Make Your Website Visible to Grow Your Business on the Internet
When most businesses make a commitment to Internet Marketing, their first step is to create a website. Unfortunately, many business owners believe this is where their work ends. They think “if you build it, they will come”. In reality, “they” may come, but only if a business owner takes the necessary steps to make their website easy to find and visible. And even then, considering how many websites there are competing for high ranking and visibility, it can be a time consuming, expensive, and sometimes frustrating effort.
While there are myriad tools and techniques available to drive awareness and visibility online for today’s businesses, small and medium-sized companies can get started by focusing on a few core techniques that will move them down the path to visibility, and driving more, qualified visitors to their website:
SEO – Of all the techniques, SEO may still be the most effective, highest volume source of gaining visibility on the search engines, and the lowest cost of long term online customer acquisition. SEO continues to deliver the highest visibility by ranking you at or near the top of the organic search rankings for phrases your target market uses to find your goods and services. For developing long term brand awareness for your website, for being visible to searchers as they start their online purchasing process and for being there when they are ready to take the next step, SEO continues to be worth the investment in time and money.
Paid Search (PPC) – Many people think that they need to make a choice between SEO and PPC when deciding how to increase their visibility online. Nothing could be further from the truth. The two are complimentary and work well together to provide maximum visibility. Using both together in an integrated plan will provide a synergistic jump in online traffic to your site. PPC provides companies the ability to appear prominently on the search engine results pages (SERPs), with a tailored offer to a target geography and demographic. It is very sales focused and enables companies to exploit unique opportunities, react quickly to changing market dynamics, and engage with a targeted audience at the time they are ready to buy. While SEO benefits take time to manifest, benefits of a PPC campaign can be felt immediately, and can begin the inflow of online leads while you are waiting for the results of your SEO project to be felt.
Local Search – The third of three sections on a SERP, Local Search is an incredible opportunity for small businesses serving a local community to get first page SERP visibility. While it may technically be considered part of SEO, Local Search is the fastest and lowest cost technique to achieving first page SERP ranking. And with the growing mobile internet phenomena in full swing, getting your local business on the first page of the SERPS is more important than ever.
Social Media – Search engines are not the only vehicle for being found online anymore. This newer and dramatically growing dimension of online marketing continues to offer fresh and exciting ways to engage your target market, build your brand and interest in it, and generate both buzz and new customers. Whether it is Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn or any of the hundreds of other sites, Social Media enable businesses to create a community of like minded people around their brand, directly interact with their customer and fan base with dynamic content and a two way conversation, and bring a more human element to their business online.
Blogging – Blogging enables you to establish a recurring conversation with your target market. You can use this tool to establish yourself as a domain expert in your field, to communicate trends, the latest news, case studies, and any number of different themes. This will bring attention to you, your business, and your website, and build a following that will translate into more visitors to your site. Blogging is also a significant component of “off page” SEO, important in it’s own right. And when you combine blogging with a strong Social Media presence, you begin to establish a more visible and authoritative presence online, and lay the foundation for long term brand building and website traffic.
Creating an attractive website and driving new visitors to it are critical to your the success of your Internet Marketing efforts. But you can’t stop there. Once visitors start arriving, is your website designed to make it easy for them to find what they are looking for? Have you eliminated friction in your conversion paths to make it easy for your visitors to take the action you want them to take? Is your business ready to accept this inflow of new visitors and engage them attentively, professionally, and courteously? There are many dimensions to growing your business via the Internet, and you need to pay attention to them all if you want to maximize your ROI and maximize your success.