Make Your Website MagneticBeth Thouin
Remember when you were a kid and you’d hold two magnets close to each other? You could feel them either pushing or pulling one another until eventually one side would either firmly bind to the other or repel the other side away. Your website behaves similarly.
Your business’s website has the power to drive potential customers away or to attract them. And truthfully you’ve got only 15 seconds to make the first impression with your website before website visitors are repelled away. You’ve got two choices. You can either devote your website to kitten photos or read on to learn how to make your website a customer magnet.
This post will put your website through a 2-part magnet training. Part 1 will focus on attracting new customers. Part 2 will show you how to keep customers on your website once you’ve gotten them there.
Put your training gear on and get ready to learn how to make your website magnetic with proven strategies to wield the laws of attraction online and advice on how to create features that will keep visitors clicking.
Part 1: Attracting customers to your website
There’s dozens of advice-posts out there that talk about how to bring traffic to your website and while there’s merit to most of those techniques, only some strategies are proven. Here I’ll walk you through the most powerful and proven strategies to attract new customers to your website, which are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
Consider the handful of stats here gathered by Search Engine Journal:
- The first result in Google gets 32.5 percent of the traffic (Chitika)
Websites listed on the first page of Google get 91.5 percent of the traffic for those search results (Chitika)
51 percent of website traffic comes from organic search, 10 percent from PPC search (BrightEdge)
Over 40 percent of revenue is captured by organic traffic (BrightEdge)
There will be 73 billion phone calls from mobile search by the end of 2018 (Acquisio)
That’s a lot to take in but these stats really make the point: showing up in search results means attracting new website visitors!! In the last stat listed above we see actually that business calls, by the billions, are being generated directly from search results. So one way or another you need to get yourself in the search results!
Let’s explore how to do that with SEO and PPC below, plus I’ll also walk you through some bonus ideas that will help boost website traffic and up your magnetism factor.
Attracting search engines is attracting customers
Website SEO is step one in making your website magnetic. You cannot separate the idea of attracting search engines and customers, they’re one in the same thing! One will bring the other. But SEO has to come first or you’ll have a problem, it’s the search engines that are driving the customers to you.
To make your website SEO friendly you need to first determine the best keywords for your brand or business and make sure you have a page on your website for each major theme. For example if you were a shoe store you could have one page for winter boots, one page for women’s sandals or maybe even a page for each brand. It all depends on which keywords make the most sense for your business. Make sure you know which ones to use by doing some keyword research. Tools like the Google keyword planner and SEM Rush can help. Use your selected keywords per page in the website title tags, on-page titles and copy (even alt tags on images!).
But SEO really isn’t just about keywords and can get technical really quickly. From onsite problems to submitting your sitemap to Google, you should hire a credible professional to help you with online search engine optimization of your website. These days you have to optimize for mobile formats as well as voice search, so even once you’ve done the basics, things can get complicated if you want to stay competitive.
From indexation to crawlable link structures, here’s Moz’s beginners guide to search engine friendly website design and development. If you’re going to try to take it on yourself definitely start there, otherwise call in the experts.
Formatting images for search engines
Aside from keywords per page with an optimized structure for SEO, one of the most overlooked onsite SEO components is images. It’s also an easy fix from your end. Here’s a quick tutorial to help make your images more search engine friendly:
Name your images using relevant keywords, product numbers and model numbers. Image names are visible to search engines even when they aren’t visible to your users.
Make sure each image has a different name. For instance, you’ll have several different versions of your business logo—a bigger one for the homepage of your website, a smaller one for carryover pages of your site, and a tiny thumbnail-sized one for your social media accounts. Similarly, most ecommerce sites will have several different images of the same product.
For example, if you sell furniture, you might include photos of a sofa from the front, side, back and a close-up color swatch. You could name the photos using different search terms customers might use, such as Devon_sofa_bluevelvet_96in_front_view, Devon_sofa_bluevelvet_96in_back_view, etc. Using specific search terms in image names increases the odds that if a user is searching the web for a blue velvet Devon sofa, your product page will pop up.
Use the right size and format of image files. You want high-quality images on your website—but high quality means high resolution, more pixels and larger file sizes. Larger image file sizes load more slowly. That frustrates website users who don’t want to wait . . . and wait . . . and wait to see that gray cashmere sweater they’re interested in.
To maximize your site load speed, start by using the right file format. Whenever possible, use JPEG files rather than PNGs. In general, JPEGs provide better image quality at smaller file sizes.
You should also size your images properly to load quickly. Search online for “free online image resizer” and you’ll find tons of tools that make it easy to resize photos so they’re ideal for online use while still preserving image quality.
It’s especially important for thumbnail images to load quickly, since they really aren’t the focus of the user’s search. For instance, if you have an ecommerce website, you don’t want the sidebar thumbnails of “Products You May Like” to slow down the page load for a product the customer is really interested in. But you still want those thumbnails to show up, because they’re part of making your website magnetic. Just make them the smallest file size possible and don’t worry as much about quality since they’re only thumbnails. You can use image editing tools such as PicMonkey, Adobe Photoshop Express or FreeOnlinePhotoEditor to professionally edit your photos; Easelly and PiktoChart to create your own infographics; or Canva to do both.
Test and retest. How many images can you include on a page without slowing load time? Test on a variety of platforms and devices. How many thumbnails should load at once on your ecommerce site? Test different options to see which one generates more sales. Or give users the option to choose how many thumbnails they want to see per page.
By making your images SEO-friendly you’re not just helping your site overall, but you’re helping your site’s images show up in Google’s image search:
However no matter how optimized your images and onsite website components are, you can’t control SEO, only Google or Bing can (or Baidu or Yahoo! etc.). That means SEO can take time and you have no choice but to be patient, even in the best scenario. But don’t fret, if you take SEO seriously, you will get results as many have before you. Here’s three vastly different businesses, from B2B to hospitality, that increased website traffic in some cases by 500% using search engine optimization.
Aside from organic search results, there are paid search results. Meaning if you aren’t having much luck getting search engines to show off your website pages, you can pay to play there. The first results for almost any search query are almost always ads. When I search for “Plumber Montreal” the first 4 results were ads!
The fourth ad seen above is for emergency plumbing services. For most people in a hurry and especially for anyone in an emergency situation, you don’t want to scroll and dissect the search results - you want answers fast! So in these cases pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the fastest way to show up in Google and start attracting new customers who are searching there.
Again though, whether you want to advertise your website on Google or Bing, you’ll need some basic training. Here’s a guide on how to run a profitable advertising campaign on Google. However professional help can go a long way in disciplines like SEO and PPC where a lot of training and experience is needed for success.
A quick thumbs up for social media PPC
Social media advertising is another form of PPC since businesses pay when users click on ads inside Facebook, Instagram etc. Depending on where your customers hang out online, social ads could be a fantastic strategy for you to attract new visitors instantly. Evino doubled the orders from their website in only three months using Facebook ads. Small businesses should definitely use social media PPC ads or at least test them.
The point of PPC is to guarantee yourself traffic. Strategies like SEO can take time and not bring in many new website visitors at first. Once your website is search optimized however it provides ongoing, long-term benefits. While PPC ads don’t tend to have a long-term benefit outside of their initial branding impact, they are a quick fix for attracting customers now.
Part 2: Keeping website visitors with magnetic website features
If you build it they will come...but will they stay? Not necessarily. If searchers click away from a website and return to search results right after, that website’s page will have a high bounce rate. Google defines this concept clearly in their search results definition:
As Google says, if the homepage of your website has a high bounce rate it’s likely “boring or off-putting.” But this can apply to any other page of your website and any landing page created for a PPC campaign as well. If the landing pages attached to your PPC campaigns on search (Google, Bing) have a high bounce rate it will affect your ad’s quality score, which can lead to higher costs to advertise and lower positions in the search results.
You literally pay for poorer performance when it comes to SEO and PPC. So if visitors are attracted to your website and leave immediately because you offer a low quality source of information for what they were looking for or have poor web design, this will in turn work against you in much bigger way. Meaning the more visitors “bounce” away from your website the worse your SEO will be and the worse your quality score will be in PPC. Overall your website will become less magnetic simply because visitors came to your website and left right away.
So what can you do to make sure your website pages don’t have a high bounce rate? The answer lies in creating content in the first place yes, but more so in how the content is created. Follow these tips for content creation and you’ll be well on your way to keeping visitors glued to your website.
Create relevant content
The heart of relevant content is writing something that your customer wants to read. There’s a few ways to figure that out from customer surveys, to your customer service queries and even professional keyword research. When you know what your customer wants to read you can write it for them, literally.
Let’s say you’re a plumber and you get asked by customers all the time how to stop a simple leaking or dripping faucet. You could write an article about exactly that topic How to Stop a Dripping Faucet. You may also learn in Google’s keyword planner that 12,100 people search for that every month for example:
With customers asking about this topic and thousands of searches in Google every month for it, you should definitely consider this a topic worth writing about! But no offense, you won’t be the first person who has done this. Remember, these are proven strategies! That means people have put them to use and right now in your industry, your competitors are currently using SEO and PPC to attract new customers with great content.
Aside from creating content about the topics that you know people want to read, you need to get it right. So going back to bounce rate, one of the best things you can do to reduce it is to create an opening line that just keeps visitors glued to their seats while reading. Your opening line could inject humor, it could have a cutting-edge statistic or anything else you think your readers would enjoy. Of course images and design go a long way as well.
Presenting content magnetically
You need to literally format your content in the best way for both users and search engines. There are a number of ways that can occur. Let’s start with images.
Content images are essential
For every page of your website you’ll want some kind of header image to attract visitors. The same is true or content pages if you have a blog or resource section of your website. Humans process visual images 60,000 times faster than text, so images really capture viewer attention much quicker than text-only webpages.
Not only do images set the tone of the article instantly, but eye catching visuals leave other cues while also capturing visitor attention. For example if you have high-definition photographs that are stunning, you’re signalling to website visitors that you’re a professional and high-quality source of information.
To demonstrate the point, I did a quick search for what Forbes calls “America’s most innovative consumer and retail brands,” and found a brand called Back to the Roots. I wanted to see, aside from their product, what they were doing to be attracting visitors to their website and earning such a strong brand name.
Immediately I saw nice imagery of the product but also bold titles in fun colours that stand out and make visitors want to keep reading. On top of that there’s satisfaction emblems as well as past spotlights from well-known industry publications like Eating Well magazine. This is an example of a homepage that is pulling out all the stops to keep visitors there. But of course the subject of the website and each page is very important.
When you’re creating content you should always Google your article idea to get a sense of what topics have already been used (ie. what title not to use!) and what’s already been said. You can also use the HubSpot topic generator if you’re having problems coming up with one. Buzzsumo is also an effective tool to see which are the most shared titles in your industry, so you can mimic those.
Going back to the plumber example, here’s the top article titles from Buzzsumo for a search on bathroom repair:
Knowing what all the top ranking content is for topics in your niche means you can study them and make content like these! From the type of language they use to the word limit, you should follow their lead. In fact the top ranking content in Google (which is both SEO friendly yes but you can also assume is a piece of content liked by the people clicking on it) has an average 1,890 words according to Backlinko.
So from homepage to blog, the golden components for keeping website visitors on every page of your website are having a captivating title and image. Don’t cheap out on photography and take your time with titles.
Formatting for the reader
Once you’re into the writing part of your content make sure you keep the value coming all through the article. Make sure you to give the reader a reason to keep reading...but also make it easy to read! Here’s some tips to do just that:
- Use large format headings (HTML formatting is best)
- Break up the copy with paragraphs
- Use bullets when listing items
- Enhance your points with images, videos, quotes etc.
- Set hyperlinks so they open in a new tab
Again these pointers can be applied to both blog and website pages to improve the reader experience. Formatting and last minute finessing always takes more time than we’d like it to, but it really pays off.
Bonus magnetism tips: keep readers clicking
Once you’ve captured a website visitor, whether it was through your stunning imagery or helpful and well presented content, there’s a few things you can do to keep them clicking. On blog content for example you can recommend similar content at the end:
This is also a popular technique on ecommerce sites for business owners selling directly to consumers online:
Deals, contests and amplification
Deals, incentives, coupons and even contests are other great ways to keep users engaged on your website.
With banners like the one seen above that can be used for any number of brand engagement initiatives, you can gather email addresses and keep website visitors coming back for more great content. That’s exponential magnetism right there!
Online Quiz Creator, SurveyMonkey and Qzzr are some popular apps you can use to build your own quizzes. Host the quiz on your website and use email marketing and social media to get people there to take it.
People love to get something for free, so making a sweepstakes or contest is a great way to magnetize your website. For best results:
- Make your contest easy to enter like filling out a short survey or sharing a photo.
- Keep the rules clear and simple. How will the winner be chosen? What’s the deadline to enter? When will winners be announced or alerted?
- Choose prizes people actually want. No need to get fancy. A Starbucks or Amazon gift card is usually enough to motivate most people.
- To make sure your contest complies with laws, read Inc.’s guide to social media contests.
Contests, quizzes and surveys are all super-shareable, making them ideal lead magnets for your site. You can also share your website content yourself by submitting it to aggregator or social bookmarking sites like Digg or Reddit. These are sites where users submit content they think is interesting; content moves to the front page of the site based on its popularity with users. If your content becomes popular on one of these sites, it could take your traffic to the next level. Check out Search Engine Journal’s list of top sharing sites, and be careful to submit your content only to sites your target customers use—and only when it’s relevant. Don’t “spam” the sites by submitting every single blog post you publish...or you’ll go back to the repelling side of the magnet!
Making the most of it
You have to embrace proven strategies to reach your website’s potential, like SEO and PPC. If you’re struggling with either one of these, call in professionals! Seriously, it can save you a ton of time and headache. The next part is up to you.
Once you get visitors in you have to keep them there with well-written and well-presented content that’s relevant to your customer. Make sure you keep it fresh by always adding new information and staying on top of trends and changes in your industry.
If you’ve followed the advice above here we’d like to extend a hefty congratulations your way. Your website just passed the in-depth two-part process to magnetic-level success! High five!
Feature Image: Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon
Image 1: Via Unsplash
Image 2: Via Giphy
Image 3: Screenshot from Google search result for “bounce rate”
Image 4: Screenshot form Klientboost
Image 5: Screenshot of search results from SEM Rush
Image 6: Screenshot from Buzzsumo
Image 7: Screenshot from Acquisio
Image 8: Screenshot from Simons
Image 9: Screenshot from Economax
Beth is VP Marketing at Acquisio, a Web.com company. With 14 years of marketing experience, in 2011 her journey with startups and tech companies began and she has never looked back. She consults, mentors and speaks on customer acquisition and digital marketing in the tech community. Her mantra is, “Be obsessed with your customers.“