Staying relevant online has never been so important for businesses. In a crowded digital space, standing out is crucial (and difficult!). Whilst most businesses have a website, there are many whose websites are underperforming or nonexistent.
In this blog we will be looking at why you should have a website and the best ways to optimise its performance.
Do you need a website?
The quick answer is yes. But let’s break it down – imagine you own a cybersecurity company but don’t have a website. When a search is made relating to your business, such as ‘Cybersecurity services’, your business will not come up. This will result in loss of business, as your competitors (who do have websites) will appear in the results.
Websites boost your online presence allowing you to build relationships, sell online and find new customers by clearly showing what you do and how you’ll help them. Customers turn to search engines when they need to find the solution to their problem, and your website needs to be there when they do.
What should you include?
Building your website isn’t as simple as throwing information together and dumping it online. Before you start there are two key things to consider:
- What are your business goals and how can a website help you achieve them?
For example, if your goal is to sell services through your website, then you will achieve this by creating a way for customers to purchase your products/services with an online store.This is what we call an e-commerce site.
- What do you want customers to do on your website and how can you give them a space to do so?
You may want customers to learn about your business, find out more about your products and services, see contact information, fill in forms, read case studies, view a gallery of photos, and much more. To do this, you need a variety of website pages, such as a home page, a contact page, a gallery, etc.
Your unique selling point (USP)
A website that stands out is a website that succeeds.
Billions of websites exist online so it’s key to establish what sets you apart from competitors. This is called your ‘unique selling point’ (USP). Displaying your USP on your website increases the likelihood of sales being made, as it sets you apart from your competitors when your website appears in the search results alongside them.
Kind words from your customers
Including customer reviews and testimonials is a brilliant way to prove the quality of your services without it coming straight from your mouth. Testimonials are often trusted more than other marketing tools, as customers are more likely to believe a third party opinion.
Information about you
Who are you? Who are the people behind the brand? Why do you do what you do? The ‘About me’ page is the ideal time to give your customers an insight into the humans that are behind the business (and the website).
Connecting with your customers on a human level is crucial if you want to create customer loyalty and trust. It’s also key for storytelling in sales.
Products and services
This is an obvious one, but also one that many businesses forget. Customers want to know if your solutions can fix their problems. The best way for them to get this answer is to learn about your products and services. The product page should be easy to find and navigate, include plenty of information (including brochures if relevant), and create intrigue in purchasing.
Clear directions for how to get in touch
Whether it’s a phone number, a contact form, or an email address, your website must include information that customers can easily access to get in touch with you. If this information is hidden, you may lose out on sales.
Links to your social media
Social media is a brilliant marketing tool, designed to keep your brand at the forefront of potential customers’ minds. By adding your social links to your website, you are promoting growth of following and directing them to more marketing material. Here, they can also get in touch with you.
However, before visitors can even reach your website to discover all these pages, they must first come across your site. This is where SEO and SEM are used.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Don’t be intimidated by the terminology – SEO refers to the developments made on a website to increase the chances of appearing in search results.
When a search is made, bots will ‘crawl’ through every IP Address, examining the content and ‘indexing’ the information. This is then ‘ranked’ to show users the most relevant results first. Search engines prioritise high quality, relevant content when ranking results. Use clear titles for your pages with unique, original content using keywords to boost your ranking. Keywords are the language customers use when searching for your business, such as general terms associated with your business or niche keywords that set your business apart from the competition.
Optimising your website to appear in search results is a brilliantly cost effective way to increase awareness of your business, however sometimes you can still be overshadowed by websites using SEM.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
SEM is a form of paid advertising. When a search is made for a keyword – such as ‘Cybersecurity’ – businesses compete by bidding on that word with whoever wins the bid being shown first. This happens within milliseconds of a search being made, bids can range from £1 to £10 depending on how valued the keyword is. This search result will rank at the top of the page followed by organic search results. If the link is not clicked, the bid will not be charged.
It’s important to remember that SEM is not always a guaranteed result. Regardless of the bid price, if the search engine recognises a more relevant, higher quality website, this could be ranked higher – even if the business hasn’t made a bid. Therefore it’s important to still prioritise quality and bid on keywords but ensure you’re still writing relevant titles and utilising keywords throughout your site.
Before you bid on keywords, you should first learn which ones are worth bidding on. To do this, you need analytics.
Whether you’re using SEO, SEM, or both, analytics are incredibly important. They allow you to clearly track the journey visitors take when interacting with your site.
A search analytics report will show which searches bring people to your site and what keywords people use to search for your site. This provides a helpful insight into which keywords you could bid on for SEM and whether there are any other keywords worth including in your SEO efforts.
Analytics reports can also be used to show the areas of your website that require improvement. If your site is placing well in the rankings but not receiving many clicks, this may be a sign that your content isn’t drawing users in.
Elevate your online presence with Octima
Managing all the elements of web design and knowing the right solutions can be an overwhelming task for many businesses, especially when you already have a business to run.
When you outsource, you free up that time to allow yourself to focus on what matters to you the most – your business.