What could a website consultant ever do for me?
If you ever feel like you don't know where to begin, a website consultant will help in the following ways:
- She will teach you how to perform all of the activities yourself.
- She will advise you while you perform desired marketing activities.
- She will perform marketing activities herself, so that you wouldn't have to.
In the past 18 years, we collaborated with clients on building and improving their websites in so many ways that we're beginning to forget what those ways were.
So, we thought: why not build a huge list of things that are worth improving on a typical business website? Why not start with a list of ideas that help increase website traffic? That's what this article is about.
If you need a website consultant now, learn more about website consulting services.
How to Think About the Purpose of Your Website
A website is a marketing and sales tool designed to support and advance the efforts of your marketing and sales team.
Its job is to:
- Attract visitors (receive website traffic).
- Make those visitors trust you.
- Make trusting visitors contact you (lead generation).
- Make trusting visitors buy from you (if your website is set up for online transactions).
However, just like any tool, your website may not function to its fullest potential. When it fails, it fails in one or more of the four areas we just mentioned above.
A successful business website is like a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle in which all the little jigsaw puzzle pieces are put in the right place.
A website is a live thing: if you invest energy in it, it will repay you with love and leads. If you keep improving it, all the little puzzle pieces will fit together to create a powerful marketing and sales machine that keeps giving.
Just maintaining a status quo is not enough because your competitors are upgrading their online businesses as we speak. Because new technologies and practices emerge all the time, you need to keep up with them in order to stay relevant online.
Company owners usually choose to work on their websites themselves, which is fine. When improvement tasks become overwhelming, many company owners choose to ask a website consultant for help. If you're overwhelmed right now, consulting help is available.
A website consultant helps your business attract new customers, get them to trust you, generate leads, and close sales. She can find the missing jigsaw puzzle pieces, fix them, and help you put them where they belong. All this is done piece by piece, month by month.
The Big List: 20 Ways a Website Consultant Will Increase Traffic to Your Website
The list that follows is in no way comprehensive. New technologies keep changing the picture, and new puzzle pieces appear every day. Even website experts struggle to keep up with these changes, and that's why continuous improvement is so important.
Figure Out Where Your Competitors Are Receiving Traffic From
With tools such as Alexa or SimilarWeb, you can roughly compare the traffic of your website with any other website. These tools can reveal some of the keywords your competitors are receiving traffic for, and give you all sorts of ideas about competing with them.
Discover New Keywords
Have you tried Google Search Console? This tool shows you which keywords customers use to arrive at your website. Use it to uncover keywords that you already rank for, but that need a little push to rank better.
How about Google Keyword Planner? Keyword Planner is part of the Google Ads advertising platform. You can use it for free to uncover the keywords that get a lot of demand in search. Keyword Planner is great because it will show you high-demand keywords similar to the keywords you typed in, but that you never even knew were used to find your products and services.
The two tools above are just a start. Here's a list of more tools professionals use to discover new keywords, free and paid.
Rewrite TITLE, META and H1 content of Your Website Pages
This is the so-called on-site search engine optimization.
Just by including a target keyword in the TITLE, META DESCRIPTION and H1 tags of a website page, you can sometimes give a little push to that page on Google. Not too much, but in 2020 this is still worth doing.
If your website is run on a content management system such as WordPress or similar, you can probably edit those tags yourself (just ask your website developers for access).
Decide Which Products / Website Pages to Advertise Online
If you're considering advertising to boost traffic, it's important to select the best candidates to promote in those ads. Not all products and services are a good fit for advertising.
For example, products that are not in high demand may not attract lots of traffic. Similarly, it's not a smart idea to drive traffic to web pages that are not optimized for accepting traffic, because you'll be losing money.
Interpret Google Ads (AdWords) Reports Your Agency Sends You
Many companies never read the monthly advertising reports they receive from their advertising agency, and they never ask the agency to interpret the results. The reason is simple: companies do not know what the data in these reports means for their business, and they're sometimes embarrased to ask.
If your company is like that, we suggest you ask to schedule a monthly call with your advertising agency for data interpretation purposes. Even if the agency charges you extra for this (which they will if they're smart), the knowledge you'll acquire is priceless.
For example, you might learn why a certain class/group of keywords is generating more leads than others. You'll learn about terms such as keywords with buying intent and similar. Once you're inside that knowledge bubble, you'll get all sorts of great ideas for new keywords that your agency could include in your keyword plan.
Improve Results You Get from Your Advertising Agency
When ads don't generate leads, sales and results, clients and their advertising agencies often clash and end up ruining their relationship. No wonder this happens when you consider the following facts:
- Cost of advertising is on the rise,
- Landing pages for receiving paid traffic need continuous improvements and tweaking, and
- Ad copy and ad visuals require continuous creative input.
The less you know about how online advertising works, the higher the chance that your relationship with an agency will go sour at some point. Lets not pretend: clients make impossible demands all the time without even knowing it. Not all agencies are savvy enough to communicate what's possible in a productive way. For example, clients don't like it when they get fewer and fewer clicks on their ads for the same price they initially agreed. If the agency fails to explain why this happens and what to do about it, the client feels tricked, ends the relationship, and sometimes wows to never do advertising again (which is a shame).
Advertising rarely works without input from you, the client. An advertising agency is not a company you should hire, put on autopilot and forget about. If you want to generate profit from those ads, you will have establish some kind of informed oversight over what the agency is doing to make advertising work for you.
This is where a good website consultant truly makes a difference. A good consultant is like an impartial advocate for your needs, and who also happens to know a great deal about advertising. She will know:
- The right questions to ask the agency,
- How far to go with demands, without stepping into the territory of unreasonable or silly,
- Which original insights and knowledge to supply the agency with so that they can do their job better,
- How to align your overall business strategy with advertising goals,
- If the agency is dishonest or underperforming,
- When it makes sense to take no for an answer,
- When it's reasonable to offer no for an answer, etc.
If your business seriously relies on advertising for sales, AND you know very little about advertising, AND you're spending a non-trivial amount of money on ads, you should definitely talk to a consultant.
Analyze Which Sources Send the Highest Quality Traffic
Should you invest more in paid advertising or your Linkedin presence?
Is organic (the so-called free) Google traffic worth your investment?
Where do your best leads come from?
You'll never know unless you take the time to analyze your website traffic.
- Go to Google Analytics
- Open Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source Medium report.
- Sort sources by the Goal Value column.
Sources at the top of that list are your best performing sources, sending you the highest-converting traffic.
If you only see zeroes in the Goal Value column, this probably means you need to first properly configure Google Analytics to show real data under Goal Value. Read the next idea.
Configure Goal Value in Google Analytics
A Goal in Google Analytics is a numerical value you set manually in order to see how well your website is performing.
For example, let's say that your past experience tells you that each business lead you receive is worth $100 on average. $100, then, becomes the Goal Value you should enter for your "Lead Generation" goal.
In Google Analytics, do this:
- Go to Admin.
- In the View section, click Goals.
- Find the goal that has been previously set up to track the number of business leads you get from your website. Let's say that you named that goal 'Website Leads'.
- Click the goal name and then click Goal details.
- Turn the Value switch to ON and enter the value for your goal, $100. Save and close.
Voila! You will now be able to see where your leads are coming from. Wait until you receive several new website leads via your web forms, and then go to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source Medium in Google Analytics to view your best traffic sources.
If you don't have goals configured in Google Analytics, then read the next idea.
Configure Lead Generation Goals in Google Analytics
Goals let you track and record that a valuable marketing event has occured on your website, an event such as a customer filling out your contact form. When you have the goals configured, you can get answers to questions like these:
- How much am I paying to generate a business lead via paid ads?
- Which channel is more profitable, Linkedin or Facebook or Google Ads?
However, goals do not come pre-configured for you when you install Google Analytics. You must customly configure the goals yourself, according to your business needs.
(In case you were wondering why some web agencies charge a premium for website development services, it's probably because configuring Google Analytics goals and similar key activities are included in their price.)
A prerequisite is that you have at least one lead generation form on your website. In the simplest scenario, when a customer fills out this form and clicks submit, another page is loaded - the so-called Thank You Page - and the act of loading of that page tells Google Analytics that a lead has been generated. You need to enter the exact URL of that Thank You page into Google Analytics to set up a simple goal.
- Go to Admin.
- In the View section, click Goals.
- Click the New Goal button and select to configure a Custom goal.
- After naming your goal something like Form Submitted, choose the Destination goal type.
- Under the Destination field, select Equals to and then copy and paste the exact URL of your Thank You page, for example /thankyou/ or /thankyou.html or similar. If you don't know what the exact URL is, as your website development agency.
- Now that you're here, also follow the previous instructions regarding the Value to tell Google Analytics how much in $ a lead is worth to you.
Succeed with Content Marketing on First Try
If you're not teaching with content or publishing anything on your website, it's high time you start doing so. You may need a little help with it, so here's our article series called Content Marketing Strategy for Absolute Beginners.
The easiest way to start with content marketing is by answering customer questions with blog posts and focusing on being extremely useful to your customers. In fact, we wrote about the three books we recommend that content marketing beginners should read.
Brainstorm a List of Content Topics to Write About
Now that you've discovered new keywords, use them as a basis for writing content. For years tome come, content will remain one of the most reliable ways to attract new traffic from search engines and referrals.
Carve out 20 minutes of your time to brainstorm a list of possible blog post articles you could write well.
Example: If customers are searching for best recruiting agency and you happen to be a recruiting agency, why not write and article with a title "How to choose the best recruiting agency for your company?"
Create an Annual Content Plan
Struggling to convince your colleagues or employees to contribute ideas for your content marketing efforts? Try introducing a simple collaborative spreadsheet on Google Sheets for capturing blog post ideas.
If you're already publishing content, why not elevate your practices to a more organized level? You can do the following:
- Create a shared spreadsheet in which your team writes down content ideas as they pop up in their minds. You can use Google Sheets to collaborate with your team on a single spreadsheet, with edits in real time.
- Have your marketing manager pick the best ideas and decide which content is published weekly, monthly, semi-annually and annually. For example, you can decide to produce one blog post a week, one case study a month, one white paper every six months, and one larger ebook a year.
- Schedule your content on a content calendar. You can use Google Calendar to share the calendar with the team.
Identify the Best Performing Blog Posts
Take a look at your Google Analytics or Google Search Console: which blog posts receive the most traffic? Which blog posts have the highest page value? How could you produce more of these to drive even more traffic? What are the factors that make those blog posts perform well?
For example, this is the most visited blog post on our website. Not only does it drive traffic, but it also generates online sales for our template for writing company anniversary blog posts. This blog post performs well because it captures hundreds of keywords on Google, many of which are in high demand. Companies search the web for ideas on celebrating their company anniversary, arrive on our website, and end up buying our digital product that helps them write a specific type of business blog post.
Identify Content With Highest Potential for Improvement in Search
Some of your blog posts appear in search, but do not rank well (on the first page of search results). You can use Google Keyword Planner to uncover the keywords for which you could optimize those blog posts, so that they rank better.
Here's how to do that:
- You probably need to identify what would be the one high-demand keyword that is a good fit for the topic of your blog post.
- Use on-site optimization techniques to edit your blog post's TITLE, META DESC, and H1 tags.
- Use the famous skyscraper technique to upgrade the content of your blog post so that it's richer in content and better-looking than other pages that outrank you in search results.
Interview Your Subject Matter Experts for Content Writing Purposes
Sometimes people with the most knowledge aren't the best writers, or can't be persuaded to write. This is normal and it makes no sense to fight it.
But they are so smart and know so much! If only they would write about what they know!
We know the feeling!
Luckily, most experts are very good at talking about the subject in which they're experts. All you need to do is know which questions to ask them, sit down with those subject matter experts, and extract valuable knowledge from them.
Imagine you were a journalist and do this:
- Brainstorm a list of questions to ask your colleague. If your job is to write marketing and sales copy for your business website, check out our B2B Website Content Writing Guide in which you'll find all the questions you need to answer to write 20+ business website pages.
- Sit down with your subject matter expert, ask your questions, and record their answers. We use a voice recorder, but any smartphone with voice recording feature will do.
- It's your turn now: transcribe your raw recordings, edit those raw notes, and turn it into website content.
Have a Colleague Interview You for Content Gathering Purposes
If you're that subject matter expert who can't be persuaded to take the time to write, have a colleague or an employee in your company interview you. You're the source of valuable content, they're the person who should extract that valuable content.
By outsourcing content in this way, you will personally only spend around 10-15 minutes per content piece. Try this once and if you like the process, make it a regular habit.
In case there's nobody in your company to interview you and finish the content writing task, consider hiring a copywriter who could interview you for content.
Decide in Which Social Channels You Should Be Present
The general rule is this: be where your customers are. If this place happens to be where you feel comfortable posting content and communicating with people, you'll probably do very well.
Social channels are:
- Globally popular social networks such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube.
- Social groups within those social networks, such as Facebook Groups and Linkedin Groups.
- Other popular communities, such as Quora and Reddit.
- There are also forums, old-school social channels that you should not ignore. Social life does exist outside Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
How to discover good channels to establish your presence:
- Research where your customers meet to ask about your industry and your type of products and services. Look into traffic sources in your Google Analytics, ask your peers, and run internet searches for the types of questions your customers might ask related to your solutions.
- Lurk and mingle in those discovered communities for several weeks to get a feel for the people, discussions, and the general culture there. If you like it and the community shows promise, stay there. Start asking questions and start posting thoughtful, helpful comments.
- Evaluate the ease of connecting with people there, and assess how much effort it takes to generate a lead. If people are interacting with you when you try to interact with them, it's a good sign.
Create a Month's Worth of Social Media Content by Repurposing Your Content
Any piece of content old or new you have ever created can be given second life, or third, or tenth.
Take your old presentations, speeches, blog posts, interviews... and transform them into any other format, for example into an infographic, a short presentation, an image quote, or a series of social media posts.
For example, do this:
- Go to Google Analytics and identify your most popular blog post.
- Slice and dice that blog post into 20 short, shareable ideas.
- Schedule those 20 shareable ideas for publishing on social media.
Voila: you now have 20 days worth of social media content, without having to come up with anything original.
Some tools you can use here:
- Use Canva to create great-looking visuals when repurposing your content
- Use Buffer to schedule social media posts in advance (saves a huge amount of time)
Identify Link Building Opportunities for SEO Purposes
Warning: this is an advanced idea.
Link building is an advanced SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactic that aims to get other reputable websites to link to your web pages. The more reputable websites link to you, the higher you rank on Google. One single link you build today can generate high-quality traffic for a decade!
No wonder link building is arguably the most effective way to do SEO (when it's done ethically). It's also one of the hardest tactics to use, which is why only the pros practice it. It's hard because you can't make other people link to you; you have to find a way to make them want to link to you. It's also hard because it's a lot of manual work that does not work if you try to automate it.
For mature industries and saturated markets where competition is fierce, link building gets extremely hard to do well. However, the industry you are in and the market in which you do business may still be an uncharted territory, ripe for easy and cheap link building. If you never practiced link building, here's how it's usually done on a pro level:
- Create high-quality content.
- Identify websites that would probably want to link to that content (because it's in their interest).
- Contact the owners of those websites and ask them to link to you.
Now you begin to realize why link building is hard. Not only is it hard to create content of high value, it's also hard to make other people link to you for free. Unless you have a previously established relationship with those people, asking for a free link won't get you that link. That's why it's important to meet new people online and help them with stuff, so that they would one day help you in return. That's why it's important to use social media... You probably see where we're going with this, right? Online marketing works only if you do all of those things. It's a chain of activities that suffers if any link is missing.
To get a taste for link building and make it a habit with time, we recommend you start with beginner's link building tactics. There are dozens of link building strategies that are useful on various levels of sophistication and experience.
Identify Guest Posting Opportunities
Guest posting is another name for writing a blog post specifically for the purposes of publishing it on someone else's website so that you could reach new readers.
Guest posting is also one type of link building tactics we previously mentioned.
Here's an example of a guest post we wrote for another website. This guest post managed to generate direct sales and earned us some public recognition and reputation.
Guest posting is an almost perfect and fair exchange of favors:
- You provide fresh, high-quality content with original insight only you can provide.
- The website where you publish provides a link back to your website and exposure to their readers who you would not be able to reach easily otherwise.
Guest posting opportunities do not come to you. You need to create them yourself. Website owners will (almost) never approach you with an offer to write something for them.
If you want to try guest posting for a reputable website, do this:
- Find out whether the website accepts guest posting. If they do, they usually say so somewhere on their website. If they don't say so explicitly, research their blog or news section and try to find if other third people have written content for them.
- Contact the website and pitch your topic. Tell them what you want to write about and how that topic would be useful to their readers.
- If your pitch gets accepted, write the most amazing article you can. Spend twice as much time as you normally would on a blog post.
Guest posting is never paid for. Don't expect to get paid, and never ever offer to pay to have your article published on their website in exchange for a backlink. Paying for a backlink is against Google's rules for ranking in their search engine, and search engines tend to hunt the perpetrating websites down and penalize them for such behavior.
We're working on another huge list of dozens of ways a website consultant helps you earn customers' TRUST online. Follow us on social media (links are in the footer) to get notified when the next article gets published.
- [TOOL] Alexa, alexa.com
- [TOOL] SimilarWeb, similarweb.com
- [TOOL] Google Search Console, search.google.com
- [TOOL] Google Keyword Planner, ads.google.com
- [ARTICLE] The 10 Best Keyword Research Tools to Find the Right Keywords for SEO, hubspot.com
- [ARTICLE] Content Marketing Strategy for Absolute Beginners, logit.net
- [ARTICLE] Three Evergreen Content Marketing Books I Wish Absolute Beginners Would Read in 2020, linkedin.com
- [TOOL] Google Sheets, google.com
- [TOOL] Google Calendar, calendar.google.com
- [TOOL] Google Analytics, marketingplatform.google.com
- [ARTICLE] Skyscraper Technique, backlinko.com
- [TOOL] Canva, canva.com
- [TOOL] Buffer, buffer.com
- [WORKBOOK] B2B Website Content Writing Guide, logit.net
- [ARTICLE] Link Building Strategies: The Complete List, backlinko.com