Increasing Sales Webinar Series: Website Must-Haves
This free webinar was presented by Attracta on August 26th, 2014.
The first of our new “Increasing Sales” series, this webinar will introduce the basic concepts that relate to selling products or services from your website. We’ll go over industry terms, a brief introduction to different marketing tactics, and review the most important things that you always need to do when starting a site that is going to be selling online. By following this webinar, your website will be set and ready to get started selling – our ongoing series will cover additional topics like PPC, retargeting, building an affiliate network, email marketing, and more.
Joe Knipp Attracta Managed Services Team
Greg Webb Attracta Managed Services Team
Important Links & Resources from this Webinar
Track visitors and their behavior on your site, as well as identify popular or problematic pages with high bounce rates
Google Webmaster Tools
Get important messages and alerts from Google, as well as verify your sitemap and search results style
Secure your site and get a rankings boost with an SSL Certificate, provided by our friends at The SSL Store
Joe: Thanks for joining us today for today’s webinar. Today’s webinar is an Introduction to Increasing Sales with your Website. We’re going to cover some strategies that will help your website work for you. My name is Joe Knipp. I’ve been working on web development for the last 15 years with the focus on marketing for about the last six years, and with me today is Greg Webb.
Greg: Hey, guys. My name is Greg Webb. I’m one of the head consultants for Attracta here, part of a SEO team that has successfully ranked over 10,000 websites in the last four years. I have a lot of current, up-to-date information to share with you guys today.
Joe: Today’s topics, we’re going to go over some website must-haves, some do’s and don’ts. These are all about setting up your website properly, some useful tools to analyze your website, how Google sees your site and then some basic marketing plans, different techniques you can use to drive traffic to your website.
If you’re watching this webinar live, we will email you a link to the recording. If you’re watching this as a recording, just scroll down and there will be links to all the different tools we’re talking about, all the different services we offer that might be able to help you with some of these different things.
Greg: All right. Let’s begin. Let’s talk about the first things that you should really have for your website. Here we have a list of our must-haves. The first is content and design. This is pretty self-explanatory. You have to have good, original content on your website and then you have to have a really clean design. Make your site look really attractive to users, and chances are, they’ll return to your site. They’ll spend more time and they’ll interact a lot more than a site that doesn’t look as attractive.
Next on the list, we have SSL certificate. This is a recent feature that Google has said if you have an HTTPS website, you will actually receive a rankings boost. It’s a really great idea to get a SSL certificate. There’s lots of places you can get them for your website. There’s different kinds of certifications you can have for your website, and you don’t necessarily have to certify every single page, but we can talk about this a little bit more later if you have any questions.
Then www or no www, this just means have the same format for whatever your domain is. If you’re going to go with the www, just stick with that and make it consistent across the board. If you’re going to omit that, then just make sure that all the pages are the same.
Next on the list we have robots.txt. Now, this is a really great feature that is going to prevent any issues from occurring if you have duplicate content on your website. Now, obviously, it’s in your best practice to avoid duplicate content if you can. However, there’s going to be some times where if you have product descriptions or if you have some information on really any services that you do, sometimes it is going to be duplicate and robot.txt is the best way to make sure that Google doesn’t crawl that again.
Now, Webmaster Tools is another really popular tool that’s out there. It’s probably the most important tool that you can have set up for your website. You can get a free account directly from Google. It’s really easy to sign up and just a great way to keep track of your website’s health and make sure that you’re monitoring all the things that are going on with your website.
Then we also have Google Analytics. This is a spin-off of Webmaster Tools. This is going to allow you to track a lot of statistics having to do with your website.
Then last thing on our list here, we have Do a Site Audit. If you have a website that you haven’t really worked a whole lot with over the last few years and you’re about to begin on an SEO endeavor, it’s a really good idea to do a site audit first just to get an idea as to how your site is looking, make sure everything is in order and identify the problems that need to be fixed.
Joe: Great. Let’s get into content and design just a little bit further. The main thing that, especially if you’re trying to be found in search engines, you have to be the authority on the subject of your website. If you’re a bike shop, just make sure that you’re providing all the possible information about if you repair bikes, if you’re selling bikes, what kinds of bikes are you selling, that kind of thing. Be the authority. Provide the most information you can on your subject and make sure that it’s very, very original.
Modern design is very important. People like a website that looks good. They engage a website that looks good. We strongly recommend that you use a content management system as opposed to hard-coding your website in HTML these days. Strongly, strongly recommend WordPress. I’m a big advocate of WordPress. It’s an open source content management system. There’s a huge community that supports it. They build different plug-ins. WordPress will really, really simplify your life if you’re building a website.
Then really, really important real quick, and I’m going to show you an example. You want to have a mobile-ready or what’s called a responsive design. Let me show you kind of what that looks like real quick.
Here we have our website, Attracta. If I scroll over here and start to shrink the browser, you’ll start to notice the elements of the page move, the menu is now collapsed into just a click-down menu this way. This is so if people are viewing it on a mobile site, it will present well and it’s still very, very useful. Sometimes you look at websites on a mobile phone and the links are so small that you can’t actually click them with your finger.
With about half the people engaging websites on mobile now, you want to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly.
Then the next thing you want to have is a call to action. Always give a next step. The example on our website here is, this page is about managed SEO. Right here, here’s our call to action. Get Attracta Managed SEO. Just right off the bat. Whatever that page is about, whatever you want people to do on that page, make sure it’s very, very easy for them to access. That’s your call to action from content and design.
Greg: Great. Thanks for that overview, Joe.
I talked about this briefly before. It’s the SSL security for your websites. Now, the SSL certificates are going to do a couple different things. They verify the site ownership, make sure that everything is in line with the ownership of the website. Not only that, but it also encrypts the data and it protects your credit card numbers from being compromised. It protects your users from having their credit card hacked and their personal information getting leaked out to unscrupulous types of people.
Rapidly becoming a web standard, this is something that more and more people are implementing now than ever and I think this just has to do with Google’s recent announcement that if you have an SSL certificate for your website, if it’s an HTTPS site, then it’s going to rank a lot better than a regular HTTP site. It’s becoming a very popular trend.
Joe: Real quick, let me show you how you can tell if a website has an SSL security certificate. Here on our website, you can see the HTTPS in green. That shows you that our site, this particular page is secure. Any data transmitted from this page, from your browser, from your computer, to our web server, is going to be encrypted. It’s just a sign of security and safety on the web.
We also have a higher level, called Extended Validation Certificate. It’s quite a process to just verify that you are the owner of the business, where your business exists, and that gives us this padlock icon and then this green highlighted bar showing our business name. Studies are showing that users are starting to pick up on this and notice whether or not websites are secure. It’s pretty important. If you’re transmitting any data, you want to make sure that you have SSL certificate in place.
Greg: Absolutely. Every website should have this, not just the online stores that have a check-out page.
Joe: Okay. Www or no www? Either one is fine. You can on just about any website, you should be able to type in, “www.the domain name.com” or dot, net, whatever it is, and it should work with or without the “www.” What you want to do as a website owner is define whether or not it resolves to www or no www. To do this, you’ve got to set up a 301 Redirect.
Your content management system, if you’re using WordPress, there’s a site URL setting. It’s just simple to check, do you want to use “www” or not. It will set up a 301 Redirect for you.
The reason this is important is not doing it can actually hurt your rankings, because your site essentially has two instances of itself online, so that’s considered duplicate content. If the pages can be indexed as both non-www and www, again, duplicate content.
Real quick, let me show you again an example of this. If I come here and I just type in “Attracta.com,” you’ll see it resolves. It redirects to the “www” even though I didn’t type it in. You can do this both ways. You can also have it so if you do type in the “www,” it will resolve to no “www.” We just happen to have chosen “www.” Again, either one is fine. It’s up to you.
One thing I also want to point out while we’re on this subject is part of this redirect and also defining your site gets into this SSL security here. We’ve also defined that our pages will be from HTTPS, so they can only be accessed securely. You do have to define this. It doesn’t just happen automatically, so that’s an important point for that.
Greg: All right. Robots.txt. This is a really helpful tool that’s going to remove pages from search engines that you don’t want to be retrieved. This is the first file accessed by a search engine. It’s useful to hide duplicate content. Again, if you have product descriptions or service descriptions that appear multiple times in your website, you don’t want to have every single page be retrieved and searched, so this is where you would use robots.txt. It can also reference your sitemap as well.
The most important takeaway from this is you don’t want to use robots.txt on every single page of your site. We’ve seen that a few times already here where somebody actually had every single page blocked on their site and they’re wondering why they’re not ranking for anything and they’re not popping up in search. Well, pretty easy fix. Just make sure that the pages that you want to be found in Google are not being blocked by this extension.
Joe: Let me expand on that just a little bit. Another example here, let’s go to our Attracta.com/robots.txt file. You can access any robots.txt file by typing in the domain name/robots.txt.
Here we see, this user agent is actually defining which search engine it’s talking to. An asterisk here means all search engines. Then we’re just simply … We have some partnership sign-up pages that we’re disallowing because they are in fact duplicate content. That’s what this is all about, is making sure that any pages you have duplicate content or any system pages and stuff like that that you don’t want people that access through being indexed in search, you can get them de-indexed from search by disallowing them here.
Webmaster Tools. Let’s go over Webmaster Tools real quick. I’ll show you an example of this again. Webmaster Tools is your direct line to Google. This gives you an opportunity to submit your pages to the Google Index. It’s basically like, hey, Google, my website exists. I’m over here. Pay attention to me kind of thing.
You can also verify your sitemap in robots.txt file. There’s a test in there to make sure that your robots.txt file is not blocking pages that you do not want blocked. Over time as you’ve been authorized in Google Webmaster Tools you’ll also be able to look at links and different rankings from your site. Google will start presenting you with data for links and rankings.
It will also provide you with alerts about your site. If there’s any crawl errors, if Google is having trouble accessing your site, if your site is down, or if your site happens to get hacked, you’ll get an email from Google saying, there is this particular problem exists, please address it.
This is very important because if you have errors or downtime or your site has been hacked, you can get your site removed from the Google search index because they don’t want to present websites that are untrustworthy or that they can’t be sure are going to be up and things like that. Very important.
Real quick, let me give you a quick overview of Webmaster Tools. Here we’re in a site that’s authorized in Webmaster Tools. This is what Webmaster Tools looks like. We’re currently at the site dashboard. This is where you click right here if you wanted to submit your sitemap. We haven’t done it yet for this particular page. There’s just different things you can do here.
You can see your index status, how many pages are actually indexed. We just set this page up the other day, and you can see Google has crawled it and indexed it. Again, if you’ve been authorized for a while, you’ll see some different content key words. There’s no page here, so these don’t particularly make sense.
Some other things you can do. Fetch is Google. This is where you can ask Google to fetch your site. It will show you what it looks like in search results, and then you can submit it to the Google Index. This just encourages your pages to be indexed by Google quicker. It’s a really, really useful tool. A lot of website owners don’t take advantage of this and we strongly recommend that you do.
Then again, here’s your robots.txt tester. We don’t have one, so it lets us know that right away, but this would tell you if there’s any issues with your robots.txt, anything like that.
Greg: Great. Just an extension of the Webmaster Tools is Google Analytics, and this is what you would use to track visitors and engagement of your website. You can see the visitor flow through your site. You can track the conversions and goals. Another name for that is track for sales, how many people are going on your website and what percentage of those people are actually buying a product or what percentage of those are actually conversions.
Now, this also sends signals to Google and it helps with your ranking.
Joe, did you have the Google Analytics pulled up already or …?
Joe: I do not. I’m sorry.
Greg: That’s okay. We’ll maybe address this in another presentation a little bit more, but this is another very, very helpful tool that you guys could use to just make sure that everything is okay with your site and just measure any sort of traffic or sales that you’re getting.
Joe: Real quick, just to touch on something Greg just said. We’re going to do a whole web series on all these different topics. We’re just trying to give you a high level overview right now, but we will be doing webinars on individual parts of this particular webinar so we’ll get deeper into analytics, deeper into Webmaster Tools, pretty much deeper into everything we’re covering here, so keep that in mind. There’s going to be a lot more information coming from us for these topics.
Greg: Yeah, absolutely.
Joe: Another thing you want to do … Okay, you’ve got your site set up. It’s all there. Great. Now you want to do a site audit. This will crawl through all your pages. It will tell you, do you have any duplicate content, do you have any duplicate page titles or meta-descriptions. It will show you what your page titles and meta-descriptions are for each page. Site audits are really important once you’ve got one set up or if over time you’ve built more pages.
This will give you just a look at your site through this audit. It will also show you if your social media tags are active. You want to make sure, if you’ve got a website and you’ve got social media, you need to make sure that they’re linked. You can use plug-ins in WordPress or any of those CMS, or you can use different tags that will add you to Facebook’s Open Graph or add authorship tags to your site. It associates it with, if you write a blog post, it associates it with your website. It’s very, very important to have these kind of things set up.
Greg: Let’s just go over a quick overview of the basics of marketing. Obviously, SEO is number one, just making sure that you can rank for your various keywords. This also includes any local SEO if you have a physical business or a storefront or something like that.
Pay-per-Click, this is another form of marketing, where you basically create an add on the home page of Google, and every time somebody clicks on that ad, you pay a fee to Google for getting the traffic. Pay-per-Click is okay if you’re very confident in your ability to convert users. What I mean by that is you have a really strong landing page, you’re very confident in your product.
What could easily happen with Pay-per-Click is the cost could spiral out of control. If you have a very competitive key word, that’s like $4 a click and you’re not making enough money on the sales of whatever product you’re promoting, then you’ve got an issue right there. You just need to make sure that whatever you’re promoting is definitely converting and making up for the cost of the Pay-Per-Click.
Now, Retargeting, it’s a concept where if you were to create an ad somewhere, this ad would easily track and follow the viewer of that ad wherever they go on the internet. Pretend that you come to our website for Attracta and after you leave our website, you’re on Facebook and you see an ad in the corner of your screen for Managed SEO or something like that. That would be a retargeting ad. That ad is going to follow you and it’s going to pop up on websites. When you least expect it, you’ll see an ad for a website that you visited maybe a few days ago.
Just seeing this constant … What’s the word I’m look for here? The constant ad in your face is going to just keep the brand really relevant and make sure that you know where to go if you ever have any needs for those products or services.
Social Media, self-explanatory, this is like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus. The takeaway here is with Facebook you don’t only want to just be spamming your followers with every single post being a promotion for one of your products. With social media, you need to be kind of sly about it and maybe 75% of your posts are just sort of on related topics. If you have a website and you do dog training, then 75% of your posts are funny dog pictures or something like that, and then 25% are actually promoting your dog training services.
Just kind of use your best judgment there and don’t overdo it with any sort of social media posting.
Joe: Real quick, let’s go over Search Engine Optimization. This is about being found in the organic or unpaid search results. It’s just putting proper things into place on your website. You’ve got to do some key word research. You want to know, what are people actually typing into Google to find your business or service that you’re providing?
The absolute foundation of any SEO campaign for a website is key word research. You have t be targeting the right key words. Once you’ve got your key words, on page optimization, you have to apply your key words to the proper areas of your website.
Page title, super-important. These are what get shown in Google search when a search query is made. That blue link that goes to the site is actually the page title for that specific page. You’ll notice that the key words that you’ve typed into Google are shown in bold, so optimizing your page titles, almost the most important part on page optimization. Really, the whole package, the whole thing is important. You have to have your key words just in your heading tags throughout your content, things like that.
Then link-building. Link-building is about establishing links to your site from other sites. This increases your website’s authority in search engines. If a search engine sees that a lot of websites are linking to your website, it’s going to think, okay, a lot of sites trust this. We need to show this more in our search results. Link-building is a good way to move up the search results once you have your key word research completed and your on-page optimization all set, you need to build links to your site.
The advantages of SEO, higher engagement. This means that users overwhelmingly click on the unpaid listings as opposed to the ads. It’s a very high percentage of users are likely to click on the organic results. There’s no cost per click. When you’re shown on the first page of Google, this is the best exposure you can possibly get for your website. People can click on it all day. It doesn’t limit how many impressions you get. If people type in that key word, your website will show up in those search results once you’ve properly optimized your site.
Greg: All right. What is PPC or ad words, I touched on this briefly before, but Pay-Per-Click advertising is just a form of online advertising where an ad is triggered to display by key word or search queries. If “dog training” is your key word, you could easily create a Pay-per-Click ad for dog training and every time somebody types that into Google, they could click on that ad and it will take you to your website.
The positioning of these ads is determined by bidding system and the advertiser only pays when the ad is clicked. If nobody is clicking on your dog training ad, you’re not paying any money to Google, but if it’s costing you $2 a click and you get ten clicks a day, then do the math. It could easily spiral out of control if you’re not keeping track of what you’re ranking for.
Joe: Another advantage of PPC is you can target specific key words and specific areas. If you’re in Cincinnati, Ohio and you provide a service where you can only go locally, you can target your ads to only show to people who are in your immediate area. You’ll only pay for people that click on your ads within your immediate area. That’s a pretty big advantage.
With your PPC, you’ve got to write good copy. You want to make sure, if somebody typed in, again, “dog training,” you want to make it very clear in your ad that you provide the best dog training in the area.
Another good practice is to create a landing page for your ad. You’ve built this ad that says you’re a great dog trainer. When they click on that ad, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to sign up for your dog training. You don’t want them to have to fumble around through a bunch of pages. When you’re paying for every click, you need the ease of converting to either a lead or a sale just to be absolutely optimized. You need this to be one click, they can do exactly what you’re trying to drive them to your site to do.
Joe: Some advantages, you will get traffic. If you’ve properly set up your PPC campaign, this will get you traffic to your website. If you’re not properly search-engine optimized and you need … You’ve got a website. You need people to see it so it can sell things. This will get you traffic.
Your budget can be adjusted in real time. This means if you’ve spent $20 on ads today and nobody’s sold, okay, I need to turn this off, this isn’t working, you can adjust your budget in real-time. You can increase it and decrease it, turn your ads off. You’ve got a lot of flexibility in how you’re spending your money on your ads.
One thing you do want to be aware of is certain terms can be very expensive, so you do need to have a PPC campaign set up absolutely correctly. You need to be using key words that convert well and stuff like that. Google does have a tool called the Key Word Planner Tool, which will give an idea of what the cost per click for the first position would be, what the level of competition is, just so you can make sure that you’re budgeting properly.
Greg: Retargeting, again, this is just when you serve ads to visitors on your website and after they leave, they see these ads pop up again and again. Hopefully, these ads are going to convert them to a sale or a lead or something like that, but retargeting, the whole takeaway here is with these ads, they’re going to appear after the user has left your website.
There are a few elements of retargeting. If you really get things about it that make it a very popular form of online marketing, and obviously it follows your visitors around. Anybody who’s gone on your website and they might not have been ready to purchase then and there, if they’re browsing the web maybe the next day and they happen to stumble upon your ad again, then you know that this visitor, has already honed in on your website and they’re a little bit closer to buy than somebody that’s fresh off the web.
Following these people around is a really great way to get sales out of them.
Joe: A more advantage of retargeting, you can create product-specific ads. If you sell tools and somebody was looking at a hammer on your website and they didn’t buy, you can then serve them an ad for that same hammer on other pages. Then you can direct them right back to that page with that ad. Retargeting, if somebody has already been to your website, they’ve already considered buying that product, they’ve already looked at that product page, if they do click on your ad, they’re so much more likely to buy the second time they got there.
If your ad retargets them, brings them back to your website, again, you want to have them on a landing page where, one click, they can get that product they previously looked at. These ads generally convert at much, much higher rates than PPC ads.
Again, if we’re going too fast for this, we are going to do a whole series on all of these different marketing techniques and everything like that. Just stay tuned and we’ll get you more information, more in-depth information on how to set these things up and stuff.
Greg: For sure.
What is social media marketing? This is just a great way to spread brand awareness and reach potential customers through Facebook, Google-Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, etcetera. Pinterest is starting to become a very, very popular way to get sales online because the people that are viewing products in Pinterest or viewing pictures on Pinterest are people that are already very interested in whatever it is.
You can put a direct link on there that will take you from the pen to your landing page or your sales page and you can convert a really easy sale using that. Just keep track of all the new means to do social media, but there’s plenty of ways that you can get your brand out there.
Joe: Also, you can create compelling posts for your customers. Again, one thing that you want to keep in mind, about 75% of your social media postings, especially if you’re on Facebook, should be fun things that are just trying to engage your user. Like Greg said, if you’re a dog trainer, just put cute, funny pictures of dogs that people would click “Like” and “Share,” because this is how you might gain more followers and stuff like that.
A lot of your ads should really just be about sharing content and trying to get people to follow you.
Sometimes they call it share-bait. These kind of posts, like funny posts that people spread all around. Sometimes it’s referred to as share-bait or viral marketing. If you create an original post that just gets spread all around, that’s one of the advantages of social media marketing.
Also, low-cost brand promotion. You can do this for free. Social media accounts are free. I suppose one of the drawbacks maybe could be that it’s very time-consuming. You can spend a lot of time trying to curate a week’s worth of posts and stuff like that. It is very, very low-cost and you can create brand ambassadors for your site.
If your customers are engaged to the content that you’re posting, they’ll share it for you. In essence, they’re promoting your brand for you.
Another thing, Facebook is increasingly becoming kind of pay-to-play. When you create a post, sometimes you have to pay to kind of boost who sees it, how many people see it, how high up on their news feed it sees. One thing to be aware of, social media accounts are free, you can do all the sharing for free, but you can also add a paid advertising element to it to increase your visibility through social media.
That’s our webinar today on increasing sales. We’re going to have a whole series on this stuff. We’re going to get in depth into every one of these topics. If there’s anything that we went over too quick or anything you want more information on, stay tuned. We’re going to be doing these very often. Give you very in-depth descriptions of how you can use these techniques to make money through your website to increase your sales, increase your leads through your website.
If you need help, go ahead and give us a call at the number on the screen. This webinar will be posted online on our website if you want to go over it and review it. If you aren’t watching this live, just scroll down and any links to anything that we’ve covered, any products that we may offer to help you with these different services and techniques, all that will be right there on the website for you.
Thanks for joining us and we wish you success with your website.
Greg: Take care, guys. Thanks a lot. Bye.