I was recently speaking with a client about improving the number of views he gets on his website, the buzz word is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, and he expressed the desire to have more people visit his site. I think every web developer could relate to the feeling that there is a generational divide between those who grew up with the Internet, and those who still remember 8-Tracks. For the average small business owner, there are a few key points that should be known, even before the creation or redesign of any business website.
- SEARCH ENGINES LOVE CONTENT! It really does not matter which search engine we are talking about; whether it be Google, Bing, or Yandex for that matter (yeah, that’s for you Russian speakers out there), Search Engines do one thing and do it well: search! They crawl through indexed websites, index new websites, and they show preference for sites that are well designed and have order to chaos. What does that mean for you, the business owner? Well, have a plan and stick to it! Plan out your content. Plan out your posts. Plan out how you would like your visitors to navigate your site, or hire someone like me to plan that for you. Where content is important, it is equally as important to design the site’s user experience (a topic not easily covered here in a short post). Remember, where do people like to shop? Would they prefer visiting the General Store down the road with limited goods to sell, or would they rather go to Walmart or Home Depot? (I’m not endorsing those stores, per say, but I am illustrating the point that you certainly do want your site to be inviting, authoritative, and the shared information is well referenced and free of major grammatical errors!
- CONSISTENCY IS KING. Should you write every day? How about every week? Is once a month okay, because that’s all I have time for? Yes, yes, and …well, yes! Whatever your content-creating schedule allows for, just be consistent. If you can only right a blog entry once a week or once a month, that is absolutely fine. Just keep one thing in mind, the longer the interval, the more epic the content should be. So, if you can only write once a month, make sure that during that month, you are investing in some good books and reading up on other authoritative authors on your topic so that you can improve your worth in the world of content creation.
- WEBSITE FRAMEWORKS ONLY INCREASE SEO POTENTIAL. I develop websites using the WordPress Genesis Framework. A framework allows for rapid website development, but it also has the added advantage of having a site’s code being immediately compliant with what search engines are looking for, and have a preference for. Sure, I could develop a website from scratch, but that is simply not how things are done these days, and for good reason. Search engines like to have consistency with what they are looking for so that they can accurately cache each and every website they crawl through. Imagine being a doctor and taking a CT-scan of 100 patients who have their organs in different locations. Imagine planning a surgical procedure, which would require taking out the appendix, but with each patient, the landmarks are different. That would be horrible! Well, the same can be said, even for computers. Search engines are programmed to look for certain pieces of code, called meta data, in certain locations within a website. If that code is missing, then chances are, the search engine will not show preference for your site over the millions of other sites that are producing content in your given area of interest. Stick with frameworks and your SEO potential will be right where it needs to be. Remember, content is KING!
- PAID ADS GENERALLY ARE NOT WORTH THE INVESTMENT. Don’t get pulled into the belief that all you need to do is pay for monthly advertisement and all of your worries will magically disappear. No, my friend, paid advertisement works for only those websites and businesses that have a solid strategy in place for those ads. Take for instance TeamTreehouse.com. They pay for ads to be shown on Youtube, Facebook, and Google. Their ads show up literally anytime someone searches for “Learn how to build a website” or “Learn how to build a mobile app”. Their strategy works well, because they are paying for their ads to be shown to a very specific audience where Treehouse® is meeting that need in the market. They also have produced outstanding video commercial content with attractive animation to give the right visual and audio experience to maximize the conversion rate between views and subscribers. If you are not willing or able to do what Treehouse® has done, then you are probably not going to want to get paid-ads.
- YOUR SITE IS NOT THE ONLY STAGE. Wait, what? That’s right. There are other very successful websites and blogs out there in the world of the Internet, and those sites may certainly have a following. Spend a few months generating content on your site; good, well-written content, and then reach out to other sites within your area of expertise. Pitch those sites to write a guest post or article on a certain topic and if they like your writing style, see if there could be a chance at writing on a regular basis. Expect the initial earnings to be nil to a few bucks per article, but over time, the payoff will be site visits to your own site! By that point, take a look at your monthly hits and then look for monetization of your blog or small-business site through ad placement, self-published ebooks, or products and services.
It is the sad state of affairs that the days of just having a “Dot-com” website, some photos, text, and a PayPal account would guarantee traffic and sales, but those days have been long gone for quite some time, and the sooner this fact becomes accepted, the better off any business becomes.
If the business owner lacks the ability to invest the amount of time required to curate content, generate content, or engage in the world of social media, then outsourcing is a must! Consider hiring a college student to help provide content to the site. In doing so, your business is generating content, while the student is gaining real world experience in their target industry. By simply covering the cost of a Kindle Unlimited subscription, or a book a month, and perhaps a negotiated monthly salary or commission-based compensation plan, both parties can find a successful end.
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