I’ve got a new website for my business – now what?
Although the internet and it’s billions of websites have been around for quite a few years now, some small business operators still fail to grasp how vastly different an online store is to a conventional ‘bricks and mortar’ site. With the latter, a physical site is set up that all passer-bys can see it; both while it’s under construction and afterwards, when the doors are thrown open for customers for the first time.
With an online store, the construction is done under a “veil of secrecy” but when it’s finished and ready, most site owners automatically expect a flow of traffic through the virtual front door. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. People need to know that the site actually exists before they can visit it!
Google doesn’t help – it can often take two to three weeks for a site to get listed on search results and even then, you may not even make the first page.
So here is my advice, don’t wait for Google – promote that new site of yours right now with the following tips:
Tip #1 – Build your website marketing into your conventional promotions
This simple tip is often overlooked because some business owners believe that a website is marketed through online methods only.
Start getting ready for your site’s launch by updating all your promotional materials – business cards, brochures, roadside signs, clothing, pens, company cars, exterior signage, invoices, everything. Anywhere that a current client sees your business name should have the new web address in bold lettering.
If you live a smaller town as I do, get your local newspaper on board for the launch. For a relatively small cost, you can grab some great exposure with an editorial feature. Often these include a half-page “story” on your new site with the other half-page including an advertisement with all your details.
Tip #2 – Utilise your Social Media presence
One of the great advantages that Social Media has over Google is the instant gratification that it gives to every one of our updates, pins, posts or tweets. We don’t have to wait for the search engines to index and archive our information – it is instantly out there.
This makes it ideal for promoting a brand new site.
Most of us already have a Social Media presence so why not use that to your site’s advantage. Announce to all and sundry that you have a new online store and ask your social media “friends” to pass on the news.
Don’t leave it at that though – make sure you create a plan and use your Social Media power to drive everything that your site does. Running a pizza shop with online ordering? Hold instant competitions (like my friends at Roscoes Innisfail) to boost slow nights. Got a brand new outfit in your e-commerce boutique? Get one your staff to model it and post it on Instagram and Pinterest. Offering free shipping for today from your e-store? Get the word out instantly with a tweet on Twitter.
Tip #3 – Create Fresh Content for your site.
I know – you’ve just opened the doors on your online store. So why do you need fresh content straight away? Simply because Google likes sites with fresh, distinctive content and without it, things can go stale very quickly. Pre-empt this by having a content plan for how you are going to update your website on a regular bases. Sit down and plan out articles for your store’s blog (try five for a start) and schedule one for release every week. If you don’t have a blog, you could be missing out on a massive opportunity to define your site as an industry leader.
When you are creating blog topics, be sure to think from a customer’s point of view – write a list of the top 10 questions that your customer’s have and blog an article about each. Include keywords that relate to your online business and this will ensure that the Google and Bing “bots” will keep coming back to your site every time you post new content.
Try out those three tips and will be giving your e-commerce store a red-hot start in its online “life”. Don’t procrastinate and wait for people to find you – get out there and “grab the bull by the horns.” A site owner is in absolute control of the future (and potential success) of their online business. It won’t happen by itself – hard yakka is required!
Now – go and give your new site (or old one) a real boost into the new year of 2015!