Online Marketing in 5 Easy Steps; Part 1 of 5

The reality is that in today’s digital world, no business can see success without online presence. Though building a website is indeed the first step in creating that presence on the web, there are a number of things that must be addressed in order to have a complete online marketing strategy.

In this first of a five part series, I will address the 5 essentials for creating an online presence that will mean conversions for your business.

Step 1: Build User Friendly Website to Create a Base for Your online Marketing Efforts

Building a user friendly website may seem like an easy enough task to accomplish, but there is much more to it than just creating an about page, putting up some information and pictures, and flipping on a switch.

In addition to being “people user” friendly, your site must be “search engine user” friendly; in fact, it’s the latter that gets the people to your site in the first place so as much attention must be paid to what the search engines “see” as to what your human visitors experience.

Here are a few tips for creating an “All-User” friendly website that will get you well on your way to digital marketing success.

Begin with a blueprint of your site based on your target market and a thorough keyword search. If you are in the hospitality industry in East Africa, or example, you will want to determine who your customer is and how you can best speak to that customer. Is your business a luxury boutique hotel on the beach in Kenya that caters to adults only? Maybe you’re a tour operator that has fun, easy tours for the entire family. Based on your target personas, the product you have to offer and the keywords you know people are using to search for your kind of product or service, you can develop an outline of your site that is complete with main static pages and their content, main menu items, sub-menu items (if any), blog style and categories for dynamic posts, internal pages, and media content.

Develop your logo and branding. Also based on your target persona, you’ll want to create a logo and a promise {Sometimes called a tagline or Unique Sales Proposition (USP)}, as well as look and feel for your website.

 

Is your business anupscale spa situated on the shores of Zanzibar? You may want your logo, your USP, and your site design to reflect relaxation, pampering, sumptuous luxury, and affluence. The colors, layout, font and logo all lend to the feeling that a visitor gets when they land on your site; your USP tells your visitor, with your words, what to expect.

Look to the future. Decide before you ever begin what your big picture is. While you may want or need to start small, you’ve got to think big so that your website can evolve with your business. If you are using a Content Management System (CMS)- and you should be- to build your site, this step is especially important because you’ll likely work with a template and you don’t want your site’s evolution to be hampered by a template’s limitations. Will your site one day have an online shopping cart where you might sell vacation photos, videos or memorabilia? Will you need a booking engine and online payment processing for reservations? What about creating social interaction for your customers? These questions, and more, are all questions you should be exploring before you begin.

Search for, and purchase, a domain based on your company name, product and service, and purchase hosting for your website. It is recommended that you buy at least 2 years of hosting in advance so that search engines will take your site
more seriously. If you are working with a site developer this is something that he or she may guide you through, but never allow your developer to buy these things for you or host your site in their name. You should always retain ownership and control over your domain and your hosting.
Choose what kind of content management system you will work with. You will find that there are some developers out there that still insist on developing your site in HTML and PHP; this is not conducive to easy content management and content is an absolute must for the success of your site. Unless you have a huge e-commerce site with hundreds or even thousands of products to sell (in which case, I’d look at Magento), I would consider one of the three major players in open source CMS platforms: Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal (in that order). I like Wordpress because it is the easiest to understand and use, and because it has the most free or premium templates and plugins that make it best for search engine optimization.

Choose the right template or theme for your website, keep expansion in mind and make sure that it is responsive. Then, get to work on customization and content placement based on the roadmap you
started with.

Finally, take care of the details.

  • Onsite SEO (titles, permalinks, header tags, descriptions, alt-tags, keyword density, and site map)
  • Easy to find and use contact information
  • Make sure your visitor knows what you’re about and how to contact you above the fold (before he has to scroll down)
  • Don’t forget a good Call To Action (CTA); in fact, you should have a few
  • Remember to let them opt in (use a form and a good CTA) so you can collect their contact information
  • Make font big enough to read easily and content easy to skim through, yet dense enough to satisfy search engines
  • Content, content and more content. Search engines and people alike want good, relevant, easy to understand, well-written, current content.

Author

Lynette Garet is a copywriter with over 20 years of experience and proficiency in traditional marketing, digital marketing, copy writing, editing, optimized content creation, SEO, project management, voice-over work, narration, script writing, and production.

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