This is a two-part blog article. Part one will give you some tough love on whether your super-duper, snazzy looking site is really doing the job it’s supposed to. Part two will tell you how to accurately measure (for free!) how well your site is really doing versus your competition, and will include pointers on getting it up to par, or – depending on your commitment level – totally blowing it out of the water!

The Ever Changing Status Quo (Don’t You Love Oxymorons?)

Anyone with their finger on the pulse of current marketing trends will concur that it is now more important than ever to have a great website. You may be surprised to learn however that “great” no longer refers just to the aesthetic appeal, well SEO-optimized pages and URLs, and the navigability of your site, though these elements are clearly still important very important for obvious reasons. Rather, a truly great website can be considered one which incorporates the aforementioned elements but also does the following:

 1) Attracts a Growing Number of Monthly Visitors

  • Key word here being “Growing” – the more visitors you attract, the more you are likely to convert to inquiries, leads and sales. If your monthly traffic is stagnant or even worse declining, you have to assume your competition is doing a better job of attracting that web traffic’s attention, or you are selling something to a declining market – in which case we probably cannot help you.

  • Your site should not only be getting more visitors, but visitors from those that meet the target profile(s) who you believe will be most likely to use and purchase your product or service. Again, if you do not already have a very good idea of who your target audience is (business, consumer, age, gender, income, education level, interests, marital status, and so on) how are you supposed to market to them effectively, and attract them to your site?

2) Ranks Higher than Your Competition in Organic Search  Results for Relevant Keywords

  • If you are a surf-board shop in Santa Monica, you want to be showing up on at least the first page of Google when someone types in “Surf boards Santa Monica” – if you do not, guess what, your competitors down the road will be nabbing that traffic and potential customer from you

  • Enter the concept of long-tail keywords. These are one which may get less searches, but will drive a more qualified user to your site. To use the example above, it’s great to rank highly for the keyword “Surfing” – although very difficult given there are about 12 bazillion sites on the net which talk about surfing – but you really want to rank highly for “Surf boards Santa Monica” or “Surf boards Los Angeles”. Not only will it be easier to compete for higher ranks on these more specific keywords, they will attract a more qualified visitor as well.

3) Allows users to get a 2 Second Snapshot of Who You Are

  • If the user does not immediately comprehend that you “Have the best selection of Surf boards in Santa Monica!” they will click back on their browser and continue heading down the list of results, rather than staying on your site long enough for them to find out your location, check out your surf board gallery, and perhaps read a cool blog post or customer review – all of which will make them more likely to actually come to your store, or make a purchase online if you offer that service

4) Has Frequently Refreshed and Interesting Content

  • Not only do you want users to stay on your site longer on their first visit, you want to entice them back again, especially if you were not able to convert them into a lead or sale the first time around. OK, so they didn’t buy a $1000 board, but they did subscribe to your cool blog, or sign up for your “Monthly Deals” email. This means you have kept their interest and line of communication open with them, so that when they are ready to make a purchase, you will be at the forefront of their mind – or you can nudge them a little further into buy-mode with a super-duper offer they simply cannot pass up.

5) Has a Large Social Media Presence –  More Important Now than Ever!

  • Being linked to by sites of higher authority is still important, but the search engines are now incorporating into their algorithms how large your social media presence is in order to determine where to list you in their results.

  • Yep, that’s right – the more Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and if you are a B2B company, LinkedIN connections or Company subscribers (a new feature LinkedIN just released)  you have – the higher you will rank. So if you have been procrastinating about devising and executing a cohesive social media strategy, now’s the time to get in gear. And by the way, executing a social media strategy does not equal simply starting a blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account – if you are not attracting subscribers, fans or followers, you may as well not bother.

Don’t forget to tune in next week for some more practical, current, and even better – FREE – advice. You can subscribe to this blog via RSS or email to make sure you don’t miss another episode. In the meantime, to get a free website review or advice on implementing a social media strategy – simply click the big orange button!