Turn It Up To 11!

website amplificationThere was a time when all it took to get good placement in search result listings was to fill your site with text, regardless of whether or not it had anything to do with your company. You’d often see half a page of text that looked like this:

summer facebook google metallica candy crush katy perry reeses youtube coca-cola dragon barack obama yahoo emily weather craigslist alejandro games twitter hotel ebay minecraft aol netflix barbies hotmail singles airline cnn

or sentences with keywords just thrown in:

There’s a science Geneseo, IL to SEO that people Web Design need to learn to keep Social Media their business profitable and successful Websites to Impress.

Ugh, I got a headache just writing that. Search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated and aren’t fooled by this kind of textual deception anymore. Today, your website has to make sense to your reader and have content that is helpful and informational or Google may not give it a good ranking.

Better, Stronger, Faster

website designIn addition to the day-to-day SEO that needs to be performed on your site, you need to apply a strategy called “amplification”. This means you have to take everything you are doing well on your website and crank it up. You want your website to not only perform well for Google’s crawler bots, you want it to be useful for your potential customers. After all, the whole reason you have a website is to drive business to your organization.

There are several ways you can do this with just a little bit of effort and time.

More Man Than Machine

As shown in the keyword explosion example above, it used to be that content writers wrote for computers and not people. (Some shady companies still stock their websites with keywords that have nothing to do with their product or service.) As the search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated, the need for clear and useful content is more important than ever. People should find your website useful or educational. Make sure your content is easy to read and understand and is of interest to the people that visit your site.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

You need to get the word out there about your site and social media allows you an easy and effective way to do that. Advertising on platforms like Facebook is relatively inexpensive and allows you to target specific audiences. You can also use other sites such as Twitter or Pinterest to promote your site. Make sure your site has buttons or links so users can access your social media pages with one click.

Are You Experienced?

user experienceUser experience is one of the biggest driving forces behind successful websites. We discussed earlier that your site has to be easy to read, but you need to make sure it is simple for the user to get around. Menus navigation should be clear and information should be straightforward. As more people are using mobile devices, they don’t always have the luxury of time or the ability to look at page after page to find what they are looking for. In addition, many people today want instant gratification and expect to find information quickly and easily. Your site can be the best looking one out there, but they will move on to the next site if it becomes tedious.

80% Party, 20% Business

As stated above, you need to take advantage of social media promotions, but you need to use your Facebook or Twitter page effectively. There is a line of thought that your social media should be a mix of 80/20: 80% of your postings should promote other content or engage the reader with the human side of you and your business. Only 20% of your social media writings should be self-promotion of your company. Use your website for business and use your social media accounts to be…well, social.

Under Construction

adjust your siteTake the opportunity to tweak your site. Experiment with the color of buttons and the placement of images and graphics. Websites aren’t carved in stone, so see if people react better to a gold button or to a red one. Maybe try a different font (except for Comic Sans, just don’t. Ever.) Try something different for a month and see if the results are worth keeping. It costs nothing and could make a huge difference in your sales.

Contact Us

We can help you get the most out of your website and social media. Contact us today and we’ll get to work amplifying your site and helping turn potential customers into paying customers!

Like A Rubber Ball…

bounce rates You know people are coming to your website, but you may not be seeing any results. One thing you may want to check is your bounce rate.  “Bounce Rates” are the number of people that come to your website’s landing page and then leave without visiting any other pages. It’s not quite the same as “Exit Rate”, which is the page that people leave your site from, regardless of how many pages they visited before that. Both kinds of information are useful, but they give you different kinds of data.

Before we got started on some possible solutions, you may be wondering if you even have a bounce rate problem. According to Avinash Kaushik, it is very difficult to achieve a bounce rate under 20%. If the rate starts creeping over 35%, you should be concerned and if it is over 50% that is when you should begin to worry about your page. By using Google Analytics, you can see what pages are bouncing, along with how the user accessed your page (desktop, mobile, tablet) and other information that can apply to your situation in varying degrees.

Where’d Everybody Go?

There are different reasons that people may have left your site after only viewing one page: some are good, some are bad. In some cases, the user may have found the information that they were looking for on that first page. For example, they may have been looking for your store hours or a price and, once they found it, they exited your website. It’s always nice when they stick around on your site, but if they found the information they needed, then most likely they contacted you.

On the other hand, there are many reasons why someone may leave your site that are not beneficial to your company. A high bounce rate usually means that the landing page the customer used was irrelevant, annoying or frustrating. The customer should have an informative experience that helps them with their situation and makes them want to purchase your goods or services.

We’re going to talk a little about trying to reduce your bounce rate, but keep in mind the purpose of your website is to create conversions and not lowering bounce rates. You need to analyze the reason people came to that page, the time they spent there and the possible reason they left without interacting further. Like I said earlier, if they came to your “Contact Us” page and left, perhaps they only needed your phone number, address or hours of operation. However, if they are coming and going from a page and you can’t explain it, you should probably examine that page a little more.

quality web designNot Too Hot, Not Too Cold…

Humans are finicky. Most people are like Goldilocks and prefer things to be “just right”: they want things to be interesting, but not over-stimulating; informative, but not overwhelming. If they become frustrated or turned off, they will just hit that back button and move on.

Your website should reflect the image your company or industry is trying to portray. Bright colors and graphics will be okay on a company that rents party equipment, but is probably not appropriate for one that sells grave markers. Some common methods that you may see on the Internet do little to convert customers: pop-up ads, autoplay videos, pagination, and click bait are all sizzle, no substance.

Regardless of what your goods or services are, your website should look professional. Spend the money on a good web design company with a professional graphic artist on staff. The ROI is well worth the expense. People want to feel confident that they made the right decision as much as they want to feel confident that you will do a good job.

Stop The Bouncing!

Here are some easy and effective things you can do (or not do) to help lower your bounce rate:

Pagination

If you’ve spent any time surfing the Internet, you have probably come across websites that were frustrating to use. They may advertise a Top Ten List, but then you have to click through 11 pages to get to the end. Most users don’t have the patience to click multiple pages to read information. This kind of tactic has only one purpose: to get a lot of clicks to show advertisers that they have a lot of traffic. Customers are not likely to purchase your product, which is the reason you have a website. People can scroll, so let them, there is no need to pit their patience against their desire to learn more. In the screenshot below, there were 10 items on the list, each with their own 100-word paragraph. You had to click to the next page to read the next item on the list, instead of scrolling down the page.

pagination, bounce rate

Click Bait

You’ve probably seen the ads that say things like “People in your city are losing weight with this one easy trick!” or “You won’t believe what happens when he put his phone in the microwave!” If you’re like me, you may have clicked out of curiosity (or boredom) and it was not even worth the effort of the mouse click. The screenshot below is another example. Many times these links take you to poor quality sites or even dangerous ones. Again, the companies get a click, but at what cost? If I was looking for a weight loss aid or a phone fix, I would be more likely to stay on a page that was honest and gave me usable information. A frustrated user is NOT a willing buyer.  I’m not sure what benefits the publisher receives by hosting these kinds of ads. It can potentially take traffic away from the website and steals some of the credibility.

click bait, bounce rate

Page Speed

page speed, bounce ratesWe’ve become a society desiring instant gratification. How many times have you stood at the microwave, urging it to JUST HURRY UP and heat your Hot Pocket already! If a page takes too long to load, especially on a mobile device, most users will just hit the “back” button and try the next search result.

Mobile Friendly

mobile optimization While we’re on the topic of mobile devices, make sure your site is optimized for phones and tablets. The other day I tried to access a page on my phone and the text was so small I couldn’t read it and it was not possible to expand it. Also, keep in mind that many people are mindful of their data usage on their phone, so try and keep videos and other high bandwidth items from being autoplay.

One Stop

bounce rates, web design Try and give your customers all the information they need to make their decision without having to leave your site. Progressive Car Insurance was one of the first to offer their prices up against other car insurance companies. There is a risk that people may buy from your competitor, but the strategy must be effective as not only does Progressive continue to offer this service, other companies are following their lead. Businesses in the travel industry integrate reviews from other sites such as Expedia on their own sites. If people have the information they need they are more likely to just stay on the site, rather than start the whole process over again on another company’s website.

Internal and External Links

hyperlink Make sure that the links are relevant to the content and not just a link for the sake of having a link. If a customer clicks on “sump pumps” make sure it takes them to a page where they can learn about your sump pumps, not just a random page. Try and put these links in an easy to find location, so that the user can easily continue looking through your site. External sites can help your SEO, but you may want to place them towards the end of the page and make sure they open in a new window so that your customer can easily return to your page without exiting.

Formatting

page navigation As stated in an earlier blog, you want to keep your page easy to read and relevant. Break your page up into easy to read pieces and make sure it is professional and relevant. Link to informative blogs and other pages. Your customer should be able to easily navigate around your site to get the information they are looking for. A search function and easy to navigate menus go a long way to keeping your customer on your website.

Call To Action

call to actionIf you have a “Call To Action” (CTA) button such as “Free Quote” or “Contact Us” make sure it is easy to find and goes to the correct destination. Make sure the color attracts the user and is placed in an area of the page that makes sense. Experiment with different colors, placement, and size and see which works best for you and your customers. Link email addresses and phone numbers so that they automatically mail or call when clicked. This is very useful to mobile users.

Correct Keywords

keywordsMake sure that the keywords that are bringing traffic to your website are accurate and relevant. If the user comes to your site because of a misleading keyword they are just going to right back out. The current methods of SEO have decreased the use of this tactic, but in the past some websites used to fill their pages with every search query they could think of, just to get someone to land on their page. This leads to a frustrating experience for the user and more often than not does not convert into a sale.
If your landing page is a roadblock to the rest of your website, take some time to figure out how to keep your customers and encourage them to purchase your goods or services. The professionals at Websites to Impress can help you