By Liz Kollias

Director and Founder of The Little Space – a co-working and meetings and events space in Bondi Junction, Sydney.

As the owner of a ‘bricks and mortar’ business, and six years into this business, I now have a clear picture of where my customers come from.   My website and word of mouth.  It’s as simple as that.  This will not be the case for all businesses but if you wish to grow your customer or client list then it would be foolish to neglect your website.  Think of it as a pet or a plant.  It needs attention, it needs feeding and it needs quite a lot of love and attention.  Plus it’s needs will change as it grows so pay attention to what is needed!

There is absolutely no doubt that buyer behaviour is now heavily influenced by online searches before buying.  Need convincing?  Check out this overview of buyer behaviour created by Hubspot

You don’t need to be an SEO expert and you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on online marketing and web support to get your website optimisation under control.

Here are our top tips to improving your website.

  1. Assess your site.  Every month I pay someone a few hundred dollars to maintain my site.  That’s all! It’s not much. It ensures my site is secure, all plug ins are up to date plus I get the help I need to make tweaks and changes I need.   Take advantage of the various plug-ins that are now available which enable you to assess and rank your site.  You will get a score out of 100 and suggestions on how to optimise the content you already have.  With a few hours work you can review the existing site content and create a shopping list for other tasks to improve your site.  And if you are time poor just get an expert to do this for you.  It should not be expensive and it’s better than adverting.  The best money and time you could spend is getting this right.
  2. Content, content, content.  Once upon a time, Google was all about stuffing your site full of key words.   Those days are over.  People use Google because it works and it works because it’s programmers will quickly stamp out people trying to ‘game’ the system.   So Google now values genuinely helpful content, written for humans to read easily.  It’s as simple as that.  So sit down once a week, or just once a month if you don’t have time and produce some information that is genuinely helpful to your clients.  Are you a psychologist?  Write about the latest treatments for anxiety or managing workplace stress.  Are you a maths tutor?  Share some great online resources for parents to support their kids at home.  Don’t just sell your stuff, provide real value.
  3. Google My Business.  If you run a location based business, spend some time getting your Google My Business page set up.  Complete all the information you can including opening hours and make sure you update this over the holiday period.   Google normally prompts you in case you forget.  Keep posting and adding photos and videos to this page.  Google loves Google so feed it like the hungry animal it is.  10 minutes a week is plenty.  You can share your blog post and any other content you have.
  4. Reviews.  Seek out genuine reviews from genuine clients.  Reviews are highly influential on buyer behaviour.  And your good customers are your best asset.  Go ahead and ask them if they would be willing to give you a favourable review.  They will or they won’t but almost everyone is keen to help when asked.
  5. Local directory listing.  This is a bit of a painful task.  It’s a little tedious, finding free local business directories and adding all the relevant information about your business.  You could do this when you are feeling a little brain dead in the afternoon or get a uni student in to do this for you.  Ideal if you are looking to boost your local business profile.

So get access to your website and get writing!  Done is better than good!