Whether you are creating your first website or looking at improving an existing one, use this checklist to ensure the success of your business online.
1. Domain Name
Register a domain name that has keywords related to your business. Even if your business name is John Smith & Sons, registering a domain name with just the name is not going to help your business from a search engine point of view. Try including some keywords, eg. Johnsmithplumbing.com or yourcityplumbing.com. You can always register additional domain names with your business name or product names to protect your brand and identity, but for the main domain name, make sure you have some key words included. This will help with search engine optimisation later on.
2. Research Keywords
Before you start putting together copy for your website, research what keywords people are using to find your business, products or service online. Remember, you want to find keywords which are searched often, but that don’t have a lot of websites optimised for them.
There are two kinds of keywords “research” keywords and “buying” keywords.
People use research keywords when they are researching a product or a service. For example, someone looking to buy a car, would start with broad searches, such as “family car” or “sports car”, next they may narrow it down to the brand, eg “Toyota” or “Porsche”. At this point, visitors are still researching.
It is only when they start looking at keywords such as “Toyota Corolla Ascent” or “Porsche Boxster 987” that they are ready to buy. As such, you want to have your site optimised for keywords that people are using when they are in a buying frame of mind.
Two great tools you can use for researching keywords include: Google Keyword Suggestion Tool and Wordtracker.
3. Original and Relevant Content
Ensure that you include as much information about each product & service that you offer. When people are looking online, they want the details right there and then. They don’t want to wait until they can talk to you on the phone or email you. If you don’t answer their questions and provide them with all the data they require, they will go somewhere else.
Search Engines love original content, so make sure you write your own text – don’t copy from someone else’s website – search engines will pick up that it is duplicate content and may penalise you for it, not to mention you may be breaching copyright laws.
Pages to include on your website:
Products / Services
Frequently Asked Questions
Photo Gallery / Portfolio
Return / Refund Policy
Awards / Achievements
Social Media Networks
4. Website Credibility
Credibility is a big problem for many online businesses, especially if their products / services and brands are not well known in the market place. Lack of trust is one of the main reasons, visitors don’t convert into paying customers. The good news is there are several things you can do to prove your credibility:
– Include testimonials and product reviews from happy customers
– Provide as many contact details as possible
– Show Before & After Shots
– Offer money back guarantee
– List details of any reputable trade associations you belong to
– Include useful/relevant information, so you are seen as the expert in your field
– Add any media articles that have been written about your business – online and offline
– Include About Us info such as business hours, qualifications, photos of your staff & qualifications
– Provide details of any awards you have won
– List community projects and charities you are involved in
5. Social Interaction
More and more people are using social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ to interact with their family, friends and business associates or clients. So it is important that you get involved too – set up a Facebook Business Page, create a Twitter account or a LinkedIn Profile. The more you interact with your customers, the more they will trust you.
Don’t sell via social networks, rather provide useful tips and industry news and build relationships which, if done correctly, will lead to many future sales.
Search Engines also take note of your social network participation and the more they see that people are interacting with you, the more they will perceive you as the “go-to” authority on your subject and will reward you with higher rankings.
6. Call to Action
You need to be very clear about what you want your visitors to do when they land on one of your pages. Do you want them to call you or click through to another page for more details, or perhaps request a quote. Make sure your call to action is listed on all your pages, as visitors will not always arrive at your website via your homepage.
Don’t forget over 98% of visitors will not buy from you on their first visit. As such, it is important to collect their contact details by offering them something for free – an article, a report, a special offer or a sample.
Creating a successful website takes a bit of planning and preparation. It is not as simple as taking a few pictures and writing a bit of text and just uploading them online. The good news is that if you do a bit of homework upfront, register the right domain name, include appropriate keywords, write original content and prove your credibility, you have a much better chance of not only ranking higher in search engines, but also converting visitors into customers.
Ivana Katz makes it easy for you to get your business online very quickly. If you’re looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit www.web4business.com.au and download a free website plan or connect with Ivana on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/Websites4SmallBusiness .