Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Worst Website

We may not always judge a book by its cover, but we almost always judge a business by its website. There are a lot of opinions about what goes into the worst website... Poor color selection, not mobile friendly, hard to read font and terrible images or content. While I agree those are big factors, for me the worst website is the one that is NOT found.
Just because you have created and published your website, it does not mean that people will be able to easily find it. If  your website is not found, then your business is functionally irrelevant online. So, you need to help the search engines know about your website and help them understand how the website relates to user search entries. In addition, you need to help your audience - the people you want to reach - learn about the existence of your website and business.

Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic to your website organically and for free in the search results on search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines. While this is a topic that is too large for a small section in a blog post, here is a summary of the 2 areas you need to focus on for SEO:
  1. On-Page SEO is the act of you optimizing different parts of your web site that affect your search engine rankings. It's stuff that you have control over and can change on your own website, such as page text, various HTML tags, and internal links.
  2. Off-Page SEO increases the relevancy of your website by getting links on other websites to your website. Essentially, it increases relevancy because if demonstrates how the "world" views your website.
While on-page and off-page SEO work together to improve your search engine rankings, On-page SEO is the one that you should initially spend time on. It's the one where you have the full control to make updates and improvements.

Get Social
It’s not enough to produce great content on your website and hope that people find it. You must be proactive. One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is to use social media channels to promote your content and drive traffic to your website. Twitter is ideal for short, snappy attention getters called "tweets". LinkedIn is the number 1 social media platform for B2B* (business-to-business). Also, YouTube is tops for promoting video content. If you are a B2C (business-to-consumer) organization, you will get the most traction with Facebook*. Also use YouTube and Instagram if your content is largely images. Don't forget to include your website link in your social media channels and activity.

Pay-Per-Click Marketing
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing is a way of using search engine advertising to generate clicks to your website instead of “earning” those clicks organically via SEO. Every time your ad is clicked, sending a visitor to your website, you pay the search engine a small fee. You do not pay a fee when the search engine displays your ad, but the searcher does not click your ad. Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) ( is the most popular PPC platform. Although, other search engines and social media channels offer this service.

Your entire PPC campaign is built around keywords. These are the words/phrases that people use to search in the search engines. When someone searches using the keywords that are in your campaign, your website ad will display in the search results. The most successful AdWords advertisers continuously refine their PPC keyword list.

Add a Blog Page
Search engines love fresh content. There's no better way to provide fresh and frequent content than with blog posts. You will build trust and clout within your professional community by providing valuable, expert information via your blog posts. Over time, you will become a trusted resource for helpful, informative content, which can ultimately lead to a higher customer conversion rate. If you are already blogging, then post more frequently. This is a form of on-page SEO.

Email Marketing
In today’s dynamic digital marketing world, email marketing tends to take a backseat to most online promotion activities. If you haven’t considered email marketing for your business, now may be the time to do so. Email marketing is a targeted, shareable, credible, measurable, and cost-effective marketing tool. Using email marketing, you can create deeper and more personal relationships with a wider audience, and at a very low cost. With a targeted approach and a strong message, your business is sure to benefit from email marketing.

While wanting more customers is the primary desire for business owners, then next desired item is increased website traffic. Implementing any of the above strategies can help increase traffic to your website. While some of these strategies won’t be a quick fix, you may be surprised how quickly some of them start to generate results for you.

Click here to contact me regarding this or any other blog post. Also, I welcome comments, which you can post below.

* 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends - North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs
   2016 B2C Content Marketing Trends - North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

Monday, October 1, 2018

Common Website Mistakes

Your website is a virtual billboard. It often gives potential clients their first impression of what your company has to offer. With a great website, you’ll be able to attract, educate, and convince visitors to buy your products or services. Let's discuss a few mistakes to avoid so your website will work as well as intended.
Not Mobile Friendly
A mobile friendly website is essentially when your regular website adjusts its display optimally based on the size of the display on a mobile device. It does not necessarily look like a tiny version of your website. Instead, it positions and resizes content for the best display experience.

The most common way to do this is via a responsive design. A responsive design website is built using flexibly sized elements which are controlled by the website code. No matter what size screen the user is using to view your website, the text, images, navigation and graphics will resize fluidly. It’s not device-specific or browser-specific. It’s designed to look good and function well at any size.

No Contact Information
If you’re selling a product or service, you need to offer visitors several ways to contact you. The best option is to have a link to a “Contact Us” page that provides an email form as well as complete contact information: mailing address, phone number and email address. That link should be on every page of your website, or within the common header or footer of your website. The very presence of this information adds legitimacy to your site and terrific geographical information for search engines.

Stranding Users on Other Websites
When you have a link on your website that will direct your visitor to another website, make sure you open a new window or tab on your browser to display the other website. Not doing so, and using the same window for the new website, will take your website visitors away from your website in their browser. In that case for the visitor to return to your website, they either need to press the browser's "back" button many times, or they will need to reenter your website address in the browser address bar.

Instead, have your website open another window for any link that will direct a visitor to another website. Your visitor will then be able to easily go back to the point where they left you website simply by closing the new window or tab.

Choosing the Wrong Keywords
When you type a keyword or phrase into the search box, the search engine returns a list of websites that it tries to match the entered search phrase. Search engines have algorithms that they use to determine the relevancy of the returned matches websites to the search terms. There are several free tools to help you determine the right search terms. Among those are Google Ads.

In your website content and code, you need to place those keywords or phrases. That helps the search engine understand the meaning of your website when the search terms are used. However, be sure to identify and use for your website the words and phrases that your visitors will use to search for a website like yours.

If your intended audience will be from within your industry, industry terms may be used. However, if your intended audience will be lay people from outside your industry, then use terms that lay people will use. It's not likely that the search engine algorithms will be able to effectively match lay person terms to websites with mostly industry terms.

Broken Links
Broken links are links that don’t work. Some of the reasons why links don’t work include, the website is no longer available, the web page was moved without a redirect being added (server 404 error) or the website URL was changed. Displaying a default server 404 error page, or another default error page, is the same as asking the visitor to leave your website. Instead, redirect users having links to old page to the new related page. Or, default all 404 errors to your website's Home page.

Cleaning up broken links can improve user experience and make content within your website easier for visitors and search engines to discover. However, websites with too many broken links signal a low-quality website to search engines, and especially to your visitors.

Bad Font Selection
Script or Serif (having small features on the ends of strokes) fonts may be harder for your visitors to read clearly, especially when rendering your website on a small tablet display or smartphone. Popular serif  fonts are Times and Georgia. Popular sans serif (without serif) fonts are Arial and Verdana. Stick with sans serif fonts for greater text clarity.

Unrelated Content
Your website is an ambassador of your brand online. Consistency across pages in your website plays an important role in establishing a solid and effective understanding or your brand to both your website visitors (and for SEO). To give your website visitors a clear understanding of your brand, you must deliver a consistent message across all pages on your website. If you have both professional and personal interests, but they are not related (e.g. you offer business marketing consulting services and you enjoy breeding beagles), don't put the content of both unrelated interests on one website. Half of your audience will be turned off by the content not of interest to them. In addition, the mixing of unrelated content makes it difficult for the search engines to determine website relevancy to search engine queries, resulting in a lower positioning in the results. If you do want to promote unrelated content online, do so with separate websites.

Remember that you need to target your website to your audience. It's necessary that you understand the attributes and characteristics that can make or break the effectiveness of your website to your brand. A poorly built or operating website will do more to hurt your brand than to help it.

Click here to contact me regarding this or any other blog topic. Also, I welcome comments, which you can post below...