This is the part two of How To Create An Effective Website For Your Small Business.
There are many ways you can promote your website, but let’s start with the six most important ones.
Before you start advertising your website, though, there are two things you need to do first:
First, install Google Analytics – a free service by Google.
It provides detailed information about the people visiting your site and can show web traffic statistics such as what pages visitors lingered on, what products they liked the most, and where they came from (the referrer).
Then, set up Google Search Console – formerly called Google Webmaster Tools, this free toolkit by Google can help you better optimize your website for the search engines.
It provides information like what keywords you’re ranking for and which other websites are linking to you.
Method 1: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Make your site search-friendly for Google by making it easy for the search engines to understand your content. Work hard to get your business mentioned by other websites and have them link back to you. With some simple SEO tips, your small business can rank higher in the search engines, helping generate more traffic to your site.
Who You Need to Help You:
- SEO Specialist – will know the technical aspects of SEO and know how to use both on-page and off-page SEO strategies to help your business rank better.
If you prefer to do it yourself....here are some tips for you:
Basic tips to make your site search-friendly:
- Set your preferred domain URL – nowadays, people don’t always use a leading ‘www’ on their website domain name, e., they just use example.com rather than www.example.com. Your web host should allow you to set your preferred version.
- Use keywords in your content (but don’t spam) – write naturally in your content and don’t repeat the same keywords. Use semantic-based words related to your industry throughout your website.
- Install the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin – this popular plugin makes it easy to optimize your content for the search engines by letting you add proper SEO titles and descriptions. The advanced user can implement XML sitemaps, canonical URLs, breadcrumbs and more.
- Customize your permalink structure – in WordPress you can make your URLs short, “pretty” and easy to remember by changing the permalink structure. Make it easy for you by using a shortened version of your post title.
- Submit a sitemap to Google– this helps search engines understand your website better and helps get your pages included in the search engines.
- Add ALT tags to images – help Google understand you images by including descriptive text in your image ALT tags.
- Link to other authority sites and your older content – outbound linking improves your site’s authority and perceived relevance helping you rank better. Internal links help the search engines better understand your content.
- Make your site faster – use a caching plugin – WP Fastest Cache or W3 Total Cache – and optimize your images by going to tinyPNG.
- Start blogging – keep your site fresh and updated with relevant and useful content. Search engines like updated websites (more about blogging below).
Useful Resource: For a more comprehensive SEO guide, check out this post: 20+ Effective Tips To Drive More Traffic From Search Engines.
Method 2: Social Media Marketing
Set up your social media channels and start building your online presence. With social media making up to 31% of the overall traffic, there’s no question your business should be on this marketing platform.
And above all, your audience is on social media right now. You have the opportunity to expand your reach and promote your brand to thousands of new people.
To get started, create profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you sell products, also sign up for a Pinterest account.
Who You Need to Help You:
- Social Media Marketing Strategist – will write a social media plan for your business helping you establish a reputable online presence.
- Social Media Manager – will monitor and measure your social media presence and keep your social channels updated.
Some Social Media Marketing Tips:
1. Add Social Media Follow Buttons Somewhere VisibleInstall social media buttons on your site where it’s visible. It could be on your sidebar or top navigation. I love using Simple Social Icons WordPress plugin!
2. Make your content easy to share
- Install social sharing buttons – I am currently using SumoMe plugin's social buttons + image sharer. You can place their social share buttons on the top, left or bottom of your content. Their image sharer are placed on your images (you see them when you hover on your images). It's the bomb! Here's an example of how they will look like:
- Add social-media-ready images – there are optimal image sizes for each social media platform. Here’s a cheatsheet to help you out.
3. When sharing your content on social media...
- Create an introduction that will grab people’s attention.
- Use relevant hashtags.
- Use social media management tools to schedule your posts. Hootsuite and Buffer are popular automated social tools.
- Use ads to your website with Facebook ads, Pinterest’s Promoted Pins, and advertise on Twitter.
- Each social network has different times when user activity is at its highest. Check out this infographic to discover best times to post on social media.
4. Be social!
- Find your crowd on social media and add people that might be interested in your items.
- Join relevant groups (on Facebook and Pinterest).
- Engage with followers and ask questions to start conversations and get to know your audience.
- Share other people’s content. If you’re on twitter @mention them.
- Comment on other people’s blogs. Make sure to leave useful comments on popular When you do, people will recognize your expertise comments and other bloggers will notice you. Plus, you get a backlink to your site, helping you build traffic.
5. Run a contest
- Host a giveaway to help draw attention to your site and attract a greater audience.
- Bundle up your services or products to give away.
- Use Rafflecopter to help you launch and manage your giveaway.
Method 3: Blogging
With blogging, you increase awareness about your brand, establish credibility and show your expertise in your niche.
Who You Need to Help You:
- Content Writers – freelance writers can help you by providing weekly blog posts that are SEO-friendly and can attract people on social media.
- Social Media Graphic Designers – have someone create attractive social media images to help build brand awareness.
Tips For Blogging Effectively:
- Write useful content consistently – once or twice a week to help rank in search engines and attract social media traffic.
- Add attractive images – make your images more shareable by avoiding generic stock photos that everyone has seen before.
- Make it search-friendly (see tips above).
- Feature people in your industry – top influencers can take notice and help you grow your blog by sharing your content with their followers.
- Write in an easy-to-read format – keep your audience engaged and wanting more by making it engaging and easy to read.
Method 4: Email Marketing
Stay in touch with your customers or potential customers, and get your marketing messages across with an email list for your small business. Email marketing is effective when you have a new product, or you’re offering a discount because you let your subscribers know before anyone else. This creates exclusivity with your products and services.
Tips for Collecting Emails:
- Use Aweber ($19/mo) or Mad Mimi (free up to 100 subscribers then starts at $10/mo) to collect emails.
- Install an opt-in box – a sign up form for your newsletter – on your site where it’s visible. It can be a popup box, a slidebox at the right side of your users window, at the top bar of the window, top sidebar, after the blog post + more. SumoMe is a good plugin for this! Not only they offer social share buttons, but also email opt-in box including popup, slider, top bar. Here's an example:
- Offer incentives or coupons (or something useful) in exchange for a visitor’s email address. It’s the most effective method to collect emails easily. PS: Learn how to do "content upgrade" or ask your marketing manager to do this for you. Content upgrade works like this: a user would need to enter their email first before they can get the content they want. Take a look at this example post and click the "download" button. See how they need to enter their details first before they can get the download? I'm using LeadPages for that!
Effective email marketing tips:
- Make it easy to subscribe – have a sign up form in multiple spots on your website: at the end of each blog post, on your Facebook page, on the sidebar and even as a pop-up or slideup on your site.
- Publish consistently – stay fresh in your subscriber’s memory by having a regular publishing calendar.
- Make it easy to share – add sharing options at the end of your newsletters. Also, provide a link to the web version of your newsletter. This makes it easier to read and share.
- Brand your email campaigns – include your logo and company’s colors. This helps with cohesiveness across platforms and helps your subscribers recognize your emails.
- Don’t spam, be useful – provide content your readers want. You can make it relevant by segmenting your list into different groups of subscribers. This allows you to tailor your content to the appropriate group.
For more tips on how to generate more email subscribers, click here to read my post about growing your email list.
Method 5: Submit Your Site to Local Listing Sites
PS: SKIP this method If you don't have a physical location.
Having your small business listed on an online directory can help with referral traffic and is a great source for leads. Customers can even review your products and services helping you build your business’ reputation. Take a look at when they search for "RAD Photo Booth", they can easily see my phone #, reviews and all other important info:
Tips to Attract More Business on a Local Listing Site:
- Fill out your profile and keep it updated – fill out all the necessary information about your business and make sure it’s regularly updated.
- Listen to your customers – customers can leave reviews about your product or service. Monitor reviews and treat negative reviews as ways to improve your business.
- Keep your business title consistent – choose one title for your business and keep it consistent across your website, social media, and local business listings. Don’t call yourself “Nick’s Glass Repair” on one site and “Nick’s Window Glass Repair” on another site. Google will treat this as two separate businesses.
Method 6: Use Affiliate Marketing (Referral Marketing)
It's an easy and low-cost marketing strategy you can use for your business is affiliate marketing (a.k.a referral marketing). Essentially, you are using affiliates or partners to market your product and bring traffic to your site. But, you only pay affiliates when they make a sale.
What’s great about affiliate marketing is that you can market your product worldwide, you pay based on performance, and you’re essentially marketing for free.
Here are some great affiliate management systems you can use to open and easily manage your own affiliate programs:
- ShareASale: One of the most reliable affiliate marketing management system where you can easily track clicks and sales.
- AffiliateWP: Another awesome affiliate management system but only for WordPress. What I love most about it is you can integrate it with major WordPress ecommerce & membership plugins. I'm actually using it on one of my websites. Here’s an example.
You’ll have to spend some time to recruit affiliates, but to start, add a page on your site and ask your subscribers if they’d like to join your affiliate program.
Wrapping it Up
Are you pumped and excited? Your website is officially open for business.
With your products or services all ready to go, get ready for new sales and a rush of loyal customers. Good luck and let me know if you’re thinking about starting a small business website – or if you have one – tell me how great it is!
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