This is the common thinking out there regarding the building (or re-building) of a website.
Business owners and designers spend weeks, often months going through the look and copy to ensure it all looks perfect. They even do the ‘SEO’ thing to it. The big day arrives and it goes live – Everyone is happy. Problem is, although it may look stunning, there’s likely very little chance of substantial traffic ever coming to it – In the next week, month or year.
What 95% of business people don’t realise (and web designers usually won’t tell them) is that the design of the website means little if you haven’t also got a strategy (and funds) in place to ensure people come to your site and interact with it.
Setting aside funds to build a website and not having at least twice this amount to market it, is like buying a new car but forgetting it needs petrol.
The biggest cost of a new site isn’t the building of it, it’s the upkeep and marketing of it. Unlike the old days (pre 2000) when we had ‘brochure’ websites, all we had to do was put a few keywords in the website header and somehow Google would send people to it. Those happy days are long gone.
Websites today need to be marketed, otherwise it’s like setting up a new business at the end of a no-exit street. The internet ‘super-highway’ with traffic flowing past your place is but a dream… . Like everything in life, results only come with hard work…
Website Marketing in just 7 Steps
- Firstly, the onsite search optimisation needs to be carried out. Properly. This does take time and unfortunately under 5% of website designers have the necessary know-how. They often say they do it, but typically use techniques that are 5 years out of date, sometimes doing more harm than good. Bringing in outside experts like ourselves is best.
- Offsite SEO. This is primarily building up links from other websites, blogs, review sites, twitter feeds and industry directories that raise your online profile and provide credibility. Again, it takes time and care, but vital if you want to be found. Web designers seldom do this. Somewhat justifiably, it’s not seen as their job. It’s not ‘creative’. I understand that.
- Online advertising. This is ‘Pay-per-click’ advertising using both Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising. Dependant upon the size of your business, you’ll need to set aside $50-$500 per month for this. Make these campaigns specific and send them to a good offer on a special website ‘landing page’. Oddly, very few web design offer AdWords or even landing pages as a service.
- Do monthly content updates to your website. A static, never-changing website is eventually seen as a ‘dead business’ by Google and the chances of then being found via a Google search are zero. This is why running a WordPress CMS-based website is essential. It allows business owners or sales people to do their own website updates and announcements anytime, anywhere. PC or Mobile.
- Setup a Facebook page and like your website, do regular updates and announcements. Engage daily with those customers that visit your site. The number of business leads you get via this single resource may astound.
- Build an email list of existing clients and start to email regularly. Make sure you have some tempting offers too, not just ‘about me’ sales copy. Get a copywriter to help. Instead of MS outlook or Word, use a ‘smart ‘online system that provides a stunning look, as well as track subscribers, response and open rates. These systems now start at under $30/month for 1,000 emails.
- Offline marketing. Surprisingly, it’s often traditional marketing that provides the ‘trigger’ for people to go to Google or a website. e.g. Signs, car stickers, letterbox flyers, newspaper articles, PR events etc. The trick? Ensure your website address is always prominent – Not in tiny type that most graphic designers in the print world like to do. It should be bold and easily read from a distance.
There. That’s my shortlist of how to get found online and grow your business results. How many can you tick off? Although each of these requires thought and work, it need not be overly expensive. Start simple and do a little bit at a time.
p.s. I made several remarks re website designers apparent shortcomings. This should not be seen as a criticism. It merely indicates that building a website these days is a team event. Good websites are now complex, interactive systems. No longer ‘static designs’. This means no one person or discipline can build a site that ‘gets found’ and gets results. Site builds are now a collaborative effort between Graphic designers, Web developers (coders), SEO (Search/Google) experts, Marketers and Copywriters – Each having equal input.
If you need someone to take charge, then make it the SEO expert working with the copywriter. It’s what Google sees about your new website in the coding and words that’s more important today, not how it looks visually from a designer perspective - For an industry that started out with websites being a creative ‘branding’ or advertising effort, this is a major, uncomfortable shift in emphasis.
Ref: A simple test of your websites effectiveness.