OK, SO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE... Now How Do You Make It Bring In Customers?
MAKING YOUR WEBSITE EARN ITS KEEPThe hottest buzzword in internet marketing two years ago was “SEO” - Search Engine Optimization.Last year, 2010, it was “SMO” - Social Media Optimization. This year, heading into 2011, it looks likethe latest word to know is “Nanocasting.”Unfortunately, most small business owners and management teams are still back on SEO, and feelingvery proud of themselves if they can understand web-speak like “keywords,” or “good adsense,” or“affiliate marketing.”Thats where the services of a web marketing expert comes in handy. Keeping your company abreastof not only the latest existing trends, and making sure your website makes the best use of suchtrends, but anticipating and positioning your website, and your online brand image, to be ready torespond to the next trend. And the next.Here is a quick overview of the latest trends in web marketing, and how to capitalize on themsuccessfully, without spending more on marketing, than one sees in short-term ROI improvement.STEP 1: BUILD A GREAT WEBThe first step in a successful online presence is the construction of a quality website. Drivingcustomers to a losing or blah site, can actually harm more than it helps, business revenues andcompany image.Companies are advised to pick an image, one that will sell, and which will be competitive in todayssophisticated online marketplace; and then to project this image in the most sophisticated – ortasteful, or professional, or trendy, or grungy (whatever ones business persona and market arenacalls for – manner possible.Flash, or no flash. Photo album or no photo album. Color and font selection. Table-format or frameformat. Blog or no blog. Etc. These are basic questions of style and appearance, that mostcompanies can decide for themselves, along with the aid of a competent web designer or webdesign firm. The average business owner or entrepreneur has a pretty good idea of what type ofwhat type of image he or she would like to project: California grunge works well for many sportinggoods firms; restaurants and hospitality firms have standard images; consultancies have their typicalbrand images, and so on.Choose a brand image that personifies your business, is competitive – or daring, or conservative – tofit within your own niche market space, and enlist the talents of a professional web firm, toimplement it.Let the web firm choose the details of code and construction – e.g. php or joomla or xml; flash orno flash; colour schemes (artistic freedom) – beyond giving them instructions in the level of ongoingmaintenance and support, and expense, you wish to be invested in the site. This will dictate whereand how your site is hosted: do you want your web hosted on a free server? Do you want easyupkeep, and the ability to make content or site changes yourself? Or do you plan on engaging a webdesigners services for all ongoing maintenance, and desire just to hand the entire enterprise off tothem?These are basic business need questions, that you should discuss with your web designer, at theoutset. They will – or should - govern the basic foundation choices made by the designer you hire.STEP 2: SET UP SEO SUCCESSSEO – or “search engine optimization” - is a phrase that refers to your web sites ability to capture
recoup this SEO investment with just one additional construction job. If the SEO firm is doing its jobcorrectly, the ROI on a 3-month, initial SEO investment (standard SEO fees typically running $10,000or more, monthly), will be in the hundreds of percent. Many companies will hire an initial SEOconsultant, or consulting firm, for 1-3 months; then afterwards, utilize SEO services intermittently,as ranking or business needs dictate. Or for special / seasonal business campaigns or promotions.STEP 3: THEN TURN TO SMOSocial Media Optimization is a close cousin to SEO work, that emerged in early 2010. But instead ofseeking to dominate search engine listings, Google in particular; SMO targets the online web of real-time social media blogs, sites, and mobile applications. Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and MySpaceare the major traditional social media sites. Adjacent to these mainstream SMO sites are a myriadof specialty blogs – catering to everything from military audiences, to parent audiences, toprofessional segments, to teens, to... anything.Mobile devices – iPhone, droids, other smart devices – are both a means of tapping into these SMOsites, and newly emerging, unique SMO sites themselves.While Google has attempted to break into this marketplace, with Google Buzz, the search enginegiant is still outclassed, in this particular niche, by the trendier, youth- and technology- basedmobile applications and indexing mechanisms.The bottom line for most company management teams is that, as with SEO, unless one is a guru inthis particular field, you will likely realize a much better ROI by engaging the services of aprofessional SMO marketing firm or consultancy, than attempting anything in this newish field,yourself.STEP 3-A: OPTIMIZING VIDEOS FOR MOBILE SEARCH & MOBILE APPS Here are two additional SMO-related predictions for 2011, from : Creating optimized videos How do you optimize a video for search engines to find it easier? Sure, you can use a lot of your keywords in the description of the video, but did you know that YouTube actually uses voice recognition to index what your video actually says? It’s been doing this for a while, but as video continues its surge in popularity, creating videos with optimized scripts will become more and more important. Optimizing for mobile search Did you know that when you search for a topic on your mobile phone search engines will rank mobile-friendly sites higher than regular sites? In 2011 we will see more websites become mobile friendly. Is your blog/website mobile ready?Most good SEO / SMO marketing firms will be able to design and implement online strategies thatinclude a blend of video, search engine, social media, affiliate marketing, ad words, and otheronline strategies. A successful web presence will utilize several approaches, to capturing viewer andbrowser attention.STEP 4: NANOCASTING (VS BROADCASTING)
The last step in a complete web marketing package or strategy, concerns the recent emergence ofwhat techies are calling “Nanocasting,” a term referring to the personalized experience of eachindependent viewer. In a John Anderson-like technology scenario, Nanocasting allows viewers oraudience members to control, to a limited extent, their own personal online experience.This trend is rapidly replacing, or supplementing, “broadcasting,” where websites merely broadcastaudio or video feeds, or other forms of media, to their visitors. With the website, not the visitor,controlling content and output. Here is another prediction, from media trend commentator RobReynolds, editor of The Xplanation (produced MBS Textbook Exchange Inc., the nation’s leader inwholesale textbook distribution): The overarching trend, however, the one that encompasses all the data and driving forces, is the shift from the Broadcasting to Nanocasting with respect to content and information. Whereas the 19th and 20th centuries were dominated by the thinking of an Industrial Age that valued standard sizes, mass production, and assembly lines, the 21st century is one of intense personalization, a strange throwback to pre-industrial times when everything was unique and made by hand.In the world of Nanocasting, as Reynolds explains, “each individual can create his or her own uniquechannels of digital music, news, and TV. It is a fluid, always-on, constantly connected-in-every-direction, instantaneous reality in which content and information are diced up finely and served 24hours a day at a roll-your-own smorgasbord.”Looking further into the future, leading academic and defense institutions around the world, arealready experimenting with the next generation of Nanocasting, in which a viewers thoughts,captured in either battlefield or entertainment arena, are then projected – onto a viewing screen,or a computer, or a laptop, or mobile device – allowing the view to interactively personalize andcontrol his or her own viewing experience.While most webs are not (yet) up to this level of customization, clearly, Nanotechnology is a trendworth watching. In the meantime, companies that are able to offer customized viewingexperiences, and choices, for a variety of audiences; as well as to customize web viewing for mobiledevices and various social media sites, will rank better, and earn more return and unique visitors,than those that stick to traditional confines of tightly controlled web browsing experiences.Price List and SpecsImaging Web Design is a Washington DC-based Managed Service Provider, offering 24 x 7 webdesign, SEO, SMO, and other online creative solutions. Details may be found on our website, athttp://www.imagingwebdesign.com.Pricing details and web packages are displayed on our website. To obtain a quote for services, or torequest additional information, please call: 1-800-719-6545.