reach today’s buyer, what you do and how you do it is what will make your website work for you and not be like that guy who’s always at the coffee machine, roaming the halls and generally not getting much done. And while he may be a hopeless case, your website is anything but.
There are a couple of website essentials that will get more people to your website, which in turn will generate more leads. We all know the purpose of getting more leads: that’s right – more sales. And sales are what make the world go ‘round. So here are some tips for getting found on the internet.
First a word from our sponsor: inbound marketing. There’s plenty of information about the specifics of inbound marketing to be found on the Internet. For now we’ll keep it simple. Inbound marketing is focused on drawing customers to your business without shouting at them with traditional outbound marketing techniques. Inbound marketing is like the perfect date: seductive, communicative and ready to form a relationship. Outbound marketing is more like that blind date your mom set you up on. Loud, annoying and talks only about themselves. Your website is part of your inbound marketing plan.
Today, we’ll talk about getting found.
Your website is not the Field of Dreams. You know, “If you build it, they will come.” They won’t. Not if they can’t find you. So you have to make your site easy to find by using tools such as outbound links, SEO, title tags, sitemaps and more. Does that sound like the morning traffic report? Well, in a way, it works in the same way — these tools help people avoid roadblocks and find the best path to your site. And like any destination, there are several ways to get there.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Wow, sexy right? Not so much. But like peas and carrots, while not exciting, it’s very good for you and your website.
First, off-page SEO. Off-page SEO is crucial to getting as far up in the ranks as you possibly can. That’s important. Think about when you do a search: How deep do you go to find what you’re looking for? If you’re like a lot of people, you may only go through a page or two. Like a newspaper, the front page is the prime real estate. You want to try to be there.
The way to do that is to get other people to link to you. That doesn’t mean putting an ad out to get people to link to you. That means having great content that makes other people want to link to you. That’s like a getting a reference when you look for a job. But like everything, there’s a catch: Just like you need to pick your references carefully, you want to make sure that the links are from authoritative and trustworthy sites — like yours. Links from shady or dishonest websites won’t help maintain your professional image or a good spot on a search engine results page. Google likes quality links and may penalize you for too many spammy links.
Another way to get links back to your site is by writing guest blogs for other sites. Also, commenting on professional sites to establish yourself as an expert is helpful because after reading what you say, people may want to go to your site and see what else you have to say.
So that’s off-page optimization. You need to use on-page optimization as well. On-page optimization is Internet gardening. You sow words that grow and bloom on Google and other search engines’ search results where they will catch peoples’ eyes and get them to stop and look. The more people look at you, the higher and more frequently your website will appear in a search. That doesn’t mean you can just pepper your website with words that aren’t relevant to what you do. Search engines are on to that trick and won’t fall for it. You need to have good content that people will link to and words that are relevant and appropriate to your product or service.
Sitemaps and meta descriptions
There are a couple of things that need to be working in the background for you as well. One is an XML Sitemap that’s simply a file that lists all of your pages, where they are and when they were updated. A table of contents, if you will, for the crawlers and spiders that sift through web content to rank sites for search engines.
The other is the meta description which also works behind the scenes to assist those crawlers and spider in determining what your page is all about. These tags are bits of code that aren’t visible to your visitors, but they provide information about the content of your pages to search engines. There are tools available to help you with meta descriptions, so don’t worry — you don’t have to learn html.
User experience considerations
Did you know that the average bounce rate on a page is 30-60 percent? That means 30-60 percent of people visiting your site land on a page and leave without checking out any other pages. At first sight, they didn’t see what they wanted or didn’t like what they saw – and they left. And they may never come back.
So a good user experience is important. According to econsultancy, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. So, what makes for a good user experience on a business website? We’re glad you asked! Here are a few things:
- Clean design – 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive (Adobe).
- Good use of color – Color increases readers’ attention spans and recall by 82% (Xerox).
- Good, relevant images – When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later (lifelearn).
- Ease of accessibility – 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company (Google).
- Fast load time – 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load (HubSpot).
While it’s important to understand all of these concepts, you don’t have to learn how to do any of it yourself: there are software, tools and/or professional services to do it for you. The important thing is not that you do it yourself; it’s that it gets done. Then you’ll be on your way to inbound marketing success!