BEYOND THE BASICS
WEBSITE MAINTENANCE AND DEVELOPMENT
Having a website is an indispensable tool for marketing, advertising, expanding brand recognition, staying in contact with customers, attracting new customers and simply sharing information. Your website is out there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There really is nothing like it.
However, there is two kinks in the statement above.
1) How are people going to find your website?
2) How do you get visitors to return to your website in the future?
There are a variety of ways to attract visitors to your website. One of the most practical, affordable and reliable is initializing an Organic SEO Program on the website. Search Engine Optimization should be a core concern if you have any interest in actively promoting your rank in the search engines.
In very simple terms, the search engines gather only as much information as you offer on any given web page. More specifically, you will be indexed by engine (ro)bots which interpret what you have in your page content. If your content is sketchy and non-authoritative – your search results will be sketchy and non-authoritative. That is a simple fact of life on the web.
If you sell "orange widgets" and your web page talks about "quality service" – the disconnect is not going to help the cause. On the other hand, if you sell orange widgets and you talk about which kind of orange widgets you have, how they are made, or how people can use them – your indexing will become that more relevant, harvest attention and that page (your website) will inherently rank better.
The search engines offer guidelines on how to acquire the most valued indexing which, in turn, generally translates to how well your website will rank – how close to Page One Google you will get. It is advisable to include an initial SEO with any/every website. Even covering the basics (such as qualifying meta-tags, page titles and canonical URLs) can help a website tremendously. For websites in competitive categories, a more aggressive monthly/quarterly review of analytics and SEO is normally in order.
An Organic SEO is advantageous because it is low-cost and longer-term when compared to PPC (Pay-Per-Click) online advertising. It can be used in concert with PPC, but it should be in place beforehand.
If you ask anyone (including the search engines), "What makes (or breaks) a website?" the answer is content. There can be a slippery slope between what you want to tell people about yourself (your organization, business, services or products) and what they want to know (meaning, what they searching for).
Content building is the process of making the slope less slippery. Content building is not only about telling people what you want them to know, it is about opening doors for them to find things they did not know they could/would/should be interested in. It is about making your website more easy to navigate. It is about having visitors leave your web pages with more than they had before they landed on your website.
Content building is a page-by-page endeavor. It normally requires that a website have some longevity to it and that some analytics and trends have been established. It involves research, a review of analytics and – of course – making educated revisions to the pages (whether it is the subject matter, wording, visuals or intent of the page).
SOCIAL MEDIA AND TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING
If you decide to get involved with social media, all of what is mentioned above pertains to how you should manage those efforts. It is the same game. Just a slightly different platform. An important thing to remember is that "Likes" does not equate to "sales." And, "Shares" tend to be more valuable than "Likes." The importance of having "Followers" is always dependent on the quality of those Followers. Too often website-owners "look at the numbers" and not at the actual ROI of their efforts. If you have 10,000 Likes/Followers/Shares and haven't sold a single widget in the process, it is time to talk to someone.
With most social media, the rules of content building are multiplied. Whether it is your website or social media, having older, or non-attended, content can easily become yesterday's news. In the case of social media, the effects of this can become less forgiving because people are expecting something new all the time. When syncing your social media with your website, be sure that relationship makes sense.
Traditional advertising can still play a major role in promoting your business or organization. Whether it is a local postcard mailer, a commercial on cable television, a radio spot or a flyer at the local market - these things still work. eMail Marketing has become a tremendous vehicle for delivering your message and expanding your base. The beauty of it is the manageability and analytics that most services provide.
The important thing with any content building is to make sure you are aimed at a specific goal that is measurable. A goal without a plan is just a wish. A plan without a goal is pretty much a waste of time.