Generating sales through your businesses website is fundamentally why you have it. We aren’t just talking here about taking payments online, if it doesn’t at least make your phone ring or capture leads then it’s not adding much value to your business.
Whatever the goal for your website, ensuring that it forms a part of your path to sales is crucial. This won’t be news to you but whether you’re a seasoned web expert or just dipping your toe, you need to know what the current state of play is, where the quick wins are and what action you can take today to improve your top line sales.
We’ll walk you through how to approach this by using the Handle website report but if you have a specific area of focus in mind, you use the links below to jump to that section.
- Know your position
- Enhance your SEO score
- Check your security
- Optimise and improve
- Keep implementing actions
- Check your outcomes & validate your work
1. Know your position
When customers search for your business through a search engine, such as Google or Bing, you want your business to be listed on page 1. The obvious benefit of this is that it makes it easy for your customers to find you, when was the last time you visited page 2 of Google?
Your current ranking position is just a snapshot in time so this can change, either up or down. Keep an eye on this each month when your website report refreshes and if you start to see your average position falling away it might be a good idea to invest time and effort in search engine optimisation (SEO).
If your ranking in the search engines is lower than you would like then your Handle SEO score is a good indicator of how well optimised for the search engines your website currently is. A low score demonstrates that there is potentially quite a few areas you could enhance to improve your ranking and thus reach more potential customers. From this score, Handle will create the actions you can take away and implement either yourself if you have the time and inclination or via staff members or agencies. Each of the actions in your Handle report will be linked to further reading, guides or other resources to help you get that action done and adding value to your business.
The truth is that no one really knows what goes into the search engine algorithms to define the end search results, however, there are some key principles for SEO that can help guide you:
- Create web pages for users
- Don’t deceive users
- Be unique and valuable to your customers
- Avoid tricks to game the search engines, ask yourself, ‘would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?’
You can read Googles full SEO guidelines here
To answer those guiding principles and be truly valuable to your customers there are a myriad of things you can do, from ensuring your website is accessible across all devices e.g. tablets and mobile through to enhanced security via SSL certificates and ensuring your website loads as quickly as possible.
There are hundreds of different elements that go into effective SEO and unfortunately these factors change and are updated all the time. Handle offers various resources to help guide you but one of our favourite pieces is from SEO experts Moz and their beginners guided to SEO. This comprehensive guide is updated regularly as new factors come to light and it can help ensure that even the most non-techy of us are kept on the straight and narrow.
3. Check your security
Cyber security is a massive area and consumers are becoming hugely cautious when it comes to inputting their personal details online, for good reason given the recent high profile data leaks and website hacking carried out by unscrupulous individuals.
Going back to Googles guidelines, in order to provide value to your customers, you need to demonstrate that you are a trusted vendor and will take care of any information they share with you.
An SSL certificate activates the padlock and https protocol that allows secure connections to your website. There is some debate at the moment regarding the value of adding an SSL certificate to a non-transaction website and ultimately this is a decision for you to make. However in the aim of best practice and removing another barrier that could increase conversions on your website we would recommend it.
We also practice what we preach. We have a full SSL certificate across our entire gethandle.com domain as well as bank level back-end security to ensure the utmost security for our customers hugely data.
4. Optimise and improve
Optimising your website is not just for the search engines. Increasing the opportunity for your visitors to find what they need and ultimately choose to buy from you is why you are here. Refreshingly, website optimisation is entirely within your control. There are some fundamentals to take into account like ensuring your website is mobile responsive, all of your image files are only as big as they need to be and your website loads in double quick time Handle will pull these factors out of your optimisation score and give you actions to take to improve along with resources, guides and info so you can do it yourself or task your team to do it.
Once you have all of these fundamentals in place you need to bear down on what will turn more visitors into customers. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a process based on experiments and tests that lead to incremental gains in your customer volumes. One of our go-to resources, which we have included in the website resources area is Conversion XL and their excellent beginners guide to conversion optimisation. It runs you through the principles, breaking out each section in lessons about writing better copy, improving design, the psychology of selling etc.
Again we are practising what we preach, I’m writing this because our users fed back that they wanted more detail about how to reach their own specific business goals.
5. Keep implementing actions
Included in your website report is a list of three actions to take forward. These actions are bespoke to your business and are there to link you with resources and information to help inform your next step.
Once you have undertaken these actions, the noted button can be clicked to show that you have completed that particular action. When your report refreshes you will be able to see how these actions have affected your overall score.
6. Check your outcomes & validate your work
Your Handle website report refreshes each month, making it easy for you to check how the changes you have made to your website have affected each of your individual metrics. If you outsource support for your SEO or website maintenance you will be able to see if the investment you are making has improved the different areas of your website and your overall Handle score. We’ll let you know each time your report refreshes, making it an easy way to track your progress, identify weak areas and eventually create the ultimate online sales machine.
If you have any questions about any of the data in your Handle website report, please email email@example.com with some details and we’ll take a look for you.