To grow your business improve your total web presence

by Kate on September 21, 2011

Piggy savings bank

Does your business have a website? Do you use social networks? Do you optimize your sites for search? Do you even look at you site very often?

It’s common sense to want the best return from the money you invest in assets or business expenses. But once the cheque has been written, the expense often gets forgotten and we move onto the latest bright shiny object.

Many organisations invest a lot of time and money in their web site, but how productive is that investment? Are you making the most of it?

This is a guest post by Craig Wilson, who got me thinking about getting the most from web sites … without needing to create a new one!

In an age where Australian retailers are protesting about the damage online is doing to their business models, it’s amazing to see how few are making a concerted effort to compete online. And I don’t just mean launching a shiny new website, I mean factoring in a total web presence.

One of my biggest frustrations is seeing organisations pay little attention to their web presence. They run old, rarely updated websites that provides the user with little information and a generally poor experience. These organisations are finding it increasingly harder to compete and will be left behind unless they totally online.

However, at the other end of the scale is the organisation who is enthusiastically online but is constantly thinking about a rebuild, or a new look, or an expensive new addition to their under-performing website. We see them all the time. I can think of a few examples where a site is going through its 2nd rebuild in as many years, when the original site design was fine, it just needed some tweaking.

If a website is under-performing the first thing everyone should look at are the real reasons why. In many cases its not the layout, design or format that necessarily needs work.

First check your content

If the site isn’t getting enough traffic, the first thing you should look at is the quality of the content. Is it up to scratch? Does it really speak to the desired audience? Does it demand attention? If the answer is no to any of these, then start improving and focusing your content now.

If you honestly think the content is good enough then you need to address your traffic sources or and connections. Look at your web stats (surely you have web stats) and determine where the traffic is coming from. Search engines, social media sites, referral traffic and online ads are all potentially lucrative sources of traffic.

Where is your web traffic from?

Most under-performing websites get the bulk of their traffic from their URL (direct) or a Google search for their name. This means that most of your visitors already know of you and you are not using the web properly to grow your market.

If the majority of it is direct traffic then you need to bolster your search and referred traffic. You might need proper search engine optimisation or you might need to build your social networks. A recent study by my optimization firm NLYZR revealed that 87% of Australian websites have inadequate search engine optimisation and only 6% had what we considered very good optimisation. This means that the bulk of sites are missing out on invaluable, qualified free traffic from the most powerful source on the Internet – Google.

Once again, if you don’t have many links coming into your site from other sources, there’s a very good chance your content is not working for you.

What’s your conversion strategy?

Finally, if your traffic is at reasonable levels but you are not getting the sales or leads you desire or require then you need to quickly address your conversion strategies (you do have conversion strategies don’t you?). Do you have strong calls-to-action on your landing pages? Is the site easy to navigate? Are your inquiry forms easy to complete? Do you have any potential for free information downloads in return for email addresses? These must al be considered.

Too many organisations think that a “Contact Us” page is a conversion strategy. Its not. Smart online marketers provide multiple opportunities for visitors to become customers. They’ll have conversion strategies littered throughout their website.

So, by all means, consider rebuilding your website, it might really need it. But before you do, rethink its content, connections and conversion.

Craig Wilson is founder of Sticky, a digital agency based in Newcastle, Australia and new Website Optimization System NLYZR. Craig is a contributor to the collaborative series of world-wide marketing books The Age of Conversation 1, 2, 3 and is often called on by media to comment on industry news.

 

 

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