Wow, where to start with this one! I suppose the first thing to clarify is ‘what is a successful website?’ Success will be interpreted differently, depending on the point of view. A marketing expert who specializes in generating web traffic for his clients may define success as 1000’s of website hits per month. An SEO expert may revel in obtaining a number 1 ranking on Google for his customer’s website. Success to a web designer may be a wonderfully crafted and aesthetically pleasing front page. But these ‘successes’ don’t really have anything to do with true success, which is more phone calls, more business, more money in the bank. I think every business owner would agree.
Who’s Success Is It Anyway?
A successful digital marketing plan should all incorporate the above mentioned successes, but in a meaningful way. What good is website traffic from Duluth Minnesota to a Lubbock plumber? What good is a number 1 ranking for a keyword that is never searched? What good is a beautiful website that no one see? All these success don’t amount to any business growth for the business owner, and so these ‘successes’ ring hollow.
So, assuming that your marketer is getting you relevant traffic, most likely from popular local Google search terms, what can you do to make the most of your website? Here are five of the top criteria we use to take advantage of our clients’ website traffic.
Successful Website Criterion 1: Mobile-Friendly Websites
Google has been including mobile friendliness as a ranking factor for some time, so if it’s important to Google, it should be important to you as a website owner. Searches for local products and services are heavily trending toward mobile. People search as they head out from work, or during lunch break. More searches are done from mobile devices than desktop computers, so having a site that is mobile-friendly is imperative. If a site visitor on a cell phone can’t decipher the information on your webpage because it’s so tiny, or the images are overlapping each other and the text, then you can say goodbye to that potential client. Mobile clients trying to reach you from their phone as they are driving are among the highest quality leads. They tend to buy from the first business they can contact. If they get as far as your website to call you, it’s almost a guaranteed sale. You want to capitalize on those visitors – a mobile-friendly website is the answer.
Successful Website Criterion 2: Can I Get Your Digits?
A readily visible phone number on your website is like an OPEN sign on the front of a brick-and-mortar store. It says, “hey, we’re here and eager to serve.” A large percentage of your site visitors have come for this reason only – to call you. If you make it hard for them to find the number, or don’t even have it on your site, then shame on you. You might as well stand in front of your store with a broomstick to fight off the customers.
To complement the mobile aspect of a website, the phone number should be a hyperlink that will call when a mobile user taps the number. Doing this one step WILL increase your conversions, guaranteed!
Successful Website Criterion 3: Cater To Shy, Busy or Uncertain Customers
Not every site visitor will be ready to call you with their wallets open. Some don’t even know what they really need. Site visitors come to your page while they are in a meeting, or sitting in bed before going to sleep. Your site should have a means of letting you know that they want something, but either don’t know what they need, or can’t discuss it at the moment. The solution is a pop-up ‘contact me’ form.
Having such a form, preferably clickable site-wide, allows for a more passive means of contact. A site visitor who can’t currently talk will be able to let you know that he needs your help soon. Someone visiting after hours can send you a note to call them in the morning. A confused customer who doesn’t want to try to explain his needs might be more comfortable telling you in a message, allowing you time to digest what he really needs before you call them. In today’s age of texting, many younger potential clients prefer to chat or message online with your business about a future purchase before actually calling or showing up at your shop.
Most importantly, these forms will collect information that you would not have otherwise, like email addresses and phone numbers. This information is like gold.
Successful Website Criterion 4: Timeliness
Nothing will turn away a customer like an update to the page or site with a date from months or years ago. If you don’t expect to make regular updates to your website, be sure not to use any dates in the content of your page. For instance, a restaurant in Houston updated their website’s front page to welcome Superbowl (2004) attendees. Two years later, the message was still there. I can’t imagine how many website visitors over the years thought that they had just closed down shop after the Superbowl.
The same holds true for blogs. If you intend to blog on your site, be consistent. You don’t have to write a new article every week, just space them out somewhat evenly. Even every couple of months is OK, as long as you keep up with it. As soon as you stop, it looks like you gave up on the business.
Successful Website Criterion 5: Proper SEO
All of the other criteria concern the website itself, but SEO extends from the website itself and beyond. The reason I’ve included effective, ethical (and professional) SEO is traffic. You may have a website that’s perfect in every respect with regards to visitor engagement, but if no one visits, then it’s all for nothing. So in order to have complete website success, not only do you have to implement features and functions that your visitors want and need, but you need to get visitors in the first place.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the answer. The previous five criteria relate to Visitor Engagement Optimization (VEO). Once you’ve optimized your site for potential clients, you must also optimize your site for the search engines, Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. They view a website differently than a human. Sometimes, optimizing your website for customers can cause the site to be un-optimized for the search engines. There’s a fine line that must be walked in order to provide everything to everyone. Your SEO firm can address these issues.
RELATED: How to choose the right SEO company for your business.
There are a plethora of ways to use your internet presence to positively effect your bottom line, but these should have the highest return on investment. Once you’ve got these down pat, work on your social media profiles, optimize your directory listings or begin blogging. Maintaining a website is a never-ending task, but one that continues to pay dividends, often with snowball effect results!