As many people are beginning to realize, a web presence and some web traffic are almost always essential in today’s business world. I mean, think about it… how many people do you know who look for businesses online? If you need to rent a car, buy a cell phone, get an insurance quote, or even go out to eat, how do you look for and compare options?
In the past, people utilized many different tools for this sort of thing. They would look at the yellow pages, they would ask their friends, they might check the newspaper classifieds… or they might look on their computer and check the internet. Nowadays, however, almost everyone uses the internet as their first option. In fact, most people do not even need to use their web browser: they access the web directly from their cell phones or mobile devices.
In fact, you could dig deeper into this and see a steady decline in phone book advertisements, newspaper classified ads, and other physical avenues of advertising. More and more, everything is going online… then, it becomes a whole new ballgame. Unless someone is seeking your business out by name, you need to have your site optimized to get attention. If not, you are doomed to get lost in the myriad of search pages below number one, and will invariably stay there forever unless you change your tactics.
On a recent episode of “Coffee Talk”, James was interviewing a man named Don Campbell (former Microsoft web expert who is now president of ‘Expand2Web’ and lives in the heart of Silicon Valley). I really like what Mr. Campbell had to say about how most businesses do not fully understand how the internet works or how it can benefit them. According to Don Campbell, a web presence should begin with a ‘hub’, consisting of your own website with your own content and domain name. After that, you can begin to branch out in the areas of SEO, increasing traffic, and building a following, or a ‘buzz’ about your company.
“I have met too many business owners that are relying on just a profile in some local business directory, and not even taking the time to do a website. And what is challenging about that is that those businesses, they may own all your content, right? And you don’t have a lot of control over what is being said. But if you have a website, then you’ve got a chance to rank for the keywords in your local area or for your business name so that you can represent your business in your own way.” “Don Campbell, President of ‘Expand2Web’
I Don’t Need A Website… I Use Facebook
This is only one of the myths that Don Campbell dispelled during the interview. Here is what he had to say about it…
“I have seen a lot of businesses that are more interested in a Facebook page than in a website, and a lot of people would still agree with me that that is the wrong approach… your website is something with your own domain name; it is something that you own, you can publish content to, and something that can help you to be proactive about the conversation online.” Don Campbell, President of ‘Expand2Web’
So what is the first step? Well, first off, you need a website. It doesn’t even have to be expensive… just make sure that you own your own domain name and that it is attractive enough to fit your style and vision. WordPress is a perfect example of a free tool that you can use to create a great website.
Next, you need to start making changes that will get your name out there. Think of it as the same principle behind refrigerator magnets or personal checks you order online… except in this case you are using content on your web site to draw traffic with keywords. You can also link your Facebook to your website so that any activity you do drum up on Facebook (Facebook is not a bad thing… it just shouldn’t be your only thing!) will have the option to view your site.
Here is a small checklist that you can use to get started. Following these simple steps will really increase your odds of getting noticed online, and will help to keep you from falling behind in the race for attention in cyberspace.
Great Steps To Getting Started
- Get your own website with your own domain name that you have control over
- Link your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. ) to your website
- Add content to your website that is keyword optimized so that search engines will find you when potential customers are looking for what you are offering
- Sign up for Google + Local so that you can tap into the local market with targeted online advertisements.
Taking your web presence into your own hands might seem daunting and difficult, but don’t be discouraged! You will soon find a rhythm and a system for getting everything done, and will come to enjoy the challenges and rewards that come from building web traffic! Having your own website IS a lot of work, but it is work that is well rewarded when you put the necessary time and effort into it.
Josh Sigafus is a web content writer, aspiring novelist, and songwriter. He often utilizes websites like www.buychecksbymail.com to do research into growing his online business and to get his name out to more potential customers. Josh lives in a small town in the Midwestern United States with his wife and two children.