Launching a website is just the beginning

Your website is your cyber shop front, not just to local clientelle but to the whole world. Which means having your new website launched is just the beginning of a long journey into the world wide web.

There are many factors that contribute to having good website traffic and high rankings in a search engine and leaving your website to chug away on its own isn't one of them. Competition is rife, and that couldn't be more true than with websites. Why should people flock to your website, what makes it successful? Here are some handy tips to follow.

1. Register your website with Google

If you don't already have one, create a Google account and go to webmaster tools. Make a property (your website) and follow the steps of the verification process, after this submit your sitemap and request google to crawl your website and urls. Google will eventually do this by itself, but the problem is that you are relying on Google's timeframe.

Doing this will ensure the google bots or spiders, will crawl your website and submit the pages to its index. (This should be your first step in having your website listed). With Webmaster tools you also get some basic analytic information on visits and click throughs etc., but for a deeper insight consider setting up Google Analytics as well (see point 6).

2. Relevant and up to date content

We live in a fast paced world, what's current one minute is old news the next. Which is why your website should reflect the current trends in your industry as it evolves. Good information about the products and services you offer that relates back to what the user is searching for is important. Why not try creating a blog and write articles on subjects that relate to your industry? Blogging works as a method for attracting an audience because it provides something of value to them before asking for anything in return.

3. Good SEO

Making sure your website is ranked well in major search engines is an obvious path, although what many people don't realise is that it can anywhere from 3 to 12 months to start appearing in organic online searches, which makes the point 2 even more important. The content needs to be descriptive, relevant and interesting. Having concise and relevant meta titles and descriptions attached to each page along with the content marked up with proper heading tags like H1 and H2, means search engines can tell what information is important on the page. Any good content management system should let you do this with relative ease.

Search engines also rely on a file called a sitemap, this helps it see the structure of your website and how the content is organised. As you add or remove pages from your website your sitemap changes, so make sure this is kept up to date. Again your website content management system or webmaster should be able to help you do this.

4. Marketing Campaign

It doesn't have to be millions of pounds, but an effective online advertising campaign can drastically improve your website's chance of being seen and then ultimately clicked through to. Although, once again in order to keep your visitors from leaving again I refer back to point 2, having relevant and interesting content.

Ad campaigns can be taken out through Google Ads, Facebook and a few other platforms, and can be customised to suit your customer base, you can spend as much or as little as you like and test the water to find see the results.

5. Social Media

Keeping your social media up to date and posting at the right times when your audience is active will show customers that your business is fresh and lively. Connecting your social media channels via feeds and links to and from your website will also help boost your reputation amongst your customers and your standing within search engines. Also try receiving reviews, good reviews in Trustpilot or Google will undoubtably help to increase your reputation.

6. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great inclusion on any website and you really can't form a good constructive ad campaign without it, what's better is that it's free. Just make a google account, sign in and add a small snippet of code to your website, if you can't do that then pass the code to your webmaster who will do it for you. After you have google analytics hooked up you will start to be able to track user visits to your website and will be revealed with a host of information to base your marketing strategy on. Information like what pages were visited, how long users stayed, which search terms were typed in to find you, the general geographic location based on your IP address (don't worry it wont reveal addresses).

This kind of information is valuable as it shows you what people are interested in, which pages are doing well and which ones could do with a boost with either content or visibility.

So to recap the above is just a few points to remember when maintaining your website. It may seem like a lot and sometimes can be time consuming or even daunting, especially when you are busy making money! But keeping these steps in mind should help you gain more traffic and if nothing else will ensure you have an interesting and informative website for your customers.

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