7 Website Changes that Google and Your Customers Will Love

7 Website Changes that Google and Your Customers Will Love

Great websites convert visitors into customers. Here are some simple things you can do right now to help build trust and get your website seen in relevant searches.

When people trust you, they’re more likely to buy from you. When people buy from you they are more likely to recommend your product or service to someone else. That’s how businesses are built. When you’re a small to medium-size business making changes to your website isn’t always a priority, but it can make a big difference in trust, sales, and growth.

Here are some tweaks you can make to deliver the content that converts visitors into customers and customers into personal evangelists for your brand. As an added bonus, these changes also help you rank higher in search engines. To help you get started today, I’ve included some action items at the end of each section.

1. Craft Your Value Proposition “Above the Fold”

You’re probably asking yourself “what the hell is this guy talking about – above the fold”? Simply put it’s the visible area that fills your screen before you begin scrolling. In older websites the areas are typically too small. Take for instance the client site I just recently overhauled. The old site really doesn’t have a fold per se because the whole site was above the fold. This site was designed during a time when screens were smaller and people thought you had to have Flash in order to sell your service. So what should go into this area?

Eye-Catching Headline

Like any storefront, you want to have an eye-catching headline. Great headlines are meant to get the visitor to keep reading. Carve out some time and figure out who you’re selling to. There are a ton of great resources out there. But if you don’t have time head over to Quicksprout and check out the epic blog post “The Definitive Guide to Copywriting”. It’s an excellent resource.

2-3 Sentences or Bulletpoints

The text below the headline describes your product or service in a compelling way. These can be a couple of sentences or a few bullet points that incorporate your unique value/sales proposition.

Call to Action Button

Below the copy you’re going to have a nice fat button with a compelling call to action (CTA for short). Your copy needs to let them know exactly what they’ll get! For instance, instead of writing “Download The Guide” you might want to write “Get The Free Weight Loss Guide” and instead of “Learn More” you might want to put “Yes, I Want to Lose Weight”. When they do click that button it’s important to have an incredible giveaway ready to deliver for them.

Phenomenal Giveaway (aka: item of value, lead magnet)

We call these “lead magnets” and they are designed to provide visitors something of value. In exchange your visitor provides their email and they are sent the product via email and are simultaneously added to your sales funnel. For example I have a client who I’m working with. They are in the health and wellness industry and I’m going to work with them to create The Ayurvedic Quick Reference Guide. It’s going to be an amazing giveaway and provide a ton of great information but it can also be used to help your customers make more informed purchases.

Your visitor has just taken the first step in the sales process and the first time they get to experience your brand. First impressions are everything and it really is a special moment because they are saying, I’m going to give you a chance. When they do submit their email address, make sure you have an autoresponder set up so that you aren’t manually emailing them the PDF. There are a ton of email marketing products out there. The most common are: MailChimp, AWeber, ConvertKit, which are just a few entry-level platforms.

Action Item(s):
  • Craft some kickass copy!
  • Come up with an awesome giveaway your ideal visitors will love!
  • Sign up for an email marketing service.

Pro Tip: MailChimp is free!

2. Logo Parade, Logo Ribbon, Logo Band

Logo parades are brands of companies you may have worked with, partnered with, helped, stores your products are in, etc. Visually these occupy the space below the fold and lets your visitors know you have worked with reputable brands. Psychologically it tells them if these brands worked with you then you are reputable. You might have even seen an example of this on my homepage.

Action Item(s):
  • Go through your phone and email and make a list of all the companies and brands that have done business with you.
  • Now go collect their logos. A great place to start is Brands of the World. If you can’t find them there do a Google Image Search. You can even filter it by file type. SVG’s and higher resolution PNG file types will be best.
  • Search for the company you do business with and add .pdf when you’re typing out the search. Locate a downloadable PDF if there is one and find the page the company logo and open it in Illustrator. Most of the time it’s a vector graphic.

3. Testimonials

This is actually a lot of fun because it gives you the chance to call or email people who you’ve already done business with and immediately reconnects you with them. If you have a LinkedIn business page set up – kill two birds with one stone and request endorsements and testimonials for your business page. I think there’s a limit on requests per week but it’s a good way to open up dialog and share that you’re doing a homepage overhaul and you want them to be featured on your new site. Tell them that you’ll link back out to their website.

Next, go through your contact list on your phone and computer and start emailing friends, family, past and present customers and ask them to please write a testimonial or endorsement. If it feels awkward you can incentivize it with a % off your product or service for taking the time out of their day to endorse you.

Action Item(s):
  • Use your phone, email, LinkedIn, Yelp or other contact management program and start reaching out for endorsements, testimonials, or reviews (terminology may vary).
  • Archive the testimonials in a word doc, google doc, text doc or Evernote. If you aren’t doing the web design yourself then save them for your web designer.

4. Re-arrange your Content

Before you decide to figure out what content is going on the front page, I am a big believer of letting the data guide me. If you don’t have an analytics account, you should definitely sign up for one, install the code on your site and immediately start gathering data. If you don’t know how to do this, don’t let this become an obstacle. Typically I use Google analytics to see where visitors are going so I can what the most visited content is that visitors are searching for. If it’s buried in the site, then I percolate those products or services up to the front page for immediate access. It also gives you a chance to take a product or service with low traffic and bring that to the front page to increase visibility.

With that strategy in mind pepper the front page with content blocks containing a photo of the product or service, sales copy of the description and put a big fat button with a compelling call to action underneath. Think “buy now”, “learn more”, etc. With your analytics in place you will now be able to start collecting hard data on how people interacting with your site, where they are going, what they are clicking and if they are converting into customers. Don’t be afraid to experiment and do A/B split testing over time. If something isn’t working, ditch it and test something else.

Action Item(s):
  • Go to Google Analytics and get set up with a tracking code. Start gathering traffic data.
  • Take your most popular products or services (not already on the front page) and push them to the front page.
  • Take one low traffic product/service and push that to the front to see if there is a change in purchase behavior.

5. Outbound Links

This is a good habit to get into. Every website or article deserves research, make it a habit to provide outbound links to specific examples to back up your claim or to provide references. Perhaps you do a lot of business with other partner companies or you like a technique or metric someone provides. If this is the case, link to their site, product or article. Google likes it and your customers will like it too.

Action Item(s):
  • If you’re doing a lot of blogging be sure to include outbound links to authoritative sites in your articles.

6. Reduce Your Website’s Load Time

Increased load time isn’t just annoying but Google doesn’t like it either. In fact they started ranking websites based on the time it takes to load a website. Google actually penalizes you for having a slow site because they don’t want a slow internet and I have to agree. If you want to see how fast or slow your site is running, they have a little tool called PageSpeed Insights that will tell you exactly what you or your webmaster can do to improve the performance of your site.

Action Item(s):
  • Check out PageSpeed Insights and see how well your website scores.
  • Have your webmaster upgrade your site into a high-octane workhorse.

7. SSL (Secured Socket Layer) Certificate

If you’re doing any business involving payments, or forms, I highly recommend securing your website with an SSL (secured socket layer). This is highly recommended  but Google prefers websites that are secure and will give them preferential treatment. Here’s a video that explains more about SSL’s.

There’s also a great article over at AHREF’son HTTPS and best practices when you do decide to do this.

Action Item(s):
  • Contact your web host and get set up with an SSL.

Conclusion

As you can see these are basic practices that you immediately put into practice, making a more persuasive impact on your visitors and search engines. While it may take some web-savvy to implement some of these items into your website it’s worth it.

Within each of these steps you will start collecting “assets” and it’s important to keep everything organized in folders so if you decide to hand this off to a webmaster, you can deliver everything in a neat package.

Set a goal for the week and set aside an hour for each item by the end of the week you’ll have the building blocks to optimize your messaging, build trust with your visitors, and give your site speed a boost of jet fuel.

Action Item Summary
  • Craft some kickass copy!
  • Come up with an awesome giveaway your ideal visitors will love!
  • Sign up for an email marketing service.
  • Go through your phone and email and make a list of all the companies and brands that have done business with you.
  • Now go collect their logos. A great place to start is Brands of the World. If you can’t find them there do a Google Image Search. You can even filter it by file type. SVG’s and higher resolution PNG file types will be best.
  • Use your phone, email, LinkedIn, Yelp or other contact management program and start reaching out for endorsements, testimonials, or reviews (terminology may vary).
  • Archive the testimonials in a word doc, google doc, text doc or Evernote. If you aren’t doing the web design yourself then save them for your web designer.
  • Go to Google Analytics and get set up with a tracking code. Start gathering traffic data.
  • Take your most popular products or services (not already on the front page) and push them to the front page.
  • Take one low traffic product/service and push that to the front to see if there is a change in purchase behavior.
  • If you’re doing a lot of blogging be sure to include outbound links to authoritative sites in your articles.
  • Check out PageSpeed Insights and see how well your website scores.
  • Have your webmaster upgrade your site into a high-octane workhorse.
  • Contact your web host and get set up with an SSL.

And just remember if you need some help getting started or want the latest tips and tricks give me a shout below.

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