by Jessica Shailes
If you’re a start-up, one of the first things you may be thinking about is getting a website – it can be one of the most confusing and time consuming parts of starting a business. Where do you start? How much should it cost? What functions should your website have? How much information should be on it? Do you need to be involved in social media etc etc etc
The truth is; it’s easy to have a ‘website’ in a matter of hours, without any technical expertise, and for a very reasonable price. However, these website are usually nothing more than an ‘online business card’, and as such, a temporary solution. A website with just a few pages with static content, gives no reason for someone to come back again and again. It gives no reason for someone to share a link pointing to the website, talk about it and refer to it. It doesn’t have enough regular, relevant mention of keywords for Google to have reason to rank it well.
I have noticed a few common misconceptions among small business owners, that they can’t be blamed for holding:
- The misconception about website traffic: ‘make it and they will come’. I wish! If you want a website to rank well in search engines for the keywords and attract visitors, in a competitive market, it takes on going work.
- The misconception about SEO: it’s all about ‘adding a few metatags’: I wish! Everyone can do that, and how would Google tell who is most valuable then?
The advances in technology that allow you to create your own website, also enable you to do things that would have cost companies thousands in days gone by. But now with the technology in the palm of your hands, what do you do with it? Where do you start? If anything doesn’t it make everything more confusing? Maybe not….
Do you want to know the one thing that will make the difference to your website? The easiest way to get repeat visits, have people sharing your site on social media, engage with the people you want to reach, and use lots of keywords (all of which helps your Search Engine Ranking) it’s with…. Original Content.
What does that actually mean for you? Well it means writing posts on a regular basis that your target market finds interesting and featuring it on your website. Answer the burning questions that your target market have, and suddenly there is a reason for them to come back to your site, to trust you, to share your information and to follow you, and ultimately: to buy from you.
How do I actually do this? With a blog. That’s it – you don’t have to call it ‘a blog’ but that’s what it will be. The format is up to you, but for example, once a week write an article on a topic you know your target market would benefit from knowing about, might be searching for in search engines, or have asked you before.
Oh hang on – why is this good news for small businesses? It’s because small businesses are often run by ‘technicians’, experts on a subject, who care about what they do, and have a passion. It means that you are in a good position to directly connect with your target audience without the layers of bureaucracy that larger companies suffer from. It also gives you a great market research opportunity – by creating a place where they can interact with you and comment on what they’d like to see more of. Watch what they respond to, what they ‘like’, share, where there is discussion and more.
Does that sound like a lot of work? It may well do, but it can be made easy with the right strategy and software, like the stuff from WordPress.org (which is free by the way). If you think about it, if this ‘original content’ can do so much for your business website, isn’t it worth investing some time in? If you want to differentiate yourself from the competition, if you have something interesting to talk about, if you are a service professional, if you want to be the first person someone thinks of when they have that ‘problem’ which you ‘solve’. You owe it yourself, and the people you serve, to demonstrate that YOU are the person who can help them.
Jessica Shailes is an entrepreneur who set up Fluid Web Works to help sole traders and small businesses build a successful online presence. Fluid Web Works supplies information and resources to guide small businesses, step-by-step through the process of building, maintaining and growing their own website. Join The Momentum newsletter, a free newsletter/vlog with solutions to real problems and answers to real questions.