So you have launched your new website. The next logical thing to do is to get people to visit your website — to get some traffic. How do you ‘market’ your website to attract visitors? How do we do this without spending too much money on ads? Are you confused about the term “search engine optimization” or “SEO”?
If you are new to website marketing, this guide is for you. If you haven’t already built a website and you want to know whether a website is worth the investment, consider the following section:
Is having a website good for business?
Social media, like Facebook and Twitter, has made it easier for people to have an online presence, to develop their brands, and to do business without touching a single piece of code.
However, a website still remains one of the best marketing tools for medium to large businesses. It’s true that websites make a business appear more professional. But websites are more than just for vanity; you can potentially increase sales and reach many more markets with the right web design.
Social media can achieve the same thing, but with several caveats. Content that you create on social media must compete with content made by other businesses (and the users’ friends) on the newsfeed. There is also a limited way for you to express your brand personality on each social media platform.
Websites are highly customizable from their appearance to their functionality. It can be your own private online real estate. Once visitors are hooked onto your content updates, visitors will have their undivided attention for you, which means a higher rate for conversion and sales.
Your website can be the place to deliver knowledge, news, special offerings, and becomes a safe place to build a good business relationship.
Why do some websites sell more than others?
The effectiveness of a website as a marketing tool generally depends on three factors.
1. Web design and functionality
How the website’s appearance is perceived by visitors, and how comfortable users feel when navigating or using the website. For example, good website usability is functional, free of errors and can load quickly.
2. Search engine discovery
Search engines need to discover, crawl (read) and index your website into their repository of website links. Failing to allow search engines to understand your website easily will result in your website not being enlisted on the results page. This is where search engine optimization comes in.
3. Website promotion
You can also promote your website and its content by various means, from social media, email signatures, word of mouth, and influencer marketing. This may not necessarily require search engine optimization.
What is ‘good’ website design?
Human beings are picky when it comes to judging which websites are safe to visit. Even if a website represents a legitimate business, bad website design can make it seem like it’s a hive of scam and villainy.
Yet so many business websites fail at basic website design. For example, some websites are so desperate to show people all the products that the homepage is a patchwork of links and photos without a clear structure or hierarchy. Some websites feature unnecessary widgets and pop-ups that are distracting to users.
A good website design is simple, structured, and easy to follow from top to bottom. Users can easily navigate to the page that they want, from the site-wide navigation bar all the way to the links within the content. Images are proportional and balanced, the color scheme is pleasant to the eyes, and the website is responsive to the screen size, so it looks good on any device.
Will good website design help with search engine discovery?
Absolutely! A website that is intrinsically navigable and nice to look at will be favored by both search engines and human visitors. If you have asked a web marketing agency to build a website for you, you’ll likely get an artfully designed website straight out of the box.
It’s only a matter of time before search engines will completely crawl and index your web pages from top to bottom. In the meantime, the initially small number of visitors will recommend your website to a friend, as finding information from your website is a pleasant experience.
One day, search engines will recognize that your website has received so many visitors even without the search engine’s help (through direct visits). This will influence the signals that search engines use to recommend your web pages on the top search results.
How to increase the conversion rates of a website?
Bad website design is desperate for attention and has too many conversion goals. You should be able to know the answer to this question: “What is the one thing that I want my visitors to do, if nothing else?”
It is unrealistic to expect your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter, book an appointment / room / ticket, buy your merchandise, and contact your sales team, in one visit. So you must choose which of these is appropriate to warm up new customers, and which ones will seal the deal.
If you own a website for a hotel, booking a room may not actually be the first conversion goal. You want them to browse through your accommodation photo album, to learn about the prices, facilities, and activities near the area.
Only then once the visitor shows interest by visiting the Book Now page, you can hit them with a promotional pop-up to tug them further into their decision stage.
This great online sales strategy does not stem from desperation, but it is ingeniously designed.
How can content marketing improve SEO, or search engine optimization?
At first glance, SEO may seem very technical that only a well-trained data scientist will understand. It is true that some parts of SEO require rigorous observation of cookie data, but in general, SEO has some pretty straightforward principles:
Search engines are bombarded with questions everyday, and they need to provide the answers reliably with relevant information, from websites that are well-designed for user experience. If you are able to help search engines provide these answers, you are “rewarded” with exposure on the search engine results page.
The only strategy to optimize your website for search engines is through content marketing, that is, providing the content for people to read and enjoy. For search engines to understand your content, an algorithm attempts to look at keywords — words or phrases that are packed with meaning and context.
For example, if you own a private dental care practice, your website should include the words “dental care” at least once. It makes no intuitive sense to exclude this keyword because it essentially just describes your business and your website!
Website content marketers write articles in blogs. Blogs have two advantages: 1) To let people know that your website is credible and authoritative, and has reliable information, and 2) it gives your website a chance to include keywords that search engines look for without typing down keywords after keywords without context — a bad practice known as keyword stuffing.
How can social media and ads be used to promote a website?
Once your website has been established, you attract more visitors using Google Ads, Bing Ads or any other ads services with search engines. The two common ones are Google and Bing, but all search ads services work the same way essentially.
With ads, it is best not to target your homepage as the landing page. This is because search ads tend to target search users who have the intention to spend money, to buy a product or subscribe to a service. This kind of website marketing strategy is to increase conversion rates, not necessarily the traffic.
Although high traffic does not guarantee high conversion rates, you can guarantee that there is potential for higher conversion rates. Perhaps your visitors are met with obstacles that prevented them from advancing to the next steps in their decision-making process.
If you are currently just concerned with getting traction with the market, a high traffic target is a decent goal to have. You shouldn’t need to spend any money on ads, but do spend time to create interesting and shareable content, share them on social media and to subscribers in your email list. If anyone makes any comment, please respond quickly so that your followers will feel valued.
We have more to discuss
This article is getting pretty long, but we still have lots to discuss. If you are interested in having a conversation with us, we’ll be happy to receive your call. At Island Media Management, we take a brand and leverage it with digital technology.
Contact us to start working immediately!