We all want to be visible. It’s human nature. But visibility means different things to different people.
Some of us prefer to avoid the spotlight. That doesn’t mean we don’t need recognition, but in this case a genuine, well-timed compliment from a few impactful individuals can go a long way. Others need more frequent (and possibly more public) affirmations. So, when we’re trying to bring out the best in someone, we need to figure out what works for them.
The same concept applies when you're trying to increase website visibility - the type and amount of attention you need will vary based on the maturity of your business, the nature of your product or service, your capacity to fulfill demand and many other factors. But once you’ve handled the basics of SEO, it can be a challenge to figure out what to do next.
As you juggle the demands of the holiday season and plan for 2018, here are a few suggestions for how you can improve the visibility of your website, while also staying focused on what's best for you.
1. Set Goals for Your Website That Reflect the Core Needs of Your Business
What are the top-level goals of your business for 2018? Do you want to grow your revenue? Increase your subscriber base? Enter a new market?
The purpose of your website is to support these goals. Attracting massive amounts of traffic can be impressive, but if it’s not the right kind of traffic it’s meaningless. You need website visitors who care about what you offer, and are ready to take action.
When planning for 2018, set specific, realistic, measurable goals for your website that will show progress toward the core goals of your business.
For example, let’s imagine you sell supplies to professional chefs and your business goal is to double your revenue. A suitable goal for your website might be to increase referral traffic from websites which also cater to professional chefs by 300% within 6 months. Since you share a target audience with these sites, you can expect a higher conversion rate from their referrals - in this instance, you would track the sessions and/or visitors referred by each site and the number of conversions that occur as a result.
Or, perhaps you want to establish yourself as an expert in “healthy vegan diets” - an appropriate website goal in this case might be to create, publish and promote a comprehensive guide, and twelve supporting blogs posts which address the topic over the coming year. You would set benchmarks, then measure the impact of this content on your traffic, inbound links and mentions of your brand in relation to “healthy vegan diets.”
My point is that vague goals (like 'increasing traffic to your website by 100%') lead to vague results. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to track your progress and discover what does and does not work.
2. Perform an Audit of Your Website and Content
It's very common for a business to build a website and produce content with absolutely no system in place to track what they've created, why they created it, how it performed - along with what to do next. Instead, they add pages and resources on an “as-needed” basis, and wind up with a massive collection of content, and a complicated website that’s difficult to navigate. This can result in high bounce rates, low conversion stats, and overall, a frustrated creative team.
If this sounds familiar, audit your website from the perspective of a first-time visitor, then form a plan to fix any problems. Scrutinize the user experience, from initial visit all the way through to conversion, and look for ways you can make it easier and more intuitive. Your website is the foundation for all your online marketing activities - there’s no point in attracting traffic if your visitors can’t figure out what to do once they arrive.
Once your website is in order, create an inventory of your content which includes performance metrics. I’ll admit, this can be challenging the first time, but if you think it through and establish a repeatable system, this will become an invaluable resource.
When your inventory is complete, audit your content to gain insights into performance. This will empower to you to identify content that resonated (or flopped) with your target audience, and to then build a more effective editorial calendar.
3. Build Mutually Beneficial Relationships with Other Content Creators
No one would argue that relationships aren't important in business, but it’s easy to forget that your website needs a social life too. Okay, maybe that’s being a little cute, but seriously, websites need attention to thrive. They need fresh content and a little love from other websites, in the form of links, shares and mentions.
Identify complementary websites in your space and make the time to build relationships with the people who are responsible for their content. Like you, they need visibility to be successful. While you may occasionally get snubbed, most of the time these content creators will be more than happy to engage.
But remember, normal, relationship building rules still apply. If you barge in, introduce yourself and immediately ask for a favor, you won’t get the results you desire. Choose websites and people that you're authentically interested in, and look to build connections naturally, without expectation of anything in return.
Sometimes the effort will result in a symbiotic relationship that'll help you achieve better visibility for your site. Other times, all you'll gain is a contact with similar interests. Either way, it’s a win.
4. Experiment with a New (to You) Technique
The world of online marketing is unbelievably noisy - every day there’s a new trick, tool, channel or technique that's the 'latest, greatest thing'. And if you’re the type who likes focus, you probably ignore most of that noise so you can continue moving forward with the things that work.
But if you need to breathe fresh life into a website that’s getting a little stale, it might be time to step out of your comfort zone and embrace something new – even if (maybe especially if) it makes you uncomfortable.
Choose one thing to challenge yourself with, something that'll expose your website to a new audience. This could be as simple as a different social media channel, a new format for your content or a new tool. Commit to it for a pre-determined amount of time, then examine your results.
The best scenario is that you will gain a whole new wave of website visitors. Worst case – you get to check that thing off your list and move on to something else.
Increasing website visibility is a challenge, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of possible solutions. But if you focus on your goals, nurture your relationships and carve out a little time for creative risk-taking, you'll set yourself up for greater success in 2018.