Creating and managing a website have never been this simple. There are various CMS (Content Management System) platforms that help you create a website without any design or web development know-how (there are some limitations, of course). WordPress, Squarespace, Wix are just some of the most popular options.
This period forced many businesses to rethink their business model and the way they promote themselves and this has also brought the need of building a website to strengthen their online presence.
Before launching your website, there are several things you should take into account, in order to maximize its potential. Websites have long stopped being just a business showcasing tool. A website is a communication medium that facilitates building a relationship with your future clients. Here are the most important things to consider before starting to build your website, so that you can use it to maximize traffic and conversions.
Communicate the essentials
An impactful Homepage
As we were saying, your website is more than just a business card, it is a communication channel with your potential clients. Therefore, your website should clearly answer some basic questions:
- What do you offer?
- Why are your products/services better/different?
- Who is the team behind the product/service?
- What is your company’s mission?
- Who else has bought from you?
- Who else can confirm that you offer a great service/product?
Your homepage should briefly answer these questions and redirect visitors to other pages in your website where they can find more detailed answers. A potential client’s first visit on your website is an opportunity to meet you. What will you tell them about you and your business?
Visitors have limited attention and patience, so you should help them find these pieces of information easily and redirect them from your home page to other pages by using Call to action buttons.
A frequent mistake we see is that there is only one call to action button in a homepage and it usually invites visitors to buy or to contact the business. Statistically, approximately 3-4% of visitors are ready to buy from the first visit. So the other 96-97% need to spend a bit more time getting to know you.
It is perfectly fine to have this call to action on your homepage but you should offer them other opportunities to interact as well (Find out more about us / our approach/ discover our former clients / see how we have helped other similar clients etc.)
Tell them how much it costs
If you are offering a higher value product or service, you might be tempted not to display pricing on your website. But your potential clients will want to know about the cost, even if for you and your business, this is not the first thing you want to tackle.
If what you are selling doesn’t have a fixed price, but a variable one, you can try offering some price ranges or you could explain the logic behind calculating prices. When you clearly and openly explain expected costs, you also segment your potential clients and you help them realize if it makes sense to keep talking to you.
Measure and improve
When you are building a website, you make a series of assumptions about how visitors will interact with them. And in order to understand if these initial assumptions were correct, you have to measure and monitor what happens in your website. There are several tools that you can use – the ones we use frequently and that we love are Google Analytics and Hotjar.
- Google Analytics is a free Google service that helps you learn more about your audience (number of visitors, time spent on site, demographic details), about where did they come from (direct visits, from search engines, social media channels etc), behaviours when visiting your website (what pages did they see, what are the first and the last pages they saw etc.)
Google Analytics can also help you track conversions from your website – i.e., you can see how many visitors filled in a form or how many registered for an offer/ your newsletter.
- Hotjar is a platform that shows you how visitors interact with your website. Using heatmaps you can find out where your users click more often, how much of the page they really saw and the areas they visited. The platform also allows recording users’ sessions, so that you can understand if they see important sections of your website, if they see and interact with the call to action buttons. Hotjar is a paid tool, but there is also a free version that can work wonders for an early stage website.
Increase search visibility
As many businesses migrated online, it becomes harder and harder to be on the first page of search engines. If you want to maximize your chances of being amongst the first shown results, don’t neglect optimizing your website pages, creating a Google My Business account and using Google Search Console.
Both Google and other search engines (Bing, Yahoo) have high complexity algorithms that set the order of search results. Amongst the elements that are taken into account by the algorithms, keywords still play an important role so it pays off to optimize your website pages for targeted keywords.
Think about those keywords you want your business to be recognized for and optimize key elements in your page: the title, the meta description, the URL but also the page’s copy.
- The page title shouldn’t exceed 50-60 characters and it should include the main key word as closely to the beginning as possible
- The URL should be of maximum 75 characters and you have to use a hyphen to separate keywords
- The meta description should ideally not exceed 150 characters and it should include the targeted keywords
Although the above mentioned elements help with search engine visibility, don’t forget that they will be read by people. So don’t focus on using as many key words as possible, but on making them attractive and descriptive, so that a potential client is convinced to access your website.
If you used WordPress for your website, you can use the Yoast SEO plug-in that will help you make these optimizations.
Create a Google My Business account
Google My Business is a free service that allows you to manage the way in which information about your business is shown in search results on Google and Google Maps.
If your business also has a physical address, a Google My Business account can help you gain visibility in local searches. You can create a free account and optimize it by adding your address, contact information, working hours and product images i.e. GMB can also help you manage client reviews.
Use Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another free service that can help you understand how Google sees and indexes your website. You can see the number of indexed pages, you can make sure that important website pages are accessible for search engines and that they weren’t accidentally blocked, you can monitor how your website’s visibility evolves in time.
GSC also shows you what terms visitors search when they land on your website and you can see if you targeted the right ones.
If you are looking for more information about how to do in-house SEO, we wrote a free guide on our blog.
Help your clients find what they are looking for
A website chat allows visitors to contact you directly when they need to. There are various platforms that also offer free live chat features (Drift, Tawk.to or HubSpot).
The live chat apps interaction rate is 15 times higher that email interaction rate, which is proof that users appreciate this communication channel.
If you haven’t used a live chat app until now, you can start by installing this chat only for important pages in your website (product/service pages or pricing pages) so that you sort a bit the people you are talking to.
A contact form is a wonderful tool that potential clients can use in order to contact you. A contact form can also help you qualify the people who reach you and understand who fits the ideal client profile, by asking questions about their needs, budget etc.
There are several paid tools that help you create and integrate a form in your website, but there are also free tools, such as HubSpot. You can add a contact form in your contact page, but also in your products/services or pricing pages, where you can add additional fields and questions.
We hope that these recommendations are useful and that you’ll start using them. The most important thing to keep in mind is that a website is a “living organism” that is constantly transforming, so testing, measuring and improving it based on the feedback you gather is the best solution.
This article was originally published in Romanian on SmartBill.