Must-Do Things Before You Hire an Agency
Imagine this: it’s all very well and good- you’ve hired a lead generation agency to build the level of inbound traffic you have coming in. This technique of outsourcing to a lead generation agency has taken the heavy lifting off your shoulders so you can focus on making those calls once the leads are funnelled to you or your booking calendar.
Even when there are clear on-site issues with your website that need changing, having a bespoke site and an amazing lead generation campaign has made the uphill struggle of building traffic that actually converts a lot easier and achievable.
But before we touch on the to-do list of actions before hiring a lead generation agency, the lack of thereof, which is hiring a poor lead generation attempt will fail to bring people to your booking calendar, and a poor site will stop good lead generation in its tracks.
A vague website with no incentives to offer a deeper conversation with the visitor or indifference towards inbound marketing with the irrational assumption that they can sell anything to anybody are often the key characteristics of poor lead generation agency. These aspects coexist, and both need to be well built and executed.
So, when choosing to reach out to a lead generation or SEO agency, please take note of these five tips that can have a harmful effect on your overall SEO or lead generation campaign if they are not properly addressed:
In 2010, Google announced that a website’s loading time would be considered as a ranking factor. Before you begin, make sure to check your current website load time using Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix, to know where your website currently stands and how much you need to work on its improvement.
If you feel that your website is underperforming, consider image optimization by resizing the images, caching, or by compressing the size. Enter ImageKit, an intelligent Image Optimization tool, which optimizes images using an intelligent compression algorithm. Combined with a global content delivery network (CDN) for faster delivery, it can improve your website performance significantly by dramatically decreasing your website load time.
Optimizing Your Site’s Caching
Browser caching is the ability of a web browser to store files on your computer and then loading those files from there the next time to you visit the page. This eliminates the need to redownload the same data, which can significantly reduce the time it takes the page to load.
So how can you optimise this to your benefit?
Ideally in two methods which enabled by adding code to your website’s .htaccess file:
1. Expires headers:
## EXPIRES CACHING ##
ExpiresByType image/jpg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/gif “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType image/png “access 1 year”
ExpiresByType text/css “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType text/html “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/pdf “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access 1 month”
ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access 1 year”
ExpiresDefault “access 1 month”
2. Cache-control headers
# 1 Month for most static assets
Header set Cache-Control “max-age=2592000, public”
A similar style can be observed here where the second line of code : <filesMatch “.(css|jpg|jpeg|png|gif|js|ico)$”> highlights all the file types which need to follow the caching time which is highlighted in the third line: Header set Cache-Control “max-age=2592000, public”.
While setting the time limits for such files, it’s also important to consider the tentative lifetime of certain files on your website which don’t change all that often, like your logo, CSS or blog images, which unlikely to change for years.
After making these changes, i.e., adding the above code(s) to your .htaccess file, make sure you check their functionality through:
Redirects are instructions or methods that automatically take visitors of one file to another file or location in a way that hurts your page speed.
Each time a page redirects to another page, your visitor faces additional time waiting for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete. For example, if your mobile redirect pattern looks like this: “example.com -> www.example.com -> m.example.com -> m.example.com/home,” each of those two additional redirects makes your page load slower.
Therefore, if you do not use any redirects, you are serving your content significantly faster. Redirects n your code are likely to cost you in a way you lose most of your clients, especially when you consider mobile networks. They dramatically affect your page speed in a noticeably bad way.
Improving server response times
Google recommends you aim for a response time lower than 200 milliseconds. A 100ms TTFB is ideal, while load times over 500ms is an issue. Google classifies websites into three groups based on the speed score they achieve:
- Fast (90-100)
- Average (50-89)
- Slow (0-49)
According to Google’s statistics, half of the sites online (50%) are slow, and only 10% are fast. Meaning 40% of websites ranked average, leaving a lot of room for improvement.
Addressing site speed can help solve a load of issues for your website, which include:
- Decreased bounce rates (refer to Google’s industry standards here)
- Increased conversions
- Increased pages that get crawled
Due to the high availability of various resources online, it is very likely to be a relatively easy process for you to sort out some of the issues that are affecting your website’s responsiveness. Thus, fix as much as you can comfortably alone – and for the more technical issues, you can contact the Pearl Lemon team to help solve those. Either way, ensuring that your page load time is at optimal levels and your potential clients don’t turn away before they can interact with your site is the primary objective.
According to recent studies, it’s been found 50% of searches are done via mobile, and this number will only continue to grow.
While there are several elements of this to consider, the most obvious part is: ‘Is your company website truly mobile-optimized, that is, can it operate and work well on mobile? Hopefully, your answer is “it already is” but if it isn’t, this is a major issue that needs to be addressed.
Frankly, ‘pinch-and-zoom’ websites are unacceptable in this day and age of such powerful technology advancement. They are too difficult to use smoothly on mobile devices. Not only is it looked down upon, because of the user-experience it provides, but all discouraged because of the plethora of free and easy to use web development apps in the market such as WordPress and Wix. You have to have a site that automatically formats to what you need correctly without the user having to pinch or side scroll to navigate the site, or worse, click off due to frustration of the same.
However, moving beyond this another important element is the actual user experience – does it completely freeze on mobile or is it as seamless on your mobile? If your site does not render properly and looks like an absolute mess on mobile, then it will stick as a major repellant to the masses of people that opt to use their smartphones to enter your site.
Having an under optimised site on mobile is a tragedy that leads people far away from your website.
SEO on a visual level is branding. Main colours, fonts, colour palette across all pages, the logo, strapline and general look of the website all play key roles in visual SEO.
When piecing together your site, you need to be sure that all aspects of the site are on-brand with what you want. Mashing together items that you think look good together, but don’t fully match then read as messy and off-putting.
There are businesses that we have simply refused to work with because of the poor brand positioning. We have creative partner’\s that we can suggest aiding with this – but regardless of how you choose to get this done – it massively impacts SEO.
If huge amounts of traffic are coming to your website only for potential clients to leave after ‘entering the building’ because of the shabby décor – the benefits of our efforts won’t be realized.
It will not matter how well the lead generation campaign is if the prospects arrive at a site that is messy and more of a deterrent. These things come across as rushed and possibly unsafe if someone hasn’t taken the time to make their business page look nice.
This is huge. Are all parts of your website or mobile app or product functioning as they should?
- Buttons directing to the correct pages?
- Links all going where they are supposed to?
- Contact form working?
- Sign Ups to your email list coming through to your email marketing provider
- Can customers make purchases through your website?
- Do you have an SSL certificate (yes this has an SEO impact also!)
Do make sure that all of this is working as it should be (or as closest to when working with any kind of lead generation agency)
All of the above aspects working lead to a smooth user experience and with that comes more sales. It is hard to build a positive reputation if any user that visits the site can’t complete their desired action.
After all, if you want to go on a site and make a purchase, you expect the item to lead to the same item in the preview. You expect the add-to-cart button to put the item in your cart without a hassle. You expect at checkout your payment will be secure and go through.
All of these expectations apply to your site as well, so be sure all of the actions meant to occur on the site can happen.
Contact Forms Working
This is a subsection of the points above but deserves it’s own separate space because we have discovered as part of our set-up and website audit’s that there have been websites that have chosen to engage with us that have NOT had contact form’s working.
Furthermore, they have been unaware at times how unstable their contact forms or website has been before we discovered it.
Being unaware of these points can lead to unknown consequences. Who knows how much better conversions could have been if the forms would have been working properly.
Ensuring that your contact forms…and submission forms of any kind…are critical points beyond just when looking to bring on an agency. If your forms don’t work properly or are insecure, you are missing out on leads and potential sales.
So please do make sure you consider all of these 5 key points before hiring any kind of SEO or lead generation agency. If you are unsure of some of these points, be aware of them and book a call with the Pearl Lemon team to get help addressing them before a lead generation campaign.