When it comes to creating a high-performing website that places you ahead of the competition there is no quick fix.
There is no SEO tactic that will get you to the top of the results pages straightaway; you cannot guarantee every visitor will make a purchase; and figuring out what each individual wants, and giving it to them, is enough to give even the most experienced web analytics expert a headache.
That said, there is a lot you can do to meet these challenges and ensure your website is performing to its full potential. The key is to enhance your online presence at three vital stages of the visitor journey.
By analysing how your pages perform during the process of a visitor finding, interacting with and becoming fully converted to your website, you can assess where your strengths and weaknesses lie at each stage and develop a solid, specific plan to improve performance.
Breaking your website down and addressing these three distinct activities allows you to focus on specific issues and goals, meaning your time and money will be more accurately and effectively put to use.
The bigger picture is all well and good if you’re looking at the Mona Lisa, but for a business-winning website you need to see the finer details and concentrate on getting each pixel just right.
Step One: Attract
Bringing in visitors is not a case of the more the better – luring in thousands of people who have no real interest in your product or service will look great in that one data box, but won’t do your business’ bottom line any good.
By focusing on bringing in people who are already primed to become customers you will see a drop in overall visitor numbers, but an increase in conversion rate.
Encouraging the right kind of people from your target audience to visit will go a long way towards helping you achieve online success and so targeted search engine campaigning should not be underestimated. The value of a smaller number of quality prospects outweighs that of a large number of disinterested visitors.
What this means is that you must have a solid grasp on search engine optimisation (SEO) and the best tactics to employ for your site. SEO can seem an unruly beast, and it is one which takes time to tame, but the rewards are impressive and self-fulfilling once you get the basics right.
When launching your SEO campaign you must start by assessing which keywords to target. Relevant, longtail, localised, well-used: there is a lot to take into account. And your targets will alter over time alongside your products or services, industry trends, customer desires and search engine algorithms.
With great content and campaigns surrounding the right keywords you stand the best chance of getting your site in front of people who are searching for related terms.
These people are already primed to want to buy from you – they are actively seeking out something you provide so if you can get them in, then present them with relevant, engaging and interesting pages, your odds of winning a conversion are improved.
Step Two: Analyse
Knowing that you are bringing in primed visitors thanks to your targeted SEO methods is not enough by itself. Now you must continue to find out about your visitors in order to tailor their experience and learn from them in order to better satisfy future visitors.
Search engine analytics tools can go so far in telling you about visitors – you can see the referring URL or the keyword they searched for, where they are based, how long they spend on your site and which pages they visit.
But to really get to know the people who visit your site you need a way to gain individual visitor level info. A web form is a simple and effective way to gather key pieces of information about a visitor, giving you an exact insight into their needs and behaviours.
Using this data you can not only serve each individual better, but you can also build up a picture of your general visitor base and then tailor your web presence accordingly.
Step Three: Amass
You have attracted some primed visitors, analysed what they are doing on your site: now it is time to build on this initial relationship and amass more of the same.
The information you have collected about visitors comes back into play here, as it will be an integral part of providing excellent customer service, working on leads and creating lasting bonds. Using a contact form gives you a great headstart in gathering information and, done right, it is quick and non-invasive for your visitors.
Spend time creating the perfect contact form, tailored to your business and your aims, and it can help you bring in promising new clients with the minimum of fuss.
Empowering your key landing pages and collecting vital data will be a massive boost for your sales teams, and it will also help your web developers and marketers to understand how to improve the site for future visitors.
Creating a business-winning website is a not one-off project for one department; it should be viewed as an ongoing and holistic task. You will have to reassess your target keywords and SEO tactics regularly, analyse visitor information and work on creating and nurturing relationships.
It takes time, many creative heads working together and a willingness to adapt and develop.
But if you can do this, you’ll reap the rewards: strong SEO, repeat visitors whose visits translate from surfing to buying and in the end, a healthy bottom line.
Laura Moisei is Marketing Manager of 123ContactForm, a web form builder that allows organisations to create forms and surveys without programming skills.