When was the last time you actually read your website content?
Serious question. I bet if you sat down now with a cuppa and looked through your website, you’d not recognise half the stuff on there! It happens a lot, you’re not on your own, but unless you have a dedicated team keeping focused solely on this, it is difficult to make sure that the information on your website refelcts what you are actually doing in your business.
Here are some practical tips to make the most from your website:
Start blogging regularly – when we speak to our clients about blogging they always say “oh we haven’t got anything interesting to blog about”. Blogging holds two important functions. The first is that it creates content that your potential customer base will find interesting – remember that you are a master of your industry not them, so they will want to pick your brains on relevant subjects. The second benefit of blogging is that it creates regular content to beef up your site which helps so much with regards to how it ranks on Google. If you can establish what keywords your industry is searched for most and build them into regular blogs, you’ll start to see improvements on your search engine ranking positions.
Create a content calendar – following on from the point above, we recommend writing a blog every week. That might sound like a lot, but a blog usually takes about an hour to write. Often what takes the most time is thinking of suitable topics to blog about. So rather than sitting every week thinking “what on earth can I blog about?” why not spend a couple of hours every three months putting together a simple content calendar for that quarter. Generate with names, topics and key points for each blog to save time. That way you can sit down every week and just crack on with the writing, making it a much easier and less time consuming process.
Make the copy easy to understand – if your client base is highly educated, or you work within an industry that is highly technical, consider simplifying your copy so that it is accessible to everyone. If you were at a networking meeting, or meeting a client, would you honestly use the same language in person as that which is written on your website or marketing materials? No. You would find an easier and more personable way of explaining your services, and as you choose to deliver your proposition in person a different way, it stands to reason the corporate mumbo jumbo should be binned in favour of more accessible language.
Add or update your imagery – hiring a professional photographer can be quite expensive, but always well worth it. Find someone who can do more than just use a camera, but someone who understands your business and translates that through the images they take. If budget doesn’t allow for a photographer, there is some really great stock imagery available to download. (Please don’t go for the cheapest photographer available as it will just be a waste of money, if you can’t afford a good one, don’t get one at all). Find imagery that represents you and your business, but steer clear of the really contrived stuff, like three guys and a woman all smiling at a clipboard and pointing. Websites like Adobe Stock offer ten free images as a trial, or if you want royalty free imagery, unsplash is a good way to go.
Check that what you say you offer still applies – your business is constantly adapting and evolving, so you have to make sure that your website reflects this. There is nothing more awkward than a client contacting you about a product or service that you no longer offer, or offering a new product and service that potential clients are looking for, but because it isn’t shown on your site they think you can’t help and go elsewhere.
Make sure that you have basic SEO covered – SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is the process of optimising content that helps Google to recognise your content more easily, but also not penalise your site for having a poor SEO rating. We’ll be writing a follow up blog on this area very soon, but some simple ways to help your site to rank are to install Yoast, add in meta descriptions of your pages, ensure all images have alt-tags and that any imagery on each page is resized to under an MB so the page doesn’t take forever to load.
Get an SSL Certificate in place – last year in October, the Google Chrome browser started to identify sites that didn’t have a certificate –http instead of https – as explicitly ‘unsecure‘. Now if your clients land on a site that explicitly says that it isn’t secure, you’re likely to have a mass exodus from it. Getting an SSL Certificate is a simple process with a negligible additional cost but could be well worth it to avoid losing potential customers because your site isn’t secure. Read our comprehensive blog on SSL Certificates and why they are important to get all the information.
Make sure your site is GDPR compliant – you may or may not know what GDPR is. It is new legislation around data privacy coming into play in May of next year, and your business needs to be prepared. There are more questions than answers at the moment, but our blog on the ramifications for websites should help you to get a sense of what is likely to be required before the May implementation date.
Get video content on your site – okay so we need to raise our hands and say we have a vested interest in video content because we are also a video production company! Just take this one statistic, video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more. That’s incredible. There is a reality that professional, quality video content isn’t cheap, so we would always suggest any ‘main videos’, such as a corporate promo on the homepage or key service pages should be done professionally, but you can add more video content yourselves. We think that one in four blogs should be a video blog, produced using your phone, tablet, or webcam, and edited easily using any number of free editing tools available. On a recent video blog, we explain some examples and how best to to go about it.
What is your time worth?
Ultimately the reason why a smaller business that doesn’t have a dedicated resource to manage their websites doesn’t do most of the things in this blog is usually purely down to time; you’re too busy taking care of clients, proposals and guiding your team. But if you can make your website content do more of the heavy lifting for you, you’ll eventually get more time back.
With relevant and updated content on your website it will educate and engage the clients you want, and hopefully, deter the ones you don’t. It should explain more about your services, meaning you can add value during a follow up conversation rather than wasting time by running through the basics. With quality, regular content you can improve the position at which your website ranks for relevant keywords, helping you to get more inquiries. With better imagery and video content, your website and therefore your company can also start to look much more professional.
If you’re sitting with that cuppa and realise that your website really isn’t up to date, or a good reflection of what you do, think about whether the time you’ll spend putting it right is worth more than the potential loss of revenue from prospective customers being unimpressed and going to your competitor. That focuses the mind, doesn’t it?