You want to start building your online presence. But first, you need to learn the rules. Here’s how to take your site to the top.
Your business is brand new. And you know you’ve got a great idea.
The trick is getting it off the ground. And since this is the 21st century, that includes the Internet.
But building your online presence isn’t as simple as putting up a webpage and waiting for sales. There’s a strategy involved. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Set Your Goals
The first order of business: set some goals.
Hint: “build a website and attract followers” is not a goal. That’s a general statement of direction. But if you need somewhere basic, this is a decent place to start.
So you want to build a website. Good for you. How are you going to build it? What will you need to build it? Will you use WordPress or a similar site builder? Will you hire a professional web designer? Will you learn a bit of basic web design? Do you already have some coding knowledge?
Break down your enormous goal into bite-size pieces.
For example: investigate your options for building a site. Then write out your budget for the project. Make a list of what you need to complete the project. Write out what you need to learn.
You should also get specific with your overall goal. Let’s say you want to start an interior design blog. Maybe your goal goes like this, “I want to build an interior design blog that reaches the top 10 interior design blogs by this time next year.”
It’s specific, concrete, and has a deadline. Which makes it easy to break down into smaller, reachable midway goals.
Learn Some SEO
Regardless of what else you pursue, you need to bulk up your SEO knowledge.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the wizardry that takes your site from the graveyard on page 15 to the top 10 search results for your category. It’s the art and science of getting your site to perform well in search engine results.
After all, you could be the leading expert in your industry and it wouldn’t matter a lick if no one knows you exist.
If you’re not an SEO expert, don’t worry. Most people aren’t.
You can learn the essentials from guides like this one, but if you want to stay at the cutting edge of SEO, it’s a good idea to bring in the professionals. Why? Because the rules of SEO change constantly–every time a search engine rolls out an update, in fact.
Your site could be killing it one day and dying the next. And the only difference? A search engine update.
An SEO expert can minimize this ebb and flow effect. Better still, they can help make your site Google-proof.
Build Your Website
Notice that goal building and SEO are listed before building your website. There’s a reason for that.
If you build a website without considering your goals, you’ll build a site that doesn’t work for you. Creating a website because you think you need one is not the same thing as creating a website to match your goals.
Let’s say you own a restaurant. You want your site to bring more visitors through your door.
Let’s say you sell women’s dresses. You want your site to generate more sales.
These are two different things. If you treat them as one and the same, your site won’t work for you.
If you don’t know what you need, it’s a good idea to consult an expert. Better to have your ducks in a row before you jump off the deep end.
Get Active on Social Media
Once your site is live, it’s time to build your social media presence.
If you did your homework before launching your site, then you already know who your audience is.
If you didn’t do your homework, now is the time to start.
In order to effectively create a social media brand presence, you need to know exactly who you are and who you’re serving. You should know your audience so well that you could pick them out of a crowd.
This is essential because if you don’t know who your audience is, you cannot possibly market to them.
Remember, social media is, well, social. It’s about building connections. The average brand page pitches, but truly great brand pages engage their customers.
You can do this in posts, but you can also do this in behind-the-scenes clips, contests, and candid moments. This is about building relationships–relationships convert. Followers don’t.
Once your social media has a real online personality, you can start to use it for other things, like social media lead generation.
Content is King
You’ve got your site. Your social media is live. What now?
Time to refer to the golden rule of the internet: content is king.
You’ve heard it a million times before. But it’s true. Especially when you think about why people are going online.
Customers don’t go online because they want to buy something. Not really. They go online because they need to solve a problem. And they want a site to solve it for them.
Content is king because good content answers a question in the most complete way possible. In doing so, it solves a problem better than any other piece of content could.
So if you provide good content, visitors will come to you as their foremost problem solver. If you build it, they will come (as long as you build it with SEO).
From there, you can work on effective content marketing and content distribution.
Building Your Online Presence Takes Time
Finally, remember that building your online presence takes time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Google didn’t become the #1 search engine in the world overnight. Similarly, your site won’t rocket to fame if you launch it on Tuesday and check your numbers on Wednesday.
You have to lay the foundations for success. And that takes time. Remember, you’re building something to last. It’ll take some work, but it will be worth it.
Author: Catherine Tims is the editor at NoStop Content. After receiving her Master’s degree in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Arizona, she taught writing to graduate students at the University of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana.