Being part of the small business community as not only a solopreneur, but also as a volunteer with the local chapter of SCORE and my town’s Main Street organization, I know my fair share of new business owners who have websites that aren’t ranking well in online searches and who don’t know how to otherwise draw attention to their sites.
It’s frustrating for them – to say the least. When you’re getting your business off the ground, you want and NEED to be found. But most startup entrepreneurs don’t have the cash on hand to hire an SEO/SEM expert to help them drive traffic their way.
I’m certainly no SEO expert, but I’ve learned a lot and have realized some favorable results through my own experimentation with my online presence “formula.” And there’s no reason why you can’t economically (i.e. free) make improvements to your online situation. My advice: emulate much of what web hosting and managed services provider Dynamicnet, Inc. published its blog post, Do It Yourself Search Engine Optimization.
In a nutshell, blogging and social media hold the key to making others aware of your business, your offerings and your value proposition. And there are some core behavioral practices you’ll need to make part of the equation as well:
- Be willing to do the hard time. – Setting up your blog and social media profiles takes thought and more time than you’ll want to spend, but you’ll need to suck it up and do it. The more consistent your brand is across each and every one of your points of online presence, the better your chances of being found when prospects are looking for someone who offers the services or products that you do.
- Keep up keeping up. – Blogging and social media require discipline and ongoing attention. You need to be consistent in your efforts to engage and interact with your audience on those marketing channels. Luckily, your blog posts can serve as content for your social media posts, so you can kill multiple proverbial birds with one stone when you publish new blog articles. And there are tools (for example: Hootsuite, Buffer, Tweetdeck and others) that automate the sharing of content on – and simultaneously across – various social media.
- Stick with it. – DIY SEO is not for the faint of heart. You may not see results the first day, or in the first week, or in the first month. Heck, you could be looking at a year or even longer before you actually get emails and phone calls from prospects who say, “I found you on Google.” That doesn’t mean that your blogging and social media efforts won’t be driving people to your website or generating leads sooner, but getting found via organic search results can take much longer as a multitude of variables comes into play. And remember, not everyone can be on the first page. You might indeed need to hire someone to increase your chances of ranking there.
Recognize that getting noticed on the web won’t happen overnight. But with consistent effort to cross-pollinate by blogging and staying current with your social media, you’ll steadily increase the visibility of your business online.
Your turn! If you’ve done DIY SEO, what challenges and triumphs have you experienced? What strategies and tactics have worked best for you?