By Sloan Brothers with Daniel Kehrer - StartupNation
Dear StartupNation : I've built a darned nice website for my new business that cost us a few bucks. But sometimes I still feel like we're almost invisible. How can I pull more traffic and prospects? I'd like to see better results from our internet investment!
For a new business - heck, for any business - visibility is vital. If prospects don't know who or where you are, you're sunk. A well-done website offers great potential for boosting your business visibility. But with a zillion sites vying for clicks, it's easy to get whooped in the website visibility derby.
Search engines are your secret weapon and a key to internet success. Every day, millions of people use search engines by typing in words or phrases to describe what they want. If your name pops up in the results list at Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask or any of dozens more like them, the benefits are golden.
The art of making that happen is called search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is all about increasing your online website visibility by creating just the right keywords to describe what you offer, organizing your site to capture search engine attention and building good links to your site from reputable sources. You can do much of this yourself, or seek help from one of the SEO services catering to small business.
Seven website visibility-boosting tips:
* Use descriptive and informative text on each page of your website, choosing words that relate directly to your product, service or industry.
* Highlight and feature your most important content first, in a clear, uncluttered fashion.
* Ask other relevant sites to link to yours. One measure search engines now use to measure your site's importance is the quality, and, to a lesser extent, volume of outside sites that refer to your own.
* Be sure to create distinct titles for each of the pages on your website, and use your keywords in the titles.
* Write descriptions that are clear, factual and free of excessive superlatives (best, cheapest, biggest). People prefer sites that are more factual and less "sales talk."
* If your geographic location is relevant, use it in your site and make it part of your list of keywords.
* Don't expect all search engines and online directories to find you. Many directories, such as the Yahoo! directory and the Open Directory project, offer paid submission options - take advantage of them.
Our Bottom Line
Having a website is great, but without traffic and website visibility, it's not going to do a heck of a lot for your small business or startup - take some initial steps to boost your visibility with search engines, and watch your traffic and sales grow!
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