So you have a business website…. Now you have to get that website marketing for you. It can’t be that difficult, right?
Well, actually it’s not so much difficult as time consuming. Getting traffic to your site doesn’t just happen. It takes knowledge, time and some action. However, if you do it right, the benefits to your business will be more traffic and more traffic means more sales and an increased customer base. Who doesn’t want that?
Here are five ways to get your business website working for you....
1. - Know What People Are Searching For In Relation To Your Product And Services.
Our experience is that most business website owners don’t know what their prospective customers are searching for. Knowledge is the Holy Grail of a successful business and it is key to your success on the web.
Often web designers simply design a site that fits their customer’s imagination. But it really is more complex than that. In that scenario, the customer gets what they want but not necessarily what they need. A good web designer, rather like a good mountaineer, will start with route planning first rather than just setting off from base camp with his fingers crossed and a vague idea of where he wants to go!
At wd4t.com we always start with keyword research, even if our client assures us it’s unnecessary! Without KNOWING which keywords/phrases people are actually searching for in relation to your product/service or business sector, then how can you effectively embark on the SEO process during website design and build? (Please read tomorrow’s post for more on SEO) Keyword research will reveal keywords and phrases relating to your business sector that are being searched for on a daily basis that you may be completely unaware of.
So, rule number one - Don’t optimise your website for keywords you THINK are relevant – optimise it for keywords you KNOW are relevant!
2. Make Sure Your Website Content Aligns With What Your Prospective Customers Are Actually Looking For.
You’ve got your new website. Brilliant. So why aren’t you flooded with orders then? Well, unless you have optimised your site for the keywords that your prospects are using and are relevant to your sector, the chances of being found by people searching for your product or service are pretty remote.
One part of website optimisation is known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO and is the process of increasing your website’s visibility in Google’s or any other search engine’s organic results through optimising your website pages with the relevant keywords or keyword phrases people are actually using to search for (see yesterday’s post on Keyword Research).
Effective SEO will get your website ranking higher, ideally on page one of search results for certain search terms. Why is this so important? Well, imagine what happens when you are searching for something yourself on the internet. Do you ever go beyond the first couple pages of results? The answer is probably not. Your potential customers are no different. If your website doesn’t appear on pages one or two for the search term they have typed in, they simply won’t find you.
SEO can be a time-consuming process but it is a vitally important step towards getting more traffic to your site and securing high rankings with the search engines for your specific keyword phrases. At WD4T.com we always start the SEO process at the website design/build stage and crucially, drawing on the keyword research we will have done.
Remember, anyone actively searching on the internet for something you sell is already a hot lead – THEY have made the decision to look for YOU or YOUR product or service! Placing yourself right in front of them only makes their life easier!
3. Add fresh and unique search relevant content to your site on a regular basis.
Offering original, keyword rich, information or content on your website FOR FREE will set you apart from your competition and will help bring you new visitors. As long as your website has its own Blog (or something like a blog), then you can post this information or content as and when you want. In fact, the more a website ‘develops’ i.e. new content is added, the more the search engines will visit it. They will consider the site to be of high interest. Search engines will downgrade sites where the content is static.
The added bonus of publishing content to your site, in an article style, is that you then make your unique content available to other site owners. The most effective way of doing this is by using article syndication networks. These networks are used by owners of websites that also have blogs and what they’re always looking for is content they can use to keep their blogs alive and in doing so keep their followers coming back. So, providing content for other people’s or business’s blogs, within your niche or business sector, is beneficial in generating traffic to YOUR website. By including a link from your “free to use” content to your website, you attract visitors from a source that may get more traffic than yourself.
Syndicating articles is a savvy and effective way of increasing traffic to your site but it’s not without its complications. Before diving in you should research best practice and although this requires an investment of your time it can result in significant increases in your sites popularity rating and this in turn will help your site to rank higher. The alternative is to get someone who knows what they’re doing to do it for you, or show you how to do it the first few times.
4. Intelligently use online advertising tools, like Pay Per Click (PPC) to force relevant traffic to your site.
Paying for traffic is useful in a number of ways. The most obvious, and what most people do, is to pay for traffic your site can’t obtain because its organic ranking is too low to provide any meaningful traffic. Pay Per Click (PPC) services like Google Adwords allow you to pay a small fee for every click your ad gets in the search engine. This means you’re only paying for advertising that actually results in someone visiting your site. This is in stark contrast to all other forms of paid for advertising. Your ultimate goal of any click on your ad is to convert that visitor so that you see a return on your advertising spend.
All PPC services will allow you to set hard budgets, so you can never spend more than you want to.
The key is to know which keyword phrases to use (See Post No 2 on Keyword Research) and then develop ads that specifically target only those people searching for the terms you want to get traffic for. Once you’ve done this the PPC service provider will do the rest. What you MUST do is closely monitor your PPC campaign performance and be prepared to adapt your campaign settings in response to what you see paid for site visitors doing.
We regularly hear web site owners saying they’ve tried PPC advertising and had no success. Success has to be measured by what you expected to achieve and once again we see very few web site owners putting any effort into preparing their campaigns. This naturally involves an investment in time to learn how to do PPC advertising effectively and also in setting up each campaign.
If time is something you’re short of it’s wise to get someone who already knows what they’re doing to help you with your initial campaigns. It will avoid you wasting valuable advertising funds, as you learn from your mistakes. Even better, it will avoid you being one of the many site owners who give up on paid advertising because it didn’t deliver the results expected the first time they tried using a tool like PPC. Planning a campaign is the right place to start because this will inform you of what your success will look like, and not what you hope it will look like.
5. Get social.
Social Media, the buzz words of the moment! Social media is quite simply the online tool for word of mouth marketing. It helps you communicate with your potential customers and encourages them to visit your website.
Search engines are what get you in front of people who are actively searching for something. Social media networks are what get you noticed by people who aren’t specifically looking for you, or your services or products. In marketing terms think of them as the friends in the pub who are telling each other about the places they’ve been, the latest gadget they’ve bought and so on. Just reflect for a moment on how many times you’ve shown a friend something and the next thing is they’ve got one.
It is up to you to provide compelling reasons to get your customers and prospects to ‘Like’ your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter. These may include links from both your Facebook posts and your Tweets that drive people to your website. Write one post on a topic that everyone finds interesting and before you know it, it’s gone viral! And that can only be a good thing in business! In addition, encouraging customers to interact with you and your business through social media on a regular basis simply reinforces your brand.
A word of caution though – irrelevant posts and tweets simply serve to irritate. Keep then relevant, interesting and professional. Above all, don’t mix business with pleasure! It will get you into trouble…. Your business followers on Twitter don’t need to know what you got up to at the weekend!
Social media isn’t just Facebook and Twitter either. Google +, LinkedIn and YouTube and many more niche networks all play a major part in social media marketing. The trick is to know which are best for your business sector.
If you ‘don’t do’ Facebook or Twitter or any other for that matter, you can’t afford to dismiss social media. Subject to the business sector you occupy you may find that you can’t avoid getting social because for some sectors it is playing a part in how well sites rank in search engine organic results. In truth there will be very few sectors that cannot benefit from social media advertising. It is unquestionably worth being social.
So there you have it. Five ways of making your website work for you. As we said in our first post, it takes knowledge, time and some action. But with your hard work or with the help of a professional agency, your website can be a primary marketing tool for your business.
Your foundations should be a solid website and keyword research.