The stories I come across from small businesses nearly every day, is borderline insane. Some are happy with their websites, some say it could use some work, and some absolutely hate it.
The “hatred” usually comes from people who chose the inevitable doom of the “Free DIY” tools, while others may be happy with their website, they admit to having no idea if their website is providing any benefit at all.
As a web developer, I know what a terrible website looks like… but for most people, it’s not always so easy. So instead, they simply chalk it up to “websites are unnecessary for business”… which clearly couldn’t be further from the truth.
So how can you tell, if your website is doing what it’s supposed to? Here’s a couple quick tips.
Overall Design and Compatibility
To see if your website’s design is up to par (or stuck in the past decade), try poking around at a bunch of other local websites. They don’t have to be competitors, they can belong to anybody. Remember, we’re simply trying to get an eye for the overall design. Does your website display properly on all screen resolutions? (large monitors, smaller monitors, tablets, etc). A poorly designed website is bound to fail, even if so many other elements are properly in place. The fact is, your website should be built for the visitor, and if it’s not… they’ll leave.
Search Engine Exposure
Go to Google, and try searching some keywords relevant to your business (i.e. fine dining windsor ontario). Is your website found on the first page? More importantly, in the top 5 results? Ranking at the top of search engines is a critical factor, in the success of your website. 77% of all clicks in a Google search, go to the top 3 organic results. If your website is nowhere to be found, you certainly have some work to do.
If you have access to your website’s traffic statistics, such as Google Analytics (which I certainly hope so!), log in, and take a look at where your traffic is coming from… (Example, in Google Analytics, go to Traffic Sources –> Overview).
In an ideal situation, 50%-65% of your traffic should originate from search engines. Up to 20% should come from “direct traffic”, which means that the user manually entered your website into the address bar (ie. www.primarytargetmedia.com). And finally, the remaining 15-20% should come from “referral traffic”, which means the user clicked a link found on another website to arrive at yours (ie. Facebook).
This offers a solid distribution of traffic, for a website that doesn’t use custom campaigns, such as Pay Per Click advertising etc. If you use these types of advertising (Google Adwords, Facebook advertising, etc), you can probably expect approximately 10-15% of your traffic to come from these “campaign” sources.
Why is it so important to know where your traffic comes from? It’s simple… Your traffic sources paint a picture of your presence online. If you’re not getting enough traffic from search engines, you’re missing out on a large number of potential clients, as more than half of all “new customers” come from major search engines. If you’re not getting enough “referral traffic”, that simply means your brand isn’t receiving enough exposure throughout the internet, on “non-search engine” related websites.
Age of Website
If your website is more than 4 years old, it’s certainly time for a rebuild. With advancements in technology over the past few years, the face of both web design, as well as search engine optimization has changed, and ensuring your website is capitalizing, is crucial… and choosing the right developer (with experience), is obviously equally as important.
Knowing if your website is doing what it’s supposed to be, is no longer an option… If you fail to create an effective web presence in today’s economy, it truly is only a matter of time until you’re left behind.
J. Paterson | As I’ve probably mentioned numerous times over the years, I had only one job before I started this business. It was a small company (less than 10 people), and today even after 10 years of self-employment, some of my most valuable entrepreneurial lessons, came from this first/only job… I’m reminded of this, nearly every day.
My boss was young (late 20’s), when I started working for him, and it didn’t take long before I started to see him as someone I aspired to be one day. What I didn’t realize until years later, was how well he did some of the most fundamental, yet often overlooked practices in business. He delegated responsibilities, and embraced creativity and forward thinking from his staff. Basically, he allowed us to do, exactly what he hired us to do… Get things done.
This may all sound so simple and obvious, but you would be amazed at how many business owners/managers forget these fundamental business practices.
Me, I was fortunate enough to learn these things, without even knowing that I had learned them. Like I said, my boss was my mentor, and I studied his demeanor. I asked a million questions, and received a million answers. Who knew that over a decade later, I would not only be using his answers to grow my business, but also teaching my clients the importance of them as well.
This morning, I was drinking my morning coffee and I had one of those “Ah Ha” moments, like I’ve had a few times in the past. I read a fantastic article on Inc. Magazine’s website, titled “3 Reasons Your Team is Underperforming“. This story is an absolute MUST READ for small business owners and management alike. When I come across stories like this, that re-iterate the very same things I consult my clients on, it assures me that I must be doing something right. I have my mentor to thank for that.
Do yourself a favor, and read the article from Inc. Magazine, you’ll be glad you did. And more importantly, implement the practices you find in it, you’ll be even happier about that.
In the past decade, I’ve written countless articles about the importance of a properly built and optimized website. A great looking website isn’t very great at all, if people can’t find it.
So many small business owners decide to build a website, simply because somebody told them, they needed one. However, once it’s built, they think traffic is just going to start pouring in. Once it doesn’t, they simply decide the internet isn’t a very powerful marketing tool, and their website collects dust on the back-burner, for months and years to come.
Where does this lead us? To Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I know you’ve probably been hearing this term for a long time. I also know that if you’re like most, you’re probably very unfamiliar with what exactly search engine optimization is.
Let’s make it simple.
First, let me tell you that, according to SEMPO, search engine optimization is a $26 Billion a year industry, and 13% of companies have SEO budgets ranging from $500k-$3 million dollars per year (up from 8% in 2011). Sure, these budget numbers far exceed the budgets of most businesses, however it shows you just how much emphasis is being placed on search engine exposure today.
There are thousands of SEO resources out there, however if you decide to tackle it yourself, start simple. Here’s how:
- Skip the “do it yourself” web design efforts. Have a professional web design firm build your website. They will ensure initial SEO measures are in place, and that the website is structured properly for search engines.
- Do your homework… Start with Matt Cutts’ (of Google ), recent video discussing “What are the top 2-5 SEO areas where webmasters make the most mistakes“. Once you’re done that, utilize Google’s resources for webmasters to help you along the way.
- Understand that it’s a process, not a project. SEO is an on-going task. Nothing happens overnight.
These are just a couple quick suggestions to get you off and running. If you have any questions about search engine optimization, our team of professionals are always here to help. Simply contact us, we’d love to hear from you!