Business Tools

Fine-Tune Your Website to Increase Traffic

  SEMA Show attendees learn how to reprogram their company websites to increase traffic from new customers and facilitate repeat business.

Currently, 74% of Internet users never make it past page one on a search engine when looking for something and every year that percentage increases, according to Brian Offenberger, CEO of Phoenix-based Right On–No Bull Marketing, who led the "Jumpstart Your Internet Marketing" seminar at the 2009 SEMA Show.

“Your material has to be found,” he said. “You can have the best website in the world, but if people can’t find it, you’re done. Think about your own behavior. The only time you go past page one on a search engine is if you can’t find what you’re looking for or you’re researching a topic.”

Search Engine Optimization

People use keywords to find what they are looking for on the Internet, and most use at least four keywords or more. As an entrepreneur, you must identify the terms people use to find what you sell. Also, factor in how much competition you have.

Go to Google and type in the words “keyword selector.” The search engine will tell you how much competition is out there and suggest other terms for users to think about. Basically, the Internet is nothing more than a huge card catalog.

A good website must be programmed so a search engine can easily find it. It’s good to have photos and videos on your site, but it’s also difficult for Google to decipher a photo since it’s only programmed to understand words. Make sure your website is search-engine friendly. The information you share should match up with what you say your company and products are about and use the same terminology within the text on that page, but don’t overuse it.

Most importantly, to determine where you will be ranked, Google uses inbound links as referrals, where one website links into yours. As long as inbound links are from relevant sources, the more of them you have, the better. Next, find out your website’s conversion rate, which is the number of people out of 100 that agree to your desired business action, and learn where you need to improve.

Repeat Business

Increase lifetime customer value by asking what you can do with the clients you already have instead of spending all your time trying to recruit new ones. The idea is to sell more products and retain customers. The problem with most companies is the only time they talk to their customers is when they want to sell them something or when the customer calls with a problem.

Look for clever ways to talk to them regularly that will get them to want to spend more money with you; for instance, use e-mail marketing techniques or after delivery, ask your customers if they have received their order. Find out how you can get more value out of your product.

Measure website visitor actions. How do you know if you’re making progress if you don’t know where you’re starting? Measuring gives you an idea of visitor intent and behavior. A free program called Google Analytics tells you how they found your site, what terms they used, what they did when they were there and for how long. From this information, you can compare visitor actions. Measure this behavior for at least 20 minutes once a month, Offenberger suggested.

Test what is working and what is not working. Google offers another free program called Website Optimizer. Test your headlines and your pictures, but keep your variables constant.

Convert Potential Customers

You can cut your operating costs through the use of a website via online user forums or live chat with company representatives. Your website should allow you to expand your reach and sell into markets you weren’t able to penetrate in the past. There are opportunities to increase revenue and be open 24/7. Website traffic helps drive offline sales but is inefficient when it comes to online sales because there are no clerks to offer help or interact with visitors.

The average website converts just one out of 100 visitors, according to Offenberger. Good websites focus on singular actions. Simplicity sells, so don’t offer too many options or you will lose the customer. Also, make sure your website is easy to navigate. Websites that work well have a clear call to action or reasons to spend with you versus a competitor. When marketing, give people reasons to act now instead of later. Get your customers to make decisions. Finally, effective websites convey trust through the use of customer reviews and testimonials or money-back guarantees.