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I think the reason most websites fail is really quite simple. Your website is not a stand alone asset. Most small business websites are re-designed every 3 years and go on to make the same mistakes.

Let me ask you a few questions: How many times a day do you or your team log onto your website? I log on to mine daily! Every single day pretty much. Why? If I am not creating content, I am changing or testing or improving both the site and the content that is on here. I know I need to optimise my blog posts for keywords, I know I need to do lots more on-page SEO as a whole. My images are too big and I have too many plugins doing too many things.

This is because I am always testing and looking for new ways to create a better experience and to create more functionality and resource. You see if I am not creating content I am adjusting, improving and testing.

My website is a living and breathing asset and it will never be finished, not ever. I neither should yours. I have tools that capture email addresses, tracks how much people read and where the click, what pages they visit this all feeds into my email software and other analytics’s system so I can understand what works and what doesn’t. I want to know what content is working and what styles of content are working. I change images and text on my pages to test what serves my audience best.

Does this all take time? Of course it does, but I am serious about creating value for my audience and serving them better each and every day.

Website email integration

One of the first things I look for in a small business website I may review is the email capture. I know I am preaching to the choir in most cases here, however your email list is everything, many many websites either have no email capture or maybe just 1 optin box with the line “sign up to the newsletter”. Enticing? Hardly. You need to tell your audience what to expect, how often will you email them and what can the expect to get and why they should. I can currently working on some content upgrades and a free ebook to give to people who do sign up to my list.

It really is not hard to integrate your email provider with your website is most cases. Often your email provider will enable you embed a form onto your website and most decent plugins offer and easy integration as well.

Make sure you have enough options for people to join your list not just one. I find the one at the bottom of my blogs and podcasts works best for me. However you need to test this for your audience.

Dont have an email list?

Get cracking on one then. Start today, Mailchimp is free and is easy to integrate with your site. Then use Sumome or Rapidology to create more pop ups and other options to get signups. Ensure you give people a reason and then make sure you add value in the emails you do send. Get a strategy in place and know what you are going to send via email and how this is going to add value and solve the problems of your audience. This needs to be mapped out correctly and then tested. Your email strategy is vital and knowing how it works with your website is key.

Create compelling content

Any audience today is making choices. If they are reading or consuming your content they are not doing the same for someone else. We have a limited amount of attention and the moment we are bored we are gone. Write content that you would want to read. Content that inspires and motivates, content that solves problems, content that educates and empowers. Your website needs fresh new content all the time. People need to realise that your website is always changing and has more content to offer. If they go there once and read a static site there is no need for them to ever go back.

Create a Blog or Podcast or both

By creating a blog or podcast and consistently churn out helpful and useful content you will not only serve your audience today but find new people tomorrow and everyday. Whatever format works for you and your audience and keep publishing. There is a never ending amount of content you could and probably should be creating. Again get a content strategy in place and then a schedule. Consistency and quality are key and so is testing. Try different styles and formats and see what works for your audience.

Use technology to measure effectiveness

There are kinds of tools to test how much people read or if the clicked and where are the clicking. If nothing else ensure you have Google Analytics installed and working and setup correctly. You should take the time to understand how to use the software so you know when visitor are completing goals or not and you should understand why.

Keep testing and experimenting

There are loads of things that make up a great website, but with the right tools and training and a living and breathing website you will get the results you want. Do not settle for a static website. Work with people that know how to bring all of this technology together to give you actionable insights and information that actually make a difference to your business. Your website should be able to provide you with so much information that you know what kinds of people are visiting, where from, and what they are doing and looking for on your site. armed with this information you can create user journeys and content that helps them and positions you as the right solution to help them.

None of this stuff is particularly expensive and many of the tools are free or low cost. It does take time and it can be hard work. But get these basics right and then you will start to see your website as a key component not just in your sales and marketing but in your business strategy as a whole.