Recently I was invited to do a Internet Marketing presentation for a local business networking group, but only had twenty minutes to present. Is it possible to give an overview of recommended elements of creating a successful web presence in such a short time? I decided to pick the most essential ingredients, quickly highlight how and where to implement them and show recent statistics to prove how they can improve your page ranking.
So here’s a quick but informative intro crash course for small business owners who don’t have time or much care about the fluff or the extemporaneous explanations. I also won’t bog you down with a laundry list of items that you don’t have time for or are too technical for most to understand how to accomplish.
Here we got, get your timer set …
Components of an Effective Website Presence:
LESSON 1: Start out with a Professionally Designed and Developed Website
A well-developed website has (1) engaging keyword-rich content with a clear call-to-action; (2) easy to navigate with a well-thought out layout; and (3) visually appealing design to make an impression and compliment your brand. A website that climbs page ranking, rather than falls, is one that is being updated on a daily or weekly basis with new content, new pages, new posts that people actually want to read. (We’ll talk more about this in Lesson 3)
STATISTIC: “Great web design instills trust in your business. According to web credibility research from Stanford, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.” – Stanford Web Credibility Research
LESSON 2: Social Media Presence on various platforms
To be effective on any social media channel, you need to be consistent, post a good mix of organic and paid content, and share content that interesting, engaging. Do not just post or tweet about you and your products/services. Start a conversation, not a commercial.
- Be consistent by posting daily or up to a few times a day depending on the platform
- Be engaging without dominating the conversation. Don’t only talk about yourself and do not use social media to run a never-ending commercial.
- Use Social media Etiquette. Avoid topics that are controversial, political, or offensive to prevent alienating a percentage of your demographic.
- Don’t just talk, LISTEN. Comment, like and share on other’s content. When commenting, make meaningful and thoughtful comments, not just “great news” or “thanks for sharing”. When you hit like or share, you also gain bonus points but there’s nothing as impressionable as a sincere comment.
- Choose the right platform. Know your target audience, what platform are they using? Get to know each platform well to reach your audience, for example what are trending topics, popular hashtags and the best times to post? These will vary depending on your industry and the demographics of your audience.
- Pay to play. It takes a good mix of organic and paid content to increase your views, followers, shares and comments. Take time planning out the ad look & verbiage, the call-to-action, the budget, the timing and defining the audience to promote your ad to.
Feeling overwhelmed? Stop, take a deep breath and start building a presence on just one platform (I would recommend Facebook because of their highest concentration of active users of all age groups). Once you have that one down, with a decent amount of followers, determined a good schedule for consistent posting, and feeling more confident, then add another one.
STATISTIC: “As of December 2014, 31.24% of all referral traffic was from social media; compare this to the 22.71% from the same period in the previous year.” (Forbes) Facebook accounted for 43% of referral traffic, while Google accounted for just 38% in August 2015.
LESSON #3: Blog
Add a blog to your website for dynamic content creation that Google loves to see on a website. If your website is stagnant, it will fall in the page ranking. Blog with consistent, engaging content that resides on your website to make your website a reason to visit often, to rank well on search engines and to be a resource for your target audience. What do you write about – see lesson #5.
STATISTICS: Once you write 52 or more blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 77%. Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than small businesses that do not blog.
LESSON #4: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Some SEO experts say that there are over 200 factors that Google uses to rank your site among your competitors for each set of keywords (phrases). This process takes a continual persistent effort, patience and a lot of time & work. Three main categories on how your site is ranked:
- Age – How old is your site? Yes, its that simple. The longer you’ve been around, the most trustworthy you are viewed, just like a brick-and-mortar.
- Authority – How trustworthy and credible is your site? Are other credible sites linking to your sites? Are you using only white-hat strategies to promote your website’s ranking? Does your site meet current standards the search engines look for in a well developed website?
- Content (see no# 5) Is your content original, interesting, unique and likely to be shared? Are you adding new content each week or several times per month? Adding valuable content is the most effective way to get the search engine’s attention, and this is why it’s said, CONTENT IS KING.
STATISTIC: Why is SEO important? “The first organic search result will get nearly 33% of clicks. 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.”
LESSON #5: Content Marketing
Content Marketing is the process of producing content that is engaging to your target audience that is informative, interesting and/or humorous, without directly selling. Having a good content strategy affects how successful you are on numbers 1-3 of this list. Ask yourself: Does your content answer your customers’ questions? Is your content rich in keywords that your target audience are using for their Google searches? Are you providing valuable content that people will WANT to read, SHARE and COMMENT on? Start a conversation, not a commercial. How do you do this?
STAT: “Content marketing rocks. Marketing Sherpa reports distribution lead to a 2,000% increase in blog traffic and a 40% increase in revenue.”
Need help finding topics to write about? Startup Production will work with your small business to get to know your business, your industry, your local market and you goals to determine an customized Internet Marketing Proposal. We can teach, manage or a little of both depending on your available time and budget.
The topics you choose should not be about selling your product/service … “why you should buy my product” but more about answering your target audience’s questions. How do you start? What questions are you often asked? (Write them down). What topics do you frequently discuss with customers? (Write them down). What inside knowledge do you have that you know potential customers would find interesting? (Write them down).
We all have our own set of expertise and skills, so share that on your various content platforms (website, social media, blog, email marketing, etc) as you will build that trust and credibility that customers are looking for.
LESSON #6: Analyze and Revise
Use and review your website’s Google Analytics regularly, at least monthly. As you do, you will begin to notice patterns, trends and variations depending on your efforts. You will begin to understand not only what you’re doing right or wrong, but you’ll learn more about your visitors and how to reach them more effectively. Here’s a quick guide of the Analytics elements and what they mean:
- Sessions: How many people loaded your page in a give time period. The higher the number the better.
- Bounce Rate: This is the measurement of how long a user stayed on your site and clicked on other pages of your site. A lower percentage is good.
- Acquisition: DIRECT | REFERRAL | ORGANIC | SOCIAL | PAID – How visitors found your site.
- Audience: the location, language, age, gender, demographics and interests of your target audience.
- Behavior: The Behavior Flow report visualizes the path users traveled from one page or Event to the next.
The most important element of all of the above is PATIENCE. Building page ranking with Google takes time, months, even years to achieve the results that you want. There are no shortcuts or tricks to get there faster, and if you use them or hire SEO firms that use black-hat strategies, you’ll actually be penalized by Google. If you need more help with any of the above areas, please contact Startup Production or call (859) 624-2981.