Advice for folks starting a second career as a solo entrepreneur
Step 1 – Improve Your Page Loading Speed
Your page loading time is important for a few reasons. First, if your load speed is too slow, Google will recognize this, and it will harm your ranking. But a slow website will also impact the way your website visitors engage with your pages. As a result, those negative interactions will hurt your ranking too.
Website abandonment rates increase rapidly over time. Research shows 40% of visitors will abandon websites if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. By six seconds you have lost all but the most patient of viewers
What’s even more shocking is that 80% of those visitors won’t return to that website. This is terrible for your SEO ranking because it ultimately kills traffic to your site. But on the flip side, if your page loads fast, people will keep coming back.
Google’s algorithm will recognize your website’s popularity and adjust your search ranking accordingly.
This makes it extremely important to optimize both your page speed and server response time.
If you want to test the speed of your website, there are online services such as Pingdom available for free. Although they will expect you to sign up for a trial and then start to pay. Of course, Google will do this for free. Go to their page speed insights tool. In my show notes you will find an example of the report for Forbes.com. Not too surprisingly for a highly professional site their loading speeds are well under 3 seconds,
This will allow you to test your website from different locations all over the world.
If you find your loading speeds are slow, take a look at the add-ins you are running on your pages. While it is tempting to gather as much information about your site visitors as possible, doing so will slow down your loading speeds. Maybe you should forgo gathering information in the background but encourage them to give you their email address.
Which can be done by producing high quality content that makes them want to subscribe for more.
How often do you update your website? If you haven’t touched it since the day you built it, you probably don’t have a great SEO ranking right now. I can verify the truth of that statement. I built a website “The Dentists CFO” that did achieve that elusive number one ranking on Google for some search terms. Unfortunately, I had not optimized the keywords as well as I should have, and the site did not attract many visitors and certainly did not generate any business. I have not touched that site for over a year and it has slipped down the rankings now appearing page 3 for some search terms although it does still get a page one ranking for terms more closely associated with the site name. If you want to know more about keywords listen to Season 9 podcasts episodes 29 to 32.
To drive more traffic to your website and increase its popularity, you need to give visitors a reason to keep coming back. Your content needs to be high quality, recent, and relevant. An informative article of 1200 words will keep folks on your site for about six minutes which will improve another ranking factor which is dwell time. Which is a measure of how much time people spend on your website per visit.
If your site has fresh, exciting, or newsworthy information, it will keep visitors on your page longer and improve your dwell time. Websites that provide highly informative content typically have long dwell times.
Optimize Your Images
Pictures and other images are great for your website. Plain text quickly gets boring but ensure your images are optimized to minimize loading times. Generally, you do not need high-definition photo’s for your website, optimize for format JPEG files seem to work well and size.
Note it used to a common practice to use pictures to cram in additional keywords. Google has got smarter and will quickly detect examples of keyword cramming and will punish you in your sites ranking if you do this
Break Up Your Content with Header Tags
Headings are another way to help improve the user experience on your website. They break up the content and make it easier to read or skim. Plus, headers make everything look more appealing, which is always beneficial. If your website is just a wall of text, it’s going to discourage people from spending a long time on it. When planning your headers keep your users in mind, what promise are you making to them, how will you help them achieve what their goals.
Note WordPress makes it easy to add pictures and headings. I use Canva as my image source, I have signed up to their professional version to gain access to a wider range of pictures. I can usually find a photo that is relevant to the topic I am discussing. Often their suggestions include a photograph that makes you stop and think. For example, when I search loyalty for a piece on customer loyalty programs one suggestion was a photo of a dog with its lead in its mouth. That is the sort of image that will make viewers wonder what the article is about and click through out of curiosity.
Blogging is great for your business. It’s an outstanding tool for lead generation and helps you engage with visitors to your website. A blog brings that fresh interesting content to your site that attracts visitors. A regular blog will encourage visitors to come back to your site frequently and maybe attract them enough that they will subscribe. Regular visitors and subscribers will do wonders for your search engine rankings.
Websites are so much more than text. I have mentioned the importance of photographs for visual appeal, but you can do so much more. Videos, audio files, infographics can increase the appeal of your site. User engagement is greater with videos, an informative five-minute video can keep folks on your site for that length of time. And imagine what a series of videos might do for your dwell time and drive your site up through the rankings.
Infographics have the potential to improve your SEO rankings, but keep in mind the underlying content your infographic is attempting to convey must be valuable. A pretty infographic that provides little information is not going to encourage folks to return to your site. Google may not index the text within your infographic so consider providing a long form of the information alongside the infographic, a minimum of 1000 words is usually recommended, with longer articles being better.
If you are up to it consider adding animation to your graphic. The human eye is sensitive to movement by adding movement to your graphic it will attract the viewers’ attention.
Consider the readability of your site. A piece of advice I read researching for this show is that you should not sound like a doctor, lawyer even if you are one. To this list I will add do not write like a CFO. Keep your content easy for most folks to read and understand. And that means avoiding complicated words when simpler ones will do. Sentences should be short. Think Hemmingway, think Harry Potter. To be understood by 85% of Americans your writing should be 8th grade level or lower. I tested the readability of some of this script on Readable.com, it scored about 10th grade. I need to think about that. Although I am sure my audience and readers are a bit smarter than the average joe, I also want to be accessible to the entrepreneur for who English maybe their second language.