Does your small business have a website? If not, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to reach new customers and grow your business.
But even if you do have a website, it may not be living up to its full potential.
Your website need not just be your online logo and brochure.Your website is your most important online real estate, and you should make the most of it. Optimize your website to help you run your business and drive revenues. #websiteoptimization #smallbusinessmarketing Click To Tweet
This is a complete guide on how you can get the most out of this important digital marketing tool that you can customize exactly the way that suits your business.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking to take your small business to the next level, this guide will cover how you can optimize your website to get real benefits for your business.
What is website optimization?
Website optimization is the process of improving the performance of a website in order to increase traffic and conversion rates and even make business operations more efficient.
There are many factors that can affect the performance of a website, including its design, content, user experience, and search engine optimization.
By optimizing all of these elements, you can ensure that your small business website is visible to potential customers, has a wide reach, and that it provides a positive experience that encourages them to purchase their product or service.
Website optimization is an essential part of any online marketing strategy.
How can optimizing a website drive growth for a small business?
As a small business, you likely spend a lot of time on social media, investing time and resources in creating engaging posts and getting stressed about likes and followers.While social media posting is good and important, eventually the goal for any small business is to cut your costs and make more money. That is where a website can help. #smallbusiness #growyourbusiness Click To Tweet
If you optimize your website with a few steps, you can get the following key benefits that will drive growth for your business over the long run:
1. Increases organic reach and brand awareness
When you optimize your website, you become visible to many more potential customers organically, through search engines, than you can reach through social media.
When you reach the same potential customers repeatedly for certain topics, they get familiar with your expertise and perceive your brand as an expert.
2. Increases brand engagement
Optimizing your website includes optimizing it for the brand experience that your audience will have on your website. It includes their user experience and the content they consume.
The more they resonate with your brand messages, the more they will engage with you.
3. Reduces your workload
You can add a lot of relevant information to your website and also set up automation for many tasks of your business. This will ensure that your business can run round the clock, without you having to do the tasks manually.
This can include answering customer questions, sending marketing emails, and even managing inventory and quotes.
4. Reduces your business expenses
As a small business, you almost always operate with tight budgets, When you optimize your website with automation and customer support, you avoid the need of hiring extra staff to do these tasks for you, thereby reducing your operational costs.
5. Increases conversions
When you optimize your website, one task would be to optimize your sales messages as well, like on your landing pages, and product/ service pages. Your website will convert your audience from visitors to leads and customers.
How to get started with website optimization
I won’t lie to you. Optimizing your website will entail a bit of work.
The good news is that they can be divided into 4 key steps, which can help you conduct the process in a more structured way.
But before you get started, there are a few key steps you should work through, so that when you do optimize your website, you will get the maximum results out of the process.
1. Know your target audience
If you want to optimize your website, you need to understand your target audience. Your website is a communication tool, and you need to know very well the person on the other end of this tool.
This seems like a fairly straightforward concept, but many small businesses struggle with this.
It’s because your audience does not simply mean age and gender.
You need to have a deep understanding of their needs, lifestyle, interests, hobbies, motivations, and challenges. The more detailed you can get, the better. Only then can you create a marketing strategy and optimize your website in a way that will resonate with them.
Here are a few ways to learn about your target audience:
- Pin down the insights you gained from your experience of managing your clients/ customers
- Ask them directly through surveys and focus groups
- Observe their behavior, either online or in-person
- Pay attention to the types of products and services they purchase, as well as the way they interact with your brand
Remember, audiences can be very different even if they seem similar.
For example, working moms can be very different based on whether they are going to an office, are self-employed, or working remotely.
Once you have a relatively good idea about your audience, create a buyer persona to sharpen your understanding. This will help you create brand and marketing messages for your website that will make your audience connect to you.
Here is a buyer persona template you can use to develop the persona for your ideal customer.
Enter your email below to download the template.
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2. Determine your website objectives
Most businesses don’t start building their websites with a clear idea of what they want to achieve.A website is not just an online flyer, it’s your #1 marketing and sales tool. Optimize and use it to its full potential to achieve your business objectives. #website #smallbusinessmarketing Click To Tweet
Without a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve, it will be difficult to optimize your website for success and measure your progress.
So take the time to determine your business objectives. Answer questions like:
- What are your business goals?
- Where are you struggling with your small business, and could optimizing your website be a solution?
- What do you hope to achieve with the website?
Once you have a clear idea of your destination, you can develop a plan to get there.
Of course, the overall goal is to drive more business growth, but how exactly?
For example, I recently worked with a client who only had some pictures of her products online, as a catalog. She was getting product requests all through a contact form, and she was spending more than 50% of her time only on admin work.
We worked together to determine that her website objective was to automate her business operations so she could spend more time actually running her business.
3. Conduct a site audit
If you have an existing website, analyze it well to see whether it’s optimized to meet your business objectives.
These are the questions you can ask yourself:
- Is the brand message clear? Is it easy for the target audience to quickly know what is special about the brand?
- Does the website provide all the necessary information (sometimes including an FAQ page), about the business that the audience needs to engage/ convert?
- Is the website optimized for any help you need on running your business? Is there a way it can make business operations smoother?
- Is the site technically optimized? Are all the pages indexed, and does the site load fast?
- How much content is there on the website? Is it easily found by search engines?
- Is the site easy to browse, and can the audience quickly get the information they want? How is the visual experience…for e.g., is the text easy to read?
- Is the site optimized for local searches?
- Is there a marketing/ sales funnel set up to drive leads and conversions?
Then depending on your business objectives, you can determine how to optimize your website further.
4. Create a goal-oriented website strategy
The first step to website optimization is developing a website strategy to achieve the objectives you set in the previous step.
Knowing what you know about your audience, how can you set up your website in a way that will drive growth for you?
Your website strategy may not also be very straightforward.
In my client’s example, we determined that we needed to help her audience get a lot of information already on the website and give them the flexibility to choose whichever products she wanted. Then they either buy the products or submit a quote for my client who could send a proposal in a few clicks.
So we added very clear brand messaging and in-depth information, set up all her products as an online store with WooCommerce and added a Request Quote option.
Here are a few strategies you can adopt to optimize your website depending on your goals.
4.1. Put your brand message and story upfront
Don’t let your target audience guess what you do. Craft your brand story and promise, and communicate it in all key areas of your website, definitely including your homepage and about page.
- The Complete Guide to Creating a Powerful Brand Story in 2022
- Create Your Powerful Marketing and Brand Messaging & Use Them Like a Pro
Get a FREE, detailed guide to creating your brand story
4.2. Provide detailed information
If you know your audience, you know the questions they have most frequently.
Answer as many as you can on your website, so they don’t need to contact you. It makes their decision-making and brand engagement more optimized and saves you time.
4.3. Optimize your homepage
Your website homepage is usually your most visited page.
Put the brand message right on the top.
Make it informative, attractive, and engaging, with plenty of call-to-actions to direct them to the pages and content you want them to read.
This brings us to the next point.
4.4. Optimize your website for the customer journey and for conversions
Your target audience can land on your website as a visitor, starting their journey through the site. You need to gently guide them through this journey, leading them to take the action you want them to.
For example, if you want them to download a lead magnet, you can add that option on your homepage. Plus, have links to it from every page, include it on your blog sidebar, and add it as an exit-intent popup.
4.5. Create targeted content
From the buyer persona, you know your audience’s desires and challenges. Use these insights to create content for both your commercial and blog pages that will resonate with your audience and makes them connect to you.
4.6. Include social proof
Today’s world is a digital word-of-mouth one. We only want to buy something online or engage with the brand if someone else validates it first for us.
So include plenty of reviews and testimonials on your website to add credibility to your brand.
4 ways to optimize your website to drive business growth
A website is not just a digital placeholder for your business. It’s an essential tool that can help you reach your target audience, build relationships and brand loyalty, and generate leads and sales.
That’s why it’s important to optimize your website for four primary aspects:
- Optimize your website for search engines, to get more organic traffic
- Optimize your website for conversions and sales
- Optimize your website for user experience to get more repeat traffic and conversions
- Optimize your website for business operations to run your business more effectively
Depending on your website objectives, you may decide which type of optimization is a priority for you so you can start with that.
1. Optimize your website for search engines to get more organic traffic
While search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge topic to cover, here are a few essential steps you can take to optimize your website for conversions.
• Make your website design mobile-friendly
Google has mobile-first indexing, which makes it very important to have a mobile-friendly website to boost your search engine rankings.
Besides, with over 50% of web traffic now coming from mobile devices, you need to make sure your website is designed for smaller screens.
Visitors who are forced to zoom in and out or scroll horizontally in order to view your content are likely to become frustrated and leave before they’ve had a chance to fully explore what your site has to offer. This is bad for brand engagement and bad for SEO.
By ensuring that your website design is responsive and easy to navigate on smaller screens, you can keep visitors engaged and minimize the risk of them closing the tab or touching the back button.
• Improve your site speed
People expect websites to load quickly and efficiently.
If your site takes too long to load, visitors are likely to click away in frustration. Additionally, search engines reward fast-loading sites, so you if you want to optimize your website, page speed should be a priority.
Here are a few tips to improve your site speed:
- Minimize your image sizes
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- If you are using WordPress, use a page speed plugin
• Conduct keyword research
A comment I get from small businesses sometimes is that they are not considering writing blog posts immediately, so they don’t need keyword research.
But here’s the thing: even if you don’t have blog posts, you should also optimize your website, including your product and service pages for SEO.
Irrespective of what content you have on your website, you need to know what your target audience is searching for. That’s why you need to do keyword research, to find keywords relevant to every page you are creating on your website.
Here are a few tips to find keywords:
- Enter your business topic in Google and see the results that show up, and what questions Google prompts you with People Also Ask
- Use Google Trends and Google Keywords Planner to research your topic and follow the prompts that show up
- Use an SEO tool to find keywords for each page of your website with the relevant search intent
• Create SEO-friendly website content
One of the key components of SEO is website content. In order to rank high in search results, website content must be well-written, informative, relevant, and keyword-rich.
There are a few things that everyone can do to develop SEO-friendly content.
- Choose a focus keyword for each page and use it throughout the text, including in the title, header tags, and meta descriptions.
- Make sure that all of your content is high-quality and informative – users don’t care about keywords, they are simply looking for the best solution to their problems.
- Regularly add new content and delete old pages that are no longer relevant.
• Optimize your site for local SEO
If you want your small business to be visible in a certain location, it is essential to optimize your website for local SEO.. Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Make sure your website is listed in relevant directories. List it on sites like Google My Business and Yelp, and also submit your site to local directories specific to your industry or city.
- Create content that is relevant to your locality. This could include blog posts about local events or news stories, or simply listing the services you offer in your city or town. By providing locally relevant content, you will show search engines that your site is relevant to people in your area, which will help them to rank your site higher in search results.
- Add your business address, and your store locations, if you have one or more physical stores.
• Optimize your images
Like written content, images are also an important type of content for your website. To make them more search engine-friendly, you can follow a few simple steps.
- Ensure brand consistency among the images, even on social media, so your brand looks the same everywhere. You can use a tool like Canva which has a brand kit to ensure brand consistency.
- Make sure that your images are the correct size. If they’re too large, they will take longer to load; if they’re too small, they may appear pixelated or blurry.
- Choose the right file format. JPEGs are best for photos, while PNGs or GIFs are better for logos or illustrations.
- Compress your images to reduce their file size without sacrificing quality. You can use resources like TinyPng to reduce image sizes optimally.
- Include alternate text that is also descriptive and includes keywords. This text is what appears if the image doesn’t load on the page
• Create valuable content and optimize them for search engines
If you are a small business that wants to optimize your website for SEO without investing in resource-based content like videos/ blogs/ white papers/ case studies, I have bad news.
It’s very, very difficult.
And I know small businesses have this question because creating content takes time and work.
However, chances are, your big and small competitors are doing it. They are creating valuable content only meant to help audiences without asking them to buy.
Google is finding these websites and ranking them high for similar topics as your business. You need to develop a digital content strategy and write SEO-friendly content too.
Read these blog posts to find out how:
- SEO Writing for Websites: The Definitive Guide
- What to Blog About? 5 Quick Ways to Find Content Topics for High SERPs
- Perfect Your Content for SEO with These 2 Content Optimization Tools from Semrush
• Add internal links
Internal links between your posts and pages make it easy for search engines to understand what your content is about.
Ensure that you create topic clusters and add internal links between all your related posts, to improve your search engine rankins.
• Acquire backlinks
A backlink is basically a link from one website to another, and it functions as a vote of confidence. A higher number of quality backlinks indicates to Google that your site is popular and relevant, and this can help your site earn a higher ranking in search results.
To get backlinks, you could reach out to other websites in your industry and ask if they would be interested in linking to your content.
Guest blogging on other people’s sites is also a great way to build links back to your own site. If you can establish a strong network of backlinks, you’ll see a significant boost in your SERP rankings.
2. Optimize your website for conversions and sales
Conversion optimization focuses on designing your website in a way that encourages visitors to take the desired action, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or filling out a contact form.
Here are a few different ways you can optimize your website for conversions:
• Create conversion copywriting
Conversion copywriting is writing website copy that is designed to persuade visitors to take the desired action, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter. And while it may sound like a daunting task, there are a few simple tips you can follow to create effective conversion copy for your website.
- Make sure your copy is clear and concise. Visitors should be able to quickly understand what your business offers and how it can benefit them.
- Use strong calls to action throughout your site to encourage visitors to take the next step.
- Focus on creating a sense of urgency by highlighting time-sensitive deals or limited-edition products.
• Provide multiple contact options
Any business website should include multiple easy ways for potential customers to get in touch. This makes it easier for you to address any questions that they may have at any stage of the consumer journey.
A contact form is a good start, but it’s not enough on its own.
Visitors should also be able to connect to you through social media as well, so add your social media handles on your website and especially on your contact page.
People prefer just tweeting you or sending you a DM on Facebook instead of filling out a contact form.
You could also add a live chat option to your website. It can be a great way to answer questions and build rapport with potential customers.
• Create an easy purchase process
If you have ecommerce set up on your site, make the buying process smooth and easy.
Keep it relatively simple and straightforward, making it a good experience for your customers.
• Set up marketing automation
In order to drive business growth, marketing automation can be a powerful tool. It can help businesses to attract more leads, convert more prospects into customers, and boost sales and revenue.
By automating key marketing tasks, you can free up your time to focus on other areas of your business while still driving results. You can also use marketing automation to provide targeted content and personalized experiences.
Here are two of the easiest marketing automation to set up on your website:
Email automation is the simplest marketing campaign to add to your website. By setting up automated email campaigns, you can stay in touch with your leads and customers and nurture them through the sales funnel.
Abandoned cart and remarketing
If someone leaves their purchase process midway, you can use abandoned cart and remarketing emails to bring them back to your site and finish their purchase.
3. Optimize your website for user experience
User experience (UX) optimization focuses on making your website easy to use and navigate so that visitors have a positive experience and are more likely to convert and even become brand loyalists.
There are two aspects of user-based design: user interface and user experience. The visual below explains it well.
If you optimize your website to create a good UI and good interface, it means your visitor may stay longer on your website to consume your content and keep coming back for more. This can improve your bottom line and help you build a loyal following.
You can create a good user interface by choosing a responsive theme for your content management system. Wix, WordPress, Shopify, all provide thousands of theme options that have great UI.
But creating a good UX is left to you. So how can you optimize your website to provide an excellent UX? Here are a few tips:
• Optimize your site architecture and navigation
Site architecture refers to the way in which the content on a website is organized and structured. Navigation is the process of moving around a website. Optimizing these elements can help to improve the usability of a site.
A few easy ways to optimize your website structure and navigation:
- Organize content into logical categories
- Create a hierarchy of pages, with the most important pages appearing nearer the top level, in the menu
- Provide easy-to-use search and browse functions.
- Ensure that all pages on the site are accessible from the homepage
- Include clear and concise titles for each page
Additionally, try to use keyword-rich anchor text for internal and external links
• Avoid too many ads
Most people would agree that too many ads can be a turn-off. After all, who wants to be bombarded with pop-ups and flashing banners every time they visit a website?
While you may need to keep a few ads for passive income, too many ads can be overwhelming and intrusive, and they can make it difficult for people to find the content they’re looking for.
You can still include ads on your site, but make sure they’re placed in strategic locations where they won’t interfere with the user’s ability to navigate your site. Focus on providing a clean, streamlined experience that puts your content front and center.
• Use bullet points in your website content
If you’re looking to create a website that’s user-friendly and easy to navigate, then you should definitely consider using bullet points. Here’s why:
- Bullet points help to break up text and make it easier to read. They also make it simpler for users to find the information they’re looking for.
- By using bullet points, you can highlight the most important information on your website and ensure that it’s easily accessible to everyone.
- People are more likely to remember information that is presented in bullet point form.
• Use white spaces
Websites cluttered with excessive amounts of text and images make it difficult to navigate and cause visitors to quickly become overwhelmed.
>Plenty of white space in your website design can help to direct a user’s attention to specific content, make the overall design more aesthetically pleasing, and decrease the amount of time it takes to find information.
Visitors spend more time on your site and are more likely to convert.
4. Optimize your website for business operations to run your business more effectively
If you have a website, you can use it for more than just a platform to showcase your brand and products.
Besides using your website for eCommerce, you can also use it as a tool to streamline your business operations.
For example, you can use and optimize your website to track inventory levels, process orders, and even manage customer service inquiries.
Using your website for business operations can be a highly efficient and cost-effective way to run your business.
Here are some ways you can optimize your website to streamline your small business operations.
• Schedule appointments
Meeting with clients is a vital part of running a successful business. However, coordinating schedules can be a time-consuming process. You can optimize your website to streamline the booking process without you having to respond to clients one by one.
Make sure that your website includes an online booking system. There are a number of great appointment scheduling software options available, and integrating one into your website is relatively straightforward.
Here are some tips to optimize your website to simplify the booking process for you and your client.
- More and more people are using their smartphones to access the internet, so it’s important to make sure that your site can be easily viewed on a small screen.
- Use an online service such as Google Calendar or Setmore. These services provide an easy-to-use interface that can be integrated into your website.
- Use WordPress plugins such as Appointments + or Calendly
• Manage your inventories
You can optimize your website to make your inventory management simpler and more efficient.
By integrating your inventory system with your website, you can keep track of your stock levels in real-time and make changes as needed.
This information can be accessed from anywhere, making it easy to keep track of inventory levels at all times.
This can help to ensure that you always have the products that your customers want and need. Additionally, by displaying your inventory levels on your website, you can give your customers a heads-up when items are running low. This way, they can plan their purchase in advance and avoid any inconvenience.
• Implement good eCommerce practices
If you sell products on your website, then make sure you optimize your website for the best e-commerce processes.
Some tips would be:
- Keep the checkout process simple
- Use a product manager plugin to generate invoices
- Create easy to sort and filter options
• Manage custom orders and quotes
If you have a product that your audience may have questions about before ordering, or if your customers ask for custom quotes, then you should optimize your website to handle those requests for you.
If you are using WordPress, you can use a plugin to customize these requests. You can also use this plugin to send proposals, receive feedback, and exchange messages.
So everything is handled by your website, making the whole journey from request to purchase easy and smooth for your business.
Additional tips to optimize your website
Besides all the above-mentioned ways to optimize your website, here are some extra marketing tips that can help you improve your website performance even further and achieve your goals.
• Get your own brand domain and website
When I talk about optimizing your website, I am not referring to your own branded domain and website. I am not referring to a platform like Etsy where you just get a page to host your products.
To be professional, build credibility as a small business (and not a freelancer), and sustainably grow your business in the long run, you need to buy and set up your own domain and website.
• Add ample CTAs across your site
A website is only as good as its ability to engage users and encourage them to take action. This is why it’s important to include calls-to-action (CTAs) on every page of your site to make them work hard to drive conversions.
CTAs can be used to promote special offers, encourage sign-ups, or simply guide users to the next step in your sales funnel. When designing your CTAs, be sure to use persuasive language and make them easy to spot.
• Ensure brand consistency
Your website is often the first point of contact between your business and potential customers.
As such, it’s important to make sure that your website is an accurate reflection of your brand. This means using consistent messaging, language, brand visuals, and tone of voice throughout the site. It can be helpful to create a style guide that outlines the dos and don’ts of your brand before you start creating content for your website.
That way, you can ensure that all of your content is on-brand. Brand consistency is essential for building trust with potential customers and establishing yourself as a credible business.
• Measure, analyze, and refine
How will you know if your website optimization process is effective?
You have to track and analyze your website performance at regular intervals, and refine your strategy based on what is working and what is not.
For example, see which types of content are ranking the highest and driving conversions. The you know that’s the topic your audience has interest in, and create more of that.
- How to Boost Your SEO with 7 Useful Google Analytics Metrics
- How to Use SEO to Increase Conversion Rate Optimization
Website optimization tools
There are plenty of digital tools to help you optimize your website. You need to choose the best ones depending on your needs, objectives, and website strategy.
Here are suggestions for a few tools that will help you optimize your website for the different aspects as mentioned above.
• Tools to optimize your website for search engines
Search engine optimization takes some time to learn properly and implement. But since it is so crucial to your website traffic, you should start working on it at the earliest.
Fortunately, there are a few tools that can make the process easier.
Free SEO tools
Google Keywords Planner, Screaming Frog, Ahrefs free tools
Paid SEO tools
Semrush, Ahefs, SE Ranking, SEO PowerSuite, Mangools, Link Whisper
• Tools to optimize your website for conversions
To drive conversions, you need to make use of marketing automation and email marketing software, as a start. CRM is optional as you can also manage it manually.
Other options to use are a forms plugin for WordPress and landing page builders.
Email marketing and automation
MailChimp, GetResponse, Active Campaign, Sendinblue
Gravity Forms, WP Forms, Contact Form 7
• Tools to optimize your website for user experience
The user experience on your website starts with your website design and content management system.
Here’s a quick list:
Content management system
WordPress, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace
Siteground, Bluehost, GoDaddy
Astra, OceanWP, themes from Envato, ThemeForest, ThemeGrill
WordPress page builders
Elementor, Divi, Beaver Builder, SiteOrigin
By knowing your target audience, setting website objectives, conducting a site audit, and creating a goal-oriented website strategy, you can improve your website’s usability and increase traffic to your site.
Keep in mind that SEO and website optimization are ever-evolving processes, so don’t be afraid to revisit these tips periodically to ensure your site is performing at its best.
Have you tried any of these techniques already? What were the results? Are there any steps that you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.