Bling. You’ve won the lottery and the first thing you bought was the vintage convertible Porche that you’ve been wanting for years. You’ve imagined the thrill of driving it around town, in the mountains and along the coastline in California. You’ve imagined how your life will be so great once you have this car.
So, the car is delivered. The driver rolls it off of the car carrier into your driveway and gives you the keys. It’s your all yours!
You’re thrilled. The car is magnificent. The paint job perfect. You get into the car. The leather is soft as butter. The vintage console is so cool. It’s everything you dreamed it would be.
You put the keys in the ignition and realize that the car has a stick shift and you don’t how to drive it.
And, before you can even get a lesson on driving it, it needs gas in the tank, oil in the engine and air in the tires. So, it sits there, in the driveway while you figure this out.
You call a few friends to come see it. Your neighbors stop by and rave about the car. But to realize your dreams, you’ve got to learn to drive that stick shift, then you have fill up the tank, check the oil and pump up the tires and do the few maintenance things it needs so you can take out on the highways and let it do what it’s supposed to do.
It’s much the same with your business website. It amazes me how many people spend their time and money and obsess over every word and image on their websites, only to have them sit in their driveways.
Here is a to-do list of things that help to get a business traction when launching their websites. I’ve included links from blog posts I’ve written that go into more detail on each.
- Set up a Google Analytics account and link it to your website.
- Check your Google Analytics regularly to see what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.
- For a brick and mortar businesses or that a service is provided to clients at their or your location, set up a Google Local Business Account and claim your business on other directory websites such as Yelp or Trip Advisor as indicated.
- Set up a Gravitar (globally recognized avatar) which uses your headshot or other image and follows you from site to site like when you comment on yours or others’ blog. It’s free to sign up which you can do using your email and a password.
- Upload, activate and configure the Yoast SEO plugin. Make sure the settings are such that Google does not index each post in the archives. Set archives to “do not index” to avoid Google seeing duplicate content.
- Sign up for the social media accounts relevant to your audience. The usual ones are: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram. Fill out your account profiles thoroughly and use a professional looking headshot and branded imagery on the profile/cover pages. If you are a solopreneur, use your own name and photo for your Twitter profile rather than a business name. With Instagram, you can have both personal and business accounts.
- Get a free account on HootSuite so you can see all of your social media activities on one dashboard. It will make it easier to keep up with your account activity.
- Create a MailChimp account and start an email marketing list. Embed various sign-up forms on your website where people can add their names and email addresses to sign-up to get content that you send them. Being invited into someone’s inbox is one of your most important marketing tools you can have because it gives you an opportunity to keep in touch with people who are interested in your content.
- Create a blog for your website and design it for maximum readability using dark text on light background, and 16-18px font size. Include a branded image with each post.
- Create five to eight categories for your blogs. Assign each post to the one category that is most relevant. Don’t use tags unless you have a reason to do so.
- Research and develop a list of keyword phrases you’d like to rank for in a Google search. Make a list of blog posts titles you can write on topics related to your keyword phrases.
- Write blog posts and publish them on a consistent schedule, preferably once a week. Optimize your posts for your keyword phrases using the Yoast SEO plugin. Send a teaser for your post to your list using MailChimp and link back to the blog so that your subscribers can read the rest.
- After you publish the blog post, create social media posts linking back to the blog. We recommend using the CoSchedule plugin to make it easy to do the social updates for your blog post right from the WordPress dashboard.
- Check for and respond to comments people make on your blog. Comment on the blog and social media posts and of influencers in your field in order to get on their radar.
- To encourage website visitors to sign up for your mailing list, create a special opt-in offer—something simple like a tip sheet or short instructional video that solves a problem related to your expertise as an incentive for people to sign up.
- Nurture your new followers. Create a series of automatic emails that are set to go out once someone signs up every 4-5 days over a couple of weeks to help them get to know you. After the autoresponder series is complete add them to your regular mailing list so they get your weekly posts in their inbox.
- Create an account with Canva for Work. Upload your logo and brand colors. Create a couple of templates to make it easy to create branded images for your blog and social media posts.
- Grow your Twitter followers by following a selected group of industry leaders and people in your target market. Follow 25 people each day and then unfollow those who after some time period don’t follow you back. There are tools that can tell you who is not following back.
- Share images related to your work or company culture on the Instagram account for your business. You can set up your account to automatically post your Instagram images to Facebook and Twitter. Use hashtags (#) quite liberally so people can find your account. You will also get followers by following other accounts and sharing their images.
- Stay current in your field. Check out other blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sources to find articles your audience may find interesting and share them on social media sites. Keep track of your finds and keep your articles organized using an app such as Evernote.
- Grow your list with activities such as speaking, organizing, joining, networking. Always refer people back to your website to sign up for your mailing list so you can grow your community. Sign up for Nathalie Lussier’s free 30 Day List Building Challenge.
You don’t have to do all of these things for your website to get some traction. But you do need to create even a simple marketing plan.
Learn how to drive your website and keep the tank filled up with a blog post each week and do a few posts on social media. Choose the activities you think will make the connection with your target market and then do those things on a regular basis, just like adding gas each week.
Keep working your plan and tweaking your site and your methods. and you’ll start to see your site zip all over the Internet where others will see it and like it and want to do business.