There are many ways to grow your business, one of the most effective ways are recommendations, raving fans who want to share their success working with you to their friends and colleagues.
But what about the people out there who don’t know you or your business, who would really benefit from your amazing offerings. Having a website is great way to bring in new clients.
Why having a website is not enough.
When I started my design business “Fusion Graphics” in the 1990’s, aside from referrals, the only other channels for bringing in new clients were yellow pages or ads in local papers. It was a slow and expensive way to build my business. Fast forward to the mid 2000’s and the internet was fast becoming the new way most people were searching for products and services.
Creating a website was the first step. After much work and research, in 2007 I went live with my first website. But to my disappointment, it wasn’t instant success. It was many months before the website started getting any hits. There were a number of mistakes I made along the way, but the lessons learnt have been invaluable in helping me and my clients avoid the same pitfalls.
I remember my first interaction with a client through my website. I received an email from a gentleman needing some promotional material for his new business. My first hit! I was excited to call him to arrange a meeting and discuss his project. During the conversation he mentioned that he found my website on page 9 or 10 of google, so he assumed I would be cheap!!! Not the response I was hoping for :(
The main lesson I took away from that call was, that having a website is important but it isn’t enough, you need a website which can be found and rank higher that your competitors in search engine results. Page ONE being the ultimate goal!
The power of SEO
This is when I discovered Search Engine Optimisation, there are SEO experts you can hire to help you rank higher in search results. I looked into hiring an SEO expert but was shocked to learn they charged thousands of dollars, and besides I knew it was something I had to learn to do for myself and my clients.
So I made it my mission to learn everything I could about optimising my site to organically rank higher in search engines like Google. Being a local business I needed to implement a specific type of optimisation.
The 7 most important lessons learnt:
- Avoid bulky code – It really matters what platform you build your website on. Search engines like Google love clean code. I had to ditch the first site I had built with a website builder because the code was a mess, after some research I started fresh with a new self hosted WordPress site.
- Security – Chrome now marks all unencrypted site as “not secure”, having an SSL certificate ensures visitors they are safe to browse your site and is the easiest thing site owners can do to boost SEO rankings.
- Site speed matters – Another important factor is speed, nothing is more annoying than a slow loading site, search engines may penalise slow sites.
- Mobile friendly is important– With more people now searching on mobile devices, having a responsive website is now a necessity.
- Content improves SEO – Creating great content in the form of a blog is a fantastic way to inform potential customers about your business. It helps build credibility, trust and position yourself as an authority in your industry. Blogs on average generate 60% of a sites search traffic. Google loves great content and is shifting from ranking web pages by pushing up content.
- Benefits of external links – Top SEO’s experts believe external links are one of the most important sources of ranking power. Relevant links back to your website from other websites increases traffic and also helps your site rank higher.
- Finding the right keywords – The most important question I had to ask myself was this: If people didn’t know my business name how would they find me? What were the words they were most likely to search for when looking for a graphic designer? For me those keywords are “freelance graphic designer Sydney”
Success at last
Out of the hundreds, if not thousands of freelance graphic designers in Sydney I can now proudly say that Fusion Graphics ranks on page 1 of Google’s local page results for my chosen keywords – “Freelance graphic designer Sydney”
If you would like to learn more about how you can build a website that gets found by your customers please get in touch to discuss working together on your website.
I look forward to meeting you and getting to know more about your business.