Needl Solutions Blog

OK I have a website, now where is the traffic?

You've purchased your domain and hosting - Tick

You've configured a beautiful, useful and informative website - Tick

You've got it live online and accessible via your URL - Tick

You've sat back with a tall glass of *Insert your poison of choice here* - Tick

Watch the traffic roll in - ???


Where is everyone?

"Where is everyone?"

So what's happened? A website was meant to help grow your business, yet now that you have one nothing has changed. Unfortunately, the journey of growing your business online doesn't end there. In fact, getting your website up and running is simply the first step in having an online presence that allows you to reach a new customer base while engaging better with your existing customers

So what else needs to be done?

There are a lot of extra things that need to be done once your website is up and running. Making people aware that it exists, and getting them to visit are the main goals we need to focus on. We can do that using:

SEO

Ideally with a new website it should have been developed with Search Engines in mind, so it should already be optimised. However it is always worthwhile getting a review to find out if any improvements can be made. The more optimised your site is for Search Engines the more chance you have of getting organic traffic to your site.

SEO is a large topic that we won't cover in detail here, but check out our other blog posts on the Search Engine Optimisation. We also recommend reading some great articles from these SEO gurus:

Social Media pages

Social Media is another way to boost traffic to your site, and overall help grow your business. If you don't already have them, create some social media pages to help advertise your business. Social media is a great channel for delivering information to your customers, as they actively access their social media daily. This means we can push content and information out to them, rather than waiting for them to come to the website to consume what you have to say. This is a very powerful way of growing your brand and making sure people are aware of your business

Social media can also be integrated into your site, giving you more ways to grow your social media following, as people who come across your site in other ways can like and share your content, growing your brand and confidence with Search Engines

Social Media pages can also be used for Paid advertising to get your business out there. Sponsored ads appear in your potential customers newsfeeds so they see your logo, and whatever message you are trying to convey.

So many social media outlets in heavy use

So many social media outlets in heavy use

Mailing List

If you didn't already build your site with Newsletter functionality, then giving people another way to stay in touch with you is very important. A mailing list that people can sign up to, means you can send them regular emails with deals, sales, news articles and any other information about your business you would like to get across. Regular newsletters can be a very powerful way to communicate and engage.

There are some great tools out there to assist with creating and sending Newsletters such as:

Advertising - Business Cards/Flyers etc.

Now that you have a website, you need to make sure it is included in all of your marketing and advertising material. Put the address on business cards, flyers, catalogs, T shirts, car stickers and any other advertising you use. The more places people could see your website, the more likely they are to visit it. Then once they are there, they could make their way to your social media pages to follow you, giving you a closer relationship with your potential customers.

Having integrated advertising channels is a very powerful way to get your information across. Focus on making your flyer/newspaper ad eye-catching rather than informative, so people need to go to the website for the further information, which could lead them to your social media pages, or have them sign up to your Mailing List.

SEM

On top of the other advertising you are doing, you could also add Search Engine Marketing to the mix. SEM helps people find your business at the exact moment they are looking for your product or service, giving you a great chance of converting them into sales. SEM is also another way to grow your Social media following, growing your reach and potential audience.

SEM is a large topic that we won't cover in detail here, but check out our other blog posts on Search Engine Marketing.

Add more functionality to your website

Websites don't just need to be about informing your customers. They can also give them tools that will allow them to make better use of your services, or just generally make their life easier. For example a business such as a restaurant can include being able to book a table, or even order their meals online. Salons, driving schools and many other services can accept bookings online and allow people to manage their own bookings. Not only does this added functionality give the power to your customers, it also gives you back the time you would need to manage this effective yourself.

Other ways you can add functionality is to sell your products, or even service-related products online. For example a hairdresser may sell their favourite hair products online, adding to their service business. A gardener may sell the gardening tools they use on their site, or even allow people to purchase plants, which they can then offer to plant for an additional price, growing the business and adding services along the way.

There is always something you can do online to give your customers power, it all comes down to which business you are in.

Does your customer feel like a hero?

Does your customer feel like a hero?

Keep posting content

They key to growing website traffic is consistently providing more reasons for people to return to your site. Adding more content, such as a business related blog, will bring in more potential customers as well as keeping your current customers engaged. Blogging is also a great way to show your skills in your field, which gives customers confidence in your ability to get the job done.

You don't need to spend hours and hours blogging either. Simple mini-blogs that link to other articles can be just as effective, and still provides good content to your sites visitors.

Your Blog posts can then be posted to your social media pages, reaching a greater audience.

Conclusion

So while getting your site up and running is a big step, it's the first of many that you need to take in order to grow your online presence. Deciding which one comes next really comes down to what your goals are as a business, and what your customers biggest pain points are. Once these are established, a clear path can usually be determined.

Then the website traffic comes

Then the website traffic comes

SEO - It's about more than just Keywords

SEO - it's about more than just keywords

Getting organic traffic through good search engine position can be the difference between a steady business and a booming business. However getting good placing on search engines takes more than just buzz words. The Google algorithm takes a lot more information into account than just keywords. When all factors are taken into account, your site is given an overall reputation score. If your reputation is higher than another website that uses similar keywords, then you will rank higher in the search results. Some of these other elements that Google takes into account includes:



Do you have a well-developed Website?

A well-built website, made using industry recognised practices will give Google more confidence in your website. Following such standards gives Google the peace of mind that you are a reputable source, and that your content is relevant to your potential customers.

       While there are a lot of coding practices that should be followed, some of these include:

  • Using well defined page headings
  • Avoiding empty/uninformative pages
  • Putting styles into a separate file
  • Securing your site using HTTPS
  • Mobile friendly design

    This last one is very important. Recent algorithm updates from Google have placed more importance on sites that work well on mobile, relegating those that do not. Google will be making more algorithm modifications in this direction in the future, so having a mobile friendly website is becoming more and more important. 

Are you trying to cheat the system?

Google is smarter than you - This is true in more ways than one. Google has a number of practices they deem unethical and against their rules. using these practices will give your site a lower reputation, or could see you blacklisted entirely. They are always on the lookout, with machine learning being used to pinpoint anomalies and find people who may not be following proper procedure. In the past, one method to improve your ranking with Google was to have a lot of other websites linking to yours. This initially made search engines think your site must have some good content, until they realised that websites were popping up that webmasters could pay to have their link on, skewing the search rankings. As a result, Google has now deemed 'link farming' to be an unethical practice and actively look for this when crawling the web.

Other instances of practices that Google doesn't like are:

  • Keyword stuffing: overusing keywords across your site
  • Hidden links: hidden from users but visible to Search Engines
  • Article spinning: stealing a large number of articles from other sources to show on your website

Google are always looking for ways that websites are using to game their algorithm. While good rankings don't happen straight away, if you try and cheat the system or get results using these methods, it will end up getting you a place at the bottom of the results pile.

Have you registered with Search Engines?

Making sure you're registered with search Engines will also help you get better results, as it adds a level of confidence that they otherwise would not have. Most Search Engines have a page you can use for submitting your website's URL which is very easy to do. In some cases you may need to verify your site in some way to prove the legitimacy of it, but this process is usually very well documented and you should be guided through the whole process.

Some search engines also allow you to submit your entire site map to them directly, so they will know which pages on your site to crawl, and which to ignore. While most can determine this via the Site map within your site, there is certainly no harm in submitting it directly to them.

Do you have Quality Content that you post regularly?

This is definitely the most important element of getting good results on Search Engines. Posting regular, quality content to your site will generate visitors, backlinks and shared posts, not to mention naturally adding keywords to your site for the Search Engines to crawl.

Regular content means posting consistently to your site. There is no hard and fast rule for regularity of the content, but making sure there is content added to your site all the time is very important. This also gives you information to share out to your social media followers, or email newsletter subscribers which improves the engagement you have with your customers.

Quality content means posting information that is useful for your customers, and is something people will be interested in reading. Having quality content is also likely bring you repeat readers, which in turn gives Search Engines more confidence in you and improves your reputation.

Quality content also means that the information you are posting is relevant to your business. Ensure the information you are posting about will is targeted at the audience who is likely to buy your product or service.
An electrician posting their favourite cupcake recipe is not really going to help improve their results in search engines for their electricity business, although it could help them get a spot on the next season of Masterchef.

Conclusion

So while keywords are definitely an important element of becoming a respected entry on search engine result pages, there are a lot of other elements you need to take into account when trying to improve your SEO.

5 Reasons you should consider Search Engine Marketing as part of your Advertising strategy

Google Adwords

As a business owner with a limited marketing budget, it is crucial to get the best return on investment for your spend. While there are plenty of advertising options available, here are 5 reasons why you should consider Search Engine Marketing in your advertising strategy:

5. No upfront investment

While some advertising methods need an upfront investment before you see any return, SEM doesn't cost anything to configure, and you only start paying when you start getting clicks to your website. This is a big benefit, as the advertising could start paying for itself before you get your first bill.

4. Very low minimum spend

Some Search Engines have no minimum spend, while others have a very minimal amount. Google Adwords, for example, has no minimum spend. While a daily budget of 20 cents is not going to get you many clicks, you can start with a low daily budget to determine the quality of your ads. Once you get comfortable with your ads, you can then increase your daily limit to start getting more and more clicks to your site.

3. No contracts or locked in timelines

A lot of advertising channels have a length of time which a campaign needs to run. With SEM, you can run your campaign for a day, a week, a month, or ongoing. You can pause it at any time, which stops the campaign instantly. You can also restart it at any time, so the choice really is yours.

2. You have full control at all times

The wording of your Advertisements is the most important element, and you may need to change this once the campaign has started. with Adwords, you can make these changes and many more at any point. Choices such as adding new/different advertisements, modifying keywords, changing budgets, changing links are all possible right through the length of your campaign

But the BEST reason to use SEM in your marketing strategy is...

1. Reach your customers at the exact moment they want your product or service

No other form of advertising does this as well as Search Engine Marketing. Other avenues of marketing attempt to reach your audience at a time when your product or service 'might' be relevant, but with SEM, your ads are shown when someone is actively looking for them. This is a massive benefit, as your advertising dollar is much more likely to turn a potential customer into a paying customer.

Shopify makes eCommerce extremely easy

Shopify

Ever since the start of the web, the number of products you can buy online has been growing exponentially. Now, more than 87% of online users have purchased something online, showing that the web is quickly becoming peoples favourite choice when it comes to making purchases. (http://www.statisticbrain.com/total-online-sales/)

eCommerce solutions would once cost thousands to setup and configure, and needed to be developed from scratch for your individual needs. Now we have Shopify, which makes it extremely easy to get an online store up and running and start selling your products across the globe. With Shopify, you can be ready to sell products and take payment within hours of getting started.

Check out Shopify here

Not only that, but your options to configure and improve your store are vast, meaning you are not locked in to any particular design or store functionality. For example:

Beautiful Shopify Themes

https://themes.shopify.com/

The Shopify theme store has hundreds of themes you can apply to your site to give it a beautiful design. The themes are easy to configure and have been tested to give your users an experience that is not only enjoyable, but familiar and easy to use. All of the themes in the Shopify store are responsive, so your site will work as well on mobile phones as it does on desktop.

A large number of the Shopify themes are free, but there are also premium themes that can be applied for a reasonable cost. Premium themes have added functionality included, and are generally very simple to configure.

Shopify Apps

Beautiful Shopify Themes

https://apps.shopify.com/

Shopify also has an add-in store, where you can download and implement add-ins that supply extra functionality to your site. These are a number of free add-ins to help you add functionality to your store and provide better options for your customers.

As with the themes, there are also premium add-ins, which are cost-effective ways to improve your site without having to hire a custom web developer to build something from scratch.

Payment options

Shopify gives business owners a large number of options for accepting payments online. You can easily integrate payment gateways you already use into your store, as well as new ones you may not have considered before. This gives your customers more choices for payment, which means more confidence in your store.

Shopify also offers Point Of Sale payments for those who also sell their products in the physical world. For business owners with a shop, they could integrate their payment systems to Shopify to help manage stock, inventory and invoicing as well as payments made in store using cash or credit. Shopify gives you full financial reports to help better manage your shops finances.

Business Owners who started selling online first, may decide to branch out into local markets or selling to Family and Friends. The Shopify POS makes this process completely seamless.

Security

Shopify uses several security measures to ensure that transactions are secure, credit card information is safe and your customers have peace of mind to be able to purchase from your store. To add store security, SSL is included in your monthly payments so there are no hidden extra security charges for you to be able to take payments.

Great articles

Business Owners who use Shopify have access to a great number of articles, blog posts, forums and case studies that can help them grow and manage their business. Learn from people who have first-hand experience on what worked and what didn't work, so you can apply their learnings to your own site. Shopify sends out a daily article to Business Owners which is always riveting reading. This daily digest gives you tips, ideas, case studies, suggestions and many more ways to improve your online business.

Conclusion

Creating your own online store has never been easier with Shopify. You can even start a 30 day, obligation free trial to see if it will work for you before you go live with your site.


Click here to take a look at Shopify

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