In today’s marketplace, your website is the most important marketing tool you have for online lead generation. As the hub of your branding and marketing strategy, your company website is the destination for visitors who have found it in a search, your other advertising, or from the URL or QR code on your business card. But does your business website produce the marketing, leads or sales results you expect?
Many company websites are little more than electronic brochures. They provide information about the company, present their mission statement and display a photo of the corporate headquarters. These few pages of website content were likely lifted directly from the company’s 3-panel printed brochure, with little thought given to the visitor’s user experience, much less the expected marketing outcome.
Small business owners, who often wear the marketing hat as well, are busy with running the day-to-day operations of their company. So add to their website problem, that the website probably has not been updated in quite a while. No wonder then, that website visitors aren’t burning up the Internet tubes to set an appointment with your sales team.
Attract more visitors with content they care about
Frequently adding new content to your website is a critical component to your Inbound Marketing Plan. More content means more opportunity to be found online and getting more pages indexed in the search engines for a wider set of keywords. Building your website using a Content Management System, such as Wordpress or Hubspot allows you and/or non-technical employees to easily add new content, including new web pages and a blog.
Review your website. Are there any pages you should add? Look at your competitors' websites for ideas. Here are some ideas of pages you can add to your website.
- About Company
- Management Team
- Company News
- Customer Testimonials
- Product & Services
- Industries Served
Launching and developing your business blog
Blogging is an absolutely critical component of helping you get more pages indexed by search engines, generate more traffic and achieve your website marketing success. According to HubSpot data, companies that blog attract 55% more site visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages. Further, companies that blog achieve 126% more lead growth than companies that don’t. Here’s a checklist of things to do when starting and planning your blogging activities.
- Subscribe to other industry blogs. Search on http://blogsearch.google.com for ideas, to subscribe and comment.
- Make sure your blog is hosted on a domain name you control. (eg: www.yourcompany.com/blog, or blog.yourcompany.com)
- At a minimum, post 1-3 articles per week. It’s better to write several short articles than one long article.
- Do not promote your product or service. Focus on who your typical or desired customer is and write about their needs and interests. Educate your readers with your blog articles to passively position yourself as the expert.
- Use the HubSpot blogging platform, or a Wordpress plugin to ensure that your keywords are used in the right spots.
- Use the HubSpot blogging platform, or Networked Blogs, automatically promote your posts in your social media accounts.
- List ideas for your first 3 articles and then get writing!
What to blog about
So you have your website set up with your blog software and you’re ready to start writing. Now what should you write about? Specific types of posts such as data, infographics, how to articles and lists - usually perform very well. But, you should test to see which types of articles a) attract more comments b) attract links c) get shared via social media d) get the highest readership. Here are a few thought starters to get you started writing great blog topics.
- FAQ’s. Answer the questions that your customers ask you.
- Talk to your reader, not at them. Write in a conversational manner, as if you are writing a letter to your reader.
- Speak from your own experience. Providing your own perspective positions you as a trusted leader.
- Make a prediction. Everyone want’s to know what’s going to happen in the future.
- Join or start a bloggers group. Having a group of people who meet regularly is a great way to stay motivated.
Optimizing your pages for search engines
Writing your blog articles using appropriate keywords for your industry will help rank higher in search engines. Use the keyword research tool provided by Hubspot, or Google Keyword tool to select appropriate keywords. Both these tools will help you select relevant keywords to your industry, and rank them in a number of ways, including by search volume and difficulty. Great keywords are those that have high search volume and low difficulty. That means that people search often using those keywords, but they would still be relatively easy to rank well for in the search engines.
Search Engine Optimization consists of 2 parts:
- On-Page SEO is done as the website is built and may be modified over time if necessary to improve search engine results. Use the checklist below for guidance as you implement your on-page SEO.
- Off-page SEO involves getting other websites to link to your website. This is done after the website is live and should be an on-going task. Follow these suggestions as you create your link building strategy.
On-Page SEO: Modifications to the pages on your website
- Review web page components to ensure that the keywords are being used in the page title, headings, anchor text, alt text and body copy.
- Make sure the title is unique on every page and is 70 characters or less.
- Make sure the meta-keywords tag focuses on the important keywords for that page. It should contain 10 keywords or less.
- Your meta-description tag should contain marketing text with keyword phrases embedded. It should be 150 characters or less.
- Add a Google xml site map.
- Add the tracking code from Hubspot or Google Analytics to your website for benchmarking statistics. You will review them monthly.
- Add a permanent redirect for domainname.com to www.domainname.com [This can mess up your web site if you do it wrong! Call a tech expert for inbound marketing services if you are unsure how to do this step!]
- Make sure you use keywords in the link text when linking to pages within your own website.
Off-Page SEO: Links from external sources
- Make sure all of your web pages are indexed in Google
- Make sure your website is listed in free directories like DMOZ, and ZoomInfo
- Consider reputable paid directory Llistings, such as Yahoo!, Business.com or industry-specific directories
- Using HubSpot’s Link Grader, see who links to your competitors and ask them to link to your website too
- Organizational Links (.org) are considered to have greater value (i.e. chamber of commerce & other business organizations you belong to)
- Partner Links – exchange links with value-added business partners
- Social Media and Social Bookmarking Links
With these simple steps, you can get stared today turning your company website into an online lead generation tool, rather than just an electronic brochure.
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