My clients often ask me if updating their website on a regular basis really does pay off in increased cash flow. If you're like hundreds of thousands of online business owners, you put up your website hoping you'd hit on the right combination of content and graphics to generate sales.
In this economy, the competition is too great for you to leave your website 'unattended' for any length of time and hope to realize profits. It's time to re-assess the results and develop an action plan that will increase revenue consistently.
So the question you need to ask yourself is "what actions can I take immediately to generate cash flow?" Here are five I recommend:
1. Decide what business you are in now to target the right opportunities
When you put up your first website, it was a snapshot of your business at that point in time. As your business evolves your website should reflect that. Have you added new and different products? Have you changed the focus of your services? Like websites, the businesses they support are organic. They grow and change. Make time to sit down with your key staff to review your main business goals. Make sure that you are focused on the right kind of opportunities that will propel your business to the next level.
2. Analyze your Website Navigation
Does your website navigation match your current goals? I recommend using a Mind Map to analyze your visitor paths but, you can use any tool that allows you create a map showing all the main branches on your home page. The key here is to strip away the graphics and really look at your content and path. Don't be distracted by pretty colors and pictures.
3. Create a specific path on your home page for visitors to "walk." For example, if the main goal of your website is to get visitors to call for services, don't put up extraneous links to distract them. You want to them to write down your phone number and call you or fill out a form. Everything on your home page should support that! For example, if getting someone to call is your goal then an 800 number in the banner area is a great idea--links to books they should read on the subject is not. Think about the difference between Google and other search companies. They provide one page with one box to fill in your search term. They don't give you links to hundreds of categories on the home page.
4. Compare the Competition
It's always imperative to look at what the competition is doing on their website. Create maps of their home pages as well. But don't assume that because they are bigger, that their website has a better strategy. Deep marketing pockets can often mask website failures. Compare your maps and see what emphasis the competition places on their home page. Do they focus heavily on monthly promotions? What kind of free content are they using to attract visitors? Note the best strategies and see how they apply to you. But remember to have confidence that your content has value.
5. Test and Revise
Create small tests and be prepared to change your home page content based on what you learned. Be bold, try new things. Carefully analyze the changes you've made. You don't want to change something that was working. Your analytics package should be providing you with the statistics you need to test and revise. If you don't use one now, get one like Google Analytics. Make sure you know what kind of content generates sales.
If you follow these quick actions, you should see results very shortly.