23 / January 2016, Matt
Not everyone approaches web marketing from the beginning of their business’ existence. In fact, many business owners own websites that lie dormant, the vestige of an idea long since abandoned. Often this results from advice that every company needs a website, without the benefit of any idea how to go about building a good one. Other times it sits as little more than an online yellow pages post, informing anyone who might accidentally find the site, or those specifically looking for your company by name, of your phone number and address.
The Internet is flooded with sites like this, sitting online in various levels of abandonment. The good news is, it is not too late to pull your website out of dormancy and build it into an active, focused tool for generating traffic and revenue for your business. With the right background, a focused approach, and expert help, your site can transform into an Internet marketing powerhouse—one that has you competing in the market in ways you never thought possible.
This all begins with an honest assessment of what you have, both online and offline. What does your website do for you now? You may be surprised to discover the level of online traffic you already receive on one or more pages on your current site. Even if the traffic is low, though, you want to get a sense of what content you currently have in place, and how you might revise it to get better results. Google has stated that there is little to no benefit to deleting online content. If you figure out what, if anything, is achieving some results for you, you can start to plan out how to build on what you have, rather than starting entirely from scratch.
In addition to assessing your website, you should also take a long, hard look at your business itself. This can be difficult for many, because over time, what a business is may become quite different from what we went in expecting it to be. What are the sources of revenue you currently achieve? Are your customers mainly in a certain age group or gender, or a particular neighborhood? The answers to these questions at this point are neither good nor bad. But they are necessary for you to understand before you can build out the best Internet marketing plan moving forward.
Finally, after thoroughly assessing what your website does and what your business is, you can start to connect your data points. If you want a broader, more diverse customer base, you should look at what your website has done up to this point to help you, or to prevent you from achieving that. If you provide products or services that ought to appeal to a particular niche, you should examine what you are doing to help the specific group of people you would expect find you. What you have on your current website constitutes a starting point; until you locate where that start lies, you cannot begin to map a course to where you want to get.
One of the most important elements of this is to identify your brand. You may have undergone this process in setting up your brick and mortar business location. If you have a logo that works for you, and an identity that has meaning to your customers and potential customers, you should not abandon that. You should, however, plan for ways that it can translate online. Your identity should infuse everything you do online: your site structure, your online images and layouts, and your content itself. Consistency contributes immensely to Internet marketing success. Your map to success should tie back to who you are with every step along the way.
That said, your new site should bolster areas where the old one was weak. You may find that one or two landing pages on your old site fail to reflect adequately the identity or capabilities you bring to the market. The site may not have allowed for easy movement among pages, or may have outdated or broken links that detract from the overall user experience. In these cases, you should both add to the content you have in place and build out pages that better support each other and the older content. Where you can update rather than replace, do so.
Content rightfully represents the area in which most Internet marketing experts focus; search engines exist to connect people to information, and content represents the information they seek. But your site design and structure make it easier to both find you in the first place and connect to the various kinds of information you provide. The more you do to help your potential customers navigate your site, the more successful the site can be for you.
Once you have your site structure in place, you can begin filling that structure out with content. Site design provides the skeleton you need in place to support everything else; your content represents the internal organs that your Internet marketing campaign needs to live. And for you to truly thrive, that content must relate consistently to your identity and your purpose.
Your brand identity lies at the core of everything you do offline. There is thus no reason, and no excuse, not to keep it at the core of what you provide online as well. From a site design standpoint, this requires keeping your logo present on each page. From a content perspective, though, it means every article you post, every page of content, and every link you provide should relate to who you are and what your business does. The connections exist already; when you provide a blog post, you are doing so to tell something about yourself or the industry you serve. The trick is to show that connection to those reading. Why should this information come from you, and not a competitor? What do you uniquely provide that makes your site the place someone should go for this information? Your content should come through your voice, and specifically touch your business in some way.
Meanwhile, your content should go to meet your purposes. And these purposes include both bringing you customers and driving revenue. You are not engaging in Internet chatter; this is Internet marketing. Your content should be optimized around search terms that will help people find you, that will lead online users who do not know who you are right to your doorstep. You need research into the best terms and concepts to use and the ability to create meaningful content optimized for searches of those terms and concepts.
Further, you need to build your content in a way that makes people want to buy what you are selling. Your articles, blog posts, and landing pages should all provide some incentive for a person to act, and a sense of urgency that makes that person want to do so quickly. When a customer says he or she wants to think about a purchase, that usually means the purchase is not forthcoming. Your website should take this into account, and both allow and encourage immediate action. That action may be a call or visit to your store, an online appointment, or an e-commerce purchase. In any of these cases, you want to inspire action.
The best-designed websites accomplish this because the business owner knows what he or she wants to achieve, and that purpose becomes the driving focus of everything that the website provides. While some content may do more to lay the foundation before pulling back to driving revenue, all of it should work together to help customers find you and decide to purchase from you. SEO website content provides one of the best means of achieving this, and the more you do to build out your site now, the more opportunity you create to succeed.
One danger business owners have comes not when they build out their new website, but in the immediate aftermath. When you let your site sit unchanged, you start to lose traffic and potential customers. You have done the work of building it out, but from there, you need to keep creating content that will appeal to your customers and bring them back.
The effect of this approach is to both help with your current customers and to continue to bring in new ones. The current group may well be loyal customers, but at least some of them will continue to look for market alternatives. When you create new content regularly, though, those customers have reason to keep visiting your site. Whether the new content consists of new pages or a recurring blog, you are giving them something new to see. And any additional time they spend on your site is time they cannot spend on that of a competitor.
In addition, new content helps build and maintain your page rankings with search engines. Accordingly, customers you may not have reached at one point in your Internet marketing campaign may discover you when you post a new article, or when you optimize around a keyword phrase that they use to search. To continue to grow, your website needs to stay current.
Whether your website is active or has lain quietly for years, you have room to develop it and improve your marketing results. And the sooner you start to develop it, the sooner your revenue streams can grow. 1st in SEO works every day to create and improve our clients’ Internet marketing platforms. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your business.