Last week we looked at the bare basics. I hope everyone reading this now has Google Analytics installed. Now we will take this up to the next level and create the bare basics of a content platform to please search engines and your visitors to achieve a win-win for both.
This platform will act as a crucial foundation for all other content to be built on, and as the design-build audience will know the importance of a strong foundation.
Natural SEO – How to Help Google Find Your Site
Google is one of the smartest companies in the world, but they have still not mastered mind reading. Your content does need to be formatted in a particular way so that the search algorithm can easily recognise what your site is about. In particular the keywords used in your copy need to be the language of the people that are searching for them.
This does not mean making every second word the keyword you want to rank for, but needs to be a natural prose with synonyms and related words that is written primarily for your customer, but in a way the search engines can understand also. Title Tags, meta descriptions, alt tags and image names are all important elements of the recipe and are all very much common sense. Here are a couple of resources for further reading:
These tasks do take time to implement in a conscientious and methodical fashion, however if you can get the original keyword research right and create a strong system and process, the rest can be mostly automated.
Content is King. No Wonder it is So Hard
Content is King, it is also perhaps one of the most challenging parts of your site. Content can come in a few forms, while predominantly text and images, audio and video are growing in popularity and effectiveness.
A big challenge with content is that it is hard to outsource entirely, you can contract people with technical skills and even industry skills, but no one understands your business like you. At the end of the day it is the business owner or at least senior staff member that has to get the knowledge they have about the business documented.
I see a huge reluctance to do this from a lot of the companies I have worked with so the good news is if you are prepared to do it you will be a step ahead of most of the competition. There are some short cuts. You can dictate it to a recording device on your phone while you drive, or speak to your webcam and record a video of yourself.
It doesn’t have to be production ready, it just needs to get out of your head and into some digital format so a professional content marketer can re-purpose it into white papers, blog articles, case studies, email newsletter and even videos.
Going back to the salesman analogy, not taking the time to document your product and industry knowledge is like hiring a salesforce and not telling them about your products or business.
User Testing – It Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Firstly, errors such as links not working or going to the wrong place, spelling errors, and any of the 1001 things can and will go wrong need to be checked by proof readers.
Company stakeholders also need to have a close look, while perhaps not checking all the more menial tasks that can be outsourced. Once the internal team is happy with the site and feel it is production ready then 2-3 people from outside the organisation need to be given some example tasks that real customers would be trying to achieve and see how they handle it.
There are a number of very economical options. www.usertesting.com offers an online service where you can choose your target market and create a customised test specific to your business, then they send you the video and results in an hour or so.
You can do it yourself with a simple handy cam and some simple instructions from the pioneer of usability Steve Krug. www.sensible.com. Here are a couple of articles summarizing his user testing process he uses in his books.
Advanced Digital Strategy For Architect Design industry
So far we have covered the bare basics. If you have all these boxes ticked then you have a strong online representation of your brand and you should be getting some search traffic from keywords with low competition like your brand name or a development you were involved in. Most other traffic however will need to be generated from offline activities such as advertising and promotion.
The term Minimim Viable Product (MVP) has been made famous by Eric Ries in his book “The Lean Startup” That’s now what you have, your website is a MVP. It is production ready but will need ongoing maintenance and improvements.
Some of the team may be starting to take some pride and ownership of the site and it is tempting to invest more into the site and make it the best site in the world. I believe at this stage it is better to put resources into getting more visitors. Once you have a minimum viable audience and are starting to see some return on investment then you can revisit the website and focus on optimisation and tweak the content and design to make the best experience for your customers.
The exception for this is if your already have a strong brand presence in the market. For example, your brand name is already entrenched in the marketplace, but you have just been slow to uptake a digital strategy and bring your website up to current technology.
Using Google analytics you can check if you are getting more than 100 customers on average per day. If you are getting that much traffic already from reputation alone then you can take your site to the next level and read How to Make Architect-Design Websites Convert Vistors to Leads Through Good Design before dedicating resources to getting more traffic.
If you have under 100 customers per day then hence forth to How to Get Visitors to Your Website. Inbound Marketing for Architect Design Industry.