You received a call from a reputed company who has shortlisted your name for a job opening, however, you are in doubt whether that company is legitimate or not. What do you do?
You want to do MBA through distance learning but you are not sure from where to pursue it. Moreover, with so many institutions in India alone, you are not sure which is good or bad, which is costly or within your budget. What do you do?
You want to buy a new pair of shoes but you are not sure about which brand to go ahead. I don’t think you would want to waste time and money in searching shop after shop only to be duped into buying something that wouldn’t last till the next Durga puja or Christmas.
So what do you do? Ask you relatives or friends? Not a bad idea but what if they cannot help? Besides, at the end of the day, you are the one who is going to make the decision and not your family and friends.
Bingo, you check Google or Yahoo search or Bing for your answers.
Now, the above questions were from the point of view of a jobseeker, student or shopkeeper. How about from the point of view of the one hiring them, inviting them or selling their products to them?
If you are a businessman or a recruiter, the above questions are the main reasons why you are advertising yourselves in the market and those jobseekers or students or buyers are your prospective clients. While advertising yourselves, the above questions are what you ask by putting yourselves in the shoes of that prospective client or party when you are trying to sell your products or information.
A jobseeker will look into the website of the company trying to hire him and if the website is not rated high or the reviews of that company are bad on Google, that is an instant reject from the jobseeker’s side. If your website does not have complete details of the course that you are offering and is constantly beating around the bush, that is an instant reject from the student’s side. And of course, the one planning to buy a new pair of shoes… your shop may have the best quality shoes but if you or your people lack the proper customer service etiquette or product knowledge, you have already lost your customer.
So what can you do to see to it that you score well with the prospective clients or target audience? SEO – Search Engine Optimization is what comes into play when converting your target audiences into a successful sale.
Times have changed, people do not have the time and patience to search for an answer and are susceptible to lose interest if they don’t get the desired answer. A person looking to buy earphones will browse through amazon and if the person is unable to find anything of interest, will immediately switch to flipkart or snapdeal in a blink of an eye.
It may sound natural but think of this through the point of a businessman and that is when you realize that you have lost a customer because of the person not getting what he/she wanted. Following are some of the things you need to remember when trying to improve the performance of your website or mobile app.
You have definitely come across websites that take forever to load. I have even seen websites which did not even load on my fast wifi connection and that itself spells doom for your business venture. We live in a fast-paced world. Your website or app shouldn’t take more than a minute to load. A person looking for a product on your website should type out your web address or click on your app, find the desired product and pay the bill, and all this must happen in a matter of few minutes, if not seconds.
However, if your customer needs to wait for the page to load, for the information of your product to load or wait forever for the payment to be processed… that customer is not coming back to your site again. Worse, get ready for a bad review on Google or on your site regarding the same. That is perhaps one of the reasons why you get to see a lot of complaints about the payments being debited from the bank account but the website crashing at that moment. This turns out to be a black mark for a lot of new ventures.
Modern websites utilize images which are optimized to have high quality resolution but low file size. This helps a lot with apps or websites which have a lot of images but still load faster. A website with heavy file size in terms of images and text will take a lot of time to load. That is one of the reasons why web designers use flash or div tag enabled websites which negates the loading speed of an app or website.
CREATING THE PERFECT DESIGN
Humans are naturally attracted to anything that is beautiful – be it a person or a thing. Humans… trust me, not just women but men too… do spend time in trying to look good, be it a good costume or a perfume or make up or designer items. The same goes for websites or apps too.
You cannot have a website which is bland, no colors or good quality images. The success of a lot of websites, especially company websites lie in how long a person spent time browsing through the pages. If the site has nothing to offer and is not attractive enough, there is no reason for a person to stay on that site for long.
Good color schemes or combination (Light or mild colors which are soothing to the eyes and not bright ones that will make a potential customer adjust their screen brightness for no reason), texts that use a proper font (I recommend ARIAL or CALIBRI for it is eye catching) and yes, pictures which are relevant to the product or service. You can’t put a picture of a gent’s shoe brand and then have a picture of Deepika Padukone on the side of it just for the purpose of attraction. A gent’s shoe brand is enough hint for you to decide which picture and celebrity you need to use provided ‘he’… yes, HE is actually the brand ambassador of it.
AVOID BAD LINKS
All websites have a number of pages and links to those pages. The common links on a company website include an about us section, contact information section, important people section which has information about the CEO, COO, President and the likes and a career page. Depending upon the requirement, more pages can be added. Here is where the challenge actually begins.
You came across a website which has a lot of links. You clicked one and were successfully sent to that page but now, you do not know how to go back to the homepage. There is no link that can take you there. Worst case scenario, there is a link but when you click on it, it leads nowhere, it is broken.
Bad links or links with no url attached are another black mark for a website. Google in particular assigns ranks to website and if a website has bad links, the website is sure to lose its rank in the global market. Therefore, avoid bad links at all cost.
Modern day web designers spend a lot of time planning and designing the pages, and all that time also goes into making sure that all pages are linked properly. However, it is also the responsibility of businesses, government organizations and individuals to make sure that the links on the pages work. If you have a website, ensure that you proactively and regularly check if all the links in all pages are checked and working.
WEBSITE UPDATE AND MAINTENANCE
Websites or apps are never constant. Based on daily, monthly and even yearly requirements, certain contents on your website are subject to change. Site update and maintenance is an important aspect of making sure that your website maintains its presence and ranking in the global market.
We talked about bad links earlier and why it is important to always make sure that the links are always working. This is also a part of site maintenance. Big companies spend millions every year in keeping their site up to date and in order. Websites are virtual representation of your company and its brand value. The world is aware of a company’s presence in the market because of a high-quality website and if for any reason, there are issues in terms of irrelevant or old information or bad links, it is enough to tarnish the image of a company. Am I serious? Yes, I am.
Even if it is a government website, if it is not well handled and periodically managed and updated, it is enough for people to lose their belief on the government. So, if you are maintaining a website, be prepared to spend considerable time on site update and maintenance, spend considerable time on keeping it relevant to the changing times. You may not have to spend millions maybe but that still doesn’t take away your responsibility towards an entity that is representing you or your company.
Alright, so you built an attractive website, put a lot of contents and all is in readiness but once live, no one visited the website… no one has any idea that your website even exists. What is the issue? Simple, people are not aware. More so, you haven’t made people aware of your website and what it is offering.
Marketing is an important aspect of increasing the viewership and ranking of your website. One good recommendation would be the use of Google ads. Google ads gives you the option to select your budget of choice. And you pay for the ads only when it is completed and not when the ads are ongoing. You can decide whether to advertise for a day, for a month or even daily for a stipulated time according to your set budget. You can even stop or pause your advertisement whenever you want, you don’t have to pay according to the no. of days planned, you will only pay for as long as the ad was running. Google ads also provide a credit of around Rs. 2000 when you create an account.
Another recommendation would be the use of social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. However, for both these sites, you need to create a page that provides all information about the blog or business you have launched. Periodically posting a blog link or a link to a page on your website is one way to garner reach. You can amplify this reach by marketing the link. I can vouch for one thing that Facebook marketing is really cost effective and I have utilized it religiously to increase the reach of my gaming channel and it has worked in my favor.
Your minimum Facebook ad budget is Rs.75 – 80 per day and it can garner a reach of close to 2000 people to your website. I have witnessed even more no. of reach with that same amount and that is just the way the Facebook algorithm works. The same goes for Instagram too and the reach is phenomenal to say the least.
OTHER WAYS TO INCREASE RANKING AND REACH
Marketing your site or app is indeed an important factor but as I keep saying on this post, there should be a reason for people to visit your site – to gather relevant information, to buy a new product, to understand how your business works and what services you can offer, etc. A lot of website owners have faced situation where they have marketed their sites through different means and have got good reach too but when checking the performance, the average time the people have spent on the site is just 5 secs to 1 minute which is not an encouraging number. Garnering consistent reach through effective marketing is good thing when it comes to ranking but that is not the only purpose for building a website.
You want people to be on the site for a considerable amount of time, you want them to do something on the site. If you are running a blog, you want people to read your stuff and that means extra effort from your part to post relevant and up-to-date contents. However, if you are running a business site – like a recruitment agency or law firm or a site selling electronics – what can you do to ensure that your potential customer remains on the site and is satisfied to make the final move on buying your product or service.
Amazon, for example, is known to have influencers who are known to research a product and post a review about it for people to check it and decide if they want to buy it. There are some people who also have a channel on youtube and Facebook, and post a video reviewing, let us say, a headphone or a gaming laptop or maybe a health drink.
Indeed, you can do the same too. You can have a separate page for blogging and post contents which are relevant to your area of expertise. For example, I said about a law firm, right? You can post blogs on important laws or rules which the common man is not aware about. This is an amazing way in creating potential customers for your law firm. Your blog is enough to prove to the world that you have considerable knowledge about rules and polices – be it business or general. That is enough for a person to actually contact you regarding any service he/she needs from you.
If you are running a mobile accessories store, you can start a youtube channel and post videos about different accessories available for mobile phones and provide a thorough review about the product and explanation about how to use the product. Impressive way to bring a potential customer to your site. You can add links to that product site and your website for people to check out that accessory. Knowledge sharing is definitely a trending nowadays and if this does not increase reach, what will?
A customer has utilized your services or purchased a product from you. He is visibly satisfied and in turn has communicated to a lot of people about it. Word of mouth feedback is effective, no doubt but it does have its limits. The customer would only communicate his satisfaction to a selected group of people like his family, relatives, colleagues or friends. They may be interested but you still cannot count them as prospective customers. Your target market is the whole city, the whole country or maybe, the world. Sounds ambitious… and trust me, it is a not a wrong motive.
The question is, how to make the world realize that you do have customer(s) who were satisfied with your services. By not just having a page for customer feedback but by also listing your company in the database of Google or Yahoo search. A strong customer feedback system is perhaps one of the most effective mechanism to increase your market presence. 5-star ratings on your site or on Google, good feedback about your company or a product they purchased from your company or a blog they read on your website ensure that your website ranking soars upwards.
However, it doesn’t end there. It is natural for a few customers to be dissatisfied with your product or service. That shouldn’t demotivate you, instead, get to the source of the problems. Having a customer feedback section reveals the issues that a customer faced while dealing with your business and that is equal to a school or college report card. Find out that problem and make extra effort to resolve the issue. There are stories of a lot of companies who ensured market presence because of their strong after sales services.
Let me take the example of Airtel Broadband. Being a customer, I never had any problems with their service but there were times when the internet suddenly stopped working or the speed reduced drastically for no rhyme or reason. I immediately lodged a complaint on the airtel app and within 24 hours, the issue was resolved. I even got a call from a representative for a feedback regarding whether the issue was resolved. This is a perfect example of a good feedback mechanism garnered from an after-sale service.
There are exceptions to the age old saying – first impression is the last impression. Not always, my friend. It is not always the first impression that creates a momentum for your business. What matters is what you do after a sale is made from your business and what steps you take to make your customers happy even if they have no plans of buying anything from you in the near future.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization is the way of life now when it comes to building a successful website, be it a personal blog or a business. The metrics have changed in judging the success of a page, or post, or site. With Google still being the most utilized search engine, individuals and businesses spend a lot in ranking high on the search engine and in turn spend a lot in bringing in relevant content to garner views that can go up to millions if targeted right.
However, an individual or business is always looking for creating and maintaining its presence in the market and therefore, they cannot be narrow minded. There are other search engines like Yahoo and Bing, and people invest a lot in ranking on them too. It is ‘war’ on the net and as the saying goes – the loudest child gets the milk.
For anything to be successful, it is not always about bringing in relevancy. You may be involved in selling perfumes but there are a thousand more shops out there that are selling the same stuff. The tricky question is – what is special about your shop that can make a customer come to your doorstep and not somebody else’s? Yes, it is all about offering the best content and if not the best… then ‘pretending’ to offer the best content by gaining a higher rank.
Sounds disturbing! Well, sadly… that is the reality of the market now. Offer nothing but the best… and you are on the top of everything out there!!