December 24, 2015
Land more clients by better optimizing your website
Since the dawn of the internet, marketing your business both online and off has become increasingly easier. New ways of targeting new users have a more definitive process with technologies such as display ads, SaSS model software with free trials, and much more.
Gaining new client leads, of course, is no easy venture. Your website is often the first thing they'll see and like most people, they are quick to judge it based on their first impressions. Optimizing your website in a variety of ways can help you gain more leads as well as develop a better reputation.
In modern times having a good design website will without a doubt attract the most attention. Even if the user isn't well versed in design or doesn't care that much about it, they are still able to compare and contrast it to any competitors of yours.
This comparison will likely be a visual one as well as important factors like the 5 W's. (Who, What, Where, When, Why).
Design exists not only on a desktop computer but also on any device. Your site needs to be visible and usable on as many devices as possible. The number of users visiting their favorite websites and apps from their mobile device is rising rapidly. Adjusting your website for the increased spike of mobile users is almost a must anymore.
If you do support more devices, Google lets the user know if they decide to perform a Google search. This essentially gives the user the green light to click/tap through to the link as they know it will support the device they are currently using.
Google search results give the user a helpful clue as to whether the website supports mobile devices or not.
Make it easier for them
Any new prospect who is visiting your website needs to have a rewarding experience. Your website doesn't need to blow them away but it does need to be functional, provide enough detail, and most of all show the prospect what it is you do and how you do it.
Many designers use their website to showcase their work in a portfolio format. This format usually entails some visuals followed by a description of the work as well as the skill-sets utilized in each. This concept applies to more than just designers. You may see this pattern utilized by writers, developers, and even merchants who showcase their products.
Showing your work certainly aids in marketing yourself but you also need to take the next step of contact extremely obvious to the user. Say they like what they see and what to get in touch to possibly talk business. Is it easy for them to do so?
Contact information needs to be easily accessible on your website. This is probably the number one thing many people forget. It may seem like you're bombarding the user with the same repetitive content or call to action but in reality, if it wasn't there they may have never contacted you in the first place.
My website is fairly small and the focus is primarily a single page but you'll notice I have a call to action in the top right of the home page which denotes that I'm available for hire. Clicking this link shifts the user to the contact form which is the end of the funnel effect I'm after for gaining new client prospects.
On top of this call-to-action is a contact link within the main navigation. It also links to the contact form. This link is always in view because the main navigation becomes fixed as the user interacts with it or scrolls down the page.
The end result of all of these contact links is that there's always something for the user to click on to get in touch.
My website is only one example of this concept. There are likely better examples out there, but I just wanted to show the approach your website should ideally take to make things easier for any new user visiting your website. In the end, you will want to create a funnel effect where no matter where the user is, they can find a way to get in direct contact with you or your team.
Blogging is a slow but steady way to get your name out there. The more content you produce the better, though it needs to be quality content. Blogging has many benefits to lend a hand in gaining new clients.
Show you are human
Sharing your insight on a topic provides reassurance to any user coming to your blog that you are a professional in your craft. Blogging about your process, experience, and overall opinion on relatable matters is a great way to allow users to get inside your mind. If they can understand your thoughts and processes they will then appreciate more of the value you have to share. A user who enjoys your writing will also learn to trust your judgment as you are perceived as a professional.
Guest blogging is a great way to market yourself or your business rapidly. If you get a chance to write for a well-known blog you are almost guaranteed more spotlight. I've had the chance to guest blog for a few well-known names around the design and development community. Each gig was very rewarding as more people were interested in what you have to say and best of all many follow up with you directly. These users may just have questions or need help but they are award of you which ultimately is the point.
Getting on at a well-known blog isn't exactly a walk in the park. I myself simply used the cold call approach but had some other published writings to show as experience in the field. If you are new to blogging and want to guest blog I suggest you start your own blog first so you have something to share when the time comes. Be sure to write with your users in mind and remember to just be yourself. No one wants to read content with zero personality.
Blogging creates new links and content which is indexed by search engines if done correctly. Blogging often promotes "sharability" as well as better SEO for your website. The more optimized your content is for SEO the better your content will show when being searched by any given user. SEO is a completely huge topic that I won't dive into now but just know that it is indeed important and worth doing a little research on. Luckily enough for many of us, there are some great tools to make SEO a breeze.
At Web-Crunch, we use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize all blog posts and pages for better SEO. Doing this manually would be a challenge and very time-consuming, but because we use WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin is an essential tool in our arsenal.
Out of the box, WordPress is already pretty SEO friendly but adding this new layer of control allows you to craft how search engines will display your content so more users can see it. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and many others all link to the content in different ways. This often requires more time to craft the right imagery, headlines, and meta-text to display for each specific application.
There are other options for SEO out there so do your research and choose whatever works best for you.
Establish your business online
At the moment I'm a one-man shop and don't allow clients at my place of business because I work from home. With this in mind, I was very hesitant to submit my business on Google and Bing for the sake of security and because it's really not a place of business. All that aside I was interested in seeing where things could head so I took the plunge. To my surprise, I have gotten three new clients just by establishing my small creative agency as a business on Google and Bing in the past year.
These clients came to me. I had to do zero marketing to get them. They just so happened to do a google search for a local freelance designer and landed on my website because Google linked to it via my business page. Pretty cool.
Most of my clients are not local oddly enough. When I established my business online it opened up a lot of new doors I didn't anticipate but am thankful for!