Prior to posting your first business video, or crafting that blog or social post that is going to be a magnet for new business, it’s important to make sure your website is ready to take on the full potential of inbound marketing. Here are 3 simple things anyone can do prior to launching their first inbound campaign.
1. MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE ISN’T OUTDATED
Having an outdated website is like starting a NASCAR race with '89 Volvo at the back of the pack. The way modern search engines work, you'll be flagged even before you start.
For some manufacturing business owners, updating a website sounds like an expensive and time consuming project that is not worth the effort. It’s hard to blame them, because before now developing a website could cost 10x more than you were hoping, and could easily take 20x more effort than you originally expected. Nowadays, a web development firm can pump out a website from ideation to completion in about 6 weeks at a fraction of the cost.
It's easy to build a website and “set it and forget it”. That's a risky approach in today's world where Google is regularly changing how they rank websites.
If your current site feels outdated compared to your competition, it’s time to make an update. This is important not only from a perception standpoint, but it also tremendously helps with SEO and being found online. Websites that pop to the top of the list in Google searches are those that are more user friendly, and that Google’s algorithms deem more relevant and helpful.
2. MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS USER FRIENDLY
If your website isn’t outdated, take a hard look at the design. Is it easy to navigate? Does it include internal links? Does it feature subpages, and headings that make sense to your customers?
If you find yourself getting lost within your own website, or not understanding the meaning of the content that’s on it, you can guarantee that your clients and prospects are just as confused.
Spend some time with a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. Look at other websites you like, and write out what would be ideal for your business. While doing this exercise, think about it from the point of view of a new visitor or prospect to your site.
The fresh perspective will allow you to clearly think about what to say on each page, as well as what pages naturally link to each other.
Also, check out your site on your mobile device. Make sure it has a simple navigation, is easy to read, and all the images are properly displaying.
3. TAKE A HARD LOOK AT THE CONTENT ON YOUR WEBSITE
Take a fresh look at everything; do you have outdated press releases? Videos from 2010? Pictures of employees that haven’t worked at your company in over a year?
If you answered yes to any of these develop an action plan to make some changes. Also, take a look at where the content is placed on your website. Content buried below the fold on your pages are less likely to be read than the content above the fold. Users want to see content right away, therefore sites that don’t have much content above the fold can be negatively affected when it comes to search.
As it relates to content, if you don’t have a section on your site devoted to a blog, consider adding one. You will need a place to house all the content you will be creating in the near future.
When adding a blog to your site, keep these tips in mind:
- Ensure that Google will view your blog as part of your site by setting it up as a subdirectory rather than a subdomain. Make sure your blog is visually consistent with the rest of your site—headers, footers, menus, etc. should all match your main site.
- Make sure your social media icons are displayed on your blog. If you don’t have a social media presence, consider adding a channel or two to get started. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are popular for brands that are just getting started with social.
By following these 3 simple steps you’ll not only see an improvement in your bounce rate and search ranking, but overtime, you'll see more new business coming in through your virtual front door.