I am not writing with the search engines in mind and I am not promoting anything. Instead I want to share what I have learned so that you can make informed decisions about your web presence.
When I practised I never had to bother with social media or marketing on the internet.
I had too much work all of which was either repeat business or recommendations by word of mouth.
Since giving it up I have had to learn new skills but the old ones have never left me. I like to understand the process rather than just take someone’s word for it.
When I understand the principles then I can use them in a way that makes sense to me rather than being led into situations that I would have avoided had I known what might happen.
Imagine you build a basic circuit of a battery with wires going to and from a light bulb via a switch. You then flick the switch but the light does not shine.
You know that it should work but it doesn’t…so what have you got wrong?
Now lets say that your website is the battery and the switch is traffic and the light bulb is conversions of your product. You know that it should work but it is not. You are nowhere in the SERPs and you have very few visitors and no conversions.
So you put up a Facebook page as someone has told you that it is a great way of getting traffic. Months later nothing has happened and you give up on this internet lark…….because its a waste of time and you don’t understand it anyway.
I have great sympathy with that. It happened to me. I had this great product on a good website but nothing happened. But it should have done. I was certain that I had done all of the right things but it did not work and I wanted to know why it had not.
So I kept trying different things. I built different sorts of websites and tried all sorts of traffic generation tactics. I learned by experimenting and getting it wrong more times than I got it right.
And during this process it dawned on me that everything on the web is connected. So you must see the big picture and work backwards rather than looking at the small picture and working outwards.
There are over 7 billion people on the planet and probably half of them have some form of access to the internet. Do you want 10,000 visitors to your website a day all of whom leave after 5 seconds or do you want 100 who will buy what you are selling?
So the trick is to find the 100 and give them what they want. But you know that and you also know that there is no simple solution.
Strategic marketing involves deciding that you are going to find the 100. Tactical marketing is the platform(s) you will use to find them.
They are two different things and sadly people ignore the strategy and just concentrate on the tactical and then give up when the tactic does not work.
Like you I have read endless pages on all the features and benefits of marketing on the web but very few that talk about the practical side. They don’t tell you for example about how difficult some of the forms are.
They make it sound so easy to build a list but don’t tell you of the joys of integrating optin forms, autoresponders and preparing newsletters.
They are educating or selling you on different tactical marketing strategies or tools which will not work the way you want them to unless you have spent time on your main strategy.
When you build a house you do not start with the roof. You start with the foundations and allow for the service connections. Then you build the walls, the stories and finally you put the roof on.The last thing you do is decorate and furnish it.
Your website is the foundation in the above analogy and if that does not work then the rest will fail.
So you have to look at your website not as an owner but as a visitor for everything else that you do on the web is for the sole purpose of getting visitors to your site so that you can convert them into customers.
Is your site nothing more than a 1-3 page pamphlet that says “This is What I Do…This is where I am….This is how you contact me…and by the way I am very honest and sincere and slightly wonderful”
Why would anyone ever come back to that site? What value did it give them? What makes your message different from everyone else’s?
I have seen sites for taxi firms that are rubbish. All they do is spout jargon….Our cars are clean….our drivers are polite….we wont let you down…..reasonable prices.
Well I should hope so. All that goes without saying or at least it should unless I was looking to pay too much for a ride in a dirty car with a driver who turns up late and is rude to me.
If I am looking for a taxi then I am probably going to be using my phone. So I want a site that is mobile responsive with easy navigation. It should load quickly and have tap to call.
The content needs to be mobile optimised as search results on a mobile are different from search results on a desktop.
These are the strategic points that must be considered and satisfied before you spend time sending traffic because the wrong traffic will do you more harm than good.
I have explained in one of the articles that search engines work on relevance. But what does that cover? The content obviously but also the behaviour of visitors to the site.
How long do they stay, what do they look at, are they new or returning, does the site take too long to load, can the site be read on a mobile, where did they come from (a search or a link on another site), are there any social signals about the site?
If you have 1000 visitors in a month but the average time on the site is less than 10 seconds you will have a high bounce rate.
Google interprets this as your site not being relevant to what the searcher was looking for and so will not list you in the results.
If your site is not indexed then the search engines do not know that you exist but if they have indexed the wrong pages then they will be deemed irrelevant and you get marked down for having bad content.
If your backlinks profile and anchor text ratio is wrong then again you get marked down. The former means that if you run a hairloss clinic it is suspicious if you get a link from a landscaping site. The latter is when you target keywords too often.
The links on this site are all light blue but the words around them are all dark blue. The words in light blue are the anchor text. So if I had 50 links from 50 different sites and the anchor text was always Social media marketing (I made it light blue but the link goes nowhere) that would be unnatural and my site would be marked down.
But if 30 of them had either the url (and there are 8 different ways of writing the url) or words like…..read more…..click here…. and if 10 had words like MyDomainDesk…..infocus…..social media explained…and the remaining 10 had social media marketing then that would be considered normal.
And if all the links and social chatter about this site came from me and my other sites then all I am doing is voting for myself….and that does not count
My first site failed because I did not understand any of this. My strategy was only concerned with the technical side of delivering my product.
I did the right things as far as the content was concerned and did the right optimisation for search engines (SEO)….and nothing happened. A few visitors but no sales. I now understand why and one day I will go back to it and start again.
No….it is just one of the pieces in the circuit.
You want the 100 buyers not a stream of window shoppers who look and pass by.
First they have to find that you exist. This may be through a search engine so you must keep the search engine happy.
It may be from a paid advert by using Adwords so you have to make sure that the site is relevant to what the searcher is seeking.
It may be from a link on YouTube or some other Web 2.0 site so you will need to have put relevant content on that site with a link back to your site.
It may be from Facebook or Google Plus so you must have an active helpful presence on your business pages that encourages people to visit your site.
However they find you they will want to check you out and see what if anything people are saying about you. So if you have no footprints and no social presence then that will be seen as suspicious….why are you not on facebook or any other social media….what have you got to hide?
Is it fair?….Of course not.
And it all leads back to your website which must concentrate on engagement by giving the visitor what the visitor wants. It must load quickly and be easily navigable. It must supply the information that the visitor wants in a way that makes them happy.
Do you now see how it all connects together?
That if you get one thing wrong or miss a step then it can all fail.
Whether you are just starting or already have a website the first step is to map out your strategy. Here are the basic steps that must be considered. I have them set out as bullet points only for I could write tomes on each of them….and the list is not exhaustive.
Ask yourself who is your audience, where do they look/congregate online, what are they looking for and what information do they want. Can you supply that information and if not where can you get it.
Decide what you want the visitor to do when they come to the site i.e. do you want their email, or do they buy something, or book a meeting etc.
How will the website present and deliver that information and deliver your goals.
Where will you leave them.
Who is going to do each part. Will it be inhouse or external. How much will each part cost and what are the ongoing costs.
As you have gone round this site you will have gathered that you need to invest both time and money to have any chance of making your website work properly and your social media activity effective.
And what starts out as new and fun soon becomes a constantly hungry and demanding beast that has to be fed with new content and interaction all the time.
This is why so many start and then give up. They are too busy running their business to devote time to find build and maintain both a technically sound website that the search engines find relevant and have an engaging social presence online.
Lot of information for you to take in here. Hope it has made you think but please do not be cross with yourself if what you have done so far has not worked. Now you have an idea why it did not work and what you can do to fix it.
If you need or would like some help or pointers then use the Contact Us page and lets have a natter.
My thanks for reading….and as always please click the button