Top ten ways to stand out from the crowd. By Jake Magleby
The Internet is a powerful tool for businesses. However, it can be difficult to navigate the complex and often confusing World Wide Web. If you are looking for ways to stand out from the crowd, check out these top ten tips for getting your business noticed online.
As far as online exposure goes, getting your business website crawled and indexed by Google is key. Search bots, called spiders, crawl the internet to find content. They jump from page to page and site to site through links.
This is why it is important that you link your pages together and invest in a good link-building strategy. As you build links to your website and connect your pages, Google will find your site more easily and index you in their search files. Then, when someone conducts a related search, your business will appear in the results.
One of the quickest ways to get indexed, besides link building, is to submit your website to online directories. Blog directories like Technorati and Bloggeries have thousands of websites on file, organized according to category. Google frequently crawls these sites so when you get listed on these directories, you are likely to be indexed right away.
The Internet is a bustling community and if you want to reap the benefits of this interaction, you have to be prepared to join in the conversations.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to start a discussion group on a social site like LinkedIn or Google+. Not only will this allow you to reach a wider audience, but it will help you build your business brand as you offer valuable information, insight, and expertise to a related topic.
Another way to build your online business brand is to share information via Slideshare. Slideshare, as its name implies, is a social sharing site that allows users to upload and share PowerPoint presentations. This is an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your business’ industry prowess and build a trusted brand.
Today, most people compare products and prices online before they buy. As part of this process, they use online reviews to help them make their final choice. Because people trust the review or opinion of other buyers—personal testimonials seem more trustworthy than a company promise—it is incredibly important that you garner positive online reviews of your business.
A simple way to do this is to ask your customers for a review following each interaction. Include an optional review or survey at the end of your transactions or emails. Additionally, provide calls to action on your website and in your emails to encourage customers to review you on Google, Yelp, and other social sites. This is an easy way to build up a base of positive reviews for your business.
A word of caution: not all reviews are or will be positive. And, unfortunately, there are many fraudulent reviews that unsavory characters post in order to discredit businesses and other institutions.
Many of these reviews can be found with simple keyword searches with the business name, such as “Boostability complaints.” If you find yourself victim to such fraud, the best thing you can do is continue to promote your company in a positive light and garner the trust and positive support of your customers.
We’ve all heard this before, but optimizing your website is vital to ranking high in the search, and therefore crucial to getting online exposure for your business. Whether you do it yourself, or hire a professional, take steps to optimize your webpage by including descriptive, keyword rich tags, content, and links.
These small actions will make a big difference in how Google (and other search engines) interpret and rank your pages. The better your SEO, the better your rankings and the easier it is for potential customers to find your business.
Don’t limit your scope to your own website and Google Ads. Use other blogs and websites in your industry to advertise and build links.
Contact blog owners about including paid advertising on their blog pages. There are many reasonable ad packages available. Do your research to find blogs that have high quality content and high traffic so you can get the best (and most) exposure for your business.
If you don’t want to pay for sponsored ads, you can also invest in a guest blogging program. Guest blogging is a great way to build relationships with other websites, reach different and varied audiences, and strengthen your link building.
Having the right Calls to Action (CTAs) can make the difference between a visitor who just browses and a customer who buys your product. If you not only want to attract people to your business page, but keep them there, developing effective CTAs will help.
Studies show that the more specific your CTAs are to your product or service, the better their conversion rates. Experiment with different copy on your CTA buttons.
Make sure your CTAs are cohesive with your overall web design and theme. For visually larger buttons, use colors that are tempered and softer so as not to overwhelm the viewer. Use brighter colors (complementary colors work well here) for smaller buttons, in order to draw the eye. You will have to invest in a little trial and error, but over time you should be able to discern which actions work best, and implement those CTAs into your website.
It is no mystery that social media is important for businesses and people alike. If you want your business to get noticed, get social. Register your business name on various social sights, particularly Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Do some research to find out what social networks will be most effective for the audience and customer base you are trying to reach.
Moreover, be consistent and engage regularly on your social accounts. Interact with customers, respond to comments, and participate in discussions and forums. You will build your business brand, develop a rapport with your customers, and gain greater exposure to target markets.
Invest in a high quality, professional design for your business website. It is not enough to simply “look pretty.” The design must be functional and intuitive in order to make the user experience satisfactory.
Make it easy for visitors to find your contact information, about page, and any other relevant info that brought them to your site in the first place. Be sure that your pages load quickly, are navigable, and provide value to your traffic. Linking content and pages will send traffic through your site, decreasing your bounce rate and (hopefully) increasing conversions as a result.
Keep your design both visually and functionally appealing and your business will be much more noticeable among all the mediocre websites out there.
Finally, if you do all these things but fail to pay attention to content, you will lose whatever traffic you have attracted and your conversion rates will suffer. Never underestimate the power of high quality content.
Make sure the copy on your website is a polished reflection of your business. The better the content, the better your business looks. Give your visitors reliable and valuable information, and make it easy for them to find what they are looking for.
This is important both for the home page of your site, as well as any blog posts, articles, or references. With high quality content, you are more likely to convert the traffic you receive into paying customers by the end of their visit.