In my last blog post ‘5 Step Website Test: Is Yours Making the Grade?‘ I gave you 5 areas to subjectively evaluate your website’s strength so you could begin to identify the areas where you are making the grade, and those that could use some more loving. The goal being to turn your website from a static, brochureware-type of site to one that is attracting a month-on-month increase in qualified visitors, and converting more of those visitors into inquiries, leads and sales.
This follow-up article will show you how to get a far more scientific measure of your website’s strenghth (and beyond in temrs of your social media and mobile presence for example), using FREE and easy-to-use tools. You can even measure your website’s strength versus competitors that would like to benchmark against so you can see who is doing a better job both overall, and at a more granular level in terms of:
1) Driving traffic
2) Search Engine Optimzation (SEO)
3) Lead and Demand Generation
How Do I Get an Objective and Scientific Measure of My Website’s Strength?
- Looking at it subjectively by yourself or with other members of your team, even your CEO, will not give you the answer. You want to use a tool like HubSpot’s Website grader to get an unbiased rating of how well your website is meeting the key performance indicators listed above, and even allow you to enter your competitors’ websites to see how you compare overall and for each sub-category
- Use the feedback from the website grader report (which is totally free by the way) to start making changes to your site if your score is below a 95, and certainly if it is below an 85. Why? Because this means that out of the 4 million odd sites that have been graded, you are falling into the ‘OK, but definite room for improvement’ category. Very few sites score a perfect 100, so even if your score is in the high 90s, there’s always room for improvement. If you find yourself at 75 or below, alarm bells should definitely start ringing! However, do not despair if your score is way below where you thought it would be, or if you find that you are ranked way below your competitors’ sites in terms of visitors and SEO value. There are many quick and inexpensive ways to get your site grade up, and in turn make it one which will make your whole organization be proud of – not just because of the way it looks, but because of how happy your marketing and sales reps and managerial team will be when they realize that the website alone has replaced much of the hard graft they were previously putting into meeting targets for:
- Website traffic
- Inquiries/email newsletter growth
- Lead generation
- Requests for quotes/consultations
- Filtering out of unqualified traffic before they pick up the phone and waste your valuable resources in having to explain that you are not the company for them
How Can I Strengthen My Website’s Ability to Attract Traffic and Increase Conversion Rates to Inquiries, Leads and Sales?
- Begin a company blog and ensure it lives on your company domain, e.g. blog.yourwebsite.com. This will ensure that SEO benefit is attributed back to your organization, and not a third-party blogging site such as blogspot.com.
- Employ an intern or create a roster of existing staff who have decent writing ability to create a new blog entry one per day related to your company, products, services or industry in general. Blog entries do not have to be more than 500 words – as mentioned previously – who has the time to read long blog posts anyway? Out of the 6,000 existing HubSpot customers, those that blog just twice per week see an average 50% uplift in monthly traffic to their website. That’s certainly nothing to sniff at!
- Ensure blogs are informative without being thinly disguised sales-pitches. Include graphics, and a little humor certainly doesn’t hurt either – anything to keep the reader engaged and more likely to want to read more of your content in the future by subscribing to your blog via email or RSS.
- Use comprehensive, but easy-to-use tools like HubSpot (whose software is viable for small to medium sized businesses with packages starting as low as $200/month, and three tiers of functionality to suit your organization’s specific needs) to automatically optimize your blogger’s entries to be keyword rich for terms relevant to your industry. Unlike PPC where you are renting keywords and embroiling in an ever increasing price war for highly relevant (but not always high-converting) search terms, content on your site remains there indefinitely and so over time you can actually do away with your PPC campaigns altogether – or at least drastically reduce paid search spend – once the search engines have deemed your site authoritative enough to feature on the highly sought after first page or two of the keyword or keyphrase results that are most relevant to your product or service offering.
- Make your site as social as possible. Another benefit of tools like HubSpot is that they allow you to automatically add share buttons to every blog post to the major social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, or simply allow readers to email contacts they feel would also find the blog interesting. As mentioned, the more viral a piece of your content goes, the more followers you are likely to attract on the social networking sites, and the greater the SEO value of your site. This in turn leads to more visitors, more blog subscribers, more inquiries, more inbound links, more links from higher authority sites (which is how in part Google’s algorithm decides where to rank you) and before you know it, your site will have snowballed into one which was perhaps getting a handful of visits per day to one where you have more inbound leads than you know what to do with.
What Tools Are Available to Help Me Strengthen my Website, and What Results Can I Realistically Expect?
If you’re still not convinced that the way your website looks isn’t so important after all – and I know this can be hard to believe in today’s world where image and first impressions count for so much – you don’t need to take my word for it. You can read several customer success stories on HubSpot, Marketo and Eloqua’s websites (the leading social media marketing, monitoring and automation platforms available on the market today), or visit sites like Focus or LinkedIn to see which conversations are the most buzzing. Guaranteed the very conversations among marketers on these sites and forums that are creating the most buzz are the ones about how conversational, social media, and inbound marketing is the way to generate the most buzz. Makes sense right?
Apart from die-hard design geeks who still gush over the “best –looking” or “most-stylish” websites, and an increasing number of marketers will agree that what is more important to the website – and in turn it’s organization’s success – is to have the most visitors, the highest revenue per visit, the greatest number of inbound leads, and the highest converting landing pages. Because marketing managers, ecommerce managers and directors are increasingly being targeted on these metrics and feeling more pressure than ever from their sales teams to produce high quality sales-ready leads, they are looking for new ways to do away with the costly and increasingly ineffectual outbound marketing methods (direct mail, email list buying and renting, display ads, trade shows, print ads and so on) and look for new ways to engage potential customers (both in the B2B and B2C worlds) while lowering their cost per lead and cost per sale metrics, which with the lower and lower conversion rates of these traditional methods were simply becoming unsustainable.
A Lead Generating Website IS Affordable
All-in-One Inbound Marketing Platforms like HubSpot (who also couple their software with an impressive degree of free training, best practise guidance and consulting included in the price) are now leveling the playing field for organizations with just a few thousand dollars per month in their marketing coffers and allowing them to compete directly with those who have infinite resources, by enabling SMEs to effectively manage and optimize their blogs, web site pages, boost organic ranking placement with keyword grader tools, and A/B testing on Call to Action buttons, landing pages, and email creatives. Hence, small businesses can compete with the big boys, simply by putting more time and effort into ‘smart marketing’ activities, rather than pouring money (sometimes down the drain) on traditional marketing techniques – which we all know are becoming less and less effective as people are simply tuning these distractions out.
Not to say an aesthetically-pleasing site won’t win you any brownie points, let’s face it – first impressions do still count – BUT, rather than aim for simply conveying the impression of a well-established, professional, and competent organization, you should be aiming to grab that visitor’s attention by immediately hitting them with an offer tied to the keyword or phrase (or email topic) that led them to your site in the first place. Then you want a way to entice them back to your site, if they don’t happen to become a customer right then and there. This can be done through a process known as lead nurturing, which allows marketers to retarget prospects who have gotten stuck in the middle of the funnel, or consumers who came to an ecommerce site but decided not to make a purchase the first time around.
How Can Angled End Help Me Strengthen My Website and Social Media Presence?
Angled End is unique in that we have over 40 years of collective experience in web design (both front and back end), search engine optimization, lead generation, and affiliate marketing. We also partner with HubSpot to enable our clients to streamline their inbound marketing efforts by having a single dashboard to measure both paid and unpaid marketing efforts – providing detailed, closed loop analytics on everything from your paid search campaigns, right down to which Tweets or blog topics led to the most new leads.
With HubSpot, marketing managers and directors now have more autonomy to create campaign specific landing pages on the fly and thus increase conversion rates for those campaigns. They can also rest assured that their blog posts are fully SEO-optimized, and get eyeballs on those posts by blasting them out across their social media channels, which assuming the content is interesting enough, will again be shared by your readers with their networks, which will be shared with their networks again, ad infinitum…
You do not need to spend thousands on a flash, snazzy looking website and then spend thousands more with an SEO agency who claims they can get you on the first page of Google’s organic search results in 30-60 days (although this may be possible depending on the level of compeition you are facing for your target keywords and phrases). Instead, let Angled End give you some ideas for improving not only the design aesthetic and usability of your website, but also your ability to attract more visitors and convert more of them into leads. After all, what’s the point of having the best looking website in the world, if noone ever sees it. A website that can drive inquiries, leads and sales is one which will make both your CMO and CEO happy campers, and make you a superstar among your sales team counterparts. So why wait any longer? Click the big orange button to start the conversation today!