Optimizing Your Website

Your website exists online, but does it get you the results you are hoping for?  How can you increase the desired outcome you are hoping for when people visit your site?

As the final article in our Instant ROI series we are looking at ways you can optimize your site in order to maximize its effectiveness.


I HAVE A WEBSITE. ISN’T THAT GOOD ENOUGH?

There are a lot of businesses that haven’t put the energy into making an exceptional website. It’s just hanging out in cyberspace, lonely, marking your existence on the Internet. Many believe that since they aren’t actively directing people to their website that it doesn’t really matter if their site is good, bad or a visual assault to your eyes.

The reality is: It’s a web driven culture. Regardless if you are directing traffic to your site, people still get there. Either in response to a business card, phone call or e-mail, potential customers will look up your site in order to validate your business.

What does your site say of your brand? Does it represent the quality of your product or service?

Taking Action
You want your site to make a good impression on your visitors. That’s why it’s there. But unfortunately Google Analytics doesn’t have a tool to measure what people thought of your site. So instead, we develop ways for visitors to tell you they liked what they saw, because they took action. They registered for your e-mail list, signed up for an event, joined your social platforms or bought your product.

Determining Actions
Actions vary depending on your goals. Businesses that develop a lower threshold action have more conversion success (which we will talk about more here in a moment). That means you ask them to give you an e-mail, sign up for a newsletter, follow any of your great social platforms or browse through your store. Something that doesn’t require too big of a commitment. Remember, many people will be visiting your site for the first time.

While you may not think this is as effective as purchasing your product, the long-term results will be much better. You want to entice them back, giving you more time to build a relationship with them, developing them into a loyal customer.

Conversion Rate
While we can’t measure people’s thoughts of your site, we can measure actions. Thank you Google! When people come to your site and take your desired action, we call it a conversion. The term used to measure that is Conversion Rate, which is determined by the desired number of actions completed, divided by, the number of visitors to the site.


OOPS! YOU’RE DRIVING TRAFFIC AWAY

We see a myriad of mistakes companies make when it comes to optimizing their website. The most common are confusing the visitor and not establishing trust. Don’t let your website repel potential customers because you didn’t invest the time to develop several key factors to cater to your visitors.

MISTAKE #1:
CONFUSING SITE

Whether we like it or not, we’re a society with a short attention span. If I can’t find what I am looking for in ten seconds, or worse, if the site takes more than 5 seconds to load, I am off to find another source. As a consumer, I want to get in, out and on my way.

The burden is on you and your website to make people pause, to be intriguing and easily accessible. It should inspire users to interact and hopefully complete your desired action. Once a visitor gets lost on your site or doesn’t know how to interact with you further, they are lost in cyberspace. Different causes of confusion are too many calls to action, too much information or just a hard to navigate site.

MISTAKE #2:
NOT DEVELOPING TRUST

Trust is a keystone in any customer-business relationship, especially in competitive markets. Most businesses don’t have the luxury of being the only provider around, leaving them vulnerable to strong competitors.

When people come to your site, they are there for a reason. They want to trust your organization, establish you as an expert or buy your product, marking the end of their search. Are you giving them any reason to?

MISTAKE #3:
NOT GIVING THEM A REASON TO TRUST YOU

There are several effective ways to establish trust on a website. The first is the website quality. Does your site experience match the type of service they would expect from you as a provider? This impression is developed within the first few seconds of arriving at your site.

Once you have captivated them long enough to validate your credentials, beyond just the look of your site, make sure they can easily find what sets you apart. This can come in the form of awards, accreditations, testimonials or articles you or your product have been featured in.

Even adding a map signifying a physical location adds credibility (if you have a brick and mortar location). Although we are all cyber junkies, we still find reassurance knowing that there are people, locations and something real behind a website.


THE NEXT STEP

Once you retained your visitor long enough to establish trust, you need to develop a clear call to action. They are here, they trust you and now they want to take arms, join your cause and invest their hard earned dollars in what you provide!

Give them the option of completing your action as quickly and seamlessly as possible. When people get lost, they are gone!

Setting up a clear call to action is the MOST IMPORANT thing you can do for your website, because you only get what you ask for. That applies to both life and the design of your website. If you aren’t asking people to check out your products, stay connected or make a booking, why have them come to the site?


DOES THIS STUFF ACTUALLY WORK?

I’m sure you are thinking that this all sounds fine and dandy, but will it actually work? And if it does, will it work for my business?

It does. And we want to prove it to you. 


CASE STUDY: THE CORONADO INN

We worked with the Coronado Inn to take a new approach to their digital marketing. As with many of our other clients that had website traffic but low conversions, with the launch of the new website they dramatically increased conversions.

With the old website, people were visiting but choosing to book accommodations elsewhere. Within the first 5 months of the new optimized site being launched, the Coronado Inn was seeing 35{97c8730f160c9e508a01140589a480dbe349ea76f955e52d069352d0f8092e99} increase in gross business compared to the previous year.

Here is what we did.

#1: Redesigned the Website

A keystone of this project was to redesign their website, establishing trust and providing a clear path to bookings.

The Coronado Inn isn’t a resort stay, or fancy accommodations. It is the best value stay in Coronado. Our goal was to develop a site that blatantly highlights exactly that, which in doing so helps develop trust and sets them apart from other accommodations.

To achieve this, we paired professional photographs and short concise descriptions of what the Inn has to offer. We built out value, featuring the 24/7 desk service, free continental breakfast, great location and free Wi-Fi.

In case any visitor stumbled upon the website without knowing that the Inn is a more affordable option, the first sliding banner reminds you that the Inn is the “Most Value for Your Stay.”

Not only did we give the viewers multiple reasons to book, we also made getting to the bookings page incredibly easy from any page.

#2: Implemented a Strong Booking System

Getting visitors to the booking page is only part of the battle. For the Inn, developing a strong online booking system was essential, as the majority of hotel transactions are completed online.

With the website we launched a secure, user-friendly online booking system to ensure that the Inn was not only competitive in the market, but also to increase the number of bookings. This system manages all of the bookings and availability, relaying that information to other booking sites such as Orbitz or Kayak.


#3: Supplemental Marketing Strategies

There is no denying that your website is a focal point of any digital marketing plan. But how do you get people there?

For the Coronado Inn we rolled out a comprehensive strategy to maximize their online presence. This included Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-mail marketing, content marketing and listing them in online directories. We saw a dramatic 300{97c8730f160c9e508a01140589a480dbe349ea76f955e52d069352d0f8092e99} increase in traffic within 8 months!

 

RESULTS

An additional $120,000
in online booking revenue in just 5 months
300{97c8730f160c9e508a01140589a480dbe349ea76f955e52d069352d0f8092e99} increase
in website traffic in just 8 months
35{97c8730f160c9e508a01140589a480dbe349ea76f955e52d069352d0f8092e99} more gross business
in June 2014 compared to previous year

Maybe you are an ROI person. Let’s break that down. For every $1 they are spending with us, they are seeing between $10-15 come back in every month.

You can’t beat that.