It’s tough to predict how a client’s website will perform after it’s launched. When you explain how much traffic is reasonable to expect, be conservative instead of selling a pipe dream.
Here are the realistic phases for the success of a local client website:
1) Website Creation
Reaching an agreement is the FIRST obstacle to overcome. Once that’s over, your next duty is getting content from them to build the website… and it’s usually NOT easy. Be specific when dividing the responsibilities between you and your client.
2) Google Indexing (3 – 6 months)
After the website is live, Google finds it and adds it to their massive index of web pages. At this point, it’s going to compare your client’s business with their competitors to determine where it should rank. This fluctuation is sometimes called the “Google Dance”.
3) Traffic (6 – 24 months)
I usually tell clients it can take 6 months or more until the website gets traffic. A lot depends on whether the business is successful already offline and whether they had a website before. Otherwise, the work begins here. I ALWAYS let clients know driving traffic is a joint effort between them providing new content and you doing SEO work on the back-end. All of my clients that follow this advice see year-after-year improvements (sometimes doubling traffic).
Gather data and see how many visitors are converting to leads. An easy way to track this is through a contact form. I often BCC myself (with my client’s permission) to get an understanding of both the frequency and quality of leads.
Most good customers won’t leave a review online. The cold truth is the majority of people leaving reviews are those who spit venom and want revenge on your brand. This is why you have to create a system to encourage positive reviews (hint: upsell this service)!
Referrals are the bread and butter of every business. Often small companies fail because they don’t figure out a predictable method to acquire new customers outside of referrals (like online marketing). Every new visitor through the website can turn into a happy customer who refers a friend. Why not amplify this by creating a referral program to promote on your client’s website?
There are two types of clients interested in advertising: those who have money to spend and want to grow, and those who think ads are an “easy button” to getting rich with a small budget. Managing a client’s expectation is crucial to gaining trust and keeping them long-term! Ads should be part of an overall strategy once you have enough data to know your website produces leads at a certain rate.
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