Monthly Archives: January 2014

10 ways To market Your website

marketing your websiteSo, you’ve taken the simple steps in the previous post to create your website and think your job is done?

Think again, now you have to actually bring customers to the site (and encourage them to buy)

Here are 10 ways you can attract visitors and make sales.

1. Search engine optimization

We mentioned this in the previous post – but it’s here again because of its importants. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the single best way to drive people to your site. The details of good SEO are fodder for a full post, but the basics include using keywords, including in photo descriptions and meta-information (but not keyword stuffing); get some valuable backlinks; be seen on social media; submit your site map to search engines; and keep your content fresh. SEO can be time consuming and costly initially, but the pay off is immense when you start to see your numbers of organic visotrs rise as your Google rank rises.

2. Blogging and guest blogging: Blogging is not only a great way to get that valuable fresh content, it also sets you up as a subject matter experts. But writing for other sites – especially popular sites – can be even more valuable in driving new visitors to your website through the backlink you get with your biography.

3. Pay per click (PPC): Google Adwords is the most common form of PPC advertising. And it means exactly what it says – you only pay for the clicks through to your site. But be careful, you need to word your ad (and use relevant keywords) to ensure you only get warm leads.

4. Retargeting: Ever wondered why, after you visit a website, you are all of a sudden seeing ads relevant to that website? It’s because there is what’s known as a “cookie” on your computer. As a business, you can take advantage of this technology by placing a cookie on the computers of your website visitors as well. A perfect way to keep your business front of mind.

5. Facebook ads: Millions of people use Facebook every day (Facebook reports 727 million daily active users in September 2103). And they cover all types of demographics. Plus, because they use Facebook to access all sorts of information about things that interest them, Facebook knows pretty much everything about its users. Which means you can target your ads very specifically. A very cost-effective way to bring in new traffic – you can set the budget and pay only for the clicks.

6. Videos: Did you know that YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google? Which means creating videos and uploading them to YouTube is a great way to drive visitors to your site. As well as create those all-important back links that help Google find you. And you don’t have to worry about creating something that viral” (although that would be nice!), you just need interesting content and a compelling call to action.

YouTube also sells advertising space on other people’s videos – a great way to target your marketing spend.

7. Email marketing: Online marketing gurus us it’s “all about the list” – this is the people who have signed up to receive your marketing message straight to their inbox.  It’s a great way to converse with people already engaged with your brand as it can sometimes take a few contacts before they buy. Give them and incentive to sign up, distribute interesting, compelling content, and remember not to be too “salesy” or they will unsubscribe quick smart.

8. Great customer service: If you give current customers a great service (and product) they will recommend you to your friends. And we all know word-of-mouth is the single greatest advertising medium there is – and best of all, it’s free! Same goes for your site – if you offer great content and a good user experience, word will get around. There’s even sites such as true local, where people can rate local businesses.

9. Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linked In offer exceptional two-way communication between business and customers. But like email marketing, you need to give people good reasons to follow or like you – and not bombard them with constant “buy, but, buy” messages.

10. PR: Public relations strategies can help you brand yourself and you business as the go-to “talent” in your niche. This will increase awareness and drive traffic to your site. Write and distribute press releases when you have something interesting to say (but keep in mind that press releases are not advertisements) and don’t forget online news agencies that allow you to upload your press releases.

Direct Sites Online has all the expertise needed to market your website. Call us today on 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com.au.

 

10 simple steps to getting online

business websiteThese days, a business without a website probably won’t be in business for long. And yet, many business people put developing a website in the too hard (or too expensive) basket.

We’re here to tell you that is not the case.

If you follow these 10 steps, you could have a business website up and running in no time at all, and at a fraction of the cost you expect.

  1. Register a domain name: This is your internet address (like your physical address, but virtual). It is the www.yourbusinessname.com that people key in to get to your website. It is often best to use your business name, if available, or to use a descriptive domain name – so if you sell padlocks, it might be www.padlocks.com. It is really important here to do the research – www.padlocks.com and www.padlocks.com.au are two different addresses (as are www.padlocks.net or www.padlocks.biz) , so if you want to avoid confusion, steer clear of registering a name that is similar to a competitor’s, and if possible, register all possible extensions.
  2. Choose a hosting service: If you are a large business, you can probably host your own site. But this can be expensive, and means you will probably need an IT department. A better option for small or medium business is to pay someone to host your site for you. This may limit your software and hardware capabilities, but it means much lower start-up fees and monthly cost, and you can get your site live reasonably quickly. And not all hosting services are created equally – if a bargain seems to good to be true, it probably is. And it probably means that you will be sharing the “cloud” with many other business, and the risk of downtime is high – not a good look if you are relying on your website for leads. (There are also some options where you pay nothing, but your site will have a domain that tells your customers it’s free. We don’t recommend this as it can look unprofessional)
  3. Decide on the type of web site: Do you need a shopping cart? Or the website merely an online brochure? Are you going to include a blog? News articles? A forum? A membership section? What pages are essential? Many small service business only really need a handful of web pages – home, about, service and contact at a minimum. And bricks and mortar businesses, the site may only be an avenue to drive people to the physical location (or at least make a phone call. (as an aside, here at Direct Sites Online, we hardly know anyone who still “let’s their fingers do the walking”. Instead, they let their fingers do the Googling – so if you don’t have a website, you will be virtually invisible).If all you need is an online presence, there is no point spending time and money on a website with all the bells and whistles. Another question you might want to ask before you start, is whether you want to be able to update it yourself once it is live – in which case you will want it to be developed using an open source CMS (content management), such as WordPress. Do your research by having a look at the sites of similar business and see how they present themselves online. Then talk to your developer about what you like, as well as what works and what doesn’t.
  4. Build yourself or hire a designer: Gone are the days where you needed to learn HTML to build a website – much of the latest CMS platforms offer WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). Which means anyone can build a site. But it doesn’t mean anyone should. For starters, without experience it might take you a lot of time – that could otherwise be spent earning a living. And without some knowledge of what good website design is, it might also mean that your gorgeous site that you spent hours agonising over, does not actually attract a single paying customer. If you can afford to, a better option is to get someone to design and develop it  – it may be cheaper that you think, drop us a line on info@directsitesonline.com.au to find out how we can help. Oh, and if you have some skills but lack others, we can help you with the things you are unfamiliar with.
  5. Get optimised: When people are looking for your product or service, the will general key in a phrase in their preferred search engine (the most common are Google, Bing or Yahoo). So it’s vital to make your site “search engine friendly” so that you can be found. Simple on-page SEO include using the keywords phrases that people might use to find your business. But don’t go overboard – search engines don’t look kindly on what’s known as “keyword stuffing”.
  6. Test your site before going live: Make sure you get people to look at it on various size screens and using various browsers (the most popular are Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer). And don’t forget smart phones and tablets. What they should be looking for a colours and layouts  – for instance, does the most important information still appear “above the fold” on the page on a smaller screen? Naturally, while you are checking the technical aspects, it doesn’t hurt to check for spelling and grammar errors – you don’t want to look sloppy and unprofessional.
  7. Promote your site: Start by adding your URL to all your promotional material – including email signatures, letterhead, business cards and flyers. Next you can list the website on a number of free directory sites (such as True Local or Hot Frog) and upload your site map to Google (and other search engines).
  8. Analyse your traffic: Use software such as Google Analytics to track the visitors who some through your site – where they are landing, where they go and when and where they leave. This is a great way to figure out your best (and worst) performing pages and ensure continual improvement of your site. Your developer or web host can help you with this.
  9. Seek feedback: Want to know what people think of your site? Well, ask them! You can put a survey up or your site through an application such as Survey Monkey or Zoomerang, or you can seek opinion via social media channels. Community forums are also a great way to get feedback from potential customers – but if you are hosting a forum, it can be incredibly rewarding, but time-consuming to moderate.
  10. Review and refresh: A website is not a tattoo and not only can it be regularly updated – it should be regularly updated. There are a couple of reasons for this – first, it looks unprofessional if people are landing on a website for information and seeing advertisements for specials and events that ended months ago and secondly, Google LOVES fresh content In fact, if you don’t update your content reasonable regularly, Google may end up not seeing you at all.

If you want to get online efficiently and effectively, call Direct Sites Online of 02 9557 7623 or email info@directsitesonline.com.au