Recently I stumbled across this article by Kim Garst that provides some really good guidelines for your online business and setting up your website so that it is optimized correctly to earn a substantial online income.
Does Your Website Measure Up?
If you look around, all of the major name brands; top companies like Coca Cola and Victoria Secrets, celebrities like Michael Jordan and Taylor Swift, etc. are all represented on the Internet. Products, people, vacation spots, etc.; they are all there. Why? Because they know how important it is to be online because that is where people are! The truth is that the Internet is a gold mine if you understand how to use it to brand yourself and your business. Most business owners know that they must have a website to compete in today’s marketplace. They are aware that they need to establish their brand as reputable and desirable, and the best way to accomplish that is through the many options available online. However, many business owners do not realize that the first place to place their focus is on their website. Your website is your hub and all marketing efforts should expand and come back to this one location. A good website is the key to all online marketing.
You need a website that you can manage yourself! I have seen so many people over the years pay thousands of dollars for a website that has never produced the first dime in revenue for them. You need a site that will generate quick rankings in Google and other search engines. In today’s market, Google is often the first place Internet users go to conduct searches, find information and learn about a person, brand or company. Once you have identified what market niche you want to occupy, attention should be focused on your website and building your niche keyword strategy for optimal search engine rankings. You need to know how to achieve these results YOURSELF so that you are not reliant on someone else to get your business in front of your target market.
WordPress is the answer to owning your own content and firing your webmaster. WordPress allows you to own your own domain, manage your content in a simple copy and paste format and best of all, it is easy to set up and maintain. In fact, the most exciting feature of WordPress is how easy it is to use. Absolutely anyone can become an expert while playing with the software. It comes with a built in dashboard where users can set up blog posts, themes, tools, widgets, setting etc. until they achieve the look and feel that they desire for their website.
Like anything else online, information is power and while WordPress is a great platform and one I highly recommend, it does involve a learning curve and a commitment to your business to get your site where you need it to be.
Key Elements to an Effective Website
The writing on your website should be clear, concise and easy to understand. The writing should use proper grammar and be free of spelling errors. Whenever possible, refrain from using technical jargon and language that visitors might not understand. You may be tempted to wax poetic, and at length, about the benefits of your business, product or service, but don’t give in to this impulse. There will be time for that later. Visitors to your site want to know what you offer, how it will benefit them, and why they should purchase from you instead of a competitor – and they want to find out as quickly as possible. The recommended reading level for the best return on your content is approximately a 7 to 10th grade reading level. This website will help you determine the readability of your site. The lower the score the more understandable your content will be to your visitors.
Who Are YOU?
Your website should also reflect your personality. An “about us” page offers the opportunity to include a short bio about yourself and a photo or even a video. This tells visitors that you’re not afraid to let people know who you are and helps establish a personal connection. You can also provide more information about your business. This helps build customer confidence.
Visitors will want to know the cost of your product or service. People hate surprises, especially when it affects their wallet. Many businesses require visitors to sign up or otherwise provide contact information to obtain access to pricing. It’s an effective means for building links and generating leads, but it can also drive customers away.
Are You Blogging?
Business owners should also consider establishing a blog as an integral element of their website. Blogs can be used to inform, announce and inspire. They can include information about your product, technology relating to your business, and special deals or promotions. You can also offer coupons to entice potential customers to purchase. For those who can’t communicate effectively through the written word, or just don’t have the time to devote to writing their own copy, hire someone to do it for you. The cost is minimal compared to the dividends it will generate in future sales. If you choose to hire someone, it is imperative that you make sure that what they write is a reflection of you and your company. In other words, do not publish content that is furnished by someone else without making sure it reflects your business voice.
Having a connection to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace is a cost-effective means of promotion. Your webpage should include links where visitors can become a fan or recommend the site to others.
The Internet opens a variety of ways that can be utilized to bring your business to the attention of potential customers locally and worldwide, but your website must be in order first. It requires an attention to detail, offering what customers want and a willingness to seek help if and when you need it.