With so much happening on social media these days and so many searches going through mobile devices, it may come as no surprise that we have literally had business owners ask us, “Do websites still matter?” The answer is that yes, absolutely, websites still matter, maybe now more than ever. However, to get the most out of your website, you also need consistent, planned promotion.
Obviously, the internet has changed how we all conduct and market our businesses, and the growing number of people who access the internet almost exclusively through mobile devices continues to change how we use the web every day. As of right now, there are an estimated 4.6 billion webpages in the world. That number may seem big, but what is even more astounding is that, according to a survey performed by Capital One, only 56% of U.S. businesses currently have a company website.
Of course, that number is only going to continue to grow as more businesses realize that doing business in the digital age means having an attractive, navigable, SEO-friendly website and promoting it through social media, PPC campaigns, and other online methods. A survey conducted by Entrepreneur magazine found that 24% of U.S. businesses are planning to launch a company website in the next two years. So, websites are still important, but how do you make yours stand out from the crowd?
Make Your Website SEO-Friendly
Your company website is the online home of your business brand. Think of it as the brick-and-mortar of your online presence. Your website is one of the only places online that is completely owned and controlled by you, meaning that it’s one of the few places where you can dedicate yourself completely to building your company’s brand. Social media, review sites, and local search sites all have to be engaged with on their own terms, but on your website, it’s all about you.
Plus, with a little help from Google Analytics, you can transform visits to your website into valuable data that may change the way you approach other marketing and advertising efforts, both online and off. All of this relies on having a good, solid website and making sure that it stays up-to-date. One way to do that is to ensure that your website follows good SEO guidelines, and that you’re regularly providing new updates, possibly in the form of a blog. Adding a blog to your site does more than increase your potential for SEO. It also helps to increase search engine traffic and lets you build a potential rapport with your audience by providing them insight into your company’s philosophy or valuable information on topics that are of interest to them.
Get in the Game with Social Media
If your website is the brick and mortar of your online business, then social media is one of the most effective ways that you can generate word of mouth to get customers in the door. This starts with locking down accounts that match your business name. You don’t want to be competing with some other company with a similar name for social media attention, and if people go searching for your company on Facebook or Twitter and find someone else, they may not look much farther.
Once you’ve established yourself on social media, however, you also have to engage. Think about it like a party. Nobody ever got into a conversation at a party by sitting quietly at their table and waiting for the conversation to come to them. Social media thrives on dialogue, so strike up a conversation with your customers—or potential customers. Answer questions, pose solutions to problems, and in doing so you’ll also be helping to drive traffic to your website and blogs. In fact, social media is one of the very best ways to promote blog articles—not to mention a great way to find new topics for future articles by listening to what people are talking about. Of course, parties are good for more than just conversation. They’re also a great place to make announcements since you already have everybody in the same room together. By the same token, since everyone is already on social media, why not advertise where they’re likely to be found?
Above All, Promote Your Business
We said that websites are still important—in fact, they’re vital to the success of just about any business, especially small businesses in this competitive digital age. But in order for websites to succeed, they need promotion. You can’t just put your website out there and expect customers to come flocking in any more than you would just open the doors of a brick-and-mortar store without engaging in ad campaigns, hanging banners, and so on. So make sure that your website is in the business listings at places like Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo Local, Yelp, and so on. Put out some press releases that can reach a network of thousands of journalists and bloggers that will help you to create buzz around your news. And invest in paid search advertising (PPC).
When it comes to SEO, the fact is that the top three results on the average internet search receive 90% of the traffic. Depending on your competition, it may be difficult or impossible to get your website into the top three hits for certain keywords. Fortunately, you don’t have to let that stop you! You can drive customers to your site even if it’s not among the top hits on regular search results by investing in paid search advertising or PPC. Whenever you perform a Google search and you see promoted results at the top of the heap, those are there because of a PPC campaign. And your site can be right there with them!
Ultimately, if you want your website to succeed and bring in customers, you have to give it the same kind of time and attention that you would give to your brick and mortar store. That means keeping it looking great and ensuring that everything is up to date and SEO-friendly, but it also means promoting your website in all kinds of different ways. Need a dedicated digital marketing partner to help you navigate the ins and outs of creating a company website and a digital brand promotion strategy? The digital marketing and strategy professionals at iFocus Marketing in Kansas City are always here to lend a hand.