Some people tell me they’re hesitant to have a website because they’re afraid of being inundated with more business than they can handle.
My first response is to ask them, “Would it really be so bad to be able to raise your rates and/or refer business to your colleagues?”
Then I offer them a reality check. Just putting your business on the internet doesn’t mean your phone will be ringing off the hook and your inbox overflowing.
As you’re planning your website, consider the different ways you can get the word out once your site goes live.
People You Know
Word-of-mouth has always been and will probably always be the most effective – and the least expensive – form of marketing.
Get new business cards printed with your website address on them and give a few to everyone you know – not just business contacts but friends, family, former co-workers, neighbors and so on. Even if you don’t think someone would be a good client for you, they may know someone who would be. When your contacts pass your cards on to their contacts, they can check out your website even if they’re not ready to get in touch with you directly.
Add your website address to your email signature too.
Search Engine Optimization
Unless your website’s objective is simply to have a place to direct people who already know about your business, search engine optimization, or SEO, is probably on your mind.
Google, the most important search engine, makes frequent changes to their algorithm, making it next to impossible to stay on top of what strategies will be most beneficial. Even top industry experts say so:
No SEO or content marketer can accurately predict what any future update will look like. Even some Google employees don’t understand everything that’s happening with the web’s most dominant search engine.
Neil Patel, The Ultimate Google Algorithm Cheat Sheet
Part of SEO involves conducting research to learn what keywords or key phrases people are likely to enter when they have a problem that you can help them solve. Coming up in the search engines is something that happens over time, and incorporating these words and phrases into your content will take you a long way, especially if you add fresh content regularly.
Here are a few free SEO tools that you may find useful.
Google Auto Suggest
The quick and easy way to do keyword research is to go to Google and start typing what you think potential clients might enter. If it auto suggests the rest of the phrase before you’ve finished typing, that’s a pretty good sign that others have searched on that phrase.
Google AdWords Keyword Planner
The Google AdWords Keyword Planner is one of the most popular and most powerful keyword research tools.
You have to sign up for Google AdWords in order to use it, but you can use your existing Google account, and it doesn’t cost you anything unless you decide to buy advertising. When you enter a phrase, it will suggest some related phrases for you to consider, and show you numbers that indicate how popular each one is as a search term.
The Yoast SEO plugin is an excellent tool for WordPress, and now Drupal sites as well. Unlike other SEO plugins that simply take whatever information you enter, Yoast SEO encourages you to select only one keyword or phrase for each page or blog post. It will then tell you whether you’ve used your “focus keyword” often enough or too often. However, it doesn’t tell you if it’s a good keyword – you still have to do your own research.
The plugin also includes a Page Analysis tab, which offers more tips to help you optimize your page or post, as well as other valuable features.
Links to your site from reputable websites can also enhance your site’s SEO. You can attain quality backlinks by:
- Listing your business on directories that are specific to your geographic location or industry. Avoid “link farms” – these will not help you and may even hurt your search engine ranking.
- Guest blogging on respected blogs.
Social media marketing is discussed extensively on this blog, so I won’t go into a lot of detail here today.
Just be aware that social media has become one of the top tools for driving traffic to your website. Its importance will likely increase even more now that Google is including tweets in their search results.
Make sure you’re on at least one of the top sites and that your profiles include a link to your site.
When recording your voicemail greeting, suggest that callers visit your website for information while they wait for you to phone them back.
If you do public speaking, be sure to include your website address on your slides and handouts.
You can even advertise your website on your vehicle!
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