For some, a website is nothing but another form of validation that a company exists – just like a business card. For others, they see much more with a website – they see it as a strategic tool to build brand, generate leads, and grow their business. Former finds the lowest bidder to have their website built – latter finds a long-term partner who shares their vision for growth and can trust to help them get there.
If you belong to the former group and consider your website as just an extension to your business card, then I hope this article can help you see a different perspective and see the full potential of your website. Website can be your best sales and marketing tool if used strategically and used right.
The first step, of course, is having the right website in place. I’m talking about a site that is unique with your branding, easy to use and navigate, aesthetically pleasing, and has quality content about you, your business, and/or your services. You can refer to our previous blog post 7 Website Must-Haves for more details. Assuming that you have a website with all the basic requirements, the next area of growth opportunity to look at is online visibility.
A good way to test if you have maximized your growth potential with online visibility is to conduct a few searches on Google using different terms. First, start out with your business name, then try a few keywords relating to your services or industry. If you have a physical location, combine with name of the city, county, or region. Then check to see if your website is included in the search results or if it is shown on the first page. If the most advanced and popular search engine cannot find you or your website is shown on 4th or 5th page, it is a good indication of low visibility. I would highly recommend that you seek out a good SEO consultant and get an audit of your website.
Successful businesses that I saw and worked with are always making updates and changes to their website. Building and launching a website is only half the work – the other half is adding new content or updating existing content, running marketing campaigns, analyzing web traffic, making improvements, and, in overall, staying responsive to the feedback of your end-users and potential customers. Too many times, I see websites being treated as a business card – a static website without any updates for six month or an year.
Website performance is another area that can set you apart from your competitors. How many times have you gone to a website and became frustrated because each page took 10 seconds to load? There are many studies out there showing that each one second delay in page load drops conversion rate by some double-digit percent. Multiple that by hundreds or thousands of visitors that will be visiting your website over the course of months to an year. Arun Arora said it best about website performance in his McKinsey article: “Making improvements to a company’s website is just part of the answer. The best performers cultivate a mindset of continuous improvement, establish repeatable practices and effective governance, have a rigorous focus on performance metrics, and constantly monitor the revenue impact of site changes.”
Lastly, automate as much as you can because automation will help you scale your business. For example, by integrating your website with third party platforms, you can have your leads automatically created in MailChimp, HubSpot, or Marketo. Or, you can set up Google Analytics to have custom reports sent to you in email on a regular basis. This will help you save time on mundane things and focus more on relevant things such as creating quality content for your audience. For one of our clients, just by integrating MailChimp on Contact us and Make Appointment pages and checking on the checkbox where it says “Subscribe to Mailing List” we were able to reach over 1,300 subscribers in one year.
In today’s world, just having a website is not enough – all your competitors have a decent-looking website. What will set you apart is how you strategically use your website to help you achieve your long-term business goals. Your website is not bound by any rules or restrictions whereas social media platforms like Facebook and Linkedin are becoming more like a walled garden with ever more rules on what you can or cannot do with your page. Focusing on these areas identified in this article can be a fast and effective way to drive new growth for your business.