Understanding How Your Website Works and It’s Role in Your Business
As the owner and head project manager/web designer at Copious J, one of the things that I really enjoy doing is helping clients understand the how’s and why’s of website design, SEO, and internet marketing. In my years of designing, I have came across way too many horror stories about companies who have made false promises, or who have taken advantage of the lack of knowledge that their clients did not have. At Copious J we are all about transparency in how we conduct business and provide services for our clients – it’s one of the reasons why we trust us. So in the name of integrity, I thought I would take some time to write about some of the most common questions and concerns that I get asked about from clients.
Why You Need a Website
Long gone are the days of websites being an option for any serious business owner. When you want to know about a company, what do you do? You google it.
Your website is your online real estate and first impression. It embodies who you are, what you do, why you do it, why people should trust you, and if they ever want to deal with you. All of this occurs in about ten seconds or less usually. Make you nervous? It doesn’t have to. We are here to help.
Understanding What Makes a Great Website
When it comes to building a great website, making sure that your company or organization is presented in a way that truly reflects its values and services is crucial. This is often times when branding comes into play. Branding however, is not the only thing to consider when it comes to the visual aspect of your website. There are also psychological factors of marketing on the internet that tie into the placement of where buttons and text are placed, and of what colors should be used where. Humanity has developed a pattern of where they look for specific things on a website, and even what color they may expect certain buttons or links to be. What words are used, and their tone may engage visitors to your website, or may chase them away.
Apart from the words and visual aspects of your website there are other things to consider such as how long does it take your website to load? The average person will not stay on a website for more than a few seconds to wait for it to load. While some introductory features may appear to add some ‘wow’ factor to your website, the truth may be that it isn’t worth the time that it may take special animations or functions to load.
Understanding how Google, Bing, and other search engines rank your website
This is one of those topics that can get really geeky, really fast. I’m going to be brutally honest here and say three major things about Search Engine Optimization or SEO:
- It is always changing.
- No-one (not even google certified SEO companies) knows exactly what the formula is that Google, Bing, or any other search engine uses to rank websites.
- It takes money or effort and time. You either have to put a ton of effort and time into it, or pay someone else to.
So what does this mean for you as a business owner who wants a guarantee that you will rank #1 on Google?
- You should beware of predatory companies who promise things that are too good to be true, or who claim that they work with or for Google or Bing. Google and Bing offer certifications, but they DO NOT rank a website based on the fact that you work with these companies alone. They rank websites according to their current algorithm (basically a complex formula they use to rank sites), and no-one, not even certified companies know the exact algorithm.
- Google and BIng do provide web designers, internet marketers and other specialists with ‘best practices’. Using these best practices, along with data gathered from other campaigns and optimizations allows internet geeks such as ourselves and others to refine our approach until we structure your website and company data across the internet in a fashion that the search engine loves. It takes many hours of effort from a multifaceted approach both on and off your website in order to achieve and maintain this. It often takes several months before lasting results can be seen.
- Google can put your website in website jail. There are a few major no-no’s that Google and Bing just won’t have, some of them may work and boost your site visibility immediately, but there could be long term repercussions to pay such as extremely low ranking, and even removing your website’s visibility altogether. Let’s just say that when your domain name has been smeared with the search engines, it is not an easy thing to fix.
Here are a few tips to put into play when it comes to getting SEO help:
- Ask questions. If a company is impatient with your questions, or is too vague when it comes to answers it may mean that they are not knowledgeable, or that they do not use best practices when it comes to SEO. Here at Copious J we never withhold knowledge from our clients. We firmly believe that you have every right to know as much as you want to know about the processes and procedures we use to get your site a high ranking.
- Beware of anything automated when it comes to listing your business online. I could literally write article after article about horror stories of automated SEO and business listings gone wrong. I’m not saying that all automated systems are bad, but I do recommend that you search the internet for customer complaints and reviews, both good and bad – so you can really know what you are getting yourself into. At Copious J we do offer website and internet marketing consulting and have helped save many clients hundreds of dollars and a lot of hassle just by using our knowledge of technology to filter through providers that are predatory or just not a good fit for our client. All of our consulting is unbiased, and we keep the customers best interest in mind at all times, even if it means we need refer them to a third party company or service.
- Value a company’s customer service. My experience in this field tells me that an online company’s customer service is directly correlated with their performance and a client’s happiness. Are they available when you need them to be? How fast is their response time? How willing are they to accommodate your reasonable requests?
How can I get people to go to my website?
While I wish there was a one size fits all answer to this question, there simply isn’t. The truth is that the answer depends on who you are trying to get to see your website. Who is your target audience, and where can you find them? You may be able to find them on social media, but you will also find many people on social media who are not your target audience. Your time, effort and advertising dollars can be easily wasted if you don’t know how to effectively use social media. You may find them locally at events or in day to day operations. There are hundreds of ways to market your company – online, in newspaper ads, phone book directories, and the list goes on and on. They key to being effective is to come up with a marketing plan that is efficient. You can spend $75 on a newspaper ad and get 1 new customer or you can spend $200 on a online ad and get 5 new customers. Again, if you are new to this, do yourself a favor and GET ADVICE. Hiring a knowledgeable consultant can save you your sanity and your wallet, do not deceive yourself into thinking that by doing it alone, you are saving money. Often times doing it alone does just the opposite. If you are in need of a marketing plan or consulting services for internet marketing, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to setup an appointment if we feel that our consulting services would be a good fit for your company or organization.