It is hardly a secret that having a website is a vital tool for growing a business. Yet, as of the writing of this blog posting, 75.2 percent of all businesses – with 55 percent of that accounting for small businesses – still do not have websites according to the most recent U.S. Census data available.
That data, which included information from 14.4 million businesses, indicates that only 3.5 million of those businesses had a website. According to a report from Interconnected World, 61 percent of all global internet users research products and services online prior to buying, which creates a unique dilemma for businesses without an online presence. It places them at a distinct disadvantage with their competitors in attracting new clientele.
However, heeding the advice of professionals and creating a website does not guarantee a business will flourish overnight. A website is only as good as its design and its content. In our last blog post, we discussed how to determine the effectiveness of a website. If analytics routinely indicate that the website is not engaging its users, there are steps that can be taken to help boost its performance.
The most important thing that can be done to improve the traffic to any website is to provide quality content. Gone are the days when search engines like Google based website ranking on special code website developers could include during the development stage that allowed the website to be found. Now, most search engines base rankings on content, and the fresher the content, the better.
Providing visitors to your website with quality articles that address their needs is ideal. For example, if the website is for a pest control company, articles that address the various ways to eliminate pests from homes and businesses, as well as information about the kinds of products used in the process, would be appropriate. Not only will this kind of quality content help the website to rank better in search engines, it also will engage readers enough to keep them on your website for more than a few minutes.
A caveat where content is concerned: it’s not enough to simply provide quality content. Fresh content must also be provided in order to stay at the top of the search engines. A great way to accomplish that is through a blog. Businesses can use their blogs as a resource for customers and other visitors. An informative blog – one that is about more than just tooting your own horn – will keep readers coming back to your website, which will improve your website rankings.
Once you have produced great content on a user-friendly website, use social media to promote it. Twitter is designed for short links, whereas Facebook and Google+ lend themselves to more extensive information and links. LinkedIn also is becoming more popular among business and industry for sharing content, so don’t be afraid to post something from your website’s blog to your company’s LinkedIn account as well. You will reach an entirely different demographic, and increase your chances of another professional in your business linking your unique content to their website or social media feed. It’s also important to provide RSS feeds on your website so that users can sign up and automatically receive an email or text when new content is posted.
Have tips for our readers or personal stories about how you improved your website? Feel free to share in the comments section, or send us your information via the Contact feature.
Shari L. Berg is the owner/operator of The Write Reflection, and a writing professional for 25 years.