It’s common knowledge that the small business website is more than a stagnant presence on the web. It must reflect everything you want your customers to know, and it also needs to inspire them to do something after they are done visiting. There are simple strategies for aligned web design. Aligning your website with your goals insures that it works as hard for your business as you do. Here are four common functions that business owners want for their website and strategies for better aligning function with those goals.

01

I want people to find me on Google.

When we work with clients, this is one of the most pressing issues that comes up in meetings. Businesses of all sizes are doing their best to tailor their website for the latest Google algorithms and search engine optimization (SEO) formulas. SEO is a science and a bit of an art. The science comes from doing keyword research, search location designation, participation in Google AdWords and studying content and ad performance. The art comes from consistently creating searchable, relevant and engaging content.

If your number one goal is to be found by your potential customers when they search for your business, spend time doing the following:

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Content Creation

As mentioned, you should be consistently creating relevant content that provides value to your target audience. Think about who your ideal customer is, what knowledge or resources you can provide them that they are searching for, and how to make it shareable and engaging.

Types of Content

Here are some forms of content that can help with SEO:

  • Blogs: Blogging is an easy way to get started with content creation. If you are a financial advisor, you could write a blog post about the smartest ways to invest your money or the steps you should take to have a prosperous retirement. Someone who is or is starting to become financially conscience may search for these topics, and if they find and click on your blog post in the search results, they are now on your website and aware of you. If they simply searched for “financial advisors”, you may have never been discovered, but writing those blogs posts may have exposed them to your company before they were even ready to find a financial advisor. If you are truly providing useful information in your posts, you are establishing credibility with someone who would likely benefit from hiring a financial advisor. For more information on blogging, see #4 at the bottom of the page.
  • YouTube Videos: YouTube is by far the most beneficial video platform to create videos for when it comes to optimizing your site for Google’s search results. For one, YouTube is owned by Google, so when you search for a topic and there is a YouTube video for it, there’s a high chance it will show up on the first page, sometimes right at the top (depending on its metrics). Not only can you provide a more engaging experience with video versus text/pictures in a blog post, YouTube uses speech recognition technology to identify the words that are spoken and converts them into text that search engines can read.
  • Online Tools: Creating functional online tools is even more uncommon among small to medium-sized businesses because it requires a developer to produce. An example of a tool would be Vanguard’s Retirement Income Calculator.
  • eBooks: Creating a helpful eBook is a great way to engage your audience and capture an email for your mailing list.

There are many other types of content, but the overall goal is to provide value to your target audience.

Obtain Backlinks

A backlink is one site referencing another site and providing a link to it. Google is going to care very little if a brand new website references your site, but if it’s been around for a while, gets a lot of traffic and does all the right things relating to SEO, Google will view your website as more relevant because a credible site linked to your site. That’s why getting online press is a great way to boost the credibility of your domain to search engines. If you have the time, you can write guest blogs for other websites so you can link back to your site in the article. Also, be a team player and help others sites if content they have created is relevant to what you are writing about. Google likes it when you reference other sites on your website.

Paid Advertising

A backlink is one site referencing another site and providing a link to it. Google is going to care very little if a brand new website references your site, but if it’s been around for a while, gets a lot of traffic and does all the right things relating to SEO, Google will view your website as more relevant because a credible site linked to your site. That’s why getting online press is a great way to boost the credibility of your domain to search engines. If you have the time, you can write guest blogs for other websites so you can link back to your site in the article. Also, be a team player and help others sites if content they have created is relevant to what you are writing about. Google likes it when you reference other sites on your website.
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Identify relevant search terms and keywords using the Google Keyword Search tool.

Whenever you create content, produce a web page, or run an AdWords campaign, aim to find keywords that have high search volume and low competition so that your website has more specific and less commonly used search terms but match what users are searching for. To use Google’s Keyword Planner, you don’t have to pay for an ad, but you do have to signup for AdWords and start to go through the process of setting up an ad.

Integrate your search terms and keywords into the copy of your website text.

Long gone are the days when you could just stuff a bunch of keywords at the bottom of each page in the hopes that Google would find it and reward you. Not only is this an inelegant strategy, but “stuffing” keywords unnaturally into a page can actually hurt your Google ranking. Take the time to professionally and naturally align your copy with your SEO terms.

02

I want people to see me as a “legitimate” business.

Users give us less and less time to make a good impression. Having thoughtful design and function, paired with professional copy, is essential if you want to attract customers and hold their attention long enough to earn their business. Load time, layout, color, font, and graphics are the first visual impressions that your website visitors will encounter. Make sure they are inviting instead of repelling. Content copy is the next gateway: make sure that you are providing useful information free of error or fluff.

03

I want people to contact me for more information.

An aligned website that works for your business goals will spur a visitor to take a positive action. Getting them to learn more about your business is essential, with the next natural step being to reach out somehow: make an appointment, come in for a visit, give us a call, etc. The easiest strategy to get a user to take action is for them to fill out a contact form. It seems too easy, but you’d be surprised how many businesses do not have a functional one on their site! Furthermore, adding call-to-action (CTA) buttons on every page, reminding the user to get in touch in order to learn more, is essential. Many sites may have a form, but no reminders to make sure a user finds it.

Another easy strategy is to make sure your basic information is always available on every page of your website. A phone number or email address available for easy reference is a quick, useful strategy to assure that a visitor who urgently wants to get in touch is able to do so.

Common places to add your contact information site-wide include the main navigation, top bar and footer:

Phone Number in Primary Navigation
Email in Top Bar
Contact Info in Footer

04

I want to share my knowledge and stand out from my competition or peers.

 

If you’ve got a well-aligned site that is functioning the way you want, you might want to take it to the next level by providing information that showcases who you are and what distinguishes you from your peers. This is a fantastic strategy for many reasons. First, it provides regularly changing content featuring your assigned keywords (excellent for SEO). Second, it establishes trust between you and your customers. Third, if you establish yourself well, you will earn links from other websites, which will attract even more visitors and increase your relevance with Google.

Establishing yourself as a thought leader takes time and planning. Start with a strong editorial calendar that breaks down what topics you want to cover and how. Next, produce consistent content on a regular schedule. Point your customers to your new material via the network your customers are on. That may well be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others.

Remaining consistent and giving yourself time to build an audience will be key. Write out a six-month editorial calendar, then execute it. If you do it well, plan the next six months. After a year, evaluate which topics and posts earned you the best reactions, then emulate or integrate them in your next calendar.

An aligned website can be a workhorse for your business. It may not be able to do everything, but it can be a freestanding funnel that motivates your visitors to take a deeper look, reach out to learn more, and eventually make the purchase you are looking for. Take the time to evaluate what you want from your site, audit its function, then realign it with your goals. You’ll be surprised by how the smallest changes can make a big difference in the user experience and your bottom line.

 

On the hunt for a fresh, well-aligned website to meets your business needs? Have you grown large enough that you are ready to graduate from DIY to professional design and management? We’re here to help with your growth and strategy. Get in touch with us today.