Business owners are often asking how they can be ranked #1 on Google, or if they should trust the company that told them they would guarantee a first place ranking. A common turn of phrase is that a company told them they would “put them #1” on Google. If only it were that easy! I always steer clients away from such offers, tempting as they are, and try and explain the complexities and many factors involved in ranking. Google didn’t get to spawn its own verb by enabling folks to ‘put’ any ole’ site at the top!
This past weekend I gave a presentation at OC Wordcamp, discussing using a WordPress site for marketing your business, service or product. As promised, here are the some of the key points, along with links and tools that were mentioned. If anything is missing, leave a comment!
When developing a strategy for your site, the first and most important question to ask is:
Who do you want to come to your site? Who is your target audience?
Thou shall not answer “everybody”!
Get specific since the answer will provide the basis for all aspects of your online marketing strategy.
I’ve been given the opportunity to speak this weekend at OC Wordcamp (thanks Brandon!) on the topic: WordPress for Marketing. I will be discussing ways to optimize your blog to market yourself, your business or service. I’ll be covering things like:
- Some plugins you can use to help make your site ‘sticky’
- How to discover what people really want from your site
- How to collect information from your visitors and develop your mailing list
- Making sure your site effectively communicates your desired message
- Find out what’s working and what could be more effective on your site
Sometimes I give some freebie advice to my subscribers and readers by way of a blog post. I received an email from Becky at Classy Sassy Couture who is looking for more ways to market her website and improve her SEO. Classy Sassy Couture sells custom-beaded clothes and accessories via ClassySassyCouture.com. She also blogs at http://classysassycouture.typepad.com
Here’s a few of the questions/comments she had:
She tells me that she’s not sure what to blog about but that she picks up new followers whenever she blogs.
So first things first – that blog should really be on your own domain, e.g. classysassycouture.com/blog . It hurts me a little inside when I see people linking out to their blogs. While a popular blog hosted elsewhere can still help develop your brand name, it doesn’t help your site’s search engine rankings very much and it’s not very seamless for the user. One of the benefits of having a blog is that it can attract targeted traffic, and can boost your search engine rankings. But if all that lovely traffic is not going to your own domain, you’re missing out. So I would recommend getting WordPress set up on your site and creating your blog on that. You can export your content from Typepad and import it into a WordPress installation.
I frequently come across frustrated business owners who are still of the “build it and they will come” mentality. They don’t understand why they are not getting more web traffic, or why their marketing efforts are not having the desired results.
Any marketing strategy requires constant refinement to make sure it continues to serve your purpose. That also goes for the components of the strategy – making sure that your website, social media campaigns, ads, promotions etc are all optimized to serve your purpose is an ongoing consideration.
Here are some useful questions to apply to any marketing effort that can prod you into more effective action. If you feel that something isn’t working the way you had hoped, try going through these and seeing what you can do better. Make a conscious effort to step back and view your marketing from the objective eyes of an outsider – someone who knows little to nothing about your business.
Demonstrating expertise in your field using Q&A sites is a budget-friendly marketing strategy that can drive traffic to your website. Such sites allow the general public to tap the knowledge of the community to get answers to their questions. You gain from the exposure you or brand receives and you typically get a link from your profile back to your site. You can sometimes also reference articles you’ve written as a source, if that’s appropriate.
To make it easier to stay on top of this strategy I recommend you use an RSS reader to subscribe to the most relevant categories for you on your chosen sites and scan them every day or few days to see where you can jump in and contribute.