Q. Why do I need a website?
A. Websites are about communication.
Every single business should have a website – how are potential customers supposed to find you?
People are searching for you online and every time you don’t come up, there’s another missed opportunity to build your business and brand.
Consumers turn to the web before making a purchasing decision. A strong web presence allows you to point people to where they can find more info about who you are, what you do and what products and services you offer.
A website is also a great platform to connect and engage with current and potential customers, create a community around your business and promote special events and other content you create, including your newsletter, social networking page etc.
NB – Social media sites like Facebook are not a substitute for a website – more consumers visit company websites than business media pages.
Q. But websites are expensive, aren’t they?
A. Not any more, with technology evolving so rapidly, websites are nowhere near as complicated to set up and therefore expensive as they used to be.
At Clever Cuttlefish I use WordPress to create websites because of it’s functionality. The top 1 million most popular sites in the world run on WordPress – that’s enough for me!
So these days, you really can’t afford NOT to have a website.
Q. A website is just an online ad – isn’t it?
A. No. Your website is also a marketing machine, working for your business online as you work in your business offline. By using a whole slew of techniques, you can inform, entertain and engage with your customers to produce sales.
Q. What does SEO stand for?
A. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a web marketing technique whereby having keywords relating to your business in all your online content like your website address, Facebook page, and image names etc. assists with getting your sites noticed by search engines, such as Google.
Search Engines search billions of websites for the words people type into them. They then produce a list of web results of all the websites that contain those keywords. Websites are ranked in order of relevance ie. the websites which contain the most information about the term searched.
Google looks at two things when searching through all the websites:
- Content of a page which is worth about 30% of relevance, and;
- Rest of the world ie backlinks – which are worth about 70%.
Google sees backlinks as a vote for your website – like a vote of confidence. Backlinks are very valuable – more on backlinks below…
WordPress sites come with SEO setup and along with keywords in content and back linking, I also install an SEO plugin. Having a website doesn’t automatically guarantee more sales.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. And remember, plenty of bricks-and-mortar businesses thrived before the internet was invented!
Successful businesses need to have their fingers in many pies – online presence, social media platforms, print advertising, business cards, in-house marketing, promotional materials and good personal relationships.
My passion is web design and marketing, so if you insist on paying for SEO I’d be happy to refer you to an SEO specialist.
Q. What are backlinks? And why are they so important?
A. Backlinks are links to your website from other business websites. The more backlinks you have, especially from reputable sites, the more recognisable your website is with search engines. More SEO opportunities!
So, for example, if you own a restaurant and it is mentioned on a review site, a backlink from that site to your website helps your SEO – which helps people to find you online. This includes having links to your Facebook page from your website & vice versa.
Q. What is meant by “Social Media Sites” or “Social Networking Sites”?
A. There is a clear opportunity to build consumer relationships and sales via social media.
Most small businesses grow through word of mouth referrals and with the internet being more important than it ever has been, the value of those word of mouth referrals are at their highest right now – yet most ignore this effective way of communicating.
Your presence on social networking sites like Facebook, and the content you post or share, is like a business card that can be easily referred to and “passed along” to friends and associates.
Consumers also turn to their friends through social networks, when deciding what company to purchase from.
Your “business” friends often love seeing the human side of you. Social media has to be part of your whole brand these days. It is a resource you need to use and it is a big cultural change. It’s also a great way of reaching a new audience fast.
Signups on Facebook are soaring. Business owners see these platforms as ongoing free marketing. Social media is now an undeniable force in modern-day communication.
While social media & applications (apps) will continue to evolve over the coming months and years, 2 things are certain:-
- It’s only going to get bigger and;
- No business can afford to ignore it
The social media tidal wave is here. Are you swimming with the current?
Q. What is Facebook and why do I need it?
A. Facebook is a social media networking site. Facebook dominates the social media space capturing more than 97% of social networking users and over 60% of all internet users. It is used by more than 90% of social media users from both sexes and by all age groups with average users spending more than 5 hours a week on the site.
Facebook is where the majority of your customers, their family members and friends are living their lives.
A greater percentage of the “would be” customers in your community use Facebook than use other networks.
Facebook is critical to most businesses – particularly small and local ones. If you have a good profile in Facebook with your business’ name, when somebody types in the name of your business in Google, your Facebook profile will show up very high in the list of results.
Facebook allows you to create events, check-in locations, local deals, photo galleries, discounts, giveaways, product information and other tools that draw customers in and drive engagement.
People “check-in” to a location (ie. your business) letting their friends know where they are currently. Not only is this advertising for your business, if their friends are in the area, they may pop in to visit them.
The more people check-in, the more people decide to meet up with friends there or book it themselves, and so the business increases it’s chances to increase customer loyalty and keep them coming back for more.
Facebook is not just for high school kids. In fact, the mums & dads have outnumbered the high school kids. The fastest growing segment on Facebook are in the 45+ age group.
These mums and dads have the purchasing power and are the decision makers. So don’t you think it would be smart idea to connect with them on Facebook and attract them to your business?
Your business should be taking advantage of the marketing opportunities that Facebook offers. And here’s why:-
1) You’ve simply got to keep up: When it comes to Facebook, your business has already fallen behind the competition if you’re not there. Consider that Facebook has over one billion users!
2) Connecting with customers is more critical than ever: Connecting is king – people connecting with each other and to businesses they like. Customers you connect with on Facebook are some of the internet’s most engaged users. And that translates into lots of good things for your business, including higher satisfaction. It’s also an effective way to communicate news and information about your business.
3) To promote your brand: As a place to build your brand, Facebook has few peers. But it doesn’t happen by itself; you have to be active and post useful, interesting, relevant content that excites people and makes them fans.
4) It’s fantastic for speedy feedback: Facebook is a great way to gather customer feedback on your products, services, promotions or plans, or just hear what customers have to say in general. Consider it a key extension of whatever customer service and support mechanism you now have. A tool called Facebook Insights can provide detailed info on who’s visiting your page and what they’re looking at while they’re there.
5) To be a bridge between your online and offline efforts: Your offline advertising and marketing, including business cards, flyers, in-store, outdoor, print ads etc, can direct customers to your Facebook page. Once there, they can share experiences or learn about an event or product. You can easily post a message to Facebook in a matter of minutes.
6) It will help customers find you: Well-built and “optimized” Facebook pages can perform well in search results, leading customers to your page. What’s more, with millions of Facebook users now use Facebook’s own internal search tool when they are looking for something, so you have a good chance of showing up that way as well.
7) It can boost your sales: The point of all this connecting and communicating, of course, is to drive sales for your business in some way. Facebook Places is a vital location-based marketing service for local business. 97% of businesses that use social media believe that it will increase sales by 8% in the next 12 months.
Everyone’s on Facebook – your business needs to be there too.
Q. What is Twitter?
A. Twitter, as defined by Wikipedia,
“Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. Updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them.”
Q. What is Instagram?
A. Instagram, as defined by Wikipedia,
“Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Originally, a distinctive feature was that it confined photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 4:3 aspect ratio typically used by mobile device cameras. In August 2015, version 7.5 was released, allowing users to post photos captured in any aspect ratio. Users can also apply digital filters to their images. The maximum duration for Instagram videos is 15 seconds.”
Q. How can video work for my business?
A. YouTube is the second most popular search engine.
According to YouTube “People are watching 4 billion videos a day on YouTube and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily.
In fact, every minute, 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.
Search engines recognize and rank video higher than webpages – a great addition to your SEO. You can make a simple video ad using still photography combined with video to create a mini-movie promoting your business cheaply and quickly. You can then post these videos on your website, on Youtube and on your Facebook page.
Q. What is location based marketing?
A. Remember, one of the most common ways that people find services in their local area is via search engines like Google.
Aside from acquiring customers, location based marketing can carry significant search engine optimisation (SEO) benefits. The most important thing to realise with Google Places is that anybody using a location as part of their keyword search is likely more ready to actually buy or visit than someone doing a generic search.
Location based search marketing is going to become very important as GPS enabled mobile devices become more popular.
Mobile and location marketing is about reaching people who walk by with local offers which can be shared by applications and other web platforms with ever-growing numbers of consumers turning to their “smart phones” as a way of making informed decisions, being visible in this medium is becoming a necessity.
It is vital that your company is present either with a website, a Facebook page and registered with Google Places when such searches are carried out, otherwise you will lose out on potential revenue and customers to the competition.
Q. What is Google Places?
A. Google Places is another great tool where you can register your business, contact details and a link to your website so it shows up in searches.
This is a very important backlink as Google is such a huge and reputable company – it ensures great search engine optimisation for your business when searched through Google’s search engines. (Registration of your business at Google Places is included as part of your website setup)
Q. So where do I begin? How do I order my website?
A. Send me an email via my contact page telling me something about your business. Include as much information as possible ie. your type of business, typical customer, brand colours, logo, existing business cards etc. Let me know if you like any particular websites you’d like your site to resemble. We can then arrange to meet for a no-obligation chat on your needs and expectations for your website and business marketing.
Q. How long does it take?
A. Websites are a lot more time consuming than people realise. It’s the design that takes time – finding the right theme for your website, colour schemes and images. Typically, it can take up to six weeks to completion. You are very welcome to communicate all your thoughts and wishes, however if I believe a better image or colour would suit, I will tell you so.
Q. Is there anyone you won’t work with?
A. Yes. Difficult people and those who think they know more about websites and SEO than I do. If you’re such a know-it-all, build your own site. Also, if you’re a non-payer or someone who constantly complains that they could have got a site built cheaper elsewhere, not only will your site be pulled down as soon as you refuse to pay, but I will also terminate our contract and you can try your luck getting what I offer for cheaper. Frankly, I don’t need the hassle – or the business. I am extremely busy and have a great relationship with all my wonderful small business owner clients.
“People buy relationships – not just your product or service.”
Paul Spiegelman, CEO of Beryl