In the past few weeks, I’ve had three brands — a public figure, B2B service business, and B2C service business — all seek GoodBuzz’s help specifically for their website. Each had a specific problem that I’m sure other brands share so we’ll jump right into 18 practical tips to have a fantastic website.
How to: Create a Great Website
The public figure brand sought GoodBuzz out to choose a domain name URL, set up the hosting, and design the website. Below are some tools to get going right away.
1. Choose a relevant domain URL that is your brand’s name or something useful for getting found online (more on that in the third section). Many are still available for purchase for under $20/year from major sellers, but some are tens of thousands of dollars from individual sellers.
2. Pick a CMS (content management system) that is open source. This will save you money and give you more freedom to choose from a variety of developers.
3. Unless spending gobs of money on a custom design, opt for a popular theme and make it your own. Research the pre-sets to ensure the functionality is built in so you can customize it to your liking. Also, it’s worth checking out the reviews, discovering accessible plugins, and asking about their customer service policy & timeframe.
4. Design a website that is responsive to whatever device is looking at your site. Devices have different screen sizes and your website should display properly no matter if your visitor is on his laptop, Android, iPhone, or tablet.
5. Secure your data. Consider getting an SSL certificate, especially if you request data (including payment info/credit card details) from your visitors. Also, consider where to host your server site. Hackers suck and lost data is the pits.
How to: Develop Great Website Content
One of my amazing clients is in the business to business (B2B) service industry. They’ve had a website for some time and actually went through a redesign not too long ago. However, where they’ve asked for our help is to refresh their existing content to bring it up to date and be more visually pleasing. We’re doing that by producing new, engaging content, including a blog. With this web content work on my mind, I’d like to propose the following tips.
6. Consider what content your target audience personas want to see and read when they land on your page. Do they want a listing of your services? Do they want your bio? Do they desire a contact page to reach you in person (address) or by phone? This information will help pinpoint what pages need to be created and what your navigation bar should list.
7. Use high-res, copyright-free photos that are relevant to your industry. Grainy photos suck. Small photos don’t pull the visitor into your copy. Using photos that aren’t yours is wrong. We have several large databases of photos that our clients can use for free. We’d be happy to help you with this.
8. Incorporate Gestalt’s Principles of Design of best practices of what to do and not to do. While in grad school, I taught three undergraduate design courses at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University to sophomores and juniors and this topic was a large bulk of the course content. Perhaps I should write a GoodBuzz article on this topic in the future.
9. Keep the copy/text simple, short, and visually appealing. This article has subheadings, paragraph breaks, uses numbered points, and makes use of content with bold and underlines — all of which help the visitors eye continue going down the page. A former client consistently wrote in long sentences/paragraphs and we did extensive editing to shorten their writing, especially for small mobile devices. Make your content attractive to read.
10. Get the appropriate permissions. This B2B service business client has routinely failed to get the appropriate internal and external permissions to publish content. Not doing this causes loss of time and resources on everyone’s part to redo. Save yourself from this and ensure that what you’re making public can go external.
11. Include your social media icons on your header/footer or within the page itself. Make it easy for visitors to share your content to their social media platform of choice directly.
12. Decide what you want visitors to do after hitting a particular web page, and then use a call-to-action button to send them off to do that thing. With each new article or page, develop content with a specific request in mind that you want your reader to do. Do you want them to contact you after reading about service X? Then include that with a link over to your email or phone number. Do you want them to complete a form to download a free guide? Create a CTA button with this landing page redirect. Never have a static page that doesn’t solicit further action. Keep visitors moving around on your site.
13. A client recently told me about this free tool Grammarly, which checks your writing as you go. Pretty cool and I recommend you use a spelling and grammar tool like it.
How to: Get your Great Website Found Online
Another business I’ve been talking with is in the business to consumer (B2C) industry, which has a different marketing strategy than B2B companies. They have a terrible website that is poorly designed and quite ugly to look at. The owner agrees. But that’s not the reason GoodBuzz got called. This company was concerned because not only were their incoming leads slow, they realized they weren’t even getting picked up in search results like Google, even when checking on the 10-plus pages of search results. Their problem was SEO. SEO is search engine optimization and it refers to your ability or inability to be found in search when potential target audience personas are looking for you.
14. To begin doing SEO well, start by getting GoodBuzz to build out a Keyword Report. It will give you phrases people look up to find what you do with the monthly volume of searches, the cost per click competitors are spending, and the difficulty score to begin ranking for that keyword. There are short and long-tail keywords we’ll help you identify.
15. Once you know the keywords and phrases your target audience uses to find what they are looking for, you can begin to include your keywords in your headlines, URLs, and throughout your content. Over time, your site will begin moving up in its ranking as you incorporate these keywords into your content.
16. Update existing pages and also produce new content. Search engines like Google regularly crawl sites looking for new material to bring into their search results. Your site will get a higher ranking if when they visit, they find new material.
17. Another way to get found is through digital advertising. This is helpful if you don’t have time to wait for the organic traffic and leads to start flowing in (SEO takes time) or if you have a large marketing budget and want to diversify and test what channels are most effective for your goals. There are many ways to do digital advertising, but the most common is through search engine sponsored ads. Brands pay for each click (CPC) to their sponsored ad, which typically appears at the top of search results.
There’s also social media ads that have fantastic geo-targeting and selection by interests and actions such as past donor to type x charity. There’s also remarketing which places a pixel on your website that identifies your web visitors and tracks them on other online sites to show your services or product pages they previously visited. It’s a simple reminder of what they were already considering and makes the purchase that much easier. This works well especially for B2C businesses like the pet and wedding industry brands I’ve worked with recently.
18. Remember to solicit reviews and feedback from customers. Reviews on Google and Facebook show up when a company brand is searched for and can impact future business among new audiences. Depending on your industry, other sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Groupon, and others may also be worthwhile.
When you use these 18 tips to create a site, develop great content, and get found online you will begin seeing increased statistics of web visitors, leads, and ultimately sales.
If you’re interested in testing your brand’s marketing, take GoodBuzz’s free 31-question quiz with immediate 0 – 100 score here: https://goodbuzzsolutions.com/free-marketing-assessment/ We’d be delighted to review it with you and discuss how we might partner with you to become more visible. Contact us here.
Among Austin marketing firms, GoodBuzz Solutions harnesses the best of marketing, communications, and events to empower the brands of entrepreneurs, public figures, and organizational leaders to become more visible so they can achieve their goals and be the best. Put your marketing expertise to the test by taking the free GoodBuzz Online Marketing Assessment here. The quiz will evaluate you in seven core areas with 31 questions. Your immediate marketing score will identify your strengths and show you where you can polish your strategy – all for free!