If you build it they will come
Ok so you have your shiny new website, it looks great and it’s functional on all devices, you even have it linked to your social media accounts. But there is a problem, nobody is visiting your website and you are not being found in google searches.
There is a huge misconception going on here, many business owners have the belief that as long as you build a website, then automatically the traffic will start to flow to their business. Now, this misconception is not entirely their fault, when you take into account how the advertising industry portrays business websites, they basically advocate this type of thinking “get your business website and grow your business” or my favourite is “Build a better website”.
“Would you buy a car with no engine?”
Also, I guess website developers must take their share of the burden, some will be offering the moon to win your business, but if all they are selling is a basic website, with no afterthoughts on how you pull people to the site, then really you have wasted your hard earned cash. It’s much like buying a stunning looking car with no engine, looks great, but it’s going nowhere, or building a brick and mortar business with no roads for the traffic to flow to you.
During the development stage, the website should have the technical and basic on-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) work done; but this is only the start, especially if your industry has fierce competition for the keywords put in place during development, also how often are you reviewing the progress of the keywords you are targeting? Are you even aware that this monitoring can be done? Not sure what any of this means, see my previous post on “website jargon”.
Becoming an Authority
Websites gain ranking on search engines through being active online, having great content and sharing it, creating relationships with influencers in your industry, getting reliable backlinks naturally and most of all being consistent.
All these factors all help increase what is called your Domain Authority (DA), for example, Wikipedia has a DA of 100, due to the sheer number of shares, great content and being recognised as an industry expert on information/knowledge and learning.
To reach that kind of DA would take millions in advertising and a marketing team the size of a football squad. However small businesses can easily increase the domain authority of their new website if they are consistent with their approach to marketing. Adding a sitemap etc. only tells search engines what you have and how often it’s updated, it’s up to the website owner to make sure their domain becomes recognised as an authority over the industry they operate in.
You need to compete
For example, if you run a car sales business website in your local town and there are other businesses doing the same, each has a website and chances are you are all competing using similar keywords. Why would your website be the one that search engines show when searching using your keyword.
So you can see straight away it’s not as easy as just building it and waiting for customers to turn up.
You need to compete against them, to win the right to have your content in the prime slots and win the customers.
If you build it they will come, again…
Don’t get me wrong, I get it, I’m a small business owner, when I started this, I had no idea that I was to become my company’s Sales, HR, Marketing and IT dept, it was a steep learning curve, to say the least. You have no interest in this area and you thought having a website would take care of this on its own, the old ‘if you build it they will come’ thinking again…
I can understand why some small business owners only have a Facebook page for their business, it’s easy and free to use in monetary terms, but if you want to reach more customers you have to pay money for the advertising on offer and then there is the time factor that has to be taken into account, how long will it take using one medium to grow your business, especially if you have no real marketing strategy or cash.
Now you can go down the educational route, which I would encourage even if it’s just to get a basic understanding of how it all works and fits together. Your local business gateway has various free courses that will help you get some of the skills required, basic SEO and social media best practices as well as various others.
Getting a blog running is a must for all websites, it doesn’t matter the industry/niche there are always people searching for answers to questions relating to whatever service/product you provide.
Going back to the becoming an authority in order for Google to show potential customers, how else are you going to achieve this if you don’t talk about it; blogging helps bridge this gap. Again going back to the car sales example, if you run a car showroom, you will have salespeople on the shop floor talking to potential customers, answers questions and directing them accordingly, this is exactly how you should approach your blog, think of it as your shop floor sales staff.
What, More money…
There are companies that specialise in this area of digital marketing and it’s not as expensive as you think. Especially if you couple this with doing some business gateway courses, which will give you an understanding of the work being carried out and also allow you to carry on when the professional has finished. Delegating the marketing of your new website to a professional will pay off.
At the end of the day, this was why you decided to get a website for your business, to help sell your products and services and not to just sit there like a signpost on a deserted road.
How many small businesses have you seen pop up in your local town only to vanish as quick as they arrived, or the never-ending stream of beauty salons that just seem to swap premises with each other. I constantly ask myself, “what are they doing to market their businesses?”.
I have just shelled out a fortune on my shiny new website, how much will this really cost me?
Well, it depends on how competitive your industry is, how big your website is, how it’s been put together.
An audit would be required in order to get the full picture.
There are no quick fixes when it comes to increasing the visibility of your website and like all industries there are people out there promising the earth for what seems very little money, the truth is, you may get a short-term gain, but this will be short-lived as Google is not stupid and is starting to penalise sites that may use non-industry standards to gain a jump on the competition.
In a websites infancy I can’t highlight enough how important it is for someone who knows what they are doing to actively push your business online. This puts the engine in that stunning looking car, enabling it to go places, it builds the roads to that brick and mortar business to allow people to visit you and buy your services or products.
We need to manage expectations of our clients and by just building websites and nothing else, we are harming the industry as a whole, as business owners who have paid hard earned cash for websites with no traffic will not be easily sold on the benefits of IT in general for their workplace, having failing business websites has a knock on effect. We know people need to move with the times and use technology more and more, however, we will have less chance to convince business owners to part with their cash for a website and general IT projects if they have had a poorly performing website in the past.
The more we educate our clients the better, they will not have the impression of “if you build it they will come”… Getting rid of this type of thinking is key to the success of small business websites.
Do you have a current website that isn’t performing as you expected, this could be the loading time, how it is been seen online
or even worse not being found online.
I will audit your current site and give you a comprehensive report on what is required to get it moving forward.
If you are looking to build new or update an old website, or even just looking for some advice.
I am an independent web consultant with 25 years experience in the IT industry.
I am more than happy to help you and answer any questions or queries.
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