One of the most common things I hear from small business owners is that they lack the skills and/or funds to improve their websites. In truth, they’ve just assumed both of those things are hurdles without looking into it fully.
Here are three things you can do without any special skills and without having to pay your web developer lots of money (although you may need to get them to help you out here and there).
# 1. Optimize your page titles
It’s no secret that the HTML <title> tag is the number 1 on-page factor when it comes to
The first thing you should do is research the kind queries people are using to find what you sell. This is easy with the free Google Adwords Keywod Tool. Head on over there and fill in a base keyword, select your location and do a search.
For example, if I was a Realtor in Palo Alto, I might fill in “real estate palo alto”.
Make sure you check the box that says “Only show ideas closely related to my search terms” and ensure the location information is set properly.
You’ll also want to check the “[Exact]” box over on the left hand sidebar under Match Types, also uncheck “Broad” while you’re there – this will make sure you see more accurate numbers for the exact search string.
Now, just hit the blue “Search” button and Google will return your search volumes and new keyword suggestions. Order the table by “Local Monthly Searches” (click the column heading) and you should see something like this:
Straight away I can see that my original assumption was wrong. 1300 people search for “palo alto real estate” per month compared to my “real estate palo alto” guess (just 170 searches). My page title should therefore start with the suggested phrase instead. It’s a seemingly minor change but it can make a big difference to ranking competitively for the higher yield term.
Go through each of your major pages and carry out the above steps. Getting your page titles in order can be a huge win and it really only takes a little bit of time and your existing industry knowledge to do right.
[Tip: don’t keyword stuff your page titles and make sure they’re readable. Something like “Palo Alto Real Estate by XYZ Company” is a good start.]
# 2. Start some simple A/B testing
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is likely something you’ve recently been hearing a lot about, but A/B and multivariate testing has actually been about for years. Amazon is one retailer that is well known for running hundreds of tests at any given time across their huge website.
I won’t go into how-to guides for these two tools as there’s plenty of tutorials out there (plus their interfaces are really intuitive). If you get stuck they both also have great support so go give them a try.
Here are some things you could test for starters:
- The strap line on your homepage (does a longer description of what you do yield more enquiries?)
- The text on your contact form
- Colour and size of your call to actions
- Removal of superfluous text
# 3. Give something away
Giving something away doesn’t necessarily have to cost you anything, but the perceived value by the user definitely needs to be there. There are two ways to go about this – passing on some kind of saving, or giving away valuable information. Both will do wonders for your enquiries and inbound links.
Here are some simple ideas that I’ve seen work really well:
1) Start a blog! it’s 2013 so hopefully you already have one, but do you consistently give away good, fresh, information? The days of generic news industry blogs being helpful are long gone – show your industry knowledge and influence by raising the bar.
2) Sell a physical product? Give free shipping. People love getting something for free that would have cost them something before. Most people won’t even notice a small increase in product cost to compensate and you can up-sell next day delivery much easier.
3) Run a service led business? Write whitepapers, short eBooks or start a monthly newsletter giving away some of your ideas. Give a little and you’ll build trust and influence that can later turn into leads, referrals and sales.
4) Software app? Give some of your live data away for free. This is prevalent in the online marketing industry – SEOmoz does it with OpenSiteExplorer, Majestic SEO lets you verify your website and receive a full site report and SERPmetrics gives away valuable search engine flux charts.
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