Have a website for your business? Fantastic—but that’s just the bare bones you need, whether you’re a business owner, freelancer or trying to make a name for yourself as anything from a model to a guru. You’ve probably noticed there are quite a few other websites out there, too. How does yours stack up? Are your potential clients even seeing it? There’s a lot of competition out there, even if you consider yourself in a niche field, and it takes more than a website to stand out.
First, you need to make sure your website is alluring, attractive and easy to navigate. That’s easy, right? Well, unless you have a web designer who stays on top of design best practices, responsive design and is committed to updating your site on a regular basis, your online presence is outdated already. However, that’s still just keeping up with the basics. You need to make sure your stunner of a website is getting seen by all the right eyes and that search engine optimization (SEO) and maybe even local search engine optimization (LSEO) is in good hands.
Look at Me!
They say it takes seven seconds to make a first impression (“they” being researchers at NYU), and that’s in person. It takes much less to make a first impression online, and that’s assuming your future clients and customers find you at all. You are the proverbial needle in the haystack when it comes to having your website get some love online, and attention mongering in the virtual world takes skill that only a professional can provide. Let’s start with optimizing that .com, .org or whichever “dot” you own.
Quality matters—a lot—which means the content you provide, from the written text on every single landing page to the photographs used have to be prime. This calls for the skill set of a writer who has a background in SEO. Maybe you or someone on your team has some strong writing chops. They may have even published a few blogs online or a short story. Remember that online content writing with an SEO angle is worlds away from other types of writing, and requires unique knowledge and skill. Forget apples vs. oranges; you’re comparing a decadent lava cake to berries as a dessert here (and everyone knows there’s no comparison).
The Weakest Link
SEO isn’t just about the content. Remember that your website needs to have the right keywords and phrases updated regularly, to ensure that your website is on the first page of Google search results when your customers-to-be query “collision repair in Salt Lake City,” “custom portrait paintings Florida” or whatever service/product you provide. You also must have the right inbound marketing and links. One “bad” link, whether it reads as spam or it’s simply outdated and no longer works, can push you down the SEO rankings—and if you move from page one to page three in a search, consider your website (and your business) lost in the abyss.
From on-page set-up to integrating social media and a blog with your website, there’s a lot more to succeeding in an online world than just having a website. You need the right website. It needs to be optimized. It needs to be constantly monitored, updated and improved. If you think your business is your baby, you haven’t seen anything yet. Nothing requires more TLC than your online presence, because if you’re not staying on top of things (or letting the pros do it for you), you can be sure your competition is.