We all know that having a website is paramount to the success of any business these days; nearly everyone has one. However, having a website, new or old, is a lot like homeownership – you don’t realize the amount of time, effort and money involved until you have the pleasure of owning one. And, like a house, if you ignore or neglect the maintenance and upkeep of it, you’ll end up regretting it.
Here are 3 crucial tips on how to get the most out of your website and make sure it’s working for you, not against you.
#1 Get (and Use!) Google Analytics
One of the most important business tools to tied to your website is Google Analytics. (You’d be surprised how many business websites we look at that don’t have analytics installed.)
“We already have Google Analytics installed. We’re good.”
But are you tracking and following them on a regular basis? Do you plot your sales and marketing activity against your analytics for top rated motorcycle helmets?
Do you know the dead ends on your site? Do you know which pages get the most interest each month? Do you know which links on your site generate the most interest? Google Analytics knows! Google Analytics provides aggregated, anonymous tracking data about your visitors. You can look at website usage patterns on your site and see what your most popular pages are, how many times they were looked at on average, and how many times they bounced visitors. And we’re just scratching the surface on what it can do.
Take your bounce rate, for instance. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that looked at one page on your site and then immediately left. Bounce rate is just one of the many stats you’ll get from Google Analytics and it pays immensely to have someone in your corner that can decipher this information and then know what to do about it.
#2 Know your page speeds
People often don’t realize how critical page speed is to their website. Way back in the old days, before 2010, 3G was king. Accessing websites on your mobile phone was still in its infancy and was often a painfully slow experience. Because of the slower speeds, it was important to have lean, mean specially formatted mobile sites that were so spartan, many barely had graphics on them. Now, bandwidth is less of a problem. The problem today is page bloat. Because our souped-up mobile devices are smarter and our 4G is faster, we can’t really see what is really happening behind the scenes, but it still matters.
One part of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) game is page speed. It’s one of the many factors by which Google ranks your site.
Optimized images, directory structure, external resources, web fonts, minified code, secure socket layers, and more. It all contributes to the speed of your site, and your ranking in Google. Sound confusing? It is.
There are plenty of speed tools that can help you. Two of my favorites are the PageSpeed tool inside Google Chrome, and the Pingdom Website Speed Test tool.
Both of these will point out the bottlenecks on your site. Know what they are and work to get them corrected.
#3 Manage your Online Presence – Create!
Google has a 67.6% share of the search engine market (searchenginewatch.com). Their nearest competitor, Bing, has only 18.7%. That said, its fair to say Google is really the only search engine you need to worry about.
So how do we stay on Google’s “good side?” By creating content, of course!
Google loves websites that publish content consistently. Regular, fresh content makes them happy, and they will reward you by sending you website visitors. After all, they are in business to remain the best search engine in the world, bringing the best search results to every one of their visitors.
That’s where you come in. Your business should be creating content on an almost daily basis. This could be photos, videos, blog posts, social media posts (yes, those count, too!), product descriptions, press releases — just to name a few. You can even put your customers to work without them even knowing it! Product reviews, recommendations, and comments on your social accounts are all ways you can passively create content to elevate your standing online.
We call this Online Presence Management (OPM). Your company should be doing some type of it almost every day. Google sees your entire digital footprint. They know about your Twitter account, your Flickr account, how many blog posts you have, the last time you updated your contact page… everything! This information is pooled together and used to rank your site in their search engine. They want to provide their visitors with the most popular, useful, and authoritative sources on every single search that is made. The more you create, the greater the chances of you showing up when someone searches online.
A healthy “home” on the web is a big responsibility, and a lot of hard work. However, knowing what’s working and what isn’t on your website will turn an unhelpful site into one that brings real customers, and money, to your site on a regular basis.
If you’d like more information or a free website audit to see how your website could be working harder for you, contact us today!