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Does your business have a website that doesn’t generate the amount of money you were hoping for?
Well, you’re not alone, with well over a billion websites in the world, it can be difficult to cut above the rest. In this article, we are going to explain some of the core fundamentals with actionable steps you can take to improve your website and hopefully start turning a profit.
This guide is intended for small or medium-sized businesses that are looking to generate leads or sales through their website. If you run a blog or informational website and are looking to monetise it, check out this article by Kinsta.
Your website does not attract (the right) visitors
A high street shop is not going to make any money if nobody enters the shop. The exact same principle applies to your website.
This doesn’t mean it’s all about the quantity, but the quality of users you attract.
A jewellery shop needs far fewer visitors than a newsagent to make the same amount of revenue.
Think about how that applies to your website, the industry it’s in and the niche you have focused on. Do you sell high-margin products where your focus should be on attracting a small number of customers with high purchase intent, or do you sell regular household products where the focus is on getting the highest number of orders through the door?
Whichever the answer, your website and marketing efforts should be focused around this to ensure everything you do is reaching the right audience, who are not only attracted to your website but ready to spend their money with you.
So, how do you attract the right people to your website? Well, big brands spend billions on this and are still yet to perfect it. Why? Because digital marketing is an ever-evolving industry where there is no such thing as perfection.
What you can do, however, is tailor your website to the exact needs of your potential customers, and then, introduce an ever-improving organic and paid marketing strategy that is entirely focused on driving these people to your website.
Your website is not SEO optimised
Organic search results can be compared to the stock market. There are constant fluctuations for any given search term, and it’s impossible to say that when 2 people search the exact same term, they are presented with identical results.
However, SEO is a numbers game, optimising your website for a range of terms that your audience is searching for will drastically increase your chances of showing in the top spots of their results.
All that Google and other search engines want to do is show the most relevant answer to someone’s search query, and your job as a website owner is to make sure that your website matches this intent as closely as possible, whilst being better than all your competitors.
So what can you do to make more people find your website via a simple Google search? Well, the first step is to actually search for what they are looking for!
Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience for a second, hop over to your preferred search engine and enter exactly what you think they would input to find you.
Is your website not showing up on the search results? Well, there’s work to do then!
PS. when it comes to SEO, there’s always work to do! Even the biggest brands in the world, consistently invest in their organic marketing.
Search engine optimisation is a complex beast, and we will barely be able to scratch the surface in this article, but here are some core fundamentals you can go away and conduct to determine if SEO is the right course of action to make your website start making some cash!
Evaluate your current organic performance
The first step to any SEO campaign is to review your current standings. The WORST thing you can do is make important decisions and changes without backing this up with data.
Comb through your analytics and organic data using a tool such as Google Search Console to evaluate where you currently stand and identify what opportunities you have to start appearing on the first page for revenue-driving keywords.
If your brand has been around a while and you’re strapped for time and little to invest in a long-term SEO strategy, have a look at what keywords you are on the second+ results page for. These are known as low-hanging fruit keywords.
Just as the name suggests, these will be the easiest quick-win keywords you can optimise your site for to kick it onto the first page of search results.
Because these keywords already appear in search results (just not high enough for you to notice on a business level) it indicates that search engines find you relevant and applicable for the given term. This means half the battle is already won.
So, in order to kick your site onto the first page, you need minimal effort, providing a better return vs time invested.
If you are a new brand or find that you have very little to no organic presence, then it will mean that you have to do a little more convincing to search engines that you should be showing in search results, which is easier said than done (unless you have very deep pockets). But this doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel, everyone has to start somewhere and search engines acknowledge this, as long as you are adding value to their search results.
Identify what keywords you should be ranking for
Ok, so now you’ve had a look and have a grasp on your current (or lack of) organic presence.
Now, you need to identify what keywords you should be ranking for.
Again, this is easier said than executed, but what you are looking for to start making money are four main things:
- High purchase intent – what percentage of people who are searching a given keyword are looking to make a purchase based on their search.
- Decent search volumes – how many people are searching for these keywords.
- Low competition – how difficult will it be to rank for these terms, typically high purchase intent terms with big search volumes will be the most competitive.
- Search intent – will people who land on your site from a given search query be satisfied by what they find?
Good keyword research will balance these factors to give you a decisive list to chase after.
If you are in a competitive niche, you’ll find you need to compromise on one or more of these points in order to appease the others. But use a balancing act to create a list of revenue-driving keywords that you can optimise your site for.
Optimise your website to rank for those terms
Now you have identified what your website should be ranking for, it’s time to make your website do exactly that!
Optimisation of your website involves three main aspects;
- On-page SEO – this involves optimising your content and matching intent.
- Off-page SEO – this is the process of improving your authority, mostly via backlinks.
- Technical SEO – this ensures that your content is easily reachable by users and search engines, as well as proving a good experience.
Now you might notice a theme here, but again these three points are harder to execute than simply ticking a few boxes. It’s a massively complex process, but as long as you stick to the webmaster guidelines and do your research, even the smallest improvements to your website can and will improve your organic performance.
Start by making sure Google can access your content, we won’t dive into it here, but to learn how to do this follow these points in our other guide.
As long as you have no catastrophic technical SEO issue that is preventing your site from ranking, your first step should be optimising the content across your website.
Content has been and always will be the most important ranking factor in SEO, so make sure your content provides the user with valuable information.
Next, check your backlink profile and compare this against your closest competitors. If you find they have a much more authoritative presence than you, then look into improving the amount and quality of links that point to your site. Some quick wins include directory link building and fixing any broken backlinks that you may have to reclaim the lost authority.
Finally, have a look into your technical SEO, check your page speed, crawlability and site structure to ensure that both users and search engines are met with a good experience when they land on your site.
Rinse, repeat and research
As we mentioned, SEO is an ongoing effort. If you plan on executing your organic marketing yourself, be sure to do your research and invest in a good SEO tracking tool.
SEO is a time-consuming process, but the results are unparalleled by any other type of modern digital marketing, so it’s important to keep it as a key pillar in your business strategy.
That being said, SEO can also be a money pit, and when not executed properly it can cost businesses a huge amount of money. So again, be sure to do your research and if you are not sure if it’s going to create a good return on investment for you, reach out to someone like ourselves for a free consultation.
Some great free resources to further your SEO knowledge are;
Your paid advertising does not drive a good return on investment
The vast majority of small business owners would rather invest in Pay Per Click (PPC) and paid social advertising than SEO, due to the instant results you can get. However, this does not make it easy and getting online ads to work can be a huge challenge.
Even the most experienced ad specialists have failed when launching campaigns.
But the key here is to learn from your mistakes and prevent your business from repeating them.
Without regular analysis and refinement, your competitors will easily be able to outperform you, leading to inefficiencies, wasted budget and a lack of return on investment.
Google and Facebook ads are the two most popular routes for small businesses to take, so here are some actionable tips you can use to see why your ads are not making any money.
Your budget and bidding are not efficient
To achieve the conversions you desire from pay-per-click ads, you need to target a high volume of clicks per keyword.
If your ads have a conversion rate of around 3% you’ll need approximately 1000 clicks to gain 30 sales. The more keywords you target, the more clicks you’ll need to maintain this rate. This means that for any chance of success initially, you need to dedicate enough budget to cover this volume.
Nearly every DIY ads beginner will begin with a small budget, which makes total sense. As a small business owner, you want to test the waters before investing a large amount into this marketing campaign. However, this assumption of a reduced risk doesn’t quite work for PPC ads. Because to achieve an adequate number of clicks to get sales from the right quality of keywords, you’ll need to spend a high enough budget.
In the beginning, if you don’t dedicate enough cash, then it will give a false impression of the success of your ad campaign and can actually end up costing you more in the long run. The most cost-effective way to approach this is to start bigger, quickly learn what does and does not work, and then begin to scale back how much you are spending on testing by optimising your campaigns and reinvesting into proven keywords that drive business value.
A vital aspect of Google ads is to understand which keywords generate sales and provide value for your business. This is usually also reflected in the cost per click (CPC) as the value of these terms is also recognised by competitors, who are willing to pay more for these keywords. Cheap keywords and traffic (although not always) are cheap for a reason, the intent of the user might not align with the offering, wrestling in poor conversion figures, ultimately meaning you waste your budget – which could be better spent on the high-yielding, more expensive, keywords.
Your ad content is not good enough
For as long as there has been advertising, from billboards to newspapers, the content and appeal have always been vital to success.
The exact same applies to digital ads, whether it’s the written text of a Google ad or the graphics of a paid social one.
Ineffective content means your ads won’t receive the sufficient amount of clicks and attention you need to generate a return on your investment. As this ever-evolving field continues to grow, adapting to the times is important, and currently, the most important medium you need to focus on for social media ads is video content. Using video ads as part of your efforts are a fantastic way to grab your audience’s attention and increase conversions.
However, it doesn’t end there, having fantastic ad copy, that you continually test and improve upon will help increase the number of clicks you receive, without having to spend more budget – improving efficiency and the amount of money your site is making from ads.
One important aspect is an optimised call to action. Offering value to potential customers (such as a free consultation) is a surefire way to increase the number of viewers who turn into clicks. Clearly present what your offering is, using simple and easy-to-understand language so that once a customer clicks, they get exactly what they were expecting.
Using misleading or incorrect language as part of your ad copy is a big no-no and will only lead to you having a poorer conversion rate, meaning you spend more on people clicking the ad, who leave without turning into a customer. This can seriously damage your bottom line.
Your website does not utilise landing pages
To maximise the number of users that turn into paying customers once clicking your ads, it’s important to set up clear, concise and conversion-focused landing pages.
If your landing page is not clear or appealing to the target audience then your conversion rate will drop. Set up landing pages that address the exact need of your paid traffic, if you just direct all your ads to the homepage of your site, then users will likely find it hard to navigate to what they were looking for and leave.
For larger or more complex websites, you’ll need to create lots of different landing pages that address the needs of different users. You can organise this based on different campaigns, keyword groups or target audiences.
One great example is creating seasonal landing pages. So, for Black Friday, create an awesome landing page that offers the user value as soon as they have clicked your ad – using promotions and language such as discounts, sales or freebies is sure to retain a higher number of people’s attention and instil trust in your brand.
Just like the content of your ads, a compelling landing page needs to contain the right content, images and website design to appeal to the intended audience. Anyone new to your site will take on a financial risk by purchasing your product or service, so the information and experience you provide them are essential to gain trust in your businesses. This gives customers the confidence to purchase and improves your conversion rates, allowing you to get the most out of your ad spend.
Some great free resources to further your paid advertising knowledge are;
Wrapping it up…
In conclusion, making a website profitable is a complex and never-ending task. However, focus on providing a great experience for your target audience first, then compliment this with optimised organic and paid advertising to get yourself in front of the people who will benefit from your product or service.
Keeping up to speed with the latest trends, changes and expectations of the digital world can be time-consuming, so make sure you utilise all the resources available to benefit your understanding and transform your site into a key revenue generator for your business.
If you would like some more no-obligation advice, then get in touch for a free consultation and we can give you some invaluable tips to get your website on the right track!
Hi, I’m Toby!
Author & Founder of Blank Slate Digital
I created Blank Slate Digital in 2020 with one simple goal in mind, to help grow small and medium-sized businesses.
In the past, I have worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and I want to leverage my experience and knowledge to provide a quality service.