Your website is the foundation of your presence on the web, and as such it should look great (on a desktop, tablet or phone), load fast and allow visitors to find what they’re looking for with a minimum of effort.
Your website should also serve your needs and allow you to create and edit content easily, change your contact information, or upload a new photo without having to rely on anybody else.
If you’ve ever waited for days or weeks for your “web person” to make a minor change to your website, you know how frustrating it can be.
That’s where WordPress comes in
If you’re familiar at all with popular website platforms you may very well have heard of WordPress. It’s by far the most-used website software around; powering tens of millions of sites. It’s also very fast, stable and 100% free.
But what I like best about WordPress is its ease of use. It’s empowering to the website owner because it provides such a great interface to create, edit and manage their site. If you use a web-based email system like Gmail or you can edit a document in Word, you can learn to use WordPress.
And if you have any doubts about WordPress being up to the task, just take a look at who else uses it.
Search Engine Optimization
There have been a lot of changes in the world of search engine optimization (SEO) in the past few years. Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have penalized sites that were deemed to be poor quality or that were actively building links in order to improve rankings.
These updates have led to no end of wailing and gnashing of teeth, as well as frequent declarations of the demise of SEO. As usual, these reports have been greatly exaggerated.
The reality is that as long as there are search engines, there will be search engine optimization. What is most assuredly dead, however, is SEO as some people practice it; creating spammy links pointing to low quality sites that nobody wants to read anyway.
Here are several examples of the type of SEO that is alive and well:
- Links from relevant, high-quality sites that have authority and trust.
- A well-optimized, fast loading site. Want to know if your site qualifies? Check here.
- Regular, high-quality content. Content is still king, and that’s not changing anytime soon.
- Consistent citations for your local business along with a well-optimized Google My Business page.
- A responsive website design that displays well across a wide range of clients, from desktops to smart phones.
- Positive reviews of your business on Yelp, Google, etc.
- A low bounce rate that shows your site is engaging to users.
I approach SEO with the same mindset I approach design and development: as part of a greater whole. Long-term success depends on quality content, usability and site speed as much, if not more, than it depends on backlinks.
Focus on user experience, quality links and honest engagement with your audience and the search engines will reward you.
Once you’ve built a solid foundation and your website is well optimized for search engines, the next step is to determine a long-term plan to build your brand and turn your web presence into a marketing channel and converting sales funnel.
Many businesses stop here and stick with a typical brochure website; this is what we do, here’s some of our past work, here’s our location, here’s a page about us with a couple photos of our staff and the outside of our building.
There’s certainly nothing terribly wrong with that, per se. Every business needs some kind of basic presence on the web. But to cease your website and marketing efforts here is really selling your website short. You’ll be missing out on the amazing potential of the web to connect directly with your ideal customer, provide them with real value and brand yourself as an authority in your field.
Times have changed when it comes to marketing your business
For the most part, consumers today have had enough of traditional marketing and advertising. People have DVRs to record their favorite TV shows so they can fast-forward through commercials. They surf the web blind to banner ads and buttons. They easily sift through numerous reviews of products and services online before making a purchase.
The best marketing strategy incorporates a kind of feedback loop so that customer concerns, questions and complaints are efficiently taken in, processed and then expressed as valuable content, answers, and positive reviews.
I can help you create and execute a marketing strategy that defines your ideal customer, understands their needs and then creates and distributes valuable content that serves these needs while creating long-lasting relationships and customer loyalty.
If this sounds like something that can help your business grow over the long term, then let’s talk.