Every minute, 571 new websites are created, 2,460,000 pieces of content shared on Facebook, and 278,000 messages tweeted (Source:). Having a sharp, professional, website with eye-catching graphics and exciting text isn’t enough these days. With so many websites and brands vying for attention on the Internet, online success demands a comprehensive strategy.
The strategy that you develop for your website should begin before your site is developed. The best-laid plans begin with knowing as much as you can about who your customers are and what they need. Only with this information can you create a website that can answer any questions customers might have before they ask, then make it easy for them to buy what you’re selling. Such a website will also help you identify and communicate your qualifications, uniqueness, and differences from your competitors. Through advanced planning, you can carefully target specific customers and tell them exactly how you’ll serve their needs and create goods, services, and shopping experiences tailored to your market.
Once your website is developed, you need to focus on generating powerful social signals that will propel your site up the ranks in Google. Using the following 12 steps, you can develop a winning strategy to build your brand, increase your presence on search engines, market effectively to your visitors, and retain and grow your customer base.
1. Define your brand. A brand can be easily recognized. It has special attributes that differentiate between similar businesses or products in a category. For a brand to exist, a market must be aware of the business, have a positive perception about it, and have a reason to associate with its products and values.
2. Build your brand. A brand’s presence and appearance must be compatible and consistent with its identity. If you sell off-road motorsport parts and accessories, your website should not use paisley with daffodils. Similarly, content developed about the brand must be believable and use language aligned with your target market’s education and cultural background. Focus on building and communicating areas of differentiation in your company culture, product offerings, service levels, and pricing that that your customers will value.
The strength behind any brand is its power to communicate with customers. The power of a strong communications strategy will differentiate your brand from its competition, give customers a reason to talk about your brand, and generate repeat customers. Strong communications skills also makes brands appear more professional, which leads to greater success.
3. Name your site strategically. The domain name of your website should be short, memorable, easy to spell, and related to what you sell. Using relevant words to make up the domain name is an important ranking indicator. If your business plans to cater to clients in a particular city, use the name of the city in your domain. Purchasing a domain name that still has some ranking power and has been previously been used can also be advantageous.
4. Design for visual impact.
Across your website, collateral and social media properties should have a consistent look and feel that can be easily recognized. Use the same fonts, colors, and layouts on your website that you use in your print literature and social media properties. Finally, invest in the creation of a professional-looking, recognizable brand logo.
As to site design itself, remember that simple is better. Use only what is needed in terms of images and graphics to improve your central message and communicate it quickly, clearly, and attractively.
Strive for clutter-free pages that offer balance, and use white space and font sizes that are easy to read. Finally, design your pages for mobile devices, and focus on Accelerated Mobile Pages. Your navigation should be consistent and intuitive.
5. Develop and fine-tune onsite content. The content you develop for your site must be unique, interesting and targeted. Your content should be created so that the most important information is “above the fold,” or near the top of each page.
In addition to providing relevant, high-quality information related to your products and services, ensure your website contains must-have pages, such as about us, contact us, maps to your offices, your blog, and a publications page. Once a page is created, optimize it for search engines with title, keyword, and description tags, in-page headers, and alternative text tags. Include text links to reference products, services, and other items that have additional content on other pages. Add clickable calls to action anywhere a visitor might be ready to act.
Use Google’s Webmaster Tools to review traffic reports and identify pages with higher than normal bounce rates. High bounce rates may signify the need to improve the content with relevant search terms.
6. Generate social signals. To place well in search engine rankings, a site must generate social proof signals, such as inbound links within a blog post, user engagement with your content, time spent watching your YouTube videos, number of quality comments, and social shares on blog posts.
Most experts agree that other social signals, such as retweets, likes, and pins offer little or no direct ranking impact. While Google+ might have some impact, it’s probably limited to a personalized search perspective, and only when individuals are logged into their own Google accounts. Therefore, site owners should focus on generating a rich mixture of links from a diversified set of highly authoritative websites.
7. Include metadata for pictures.
It’s amazing how many paid content writers fail to include metadata in the pictures they use on websites. Copyright information, source URL, keywords, descriptions, and author information can all be stored in an image file. This information, which is also read by Google, is an important part of SEO that should not be overlooked.
8. Develop mailing lists. As an online marketer, e-mail lists are one of your most powerful customer retention and generation tools. People who sign up for your opt-in e-newsletter give you permission to market to them regularly. As you develop an e-mail list, design your collection method to incorporate a “double opt-in.” A double opt-in means that instead of directly receiving a welcome e-mail, you receive a second chance to either opt-in or decline first. That means that if you go to a website and sign up your friend, your friend will receive an e-mail that basically says, “Are you sure you’re the one that opted-in, and do you still want to do this?” ESPs especially love double opt-ins because they provide a higher level of security that prevents your list from being used for sending spam.
Be sure that email list subscribers from all sites go to the same master list. Different mailing lists don’t do you much good if you have to create a separate newsletter blast for each one.
Looking for some tips on the best ways to get your site visitors to join your mailing list? Check out these real examples.
9. Create an e-mail newsletter 130.0 / 439. E-mail newsletters may sound like an old-fashioned idea. However, they offer one of the highest click-rates at one of the lowest cost-per-lead of any type of marketing. Setting up an e-mail newsletter campaign is easy. Take advantage of any number of email automation applications and services to collect e-mail addresses, develop a professional looking e-mail message, distribute your message to subscribers, and analyze results.
When developing an e-mail campaign, be sure to address the 6 pillars of communication. By including these pillars in designing your message, you will ensure that your message is communicated strategically, accurately, and purposefully.
Once you send out your e-mail newsletter, remember to post it to your blog, Twitter, and other social sites. Doing so will ensure that Google and other search engines will index it.
10. Create accounts on the “Big 4” social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube).
Because each social media site is different, make special thought and effort to develop posts. The goal should be to craft each post so that it supports your brand with useful promotional and informational details.
When setting up accounts, take the time to upload a “cover” photo or graphic. This cover should have a consistent look and feel with your website and other social media sites. It also allows you to brand your page beyond your profile picture and contribute to an attractive, appealing user experience.
At the very basic, you should develop and maintain the following:
- A Facebook page. Regardless of how you feel about Facebook, you still need a presence on it if for no other reason than its easy proximity to hordes of potential new customers.
- A Twitter account. People who dismiss Twitter are not aware of how to use it for promotion. It’s extremely powerful for attracting new fans and keeping your current ones instantly informed.
- A YouTube channel. Videos are such a major part of any company’s online presence that you really need your own branded channel to exploit them successfully.
- A Google+ page
- A LinkedIn page
In addition to these sites, look at other networks. Many social networks that your audience might use are available and deserve your consideration. Two are Pinterest and MySpace.
11. Develop your social media sites. Develop your social media sites so that all of them feed viewers into your main site. The key is to make sure that any viewer on any site is aware that you have a website and knows that it’s the main repository of information about you.
Regularly update social media sites with fresh content. Maintaining them with fresh content and attracting new followers requires substantial time and investment. Eventually, you may reach a point of diminishing returns.
You can’t be everywhere at once. Even if you could, it would take so much time that you’d never have any time left to run your business. To meet this challenge, take advantage of online media broadcast applications that make posting updates more efficient. An application like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite allows site owners to streamline the process and save time.
12. Get third party help when you’re overwhelmed. At some point, social-media management gets too complex for the business owner or entrepreneur to maintain, and third-party help is needed. This is usually a good thing, since you’ve progressed to a point where your enterprise has grown so big that you can’t keep up. Furthermore, hiring a company that specializes in social-media management can keep you current with new tools and techniques that you might not be aware of. Even when outside help arrives, remember that you’re still the one that drives the bus. Be sure to take part in all strategy discussions, but leave the actual facilitation to the company you’ve hired.
Having a sound social strategy is the key to successful promotion.
Blog Content or Promotion?
I just scanned a tweet. Someone noted how a well-read blog stressed promotion over creating content, going so far to say that blog traffic does not come from publishing great content. 100% of the time, this statement is not true. Why? If you do not publish valuable, helpful, great content, you could promote it in 1 billion places and nobody will care. Nobody will read it. You will not get traffic. Nobody will buy your stuff. You will not boost profits. I know top bloggers mean well, but sometimes they get so analytical that they blind themselves from truths, and advise bloggers inaccurately.
Blog content needs to rock, for people to share it, and for people to buy what you offer, or for people to hire you. But blog promotion needs to be top shelf too, or else you blog in a cyber cave. Nobody will know who you are or what you offer unless you promote your blog effectively through guest posting, through genuine blog commenting and by building your blogger friend network. No way around that one. Like I say in my course for getting featured on top blogs, you want to write your butt off and bond with niche leaders. This means plenty of creating, and plenty of connecting. Or, content and promotion.
But never get promotion twisted, guys. I received a few common emails this morning; strangers asked me if they could submit a guest post to me. I have no idea who they are, what they offer or heck, anything about them. But strangers who never earned my trust want to promote themselves and their blogs on my blog? Nope. I ignore these emails or alert them to buying my eBook so they can learn how to guest post on popular blogs. Promoting your blog is not about promoting YOUR blog. Promoting your blog is about building friendships with bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. Allow friendships to form. As bonds form, blogging buddies promote your blog freely, expanding your reach and increasing your traffic and profits.
Of course, you need to practice your writing regularly to create skillful content showing off your expertise. Readers only gobble up and enjoy content created by skilled writers. Skilled writers practice writing daily, either online or offline. Nobody becomes skilled unless they write a bunch. But skilled writers do lay the foundation for a prolific, successful blogging campaign because folks freely share good content published by experienced, expert bloggers.
Both Content and Promotion
Focus both on creating helpful content and building bonds leading to cross-promotion. Think of promotion being an indirect thing. You will not promote your blog in 1000 places daily by copying and pasting links. But you will make friends with top bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. These friends promote your blog in many spots; indirect but powerful, and effective, in spreading your blogging word around the clock.
Keep helping people through your content and through assisting other bloggers freely, asking for nothing. Content, and promotion, both create a dazzling blogging campaign. Beware about getting caught up in either/or; focus too much on content and you lose your blogger friend network, along with massive indirect promotion. Focus too much on promotion by building your network, and you have no quality content for them to share. Easy does it. Balance between each aspect of blogging and you will become a successful blogger.
Does Blog Content Make You Money?
starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.
Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,
You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.
You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.
Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.
Content makes zero dollars.
You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.
Why Do You Want to Publish an eBook?
One subsection of my eBook on writing eBooks is:
Know Why You Want to Publish an eBook
Knowing why gives you clarity if you write to free yourself and to free your readers. But if you write just to make money or to be well know, clarity lessons. Fear invades your mind because you write mainly to get, not to give. Shifting from fear to fun intent-wise just takes a little decision on your part. Small potatoes really. But this shift does feel a bit uncomfortable if you are new to the eBook writing process because you need to face fears. Who wants to face fear? Nobody, really.
But facing fear is one tax to pay for being successful in blogging and life. Ditto for your self-publishing journey. I largely faced fears to be who I am today, although I keep uncovering fears along the way. Part of the journey. I am cool with that. I had to ask why I wanted to publish an eBook about 4 years ago when I went on a tear, but even before, in 2014, I asked why I published an eBook in the first place? Simple. I created a new blog and brand in Blogging From Paradise and just believed having an accompanying eBook would help me be successful. I only had one eBook in mind. I never thought beyond the single eBook. But someone told me I deserved to write another eBook so after my first, I wrote and self-published a second eBook. I caught the writing bug.
100 plus eBooks later, here I am, writing eBooks for years, and now, promoting the eBooks effectively. The why, the emotion I chose in writing eBooks, propels me forward because I do what I do to have fun, to spread love and to help you, largely. One small part of me wants to make money online too. This is OK. As long as it is a small part of what you do, eBook-wise. Moving that money aspect mostly to the side gives me the energy to keep writing and to keep promoting, should I choose to write another eBook. Now I am all about promoting those suckers.
Why did you consider writing and shipping an eBook? Be honest with yourself. Think through your driver. Money? Fame? Sweet passive income stream? Each primary driver saps your energy because money, fame and passive income flow to you years or minimum, months, after publishing your eBook. What do you do during that zero dollar time? Money drives you, but you see no money. Since you lose your motivator, you quit. This is why so many authors fade into obscurity. Poor driver. Sell 3 eBooks, get flustered because you made $4.35 over 6 months, and quit, because money drove you but you made no money. On the flip side, bloggers and authors who choose a fun, freeing intent promote and write every day for their online career because the work is the reward. All else feels like a bonus, gravy, extra, or icing on the cake….including money.
Be straight with your eBook driver. Do not bother writing an eBook if you mainly want money because you quit and fail when money does not arrive. Even in rare cases if you make money pretty fast, you lose your heart and feel bad reaching money goals because we are mainly designed to have fun and help people, not to make money.
Search Blogging Tips
Blogging2 years ago
6 Steps for How I Nabbed 6500 Comments on My Blog
Blogging1 year ago
113 Bloggers share their Favorite Email Marketing Tools
Blogging12 years ago
CoComment – The new way to track blog comments
Blogging3 years ago
6 Tools For Boosting Content Marketing Results Over The Holidays
Search Engine Optimisation3 years ago
7 SEO Analysis Tools Every Blogger Needs to Know
Reviews2 years ago
LeadNetwork Pays Big Bucks for Payday Loans
Blogging2 years ago
How to Start a Fashion Blog in 8 Simple Steps
Blogging3 years ago
How to Become a Nimble Blogger