I want to tell you a quick story. A story that could really be a modern day business fable actually…
It is the story of the business owner who builds a website – spending a ton of time doing it themselves or money to pay an expert to do it for them.
And they launch this beautiful website into the world and….nothing happens.
They wait and wait and wait
No one goes to the site. And they have no idea why and they wonder whether websites are even needed nowadays.
First thing – yes you DO need a website. Your website is pretty much the only place you have total 100% control over how your brand is shown to your audience in the digital world. Social media is incredibly important as well. But it’s a different channel with a different use and does not readily or intuitively communicate your full brand and business message in one easy way.
With a website, you can showcase your elevator pitch, who you are, what your services are, and your portfolio all in one place that is designed to do just that.
So yes, you need a website.
But your website also needs an audience.
The mistake so many business owners make is believing that if they build it, their dream clients will come.
But it’s not like a café or store that you might walk by and think “hey that looks like it’s for me!” and walk in. It lives in a digital suburb no one is driving to unless they are trying to get there.
If you want your dream audience to come visit you at your website, you have to tell them about it and get found by them by hanging out where they hang out.
There are a few ways to do this, and they work best in combination.
The first few ones are all related to something you have probably heard of. You might even have said it out loud, but you may still not be 100% on what those letters mean. I’m talking SEO. Search Engine Optimization.
A site that is optimized for search engines, will show up in the search results of google, yahoo, etc. when someone types in the right keywords.
So, if you are looking to attract customers looking to buy high end shoes, you want your website to show up on search engines when people are SEARCHING for high end shoes. A website that does this has great SEO.
There are ways to set up your website so it shows up in search results. First, feel reassured that no BRAND NEW website is going to rank high on search engines RIGHT AWAY. Let that take some pressure off.
Think about it this way: when you refer a café or store or restaurant to a friend, you don’t do it lightly. You first make sure that you’ve checked it out, that you know they are solid and that your friend is going to have a good experience.
Search engines act the same way. They want to make sure they are sending their users somewhere GOOD. Somewhere that meets their needs. Somewhere where high end shoe buyers are going to find high end shoes.
Establishing that relationship with a search engine takes time. Building that credibility takes time. But there are some things you can do to build that credibility faster and to get search engines to take notice! We’re going to talk about five ways to do this.
My 5 tips for getting your website found on Google
But in this case bigger isn’t better. It’s worst. So much worst.
Large image files on your website take a long time to load. It may only be 3-5 seconds, but in the digital world that is EONS. Between slow load times and a pull on data for mobile devices, search engines don’t like those large websites. It’s important to make sure all your images and files are optimized for web. This is a bit of a line to walk now as people also have larger screens and you don’t want grainy images showing up for them. There are online tools to help you test you site speed; the best call is to play with image sizes and speed and try to find a balance.
Name your images
If you’re uploading photos and images with filenames like IMG001.jpg you are MISSING OUT BABE!
Search engines don’t see images. They see file names and alt text (or the text that loads in place of an image when it doesn’t load or when someone is using an accessibility device to view your site).
Put keywords in your file names and use descriptive alt text – not just for the SEO but because, really, it is a much better experience for those who are using accessibility devices.
Instead of IMG001.jpg how about highendredheels.jpg!
Hierarchy! Aka OUTLINE!
Think about all the times you scan text – whether an email, an article, a website. We allll do it! YES you want people to read every last word, but most people are first looking for relevance or something to catch their eye before they dive in and commit time to reading.
Also, breaking up your website like this makes it MORE READABLE – less just one solid block of text. Search engines like this, too.
For these people you want a bit of an outline on your web pages with some hierarchy – meaning that the more important, the closer to a headline something is, the larger it is.
There are even headline TAGS to use in your website – all the way from H1 for the biggest and more important headline to H5 for the sub sub sub sub headings.
Change it up
If you build one or two pages on your website and forget it, search engines are not going to notice you or find your site particularly engaging for its users.
More content means more places for keywords to live.
More content also means more for a reader to see.
Regularly adding content means that you regularly have new and interesting things for people to see.
Now all these things are easy to accomplish if you have a blog or if you have an online store. But if you don’t have a blog and you don’t feel a blog is right for your audience or is a tactic you want to spend time on, then that’s ok too. You can achieve a good amount of relevant content with key web pages – your about page, services page, home page, and key landing pages. You might find you have tools or new freebies to add as you build and promote your business, and those can all live on your website and help give you a boost with search engines.
Tell people about your website
A lot of business owners launch a website, post once about it on social media and then…that’s it! Tell people regularly about it. Whether it’s showcasing new products and linking to your site, sharing new blog posts, adding it to your email signature, reminding people in your email marketing about it, and so on.
The more people go to your website and check it out, the more search engines are going to know people like going to your website. Plus, search engines aside, this is a great way to get your site in front of your dream clients!
Building a website is exciting, a bit exhausting, and a really fantastic step for your business. Once it’s out there in the world, you want to make sure that all your dream clients are seeing it, visiting it, and finding it often. So, make sure to get in front of your dream clients where they are already and especially when they are looking for what it is that you are offering. Don’t be discouraged if immediately you don’t have a ton of people coming by. Like any and all of your marketing, it is something that requires ongoing work to help it shine.
I've created a free SEO checklist that has steps you can take while writing your blog posts and after it's published to improve their chances of getting seen and drawing your ideal customers to your site.