Grow Your Business Online – 10 Ways to Optimize Your Website
If you own a service business, your website should be generating 30% – 50% of your daily business. Every day, your phone should be ringing, and your Inbox should be full, of customers who are contacting you after finding you on the Internet. This can be from Google, Yahoo or other search engines, it can be be from Yelp or other peer-review sites, or they could have seen you on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. This is how you grow your business online.
If your website is not generating that kind of business for you, you are doing it wrong. You are missing out on a major revenue stream and opportunity to grow your online
FieldSurf is publishing a series of informative articles designed to show owners of service businesses exactly how to grow your business online and optimize your website so that it does what a website is supposed to do — generate leads, make the phone ring, allow your customers to easily contact you, and do whatever is necessary to bring you more business and make more money.
Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing a ten-part series, showing you — the owner of a service business — step-by-step what you must do regarding your website in order to succeed in business and stay in business in today’s fast-moving business environment.
If your website isn’t generating enough business for you, this series of articles will be of great value to you. Just follow the steps and make sure you cover all the bases. At the end of the series, if you have followed our guidance, you will be able to generate more business from your website and a master at how to grow your business online.
We are assuming that you have already created a functioning, dynamic website. If you haven’t done this yet, stop right here and get yourself a decent website. But many businesses with websites still don’t know how to use them. This series of articles will help you turn your website from a money-losing thing to an important part of your business that generates leads, makes your phone ring, and increases your sales.
If your website isn’t generating income for you, look on the positive side: no income means no income tax. But that’s not why you are in business. You are in business to make the most money you can during the time you spend working. Too many business owners set up websites and are disappointed when the websites fail to deliver what was promised. What this means is that even though you’ve gone through the motions of setting up a website, your site is not dynamic, and there is no fresh content being posted to it — which is the one thing that Google uses to decide if you deserve to be on the first page of Google when someone types in the right keywords to find you. If your competitor posts new content every week, and you only post new content once a month, Google will use that one thing to make sure your competitor’s site is listed above yours in Google’s search engine results.
You must make your website ready to do the things you expect it to do. If you pay attention to the following nine articles and follow through on the action items, you can turn your situation around quickly and your website will now do what it’s supposed to do for you — make money. Here are some crucial ways to grow your business online and to continue your success.
Fix Your Website – A Bad Site Can’t Work For You
Before you do anything to bring traffic to your site, you need to check the site itself and make sure it’s the dynamic, user-friendly place where your potential customers will get their first impression of you.
Visit your site as a critical, unbiased user and examine it carefully. This is the absolute step one if you want to grow your business online.
Is Your Web Copy Legible?
Is your website clearly legible? Make sure you use only standard text fonts — Arial or Verdana are the most common — and make sure that your background color or image doesn’t interfere with the reader’s experience: black text on a white background works best, followed by white text over a black background. Other colors can get weird in the wrong combination, unless you are using the services of a competent graphics designer.
Are Your Images Compliant?
Make sure your images (pictures) are clear and effective. Always post images with discrete size parameters, otherwise different monitors, browsers or screen resolutions will adversely affect how an image appears — and this will really ruin your page/s. Make sure the images are mobile-compliant, and will shrink to the correct size when viewed on a mobile device – which is where most Google searches are made for searches like “Plumber near me” or “Electrician near me”. A sdn optimize your images so they do not take too long to download.
Is Your Website Mobile Compliant?
Your entire site and not only the images, must be mobile compliant. Google spiders mobile sites first: if they see you do not have a mobile-compliant site, they won’t bother to spider your desktop site, and you will not be seen in Google’s search results, even if a legitimate user queries for your services in your area. What a pity to lose out in that way.
Now start checking what kind of experience your visitor has as he/she browse your site. You’ve already brought them there — now make sure you give them what they want.
Check Every Link and Fix Bad Links.
Check every link on your site: do they all go where they say they go? Fix any bad or outdated links. Then, you decide which links you want your customer to click on. At the bottom of every page of your website, place a link to where you want the reader to go next. If they’ve just read an article on repiping a home, perhaps lead them to your page where you explain all about copper piping and what repiping a home entails. Or send them directly to your Contact Us page and encourage them to fill out a form, make an appointment, or have a CSR call them back.
Can Your Users Reach Every Page on Your Site from Each Page?
Make sure a user can access every page on your site from every page. Create a site map listing every important page or department on your site. Place a link to this site map on every page of your site, so if visitors get lost/confused, they can reach the site map with one click. And submit your XML site-map to Google when you’ve done everything to make it right. Make sure that each page takes the user to the page you want them to visit next. And never leave a user lost at the end of dark tunnel with no way to go back to the last page they visited.
Never Force a User to Register Before Initially Entering Your WebSite.
Some businesses think they can be clever and make the user register before even entering their website. THis is the biggest mistake a business owner can make. The user is new to your site: they don’t know if they’ve come to the right place. If you force them to register before entering, they will leave. Period. Never require a user to enter a password or set up a new user account before they can enter your site.
Check Your Shopping Cart.
Many service companies today are deploying shopping carts on their website and generating additional revenue by selling relevant products over the Internet. Plumbing companies are finding they can sell water heaters and toilets to users who know how to do the installation themselves. Why lose on the sale just because your customer knows how to do the installation? So you install a shopping cart where people can buy products online using a credit card, and suddenly your service business has a new revenue stream. Check your shopping cart thoroughly to make sure everything works. More users abandon a website at the shopping cart stage than anywhere else — which is a real tragedy, because they were actually trying to make a purchase and were unable to, so they gave up. Don’t let this happen to you.
Make it Easy for Your Site’s Visitors to Contact You.
More than anything, you want people to contact you – by phone, by email, by text – and then you can begin the process of selling to them. Make sure your users can contact you from anywhere on your website in every way possible: provide a telephone number, email address, chat function, instant help line, and anything else to make it easier for a user to reach you if they have any questions prior to making a decision. In order to grow your business online, you need to make yourself and your business as accesible as possible. Remove any applications that prevent users from easily entering the site. If you take care of these issues, you will be able to provide your users with a meaningful browsing experience. Your main job is to make your site user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Check Your Download Speed
The download speed of your website is critical. Google will penalize you if your page/s take too long to download. Use software to determine the download speed of your website. We suggest you use Screaming Frog.
Is Your Code Slowing Down Your Site?
Excessive code can significantly slow down your site – especially if the code is “above the fold”. And Google will penalize you if your code slows down your site. Use Screaming Frog to tell you if you have excessive code above the fold.
Now that every aspect of your website is in good working working order, the next thing you must focus on is your content. Content is crucial if you truly want to grow your business online. Content is king – always was and always will be. Our next article in this series will focus on content – what defines good content, how to create it, and how to keep your content fresh and dynamic. And once you’ve learned about the importance of creating good content, we will show you how to optimize your site so it is featured prominently in the search engines.