Better Web Site ROI: Efficient Online Business with SEO, PPC, Split Testing, and Forums
If you're looking for better web site ROI, chances are, the web is only one part of your business, you have a specific budget for your web site, and you want the site to not only carry its own weight, but why can't it make you some extra dough, too?
The corporate situation: budgets need to be closely watched, and tech people can't get carried away with unnecessary frills.
My own experience making money online and becoming and SEO expert was more guerilla than corporate. In 1999, I knew enough web design to get by, and I learned about getting good search rankings and free traffic while flying by the seat of my pants. By early 2005, I'd learned how to get tens of thousands of visitors per month, and had made more than $20,000 two months in a row.
As it turns out, web design itself doesn't bring in or increase profits... at least not the graphic kind most people think of. Ironically, the flashy flash web sites everyone raves about often prevent you from getting free traffic. Search engines index sites based on text- they can't see flash. If your text is in graphics without alt tags or in flash movies only, you'll never get free traffic.
There are loads of web designers out there who want to get paid to make you a beautiful web site, but don't know the first thing about helping you make more money. In fact, though independent web designers have to know enough business to survive, corporate designers may never have had to learn anything about running a business or getting good ROI via their web sites.
To get better web site ROI, naturally you have to lower your investment and/or increase your profits.
Where do the profits that lead to better web site ROI come from?
- Traffic (free or paid)
- Converting Prospects
- Selling new products to previous customers
Here are some review questions for your business:
- Are you getting free traffic from good search engine rankings? If not, why not? Maybe your website isn't search engine optimized. Maybe you aren't adding to and updating your content. Maybe your internal linking and/or navigational structure is suboptimal.
- Are you running multiple pay per click campaigns and meeting your break even figures for most of them? Are you dumping the ones that don't work?
- Are you tweaking your web sales copy and running split tests to see what increases your conversion rates?
- Are you staying in touch with previous customers, offering them helpful tips and resources, and finding out their other needs?
- Are you designing new products and improving services based on that feedback?
Those are just a few questions to help you see which way lies the real road to better web site ROI.
Now here are a few suggestions:
1. Get more free traffic
All traffic can be converted to sales profits. Free traffic means better web site ROI. So search engine optimize your web site. Ever had a keyphrase review for your business sector done? If not, get one. This is one of the three major factors in writing your web site sales copy.
2. Only do profitable pay-per-click advertising
Make sure you have a clear plan in place for every phrase on which you bid. Know what conversion rate you need for each. Send each phrase to specific and different web pages, and monitor your success rate. If you can't tweak conversion rates high enough to profit on a pay per click phrase, ditch it! What cuts into your web site ROI more than pay per click advertising at a loss? And don't fool yourself into thinking it's branding. There are much better ways to do branding, and lots of them are free.
3. Convert more prospects
Hopefully you already have a most wanted response (MWR). Perhaps you've developed customer profiles and/or modeled customer acquisition and retention phrases. However you group your prospects, make sure you split test your web copy to develop the most powerful sales pages possible. Your traffic cost for each phrase shouldn't change much from month to month, so improving your conversion rates will lead to better web site ROI.
4. Encourage Community and Get Feedback
Don't be afraid to let your customers talk to each other. Use forums to help them and find out what they need. The best way to stay in business, sell more, and increase ROI is to know what they need and give it to them. Remember, it's easier to keep a customer than to get a new one. Use polls, articles in your e-zine (e newsletter), and free offers to motivate them to answer your specific questions.
That's obviously not every detail or tactic you could use to work toward better web site ROI, but it's plenty for most people to start with. If you need help or have any specific questions for me, contact me either via my pulsemed.org website, or through my SEO blog at http://top-ten-search-engine-ranking.blogspot.com/.
Since 1999, Brian Carter, MS, has reached more than a million visitors with his websites. His PulseMed.org ranks in the top 1% of all major websites. He maintains a blog about web marketing at http://top-ten-search-engine-ranking.blogspot.com/. His second book, The Web Site Marketing Success Manual: How One of My Web Sites Made $21,638.49 in a Month, will be available in July, 2005.
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