Just because you build it, does not mean they will come
Business owners often think that the mere act of building a website will bring in the droves of adoring fans that they want to make their business thrive but sadly this is not the case. A website is a tool and like other tools, it requires guidance in order to accomplish the task for which it was designed. Your website was not previously an Iowa corn field so you still have some work to do now that your obviously well thought out and impeccably designed site is complete.
You may not realize this but this but it is no longer 1993. Just getting your site listed in a search engine is no longer enough. There are millions of sites out there competing for the traffic you want and a whole industry has built up around it. If you do not have the thousands of dollars a month required to really make a go of it with the big boys you will need to do the leg work yourself to try and even out the playing filed. Now I am not taking about spending all of your waking hours on SEO but what I am talking about is putting your best foot forward. You need to make sure that your little corner of brilliance is doing its job by making sure you are not leaving anything on the table.
Think of the building of your website like the trip to see your friend Andy Dufresne. You have made your way to the obscure field in Buxton and found the box under the volcanic glass that has no business being there. Now all you have to do to realize your dreams is to be willing to go a little further. Your website’s Zihuatanejo lies just over the border, you just have to be willing to buy the bus ticket to get you there. And that ticket can be had with three words – Research, Optimize and Update.
The most important step of any site launch is to make sure that you do your research, in this case I am talking about researching search engine keywords (although hopefully at this point you have done some other research as well). I am not talking about the general terms related to your field that everyone uses but well thought out keyword phrases that not only make sense to your potential clients but ones that you can potentially own. What I am talking about is the SEO Sweet Spot. That nice warm area nestled snugly between number of searches per month and the competition for given keywords. Don’t get me wrong, it will take a little work on your part but there are tools out there to help you along (including some good free tools from Google). If you know your competition it makes things a bit easier because it gives you a great place to start.
Once you have put in your time on the research, it is time to rethink some of the content that makes you so proud. Go through your site and optimize the pages to make sure you are making use of your new best friends – your drippingly sweet keywords. Pick a hand full of the most high profile pages on your site (home page, product pages, etc) and optimize them using your new keywords. Makes sure to use them in the page title, the main heading and in the body text where it makes sense. Doing this will increase the keyword density on these pages and thus increase their rankability when the pages are re-indexed. Don’t get crazy, optimize each of the special few with only a few keywords so as not to dilute what you are trying to accomplish.
Once the pages are optimized then it is time to turn your site into a labor of love and update. Update early and update often. The best way to bring the search engine spiders back to your site is with regular updates. Any page will do but the easiest way to keep the coming back for more is to start a blog. These days a blog on a business site is like a moving buddy in Toy Story – if you don’t have one, get one! Many business owners do not see the value of a blog but what they do not understand is that blogs are not used simply for discussing your wife’s new hair style or what happened at the Bar-B-Que last week. Business blogs are the perfect forum to talk at length about specific aspects of your products and services, to help keep your customers up to date on new developments in your industry that might affect them or even just to toot your companies horn about community involvement. It is the easiest thing in the world to keep your site updated because there are so many different topics that you can pull from when developing the continent.
Once you get the basics in place then just rinse and repeat as needed (mostly just content updates but keep in mind that as your site evolves you may have to go back to the well with some new research and optimization as well) and you will soon see that uptick in traffic you were hoping for out of the box.