Every small business knows that they need an online presence. However getting to grips with what they have to do to make it successful becomes a stumbling block that we see all of the time. Here is our quick guide to the top 5 tips you'll need to start on the right track.
#1: Webmaster Tools is essential
This is one of the first things we register a new website with. Google and Bing both offer Webmaster Tools and they are a free and essential resource for you to delve into what is happening on your website. They will allow you to look at their tips on how to optimise your website, how users are interacting with you and also highlight any errors the search engines are having in looking at your content.
We advise that you get a free account with Google Webmaster Tools as well as Bing Webmaster Tools. These are simple to setup and all you have to do is add a small piece of code into your web pages to start getting a valuable insight into what's going on and how to improve your customer interaction.
#2: Keyword Analysis
There is no point is creating content that you'll think will work for your customers. You have to put in the time and effort to research what people are typing into search engines to gain an insight into what the correct phrases are for your customers.
Again, both Google and Bing offer free resources for keyword research and these are a fantastic way to get a feel for what's popular...you may actually be surprised at what comes out of this strategy! There are some keywords that you would have thought would be really popular but they are not. Search terms are very much a personal thing and nowadays people tend to ask search engines questions rather than just typing in a phrase. Therefore you should be able to get more of an understanding of how to structure your content, what keywords to use and then use Webmaster Tools to see if they are working for you.
A top tip here is to think local. You may own a shop in Cardiff, but is your customer going to travel from Porthmadog to buy from you unless you have an ecommerce store? The answer is unlikely, so think local and then expand your terms accordingly.
#3: Social Media Profiles
2013 saw a massive increase in the use of Social Media. However as ever many people want shortcuts to a top search engine ranking so as a result of "black hat search engine techniques" Google has punished those that purchased Likes, Friends and Followers.
That apart, the importance of interacting with potential customers is really important. The Internet can seem a cold, impersonal place to be, but getting social with people really helps in breaking down those barriers. You're busy running your business so you may not have time to use all of the platforms out there, however we recommend you sign up for Facebook and Twitter as a minimum and then start finding people to follow or become friends with.
Once you have got a grip of what's going on start interacting with people rather than selling. We all hate being sold to, so chat to people and become an important person that others will want to follow. It's really simple to get this right, but stay on it as it can become a time consuming thing but in the end it will pay you dividends if you do it right.
#4: Great Content
We are probably one the worst for keeping our blog up to date as we are busy looking after other client's websites and their content, however your content is so important that you have to get this right.
Don't write sales copy that promotes the features of your business. Write content that offers them benefits of what you do and also write things that will peak their interest. This article is not about selling to you, we are giving you these tips free of charge so you'll enjoy it. If we keep writing content like this then you'll get a flavour of how we work and then you might want us to do something for you. If you can do this you'll be respected and people will want to engage with you.
It takes a while to get your content correct and you will actually start seeing differences in your website's performance as a result. In terms of time it can become difficult to find the time, but start with a subject and then write some bullets points that you want to cover. After that you'll be able to pad them out and generate some great content others will love.
#5: Make sure people can share your content
There is no point in getting everything right and when people arrive on your site have no way of getting your information out to others. Many people share content with others before making a decision. If you are in a relationship how many times has your partner sent you and email about something they have seen such as a holiday or a property? This is exactly what others are doing as well, so ensure that you have "share" buttons or a box for someone to write an email to their friends and contacts. You'll soon start to see people sharing your website with others and that will drive traffic up as a result.