What do small businesses typically do with their websites?
All too often, nothing.
Each tip also includes checklist items, links to more information, and helpful tooltips for terms that you may be unfamiliar with.
Even those businesses who keep it updated, add fresh content, and have mild success often aren’t getting nearly as much in return as they could be.
So how can your small business make more sales and more money from your website? The tips below can make a big difference in the revenue that flows into your site.
Tip 1: Decide EXACTLY What You Want
If I asked you what you want from your small business website, you’d probably tell me you want it to make you more money. Okay, fair enough, but that’s not specific enough. For now, choose 1 SMART goal and 1 only, such as “Increase online sales by x% within the next 3 months”. Of course, you should be realistic here, and don’t choose 1000%! 20% might be a good number to start with, but your goal is your goal, and it may not even be about money, so you decide. The takeaway here is to actually have a specific goal to work towards.
SMART Goal: _______________________________________________________
Tip 2: Prepare To Measure Results
How will you know if your site is achieving your goal, or failing miserably, if you aren’t prepared to measure those results? Set up Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools today, if you haven’t already done so, and then proceed to Tip #3.
Note: You could use another analytics tool, but Google Analytics is free, is used by the vast majority of sites which use analytics, and there are plenty of tips, tutorials, and support for it from users everywhere.
Google Analytics is set up and is tracking my site’s visitors.
Google Webmaster Tools is set up and is connected to Google Analytics.
Tip 3: What’s Happening Right Now?
Before you implement a plan of attack or measure the results of implementing that plan, you have to know where you stand right now. Answer the following questions.
- How do people find my website now? (Your referring sites)
- Add this Custom report to your Google Analytics account. Just click on this link to add it: https://www.google.com/analytics/web/template?uid=GpIUHrDYTF2qzxrs_UmA-Q
- Change the number of rows to show (bottom right).
- Export (top menu) if needed.
Custom report added to Google Analytics
- In Google Analytics, go to Acquisition > Keywords > Organic
- Click on “not provided”
- Choose secondary dimension dropdown and select Traffic Sources > Landing page
- Log into Google Webmaster Tools and go to Search Traffic > Search Queries
- Click the Top Pages tab at the top of the screen
- Click each URL to see the keyword phrases that drove traffic to the page
Reviewed list of keywords that bring visitors to my site
- In Google Analytics, go to:
- Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
- Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages
Reviewed my site’s top content
- In Google Analytics, go to:
- Behavior > In-Page Analytics
- What are your top entry pages?
- Bounce Rate – 30-40% or less is ideal, but varies widely (as much as 50-70% being acceptable)
- For high bounce rate entry pages, where’s the problem? Compare why you created the page with what brought visitors to it. Change content or Calls To Action as needed, or change how you promote the page by focusing on a different subtopic or phrase.
Documented entry pages with high bounce rates
Tip 4: Don’t Ignore The Data!
If I had to guess, I’d bet that 90% of small businesses that have analytics never look at them! And of those that do, many only glance at the numbers, wonder what it all means, and walk away. Be among the few who actually analyze the results so you can take action! If number crunching isn’t your thing, find someone who lives and breathes this stuff. Paying for analysis will be a good investment!
I can increase the traffic I get from ___________________ by [doing what?] _________________ [interacting more with users of that social network, answering questions from users of that forum, etc...]
I am not getting the traffic I expected to get from _________________ so I will _____________________ to make that happen.
Tip 5: Every Visitor Is A First Date
While Tip #4 deals with bringing in traffic, this tip will gently remind you to spend more time focusing on your current traffic instead. The common catch phrase is that it’s five times easier and cheaper to sell to current users than it is to acquire and sell to new users. You have visitors coming to your site right now who are being treated like the lonely wallflower at a party. Instead of ignoring their needs and desires while scrambling to obtain more and more new visitors, treat your current visitors the way you’d treat a first date. Before you take someone out on that first date, you’ve probably determined what they like: favorite foods, music preferences, etc. You plan the date around their likes and interests because you want to make a good first impression, and you want to get a second date.
The same holds true with your visitors. Go back to Tip #3 and act upon what you’ve discovered there. Pay attention to what your visitors needed when they landed on your site, what they liked once they got there, and what they didn’t find when they bounced right back to the search results. Give them what they want and give them more of what they liked. This is the quickest way to a second date with your current visitors!
I am creating new content or editing existing content to match more closely with what my current visitors are searching for, and what they are interested in.
Tip 6: It’s All About Conversions!
Unless your goal in Tip #1 was to simply show off your website, but you don’t care about increasing revenue, you absolutely must concentrate on conversions. CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is a broad topic that we could spend months discussing, but it really all boils down to this.
Turn your visitors into customers by making it easy and compelling for them to do what you want them to do.
- Want a visitor to click a Buy Now button?
- Hope a visitor signs up for your newsletter?
Whatever your goal is, the key to achieving that goal is to get a visitor to take the necessary action. If you want a visitor to click that Buy Now button, you need to make that Call To Action a PRIME FOCUS. Don’t distract the visitor with 100 other possibilities.
Make the choice either very prominent or perhaps even the only choice. Make the choice compelling. Test various ways of wording your Call to Action (which may be a button, a text link, or a form) to determine what works best for your visitor (A/B tests are the simplest). Maybe Buy Now won’t convert the best for you. Perhaps “Get Started” or “Start Losing Weight Now” will work better.
You won’t know what works best without testing, and testing is useless if you don’t make it drop-dead easy for the users to know what you want them to do in the first place!
I’m making sure users know what I want them to do
I’m testing various Calls To Action to see what converts best
Tip 7: Get Decent Hosting!
Nothing turns away visitors faster than a site that loads too slowly or not at all. There are tons of hosting company choices, and some of the most popular are the very worst!* You may already have a great host, but if not, do yourself a favor and choose a virtual private server (VPS) or dedicated server from Hostgator** or if using WordPress, WP Engine** is highly recommended.
* Never ever use Godaddy to host your website. Just trust me on this.
I’ve committed to using a good hosting company.
Tip 8: Back It Up, Back It Up, Back It Up!
Ignore this tip and you will one day regret it. Backup your site – automatically and often! The chances are high that something, somewhere, will cause your site to be deleted or hacked, and when it is, you’ll handle it like a pro if you have recent site backups. If not, you’ll be crying in your virtual soup.
Most sites consist of both files and databases, and both need to be backed up. There are many ways of doing this, but I’ll make it simple for you. If you don’t already have back up your site’s files and databases – automatically and often – then choose one of these options to make it happen. If your host uses CPanel, choose BackupSmart**. If your host doesn’t include CPanel, or you’re using WordPress, BackupBuddy** is a great option. If your circumstances require some other form of backup, and you don’t know where to turn, get in touch and I’ll help you find a good solution.
My site is backed up often and automatically
Tip 9: On The Internet, The Pretty Sites Get The Most Trust
I don’t care if yours is the most honest business on the planet, if your site is an ugly duckling, visitors won’t trust it, and you will lose money. People are prone to making snap judgments based on beauty, and that applies tenfold to websites. Use a professional design! While it may be ideal to hire a design guru to overhaul your site’s design, the cost of that is often quite high. You can still get that professional, trustworthy look even if you can’t afford a high-priced designer. Whether your site is based on WordPress or not, Themeforest** themes and templates will make your site shine and most importantly, give a sense of trustworthiness to your users, without you having to break the bank to make it happen.
I’ve got a beautiful, professional, trustworthy design
Tip 10: Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Accomplished all of the above? Think you’re done? Not unless you enjoy seeing the well dry up. Enough with the mixed metaphors. What I’m saying is that you should cycle through the tips above on a continuous basis. There will always be plenty of ways you can improve your site, cater to your visitors, and earn more money. As time goes on, you’ll see that user needs change, but if you’re consistently focusing on the above tips, you’ll be able to react to those changes, and fill the needs faster than your competition.
I’m continually analyzing, implementing, and testing
Get the most out of your website by focusing on these ten tips. What will that bring? More sales, more money, happier customers.
** Disclosure: The products mentioned use affiliate links. If you purchase a product via an affiliate link, I will be paid a commission directly from the company that sells the product. You, however, will never pay more for the product because of the affiliate link. Any recommendations I make for products are made because I believe it to be a product that would be of significant benefit to you.