1. Get more visitors
Sounds rather obvious, but I have met many people who complain that their site does very little for the business, without addressing why that is. The fact is, your site can be the most cost-effective way of getting new business, but not if it is bad. There are tons of sites out there that look great, usually because business owners have decided to work their message around a beautifully designed WordPress template. The fact is that there is much more to a good site than just looks, and every site should be built around your message and not a template. In short, you want great content.
We all know that the vast majority of search engine traffic comes from one giant, and we may as well focus on what makes the big G notice our sites. So, how do we do that?
Google only has one objective in mind. To give the best quality results for search term you typed in. The quest for more relevant results, and plugging any ‘loopholes’ means Google’s algorithm is always changing. I remember 20 years ago when I taught Dreamweaver I used to teach my pupils the dark art of ‘keyword stuffing’, where I put white text on a white background. At the time Google was far less evolved, and simply rated website relevance on how many times the relevant keywords appeared on the page. So I crammed visible and ‘invisible’ text in, and voila, after a few days, or weeks, my sites appeared on the first page. I managed to get a local Cambridge taxi company on the first page by adding ‘cambridge taxi, taxi Cambridge, airport taxi Cambridge’ etc many times. Crazy days!
Today things have changed. There is really only one rule above all. Content is King. Relevant, well written content will always give you a higher ranking in Google, and you should think of this search engine as a human evaluating your content, rather than the AI it is. That is a good thing for all of us, both visitors, and us as site owners. Your site represents you and your business. Make it the very best it can be.
There are some things you can do to make it easier on poor old Google to find your site and rank it more highly.
Make sure that you include your keyword/s in your page text and headings. What I mean by keywords is if your webpage is about go karting in Grimsby, be sure to have your focus keyword be something like ‘Go karting Grimsby’. Yoast SEO recommends you to aim for a keyword density range of 0.5% to 2.5%. If you have a text that is 100 words and 5 of those are your focus keyword, your keyword density is 5%. Is this too much? Not necessarily. Google is a clever beast, and uses many factors to access the quality and relevance of your content. Avoid artificially ‘cramming’ your keywords into the text of your web pages and make it natural and grammatically correct.
- Draw visitors to your site: the more traffic your site gets, the more credible it looks to Google, and the higher your ranking will be. Use email and social media to drive people to your websites and landing pages.
- If you are using a content management system like WordPress to build your site, use an SEO tool like Yoast to help optimise your pages.
- Include video and images on your site to keep people on your pages longer and minimise the amount text.
2. Include video
Video is all the rage now, and for good reason. It is a great way of communicating your message quickly and succinctly, and will also ensure that your visitors stay on your page for longer. Try to make videos short and punchy. Setting the duration of your video from the outset will focus your message, and mean more people watch it. I recommend home page videos last between 1-3 minutes. You may think there is no way I can fit our message in that timeframe! Well, a big brain once said, if you can’t explain it simply..
With attention spans at an all time low, and increasing competition for our time, a catchy video on your home page is super important. The most effective time scale is 1 minute and under videos that tell your message or story simply.
An example of a solid 1-minute video structure is:
- Have a great opening hook and make it snappy – 5 seconds of your video
- Emote: get people to feel pain, pleasure or regret…what is the shared problem you are addressing? – 10 seconds
- What is your solution to the problem? – 30 seconds
- Call to Action – what do you want the viewer to do? – 15 seconds
TOTAL TIME: 60 seconds
If you are using a voice over/narration, use a professional to voice your videos. Even the best looking video can seem tacky and unprofessional if ‘Bob from accounts’ does the talking, and this will reflect directly on your business. A professional voiceover artist make cost a little extra, but it is 100% worth it.
When it comes to hosting video, I would recommend NOT to host the video on your own server – video hosting is complex, and hosting on non-optimised or managed hosting will lead to poor and unreliable playback. The service I use is Vimeo, which allows a customisable video player for paid accounts, streaming that will scale in size and bandwidth according to the user device and connection speed, and analytics to see how your video is received. There is also a free option.
3. Add a live chat function
Live chat windows are a great way of engaging customers without scaring them off. People are used to instant messaging, on Facebook, on the phone, and on websites. A chat window means they can get answers to questions from a real person, without the fear of being sold to, and on their own terms.
There are many free and paid for chat available. The one I use on our site is JivoChat. I chose this because:
- it has a 100% free option for up to 5 agents
- it can be installed easily both on WordPress and any type of website
- JivoChat can be installed on multiple sites with just one console to answer chats from
- The app can be installed on PC, Mac, on a mobile phone, so you can respond to chats wherever you are
- It allows you to create a message that pops up asking the visitor if they need help, which I have found to prompt conversation (paid version)
I have installed JivoChat on all of our key websites, we have had a marked increase in sales, and customers have fed back that they find it a very useful feature.
You can sign up to JivoChat for free here.
4. Make sure you have fast, secure hosting for your site
For nearly 10 years we have used the same host – Heart Internet and had all of our sites (around 40 at the time) hosted with them. They were really good for many years, and we were very happy with them.
However, what we found over the last few years is that there have been an increasing number of instances where our sites have gone down, and the sites…especially our WordPress ones, have run really slow. We only have seconds to catch the interest of site visitors, so is the pages are slow to load, it is safe to assume the vast majority will never stick around long enough to find out what you do.
What finally made us take the plunge and change was the high cost of SSL certificates. As you may know, an SSL certificate means your website is encrypted, making it harder for hackers to access your site or sensitive information. With GDPR now in place, it is more important than ever to have to have an SSL certificate for your site. At the time of my writing this article, the cost starts £49 per site, per year! Man other hosting companies allow you to easily install a free Lets Encrypt SSL certificate.
It took a long time to decide if moving hosts was the right thing to do, as it is a big decision, especially if you have lots of websites to manage like we do. As we had a largely positive experience with Heart Internet, I was unsure if it was the right thing to do. It has saved us money, and more importantly, given us a better service.
I wish I had done this years ago.
Anyway, after considerable research I chose Krystal reseller hosting. The reason for this was:
- The TrustPilot reviews for Krystal Hosting were great, and many had experienced exactly the same issues we had with Heart Internet which I mentioned above.
- When asking questions via the Live Chat on Krystal, I got very prompt and consistent advice assuring me that the migration process would be managed well.
- The icing on the cake is that this hosting costs less than what we paid before, and the you can install SSL on all of your sites for free with LetsEncrypt with just a few clicks.
- The support documentation from Krystal is very concise and clear.
- They have genuinely 24/7 live chat support. I am a night owl, and frequently get support in the early hours, and this is something that was not the case with my old host.
- Krystal include free backups of your sites, which offers me great peace of mind and would have cost extra with Heart Internet
I found this coupon code that will save you £5 on any hosting order: 79A0E3DB
5. Ensure your site is secure with SSL
If you are not familiar with SSL, it is a method of encrypting your website so that it is less vulnerable to attack and keeps data secure. You can read about it in my other article: the risks of an unsecure website here.
You may say ‘What does this have to do with getting more traffic to my site?’.
There are a few compelling reasons:
1: When visitors try to visit an unsecure site, they will be warned that their information such as personal data and credit cards may be stolen and they can either visit your page, or return to safety. What would you do?
2: It is thought that Google rank secure site higher in search results
3: For peace of mind and your reputation alone, having a secure site is a no-brainer
These are just a few ways of increasing traffic and conversions for your website, but I guarantee that if you implement any of them it will pay dividends.
Thanks for reading!