Like everyone else, I often leave my own maintenance tasks until last. As a freelance content creator and digital marketer, even I am prone to leaving my own website’s content and upkeep projects on the backburner while I do “more important” stuff.
Like a builder’s house, websites are never finished. Their content and functionality should be in a permanent state of flux. Why is this? Partly because a business should be always doing something and a website is a reflection of this state. Partly in response to new technologies and standards that require a change. But the trouble is, mostly the updates aren’t done because it’s not seen as a profit-making venture, and taking care of customers is instinctively a higher priority. Can anyone argue with that?
…and I will in this blog article. At the same time, I will be explaining when good clients could be walking away before they’ve even got in touch, how your own website might be worth a bigger slice of your budget than you expected, what new content to put onto your site, and finally, why you could actually save money by outsourcing your marketing tasks to freelancers like me.
Through these, I explain why your own website content and marketing should be top priority and pushed to the front of the queue today!
When good customers walk away from your website
It could be because your website
- Doesn’t have the information they were searching for
- Doesn’t look professional enough
- Is making access difficult through a poor interface, layout or response time
- Leaves them emotionally cold or worse, bored
- Looks like it hasn’t been well-maintained
Just like any business tools, a badly kept website is a turn-off the same way a rusty lawnmower might look to a gardening customer.
Analyse to prioritise
Using Google Analytics is an easy way to see if you’re attracting or repelling potential customers. Look at the amount of incoming traffic, what they were searching for, and their Bounce Rate.
The Bounce Rate means that they clicked on a link into your site and navigated away after viewing one page. This lack of further action means that your site probably suffered from one of the points above.
If your site aims to sell a product or service, the visitor should be looking for the checkout button or enquiry form. If it is purely informational, they should be seeking more articles to read. High Bounce Rates indicate a problem that needs to be addressed, but there are other signs to look for.
If the Click-Through Rate (people visiting your site at all) is low, or non-existent, then you have a site that is costing you more than it is making you. These are all symptoms that mean a change is needed if your website is to be any use at all, and that change is probably the content your website displays.
How to easily find out what budget to spend on website content
Let’s do a thought experiment. This relatively simple exercise is designed to estimate what kind of ROI your website could achieve. (Please bear in mind, it’s designed for high-margin, lower churn businesses, rather than online retail sales that rely on turning over low-margin goods quickly.) The question is this: how much would one average customer be worth to your business, over the lifetime of their interaction with you? This will depend on the type of goods or services you offer, naturally. Let’s say you were a self-employed builder and you made a profit of £10,000 after taxes on an average client.
The thought experiment then puts forward this shocking proposal – if you made even one new client because of the marketing tasks and updates to your website, you should budget up to £10,000 spend on this! Spending ten grand on marketing your own existing website may make smaller businesses and self-employed people baulk to say the least. I know I would. Even spending half of that seems pretty steep. But what if you got ten, twenty or a hundred new clients because of this work?
This thought experiment is just a quick and dirty way to start appreciating the value of your website and set a marketing budget accordingly. There are much more complicated equations that cover Lifetime Value (LTV) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). But I hope that at least it opens the idea that a marketing spend on your own website might be something that is currently undervalued.
So what kind of updating should I be doing?
You may think you’ve got all the information you could possibly need up on your site already. You’ve put a couple of helpful news items and announcements a few months ago, but you’ve run out of things to say. Stuff is, well, just going on as normal.
That is the attitude of many businesses, but the truth is, staying still never got anyone anywhere. When I see a great blog article, but it was written in 2012, I tend to feel deflated, disappointed, and sometimes even angry. Information moves on, so should you. So here are some ideas to spruce up your website’s content and release it from its stagnation.
1. Hire a freelance copywriter to write a few articles about your industry
That’s right, I’m touting for business here. Because thinking up what other people should say is a talent I happen to possess. And I can write articles that are long enough and hit the right keywords so Google will sit up and take notice. (Remember about getting customers to stay on your site? This is what helps that happen.)
A good freelancer will do all the research required to get an idea of what to write, and they won’t write it if they don’t understand it. The time you’re paying them for includes this “getting to know you” period and it also means your ROI will increase the longer you work together.
2. Give them something to look at
Get some pictures up, stat! A site that is just text or tables of figures is as inspiring as a black-and-white text-only flyer that comes through the door. Pictures of people are best. Your team looking friendly but not manic will be a great start, but if you can’t stand the thought, get some stock photos that involve people talking to each other. Staring at the camera, grinning while holding a clipboard, pointing at a presentation, these all seem a little staged now. Instead, a photo of a meeting or consultation session is a great way for people to see you at work.
A freelancer can help you find some great royalty-free pictures, and explain the rights of usage so there won’t be any intellectual property infringements. And don’t forget infographics! Humans are very visual creatures, so give them something to feast their eyes on.
3. Jazz up your social media feeds
Use your social media accounts to funnel visitors into your site. You can also link up your website with your social media pages so they show a feed of your latest posts. Warning! This can cause people to be distracted away from your site by giving them a portal back out.
Ensuring all your social media accounts are up to date and regularly spritzed up can be another task to hand off to a freelancer. Once the initial “getting to know you” phase is over, they become like another member of the team, but one you don’t have to give time off for dental appointments.
4. Add value to their lives
Offer some free advice. Much like I’m demonstrating here, if people will find something of value in your web pages, they are much more likely to associate positively with your brand. A PDF download of an industry specific report, product comparison review or tricks and tips cheatsheet are all tempting lead magnets that can entice people to sign up to a newsletter. Read more about the email marketing sales funnel here.
The greatest objection to outsourcing marketing tasks
But why should I pay someone else when I could do it?
Spending money on content copywriting might seem like an unnecessary expense – surely you can just type up some notes in your slack time? – but honestly, unless you have a natural way with words and the time to type out 500 tightly focussed, industry specific, engaging, narrative driven words… maybe it’s actually a drain on your resources to NOT give it to a wordsmith. You can structure the arrangement it as you wish – a ghostwriter will write in your voice, using your name as author. A guest poster will offer the impression you are the sort of place that attracts people who are clamouring to associate with your brand. Flexibility is one of the great attributes of a freelance content writer, and why I love it so much.
Other marketing freelancer-ready tasks include setting up your WordPress blog, administering and reporting on your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts, posting fun and informative text to your social media accounts… All the things that can get in the way of you doing your own job. And I can help you with all of these things!
Why choose Jellydigio?
Being a freelancer available in Glasgow, I am available for face-to-face chats in that region (further afield by arrangement). I can also work remotely, using voice or video conferencing. I am a native English speaker and I have an awful lot of tools and experience to help my clients message across, loud and clear. They’ll feel like they’re being spoken to, not at. And I understand about when and for whom to dangle a preposition (hint, technically correct is not always the best way)! I also have been developing websites and offering SEO and other internet marketing strategies for around a decade now. So if I say I’m a specialist, I’m prepared to back it up.
One of the most telling aspects of hiring a web content and marketing specialist is their ability to use the keywords you want, so you can get the SERPs (Search Engine Ranking Pages) position that you need. Salting a blog article with enough keywords that they register, but using them in a natural language sentence, with semantically latent structuring… well, if you don’t understand what I just said, again, maybe it would be quicker to hire me than spend the next year learning it all. I am happy to walk my clients through the basics so they feel happy that they’re not being led astray, but at the end of the day, we’ll almost certainly have different skillsets.
If we didn’t would you be reading this?