Is your website helping your business or is it holding you back? Most people will assume that once their website is "up and running" that they can cross that off the to-do list and get back to the real business of running their business.
But the fact is that there’s more to a website than just what you see on your screen.
So let’s run through a few points. Check them off as you go and then you can see whether or not you have a winning website. Sounds like a plan? Excellent, let’s get started.
1. You Use a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)
Still scribbling down potential customer’s contact details on a post-it note or notepad? Big mistake. Set up a CRM that captures every single interaction between potential customers and your business. That means emails, live chats (you are using live chat aren’t you? More on that in a moment) and even phone calls, yes that’s right, phone calls.
The trouble with manual systems is that things have a habit of getting lost between the cracks. Not only that, with an automated system you can introduce an element of automation into your business so you can either send something automatically by email or post or you can set reminders so your sales team (or you) can keep following up consistently.
It is this level of discipline that separates the most profitable businesses from the mediocre performers. And the really great thing? There are loads of low-cost CRM tools available these days for small to mid-sized businesses.
Related Article: Is Your Website ADA Compliant? How to Check and How It Affects Your Business
2. Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
We’re past the tipping point now. More people are browsing the web on mobile devices than with desktops or laptops.
That means that having a mobile-friendly website is no longer a nice to have. It’s the basic price of entry these days. If that isn’t enough to convince you then Google’s warning that it won’t include nonmobile websites in its mobile rankings should indicate the direction of travel. You can check whether your site is mobile friendly with Google’s mobile checker.
If it isn’t then you have a couple of options. Option one is to go for a full Responsive Web Design (RWD). RWD is a type of design technique that means that your website will appear perfectly on any type of device as it ‘responds’ to the browser. If that is too expensive then you might want to look at a mobile website builder. With this option, you get a side by side version of your website that appears when your site detects that the browser is a mobile based one.
3. You Use Live Chat
Live Chat is a fantastic tool for any business that is serious about growth. Ignore all of those little doubting voices in your mind telling you that your customers don’t like chat or that chat just isn’t right for your business. Your customers and prospective customers love to chat. They’ve been conditioned to do it with things like WhatsApp. They love it and they’ll love you for using live chat. There are just so many advantages to using Live Chat it’s hard to know where to start.
It says you take customer service seriously for starters. It allows you to capture your prospect's contact details. Potential customers feel less intimidated chatting to you by chat than they do on the phone - it’s more anonymous. It’s free to the client and it’s fast. It’s efficient too - one person can deal with several chats at the same time. Try doing that on the phone.
Seriously, if you start using Live Chat you’ll start to wonder how you ever managed without it. Finally, if you’ve got a website with traffic then Live Chat is the only tool where you can measure the Return on Investment (ROI) in minutes.
4. You’re Getting Regular Reviews
Recent research shows that the best-performing B2B websites have double the number of Google reviews that lower ranked businesses have. Especially if you’re a local business, getting Google Reviews is essential.
Check the local results. Notice something about the top ranked sites? You got it. They’re getting reviews.
Getting reviews isn’t difficult, though. You just need to ask for them. Start with your best clients first. You know who they are. They’ll wonder why you didn’t ask for one before. Don’t go crazy getting hundreds of reviews on day one. This is a long play. Just get into the habit of asking for them on a regular basis. When’s the best time to ask? When you’ve got a happy client in front of you. So get started on this today and commit to getting several reviews every month without fail.
Related Article: Effective Digital Presence: Guide to Building an Effective Website Yourself
5. You’ve Got Service Specific Pages
Do you have a "Services" page? If so, does it list the services you offer? Do you also have individual pages for each service? If your answers were yes, yes and no, then you might want to address that issue. Why? Simply because most websites spread themselves too thinly when it comes to their service pages.
Google wants to send people to specific pages that reflect the search intent. If someone does a search on "Digital Printing Services Atlanta" and Google has to choose between a page about "Digital Printing" and one about ‘Print Services’ the chances are it will choose the "Digital Printing" page. By doing this you are casting a wider net and giving Google much more specific content for it to index and present.
A word of warning. Don’t confuse this legitimate technique with creating pages with specific keywords in mind. For example, don’t start creating pages called "Low-Cost Same Day Turnaround Digital Printing Atlanta".
Sure you can mention all that stuff on the ‘Digital Printing’ page, but don’t try to game the system - it won’t work and the chances are it will damage your ranking. Just create a really complete list of every service you offer and make sure that each service has its own unique page on your website.
6. You’ve Got Longer Pages
Imagine you sit down with a prospective customer. They have a ton of questions to ask you. You take the time to explain the ins and outs of everything. You want to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field. They can see that you are a safe pair of hands. Congratulations. You have a new customer.
Now check your service pages. Do they have the same level of detail? If not you need to address that for a couple of reasons. Firstly your prospective clients are doing research and they really appreciate the effort you’ve taken to educate them so that they make an informed decision.
Google picks up on this too. Not only does it like all of that text you’ve provided, it notices that visitors tend to spend more time on that page and on your website. That means you have a lower Bounce Rate. Google interprets a lower Bounce Rate as a signal that this page delivers what the visitor is looking for. That means you’ll get a higher ranking.
So how long should your pages be? I’d say minimum 500 words and do 1,000 if you can. Now if you’re thinking that you can’t possibly create that amount of content, think back to that chat with your prospective client. You’ve heard all of these questions before. Just use them as the basis for creating that content. Most of it is up in your head, but check your hard drive, check your outbox, it’s all been prepared before. You just need to put it into context.
7. You’ve Optimized All Your Pages
Just because you’ve ticked the ‘got a website’ box doesn’t mean that you’re done just yet. Optimizing all of your pages is vitally important. We’re talking Metatags (Title and Description), keyword rich URLs, Headings and internal linking. Top ranking websites are far more likely to have well-optimized pages. Things like including the industry and location in the Title Metatag and using keyword rich Headings (H1 and H2 especially).
These kinds of details separate Best in Class from the average business.
8. You’ve Got a Blog
Another interesting point we noted in our B2B research was that another major factor separating Best in Class from average websites was the number of pages. The average was 104 vs. 48 (Best in Class vs. lower ranked sites respectively).
Apart from adding Service specific pages (see above), the easiest way to consistently add new content is with a blog. Another massive point in a blog’s favor is that blogging and social media is a match made in heaven. Setting up a blog like WordPress on your website is easy these days. Once you’ve got it up and running you just need to add new content on an ongoing basis.
If you’re stuck where to start then just think about all of those questions that your customers ask you. You just need to use your blog to demonstrate your expertise. That’s not an excuse to try to blind people with science. Try to avoid creating content that’s full of jargon or is aimed at other experts in your industry otherwise, you’ll end up preaching to the choir.
Your blog is also a way for you to get backlinks. The way to do this is to contact non-competing, complementary blogs who share a similar audience. Let’s face it, with the exception of Directory listings and NAP Citations, who is really going to link to a "money" page like your home page or services pages? Your blog’s content is the key to earning high-quality backlinks.
9. Your Site Is Fast
Website load speed matters. Google keeps it cards close to its chest when it comes to its search algorithm so if Google says that website load speed is a ranking factor then it’s worth taking note. But it’s not just Google. Load speed matters to your visitors too. People hate slow websites.
As mobile browsing has overtaken desktop and laptop browsing (a trend that is accelerating) this is going to be an increasingly important issue. So how do you speed up your website? Well, in fact, there are dozens of ways to speed up your website. However, many of these involve subtle design tweaks that require an expensive designer and in all honesty represent a diminishing return on investment for all except the largest of E-commerce businesses (e.g. Amazon).
One practical way to supercharge your site though is to switch over to SSD Hosting. SSD stands for Solid State Drives and it is the future of data storage. With 100 percent electronic componentry and zero moving parts SSD is to traditional drives what space rockets are to steam trains.
To illustrate this, consider that the basic measure of disk speed is Inputs Outputs Per Second (IOPS). In a traditional hard drive that many people will be hosted on, say a 7.2K SATA drive, IOPS is roughly 80 IOPS. For a Datacenter SSD, this speed can range from 7,500 IOPS (random writes) to 75,000 IOPS (random reads).
Yes, you read that correctly - that’s an order of magnitude hundreds, almost thousands of times faster. So if you want a proven way to speed up your site and you want to do it quickly and at minimum cost, switch to SSD Hosting.
Related Article: 10 Reasons Why Having a Responsive Website is a Great Investment
10. Your Site Is Secure
Another Google ranking factor is security, specifically using HTTPS Hosting. HTTPS involves switching your website to secure hosting by way of an SSL certificate. Now just switching to HTTPS isn’t suddenly going to give you a massive boost in the rankings and neither will it make your website totally safe.
Rather you should think of it as the minimum level of security you should offer your visitors these days. If you are serious about security then you should consider using a Web Application Firewall. This constantly scans your site for known security issues and blocks Malware from being uploaded to your website.
Often these will come with a Security Shield which, along with the secure HTTPS shield or optional green browser bar will reassure your visitors that you take security seriously.
These days online marketing involves many moving parts. But in the middle of everything you do online is your website. There are some fundamental things that set successful websites apart from mediocre ones. Whether it’s setting up a CRM, using live chat or making sure your site is fast, secure and mobile friendly these are how you build a winning website.