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Website performance tips for small business owners

Congratulations, you just finished building the website for your small business! Now is the time to sit back and relax and wait for the phone calls to roll in, right? Wrong. There is no guarantee that your website will appear in search results. 

In general, you should expect that it will likely take at least six months for search engines like Google and Bing to feature your website in any search results, even if it’s for your exact business name.

6-diy-tips-improve-website-traffic

Here are six steps that any small business owner should take after finishing their website. These six steps can help you track your progress, get noticed, and get a leg up on the competition.  

Table of contents

Step One: Double check your website 

After building your website, your first step is to double-check that everything works correctly. Make sure there are no roadblocks or distracting typos that may prevent someone from becoming a customer.

Double check that website is responsive on tablet, desktop, and mobile devices

 After you’ve finished your website, you want to check for: 

  • Typos
  • Appearance on mobile, tablet, and desktop
  • Images appear in the right location at the correct resolution
  • Buttons function correctly
  • Links send viewers to the right page

Imagine paying for advertising to your website to find out that everyone left the site because of broken links. Take the time and make sure that users you send to your website have a great experience and find the information they within just a few clicks.

If your website sells products online, you will also want to test the shopping and checkout process. It is often best to ask a friend who is not familiar with the website to purchase a specific product. Watch them as they navigate the site, see how many clicks it takes them to find the particular product, and if the checkout process is cumbersome. 

Step Two: Set-up website measurement tools

If you want to know if your work is getting results, you’ll want to take measurements. Thankfully, Google makes two excellent (and free) tools to help you gauge how well your website is doing. These two tools are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 

Google-search-console
Google Search Console

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Google Analytics

What’s the difference between Google Analytics and Google Search Console?

To keep it simple, Google Search Console can alert you when something on your website is not working correctly, such as a broken link or robots.txt error. Google Analytics can give you in-depth insights into how people find your website, time spent on each page, and which pages convert the most customers. 

How do I set up Google Search Console and Analytics?

How you set them up depends on how you built your website. I’ve put together this list to help you set up accounts Search Console, and Google Analytics accounts on the following platforms:

Website NameSearch Console GuideGoogle Analytics Guide
GoDaddy-no guide found-Link to guide here
WeeblyLink to guide hereLink to guide here
WixLink to guide hereLink to guide here
WordPress.comLink to guide hereLink to guide here
WordPress.orgLink to guide hereLink to guide here

Search Console and Analytics can offer you an overwhelming amount of information. You can enroll in classes if you want to harness the power of these tools. For this list, you only need to:

  • Install Google Analytics and Search Console on your website
  • Check each platform monthly
    • Search console for broken links and other website errors
    • Google Analytics for traffic patterns in your website

Step Three: Create your social media accounts 

Social media can be a powerful tool and allows customers to talk to your brand. You can connect with customers, share industry insights and behind the scenes stories. There are two benefits of having social media accounts beyond posting cute updates. The first benefit is Name, Address, and Phone Number accuracy (NAP), and the second is to boost Social Signals. 

facebook-social-media
instagram-social-media
twitter-social-media

Name Address and Phone Number Accuracy

More often than ever are people using social media platforms and review websites (i.e., Yelp) as search engines in their own right. You want to have your business listed, and ensure all of the information is correct anywhere you are featured. Be especially mindful that every listing should have the EXACT same business name, address, phone number, and website. Google compares your business’s listings on social media platforms, databases, and your website to ensure all the information is consistent. 

Social Signals

Social signals tell Google how links to your website perform on social media platforms. For example, You share a link to the services pages of your website. The post does pretty well, and 116 friends like your post, and twelve friends comment. Google can tell how well this URL did when posted on social media. Your goal is to share links to every page on your website in an engaging and fun way.

Remember, social media followers will likely not like you if you are only sharing links to your website. How often you share a page depends on your frequency. If you only post once a week, maybe only share a link every four to five weeks. If you post twice a day, you can share a link twice a week. It all depends on what feels acceptable to you and your followers. 

Step Four: List your business on review websites

Now that you have finished building your website, you need to start thinking about collecting client reviews. Many customers are likely to treat an online review the same as a friend or family member’s recommendation. After many people read a positive review, they will visit your website to confirm if you are the right business for them.

Listings on review websites also work toward the NAP accuracy we discussed above. 

Here is a list of review website where you should create listings.

Guide To Google My Business

Take the time to complete each aspect of these listings fully. Add photos, menu items, services, products, hours of operation, and any other business descriptions and what makes you unique. Try to think of each listing as a mini-website that could sell your business.

Once you make a listing on any of these sites, you will want to start collecting reviews. Develop a process to collect reviews after each customer transaction. Your review process could be an email you send at the end of a project or a business card you hand out at the end of each sale. Test out different strategies and find a way that is easy for you to ask your customer to leave a review.

five-star-business-reviews

Take the time to complete each aspect of these listings fully. Add photos, menu items, services, products, hours of operation, and any other business descriptions and what makes you unique. Try to think of each listing as a mini-website that could sell your business.

Some sites like Google My Business have easy links to share with customers to leave a review. Other websites like Yelp, discourage you from seeking reviews and prefers client’s leave reviews organically. 

Collecting reviews can:

  • Appear in search results
  • Improve trust and authority signals to your website
  • Increase your website’s visibility 
  • Be added as testimonials on your website 
  • Used to demonstrate trustworthiness on social media

You can use Google Marketing Kit if you cannot afford a graphic designer. Marketing Kit can help you convert client reviews and business information to custom graphics that you can use instantly online or send to your printer for hard copies. 

Step Five: Submit your website to databases

Adding your website to a list of databases can be a long and boring process. The good news is that it pays off. Adding your website to different internet databases helps:

  • You will appear on a more diverse network of websites on the internet. 
  • You will increase the legitimacy of your website
  • You will improve your rankings in local searches

Appear on a more diverse network

The internet is a huge place, and believe it or not- not everyone uses Google, Bing, Duckduckgo, or Yelp. Some people on the internet will search a database or smaller niche website to find a business to help them fulfill their needs. 

Increase legitimacy online

People create thousands of websites and social media accounts daily. Search engine algorithms still have difficulty determining if you are a real business or a SPAM/ fake business. Adding your business’s information on these free databases can help search engines like Google increase your website trust and authority on the internet. 

Improve Local Listings

Google likes to show people results for businesses that are closest to them in search results. For example, when you search “mechanics in Plattsburgh, NY” Google will rank the results from by distance. They do this by knowing the location of the searcher and researching which business is closest. One of the ways they research what business is closest is through these database entries. 

*note- local listings are also ranked by reviews and hours of operation. Just because you are the closest, does not guarentee you come up as #1 in local results.*

You can expect to create a listing on each website to take somewhere between 15 minutes and a half-hour. Filling out a listing or two might be a nice thing to do as you unwind at the end of the day. If you don’t want to create these listings yourself, you can hire a Bright Local company to do it for you.

Here is a list of websites where you should create a free listing:

Data Aggregators 

Databases

Step six: Schedule Regular maintenance 

If you are doing all aspects of your business by yourself, regular website maintenance can fall by the wayside. Schedule a time every quarter to review each page on your website. You’d be surprised how much information you will need to change in just three months. Regular maintenance not only avoids customers from seeing silly typos or inaccurate hours; it also shows the search engine’s website is active. 

Search engine optimization graph showing growing website views

Like I mentioned earlier, thousands of websites are created daily.

Now, imagine how many of those websites still exist today, even though the actual business went bankrupt.

The way Google deals with dead websites is to reduce how well they rank if they are not updated regularly. If you do not update your website regularly, search engines start to conclude that you’re no longer in business. Find ways to add and update information for your ideal clients so they turn to you as the go-to-source.

Summary

These seven steps can help improve the performance of your website. By following these seven steps, you can get baseline measurements, build your trust and authority online, and increase your visibility online. After you complete these seven steps, you can decide whether to add a blog, a frequently asked questions page, or new service pages. No matter what, it will take a few months before you start seeing regular traffic, but these seven tips can help you start on the right foot.