Now more than ever, its vital your website is fit and ready to be found online. On this page, I explain how you can help more people discover what you have to offer. If you feel your website needs redesigning as its out of date with old information or not mobile compatible, or need any help implementing these changes, please get in touch.
Your website probably wont get any hits or enquiries unless you put some effort into promoting it.
This means that a new website won’t magically appear on Google overnight and your email in-box full of new enquires by the morning.
Having a new website designed is only one part of being a success online. You need to ensure you have the right text on each page, and that you work hard to tell people about it. This is called ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ or ‘SEO’ for short.
How much effort you have to put into your websites SEO will depend on what competition you have. If you are the only person offering your service locally, it should be quite easy to start seeing good results in a short time. If you are up against several other websites doing the same thing, you’ll need to do things bigger and better.
So, what steps can you take to help improve your websites SEO and encourage more people to visit your website?
Check the content
This is often one of the most overlooked issues, yet the most simplest to rectify. Google scans the text on your website to see if a word or key phrase someone has searched for is included on your home page, and sub pages. For example, if you expect to be found for ‘Mechanic in Poole’ you should at the very least make sure you have the sentence, ‘I am a Mechanic in Poole’ on your websites home page. The more content you have about a subject, the higher Google may score you. Consider having a page dedicated to a particular subject, service or key phrase.
Its vital that you promote your website on Social Media. This is not only a great way to help new customers find you, but also creates new links to your website which increases your rank with Google. Create accounts for your website on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and post as often as you can with interesting messages or incentives to encourage others to like and share your post. Make sure you specify your website address when creating the account and link to it when you can in your posts.
Put yourself on the map
Google offers the facility to list your business and website on ‘Google Maps’ so that when people search for a service locally, your result may show. This also allows you to enter details about the service you offer, areas you cover along with your web address, phone number and email. Its an important way to show customers you are a genuine business and help them to make contact. It also allows your customers to leave reviews on Google, which can also greatly improve your hit rate, (see below).
To add your business to Google Maps, click here.
Get glowing reviews
We all look for reviews on a holiday, restaurant or something we’re buying online. People will do just the same for your website. Its important you get as many good reviews as you can, as soon as possible. The best reviews you can get are those that are posted on Facebook or Google, (via your Google Maps listing, see above). The more positive 5 star reviews you get, the more confidence people will have in your business.
Its all about the links
One way Google decides to list a site above another is based on how many other relevant websites link to it. Google uses this to gauge how good the site must be. Submit your website to any local online business directories and search engines as well as nationwide websites for any organisations you belong to. A free listing on Yell.com can also prove to be beneficial as this is a common website for people to look for local services. To submit your business to Yell.com , click here .
Tip: While I believe Yell.com offers a great service to website owners, be warned that it’s not uncommon to receive a phone call promoting paid for advertising. Unless you want to, I would suggest to begin with you politely ask the Yell.com caller to just activate your free listing for now, and that you’ll consider their services once your business has grown.
Google knows when a website was last updated. A website that has not been updated for some while, will be considered out of date, and start to drop down in search results. Try to update your website as often as possible either by using a blog to post news about your business or just freshen up the text on the home page with new information.
Many old websites, (or some poorly designed new ones!) are no longer compatible with mobile phones and tablets. As more and more people browse the web using their mobile devices, its vital that your website can display properly on their screen. If your website is not mobile compatible, sadly the only real option is to have it re-designed in a new ‘responsive’ format. This allows the content and menu to re-size and adjust to fit smaller screens used on mobile devices. To check if your website is mobile compatible, click here .
While not all websites are required to be secure, many people browsing the web can be reluctant to stay on a website that isn’t. As standard, any data sent via website can be intercepted and used for malicious reasons. For example, the contents of an enquiry form, or details supplied with an online order etc. To protect such data, a website requires a SSL Certificate. This will then show the website is secure by displaying a padlock in the address bar, and the URL of the website will begin with https:// rather than http:// .
You must only purchase an SSL Certificate from the company who supply your website hosting. If you are unsure of who this may be, contact your website designer.
Some hosting packages will provide a free SSL Certificate as standard.
Pay your way
Google and most social media companies offer a service so you can pay to promote your website. This usually works by setting a maximum budget per day or week. The higher your budget, the more times your sponsored result is likely to be seen. The advantage of paid for advertising is that you can usually see the results much sooner than waiting for your website to grow organically, (using free methods and promoting it yourself).
Paid for advertising often also allows you to choose a more defined audience for your advert to be shown to, for example; age, location, keywords etc.
To advertise on Google, click here.
To advertise on Facebook and Instagram, see the options available for promoting a post from within your Facebook account.