How to optimize your website

Charcoal’s inbound marketing formula is a four part series, breaking down the components that come together to make your website more than a glorified business listing, floating in the dead sea. In part one, we dug deeper into how content distributed through your social community and digital advertising efforts will contribute when it comes to driving traffic, and value, to your website.

Now that you have a reason for users to visit, optimizing your inbound marketing strategy will encourage visitors to return to your site, empower you with the opportunity to collect insights on user preferences, and ultimately weigh the success and failure of marketing campaigns as you strive to find your sweet spot.

modern site development + Google Analytics + local hosting = optimization

Modern site development: Here’s the reality: it’s quite unlikely that you’ll drive much of any, if any traffic at all to your site if it’s running on old technology and user experience premises. Yes, that’s right — you won’t even see the users arrive if the site isn’t what Google calls modern. That’s because recent websites are built with the capability to adapt to any screen size (‘responsive’) and will therefore work on anyone’s mobile device (‘mobile friendly’). If your site’s not that, you can kiss your search engine placement goodbye. Making that sale to Google would be like convincing someone to opt for a landline over a smartphone.

It’s not all doom and gloom though — owning a modern site will do a lot more for your brand than simply getting you back into Google’s good graces. Opportunities to refine how a user proceeds from your home page to your store, for example, is a conversation a savvy business owner would want to have with his web development and design team going into the build of a new website. Oh the possibilities. Just remember that being mobile friendly, having a fast load time and working in a user-friendly CMS that enables you to make changes to your own website are all must-haves!

If you’d like a little more information on how your site stacks up to the rest, we created a free Slideshare with the top free SEO tools you can use to put your website through some hoops, including mobile-friendliness and load time.

Google Analytics: Let’s open this one with a few questions: do you know what your users are doing when they visit your website? Do you know where they came from, or how they found you? Do you know whether or not any of your marketing investment is creating an opportunity for you to secure some value, be it in leads or readership? This is information that’s not only available to you, it’s also incredibly powerful.

Google Analytics could very well be the key to unlocking the information you need to fix a break in your conversion process, determine which social media platforms to focus on, create a list of what’s being downloaded, sold, or submitted, and identify a whole array of strengths and weaknesses. Take some time to get to know this heavenly platform, or touch base with someone fluent in it. You won’t regret it, because after all, the more you know..

Local hosting: Always choose local, right? Choosing to host your web properties with a local host, on their local servers, comes loaded with the sorts of benefits that make the decision an easy one. Having a closer relationship with your site’s caretakers means that downtime and outages are typically better communicated. At the end of the day, when your website is down and you’re missing out on opportunities, you’ll want to be able to get a hold of the team working frantically to repair the issue. If you’d prefer to make that call cross-country or overseas, that’s of course your prerogative. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Oh, and as if the above weren’t enough, you’re also likely to experience faster load speeds for your site. To break things down, that means faster site access, local technical support, and faster response times/troubleshooting, all based on where you choose to host.

Hopefully part II of the Charcoal inbound marketing formula was as informative as it was frightening (and not just because we’re on the cusp of Halloween — web technologies can be scary when they’re working against you!) Coming up in part III, we’ll be looking into both building and managing an online brand in the era of user reviews, social media scandals, and WordPress templates that make your logo look abysmal. Stay tuned!