“Websites are not launched, they’re born.” Matthew Olson, Founder of Signalfire
Launching a new website is an exciting thing for a small business. It is the culmination of countless hours of design, development, writing, and collaboration. You’re ready to share it with the world and make worthwhile connections with your customers. Just like new parents bringing home a newborn, the real work is just beginning.
While new parents discover the joys of diapers, permanent scent of baby lotion, and adapting to sleep deprivation – your new website needs include feeding (posting) new content, search engine optimization, and website monitoring. While there are shortcuts, managing a website is a lot like parenting. Shortcuts can mean more headaches and frustrating outcome in the future.
1. Set a Schedule for Reviewing Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most popular free traffic monitoring tools on the web. Included with Analytics are dozens of data points that give you staggering insight into who is coming to your website, what they are looking at, and how website visitors arrived. However, most website owners fail to regularly review the stats. When they do, website owners often have more questions than answers. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Analytics.
- If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of Analytics, we’ve put together a basic guide.
- Make yourself a 30-minute appointment each month to login and review the data. Set a calendar event to remind yourself.
- Write down your most important metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) to review. For example, what was your most visited page? How has your Bounce Rate changed? Where does most of your traffic come from geographically, and what are some popular referral links?
- Finally, make sure you have a definitive measuring stick for success. This includes how many leads were generated? Be sure to track new customers and/or sales figures?
2. Get Connected on “The Rest” of Google
Google Analytics may be one of the most popular tools, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a host of additional free tools available to enhance your website’s performance. Most of these tools can be installed and linked together with your Analytics display.
Google Search Console
As you become more familiar with Google Analytics, you’ll quickly discover there is more data to be gathered. Search Console provides additional details about when and how your website is indexed by Google. Great data can be provided such as:
- Which queries caused your site to appear in search results?
- Did some queries result in more traffic to your site than others?
- Are your product prices, company contact info, or events highlighted in rich search results (structured data)?
- Which sites are linking to your website?
- Is your mobile site performing well for visitors searching on mobile?
Google My Business
Google has created a platform for businesses to control how the search engine displays information in search results, maps, and other user requests (think mobile searches, voice assistants, and more). You’re My Business account can be combined with your business’ other Google accounts to jointly manage your Google Map locations, hours, reviews, and more.
You’ve worked hard to get your website online, but you also want to know what customers are saying about you. Google Reviews allow customers to offer a written review and star rating of your product(s) or service(s). These are displayed alongside your website link in most search results. The good news is that the reviews are managed through the My Business account interface.
Don’t forget to ask your customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on any device. But don’t leave the reviews alone. Reply to reviews to build your customers’ trust. Your customers will notice that your business values their input, and possibly leave more reviews in the future.
Google AdWords and Keyword Tools
AdWords is the backbone of Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform. PPC can be a fantastic investment, but the real treasure for you is the tools associated with AdWords. Are you curious how many people are searching for your services? AdWords’ keyword research tools will give you the needed data to make smart choices.
Keyword traffic research will give you the needed search traffic data to see if a building contractor should write more about “bathroom remodeling” or “deck repair” for getting more traffic. This becomes a critical tool when you’re writing website content (see Content Calendar below).
The Keyword Planning Tool will also give you a budget range if you decide to start advertising in search results.
3. Linking Social Media Platforms
While linking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms to your website might seem elementary, it is frequently overlooked. Each social platform may have a link on your website (the now infamous icons in the footer or header), but have you gone through all of your social media profiles to include your website link? Here are a few places to make sure everything is tied together:
- Social media profiles have new website address and correct contact information.
- Announce the new website on social media with links.
- Update profile and cover graphics to match the website.
- Follow-up with your social community to connect on other social platforms or even sign up for email newsletter.
4. Create a Content Calendar — and Stick To It!
Developing new content for your website is the most critical activity you can do to improve website performance. Creating that content should be planned, researched (see Keyword Tools), and added over time. Call it a content calendar, editorial calendar, or writing schedule — this plan should be treated as a hard milestone in your overall marketing efforts.
How can you develop a content calendar? It’s actually easier than you’d think. Look at your yearly calendar. When are your trade shows? When are you busy or slow? What are the most common questions customers ask?
Here are some components to a content plan.
Blog topics might be one of the hardest things to come up with for a business, but every business will have a wealth of institutional or tribal knowledge perfect for sharing. Have you asked your sales team the most common questions posed by potential customers? Do you have a success story or case study? What’s your opinion on the newest industry trend or practice?
Drop these topics into a spreadsheet, and align them with the right time of year. Do these topics relate to a trade show? Does your industry have “seasons” where the topics might fit? Before you know it, your spreadsheet calendar will begin to fill up.
There is a vicious war raging in your office. A savage battle takes place in your computer—right inside your inbox. Emails compete for your attention and even though many of these get destroyed in your trash or spam folder, others make it through. Some even get read. Many businesses underestimate this form of connecting with customers.
Emails can be incredibly powerful. By utilizing and personalizing your content to your recipients, you can drive even more traffic to your website. A short email with a link for more information can awaken long-dormant contacts. This rush of traffic can reinforce your website’s performance. Maintaining a steady drumbeat is critical. Make sure the emails go out on a schedule — you’ll be surprised at the response.
Social Media Posts
Social media covers a broad spectrum. Businesses often dismiss social media as only a B2C environment, but they’re mistaken. Selecting the right social platform is an entirely different topic, but once identified social media can be a powerful tool. The content calendar you assemble with original content can be significantly enhanced by “curated” content.
Original content can link back to your website, but your business can shine as an expert by sharing content from other trusted sources. Curated content from other sources can show your familiarity with the industry or the community at large. With your social media portion of the content calendar populated with a mix of content (yours and others in industry), a steady stream of engagement begins to form.
Your business’ content calendar gives a cohesive location for your website’s ongoing updates to be planned, reviewed, and evaluated for performance. It should utilize many of the research and evaluation tools offered earlier in this article. Once all of these components come together, your content calendar can quickly grow to become a formidable marketing plan.
No One Said Raising A Newborn Website Was Easy
Research. Plan. Execute. Measure. Repeat. While all of these can appear (kinda) easy on the surface, it will take a mix of trial / error and self-evaluation to ultimately be successful for you. Just like there isn’t a set parenting plan that is right for all families, there isn’t a set marketing plan for making your website a success. Every business is different, and your connection to your buying community is unique.
Does it pay off? Yes. Is it a lot of work? Yes. What if you don’t have the time or resources to pull it off? Signalfire is here. We can do the research. We can formulate the plan. Signalfire can execute and ultimately report on the efforts. Can a small business afford it? Very frequently, our team is less than the total cost of bringing in a single employee to head up your marketing.
Like any concerned website parent should, let’s sit down for an interview. Signalfire can provide references and examples (let you meet some of the other website families). Contact us or call (262) 725-4500 to learn more.