Your guide to a successful online business!

In this latest Swift 6, I’ll be looking at six things you should resolve to change about your business website in the year ahead. Now you don’t have to do all six, although it would be great if you can. But try to commit to making one or two of the changes in order to get the ball rolling. Give me a shout in the comments if you’ve got any questions and I’ll get back to you.

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Hello and welcome to another 123-reg Swift 6. This week – six new year website resolutions. It’s a new year, turn over a new leaf, make some resolutions, apply them to your website. What are you going to do?

Number one. Install Google Analytics. It’s an essential tool for any website owner. It will give you detailed information about where people are coming from when they arrive on your site, the pages that they’re looking at when they do spend time on your site, how they move through your site, what their user journey is, what they’re buying in the end, which is what we really want to know if we want to make more money from our website.

So the first thing absolutely New Year’s resolution – install Google Analytics, start looking at the reports and making use of what you find there.

The second thing you should do is try updating your website to give it a new look. How long since you designed your website? When was the last time you updated it? There’s a real reason why big brands update and change their website, change their shops, change the look of their material consistently. People get bored with seeing the same stuff over and over again. Also, people get very complaced and used to it. There’s nothing that sends a stronger signal about your brand than updating your look and feel, updating your site to what is now current.

If you used to have lots of different pages for different bits of content, you can start consolidating it back together. There’s a real fashion at the moment for having really long pages. Maybe you can update your site to take that into account.

There’s a really interesting trend at the moment to put images behind the homepage of your site, really static images, big images, and let the content flow in front. So try giving your website a new look and it will give your brand and your business a fresh breath this new year.

The third thing that you can do is try to personalise what you do. It’s a really interesting story with personalisation. There’s loads of evidence to suggest that if you can be personal in how you address each website visitor, then you will get more in terms of engagement and in terms of sales from those visitors.

We all used to shop in little local shops, and partly because they were near us but often due to personal service. And then what happened is that everyone got cars, land out of town was cheap so there were loads of supermarkets, price drove everything. We could go to the supermarket once per week, do our weekly shopping, it would could a lot less.

Things are changing. People are doing their big shops online and they’re returning to small shops to get personal service. But if you’re operating a website, that’s sometimes a hard thing to do. But there are ways in which you can personalise what you do through your website. A good way is to try the 123-reg Website Builder. There’s lots of elements there called “insights”, which allow you to customise your message according to whether or not someone is new or returning, what time of year it is, perhaps what they completed on your site next time.

If you are able to personalise their experience you’ll engage with them better and you’ll end up winning them as a customer and retaining them as a customer.

The fourth thing that you should really try doing is start using email marketing. And I don’t mean going out there and buying lists of people you don’t know or that you’ve never met or have never seen your brand before. I mean email marketing to your current customers.

Most brands know that their number one way to communicate with their existing customers is through email. If you aren’t emailing your customers and making use of this channel, then you are really missing lots. Try the 123-reg Email Marketing tool. It’s a fantastic tool. You can add all your email addresses in there, you can create great looking emails and schedule them to go out, you can understand which ones got clicked, which ones got opens, which ones led to people going to your site and actually doing something. So, turn over a new leaf and try email marketing this year for your business.

Number five is site and SEO spring clean. Nothing stays the same in SEO. The stuff that was working two years ago, it’s now working today and that won’t be working in two years’ time either. When was the last time you focused on SEO and updated your strategy there?

There are some really easy ways in which you can give your website an SEO spring clean. I have to recommend here the 123-reg Search Engine Optimiser tool, which can give you lots of advice and guidance on what you need to do to change your site. It might be something like focusing on different keywords because the keywords people are using now aren’t the same as they were when you last looked at your SEO a couple of years ago. It might be that they can tell you what your competitors are doing that’s working really well so they you can borrow a bit and be inspired by that and do a little bit yourself.

It might be that you’ve got too many pages on your site and they’re all kind of competing with each other and that you would be better off consolidating them a little bit. The tool will give you that information. It might be that you’ve got boring or outmoded meta data, page titles that are too long or aren’t catchy, aren’t getting clicks. So, give your site an SEO spring clean this new year. Your time will be really well spent.

Number six. You’re doing any paid advertising at the moment? Paid advertising online is again one of the primary sources of new leads and new businesses for small local websites. There’s lots of choices actually who you can do that with.

Yes, you can go to Google AdWords in order to set up your PPC campaign and we’ve got a great guide on the blog which will show you how to do that. You can also try Bing too. That’s the search engine from Microsoft, and it’s less than 10% in the UK market but not many people use it so the great thing there is that the clicks are pretty cheap.

There’s also paid advertising on social media. We all know how much time we spend on Facebook and some of us on Twitter. These platforms have advertising now built into them. Again, you can read our guides on getting going with Facebook advertising or Twitter advertising. It could be a fantastic source of leads, source of traffic for your new business, and especially with Facebook and Twitter. If you’re writing great blog content, you need to be promoting that to those audiences by paying to promote it through their platforms.

That was six New Year’s resolutions that you can make for your website from 123-reg. I’ll see you next time.

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