It is surprising how many local business owners have their own website that simply can not be found online. There are so many website marketing strategies it is easy to become overwhelmed too.
But, we’re here to keep things simple.
Let’s start at the beginning of your website marketing strategy…
First, you do need your own domain (www.yourbusiness.co.uk) that you control.
Free sites are great and have their uses (keep calling in here and I will show you how to use them effectively in the coming weeks).
Control is an important factor.
If you outsource to a company who you must pay a small fortune monthly or quarterly to keep your website online and allegedly updated, then I am sorry to say these companies often have their hands in your wallet and not your business interests at heart.
I shudder at the number of business card type websites online, filled with keyword stuffed rubbish trying to pass off as useful content…
Of course, you will need to pay for website hosting. Think of it as leasing your online property.
The cost will vary depending on your host and what you want your website to do. A standard business hosting package that allows you to install databases (needed for blogs, shopping carts etc.) and have your own email addresses (email@example.com) should not cost you more than a few pounds per month.
And, yes you will have to pay someone to update your website as needed if you don’t have the skills to do it yourself.
Your website marketing strategy needs to be planned.
The Internet is not The Field of Dreams, build it and they will not always come…
Your strategy planning starts right at the beginning.
What often happens is businesses hire a website designer. The designer then produces a beautiful work of art site that looks stunning…
Search engines can’t actually see images, animation, video, scripts…
You have to tell the search engine spiders what your site is about. It’s called search engine optimisation (SEO).
How many websites do you see online, even today, with their first page called “homepage” or internal pages called “untitled”? Now this isn’t always the fault of the website designer, they are hired to design websites and will often assume you have someone else doing the on-site SEO.
And, to be brutally truthful, a website with bells, whistles and things that flash do not always make great a business website!
So, your first step in your marketing strategy is to pin point who you are targeting with your website. Find what words they use to search for for products and services similar to yours online (called keywords).
Then you will need to communicate this to your website designer who should know how to include those words in title tags, descriptions and headers so that each page is focused to be found by your potential customers.
The next step is to let people and the search engines know your website is online. There are many ways to do that, but the simplest is to bookmark your website on several of the popular social community sites such as Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Facebook etc.
Search engine spiders constantly crawl these sites and will find your link then follow it to your site. Incoming links are also important for SEO.
Each link back to your website is counted as a “vote” and it will help your website move up the search engine rankings. It’s good to encourage your customers and contacts to add your website to their favourite community sites by including a “share” button on your web pages.
The third essential step is to make sure your local business is included in Google Places. Fill in the form on the right and download my step-by-step guide on how to do it. There is also a short video on the download page talking you through the steps too.
A good website marketing strategy goes much further than the steps I have outlined above.
Your local business website is much like your offline business, it will change, develop and grow as your markets expand or change. Just completing the 3 steps will still have you ahead of many of your local competitors. Your task now is to stay there…
What you need to do now:
- Know who you are targeting with your website and communicate this to your website developer/designer.
- Ensure the search engines and people know you are live online by using popular online social communities
- Download my free guide and get your local business listed on Google Places (you can do this without a website and update later).
And if you found this article useful, please share the knowledge!