By popular demand, we featured our co-founder Clare McDonald on our weekly #GoWithThePro Twitter chat for social media managers.  Clare shared her tips for this week’s topic: Make your website work for your business #LikeAPro.

Clare is a co-founder of Go With The Pro and has built over 30 websites for social media business owners with her own web design agency 30nine.

She works with social media managers and other small business owners who often have a small budget when they set up their business and need to attract more leads by looking great online on a shoestring budget.

For our Go With The Pro members, Clare is on standby with any website questions in our member Facebook group. She often creates video tutorials in response to things our members are struggling with, including:

  • Linking Google Analytics to your website
  • How to upload a blog and update it
  • How to fix common website update problems

Clare also has created this popular GWTP course: website design and development which allows members to build their own website on the Divi theme – perfect for creating a professional online home for growing your business.

Here she tells us, in her own words, how to make your website work for your business #LikeAPro

Q1. Why should freelancers have a website to promote their social media business?

If you don’t I can guarantee many of your competitors do, which leaves you at an immediate disadvantage.

Most people like to “try before they buy” and in many cases that means stealthily checking you out before they talk to you. Your website is your shop front and should work hard selling you.

It saves a lot of time sending people to a website which answers all the questions they might have about your products and services. Listing basic prices also eliminates time wasters.

A website means you are “available” to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can find out about your services and contact you even while you sleep.

Many social media managers may be asked to take on some responsibility for basic updates to a client’s website like posting blogs so having a little experience managing their own website could be useful.

Q2. How can we improve the speed of our websites?

Like most things in life, it’s weight that slows us down. In the case of a website that’s usually the size of the content.  

Start with images and make sure they are no more than around 100kb for a full width image.

Delete any unused plugins or themes (if using WordPress). Even deactivated plugins take up space and cause bloating.

Use WordPress plugins to do the tricky bit. WP Rocket will minify and combine files which removes unnecessary formatting and reduces the number of requests made to the server.

Use a plugin like WP Super Cache to enable caching. This means a version of your site is stored in a visitor’s browser which will help it load faster when they next visit.

For larger sites you could consider using a CDN – Content Delivery Network which enables you to cache your site on multiple servers and the one geographically closest to the browser will be used.

Q3. What are your tops tips for improving on-page SEO?

The first thing I would do is install Yoast which is a great plugin that tells you want you need to do to improve your copy. It also allows you to set your Meta Tag and Meta Description.

Write for a human being, not a search engine. Good quality, relevant and unique copy should be your aim. If your keywords don’t fit naturally don’t try to shoehorn them in.

Think about your page titles. What is the page for? Who is the audience? A common formula is “Keyword Phrase | Context.” It tells your audience the page content and what that means.

Don’t forget links. Both internal and external are good but always make sure you carry out regular checks for broken links. Internal are usually when you delete a link that appears in an old blog but external links can change too without your knowledge.

Don’t forget the URL. This should clearly show the information on the page and any relevant category.

Blog posts and pages should never have a number identifier. Always name the page properly and logically.

Q4. How can we avoid overwhelm when it comes to updating our website?

Try to add something new each month whether it’s a blog or a new testimonial / case study. Making it a habit makes things much easier and keeps your content fresh.

It’s also really important to keep your website themes and plugins updated.  Setting aside a certain time every week is the best way to do this and should only take a few minutes. Make sure you back it all up first!

Once every two to three months go through and check for any 404 errors (broken links). You can use online tools to help with this. Often it’s external links which are the problem.

Don’t be tempted to simply delete pages which are no longer relevant as there may be links you are unaware of back to them. Either change the page copy or, if you must delete it, make sure you have a redirection in place.

Periodically ask others, including peers and clients for their opinion on your website. Sometimes we can be too close to a project to look at it objectively.

Q5. What are your top tips for creating a great About Us page?

As a social media business owner, this is a great marketing asset for you and your personal brand.

A place where you can highlight how well you understand the needs of your audience and what makes you different.

Always include a photo! No matter how horrifying that sounds people buy from people and especially people they can see!  

You don’t need your entire employment history mapped out but a quick overview of your experience pre-SMM days is always interesting, especially if you worked in a similar field to a prospective client or are thinking of niching in a particular area.

Tell your story and make it relevant for your audience. So for example, if you specialise in working in the B2B area, highlight your relevant background or any events you enjoy attending in the B2B arena.

Don’t be afraid to share more information about your why and your interests. Be yourself.

That all said, keep it concise and relevant to your audience. People want the headline facts; who are you, what have you done and what can you do.  Include a couple of testimonials if you can to reiterate that information.

Don’t forget to include any relevant additional experience like guest blogs, award nominations, articles or speaking events.  Even smaller networking events and appearances are important. And if when this section is growing, why not add a ‘as seen in’ section on your homepage.

Plus include a CTA (call to action). What do you want your audience to do? Get in touch, sign up for your newsletter or explore your blog section? Make sure to highlight links to these sections to continue the conversation.

Q6. When we get started with Google Analytics, what are useful metrics to track?

The first thing to check is how much traffic is coming from mobile.  If it’s a high percentage it’s really important your website is optimised to look great on mobile.

Bounce rate is important but is easy to obsess over.  It represents people only looking at one page of your website – the average is around 40 – 55%. Anything higher and you might want to rethink your copy.

The behaviour flow gives you an insight into the users journey through your site and will let you see whether it’s the route you want them to take or not. Are they getting side-tracked somewhere you don’t want them to go?!

Exit pages tell you where you are losing the user. If it’s the home page you might need to work on your calls to action a bit more. If it’s your contact page your work here might be done!

New / Returning user comparisons are useful indicators of how much value you give your visitors. New blogs, for example, keep things fresh and people coming back.

And to learn how your marketing content is working, check out social media referrals and most popular landing pages.

If you’re a bit more advanced with Google Analytics, set up goals so that you can identify how many people download your lead magnet, sign up for your newsletter, or complete your contact us form.

Q7. Many people struggle with finding their first social media clients, what are your top tips?

Tell everyone you meet what you do from parents at the school gate to the person at the hairdresser. Leads come from the strangest places!

Go to local networking events in your area. Some are better than others but interacting with other small local businesses can be hugely beneficial.

Make sure your Linkedin profile is up to date and really well optimised.  We have lots of information in our membership to take you through how to do this and to help you create a stand-out profile.

Think about volunteering for a charity that interests you. Even a couple of hours a week will boost your confidence and the experience gives you a platform to build on.

Create marketing content, such as blogs and short videos that answer the questions of the type of people and businesses you want to work with.

For example, if you want to work with estate agents, you could write blog such as:

  • How to promote your estate agent business on Facebook
  • 10 mistakes estate agents make with their social media presence
  • How can estate agents get more engagement from their local audience on social media   

Never stop learning. It’s easy to lose momentum but it’s really important to keep learning and not get left behind. Join memberships (like ours!) for valuable support and advice.

Have you struggled with your social media proposals?

Sometimes we all need a little bit of help! We recently helped one of our members to improve her social media proposal template.

She had sent several proposals already, but never managed to secure a client.

So she posted a question in our Facebook group and received feedback from a fellow member and Nicole our co-founder also reviewed the proposal.

With a few tweaks to the visual presentation, pricing structure and layout of the content – our member got her first clients.

She did all the hard work – but it shows how sometimes we just need a bit of guidance and encouragement to secure that first client. This helped our member improve her confidence so much, that she is now feeling super positive about securing her second client.

Now that’s what we call excellent value for money – our membership is £37 a month + VAT.

Here at Go With The Pro, we’re are all working parents who set up successful social media businesses – and we thrive on helping our members to:

  • Beat the imposter syndrome
  • Secure their first clients for their social media business
  • Charge what they are worth for their social media services
  • Market their business so that they attract more of the clients they want to work with
  • Deal better with the juggle being a working parent and growing your own business means by increasing productivity and building a positive mindset

What’s next?

We hope you enjoyed these website tips from Clare and the insight into what Go With The Pro membership offers if you’re running a social media business. Why not join our free Facebook group for more! See you in there!

And don’t forget to use our The Go With The Pro Awareness Days Calendar for planning your own content and helping you with ideas for your clients. This is the most comprehensive & UK-centric Social Media Awareness Days Calendar it’s humanly possible to create.