This is the question that many small businesses face once their site goes live. Many business owners wonder: How do I get people to my site? How do I get it to rank higher in search engines? How do I make a return on my investment? Well, worry no more, we are here to help and guide you along the right path.
How do I get people to my site?
The biggest question…and we’ll tackle it right off the bat (and yes…you should still read the rest of this post after this section, nice try). Take a look at your website: What does it do? Is it informational (i.e. a blog, Non-Profit Organization, a wedding, family or band site, small business site…), is it e-commerce (i.e. retail or wholesale business, Charity or N.P.O. that accepts donations…), what is the main function and purpose of your site? Once you know what it is there to do (and some people aren’t sure even at the time of launch…) you can take proactive steps to bring the right people to it. I say the right people because you want those who are going to use your site or the information on your site for it’s intended purpose. If they go to your site and it isn’t what they need, what are they going to do? Leave. The goal is to bring people to your site and keep them there, get them interested, have them tell people about it and share about how great it is.
Word of mouth is great, and it has come a very long way since the inception of the internet. Social Media has allowed us to expand our “Word of Mouth Reach” exponentially, and the best part…you can start doing it for free. With on-line Social Media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr (just to name a few) it is easier now more than ever to get your business (and links to your website) seen, shared and promoted. Create a business account for each Social Media venue that you will actively use (I say actively because if you don’t use it and keep up with it…what’s the point? You need to do the work to see the results!), and while you are at it, and don’t already have one, create a personal account for each one as well. This will allow you to cross promote yourself and your business to your friends, family, colleagues and business connections. Fill the portfolios out thoroughly so that people can find your business and what it does, post and update frequently enough to keep people engaged but not overwhelmed, keep it fun, relevant and brief.
Now that you’ve got the Social Media game locked up…leave the office! Attend Networking Events being held in your area, join the Chamber of Commerce, find a couple other businesses or Non-Profits that you can partner-up with and cross promote for each other, sponsor events, 5k’s, whatever you can do to become involved and get your business’ name on signs, shirts and lips. Some of these things may take time, and/or money or donations, but they are well worth it in the long run. Donate gift certificates for your goods and services, or have some inexpensive items (pens, well designed bumper stickers, bottle openers, travel coffee mugs, mouse pads…) and give them away when you set up a table or booth at a convention (everyone loves free stuff…but make it usable, something that they will take home or to work and use and see your logo on a daily basis, don’t waste your money on junk!). There are tons of inexpensive ways to get your brand and therefore your website site the attention it deserves. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to try something new and different…your page views will thank you later!
How Do I Get My Site to Rank Higher in Search Engines?
Ugh…we knew you were going you were going to ask this one! Often the scariest question to ask and answer of them all. Fear not, there are things you can do to help this process along, but remember everything takes time and patience. Obviously the best way to go here is hire someone who is well versed and experienced in Search Engine Optimization. These individuals will be able to run a keyword analysis which will aide them to not only optimize your site to be seen properly by search engines, but can help you create links to your site, manage Social Media so that it works as efficiently as possible, create more keyword rich content and help manage and track it all.
S.E.O. takes time…it also takes money, commitment, and a good S.E.O. professional working for you to see results. Starting out, most small businesses don’t have the budget to commit to a big Search Engine Optimization effort, so what do they do? Well don’t sit there dead in the water!! Do what you can to help your site rank well organically. Make sure that all of your content on your site is relevant, spelled correctly and contains words that people who are searching for your product or services would search for. For example…just because you know what a refraction is, doesn’t mean that everyone else in the world does. Use synonyms and lay-men’s terms in conjunction with the more technical terms to gain more keyword depth. Use your Social Media account to create links to your site…draw people in! Post relevant information with a link to your site or the specific page you are trying to highlight and make it available to everyone via Social Media. Share, Like, Tweet, Connect…do what you can to bring people to your site without braiding them everyday with the same old stuff. Keep it new, fresh and informative. Do what you can, within your comfort level and skill set to give your site a leg up before you call in the big guns.
How Do I Make a Return on My Investment?
This applies, most obviously, to eCommerce websites more than a standard site, but the question still remains. You’ve spent money on a newly developed website…how do you get that money back by having the site live and active. With an eCommerce site you can see that return in the physical sales produced and processed on your site. Pretty easy and straightforward, right? WELL…if your site is new, and not highly ranked yet because it was just indexed, and hasn’t had any Search Engine Optimization done, that may take a while. You can always drive sales there yourself with self promotion, Social Media, and your own Pre-S.E.O. efforts while your site is indexed and ranked in search engines, but what if your site doesn’t generate sales? How do you see the value of your investment over time? Exposure. Google Analitics is a great way to track who is coming to your site, where they are coming from, how many links in and out you have…showing you how much exposure your site is getting. The more exposure, the more popular and better ranked it becomes. (Are you starting to see how this all ties in together now?). Remember…a website is not ever “finished”. It is a living, growing thing that needs time and attention to flourish and survive. With a little commitment, a little love and a lot of patience…you can grow your new site and get what you want and need out of it. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!