Launching a website is easy. All you have to do is signup for one of the online hosting services such as Wix, Squarespace, or GoDaddy and create your website using their page building application. Once created, you publish your new website and wait for the new clients to come pouring in. Most times however, there is nothing but crickets. Running a successful website takes a lot more work. Read on to discover the process we use to help clients create a successful website.
First, we do a discovery process where we get to know the client and their customers. We spend considerable time trying to understand their customers. We ask questions like who your customers are, why do they come to your business, and what are they looking for. Building the demographics for potential customers and understanding their needs help drive our approach to developing the website. Most times, we find that businesses build their website for themselves (i.e., creating a brochure website) and don’t give much thought to what their customers want.
Next, we do competitor research to find out what their competitors are doing. We look at competitor websites for clues as to what is popular and what seems to be working. We don’t limit competitor analysis to nearby companies but look at some of the most popular companies in our client’s business. Most often, these larger businesses have figured out how to use their website to support their customers. Competitor research also looks at the different social media platforms the competitor uses and studies their marketing campaigns. As we conduct this research, we compile a list keywords the competitors use on their website (and in their marketing).
With our list of keywords, we now conduct keyword research to discover which keywords are relevant to our client. We use a variety of tools to create a refined list of potential keywords. There are a variety of tools available (some free and some paid) that help discover potential keywords. Some things we look for are how competitive the keywords are (how hard it will be to rank), the search frequency of the keywords, and how cost per click for each keyword. For new clients with a limited marketing budget, we look for keywords that are easy to rank for, have medium search ranking and relatively low cost to market the keyword. We also look for long tail keywords that others have ignored. (i.e., phrases with medium search numbers but low cost per click)
Having an understanding of what customers want and a list of potential keywords, we start designing the website. The main focus of the website is to convert visitors to customers. We incorporate the keywords into the website content using a variety of SEO processes. The website follows common trends (design and layout) so that visitors will immediately understand how to manoeuvre through the website.
A website with a common look and feel helps visitors find the information they are looking for. The website design decisions follow a combination of what the client wants (branding, functionality, reporting, and content) and what the client’s customers need (what they are looking for). The website is also set up for analytics and reporting. Without critical visitor statistics, it is difficult to determine whether the website is fulfilling the needs of the client and their visitors. These analytics include Google Analytics, Google Console, Google Tag Manager, and Facebook Pixels. The decision on which analytics to use is driven by the platform the client intends to use for their marketing campaigns.
Website Development Begins
Once the keyword research is done and the website is ready for visitors, focus turns to setting up marketing campaigns to drive people to the website. The selected marketing platform depends on where potential customers spend their time online. For some clients, they use Facebook ads, Google ads, or LinkedIn ads to attract visitors. Other clients use a combination of all three platforms. Marketing is not an exact science and some testing is required to determine what works and what doesn’t work. The important part is to find what works and then do more of it.
Some marketing platforms are more effective than others and some are more cost effective. The marketing message uses the same keywords discovered during keyword research and those included on the website. The keywords tie all three efforts together. For example, a potential visitor searches for a keyword, sees an ad using the keyword, and then follows a link to a website that contains the same keyword.
Creating a successful website requires careful planning and execution to get the best results. This planning includes client discovery, keyword research, website development, and effective marketing campaigns. All of this planning must be coordinated so that processes support each other. Done right, you have a repeatable process that drives new clients to your business. More website visitors mean more customers.