Chances are when you started your small business you threw up a website lickity-split to start generating traffic and promote legitimacy for your company. Not many people can afford to take the time to explore branding and content while also working on sales, processes, and everything else. When we put up a small business website without planning or strategy we will outgrow it almost as fast as it took to build it. This is why a redesign or refresh is often needed shortly after your first year in business. And nothing is wrong with that!
In fact, that first year of business has probably helped you identify some key elements in your small business that you want to be reflected in your online presence. Things like:
- Updated colour scheme
- Improved value propositioning
- More focused product or service descriptions
- Better images that resonate with your prospects
- Better understanding of target audience (ideal client)
- Adding testimonials and case studies
- Adding and removing pages
We know that a new website can seem like a huge and daunting task. And it absolutely can be! So, let’s see if we can offer a few things to make this easier for you and bring you one step closer to a website that is more in tune with your current small business.
Make a note of keywords and their context for each and every page on your website. This will guide your copy and keep you focused on the topic. Be careful not to stuff keywords into your page copy. Instead, use it as a guide for page purpose. It’s important not to use the same keyword on every page. Instead focus on longer phrases.
Include context for your keywords by including things like qualifiers and modifiers as well as synonyms. Make sure to use both longer phrases as well as shorter keywords. Use variations. And make it sound as natural possible! Read your copy out loud as it will help you hear unnatural patterns. Yes, you want to be found. But you also need visitors to stay on the page and explore a bit. So make sure you are giving good information and enticing visitors to read and click.
Make sure you know the difference between your keyword results. There keyword competition on the different search engines (more competition results in a tougher climb to get ranked on the first page **GOAL**) is different than the keywords used when prospects search (this is what you want to focus on first). High search volume keywords should be blended with less popular keywords that have a long tail. Those long tail keywords may be less popular but are said to convert better as the terms are more specific and used by serious buyers.
A few sites that may help with your keyword research:
For website content, you want to organize this first by purpose. What is the purpose of the page? What offer is it connected to? What is the call-to-action (what do you want a visitor to do on the page e.g. click a link)? Then refer to the keyword you’ve researched for this page.
In my experience, copy gets written and then rewritten (or edited) when put into the design. It’s a chicken or the egg scenario. There is no correct order to do this but I find planning content before writing it leads to more strategic copy (duh).
Here’s a super simple spreadsheet to help plan your page content from 30,000ft (free to download and no opt-in required). Just make sure you save your own copy before using it:
There are many ways you can build a list of prospects (yes, list-building is still super good for business). Offering opt-ins on your website is a good start! Every page should have a clear action you want them to take and if your buying cycle is longer than 15 minutes then I’d recommend creating an opt-in on your website that exchanges valuable content/advice/support for their email address.
These can be a bit tricky to plan, but here’s a simply spreadsheet to help you track everything as you plan and build. There are many ways to build this out so this is just to help you keep all your info in one place while you build out all the moving pieces. You can download it here (no opt-in required):
Opt-ins are great things to promote and share with your network so some opt-ins may work well on your website while others may be a wonderful addition to an event or newsletter content. Sitting down and planning this will make this easier. It’s also important to keep track of where you’ve shared these links and when.
Fresh and branded imagery is a key piece in engaging website traffic. And obviously, you want to work within your branding but it’s also helpful to work within your design. Noting imagery file size and measurement will help with controlling how the image is experienced. The best thing any small business owner can do is learn a software that helps them adjust image size and file types. Learning a photo editing software in its entirety isn’t likely a good use of your time. But being able to resize your own images will save time and possible $ as you won’t be engaging professional designers for menial tasks. I use Pixelmator as I’m on a MAC but others out there (for both MAC and PC) include:
For those looking to take on more than a bit of image work, the Adobe DC Pro offers you a full suite of software but it’s a bit pricey if you’re not using it often (in my opinion).