In the quest to turn first-time visitors into regular customers, first impressions are incredibly important. In light of the staggering amount of media the average American consumes on a daily basis, a website they’re visiting for the first time has a very limited window in which to capture their attention. As such, it behooves businesses to make their websites stand out – to make them memorable. A site that’s able to ingrain itself in the minds of first-time visitors is highly conducive to repeat visits and sizable traffic increases. Taking the following measures will prove helpful in making your company’s website more memorable.
Create a Truly Unique Logo
Many of the world’s most iconic brands are instantly recognizable through their respective logos. For example, even if you’re not a fan of Apple’s products, chances are you can instantly identify something that comes from said company. Bear this in mind when setting out to create a logo for your business. If you’re not confident in your ability to craft a memorable logo, enlist the aid of an experienced graphic designer. Taking your input into account, this person will create a sleek, instantly recognizable logo that leaves a lasting impression. Once the perfect logo has been finalized, take care to prominently feature it on every page of your website.
Don’t Overload the Site with Imagery
In recent years, many popular websites have adopted the “less is more” approach when it comes to images. When deceptively user-friendly site creation tools first rose to prominence, many first-time designers overloaded their sites with images, many of which were superfluous and clashed with the overall aesthetic. Not only were these sites unpleasant to look at, they were cumbersome to navigate and gave off an air of unprofessionalism. That being the case, it’s in your best interest to be very selective when it comes to website imagery. In addition to being relevant to your business, each image you select should fit in with your site’s color scheme and overarching design theme.
Utilize Universally-Accessible Fonts
When deciding which fonts to incorporate into your website, take universal accessibility into account. Just because a particular font looks good when viewed on certain devices and browsers doesn’t mean the results will be the same across the board. Working in tandem, with a seasoned web designer; select fonts that are comfortably compatible with an expansive range of browsers and devices. Temperamental fonts result to slow load times and unreadable content – which, in turn, lead to disinterested first-time visitors.
When it comes to websites, people are fickle. And why shouldn’t they be? With countless sites vying for people’s attention, it makes perfect sense that Internet users have become more selective than ever. As Website Magazine reports, the overwhelming majority of first-time visitors will leave your site within 10 to 20 seconds unless something impressive catches their eye. In order for your company’s website to shine amidst so much competition, it needs to feature an assortment of truly memorable elements. Unique logos, relevant imagery and universally-accessible fonts can prove useful in helping your site stand out in the minds of discerning first-time visitors.
After a successful run focusing on local or nationwide clientele for your business, it’s natural to think of digital globalization as your next step. Obviously, only businesses that sell products online or intend to open new branches in other countries to offer services benefit from globalization, but for those who do want to access a foreign market or several foreign markets, the results tend to be well worth the effort. It is possible to expand your search engine marketing to target a global market in a manageable, easy-to-implement fashion.
EMarketer predicts that the total amount of money spent on online advertising will outgrow the amount spent on TV advertising in 2017. If your business’ marketing budget is already stretches as far as it’s able, divert funds intended for other forms of marketing to SEM globalization. Take a look at what’s not performing as well – TV, radio and print, for example – and shift all or a portion of those funds to globalization instead. That way, you don’t have to drum up more financing and you won’t be at a huge loss if your initial globalization experiments don’t work out as well as you planned.
Zero in on a Handful of Countries
When considering globalization, your instinct might be to go wide – to target as much of the globe as possible. However, that will stretch your limited marketing budget and resources too thin too quickly. Start by zeroing in on three countries maximum – or even one country at the beginning. Use research data and sales from comparable businesses in the industry that have already gone global to determine which country or countries to target first. Do research into the shoppers in those nations; particularly in how they differ from the American shoppers you’re used to targeting. For example, French consumers may put more emphasis on fashionable clothing instead of affordable threads.
Look at What Works Domestically
The strategies that work best for your business in domestic markets will work best abroad with some small tweaks. For example, HubSpot reports that 61 percent of global Internet users research products online. It’s a universal trend, and chances are, your SEM already targets consumers who are attempting to research the types of products you sell. Use these same strategies but change geo-targeting keywords to cities in the nations you hope to reach, and translate the keywords into other languages as necessary. (If you really want to keep globalization manageable, though, you might want to at least start with only other nations that use English.)
To get a better handle on your global SEM efforts, start by focusing on one to three other countries. If these efforts work to introduce buyers from other countries as well, all the better, but you’ll see the best results if you narrow your focus and try different strategies in specific markets. Keep your SEM strategies manageable; work your way up to globalizing more of these strategies over time, and you’ll find that your globalization efforts are successful.
Thanks to attractive and simple-to-use templates, it’s easier than ever for companies to launch a new website. Even online stores are available in template form through hosting services that specialize in e-commerce. Some of these templates, particularly the ones without a store interface, are even free. If you’re part of a very small or new operation, it’s tempting to rely on one of these templates and simply plug your information in. However, even if you start with a template, it’s still important you customize it to suit your business and to optimize your website’s functionality and search engine results.
Change the Images
The simplest change you can make to a template website is to replace any stock photos with your own images – even your own stock photo choices. A company logo, professional quality photos of your products, satisfied customers, services, place of operations, and staff members are a good place to start. However, even just choosing different stock images will at least set your site apart from another business in the same industry that uses the same template.
Be sure, though, not to overload the site with too many images or images of too high picture quality. Adobe reports that 39 percent of people will leave a website if images take too long to load. As long as the image looks crisp and clear, you don’t need the biggest file size.
Highlight the Important Information
Tweak the template whenever necessary to put an emphasis on the important information most relevant to your company. For example, swap the “Contact” page from the very bottom of a template to the menu at the top, as it’s one of the most important pages for any business website. According to Ko Marketing Associates, 44 percent of website visitors will stop engaging a website if they can’t find a phone number or contact information.
Remove and add pages to a template to make your website truly representative of your business. If you’re not selling services and don’t need to display a portfolio of your work, remove a “Gallery” page. If you have testimonials to include, add “Testimonials.”
Add SEO Content
Add a blog to the template if it doesn’t include one already. Every business website needs a blog or news page because frequently updated content keeps a website higher in the search rankings. This is where you’ll manage to get a lot of terms relevant to your industry onto your website. For example, “affordable copyediting,” a common search term for those seeking copyeditors, should appear at least once a post if you offer copyediting services. Tweak any of the page information already provided with the template as well. The goal is to optimize search engine results for your website and to differentiate it from any other company that relies on the same template.
If you can afford it, it’s worth hiring experts to develop your site from scratch simply because it’ll stand out from the crowd and be fully customized to your business right from the start. You’ll also be able to rely on the web designer for any issues and updates. It’s probably less expensive than you might think. However, it’s worth putting up a free template website even as a place holder website as you develop your brand, and even a template can prove customizable.
Whenever companies set search engine marketing (SEM) strategies into motion, their foremost concern is eliciting attention from Google. As Expanded Ramblings reports, Google has an 89 percent share of the United States’ mobile organic search market and a 63.8 percent share of the country’s desktop organic search market. In other words, if you’re going to target a specific search engine, it should absolutely be Google. When making an effort to get your company’s website noticed by the world’s most popular search engine, the following strategies are sure to produce favorable results.
Offer Incentives to Link Sharers
Having a solid assortment of links to your company’s site floating around the web is a great way to grab Google’s attention. With this in mind, encourage any visitors who like what they see to share links to your site on their personal blogs or websites. (You should also encourage them to share links on their respective social media accounts, although this won’t necessarily boost your search engine ranking.) In order to provide link-sharers with a little incentive, consider offering them digital coupons or special discounts on services. As reported by Digital Current, many companies already have large networks of influencers at their disposal – they simply don’t realize it.
Engage in a PPC Arrangement with Google
There’s nothing wrong with trying to boost your site’s Google ranking organically. Not only are organic efforts incredibly cost-effective, they can have substantial long-term payoffs. However, if you’re hoping to see immediate results, you’re plumb out of luck. On average, it takes new companies between six months and one year to see a noticeable increase in their Google ranking. Thus, in addition to your organic SEM efforts, it pays to engage in a pay-per-click (PPC) arrangement with Google in your website’s early days. Per this arrangement, Google will display ads for your website at the very top and right-hand-side of its organic search listings. Each time someone clicks on your ad, you’ll be charged a previously agreed-upon sum. Fledgling companies whose marketing budgets aren’t particularly robust should be aware that this can prove very expensive, particularly if you have a large number of local competitors.
Register Your Company in Online Directories
Registering your company in online business directories is a great way to get some love from Google. There are thousands of business directories floating around the web, and the more you register with, the greater your chances are of being noticed by the world’s most popular search engine. Naturally, you’ll want to start with Google’s directory, but take care to branch out and register your company with Bing and Yahoo!’s directories, too. Furthermore, directories like SuperPages and YellowPages.com should not be ignored, as Google uses directories like these to confirm the existence of companies.
Given Google’s unrivaled popularity – both in the U.S. and abroad – it’s no wonder this iconic search engine heavily factors into so many companies’ SEM endeavors. If you’re interested in drumming up a sizable amount of new traffic and reaching out to a wider audience, there’s no substitute for a Google-focused search engine marketing campaign. The results may not be instantaneous, but the rewards will be long-term.
Whether you have an online store and you ship products internationally or your website is simply an informative landing page for customers to visit your store locally, you’re not just targeting shoppers when it comes to search engine results – you’re specifically targeting bargain hunters. These shoppers are the ones most likely to be looking for things to buy. Search Engine Watch reports that 46 percent of people seeking travel services looked specifically for bargains, as did 35 percent of beauty and personal care product shoppers, 34 percent of electronics shoppers and 30 percent of online grocery shoppers. Take advantage of these consumers’ drive to save money by optimizing your site for those seeking to spend less.
Target Bargain Search Terms
Instead of focusing solely on words related to your products and services – and the city of your target demographic, which is a must for effective geotargeting – add bargain-related words to your keywords as well. These terms include:
- Coupons (coupon codes)
- Half off, 50% off (or other percentages)
Add them to your list of phrases you’ve been incorporating into your content in order to trigger a search engine result. For example, instead of just “new chairs Seattle,” focus on “affordable new chairs Seattle.” Even if you don’t have a specific sale going on, keep these bargain search terms in use every time you post a new piece of content.
Put More Effort in During Holidays
According to Search Engine Land, 26 percent of online holiday purchases began with a simple organic search. There’s more competition than ever during the year’s busiest shopping seasons, so it’s more important than ever that you focus on bargain-related search terms. Add holiday words to your search terms during these seasons as well, like “Christmas” and “Black Friday.” Don’t just focus on the year-end sales, either. Smaller holidays throughout the year – everything from Valentine’s Day to Easter – are busier shopping seasons, and you can draw more bargain hunters than usual to your site.
Organize More Sales
While you can incorporate bargain-related search terms into your site’s keywords regardless of any current promotions, your business will do better if there’s a big payoff waiting for the shoppers when they arrive at your site. Make sales a regular part of your business’ offerings, even if it’s just a small selection of your offerings that are on sale at any given time. You might also offer coupon codes for a small discount off any purchase or free shipping promotions. Encourage more people to sign up for your newsletter or follow your social media profiles by making certain discount codes exclusive to those platforms.
Get the bargain hunters to your website for one or two products on sale and they’ll stick around to see everything else that’s at full price. Provide compelling, regularly updated content, and these people who initially find your site by searching for discounts will become regular visitors and frequent shoppers. Targeting bargain shoppers specifically will help your website stand out amongst the competition.
If it’s been more than three years since its last redesign, it’s high time your company’s website underwent an overhaul. Even if you’re relatively pleased with the site in its current form, it’s recommended that you change things up every few years. This prevents your site from getting stale, keeps regular patrons interested and drums up enthusiasm from prospective customers. In the quest to make your site stand out, an experienced web designer can be your most valuable ally. This person holds the key to unlocking your website’s true potential and capturing the interest of first-time visitors. When searching for the right person for the job, take the following factors into consideration.
Someone with an Impressive Portfolio
When it comes to a visual medium like web design, a professional’s work should speak for itself. Even if your initial meeting with a prospective designer doesn’t go as well as you’d hoped, have a look at her portfolio before coming to a decision. Fortunately, most professional web designers have bodies of work that are easy to access. Many of their websites feature screenshots of past jobs, as well as links to sites they created for other clients.
Someone Who Takes Your Input into Account
When you hire someone to overhaul your company’s website, the subsequent redesign should be a collaborative effort. Unless you have a strong background in web design, hiring a sycophantic “yes” man or woman is generally ill-advised. Demanding that a site be built according to your exact specifications – with no input from the designer herself – isn’t likely to bear favorable results. Conversely, a web designer who refuses to take any of your input into account may not be the best fit for the job. Any web designer you hire should be open to working collaboratively with your team – and vice versa. Throughout the design process, you’ll both be able to point out potential shortcomings and areas for improvement on each other’s ends, resulting in a site with which everyone is pleased.
Someone Who’s Well-Versed in Mobile Optimization
These days, a website’s mobile device functionality is arguably more important that its ability to run smoothly on traditional computers. With this in mind, limit your choices to designers who have extensive experience in mobile optimization. Even if someone creates a visually-appealing, user-friendly site for your company, it’s essentially worthless if it can’t comfortably be accessed on smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices.
No matter what industry you’re in, it practically goes without saying that all of your competitors have functional websites. As Entrepreneur’s Tim W. Knox puts it, “It’s better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad.” That being the case, it’s imperative that you take steps to make your company’s site stand out. Simply having a website has long been considered old hat; what matters is how well that site is able to captivate prospective customers. With so much of your company’s success riding on its website, it’s in your best interest to bring a seasoned web designer into the fold.
Setting an Effective Keyword Strategy into Motion
There’s no reason your web content can’t serve multiple purposes. These days, content isn’t simply created to inform and educate – but also to attract the attention of Google and other popular search engines. The best way to go about this is incorporating industry-specific keywords and phrases into your site’s blog posts, articles and other text-based content. Although this may sound simple in theory, keyword integration is something of an art form. In the quest to develop a viable keyword strategy, remember to tend to the following tasks.
For certain businesses, coming up with effective keywords might seem easy. For example, a seafood restaurant in Raleigh, NC might use something along the lines of “freshest seafood in Raleigh” or “best fish in North Carolina.” However, this isn’t as cut-and-dry with other companies. Luckily, there are a number of convenient tools – many of which are available for free – designed to help businesses come up with the right keywords. Software like Google AdWords and Ubersuggest not only provide you with solid suggestions, they enable you to keep track of keywords used by your competitors. As Content Marketing Institute’s Mike Murray points out, many of these programs are capable of generating instant results. Additionally, these tools help monitor the effectiveness of each keyword or phrase you choose to utilize. This enables you to keep track of which keywords are doing their job and which ones you can do without.
Be Mindful of Usage
When plugging keywords into content, there are a number of things to take into account – usage chief among them. Whereas organically placing keywords into your content can elicit positive attention from Google, using them too frequently can draw its ire. If you use the same keywords excessively throughout the same piece of content, both Google and your target audience are liable to take notice. Not only will the content sound unnatural, it will cause you to lose credibility with prospective customers and may even prompt Google to dramatically lower your search ranking. As a general rule of thumb, limit keyword usage to once every 200 words unless absolutely necessary.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, airtight keyword strategies are seldom developed overnight. With the help of the aforementioned tools, you’ll be able to keep tabs on how effective your keyword integration efforts have been and make changes accordingly. If certain terms and phrases are proving ineffective, don’t be afraid to change things up. As you grow more accustomed to the various trials and tribulations of this form of marketing, you’ll get a better feel for which words work and which don’t.
A successful keyword strategy can do wonders for your site’s visitor numbers and help bring in new business. However, setting such a strategy into motion without learning the ins and outs of keyword integration isn’t liable to bode well for your company. Provided you take the above-mentioned pointers to heart, you should have no problem reaping the rewards of a job well done.