A business website is an awesome and powerful thing. But it takes time and effort to get results! If you want your website to do its job and help grow your business, you need to set it up for success.
We’ve created this list of easily actionable website tips that have helped our own website and our clients’ to earn more traffic and drive more conversions. Let’s get started.
New business website expectations vs. reality
One of the biggest mistakes we see with new business websites isn’t about content or design – it’s about expectations. A brand new website doesn’t fly out of the gates like a seasoned thoroughbred. It’s more like a new foal, eager to run and play but hindered by wobbly legs.
Here are some of the most common expectations we hear for new websites:
- Your site will instantly appear in Google results
- Your site will also come up first for your business name
- Your pages will look exactly how you want in search results
- Your site will start getting traffic as soon as it’s launched
- Website = leads
And here’s the reality of launching a new business website:
- Google is super busy and doesn’t owe you anything, so you need to tell it that your site exists (and what it’s about)
- If there are other businesses with the same name that have older websites, they’ll likely come up first for quite some time
- Even if you optimize your content using Yoast SEO, Google now regularly rewrites meta descriptions to better match a search result
- You can pay for instant traffic through ads, but you have to earn website traffic from search engines, social media, and backlinks
- Website ≠ leads; you have to use design and content to guide a visitor through the journey to conversion
Yes, time and effort are a pain in the butt. And if you’re a business owner you probably don’t actually have the time to put in the effort. (Have you met Anvil, our fully managed website solution?)
But we’ve seen clients go from under 200 website visits a month to over 10,000 in two years – just by maintaining a usable UX design and publishing one high quality, optimized blog post each month.
That’s what I mean by setting your website up for success – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the other ways you can drive faster business growth.
Website tips to grow your business
1. Get Your Site Indexed Quickly
Remember how I said Google doesn’t owe you anything? This is true.
Google WILL index your website, when it gets around to it. Consider how many websites there are on the Internet – over 1.7 billion. Google’s bots have their spidery little hands full, crawling all of those sites for changes and new content.
If you want to speed up the indexing process, you can connect your website with Google Search Console and use the URL inspection tool.
Simply choose ‘URL inspection’ from the left menu, and add the URL of your website. If it says ‘URL is not on Google’, click ‘request indexing’. Boom, you’re done.
AHRefs has a great article with tips to get indexed by Google. Don’t forget to submit indexing requests to Bing, which also powers Yahoo and is the default browser for Microsoft devices, and any other search engines that your target audience favours.
2. Focus on the User Experience
It doesn’t matter that you have awesome content and did a great job of content optimization if your website feels like a pit of despair.
If you want your website to help grow your business, it has to be easy to use. We often see websites bogged down by way too much text, too many menus (or menus with too many options), heavy images that cause slow page loads, and unclear navigation.
Think about what your customer needs to do when they arrive at your website, then provide the easiest, most obvious path to that goal. That’s a great user experience. The easier it is to use your website, the more likely a person is to convert.
User experience also impacts your search position, including factors like mobile friendliness, page speed, and on-site user behaviour. That’s why it’s a good idea for anyone who touches your company’s website content or makes website decisions to learn more about the importance of user experience design.
3. Increase Website Traffic
More website visits mean more potential leads or sales. So it makes sense that one of the best ways to use your website to grow your business is to drum up traffic. But just because you have a website, doesn’t mean people know about it or will discover it.
Here are the top places to earn those website visits, and how to increase traffic through each channel.
Search traffic is often the slowest and most challenging channel to increase, due to the complexity of search engine algorithms. But it’s typically among the highest converting, making it the ideal foundation of ‘free’ traffic for any business website.
Here are five basic strategies to start accelerating your search traffic:
- Read up on Google’s 200+ ranking factors
- Regularly publish high quality content on topics that your audience searches
- Keep your site secure, up-to-date, and free from technical errors (we recommend SEO audits)
- Make sure your site has a smooth user experience that’s optimal on mobile devices
- Study your competitors and use their strategies to outrank them
We’ve written a separate article all about how to increase organic traffic, give it a read!
Social media is a great way to not only boost your website traffic, but to expand your audience and connect with potential and existing customers. People search use it to share information about businesses, so you should definitely have a social presence that drives people to your website.
- Research the best social media platforms for your business and focus on doing a few well, rather than trying to be on all of them
- Link to your social channels on your website footer and/or contact page
Offer one-click social sharing links beside or within blog posts or case studies (like this icon panel that you can spot at the bottom of our posts!)
- Share unique content for each social channel (not the same post copied/pasted to all channels), with a platform-appropriate tone and hashtags, if applicable
- Respond to comments and messages, and encourage reviews from happy clients
- Share positive social comments and reviews on your website and social channels
- Curate user generated content (UGC) through tags and mentions to share customer stories that make your content more relatable, thus more likely to drive a website conversion
Email can be the most time consuming for a new business, but it often has the highest conversion rate of any traffic source. And you can grow your business with email marketing!
- Use an enticing sign-up form on your website to easily gather contacts
- Create extra-special gated content, which can be unlocked in exchange for contact details
- Make sure all email content is on-brand and consistent with your website and social media presence, from subject lines to design and imagery
- If you have the time and budget for more advanced email software, focus on strong audience segmentation so that contacts receive targeted content they’re most likely to engage with – not the same content for everyone in your database
Also known as backlinks, referral traffic is the type of website visitor who comes from clicking a link on another website.
Backlinks have two powerful benefits to help grow your business: the visitor will often be more relevant and engaged with your content, and the referring site lends you its ‘SEO juice’ through the link. That’s why link building is a popular SEO practice.
- Grab all the simple linked listings, like business directories and review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor
- Create or claim your listing (and maintain it!) on location-based apps like Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, and Apple maps
- Re-publish your awesome content on high-traffic content platforms like LinkedIn and Medium; this Search Engine Journal article on content syndication explains how to do that the right way for SEO
- Become an active member on helpful forum-based sites like reddit, HARO, or Quora, and when appropriate share links to your site to support your answers
- If you have the resources, produce topical articles for the big content publishing sites, such as Entrepreneur, Inc., Forbes, and HuffingtonPost
With so many platforms to choose from, ads are more effective and affordable than ever.
When your domain is brand new and you’re way down at the bottom of search results, targeted ads are a smart way to grow your business by triggering that first flow of website traffic.
- Research the best ad platform to reach your audience, whether it’s Google Ads, LinkedIn (great for B2B but also more expensive), or Facebook and Instagram
- Take time to study ad performance and make adjustments
- Make sure you’re also working on building up your search traffic – you don’t want to pay for all of your traffic forever
4. Increase Website Conversions
This one may seem obvious… conversions equal business growth. But lots of websites aren’t properly designed to drive conversions. And not everyone understands exactly HOW to increase conversions!
- First, identify what equates a conversion – usually it’s viewing certain content, taking certain actions, or providing contact details through a form
- Configure a conversion tracking system, such as Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics goals and events, to log conversions and user paths (you can learn all about how to do that in our post, The Top 12 Website KPIs for Small Business)
- Install a heatmap tool like Hotjar on key pages, so you can identify both strong conversion content and barriers to conversions
Even without a heatmap tool, you can review your website for conversion killers: confusing navigation, unclear CTA buttons (the design or the copy), poor CTA placement, gated content or newsletter signups lacking a clear explanation, or too many or unclear form fields.
We’ve also got a whole article on how to increase B2B website conversions that’s worth a read!
5. Unify Your Marketing Channels
There are so many great things about having a business website. People can check out your business 24/7. They can learn your story, research your products, and move toward buying decisions from their preferred device and location.
The other cool thing a business website does is unify your marketing channels. Whether you use content marketing, email marketing, social campaigns, Google Ads, influencer marketing, or a combination of many elements – your website is the ultimate destination.
- Use your website to create and house helpful content that would interest your audience
- Configure UTM tagging to track all campaigns not automatically tracked in Google Analytics (basically only Google Ads are tracked when connected with your Google Ads account, everything else needs manual tags)
- Create custom landing pages for important campaigns, or if you use a regular page on your site, ensure that it has concise copy and a clear CTA
I hope you now feel ready to drive faster business growth using your company website! Forge and Smith was recently named one of the Best Website Design Companies of 2020 according to BestDesigns, and we’re happy to help. If you’d rather have a team of website experts to handle all the heavy lifting of building and maintaining a new business site for you, pop by Anvil.