Using smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices to surf the net might seem like a no-brainer today, but that wasn’t always the case.
As recently as eight years ago, desktop computer internet usage far surpassed that of mobile devices. In fact, the shift from desktop computer internet usage to mobile-device internet usage didn’t occur until 2014, which is relatively late in Google’s evolution.
The history of mobile devices, internet usage, and Google’s ranking algorithms unfolded as follows:
2007 – 2008: Apple’s iPhone hit the market in 2007 followed by Android’s smartphone in 2008
● These smartphones featured web browsers, which introduced mobile-device web browsing to the world.
● Web developers coded the first generation of mobile-friendly sites using m.website.com addresses that were separate from the original desktop computer websites. These mobile-friendly sites did not compare to their desktop counterparts due to limited navigation, “tall and skinny” layout formats, and significantly pared-down functionality.
● Though these mobile-friendly sites existed exclusively for mobile devices, mobile users didn’t readily access them, preferring instead to use their desktop computers when they wanted to go online.
2009 – 2011: Google developed and distributed techniques and guidelines for web developers to help them build mobile-friendly sites that are discoverable.
● Google published an article on their Webmaster Central Blog about how to make mobile-based websites faster.
● Google published an article on the same blog listing helpful tips webmasters can use to properly index their mobile-specific sites so that Google elevates the ranking of those sites.
● Google proposed additional tips about how webmasters can “run” both desktop computer websites and mobile-specific website versions together.
● Google published its first in-depth guide on how to make websites mobile friendly.
● Mobile website speed testing was developed by Google, which they released as a tool in conjunction with their “first page speed tool” in 2011.
2012 – 2014: Google introduced, adjusted, and refined its algorithms, updated its ranking factors, and provided webmasters with a new Mobile Usability Tool.
● Google altered search results for mobile-friendly websites using the final smartphone destination URL in search results.
● Google introduced ranking factors that penalize misconfigured mobile-specific websites.
● Google launched Webmaster Tools, which included a tool to diagnose mobile crawl errors.
● Google expanded the “organic search performance feature” in Webmaster Tools to specifically aid separate mobile websites.
● Google expanded its Webmaster Tools yet again by adding a new Mobile Usability tool.
2015 – Present: Google shifted from only indexing desktop computer internet websites to evaluating website mobile friendliness as the sole ranking factor.
● Google announced that site usability will affect mobile search results ranking, meaning that mobile-friendliness will be an official ranking signal.
● Google announced ranking penalties for mobile-specific sites that used traditional desktop computer website features, such as pop-up boxes, because these features interrupted and frustrated mobile site users.
● Google officially switched to indexing mobile sites to rank web pages, crawl content and SEO, and display snippets of sites in the search results.
● This mobile-first ranking structure rendered desktop computer websites less important in the world of Google’s ranking algorithms since indexing desktop computer websites was gradually phased out.
● Finally, Google completely dropped desktop computer website indexing, which means that currently Google only indexes and ranks mobile-specific sites.
Today, mobile friendliness is the only ranking factor that Google now uses.
Is your website mobile friendly?
In this article, you will learn how to keep your website visible in Google’s search engine ranking by improving the mobile-friendliness of your site.
As crucial as it is to please Google by adhering to their algorithmic changes, improving your SEO tactics, and following their guidelines so that Google bots crawl and promote your website, it’s far more important to please your website visitors.
If the history of Google and mobile-friendliness that we laid out in the introduction of this article proved anything, it’s that today’s consumers prefer to use their mobile devices to surf the net, browse websites, and even buy products. Given the evolving consumer demand for mobile-friendly sites, over time Google developed web guidelines to accommodate mobile users, which culminated in a new mobile-only indexing system.
As a business owner, you also have a responsibility to meet consumer demands and ensure that your website is mobile friendly.
A mobile-friendly website will not only get crawled, indexed, and ranked by Google, but it will also ensure that consumers can visit your site from their mobile devices, encounter an excellent user interface, and have a wonderful experience while navigating from one web page to the next. When visitors have a positive experience on your website using their mobile devices, they will be far more likely to become repeat visitors, first-time customers, social media followers, and even lifelong loyal customers.
Put simply, offering a mobile-friendly website will help you gain the appreciation and loyalty of mobile device users who quickly convert into customers. Additionally, mobile-friendly websites also ensure:
● Higher page views per visit
● Lower bounce rates
● Increased customer loyalty
● Elevated search engine rankings
Not all handheld internet-accessible devices are created equal. In fact, Google categorizes devices differently depending on their size and uses. The primary reason for offering a mobile-friendly version of your website is to ensure that visitors are able to read your content and properly interact with your brand. Due to the fact that smartphone screens are remarkably smaller than desktop and laptop computer screens, redesigning your web content so that it displays correctly on mobile devices is imperative. You don’t want visitors “pinching” and “pulling” your web content whenever they view your website from their mobile device. Ideally, when a visitor lands on your website, they will encounter easy-to-read fonts, an accessible navigation toolbar, and a clean presentation overall.
Here are the four main device types and the breakdown of how Google regards each of them.
The term “mobile device” refers to all smartphones, such as iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone. These smartphones include mobile browsers that use HTML5 specifications and function similarly to desktop browsers. Due to their smaller screen size, their default orientation is vertical. Google considers these mobile devices the most popular and therefore requires that website presentation on smartphones meet their guideline standards.
Google places tablets in their own category due to the fact that tablets typically display large screens that are comparable to desktop and laptop computer screens. For this reason, tablet users assume the websites they visit will appear the same as the desktop browser version. While you could offer tablet-optimized web content, it really isn’t necessary. Plus, Google does not place tablets in the same category as mobile devices, and therefore any tablet optimization you perform will not impact the search engine ranking of your website.
Google also considers “feature phones” to be mobile devices. The browsers of feature phones cannot render normal desktop computer web pages that have been coded with standard HTML. For this reason, feature phones rely solely on mobile-friendly websites, which means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, feature phone users will not be able to find your website, period.
With the exception of tablets, all mobile device browsers, including the browsers found on multimedia and feature phones, rely on mobile-friendly website design.
Creating a website that displays beautifully on all mobile devices might not seem easy, but it can be done. You will need to configure your website for multiple devices, which will help Google and other search engines understand your site, as well as ensure that mobile users properly experience your website.
There are three configuration techniques you can use to ensure your website will be mobile friendly. Those techniques are, using a responsive web design, offering dynamic serving, and providing separate URLs. In very simple terms, each offers the ability to use a template to create a mobile-friendly experience, but not all configuration techniques are the same. Let’s take a look.
The term “responsive web design” refers to websites built with HTML code that are able to render the original HTML code differently depending on the screen size of the device. Meaning, the webmaster only needs to build one website, but the code itself will dictate how content is displayed from one device to the next. Responsive web design is the most cost-effective, time-effective configuration technique because it has the easiest design pattern to implement and maintain. For this reason, Google recommends responsive web design over the other available configuration techniques.
Dynamic serving is slightly different from responsive web design. Though dynamic serving uses the same URLs on the mobile version that appear on the original website, it generates a different version of HTML code depending on the device the site is being displayed on, as well as specific users’ browser data. Dynamic serving enables a website to be fully accessible, however, Google bots tend to crawl this configuration differently than how they crawl responsive web designs, which means you would have to invest in server-side rendering as a temporary workaround for these crawlers.
This configuration method is as manual and tedious as it sounds. “Separate URLs” is a configuration technique that provides different code to each device category, each using separate URLs. First, the user’s device type is detected. Then, the configuration uses HTTP and Vary HTTP Headers to redirect users to the appropriate page. In the case of separate URLs, the mobile site will utilize a mobile-specific URL, such as an “m-dot,” “dot-mobi,” or even a separate folder altogether. A common myth is that this configuration method causes duplicate content that Google will penalize, but this rumor is completely untrue.
While Google claims it doesn’t favor one particular configuration technique over another, Google does place a high premium on ensuring that all web page assets are accessible to their Google bots. For this reason, the safest configuration technique to implement is a responsive web design.
However, implementing a responsive web design is only the beginning. Before your responsive website goes live, it’s a good idea to check, double-check, and triple-check that all of the mobile-friendly elements on your site will perform optimally.
Here is a checklist you can use to evaluate the mobile-friendliness of your website:
● Test Your Website at Multiple Resolutions
● Make Sure Your Menus, Toolbar, and Navigation Display Properly on Smaller Screens
● Check If Your Images Look Clear or Pixelated at Smaller Resolutions
● Test the Readability of Your Content
● Ensure Your Site’s Elements Provide Easy User Interaction
● Resize or Eliminate Your Pop-Ups
● Test Your Website’s Loading Speed
Now that you’ve been introduced to the basic rundown of what it takes to make your website mobile friendly, it’s time to actually test your website.
Google has developed excellent tools to help you evaluate the speed, usability, and flexibility of how your website is presented to mobile users. Let’s take a look at each tool and examine what it can do for you.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool allows website owners to analyze their home page URL, or any web page URL from their site, for a mobile-friendliness evaluation. This tool is free and will measure how easily a mobile user will be able to access, read, and navigate the website. The test results will include a pass-fail score as well as improvement suggestions that will help the website perform better on mobile devices.
Google’s Mobile Usability Tool can be found within the Google Search Console of any browser. The Google Search Console is a web service that Google developed to provide a way for webmasters to check the indexing status of their website. By offering transparent indexing status information, webmasters can make improvements to optimize the visibility of their websites. This mobile usability tool informs webmasters of the site’s crawl rate among other helpful metrics.
Remember, optimizing your website for mobile provides the following benefits:
● Improves SEO
● Improves mobile website indexing
● Elevates search engine rankings
● Offers a more streamlined user experience across all devices
● Increases mobile user conversion rates
● Offers faster download speeds
● Eliminates the cost of mobile app development
● Allows for continuous user experience improvements
Does your website pass Google’s mobile-friendly test? If not, contact us and our web development and SEO team can implement front-end and back-end modifications that will ensure Google is able to properly index and rank your site.
Our web development experts build customized web solutions with the mobile user’s experience in mind. When you work with FTx 360, the web applications and web portals of your mobile-friendly website will be stunning, streamlined, and impactful. Build a smarter brand for your business with FTx 360’s responsive web development.
When it comes to designing and developing your business website, what goals are at the top of your priority list?
Webmasters and their teams typically focus on inbound web links, SEO keywords, and getting their clients’ websites to appear on the first page of Google’s search results, which are all important goals to have.
But equally important to implementing an advanced, responsive web design with built-in marketing power is creating a website that isn’t accidentally designed to automatically exclude a portion of the population.
Of course, no business owner would intentionally exclude a potential customer pool, but the fact of the matter is that many business websites are guilty of doing exactly that.
Will an individual with impaired sight have an easy time using your website? What about someone who is hearing impaired?
Currently, there are over 60 million Americans who are living with a disability. Physical disabilities that affect a person’s ability to use a website include:
● Difficulty lifting and grasping, and a lack of dexterity, which impairs one’s ability to use a computer mouse and keyboard.
● Difficulty seeing due to vision impairment, which causes an individual to rely on a screen magnifier or a screen reader.
● Complete lack of sight, which causes the individual to rely solely on screen readers, alternate image attributes, and auditory descriptions of all web content.
● Difficulty hearing or a complete lack of hearing, which causes the individual to rely on transcripts, audio and video captions, and other visual cues that substitute sounds, such as a visual “burst” to substitute the traditional chatbox pop-up “ding.”
Contrary to popular thought, physically disabled individuals do not represent the minority of website users. In fact, according to data that Google compiled from the World Bank, CDC, and NHI, there are more hearing-impaired internet users in the United States than there are citizens of Spain and more vision-impaired internet users right here in America than there are human beings living in Canada.
Think about that for a minute.
What percentage of the US’s disabled population are visiting your website?
Is your website accessible to the disabled?
Does your website meet the Americans with Disabilities Act’s compliance standards?
Perhaps it’s time for a website checkup…
In this article, you will learn what you, your webmaster, and your digital marketers can do to ensure that your website is accessible and meets ADA compliance.
Though all websites, especially business sites, should aim to be user-friendly for every visitor regardless of their disability status, not all websites are legally obligated to stay in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Do you know whether or not your business must follow ADA website compliance guidelines? The following is a list of the types of businesses that are legally obligated to offer accessibility websites:
● State and local governments
● Non-profits, charities, NGOs, and 501(c)3 organizations with 15+ employees
● Companies that either rely on or benefit the public
● Private businesses with 15+ employees
It might surprise you to find private businesses on the list. The number of employees working at a private business will also influence whether or not that company is obligated to create an accessible website, which might seem peculiar to you.
Really, the bottom line is that your goal, as a business owner, should be to provide every web visitor with fair and equal access to the information on your website. The primary objective of having a website and investing in digital marketing that drives website traffic is to convert those web visitors into customers or clients. Of course, you wouldn’t want your website to bounce any potential customers away. But losing out on business isn’t the only downside of not having an accessible, ADA-compliant website.
It’s also a legal nightmare waiting to happen.
That’s right. There are serious legal ramifications for ignoring the accessibility issues of your website if your business is among those that must comply with the ADA. The most severe penalties include:
● A $75,000 fine upon the first reported violation
● A $150,000 fine if the first reported violation is ignored
● Lawsuits filed by disabled persons could result in millions of dollars in damages and pain and suffering restitution
● Attorneys’ fees alone could cost tens of thousands of dollars
Are companies really being sued for not having accessible websites?
According to the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, yes, companies have been and will be sued for failing to comply. Discriminating against individuals with disabilities is taken very seriously in the United States. Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the US Department of Justice listed “not providing an accessible website” as an “impermissible act of discrimination.”
Back in 2018, more than 1,000 web accessibility lawsuits were filed between the months of January and July, even though statistically only 800 lawsuits were predicted for the entire year. By December 31st of that year, the total number of lawsuits hit 2,258!
In 2021, the number of lawsuits has only gone up. You don’t want to be taken to court for failing to provide an ADA-compliant website. There is no better time than the present moment to make your website accessible to all users.
Time and again, Google has said, “make sites for users, not search engines.” Designing an accessible website takes this concept to a whole new level. When sites are developed, designed, and updated with accessibility in mind, all internet users will have equal access to the information presented on those sites.
Visitors with physical disabilities, as well as those with situational disabilities and socio-economic limitations on internet bandwidth and speed, should be able to experience all that your website has to offer without encountering any barriers that prevent them from interacting with the site.
What exactly should your website include in order to make each page more accessible?
There is a lot you can do, but to get you started, here are the simplest actions you and your webmaster can take right now:
● Add appropriate alternate text for all images and check that screen readers will recognize the new text content.
● Insert closed captioning on all of your videos, as well as a transcript of each video directly beneath the video itself.
● Eliminate mouse-only interaction rules within your website elements.
Remember, website compliance is a process which could take time. Currently, an ADA compliance web plugin doesn’t exist. Transforming your site into one that is friendly and interactive for all users won’t happen overnight either. It requires modifications, adjustments, and a lot of testing and collecting feedback from physically impaired web visitors.
That being said, you can use one of the following tools to check the accessibility level of your website:
● A11Y Accessibility Testing Platform: Developed by the Bureau of Internet Accessibility, this ADA compliance checker can scan your website or specific web page URLs and make a quick, accurate assessment. If you opt-in, the Bureau of Internet Accessibility will constantly monitor your website for accessibility issues and alert your team when high risk concerns arise.
● Axe DevTools Web Accessibility Testing: This Chrome plugin extension offered by Axe DevTools can identify accessibility issues on your website, and though this tool also claims to be able to “fix” accessibility issues, all fixes usually must be modified, adjusted, and authorized by you and / or your webmaster to ensure no damage to UI or UX occurs.
Put very simply, in order to meet ADA compliance standards, your website must be:
In the next section, you’ll learn what you can do to ensure your website is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
The human body receives information from five different sensory inputs, otherwise known as the five senses. These are sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
Obviously, you won’t be able to communicate with your website visitors via smell, taste, and touch, but you can focus on heightening what your hearing impaired visitors see and what your vision impaired visitors hear when they interact with your website.
For the disabled, when one sense is impaired, other senses are heavily relied upon, and you can bear this general rule in mind as you design your website.
A perceivable website is a site that offers both visual and auditory options for every element that appears throughout the website. For example, a blog article will also offer an MP3 playbox so that blind visitors can listen to, instead of read, the article. Embedded videos that appear on a web page will include closed captioning that displays text, enabling deaf visitors to understand what the video is talking about. In short, a perceivable website is one that provides alternative ways to consume content.
An operable website is a site that enables visitors to easily navigate through web pages via any method they choose—keyboard, mouse, automatic or manual scrolling, or touchscreen. Operable websites do not place time limits or restrictions on web pages, which would otherwise cause web page sessions to “time out.” Another aspect to consider when it comes to operable websites, is that the web pages should avoid use of physical “triggers” such as automatically running a strobe light that could cause migraines or seizures.
The basic rule for ensuring your website is understandable is this: a visitor should spend almost no time trying to figure out how to use your website, but rather spend their time on your site gaining information. Using simplistic, logical web page layouts can greatly reduce the amount of time visitors spend familiarizing themselves with your site. For example, keeping the search bar, newsletter opt-in, and chatbox in the same spot on every web page of your site can aid in presenting an understandable website.
You’ve probably heard this term before—robust web design is critical for countless reasons. A robust website will work well on all browsers and perform properly on all devices, including mobile smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices. But did you know that you can also design your website to perform robustly for disabled visitors? By including assistive technologies on your site, you can enhance website engagement with the vision and hearing impaired. The key is to continue making upgrades as technologies evolve.
Every business wants consumers to view their brand in a positive light. Building a positive brand image isn’t fast or easy, so the last thing a business wants to do is tarnish the favorable brand image they’ve worked so hard to achieve. One ADA lawsuit can ruin a brand’s reputation. But offering an ADA compliant web design can have the opposite effect. It can actually improve your brand’s standing within the consumer market.
Brands that go the extra mile to accommodate disabled users score extra points with their “able” visitors, in addition to their impaired ones. These days, people care about caring, accommodating businesses. Ethics and consideration have become the most important core values a business can possess, and one way you can show your visitors that your core values include a commitment to treating all web visitors and potential customers fairly and equally is to present an ADA compliant website experience.
As other articles on this blog have mentioned, SEO goes hand-in-hand with building a positive brand image, increasing revenue, and growing a business’s online presence. But did you know that by creating an accessible website that serves the vision and hearing impaired, you will naturally expand the search engine optimization of your entire site?
The reason this occurs is because adding extra text for the hearing impaired automatically increases organic keywords. In fact, nearly all of the ADA compliance upgrades you make will be SEO-friendly, such as including video and audio transcripts, using proper heading tags, and presenting a consistent, predictable layout structure. Google’s spiders and bots will “crawl” the new compliant content and your site will gradually rise in Google’s ranking as a result.
Essentially, there is no downside to making your business website accessible and ADA compliant.
Does your website meet the ADA compliance standards, or could it be a lot more accessible to the disabled? The experienced website design and development team at FTx 360 can assess your website, provide a full analytics report, and give you honest, actionable feedback that you can use to transform your site, one upgrade and one update at a time.
If you’re looking for more than a web assessment, our web developers can work with you to redesign your business site so that it’s accessible to all visitors and stays in compliance with the ADA. We offer web management to monitor site performance and can custom design your entire site. Contact us to learn more about what our web development services and SEO marketing strategies can do for your business.
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Have you ever walked into a house and fallen in love with the atmosphere? Everything from the home furnishings to the stylized decor to the archways that connect each beautifully laid out room contributed to the wonderful experience you had while there. At the time, you might not have been aware that an architect had to draw up blueprints and contractors had to construct the home, first and foremost, in order for the interior design team who came in next to paint, furnish, and decorate. You see, your experience at the house, which left a lasting impression on you, would not have been possible without the architect and the contractors who built according to the blueprints.
In the same way, the specific experience you have on any given website would not be possible without the architect of the website, otherwise known as the lead web developer, and his or her team of builders who are the web developers that actually construct the website by writing coded language.
Producing a final website is not possible without a web designer, or website design team, just as a house would never go on the market until the walls had been painted, the floors tiled, and the overall decor arranged to give the best impression to prospective buyers. Today, we are going to focus on web developers, but if you would like to learn more about web designers, check out Web Design Trends, which goes into detail on the subject.
In this article, you will learn about website developers, what they’re responsible for, and what they can do for your business. Frontend, backend, and full-stack web development skills are just the beginning of what professional website developers bring to the table. They also create the basic structure and presentation of a website using website scripting languages. All-in-all, their work greatly impacts SEO, inbound marketing, and even revenue increases. Keep reading to discover everything there is to know about web development and what hiring a web developer can do for your company.
A website developer is a skilled programmer who specializes in building “World Wide Web” applications, i.e. websites.
The anchor of a website, which is the bedrock that web developers build upon, is a URL. In today’s competitive market, all websites use “custom domains.” A custom domain, also referred to as a vanity URL, is the branded website name that appears in the address bar of every web browser. Custom domains are not free and must be purchased by a qualifying provider and registered.
There are three primary types of web developers who build out custom domain URL websites. These are frontend developers, backend developers, and full-stack developers. Let’s take a look at what each of these three types of developers do.
As you might have guessed, just as the “frontend” developer is responsible for everything website visitors will see, the backend web developer is responsible for everything that happens behind the scenes in order to make a website function. Their territory is often referred to as the “server-side,” because backend developers work on the “guts” of the website within the server, application, and database. In order to ensure excellent UX, or user experience, backend developers collaborate with frontend developers as they develop code.
Highly experienced web developers generally go beyond offering either frontend or backend development services. Instead, these developers learn both sides of the development equation. Any website developer who offers frontend as well as backend web development is called a “full-stack web developer.” Known in the industry as development geniuses, full-stack web developers do it all because they know it all.
Whether you hire front-end and back-end developers or hire a single full-stack developer, your web developers should be mindful to build MarTech into your site for you. Shorthand for “marketing technology,” the term MarTech refers to any marketing software solution that helps marketers research, strategize, execute, analyze, and optimize their campaigns across all digital platforms. MarTech combines marketing with technology, and oftentimes marketers will consolidate multiple MarTech solutions into a stack, known as a MarTech Stack. The purpose of utilizing MarTech is to improve engagement with customers and drive sales, and yes, really smart web developers will build your website with your future marketing strategies in mind.
Short for “cascading style sheets,” CSS directly impacts the experiences visitors have when they interact with a website. CSS programming language modifies and enhances HTML to define the website’s layout, formatting, and overall presentation. This programming language is considered a cornerstone technology for the World Wide Web. Like HTML, web developers are experts in CSS due to the fact that reliable, functional, well-performing websites cannot be built without this essential language.
Website developers have a massive responsibility—to provide the best user experience, or UX, possible. Since web developers construct the layout of a website, which involves working closely with website designers, they are responsible for creating visually interesting and experientially engaging web pages that load fast and perform excellently. This means that web developers take extreme care when developing landing pages and optimizing websites for their inbound marketing potential, which includes coding opt-in forms and other marketing CTAs right into the web pages
themselves. Let’s take a look.
Landing pages have many synonyms, such as a lead capture page, squeeze page, and destination page, to name a few. Whichever term is used, this type of page refers to a single web page that’s
used as part of a digital marketing CTA for lead generation. For example, when an internet user clicks on a SEO search result, marketing email, or online advertisement, they are directed to the landing page that the web developer has set up. Landing pages typically display content that’s relevant to the user’s search or the ad the user clicked. And yes, a savvy web developer will be your best bet for including lead generation capabilities like this on your website.
A savvy web developer is also your best bet for connecting effective inbound marketing channels to your website. Inbound marketing strategies include content marketing, SEO, social media, blogs, and other digital marketing methods that draw consumers into a business’ marketing funnel. Inbound marketing campaign content places an emphasis on personally connecting with consumers and solving consumer pain points, which indirectly promotes the business’ products and solutions. Put simply, inbound marketing is any strategy that helps potential customers discover a business or
As we mentioned, opt-in forms and other CTAs are coded right into your web pages by your web developer. These forms and CTAs appear on websites and function as data collection tools. When a lead fills out an opt-in form on your website, information about the lead is automatically gathered and stored for you to leverage in the future during your marketing campaigns.
Web developers, as you can see, are truly responsible for the fate of the websites they develop.
SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the objective of driving online user traffic to a website by elevating the website’s standing with search engines such as Google. Ideally, businesses want their websites to appear on the first page of Google’s search results whenever a user is looking for a company like theirs. Using relevant keywords within web content optimizes search engine ranking. Keywords are words, phrases, or questions that a Google user might type into the search bar in order to generate a list of possible websites relevant to their search topic. The term SEO only applies to non-paid, organic search results. Web developers contribute to the SEO of the websites they develop.
As a business owner, you want to maximize your daily site visitors. A “site visitor” is any internet user who lands on or navigates through your website. Websites collect valuable visitor data, including IP addresses and cookies, to determine how many unique site visitors have visited each web page, where those site visitors came from, and what actions they took while visiting the website. This is data you want, which means optimizing your website for SEO is a must. What can you do with visitor data? A lot. By analyzing the number of visitors that land on your website, you will learn important metrics such as the overall visitor frequency along with crucial demographic information. This information can then be leveraged during the creation and publication of additional website content to improve website traffic and increase sales revenue.
Launching a blog is easily the most worthwhile strategy in terms of integrating new SEO into your business website, so be sure to ask your web developer to include a blog on the site they develop for you. By featuring a blog on your website, you will organically begin to build brand awareness, improve SEO, drive website traffic, and increase revenue. Short for “web-logs,” blogs are actually considered an original social media platform for two reasons. Posts can be published frequently to immediately engage an audience, and discussions are often triggered based on the articles’ content. These discussions unfold in the comments section beneath each post. By including opt-in forms within your blog posts and automating the publication of each article, you can effectively convert website visitors into loyal customers.
Another effective SEO strategy involves using “dynamic content” on your website, and any web developer worth his or her salt will program your site using dynamic content. Also called adaptive content, dynamic content refers to the component on web pages that changes the page’s content based on visitor data, behavior, and preferences. Because these content changes can be automated, dynamic content keeps site visitors engaged while freeing up marketers to focus on other tasks. Changing the content naturally updates the web page’s SEO, which can improve search engine ranking.
Business owners who want to avoid hiring a web developer and who are not prepared to learn how to use HTML editors and in-line coding themselves might opt to use a WYSIWYG website building platform instead.
Instead of writing web page code and building your website from scratch all on your own, you could opt for a What You See Is What You Get, or WYSIWYG, website building platform. These user-friendly platforms come with rich text editors, drag-and-drop editors, and point-and-click editors. In other words, a WYSIWYG platform will enable you to quickly build and edit your website once you have chosen a template from their CMS. Let’s take a look.
CMS, or content management systems, provide users with technologically simplistic templates. These templates can be edited with drag-and-drop features, as we mentioned. The user-friendly nature of website builders with CMS allows the user to construct a fully functional website or eCommerce store without the help of a professional web developer. This is due to the fact that the CMS platform itself handles all of the basic backend infrastructure. Once your WYSIWYG website is established, the CMS software platform will help you create, manage, modify, and schedule all of your content in an organized, easy-to-execute manner.
Let’s take an in-depth look at “point-and-click” editors, “drag-and-drop” editors, and mobile-optimized responsive website design so that you’re fully informed in case you choose to go the WYSIWYG route.
Point-and-click editing is a design feature that empowers the user to add elements of code into web pages without having to formally program that code into the backend. Point-and-click editor allows the user to easily add plugins, source buttons, and code snippets among other widgets to the pages of their website or eCommerce store without having to rely on a web designer. Businesses can also invest in free-standing point-and-click editors to create, write, and revise their Wikipedia pages and other online business encyclopedias.
A drag-and-drop website builder enables users to create a website without having to learn CSS commands or write code. The user simply selects a basic layout theme from a library of professionally designed templates and proceeds to drag-and-drop widgets, fill in text, and make other alterations to personalize the site for their business. Drag-and-drop website builders give business owners the freedom to build their websites exactly as they want and easily update their web content without having to rely on a web designer or agency.
A mobile-optimized responsive website design template is a build-your-own-website template that has been designed to display correctly on all devices for optimal viewing. The templates themselves are coded to automatically adapt to any screen size and orientation so that the website looks great, functions well, and is easy to read on computers, smartphones, and tablets. If you opt to build your own website instead of hiring a professional web developer, then be sure to choose a web building platform that offers mobile-optimized responsive web design templates.
At the end of the day, your business website has the potential to be your most powerful digital marketing tool. When visitors land on your website, they read the home page, navigate through the entire site, and decide whether or not to purchase your products and services based on their experience interacting with your website. For this reason, making sure that your website performs excellently is the most important thing you can do for your business.
Is your website performing as well as it should? Our article, What Do Customers Look For in a Website? can help you determine where your site stands in the eyes of consumers, so be sure to give it a read.
If your website or eCommerce store isn’t performing as well as it should, you could try your hand at constructing a new site using a WYSIWYG web building platform like Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly… Or you could have the website development team at FTx 360 handle your site for you. Our web developers work hand-in-hand with artistic website designers to produce stunning websites that strike a perfect balance between beautiful and functional, and our websites always load properly on mobile devices. Contact us to check out our portfolio or get your project started with our web development services today.
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Is it time to outsource your digital marketing?
When you first opened your business, you probably did just about everything yourself. This is par for the course. In the beginning, the owners of most start-ups and small businesses handle every aspect of their day-to-day workflow either themselves or in-house by assigning tasks to their employees.
But this is only manageable for so long. As a business grows, its needs expand. Continuing to assign new tasks to pre-existing employees runs the risk of overburdening them, which could lead to sloppy work and unhappy workers.
There are certain signs that indicate it might be time for you, as a business owner, to consider outsourcing your digital marketing, which include:
● Your current staff doesn’t have the skills. Effective digital marketing includes a lot of moving parts. Trends change constantly. New technologies and platforms emerge regularly. Is it reasonable to expect your account managers to post on social media during their “down time”? Will the quality of their digital marketing efforts be very good when it’s outside of their chosen career path?
● Your digital marketing initiatives are focused on tasks and not strategy. In order for any marketing campaign to succeed, you must have a plan in place. When your team is overworked, they’ll only have time to address day-to-day tasks and their mindset will be to “get stuff done.” Digital marketing isn’t about getting stuff done. It’s about getting the right stuff done and parceling out strong campaign tactics that result in increased revenue and overall business growth.
● You’re anticipating company growth and planning for business expansion. Have you recently signed a bunch of new clients? Have you opened a second retail location? Are you about to launch an eCommerce site? If you’re in the process of expanding your business, then you might be assuming you’ll have to hire additional staff to keep up with the demand, and you’re absolutely correct. But hiring an in-house marketing team shouldn’t be your first move.
If you’re considering outsourcing your digital marketing, but are still on the fence, this article is for you. Here are the 5 benefits of outsourcing your digital marketing.
PROVIDES A FRESH PERSPECTIVE TO YOUR BRAND
As a business owner, of course you love your company. But as they say, love is blind. Way-back-when you first saw your brand-new company logo, you thought it looked amazing, and it probably did. But as time passed, your love for your brand might have kept you blind to the possibility that your logo, and other marketing elements you’ve been using over the years, haven’t exactly updated to stay on trend.
That’s a problem. An outside marketing agency will add a fresh perspective to your brand. Their professional experts will be able to see the big picture of how your brand should fit into your industry’s market and make the necessary upgrades for you.
AFFORDS YOU FLEXIBILITY
Unlike the high commitment that comes with hiring an in-house employee or a team of in-house marketing associates, working with a digital marketing agency will afford you flexibility, and is therefore considered low or no commitment by comparison. This is a huge benefit. If you don’t like the finished work that a digital marketing agency provides, you can release them because you hired them on a project basis and entered into a short-term contract. Simply move on to the next agency for your next project and test them out in the same manner.
When an agency delivers results as promised after the completion of their first project for you, then you can engage them for the next project. But if they haven’t delivered or if the ROI is dismal, then you’re free to move on. This kind of flexibility will save you from getting locked into an agreement with an agency that isn’t serving you properly.
Digital marketing takes time. It can be challenging, tedious, and demanding. Creating marketing campaigns, generating awesome content, and scheduling all of your digital marketing is a full-time job. While it might seem like hiring one in-house employee to handle all of your digital marketing is a smart idea, the fact of the matter is that digital marketing is extremely dynamic.
You will be hard-pressed to find one individual who possesses all of the skills required to write flawless content, create stunning graphics using graphic design software, research trending SEO keywords, and accomplish everything in-between. Hiring an entire team of marketers in-house to address all aspects of your digital marketing could cost a fortune when you factor in salaries, employer taxes, health insurance matches, and other associated expenses. To minimize your overhead and save yourself time and money, outsourcing your digital marketing is the way to go.
In the long run, partnering with a digital marketing agency will give you firsthand access to expert knowledge. The marketing professionals at full-service marketing agencies like FTx 360 include web and mobile app developers, SEO experts, graphic designers, copywriters, social media experts, and most importantly, campaign strategists, all of whom will comprise your dedicated team.
As you interface with your account manager, you’ll have the full breadth of support from the entire team. This includes access to advanced marketing and analytics tools, such as SEMrush, which might otherwise be unaffordable if you, as a business owner, opted to purchase a subscription. The benefits of having access to expert-level knowledge are never ending.
● The agency will accomplish your marketing tasks on their schedule, and when the unexpected arises, you will have to exercise patience until their marketers have time to help you.Tip: Before hiring an agency, ask them about their timelines for specific projects and how they will accommodate last-minute marketing requests. The best digital marketing agencies will assign an account manager to your business who will be available to help you immediately, no matter what.
● While an outsourced digital marketing agency is far cheaper than paying the salaries of in-house marketing associates, the costs can still add up depending on the agency you go with, how many experts they assign to your account, and how dynamic your projects or tasks are.Tip: When working with a new agency, really pace yourself. Don’t ask them to handle 100% of every aspect of your digital marketing. Carefully review their price points per service. Go with one or two services for a short period of time. And be sure to analyze the ROI before asking them to handle more of your marketing needs.
● Marketing professionals, especially creative experts, are known for their ability to decisively execute their creative vision. But their strong ideas for your company may not completely align with your own vision for your brand’s future. You hired them for a reason, however, and you will have to accept their directive and allow them to do what they do best.Tip: Prior to working with any digital marketing agency, sit down with their professionals and probe them to find out their creative vision for your brand, especially if you’re considering full-blown rebranding. See if they’re willing to create mock-ups of the image graphics they have in mind for your company. Vet them as deeply as possible. And understand that once you hire them, their expertise will trump your inclinations for your business.The major takeaway is that outsourcing your digital marketing will absolutely benefit your company, but it doesn’t come without risks. That being said, you can easily mitigate the disadvantages of working with a digital marketing agency by thoroughly vetting each agency you’re considering. Ask them hard questions and don’t accept sugarcoated answers. Be realistic as you assess your options, and once you decide to go with an agency, start slowly, engage them on a project-per-project basis, and carefully analyze whether or not they’re delivering the results they promised.Are you interested in outsourcing your digital marketing? FTx 360 offers a wide array of digital marketing services at affordable costs, and we never pressure our clients to turn over all of their marketing to us straightaway. Our professional marketing experts take pride in their skills and enjoy the process of proving themselves to new clients. Whether you need web design & development, eCommerce marketing services, social media marketing, content marketing, blog articles and blog management, organic and local SEO, email marketing, marketing automation, PPC marketing, or reputation management—we do it all and love every minute of it!Contact us today to speak with a marketing expert about everything FTx 360 can do for your brand! Want to read more articles like this? Enter your email below to subscribe to our mailing list and be the first to know about the latest marketing trends!
On a global scale, approximately 547,200 new websites are created every single day. As of the publication of this article, 24 million eCommerce sites across the world are actively selling products. According to data compiled from IBISWorld, U.S. eCommerce sales reached $211.5 billion in the second quarter of 2020, which represents a 44.5% increase compared to the second quarter of 2019.
The eCommerce sector, regardless of industry, is extremely competitive. The market is growing exponentially. But don’t worry. Your eCommerce business isn’t automatically doomed to get lost in the fray. There are plenty of marketing strategies you can implement today that will increase sales tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.
In this article, we’ll show you how to promote your eCommerce website using 5 marketing ideas that work.
Search engine optimization is a marketing method that uses targeted keywords and longtail keyword phrases to elevate a website’s ranking on search engines such as Google. SEO typically refers to organic, non-paid keyword strategies. The desired result of any SEO effort is to increase a website’s online visibility and traffic. Check out What Is SEO? to learn specific SEO strategies, including how to generate relevant keywords.
49% of marketers report that organic search engine optimization has the best ROI of any marketing channel, according to Search Engine Journal.
Devising an SEO strategy for your eCommerce site includes three areas, each with its own steps:
● First, you’ll have to do a little research to figure out the frequently searched words, terms, and phrases that search engine users typically type into the search bar. You can identify these SEO keywords by using Ahrefs, Amazon, Google, or any SEM tool.
● Next, you’ll need to create new content with the keywords you’ve selected. You could revise your eCommerce Home Page using keywords, or spruce up your product descriptions with them. This second step of plugging fresh keywords into your site should become a periodic practice.
● Finally, you’ll need to analyze the impact of those SEO keywords, using Google Analytics or another tool that measures the success of your SEO strategy.
Multichannel marketing for an eCommerce company refers to diversifying your sales platform. Yes, your eCommerce site is obviously your primary sales platform. But in today’s competitive market, businesses succeed online when they meet their customers’ wants and needs, including their preferences for where they want to shop. Facebook has made buying online extremely convenient, and the same can be said about Amazon. By opening a Facebook Store, you can cater to consumers who want to shop there, and others that prefer to visit your website can access it through Facebook via the URL you provide.
By the year 2040, an estimated 95% of all purchases will occur online through eCommerce, according to Nasdaq.
Spread your brand across multiple channels to diversify your sales and income streams. Follow these steps to get started:
● Research where your potential customers are congregating online. Are they on Instagram the most, or do they fill up the comments sections of YouTube? Find out so you’ll know where to focus your efforts.
● Focus on the top 3 channels where your potential customers spend their online time, then develop posting strategies on those platforms. By engaging users, they will begin to view and interact with your brand, which will lead to sales through those platforms if not your eCommerce site.
● Since multichannel marketing is all about creating different paths for consumers to travel in order to get to the purchasing stage of their shopping experience, it’s okay to start small, as long as the customer journey is easy and rewarding.
If you have an advertising expense budget, the best way to allocate your funds in 2021 is into podcast advertisements. Yes, it’s true. Regardless of the overall popularity of a podcast, the fact of the matter is that podcasts garner very loyal audiences, and those audiences tend to be comprised of specific demographics. This means that the podcast itself has already corralled your ideal customers, and by buying ad space, you can speak to all of them at once.
54% of podcast listeners will lean towards buying products that were recommended on podcasts, according to Edison Research.
Narrowing down the best podcast to invest in requires a little research. Start with these initial steps:
● Contact podcasts that are relevant to your industry to find out the size of their listenership and the costs for different ad spots. The ad sales department should be able to send you a demographic report that organizes their audience by categories such as age, gender, location, and interests, among other variables.
● Choose the most affordable ad spot. This could be a shorter pre-roll or post-roll spot, which will play at the beginning or end of the podcast episode. Pricier spots typically play in the middle of the podcast when listenership is the highest.
● Lastly, you’ll need to record a high-quality audio ad that meets the technical requirements and standards of the podcast.
In terms of regularly generating fresh, targeted, relevant keywords that harness the power of SEO and directly impact your eCommerce site’s Google ranking, nothing beats a blog. Launching and maintaining a blog is a highly effective promotional strategy. Blogs expand brand reach and online presence, as well as help to validate the business as a credible authority. All of which will lead to consumer trust. For detailed tips on blogging, be sure to read Creating a Remarkable Business Blog.
63% of online consumers in the U.S. have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Summarizing the article on blogging referenced above, here’s how you can promote your eCommerce site by adding a Blog tab and posting on a regular schedule:
● When creating the content of each blog post, aim to follow the “information, inspiration, call-to-action” format. This means that the content should inform the reader by first addressing a “pain point” they’re experiencing and then suggesting solutions to fix that particular pain point problem. The suggestions should “inspire” the reader. And finally, the article should wrap up with a call-to-action that encourages the reader to purchase the product that will “solve” their problem from your eCommerce site.
● Be sure to work your keywords into the written content. Keep the paragraphs short so that the article is easy to read. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to list information, all of which ensures easy reading.
● Break up the text even more with images, photos, and graphics. Include a “subscribe” button at the bottom of each post, and as you collect email addresses, be sure to use them wisely when you promote your recently published blog posts.
Over the course of 2020 and into 2021, the use of “chatbots” has risen as a prefered method of customer relationship management and customer service. Meaning, your eCommerce site visitors would probably appreciate being able to ask straightforward questions and get fast answers via a chatbot box. There are two kinds of chatbots—purely robotic or a live person. Depending on the size of your eCommerce business, you may opt to use one or both types of chatbots. A live person might not be able to accommodate a great volume of inquiries. Remember, consumers expect fast responses, so if there’s any chance your employee will take longer than 5 minutes to reply, then the safer route would be to integrate a machine-learning A.I. “robotic” chatbot.
Roughly 50% of consumers have ended up making an eCommerce purchase after interacting with the site’s chatbot, according to Drift.com.
The success or failure of an A.I. chatbot completely depends on whether or not your eCommerce site visitor can tell they’re talking to a machine-learning robot. The point being, even if you use an A.I. chatbot, you want your website visitors to believe it’s a real, live person. Here are some tips to keep you—or your hired chatbot developer—on track:
● The chatbot should exhibit a discernable degree of empathy when appropriate. Firstly, the bot must be programmed to use language properly so that it can smoothly speak with the customer typing on the other end of the box.
● In order for the chatbot to function properly, i.e. provide appropriate, relevant, and accurate answers to customer questions, the chatbot first must be programmed with all the necessary information. Also, it should be “trained” to ask the customer to provide more details when required. Remember, better answers equal better service.
● Train the chatbot to answer frequently asked questions. Depending on the nature of your business and the products you sell on your eCommerce site, you’ve probably noticed that customers tend to have a range of specific questions. Chatbots can, in fact, be trained to answer those specific questions.
Additional marketing methods that can greatly enhance your efforts to promote your eCommerce website include:
Are you ready to get your eCommerce marketing strategy started? FTx 360 offers SEO marketing and optimization plans for eCommerce businesses. Contact us to speak with a professional marketing strategist today.
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The web design industry has experienced dramatic changes throughout 2020 due to massive shifts in the way customers browse, shop, and interact online. Unexpected consumer demands led to rapid innovations in the digital design sphere, and the web design and development team at FTx 360 has been at the forefront of implementing, adjusting, and improving trends as they emerge.
Want to know how distinguished designers plan to build their clients’ websites in 2021? The web design and development team at FTx 360 compiled a list of the latest trends that are sure to make a big splash across the internet this year.
Asymmetrical grids and layouts offer visitors a stimulating browsing experience. When a web page displays asymmetrically, visitors have to slow down just a bit to really take in the layout, the content, and the visuals. Want to try this trend yourself? There are a few simple techniques you can use that will make a big difference in the overall presentation of your site, such as collapsing the gutters, overlaying multiple elements, and embracing empty space.
Parallax scrolling brings a great deal of depth to a website. This technique originated from traditional cartoon animation for the purposes of making 2D drawings appear 3D in motion. When it comes to websites, parallax scrolling animations create the illusion that foreground images are moving faster than background images. Pretty cool, right? Parallax scrolling goes hand-in-hand with virtual reality technologies and can greatly enhance a visitor’s website experience.
Oftentimes, less is more. For this reason, websites that present minimalist designs tend to succeed at prolonging each customer’s visit, which in turn positively impacts the site’s ranking on Google and other search engines. Abstract art compositions, when integrated into a website’s design, can lend a splash of color and texture without compromising the minimalism of an entire web page. Geometric primitives like squares and circles can be arranged in complex patterns on the page so long as the colors used don’t overwhelm the content you want your visitors to focus on.
The word “skeuomorph” refers to a derivative object with decorative embellishments that mimic the original object it was derived from. Digital Post-Its for desktop and laptop computers are an example of skeuomorphs, because the digital version imitates the original. Likewise, Amazon’s Kindle is a skeuomorphic version of printed books. If an object copies the material-look and shape and functionality of the original object it was derived from, then it is legitimately skeuomorphic. Skeuomorphic imitations are used to make a new product or technology seem familiar to consumers. When skeuomorphism is incorporated in the User Interface design of a website, the visitors experience a kind of textured realism that draws them in.
What else should you and your web designer take into consideration as you revamp your business website and ECommerce store?
● Customized Content According to User Geolocation & Browser History
● Progressive Lead Nurturing Forms with Built-In CRM Integration
● Virtual Reality Tours to Maximize Interactive Content
● Digitalized Representations of Physical Products & Services to Enhance UX
● Intuitive Chatbots for a Personalized Shopping Assistant Experience
Is your website’s current design on trend? Does the layout support the best UX possible? Have you optimized your entire site to promote visitor engagement and interaction?
If not, let the website design and development team at FTx 360 revamp your business website. Our developers design sites that strike a perfect balance between beautiful and functional. Using SEO, social media integration, excellently written content, and stunning graphics, the digital marketing strategists at our web design company can take your website to the next level and beyond. Contact us to get started.
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Your business website has the potential to be your most powerful digital marketing tool. When visitors land on your website, they peruse the home page, navigate through the site, learn about your products and services, and decide whether or not to do business with you. In other words, each visitor assesses your company, and the actual experience he or she has while checking out your website is a big part of that assessment.
Website user experience, or UX, is a critical factor that directly impacts the success of a business. These days, consumers judge books by their covers and they absolutely judge companies, retailers, and organizations by their websites. Provide excellent UX on your ECommerce site, and you’ll see a healthy increase in both sales and Google search engine ranking. Forego amplifying UX on your professional services website–or educational institution website or non-profit organization website–and the visitor bounce rate will be through the roof.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, customers expect certain criteria when it comes to the functionality and presentation of the websites they visit. Do you know what consumers look for in a website? Keep reading to find out…
Website design directly affects UX, and it
isn’t hard to understand why. Your website’s design, layout, colors, and
content create an instant impression in the minds of consumers. Most people
would agree that web design should be aesthetically pleasing. However, the
design of a website has the potential to be so much more than that.
70% of website users abandon shopping carts because of
The visual elements of your website and the way in which content is presented on each web page play an important role in retaining visitors.
How can you improve your website design to
● Place navigation horizontally across the top of each web page
● Offer website visitors amazing deals
● Prominently display your business’s contact information
● Present one consistent, branded design on all web pages
● Add Clear Calls-to-Action
Imagine, you’ve searched Google and found an interesting website title amidst a long list of options. You click on the title, the browser opens the website, but all you see is a spinning ball, or worse, nothing at all, as the website struggles to load. Chances are, you’re not going to wait around, and neither will your customers if they encounter the same issue when trying to visit your site.
Slow-loading websites cost retailers more than $2 billion
in lost sales annually.
The speed of your website–every page of your website–massively contributes to whether visitors have a positive or negative experience. It’s imperative that you do everything you possibly can to make sure your website is fast online. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is an excellent tool you can use to assess the speed of your site.
What can you do to increase the speed of your
● Resize photos, images, and graphics so that they load fast
● Reduce website redirects
● Keep server response time under 200ms
Did you know that increasing visitor engagement on your website can help improve your site’s overall ranking on search engines like Google? But how do you get visitors to stick around, toggle from one web page to the next, and most importantly shop, sign-up for your email newsletter, and enroll in your customer loyalty rewards program if you have one? What can you do to increase visitor interaction on your website?
66% of millennial consumers expect real-time interactions and responses.
When visitors land on your site, they must be presented with valuable content, an opportunity to comment and discuss what they’ve read, and clear calls-to-action, or CTAs, so that they can take the next step and more deeply connect with your business and brand.
How else can you ensure visitor engagement and interaction on your website?
● Simplify your website’s navigation
● Craft well-written content that informs and inspires
● Provide a comments section at the footer of your blog posts
● Improve your internal linking structure
● Add a search box to your web pages
Is your website performing as well as it should? Does your website’s design support the best UX possible? Do the web pages load fast? Have you optimized your entire site to promote visitor engagement and interaction?
If not, let the website design and development team at FTx 360 revamp your business website, or build you a new one. Our developers design sites that strike a perfect balance between beautiful and functional, and our websites always load properly on mobile devices. Using SEO, social media integration, excellently written content, and stunning graphics, our digital marketing strategists can take your website to the next level and beyond. Contact us to get started with our web development services.
At long last, your business website is completely set up. The home page is beautifully branded. Your products and services are clearly indexed. And you’ve even included a few CTAs so that visitors can subscribe to your company’s email newsletter, join your customer loyalty rewards program, and follow your social media accounts.
But how are you actually going to drive traffic to your website?
If you’re unsure how to answer that question, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In this article, we’ll go over proven tactics that will increase web traffic.
The term “website traffic” refers to the volume of users that visit a website. Unlike rush hour traffic, however, that causes bottlenecks, gridlock, and traffic jams, when it comes to web traffic, the more users on a website, the better. The actual number of users that visit your website will depend on the purpose of the site, each visitor’s reason for checking out the site, and how your visitors discovered the site in the first place.
For businesses, organizations, and especially ECommerce retailers, increasing web traffic is crucial to the success of both the website itself and the company at large. If web traffic doesn’t increase, the company probably won’t grow. And if there is hardly any web traffic to begin with, the company will struggle to get off the ground in the first place.
Increasing traffic to your website boils down to correctly using SEO keywords and longtail keyword phrases. SEO is so integral to the vitality of a website that we’ve dedicated an entire article to the subject, What Is SEO? which covers the whys, hows, and wheres of plugging SEO keywords into your web content. Be sure to take a moment to check it out when you have a chance. For the time being, we’ll assume you’re familiar with SEO in general.
The following SEO tips will help you drive traffic to your website organically, and the latter half of this article will walk you through the steps of adding SEO to the images you use on your website, which can have a massively positive impact on the volume of your daily visitors, as well as your website’s ranking on Google and other search engines.
Let’s dive in.
By far the most organic method to drive web traffic to your site involves adding new content to your website on a daily–or even weekly–basis. Generating daily content naturally produces SEO keywords, which Google and other search engines will pick up and use to recommend your website to users who search for businesses, products, and services that are relevant to yours. The easiest way to publish new content frequently and regularly is with a blog. Blog posts don’t have to be lengthy, either. You can publish short articles and reap measurable benefits. For detailed tips to launch a successful blog, read Creating A Remarkable Business Blog. The trick when it comes to ensuring your blog will promote web traffic to other pages on your website is to use internal links. For example, if you’re managing a jewelry ECommerce site, your blog posts can offer inspirational accessory advice on the latest jewelry trends that link to specific products for sale on your website.
Typically, an SEO keyword is strictly that–a single word. Is that how people use Google? Not at all, and Google recognized this fact back in 2013. As a result, Google created a new algorithm called Google Hummingbird that recognizes natural language and questions when Google users type them into the search bar. In practical terms, because Google users will type “where can I buy a cat tree?” or “puppy flea control shampoo near me”, Hummingbird will identify the “topic” or “category” that the search implies and generate appropriate search results that are relevant to local pet supply stores. Hummingbird has rendered old school, single keywords nearly obsolete. If your website content only uses single keywords, Google might not pick up on it. This is where longtail keywords come into play. Longtail keyword phrases are precisely what a Google user might type into the search bar to find businesses like yours. There’s a trick to getting the most out of this type of SEO, however. You’ll need to use high volume, low competition phrases. An excellent tool that will help you identify longtail keyword phrases that fit that description is SEMRush.
But what if you’ve been using longtail keyword phrases in your daily website or blog content and search engines like Google still aren’t picking up your web pages? Search engines might not know your website exists yet. While it takes time for Google’s algorithm to come across your website, identify which category the site falls under, and start recommending web pages to users searching for businesses like yours, there’s something you can do right away if you start to get impatient. Submit your website to the top search engines including Google through your sitemap. If you can’t find your sitemap, you may need to create one under your URL. Once you obtain your sitemap, simply log in to each search engine’s console, hit “sitemaps”, paste in your sitemap URL, and hit “submit”. For other search engines like Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, there’s no need to submit your website, because those search engines don’t have A.I. in place to suppress less popular content.
Social media marketing is critical to the success of any business, but did you know that you can use social media specifically to drive traffic to your website? It’s easy. Whenever you publish new content on your website–and we mean any new content whether it’s a blog article, new product line, revamped landing page content, or new service descriptions–get in the habit of “sharing” the link on social media. For platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you need only copy the URL and the platform will automatically pull up the web page with its headline and primary image. For platforms like Instagram, if you type in the URL within the post’s caption, it won’t hyperlink, but do it anyway, because followers who are interested in the content teaser will still visit the web page. LinkedIn is also a terrific platform, especially for B2B businesses, where you can republish blog articles and press releases.
Similar to promoting your newly published content on social media, you can also use online communities to promote your content. Internet community platforms such as Reddit and Quora, and even niche sites like Dogster.com and Goodreads.com–for bibliophile content!–are great for getting the word out about your business. Every time you share content in an online community, following the community rules of course, you will boost awareness about your brand, drive traffic to your website, improve engagement rates on your site, increase your search engine ranking, and in the long run boost sales and grow your business.
In order to get the most mileage out of the content you share on online community platforms, only use appropriate, relevant platforms. If you’re not sure which platforms are the most relevant to your business, follow these steps:
● Define your target audience
● Research where your target audience hangs out online
● Dig around Facebook Groups and join those that fit your business’ category
● Join LinkedIn Groups that would appreciate your content, products, and services
● Answer questions on Quora and link to the most relevant pages on your website
● When you join an online conversation, be sure that you aren’t providing the same information that another poster already brought to the table
So far, we’ve gone over how to use keywords to improve your SEO ranking, which addressed the written content side of your digital marketing efforts. The flip-side of using SEO to market your website has to do with your images. Every website, ECommerce site, blog article, and products & services web page includes images.
These images have the power to drive traffic to your website, but they’re used in a very different way than content SEO. Let’s take a look…
When we say “images”, we mean photos, graphics, animations, memes, videos… you name it! Any visual element such as these can be used to attract valuable consumer traffic to your website. But how?
Unlike utilizing keywords which Google users type into the search bar in order to find your business, using SEO for images works a little differently. The goal here is to get other websites to link to your images. Yes, it would be far more convenient if Google users could search for your image directly, but in order to do that they would need your image to begin with…which very quickly turns into a catch-22. Instead, if you want your image to rank high within Google and the other search engines, you need that particular image to be so popular that other websites link to it.
Sounds complicated, right? It doesn’t have to be. This is where Pinterest comes in, and Instagram can also help…
The platform Pinterest is a great digital marketing tool. Marketers can “pin” images, collect them into categories, use hashtags and other identifiers, and ultimately help raise the search engine ranking of the images they pin. All of this is to say that you want Pinterest users to “pin” your website, e-commerce, and blog images on their Pinterest pages so that other Pinterest users find them and pin them. This is entirely within your control. Create a Pinterest account and pin your images to your page with SEO keywords as you publish online content.
As an added bonus, search engines like Google also have a “search images” tab on their sites. The search results within the specific images tab work somewhat independently from the general website search results, which means that one of your blog articles could have a below-average ranking while an image used within that same blog article could rank on the first page of Google’s image search.
In order to get this kind of popular traction, you’ll need to make sure your images are something special. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to driving website traffic and raising your SEO ranking.
Any visual image that’s eye-catching or informative will hold a visitor’s attention, but images with a clear call-to-action tend to rank even better. Use CTAs with all of your images if possible. And remember, the most engaging images according to data analytics use facts, tips, and quotes.
This tip comes in two parts. First, you’ll need to find images, photos, and graphics that are relevant to your website content. Next, you’ll need to use a design program to overlay your own information onto the image. Let’s break this down. Do you currently have a subscription to Shutterstock, Pixabay, or Adobestock? If not, signing up for one would be a worthwhile investment. These sites allow users to license high-quality photos and graphics, which can be downloaded onto their computers for editing. Once you’ve transformed a raw image into a polished final graphic, you can use it on your website and in your social media posts. There are several free online editing sites you can try such as Canva. But we recommend FTx AdPro, which comes with industry-themed templates and pre-made designs.
Integrate your finished graphics with your written content in such a way that both breaks-up the text and supports the content’s information. Doing so will make the overall visitor experience much better when customers read your web pages. Visuals that complement the content itself greatly improve the web page’s “readability”. Visitors are more likely to retain the page’s information, and they’ll also be more likely to act on any calls-to-action they encounter on your website.