Last month we asked the question Is Your Website Optimised for Sales and Marketing? Today, we’ll list five practical ways to start gearing up your website as a key component of your Inbound Marketing Machine.
1. Optimise Your Marketing Strategy
Revisit your online marketing strategy and see how prominently your website features. Your website is your marketing hub, providing a focus point for all your efforts, such as your social media campaigns, content marketing (ebooks, blog articles), online offers and associated landing pages. All paths should lead to your website, where all your landing page offers and web forms are hosted, and where you’ll gather new sales-ready contacts.
2. Add Website Analytics
Install Google Analytics (GA) as a first step, even if you’re evaluating integrated, closed-loop marketing platforms such as HubSpot. GA is surprisingly sophisticated for a free application, and can measure the performance of your website overall and individual landing pages. GA can also tell you useful search engine information, such as popular search terms (keywords), and how much of your direct traffic comes from social media.
Without adequate analytics, you’ll have no way to measure your marketing efforts, analyse their effectiveness and refine your strategy.
3. Add Web forms and Landing Page Functionality
If you follow this blog (and why wouldn’t you?), you should be quite familiar with the concept of a landing page. If not, read all about them here. Creating a landing page, in essence a basic web page with details of an online offer, is relatively simple regardless of your website set up.
The tricky part is the web form. In Inbound Marketing, we use web forms to capture visitors’ details, which they give to us in exchange for a valuable resource or offer. We recommend the use of the HubSpot marketing platform – without it, creating effective landing pages that integrate well with analytics and your other marketing channels can be difficult, but not impossible.
For example, the free web forms provided by MailChimp, an email marketing platform, can be integrated into a web page to provide lead capturing functionality linked directly to one or more subscriber lists. However, some coding knowledge or a high level of familiarity with your website’s Content Management System (CMS) is required.
Another alternative to add landing pages with working lead capture forms is to use a third-party service such as Unbounce. With some clever hosting adjustments (ask your webmaster or developer for help), Unbounce allows you to add landing pages to your domain, or a sub-domain thereof.
4. Long Live Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
You may have read that SEO is less important these days, and while it’s true that the traditional techniques are indeed changing to keep up with changes at Google, the idea remains the same – to influence the standing of our websites in such a way that we achieve more exposure on search engines.
There is still good cause to keyword optimise. Putting together a list of keyword phrases, that you think a potential customer will enter into a search engine, will help you to focus your marketing efforts, crystallise your objectives and identify your audience – the process ofcreating and understanding customer personas.
In short, keyword optimisation may be old hat, but on and off-page SEO is still good discipline. It also helps us to avoid repetitive copy, to limit the number of pages that focus on particular topics, to think up imaginative blog topics, and to reach out to other websites and social media for syndication opportunities.
5. Add a Blog
If you intend to content market, a blog is essential. Aside from your weekly blog posts (we recommend two or three each week), the blog is a place where you can create new content and promote offers. It’s your content hub, the central place for all news, blog posts, ebook previews and media releases. If you have a news page where you send out updates, consider repurposing or replacing it with a blog.
For this reason, it’s essential to have the blog as part of your main website e.g.www.yourdomain.com/blog (a folder of your main domain) or blog.yourdomain.com (a subdomain). If you’re running a website built on the HubSpot COS, your blog will already be part of your main site and you can easily control the address through the blog settings.
If your website is built on a CMS like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, adding a blog is also relatively easy, and shouldn’t take your developer too long. If your website is built on a CMS that doesn’t have a blogging option, any developer will be able to add WordPress to a folder or subdomain of your main website. This isn’t an ideal solution as structurally you’re creating one website within another. Your developer will need to do clever things to make it look like a completely integrated website, such as replicating the menu and navigation of your main site on your blog.