Lewis Carroll once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” The same is true for your website. Lacking direction and purpose is one of the most common problems that face small businesses who want an online presence.
Countless times I’ve talked with prospects and I ask them, “What do you hope to achieve with your website?” More often than not, they just stare at me confused. It’s almost like they didn’t realize they needed to have a purpose. So let me give you some ideas on what types of direction your website can have.
1. Make money directly from your website.
This generally comes from selling products online or selling advertising space (AdSense, text links, etc).
2. Promote your brand.
If you have a brand image that people are going to be searching for, you likely already have a website, so most small businesses aren’t in this category.
3. Customers want/need your website.
This is where I see the biggest need for small businesses. If you have customers asking you about a website, email, and looking for your website/address online, it’s time for a website with purpose.
If you’re in the third category and wanting to get your website online because of pressure from customers, before doing anything you need to determine what success will be.
Do you want a good looking informational website? This will give customers info about your company, history, staff, location, hours of operation and phone/email/contact info.
Do you want to start selling your products online? Have you done keyword research? Do you sell better/cheaper/smaller/faster (Unique Selling Position) products than your competition? Figure out these answers and determine when you will consider your website a success. Move that direction.
Now let’s look at your website. Who created your website? Does this person have any clue about on-site content, page titles, sitemaps, internal nofollow (for junk pages) or LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing)? If this is all Greek to you, talk to a professional.
So now you have your website online and you’re ready to see your site live on the internet. You go to Google and type your keyword, but you don’t find your website. In order for your website to show up in the search engine result pages (SERPs) you’ll need to build links to your website. Links are like votes, and each link tells the search engines that your site is worthwhile and should show up in the SERPs for a specific term.
There are many ways to build links, do it yourself or outsourcing. If you decide to do it yourself, you must realize that it’s a long and tedious process.
If you decided to do it yourself, here is a tip.
Grab low hanging fruit first – You can buy a few links without getting penalized (What? You don’t know about penalties?). You can buy links at a few big directories like Best of the Web and Ezilon Local Web Directory. These sites offer you a link based on your location which is good for search engines because it shows them geographically where your business is.
If you decide to outsource link building, here are questions to ask.
1. What specifically will you do for our company?
2. What kind of time frame are we looking at?
3. When will we begin to see results?
4. Why canve achieved?
Don’t make the decision to get your website online lightly. Most small businesses get a website online and don’t make changes for years, so get it right the first time!
Brandon Hopkins is a freelance link builder and Madera website designer. Contact him if you want to discuss web design or link building.