Colten Nahrebeski
Clickex Marketing

How successful businesses leverage their online presence to grow leads and book client appointments

If you're in business, it's because you believe you have what it takes to do better than other companies out there. You have a stronger product or service, and your clients love you – your reviews tell that story. Everyone should know about you and what you can do for them, right?

So then why do your competitors show up first in Google? Why do you run into their brand every time you go to a conference? How did they get that first phone call that turned into a long-term contract?

The truth is, there is no magic bullet to earning market share. It's a process, and it requires a strategic approach.

If you're serious about growing your business this year and next, you need to have your online presence and digital marketing in order. This report outlines what you can start doing today to set the stage for future success, and better online customer acquisition.

the basics: run a high performance website

In almost every scenario in 2022 and beyond, potential clients & customers are looking at your website – and your competitors' – before they ever pick up the phone, send an email, or step foot into your physical location. Simple as that.

For small businesses, their website is the variable that sets you apart from everyone else before you've had a chance to earn their business and trust.

  • Does it load lightning fast?
    Does it give people a clear path to convert?
    Are you proud of the design and how it portrays your business?
    Does it function well on mobile devices?
    Are you keenly aware of how people actually use it before they submit your contact form or click your phone number?

If you answered "no" to any of the above, you probably do not have a high performance website.

marketing planning

PAGES THAT LOADED IN 2.4 SECONDS HAD A 1.9% CONVERSION RATE. AT 3.3 SECONDS, CONVERSION RATE WAS 1.5% AT 4.2 SECONDS, CONVERSION RATE WAS LESS THAN 1%

So, what makes a high performance website?

There are 5 identifiable characteristics that back nearly every high performance website.

1. SPEED. HIGH PERFORMANCE SITES LOAD IN UNDER 2 SECONDS.

Your site needs to load lightning fast so people don't get frustrated.
Tip: Speed and structure are also a key factor in SEO (search engine optimization) and help search engines like Google determine how to rank your site.

stan renovations performance report gt

How do you improve speed?

There are many factors, but the easiest places to start are hosting, file size optimization, and code structure. Want to see how your site currently performs? Go plug it into gtmetrix.com and generate a free report.

2. USER EXPERIENCE (UX). PEOPLE TRUST THE SITE AND CAN EASILY CONVERT ON ACTIONS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUR BUSINESS.

If you have broken links floating around, your CTAs (calls to action) are vague, and your navigation menu is overflowing with options, odds are your site visitors will fail to take the action you want them to on your site.

It is also important to keep up-to-date with modern design trends so your site doesn't feel "outdated" to users.

outdated website elements

How do you judge structure, layout, and user experience design?

This can be one of the toughest areas for non-designers. It requires experience and exposure to hundreds (if not thousands) of websites to make a call on what works and what doesn't. This is one area where it really pays to lean on a professional for insight and assistance.

3. MOBILE FRIENDLINESS. HIGH PERFORMANCE SITES NEED TO REMAIN HIGH PERFORMANCE FOR MOBILE VISITORS.

High performance websites look and feel fantastic to use both on desktop and on mobile. With the proportion of internet users constantly skewing towards mobile-based devices, you can't afford not to have a mobile optimized site.

homepage mid banner

THE PERCENTAGE OF GLOBAL WEB TRAFFIC ON MOBILE PHONES HAS SURGED OVER THE PAST DECADE. AS OF JULY 2021, 56.75 PERCENT OF ALL WEB TRAFFIC CAME THROUGH MOBILE PHONES.

What makes a website "mobile optimized"?

The strategy used to be to have a desktop site and a separate mobile site. However, with CSS3 updates, we are now able to effectively create "responsive" sites – the elements and layout change automatically based on screen size.

Examples of key elements for responsive mobile optimization:

  • Columns "stacking" (over-under) instead of "wrapping" (side-by-side) Appropriate padding (there needs to be space between text and screen edge)
    Horizontal overflow (you shouldn't need to scroll sideways
  • CTA placement (is it easy to hit "call now" or "buy now" with your thumb?)
    Navigation menu (the menu should collapse and only expand when needed)
  • File size (your users will be using mobile data in many cases – don't serve massive background images)

4. SEO MATTERS. BE FOUND ORGANICALLY ON SEARCH ENGINES BY IMPLEMENTING TECHNICAL AND CONTENT STRATEGIES FOR SEO.

SEARCH IS THE SINGLE LARGEST ONLINE TRAFFIC SOURCE, DRIVING WELL OVER 50% OF MOST INDUSTRIES’ WEB TRAFFIC.

The term "SEO" gets thrown around a lot. What's the truth?

There are many theories, strategies, and falsehoods shared in the SEO space. Because the main player, Google, is always updating algorithms, it can be difficult to know what's real and what's a "scheme" that may or may not work.

Metrics Improvement

We subscribe to a basic-but-effective approach to SEO, as espoused by John Mueller, Google's own Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst. Well- structured sites that serve the needs of users the best tend to rank the best in the long run. Yes, keywords matter. They really matter. But so does site speed, content structure, intra-site linking, canonical URLs, metadata & schema, and lots of other technical elements.

A great SEO strategy doesn't happen overnight – it's a lot like planting a tree and watering it often. However, once you've earned some 1-3 spots in organic search results, you'll see why organic traffic is such a huge boost to your business, and why everyone always talks about better SEO.

5. ANALYTICS DRIVE DECISIONS. KNOWING YOUR NUMBERS ALLOWS YOU TO MAKE SMART DECISIONS THAT MAKE YOUR SITE WORK FOR YOU.

High performance websites carry out a key mission for your business. Whether it's selling product, generating leads, or helping you take appointments, you, as the site owner, need to know how to leverage data to make the right decisions for your site and your business.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR NUMBERS, YOU'RE TOAST.

KEVIN O'LEARY, CO-FOUNDER, O'LEARY FUNDS (ALSO KNOWN FOR BEING AN INVESTOR ON 'SHARK TANK')

Metrics matter.

If you're not already measuring the following via your website, we would highly recommend it. These are just some of many potentially valuable metrics for your business:

  • Monthly/Daily/Yearly Traffic
  • Conversion Rate
  • Landing Page Performance
  • Conversion Rate
  • New Vs. Returning Users
  • Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

How should you be tracking your metrics?
If you aren't already familiar with the free tools Google Analytics & Google Tag Manager, it's a great time to start. The super summarized version is that we write code that sends data to an analytics app when things happen on your site. We can then optimize your site to perform better for important activities like sales & lead generation. High performance websites are constantly optimized for these key events.

Watch Out – "Vanity" Metrics: Some metrics feel good, but ultimately don't mean as much out of context. Traffic is a great example. It's easy enough to buy cheap traffic and pump those numbers, but without conversions, the extra traffic is actually just wasted money.

Where to start?

If you're busy (as most businesses are), and you want some help in analyzing your site, you can book a quick chat with us to gauge where your site is at and what needs to be done here.

Otherwise, if you're more the DIY type, we're huge proponents of working with the best (and easiest-to-use) WordPress development toolkit available – Thrive Themes. They have a fantastic online university available for members that walks you through how to effectively use their design tools, and how to build a great website.

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