Learning Objectives• Why do I need a website?• Planning a Website• Setting a budget• What to watch for in setting up your site.• Social Media – Tips• Blogging• SEO…9 steps to making it work!
Why Do I Need a Website? No one is using phone books anymore! Get your business onlinenow Opportunity to gain more customers by opening to a new marketonline A website can be affordable, flexible and cost-effective advertising(specifically using social media and local search optimization) Lower costs by answering FAQ and use your website as anaffordable customer service management tool Provide what your customers are looking for in a convenient 24/7medium and increase customer retention Create a better connection with your customers and raise yourprofits through an email marketing campaign driven by your website Gain higher credibility with your customers and in your industry Cheap market research using traffic analytics
The Secret to Planning a Website Define your website’s purpose Having a clear purpose for your website is key, and it helps it creating the design and feel for your overall site. Define your target audience Narrow your audience as much as possible, this allows you to determine the overall site design, and how to cater to their specific needs Design your website workflow Here is an example…Land on Home Page > Read More about Services > Contact through contact us page Write your content to suit your purpose, audience and workflow Write your content to fill each planning stage, make sure it is free of grammar and spelling mistakes, contact a editor if you are unsure.
Setting A BudgetSetting a budget and knowing what it can get you Be sure when you are researching a designer that they are comfortable with the CMS or HTML that you are requesting. Also make sure they wish to involve you with the process…after all it is your website!Knowing what you need Determine your needs and wants for the site, and sit down with a developer to determine the best avenue to go. Content Management Systems are becoming the way of the future. Having a customized website does not have to cost thousands either!
Okay, okay, stop talking about all this and tell me what to do.Are you hiring a designer right off the bat?Then take the following steps:1. Take the time to plan for your website. The handling of a designer/developer will be infinitely easier if you’ve properly prepared.2. Do your research. How much does a website cost? Understand what you can afford with your budget.3. Re-evaluate whether you should be doing this yourself.4. Reach out to your network for referrals to reliable and talented designers.5. Get your website built.
Are you going to take the plunge and do things yourself?You’ll want to take the following steps:1. Plan, plan, plan for your website.2. Research open source software (i.e. FREE) such as WordPress or Magento, depending on your website needs.3. Learn about what domains are, what hosting is, and how to get them set up.4. If necessary, hire someone to get you started in the right direction to learn what’s what in the world of the web.5. Build your website using all of the above knowledge you’ve learned and start experimenting to find out what works best for your needs.
Some things to watch for…Domain and Hosting Fees Many companies provide a free domain for life as long as you are hosted with them. This helps you save money. Ensure you are in control of your website and domain at all times. If you hire a designer make sure that you register the host and domain so everything is in your name. Hosting ranges from 5.95/month to 7.95/month and many times includes items such as email addresses, unlimited space, and bandwidth.
Some things to watch for…The Designing Process Too often I have seen clients upset (and have spent way too much money) with a design only to need another designer to step in and redo it. Make sure you find a designer that understands what you want. The website should reflect your brand…and clearly identify that. Be involved…and have a timeline for a date to be completed. If you are providing content ensure that the designer has the content in due time to be completed by the target date.
Social Media LessonsYour Customer Knows Best Social media has little to do with you; it’s all about your audience, customers, or whomever you’re trying to reach. Marketing 101 says to think like your customer thinks. And the same holds true in social media. Find out where your clients are…and become involvedSocial Media Isn’t Necessarily Free Social media is attractive to small businesses because of its perceived price. You can set up a new blog, fan page, video site, and Twitter account without paying a dime. There’s no expensive software, or costly media buys. However, even though there’s a low price tag to enter the game, social media is far from free. It requires time, energy, and effort. It’s a never-ending commitment to create interesting content, listen to conversations, and respond. Pick a social network community that is important in your market, determine your goals, and define who is responsible for keeping the activity going on a daily basis.Don’t Measure Success by Follower Counts You shouldn’t get caught up in the numbers game or try to keep up with the big brands. Growing your community is important, but you should be focused on who’s engaging with you and at what levels.
Social Media LessonsSocial Media Doesn’t Equal Self-Promotion Posting about your company, news, and services will not generate many leads on social media..so… show the person behind your company focus on your customers, and not your company.Learn From the Experts You’ve got to learn from the work of others, while tailoring their experiences to your own particular needs, goals, and customers.Seek Outside Help If you struggle with keeping things updated, and are concerned about looking professional and being effective you can enlist the help of a social media marketing company to assist your company in building their social brand. Ensure that the social media firm understands your policies, and business well before they take on the job.
Why Blog?They are much easier than newsletters when it comes to gettingyour idea across.They can be added to, and they can be updated at any time andfrom virtually anywhere.Blogs also have long lasting shelf lives, as they exist on the internetuntil you decide to remove them.They offer a large amount of credibility.Allows you to develop buzz about your product or serviceIs search engine indexed – increases your SEOThere are some free options out there: Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr,Weebly, just to name a fewYou can host it on your own server, or choose a free option if yourbudget does not allow.
Finally…SEOSearch engine optimization (SEO) is the art and science ofpublishing and marketing information that ranks well insearch engines like Google, Yahoo! Search, and MicrosoftBing.The two most powerful aspects of search enginemarketing are: users type what they want to find into search boxes, making search engines the most precisely targeted marketing medium in the history of the world once you gain traction in the search results the incremental costs of gaining additional exposure are negligible when compared with the potential rewards, allowing individuals and small businesses to compete with (and perhaps eventually become) large corporations
SEO StepsSearch engine optimization consists of 9 main steps:1. Market research – The first step is to search the major search engines to see what types of websites are ranking for words which you deem to be important.2. Keyword research – What keywords are people searching for? Use the SEO Book Keyword research tool to search for popular and long tail keywords related to your industry. This tool cross references the Google Keyword Tool, Wordtracker, and other popular keyword research tools.3. On -page optimization – Before drafting content consider what keywords are your most important and map out how to create pages to fit each important group of keywords within your site theme and navigational structure based on • market value • logical breaks in market segmentation • importance of ranking in building credibility / improving conversion rates
SEO Steps Continued…4. Site structure – If you are uncertain how deep to make a portion of the site, start by creating a few high quality pages on the topic. Based on market feedback create more pages in the sections that are most valuable to your business.5. Link building – Search engines view links as votes, with some votes counting more than others. To get high quality links (that help your site rank better) you need to participate in the social aspects of your community and give away valuable unique content that people talk about and share with others.6. Brand building – If you build a strong brand when people search for more information about your brand, and other websites have good things to say about your brand, these interactions help to reinforce your brand image and improve your lead quality and conversion rates.
SEO…Continued7. Viral marketing – The beautiful thing about viral marketing is that creating one popular compelling idea can lead to thousands of free quality links. If your competitor is building one link at a time and you have thousands of people spreading your ideas for you for free then you are typically going to end up ranking better.8. Adjusting – Being ready to adjust your content depending on changes with search algorithms.9. Staying up to date – Keeping your content updated and relevant, search engines will not index your site as regularly if content is not added