When Level Green Landscaping in the Greater D.C. area decided to become part of the digital space in 2015, they knew they needed guidance. “A consulting firm was hired to help us work toward our goals,” says Michael Mayberry, chief technical officer at Level Green Landscaping. “The focus became using the website as a resource for attracting and showcasing work and for recruitment.” Here’s what they’ve learned and how they continue to hone their digital presence:

Hire an expert.

One of the mistakes many companies make is trying to go the DIY route on a website. “Most business owners don’t have the time to manage this,” Mayberry says. “It’s a huge commitment to plan and implement changes.” For many owners, it’s also a skill set issue because they are likely not trained in optimizing searches to drive traffic to the site. Mayberry actually works with a consulting firm on an ongoing basis to update and tweak the content and functionality of his site.

Nothing happens overnight.

“The consulting firm initially worked with the company for six months to a year to identify what should be part of the site,” Mayberry says. The site launched in 2016 with about 11,000 hits that first year. Last year, they garnered 83,000 hits. But the increase in traffic didn’t happen by accident. “You can’t just put a website up and say it’s done and expect a thousand hits the next day,” Mayberry says. “It’s an evolution that comes from focus. We’re constantly updating content, photos and blogs.”

Pay attention to who’s visiting.

Level Green uses a tool that keeps track of who is viewing the site. “This allows us to be proactive and make a phone call to a company to say, ‘Just in case you’re thinking about something, here’s what we can offer,’” Mayberry says. “We want to close the gap between being a visitor and making them a client.”

Pay attention to where people click.

Level Green Landscaping also monitors how long visitors spend on the site, how people find them (such as through a search engine or job link), and what content people are clicking on. This information helps the company create similar content to draw in more traffic. For example, videos with subtitles are big draws, primarily because they can be watched without sound and while viewers are doing something else.

Keep content fresh.

“The goal is always to get people engaged with your content,” Mayberry says. For example, on one side of the site, a marketing blog talks about recent projects and shows the company’s expertise. On the other side, the “culture blog” features brief articles about individuals in the company. Updating content also shows clients you’re intelligent about the industry and its relationship to technology. It’s essential for connecting with a younger audience, who absorb information in a different way from previous generations.

Get professional photography.

“You would think with everyone having a camera in his or her pocket, it would be easy to get good photos. But it hasn’t worked for us,” Mayberry says. To ensure they have high-resolution, high-quality images, the company periodically hires a professional photographer to shoot key images at their 750 sites. “We pick the sites that show best and come up with an itinerary. We get stock footage, too, such as shots of crews working or the trucks,” Mayberry says.

Use social media outlets.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are becoming a larger part of Level Green Landscaping’s online presence. The company garners about 1,000 visitors a month from social media posts. “That’s a decent chunk of traffic, and it has helped drive people through to our website,” Mayberry says. Typically, he tries to post to social media such as Instagram once or twice a week, though his goal is to increase that number.

Be consistent and patient.

“A website is a smart investment, but it doesn’t pay back in six months. It’s really a three-year plan to reap the benefits,” Mayberry says. “Stick with it, get professional help and don’t lose steam.”

The author is a freelance writer based in the Northeast.