4 Reasons Why Content Marketing is the Best Strategy to Get a Steady Stream of New Leads to Your Site

Consumers are searching for businesses who will give them more

Content marketing is the lead generating machine you haven’t turned on yet. If you’re curious about how to leverage your “free” industry expertise for increased sales, this article is for you.

The truth is, the days of in-your-face sales strategies are dead, friends. In order to get those leads and make those sales, you need to give your customer a whole lot more than a sales pitch. You need to give them interesting, helpful, and above all relevant content.

Read on to find out why content marketing is the best way to bring in a steady new stream of leads and give your business a bump up the Google rankings.

Effective Content Marketing Will Generate A Steady Stream Of New Leads For Your Business

Young man searching for a business who will offer him more than an outdated sales pitch.
Your potential customers are searching for a business that sees them as more than consumers. Content marketing is your chance to give them more!

Content marketing remains one of the most effective ways to attract people to your website – period. Having an amazing online presence is about more than looks. Generating new leads in today’s world means giving potential customers more! This is where content marketing comes in.

Not only does content marketing give you the chance to make Google happy with lots of indexed pages and keywords to grab onto, it gives you the chance to make your website visitors happy by giving them something to sink their teeth into. Content marketing is the best way to establish yourself as an expert in your industry while fostering trust and confidence with potential customers before even broaching the subject of sales.  

If a marketing strategy that puts relationship building and the wants and needs of your clients first sounds right up your alley, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.

So, What Is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is the art of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract and engage a target audience with the goal of driving profitable customer action. – Content Marketing Institute

A hot cup of coffee sitting next to a laptop ready to create some great blog or social media content.
Using your blog or social media channels to create kick ass content that is going to grab your target audience and help them solve problems and, ultimately, make purchasing decisions is what content marketing is all about.

Posting on social media channels, blogging, and creating online videos are all examples of content marketing but there ‘s a bit more to it than that.

Content marketing requires you to create top notch content that gives your target audience what they are looking for. Usually, this is the answer to a question or the solution to a problem directly related to your industry. When content marketing is well done, the services or products needed to implement the solution will lead them right back to your business!

Content Marketing Makes People Happy.

Content marketing makes people happy.
When it comes down to it, content marketing is about building relationships and making your target audience happy so that your amazing business is top of mind when it comes time to buy.

How about an example?

Let’s say you run a business that specializes in outfitting people for back country camping. Instead of writing, Tweeting, and vlogging about how amazing your business is (annoying) or what great sales you have going on (boring) you should put some time into actually helping them prepare for their adventure! That is what a content marketing campaign would involve. Maybe your customers are always asking you about camping in different seasons or about how to cook over a campfire. These would be amazing topics for blog posts or videos.  

70 percent of internet users want to learn about products through content versus traditional advertisements. – MDG Advertising

If your content is good, people will read it and come back to your website again and again to find answers to their questions. When they are ready to buy some new camping gear, they will have confidence that you know what you’re talking about. Even better, they will feel excited about buying from your business! They will know they’re getting the product they need from a company that sees them as more than dollar signs and is run by people who are passionate about camping.

A large sign that reads "We Like You, Too :)" in a public outdoor space shows that this business cares.
Content marketing is your chance to show your target audience that you care by engaging with them as people instead of customers.

At its core, content marketing is all about helping people out. Instead of wasting your time jumping up and down shouting “Pick me! Pick me!” you are going to build a relationship with your audience and show them that not only do you have the answers to the questions but that your services or products are part of the solution!

Content Marketing Makes Google Happy.

Writing all of that kick ass content isn’t only going to make your target audience happy, it is going to make Google happy. When Google is happy your content (and your website or social media channels) will get bumped up higher and higher in the search rankings! The higher your content ranks in a Google search, the more traffic your website will get.  Trust us when we say that it is anything but lonely at the top!

*Smiley Face Emoji* Googles loves content that is relevant and well crafted.
Google loves content that is relevant and well crafted which is why content marketing is so effective at bumping your site up those search rankings.

FACT: The post, video, or website in the #1 spot in a Google search can get as much as double the number of visitors as the #2 spot and as many as six times the number of visitors as the site in the #5 spot!  Want to know more about grabbing that top Google spot? Check this out!

So, What Makes Google Happy?

The short answer to this very important question is simple. Google loves relevant and searchable content.

Google is a search engine. The purpose of a search engine is to help the person asking the question get the best selection of relevant answers possible. There are millions of websites out there so Google (like other search engines) has been programmed to sort through them using a long and specific list of ranking factors. Three of the most important factors on that list are keywords, connection (think links), and consistency.

Google loves relevant and searchable content that is optimized well. [ Dog raising it's paw as though asking a question ]
Google’s job is to help users get the answers they need. When the content you put out there is relevant and searchable, Google is happy.

77% of Internet Users read blogs and small businesses with blogs get 126% more lead growth than businesses without (source: IMPACT). – Gabriel Nwatarali

In a nutshell, Google rewards the website that has the most relevant answers to the question being asked. Google sources these answers, in part, based on effective use of keywords, how often the content or web site is being updated, and how well connected the content is to other reliable sources.

The More You Give, The More You Get.

In the face of consumers pelted with ads day in and day out, content marketing swoops in like a breath of fresh air. It provides value for their lives, isn’t intrusive, and aims to be helpful above promotional (*insert praise-hands emoji here*).  – Julia McCoy

Surprising your audience with the gift of relevant and engaging content is as good as a bouquet of roses.
Give a little something back to your customers by sharing your passion and knowledge with them. You’re bound to make friends (and leads!).

We have seen how content marketing can make Google happy which gives your site higher rankings in the search results. We have seen how content marketing makes your potential customers happy by giving them relevant, engaging, and helpful answers to their top questions.  Let’s talk about how content marketing is going to benefit your business and your brand and help you turn all those new leads into new sales!

1. Content Marketing Builds Brand Awareness.

When the content you create and put out there is “on brand” it will grab the attention of the right people; namely your ideal customers. Content marketing gives you the opportunity to give people a feel for your business’ personality. What you write about, the voice you use to communicate your message, and the look of your posts are the way your readers (aka. potential customers) get to know your business.

Brand awareness isn’t just whether your audience knows the name of your brand, but it’s how well they understand the qualities that make your brand unique. WebFX

Woman using a megaphone at a rally to give her message a voice.
Don’t pass up a chance to give your business a voice. Building brand recognition with content marketing is an amazing way to connect with your target audience.

Content marketing gives your brand a voice and that isn’t something you want to miss out on. When readers see your content, you want them to know who you are and what you’re all about right away. When your readers feel connected to your brand, when they love what you are putting out there and what your business stands for, they will spread the word through shares, social media posts and word-of-mouth and that is priceless.

2.  Establish Yourself As An Expert By Publishing Content That Shows Off Your Smarts and Your Passion.

Putting the time in to create an amazing collection of blog posts, downloadable resources, or videos will establish you as an expert in your industry. Making sure that content is the perfect balance of personal and professional means people will know you care.

When your content is well crafted it establishes you as an expert in your field.
Go ahead, show off! Sharing your expertise and passion for everything to do with your business is what people want from you.

You know the saying “Sharing is caring”, right?  It couldn’t be more true.

Using your blog to consistently put out engaging and helpful posts that touch on your ideal clients’ interests and problems alongside exciting news or events relating to your industry is a great way to stay relevant to your target audience. If you are putting out quality information regularly your audience will grow and will look forward to checking in with you to see what’s new.

When you have a diverse pool of content for your visitors to search through, you can leverage that into being their “go to” source of information. That means they will be more likely to come back to your site to search through your posts. Even better, when the time comes to make a purchase they are more likely to check out your products and services before looking elsewhere.

3. Build Trust Between Your Customers And Your Brand With Quality Content.

How people feel about your business and your brand matters more than you might think. Even the most rational consumer is influenced by their emotions when making a purchase. People want to give their business to a company that they feel good about! Content marketing is one way to build that relationship with your potential customers.

A chickadee lands on an outstretched hand demonstrating trust.
If the content you are offering your readers is accessible and gives them what they need, they will learn to trust your brand and come back to visit again and again.

When you think about it, building a trusting relationship with anyone (including a business or a brand) comes down to feeling that you can rely on them, that they are being open and honest, and that they care about you. Content marketing checks all the boxes!

84 percent of people expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions, and creates experiences and events. Meaningful Brands as quoted in Cision’s The Ultimate List of Content Marketing Statistics 2018

With a blog, for example, you can consistently put out fresh content that speaks to the interests and problems shared by your target audience. By creating customer focused content you are nurturing the relationship between your business and your potential customers. When you make sure your content is engaging and credible, you are demonstrating your trustworthiness as a brand.

When people enjoy the content you publish, they will share that story with their friends.
Storytelling is a powerful way to introduce your target audience to your brand. Grab their attention with engaging content that let’s them know what you’re all about. It could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

By telling your brand’s story, you are essentially having a conversation with your audience and that is something that they will remember and feel good about which will translate into new leads and new customers.

4. Effective Content Marketing Will Boost Your Google Ranking And Contrary To Popular Belief, It Is Definitely Not Lonely At The Top.

As we have seen, when it comes to ranking well in a Google search, it is all about creating content that is relevant and searchable. Google is an information hungry beast and to get on it’s good side, you have to feed it with consistently published and high quality content.  

Hungry man eating a big burger.
Give Google something to sink it’s teeth into with juicy, well crafted content.

Creating an amazing blog where you can connect with your target audience, establish yourself as an expert in your industry, and build trust with your potential customers, when done effectively, has the added bonus of pushing your site up, up, up those Google rankings. It is a win, win, win situation.

Conclusion

In a way, you can think of content marketing as the trail of breadcrumbs that will lead your ideal customer to you! As we have seen, this works in two ways. Creating engaging, on brand, and well optimized content makes Google happy which means higher search rankings. It also makes your readers happy which means increased brand awareness, more time spent on your website and a steady stream of new leads for you to build relationships with.

Rolling out an effective content marketing campaign takes planning, research, and some creativity. Some of the most important questions to ask yourself when you start mapping out your content marketing campaign include:

Effective content marketing will drive more traffic to your site.
Giving your target audience a taste of what you have to offer by way of consistently kick ass content will pay off with increased site traffic and a steady stream of new leads for your business.

Invest In Content Marketing Now, Reap The Rewards Forever

  • How well do I know my target audience? If the answer isn’t “I know them inside and out” then you need to invest some time getting a clear picture about your target demographic.
  • What is the story I want my brand to tell? Having a clear brand story in mind to guide the content you are going to roll out is essential. Without a big picture in mind, your content won’t be cohesive.
  • Do I have the ability and time to consistently create relevant, engaging, and on brand content?  If you aren’t sure that you have the time or skill set to consistently create your own content, you may want to look into hiring a copywriter to help you. The most effective content marketing campaigns are rolled out with a consistent schedule so that your readers are getting new information regularly.
  • Do I have the technical skills to optimize by content and make Google happy? SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a skill that takes time to learn as well as to implement. When it is done right, your posts are sure to be picked up by Google and seen by your target audience. Is this something you are confident in your ability to do yourself or should you consider hiring someone who specializes in web design to take it on?

Planning, creating and publishing an amazing content marketing campaign is no small job but will be worth every minute and dollar you put into it. Well crafted content pays off by creating a steady stream of new leads for your business organically (without people finding you by clicking on paid ads) and indefinitely!

Want The Top Google Spot? Read This!

how to get the top google spot

You’ve built a great website – but it doesn’t occupy the top Google spot. As a result, it isn’t bringing in new leads for your business… YET! To get those leads, people need to be able to find your website when they search Google for your services.

In this article, I’m going to tell you how to get your website to climb to that coveted top Google spot.

Why Compete For The Top Google Spot?

websites with the top Google spot get the lions share of visitors

With so many other businesses fighting for that top Google spot, why should you join the fray?

The answer is: the top website gets the lion’s share of visitors.

New findings from online ad network Chitika confirm it’s anything but lonely at the top. According to the study, the top listing in Google’s organic search results receives 33 percent of the traffic, compared to 18 percent for the second position, and the traffic only degrades from there.

SearchEngineWatch.com
top google spot gets lions share of traffic
Wait a minute, the second spot in Google gets only HALF the traffic of the number 1 spot? And it rapidly drops to below 5% after that??

If getting twice the online traffic of your closest competitor sounds like good thing for your business, read on!

What IS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Anyway?

SEO optimization for your website to get the top Google spot
Getting the top spot in Google search starts with performing Search Engine Optimization on your website.

You’ve heard of SEO by now, and you probably have a vague sense that it’s helpful when it comes to getting your website to rank higher in Google.

Simply put, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques web designers use to make your website more “attractive” to search engines for specific search phrases.

By performing these optimizations, web designers provide search engines (like Google) hints about what types of searches relate to your website.

A thoroughly optimized website gets crawled and ranked favourably by Google. On the other hand, a website with poor SEO may not show up in search results at all!

How To Optimize A Website For The Top Google Spot

Here are the 10 steps to follow in order to optimize your website for Google search:

1. Make Your Website Secure and Accessible

Visit your website in a browser and look at the letters that come before your domain name.



Does your URL start with “http” or “https“? If you have the “s” it means your website is more secure, and will be favoured by Google over less-secure sites.

“Accessibility” means users with disabilities (usually referring to visual impairment) can use your website without any trouble. Text is large enough and has good contrast, images have descriptive alt tags, and navigation menus are easy to use.

2. Optimize Page Speed (including mobile speed!) To Get To The Top Of Google

This one’s pretty straight-forward. If your website is slow to load, people will get frustrated and leave, especially on phones. Images need to be optimized (downsized) for websites so they don’t slow down page load times.

page speed helps determine what website gets the top google spot
Visit https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ to do your own speed tests.

One of the biggest hurdles to increasing page speed is having images on your website that are too big. Large images take a long time to load, and become a setback on your quest for that top Google spot.

Adobe Photoshop’s “Save for Web and Devices” feature is the most powerful and effective way to downsize images for use on your website. However, optimizing images in Photoshop requires an expert touch. It also takes a great deal of time.

If your website is based in WordPress, try out the Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin. It automatically downsizes your images during upload, and can go back and resize old images too.

The Smush WordPress Plugin is an awesome way to automatically downsize images for faster page loading.

Also make sure you’re using the latest and greatest image formats! Each format has its own best use case, but Google does provide general suggestions to follow:

Image formats like JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP often provide better compression than PNG or JPEG, which means faster downloads and less data consumption.

Google Tools For Web Developers

3. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly For That Top Google Spot

mobile friendly websites are more likely to climb to the top Google spot

Speaking of phones, we’ve all visited websites that required “pinching and zooming” in order to navigate on a phone. Nobody likes doing this, and so Google devalues websites that aren’t mobile-friendly in search results.

These days, most website builders get you pretty close to perfect mobile-friendliness. Depending on how much customization you do, it may require some additional code to make your website look perfect on phones.

This is where Media Queries come in. Media Queries allow you to specify different CSS (how your website is styled) for varying screen widths or “breakpoints”.

Don’t worry about learning how to perform media queries yourself – but it’s handy to know they exist when working with a web designer. Just know you can assign different styling to how your website looks at different screen widths.

A common use for media queries would be to make your heading text a little smaller for phones.

Be sure your images are responsive. This means you can view them on all types of screens and the images resize nicely without being “cut off” visually.

Not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly? Google has a test for that: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

4. Become An Authority In Your Industry To Reach A Top Google Position

industry leaders get the top google spot
Industry leaders get the top Google Spot!

If your website hasn’t been around for very long, it’s important to establish “authority” for your industry by getting other important websites to link to it. Become a credible source of information in your industry by regularly publishing highly informative articles and projects to your website!

Another way to really drive up your authority online is to start publishing videos. YouTube is a perfect platform for this. With the phone in your pocket and a $30 tripod on Amazon, you’ll have all the gear you need to start producing “good enough” videos on YouTube.

But, Video is Scary!

Staring down a rolling camera can be intimidating, but the payoff is worth it!

More than any other media format, video can be intimidating to produce. Trust me, I’ve been publishing videos for almost a decade, and have over 400 videos online to date! Yet, I still get nervous before recording a new one.

But the exposure is worth it. My videos are far from perfect (most are average at best) and yet they’ve been viewed over 3 million times in total. I have thousands of subscribers, and higher engagement than any other media format I’ve explored.

My approach to video is simple. I publish a video if I think it’s going to be helpful to someone else. Chances are if it’s helpful to one person, it’s actually helpful to thousands of people.

It Doesn’t Need to be Perfect, It Just Needs To BE

I often get hung up trying to make my video “perfect”. But it’s better to produce several imperfect videos than it is to invest a lot of time in trying to make one perfect video. This is because there’s a natural learning curve to creating videos, and your videos will improve the more you publish them.

Getting better at making videos is just like shooting hoops. The more attempts you make, the more success you'll have.
Getting better at making videos is just like shooting hoops. The more attempts you make, the more success you’ll have.

Quantity leads to quality.

The content of the video matters more than the production quality.

As long as you focus on helping people and your videos will do well.

Also consider that YouTube videos themselves get ranked in Google search! So if one of your videos makes its way to the top spot in video search results, that will be a great source of traffic for your website. Just make sure to link to your site in the video description to capitalize on that potential traffic source!

5. Optimize Your Website Text For A Top Google Spot

Optimize your website text to get the top spot in Google

The text on your website matters because Google crawls it to figure out what your website is about. Aim to strike a balance between text that is engaging for people to read, while also containing the search phrase you want to be at the top of Google for.

When deciding what keywords to pursue, limit yourself to a few. Going with too many terms dilutes the potency of any one of them. Instead, try to figure out exactly what your prospects are searching for and then reverse-engineer your text to include the most important search term.

Tip: Do your own keyword research by entering your industry’s keywords into AnswerThePublic.com and seeing what people are searching for! Then write content on your website and blog to match those search phrases.

6. Optimize Your Code

Optimizing your website’s code is fundamental to getting your website to rank at the top of Google.

Of course, you’ve likely heard of HTML as it forms the majority of the code websites are built with.

Google crawls the code of your website and can tell what version of HTML you’re using. There have been several versions of HTML in use over the years. Today, you want your website to be updated to the most recent release of HTML, which is HTML5.

You can tell what kind of HTML your website is built on by right-clicking your website and selecting “view page source”. This will show the website code. At the very top, there will be a “doctype” tag where the type of HTML is declared.

You know your website is built in HTML5 if the very first line of your website looks like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>

If you see that, you’re golden! If you see a longer doctype tag with lots of other words, there’s a good chance your HTML is an older version and needs an update.

By including descriptive <alt> tags on all of your website images, you help Google understand what the images are. This helps your rank, and it helps users with visual impairments interact with your website (making it more accessible).

You can also control what text appears with your Google listing in search results with the <title> and <description> tags. Here’s how Butter Web Design shows up in Google search results:

The <title> tag on your website is what actually gets listed in Google search as the first line of text. So it’s essential to have optimized title tags, as well as headings, meta descriptions, and other bits of code that go into your website.

The <description> tag is what shows up underneath your website title, and gives users a quick summary of what your website is about. Make sure to include the search term you want to rank at the top of Google for in your website title and description tags!

Don’t worry about the <keywords> tag, Google doesn’t use it anymore to determine website rankings.

Google doesn’t use the keywords tag when determining website positioning in search results.

7. Improve Your Website’s User Experience

When people spend more time on your website, that’s a good thing. When they arrive and then leave immediately, that’s bad. This is called a “bounce rate”. Google tracks these metrics and rewards sites that provide users with a good experience.

Simply put, improvements to user experience can be made by solving things that frustrate your visitors. Have you ever visited a website and found it frustrating? Why was that exactly?

Do your visitors spend time on your website, or do they get up and leave because you haven’t taken their experience into consideration. Treat them well, and they’ll spend time and money with you!

While it’s often difficult to view our own websites from the lens of a total stranger, that’s the best way to see the flaws that make for a bad user experience. From there, it’s possible to address the issues and improve how people feel when they’re on your website.

Google Analytics will give you a clear idea of how your website is performing. Look at your bounce rate and how much time people are spending on each of your pages.

Often, improving user experience is intuitive once you’ve identified where the problem is using analytics software. By knowing that a page has a high bounce rate, you can perform tests yourself, or get a friend to visit the page. As them what they would change if they could, and use the input as a basis for experimenting with changes to your site.

You can even conduct A/B split tests using Google Optimize to test multiple variations of your web pages at the same time. Based on the statistics of each variation, you will be able to see which version your visitors prefer. Consequently, you will be able to choose the best one to boost your user experience!

8. Earn Those Links

links help your website climb to the top spot in Google

Google likes it when you both link out to valuable information online, and when high-authority websites link back to your site.

The best way to get other websites to link to your site is simple, make your website worth linking to. Do this by publishing the very best information blog articles you can write, and people will naturally link to them.

Another strategy is to request to post your blog articles as guest posts on other websites in the same industry, linking back to your website each time.

9. Fill Out Your Business Information

One of the most important things you can do for your business is to complete a Google My Business profile. By having a verified business listing, Yelp listing, and Facebook Business listing, your website becomes more credible. Thus, Google will rank you more favourably!

Hint: the more positive reviews you have on your various listings, the better. Get our Early Wins Checklist for more information on how to drive traffic to your business for free!

10. Engage Your Audience

An engaged audience helps earn a top spot in Google
If your sole intent is to deliver awesome value to your readers, they will reward you.

The more people share your content online, the more Google takes notice and rewards you with a higher position.

Make it easy for people to share your content by writing great content. These days, writing great blog articles has become one of the best ways to continually drive traffic to your website.

By publishing excellent information, you’re giving your audience something to enjoy and to share with their friends. Here’s how to check to see if your blog articles are going to resonate with your audience: if someone sent it to you, would you read it? Does the headline grab your attention and make you want to read more? As you read, are you sucked deeper and deeper into the article until you just have to finish it?

These are the types of questions to ask yourself while writing blog articles. Of course, mention your company and what you can offer your readers. But avoid the mistake of talking too much about your business. You are interested in your business, but your prospects aren’t. They’re interested in their problems which your business solves! Write about those problems, and how to solve them!

Content Marketing is the Best Way to Get the Top Google Spot

Writing and publishing blog articles is a big undertaking, but it pays off by sending a steady stream of free traffic to your website forever. For this reason, investing in a content marketing permanently boosts your organic traffic (traffic that comes to your website without clicking paid ads).

Content marketing is one of the most powerful methods of generating high quality leads over the long term. Not only does it increase your website’s likelihood of ranking at the top of Google, but the individual articles themselves can rank in search results!

Ready To Get More Leads Online?

There are a handful of simple yet surprisingly powerful techniques you can use today to instantly increase the number of quality leads your business gets online.

To learn more, get a copy of The Early Wins Checklist right now and start bringing in those leads!

A Web Designer’s Dirty Little Secret

A Web Designers dirty little secret from Ryan Lowe, Butter Web Design

Ryan Lowe is a freelance web designer. His brand, Butter Web Design, provides ongoing WebMaster Services designed to encompass everything a thriving business website needs – from unlimited updates and hosting to nudges in new directions when web technology shifts.

So here’s Ryan’s dirty secret: you probably shouldn’t hire him to build and manage your website. If you’re just starting out, he says you don’t even need a website.

According to this web designer, you can do very well (as you’re getting started) with only a Google Places page.

According to Ryan, “Most businesses should tackle reputation first. Take whatever money was going to be spent on the website and use it to send thoughtful gifts to existing clients, with notes begging them to leave 5 star reviews on your Google Places Page. Pre-write the review for each client, and invite the client to edit as they see fit. Follow up each week until the reviews come through. Take clients out to lunch and physically help them find your business in Google Maps if they’re having trouble figuring out how submit the review. The client will need a Google account to leave a review from within a desktop browser, but anyone can leave a review from within the Google Maps app on a smartphone. This is a good way to get around issues where a client doesn’t use Gmail. Getting those reviews can be like pulling teeth, but I promise you that each tooth you pry out is pure gold.”

“Your online reputation is more important than your website,” Ryan continues, “so spend your time and money building that first. After every job finished or sale completed, be sure to capture that review.”

“Before long, those happy little reviews will become an unstoppable sales force driving lasting, high quality traffic to whatever point of contact you want. Yes, a website is optimal to further reinforce your offering and legitimacy, but you can totally kill it with just a phone number at first. List your home address at first if need be. Google will send a postcard to confirm you indeed have authority over the address you will be associating your business with. I work from home and having my Google Places page point to my home office has been totally fine.”

Ryan believes that startups can use a Google Places page to do everything a professional website can.

“It can hold photos of your work, give information about your service and hours of operation, and even accommodate blog-like post content. But the most important thing a Google Places page does is give your prospects reassurance that you are trustworthy, ultimately nudging them to reach out to you and not the guy without a single star to his name.”

So there you have it! If you’re starting from scratch, put all your energy into reputation first and worry about creating a stunning website once it becomes apparent that not having one is more of a problem than you can tolerate.

As Ryan puts it, “Of course, having a professional website supports a trustworthy reputation, but it’s not enough to have just a great website anymore. Prospects want to know what other people think about your business. So lock in that trust up front, then build an amazing website.

Original Content from Huff Post

Ready to Boost Your Online Presence, for Free?

Whether you have a website or not, there are 7 simple techniques that can be used to boost your online visibility immediately. If you want to increase your leads and sales using these online marketing techniques, be sure to check out our free Early Wins Checklist!

7 On-Site UX Changes that Boost Conversions

This is a guest post by super gunius Matt Oxley of Dotlabel. For more information about Matt, check out his bio at the end of this post!

Enter Matt:

The goal for most websites is to boost conversion rates, whether that is to drive an enquiry, an online or offline sale, an ebook download or a newsletter sign-up.

However, the goals for your website visitors might be to learn more about your product or service, find out more information about your company or to compare prices.

The discipline of User Experience seeks to understand what your visitors are trying to achieve and to create an experience which is easy and pleasurable, allowing them to achieve their goals effortlessly, without confusion or frustration.

When embracing user experience as part of your web design and development strategy it is important to understand that to optimise your online conversion, the most effective methods aren’t achieved by simply applying surface level User Interface (UI) changes such as changing the colour or size of a button.

User Experience is a concept which delves much deeper into the whole process a user goes through to get their tasks done, it considers the sequence of actions they take, their emotional and sensory responses during their journey, and the final and lasting impressions of the interaction.

That said, with the right knowledge and understanding you can apply these insights and make changes to your website that can have a significant impact on conversion rates.

1. Know your users

Sound obvious?

But is your knowledge based on what you and your colleagues ‘think’ about your customers or based on actual research and insight gathered directly from your audience?  How can you begin to fulfil their needs if you don’t really know them!

UX tools such as User personas are often used to represent the voice of the user throughout the design and development process, ensuring that you continue to meet the needs, wants and expectations of your different user types.

When you have this understanding of your consumers, you can begin to review the types of content that is relevant and appropriate for them.

Your Personas will identify the types of information they want, how knowledgeable they are about your product or service and what things influence their decisions. You can use this insight to decide the formats of your content.

For example, would an infographic be better than a detailed whitepaper, or would a video be best. Would you need to convey the more technical aspects of your offering or would a simplified version be preferred, or is both required to address the different needs of your audience.

UX change to boost conversion: Research your customers to ensure you provide the right format of content.

2. User Journeys and Goals

Having insight into your users is just a part of the puzzle, this element feeds into the

all-important User Journey. The User Journey considers the goals of your different users, the tasks they undertake and the context (or scenario) in which they interact with your website, app or portal.

Once you plot the different possible journeys, you can begin to identify what additional information is required to help someone convert. Would a sizing chart be helpful? Does the delivery information need to be accessible at a certain point in the journey? Could an FAQs or customer reviews section help avoid visitors going to another website?

UX change to boost conversion: Include the relevant supplementary information at the right point in the journey to keep users on track to conversion.

3. Be Relevant

When you understand your visitors and their goals you then have the opportunity to provide them with content that is relevant. Today, web technologies can enable you to personalise your content for your visitors based on their interests, their previous visit behaviour and where they have arrived from, making their online journey a more tailored experience.

UX change to boost conversion: Personalise your content so it is relevant to the individual visitor and what they want.
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4. Design Mobile-First

Having the insights on when, how and why your audience interacts with you online will indicate the extent to which designing a great mobile experience really matters to your business.

When designing mobile-first, consider the experience within the limitations of a smaller screen size, and this will help to focus the design around enabling the user to achieve their goals most efficiently (usually with just their thumb!).

Also, when designing mobile-first you will need to consider the best ways to capture

information- for example, when the user needs to complete a form or undertakes a buying process. You can prioritise reducing the number of steps and using relevant input fields, such as displaying the numeric keyboard (rather than the fiddly alphanumeric keyboard) for credit card details or having an easy-to-use calendar date picker rather than annoying drop down fields.

When you design for desktop first which is responsive for mobile, it may adapt to fit on the screen, but that doesn’t mean that the experience is optimised for the mobile user.  If you are considering a website redesign, ensure that mobile is considered as your first priority.

UX change to boost conversion: Design mobile-first and optimise processes and input fields for the mobile user.

5. Design Intuitively

When you are designing your digital experience it is important not to be different just for the sake of it. Web visitors have an expectation of how things work, through their experience of other sites; they will expect menus and inputs to work in a certain way. A feature or functionality that is different can make an experience awkward or confusing if the visitor doesn’t know what to do.

Keep content in manageable sized chunks and if you are introducing features like gesture control (which are notoriously inconsistent across the web) it is important that you educate your users on how to use them.

UX change to boost conversion: Be consistent and clear on how things work.

6. Observe Your Users

Research and insights are an incredibly important part of UX.

Watching your users interacting with your website, app or portal can uncover a whole range of issues you hadn’t before realised were a problem.

There are so many ways you can gather this insight, either face to face, remotely and installing software like HotJar on your site, all of which can begin to reveal obstacles and hurdles which are hindering your conversion rate.

Combining this observation with your website insights means you can begin to build up a picture of what changes you need to make on site.

Is the need for an account registration becoming a barrier?

A rather dated but relevant example, is how UX Expert Jared Spool attributes a $300 million increase in revenue by giving customers the option of not having to register for an account in order to buy something. This valuable discovery was made as a result of user research.

Are your calls to action in the right place? Are there too many distracting messages confusing the user to what their next action should be? Are visitors missing vital information that can help them along their journey?

UX change to boost conversion: Watch how your customers interact with your site to find out what needs to change.

7. Test, Learn, and Iterate

Changes that work for one site won’t automatically work for another, as the best

conversion rates will be achieved by the sites that ‘listen’ and ‘respond’ to the needs of their own audience.

To create the optimal online experience you need to use insights and feedback to inform changes. A/B testing and Multi-variate testing are commonly used methods to live test different hypotheses on how to improve conversion. Making changes and comparing two live versions will determine which changes have the most impact on conversion.

Regular testing and improving a website should be an ongoing process. Users expectations will evolve as they interact with different websites, and the only way to ensure that your site keeps up, is to maintain a culture of continuous improvement. If you don’t, there is a real danger of needing a significant capital investment to do a complete ground-up redesign and build.

UX change to boost conversion: Invest in a continuous improvement programme to ensure your site remains relevant and up-to-date.

Matt Oxley – Author Bio

Matt Oxley is co-founder and Director of the award winning User Experience (UX) and digital agency DotLabel. Matt comes from a creative design background with a passion for user-centred digital experiences. In his career Matt has held the role of Creative Director at agencies Intercea and NetSitePro providing expert advice to household brand names such as GlaxoSmithKline and Scottish Courage.

Extended Information:

DotLabel delivers a range of UX-focused digital experiences including websites, apps, intranets and portals.  Dedicated to a UX design approach, the team at DotLabel know that when you combine a company’s objectives with an understanding of the users’ goals, attitudes and frustrations, you can create digital experiences that get better results and drive really conversion, whether that be increased enquiries and sales, improved engagement or reduced calls to customer support.

DotLabel was listed in the top 40 agencies in the South by Wirehive100 in 2018. Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2017, the company works with a prestigious client list includes Hendricks Gin, The Balvenie, Barclays, SDL, ATPI and Anthony Nolan.

The agency is proud to have recently won two awards at the Digital Experience Awards 2018, as well as the winner of the Best User Experience award and finalist for Consumer site of the year at the 2018 Wirehive 100 awards.

In addition, they are awaiting results of becoming a finalist at the UXUK awards for the not-for-profit category for their work with Anthony Nolan – results revealed on 22 November 2018.  Plus, DotLabel have also been recognised as a 2018 Top UX agency and Top Digital Design agency by Clutch.