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10 February 2016

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Adrian Fowler
Founder

To some people, not having a website means not being in business or not taken seriously.
Adrian

Considering a (new) website?

Most businesses now rely on their website to either generate new enquiries, process transactions or simply as a lookup for contact details. There aren’t many successful businesses running today that manage to stay on top without a website. To some people, not having a website means not being in business or not even being taken seriously.

The digital age

It’s a digital age whether we like it or not. Notice how television advertising has evolved to include a new type of call to action; “go visit our website!” not “buy this product now” as it always was before.

This is how people behave. If you are sat watching television during the evening, no longer are we going to buy something because we happen to be watching a commercial, but we might google something next time we are sat at our computer, or even we might pick up our smartphone and google what we see advertised on television whilst we are waiting for the next television programme to start. This is what we do.

Most companies now trade online. They want you to sign up online and they want you to buy online. No business in a competitive age wants to pay people to man-the-phones out of hours, or even during the working day. Why would you want to pay someone even minimum wage multiplied by however many needed to take orders over the phone? A website can deal with thousands of orders all at once and most people are used to ordering their stuff that way.

So we’ve established the essential, unavoidable need for a website for any business or organisation, we now need to consider what that website has to do.

Being found online

If you were reading this article back in 1996, and went off at this point, without continuing to the end of the article, you’d no doubt do very well with your website over time. But now things have got a little more competitive. The internet isn’t quite the level playing field it was when it first became popular in the early part of this new century. There was a time when someone working from home as a one man band selling tennis rackets could sell as many tennis rackets as a national high street sports chain despite not having the huge advertising budget of the much larger chain.

The perfect windows of opportunity was just at the point people started to use the internet to shop for stuff online right before the businesses selling the stuff all jumped on the band wagon and started peddling their stuff online. It was such a short window and existed around the time of the dot-com boom.

If you launched a website back in 1999 and sold stuff, you sold a lot of that stuff and became wealthy. In fact, even thinking about selling stuff online back in 1999 meant you could float your idea for a few million quid and sell it on the open stock market.

Everyone wanted to compete for top slot on Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and the rest of the search engines at the time. Along came the industry of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) companies. At that point, the techniques adopted by SEO companies were in a nutshell, described as ‘black hat’. Search engines were nothing more than search engines that found stuff on the internet and presented the users with a list of those results. They worked on keywords. You type in a keyword, the search engine would analyse websites for website relevancy based on keyword density, and in the case of ‘votes’ cast to the websites by other websites in the form of backlinks.

The problem was at that point? Everyone became obsessed with stuffing as many keywords into their websites to fool search engines into believing their websites were more relevant than the competition therefore should be ranked number one. Or they obtained as many backlinks from what were, and still are called ‘link farms’ pointing to their websites, again in the hope to fool search engines into believing their websites were most voted and relevant and should be listed at number one.

“I still find website to this day using those techniques.”

Thankfully, or annoyingly depending on which side of the right and wrong argumentative fence you sit on, search engines have updated their algorithms by way of updates, recently called panda and penguin, which now penalise websites for adopting these practices. Although there are still SEO companies out there practicing these techniques and selling them commercially to the unsuspecting website owner.

Be careful. If you unwittingly adopt any of these practices, or employ an SEO company who practices black hat techniques, Google will punish you for doing so. You will be dropped to the bottom or even delisted from their search engine, and to become relisted is hard to say the least.

What to do with the website traffic?

Convert them. Plain and simple. It’s not important to have hundreds of visitors per day to your website. This serves no purpose at all unless those people are actually engaging with your website. The visitors need to be doing something when they arrive whether it be reading an article, signing up to something, purchasing something, anything but bouncing off it because they got there by accident.

This is the first, if not the second most important thing to consider after considering whether to have a website or not.

The most important thing to consider when considering a new website?

It really doesn’t matter what the website looks like, how many visitors it gets, where it appears on the first page of google or any of that nonsense if it does nothing for the owner.

You are far better having two visitors to your website where one actually converts into an enquiry or sale, rather than two hundred where still only one converts.

A 50% conversion ratio is better than a 0.5% ratio.

If no one has told you this yet whilst talking to you about your next website, then you need to consider talking to us.

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