There are a variety of technologies and techniques you can use to get your website to work harder for you. Structuring your site correctly helps you capture data and followers, produce enquiries, increase your influence and generate revenue.
If you are creating a new website or if you want to improve your current one, here are a few things to consider to optimise digital performance.
Digital Strategy - Businesses are increasingly ‘going digital’ and this requires a digital strategy that is aligned with your business strategy. Stop thinking about your website as a shop window and consider it as more of a central platform for communications, marketing and sales.
Social Media - Running a successful digital strategy requires an effective social media presence. Social media is the backbone that drives digital performance.
Search - SEO or SEM should be by-products of good content creation and deployment. Put a solid plan in place to make sure the whole business is operating from the same set of rules. Good search strategies require a content-led approach, on-site optimisation and effective distribution.
Domains and Microsites - If you have multiple sites across different businesses or divisions, you’ll need to audit how they are structured and interlinked. Companies often have multiple sites that end up competing with each other and diluting overall performance.
Inbound - “Inbound marketing” is becoming a digital configuration standard for all industries. Whether you sell products online or use communications and marketing to improve your authority, reputation and expand your network - the roadmap to adopting a truly inbound methodology will transform the way you think about digital strategy for your business. We use HubSpot and are an official HubSpot partner.
UX - Define the user journey you would like people to take through your site. If you have multiple persona types (customer, investor, partner, media) then create separate journeys for each user to reach their relevant “destination of interest”.
Responsive - Ensure the user experience works well on all devices.
Alerts - Set up systems to notify the right people of key events.
Social Media Accounts - Clearly present all social media accounts where you have a presence. This includes auto-follow buttons for Twitter and LinkedIn. Present YouTube, Google+ and other accounts too, where relevant.
Marketing and Communications
Email Marketing - Staying in touch with your relevant personas can be an important part of your communications. It also brings people back to your website creating an important cycle which boosts the performance of your site and rankings which then attracts more people to your site organically.
Marketing Automation - Ensure the correct systems are in place to automatically respond to generic enquiries and reduce human interaction for initial enquiries, new follows and entry level contacts where possible.
Video - Video is the most effective medium for communications and marketing online. It generates more clicks, likes, shares and gets people to spend more time on your website, which in turn improves your Google ranking, which then boosts search. It is also more likely to generate an emotive response and be remembered. This is a virtuous circle for any digital strategy.
Verifications - Your website will need to be verified in order to provide a richer experience on many social networks. Twitter requires website verification to provide access to Twitter card. Verify with YouTube for cards that can link back to your site. Google requires you to verify site ownership so it can crawl your site and apps perfectly. Google My Business has postcard verification for all services including Google Maps and Google+.
Metadata and Structured Data - It is important to clearly present all of your content to search engines. Use metadata to specify page descriptions, keywords, document authors, dates modified, and other information. This information can be used by browser, search engines and on social media to simplify how information about your site is read and presented.
Mentions - Set up systems to monitor when your company is mentioned externally to your site or when new links to your site are established.
IP Tracking - Capture as much information as possible from your daily traffic. IP tracking will give you insights into the names of businesses that visit your site and the pages they have visited.
CTAs, Forms and Landing Pages - Alongside your user journey, there should be a series of CTAs (Calls to action), landing pages and forms to get people to sign up - this should be for all aspects of the business including investor relations, newsletter, communications, marketing, partnerships, HR.
Conversion Pixels - You can install pixels or tracking codes to connect your social accounts to your website and collect data from visitors. Twitter, Facebook and Google all have tools that you can use to help collect data (NB LinkedIn does not). This helps you build a relevant audience based on visitors to your site which can be used for remarketing. Tracking codes from content syndication sites like Taboola and Revcontent can also be installed.
Ranking and Analytics - Measure performance and benchmark your results. Using systems like MOZ, Alexa, SEM Rush and Google Analytics can help set the standard for your website performance and rank how pages are performing. Here are a few examples of things you should be tracking and trying to improve:
- Website visits
- Organic traffic
- Bounce rate
- Keyword rankings
- Conversions (i.e. for enquiries, email subscriptions, social interactions and followers)
GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation will be coming into force on 25th May 2018. While the date is still reasonably far away it is important for companies to start thinking in advance about how they can be compliant. GDPR regulates how and why companies capture, store and use personal data and will affect most companies. Start mapping out what you are doing with the data acquired through your site from a legal and IT perspective which will need to be clearly documented and easily presented when called upon to do so.