There are thousands of programs and tools around the web that will add huge amounts of value to your website. Some of them are free, and some cost tens of thousands of dollars each month. But in a technological world where everything is getting more and more complicated, business owners really should take a step back and ask themselves “what does my website really need?
Google Analytics – Just like every small business owner would think that it would be crazy for a business to not track how many people come through the doors in any given month, it’s equally crazy to not know how many people are visiting your website each month. Google offers webmasters a completely free tool allowing them to track the number of visitors to their sites over the course of the month.
In addition this, the software provides information on where visitors are coming from, what pages they are visiting, and how long they spend on each page. This can give you quite a bit of information to determine what pages are working the way that they should and which need to be re-developed in some way. This is a “must have” for tools that should be implemented in your site…and it’s completely free.
Google Webmaster Tools – While this is getting a little more into the technical side, Google Search Console is the other free Google software that is absolutely essential to having an effective website. This will show a lot of data having to do with the external factors of the website, but is also the platform that Google uses to tell you that something is wrong with your site.
In addition to just being a great piece of free software, Google WMT can actually connect with Google Analytics to streamline data relatively efficiently to make sure that you are seeing everything you can possibly see about your web traffic.
A Reliable SEO Plug-in – The reason that we don’t have one exact plug-in is because it depends entirely on what platform your website is using. For WordPress, Yoast has very good free SEO plug-ins that will give you virtually everything that you need. If you use another platform there is almost definitely a free SEO plug-in that can do exactly what the Yoast plug-in does.
The reason why an SEO Plug-In is so necessary is simple. The plug-in makes it easy to manage your on-site ranking pieces (meta-data, headers, tags, image alt texts, etc.) without needing any coding skills to insert that important information into your website. Is this the perfect solution to make sure that you rank #1 in Google for all of your keywords…absolutely not. But it does allow you to optimize the pages of your website yourself, and do a reasonably good job doing so. And more importantly, it allows you to add these pieces to your website without spending lots of time doing it and/or learning how to do it.
Moz – Research Tools – While Moz is a fantastic paid service that you can get for your business, for most local businesses looking to do a lot of the work themselves, just using the Moz Research Tools is definitely more than enough. This will give you the ability to track everything from how/what your competitors are doing, if there are any changes that you can make on your site to improve the optimization, and even where your website appears around the web.
If you haven’t checked out the research tools that Moz offers, you should take some time every day to try it out. You will learn something new virtually every day for the first few months that you look through the software.
Patrick King, the post author is a Search Engine Marketing Manager for Premier Laser Spa, a leading provider of laser hair removal. With over 20 locations throughout the country, Patrick is responsible for improving the search marketing for all local projects and web development that the company is involved with.
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