Internet Insights for Small Business Owners
I know how it is. When I started out applying my mind to the internet, how it works and what the great World Wide Web can do for me, I often balked at the idea of the hours I had to spend on my computer, learning. But learn I did, and 11 years later there are a few internet insights which, if small business owners apply them, can grow their ‘web worth’ in a way which presents their company in a professional and compact package to people surfing the internet for specific services.
Growing your online identity
First up. The internet is a competitive place. People read a few snippets and articles from Google advisories, developers and online marketers (like myself) and hope this will be sufficient to embark on a successful online marketing campaign. Too often it ends up in frustration, unfinished business listings on soon forgotten directories, dormant social media pages and lots of money spent on connection fee’s to Vodacom, CellC, MTN, Telkom and other ISP’s.
On the web, more is often less – Don’t cram your content
The natural flow of language is what drives traffic. When you start cramming your content with keywords and what you believe is relevant phrases and headers etc, search engines will penalise you. Search engines which index and give importance to your web pages are programmed to root out overkill and penalise manipulation. Don’t do it.
Writing for Google and other search engines is simple. It’s no less and a little more than writing a letter to a girlfriend you haven’t seen or heard from in a while. Tell her what you’re doing, where you’re doing it and how you’re doing it using language which would ordinarily flow in discussion or in answer to a question.
A few things to do before embarking on internet marketing campaigns
- Company Bio. Have a plan, sure. More importantly, have a company profile which fits the plan. Writing up your Company Profile or Bio is a must do.
- Services – Create a list of services that you provide. Give each service a heading and under that heading add a description of the service. Another must do.
- Imagery – Accumulate, create or purchase images which will represent your company from your logo to product and service images. Must do.
- Email – Get your email properly configured on your device. Must, must do.
Is it necessary to have a website built for my business?
The answer, although many developers looking for revenue will disagree, is no. Is it advisable? Absolutely! There are business owners out there who allocate time and data and get reasonable ROI through a combination of relevant paid and free directories, classifieds, social media platforms and online networks. So no, it is not necessary to register a domain, host it and build it. Just be aware that you’ll be missing out on some valuable leads.
Browsers look for company websites. It is an integral part of online reputation. Your website is your web address, your online real estate, the home of your business. When you register your domain, it is the property where your potential and current clients will most often visit. An optimized website drives traffic from search engines.
How do people looking for services use the internet?
Search engines rule the internet. While directories, blogs, social media platforms and websites drive traffic, it is more often than not search engines like Google, Bing and others will get you there. Service seekers will use keywords and phrases relevant to their search. Usually, unless looking for general information, the seeker will also use a location. For example: “Bootstrap suppliers Boffersfontein” (I know! ?).
Social media is more about communicating with clients and interacting with potential customers. For example, some will use social media to provide NOTICES to their followers. Optimizing a website for search engines serves both the communication and service seeker aspects.