Just An Expensive Electronic Brochure Or A Profitable Site?

Most websites are just expensive electronic brochures that do very little or nothing for the business concerned.

It is strange how business sense seems to go out of the window when it comes to the internet and the world wide web.

The internet and internet protocols (IP) provide many businesses – especially those in the SME sector – the chance to improve their productivity and profitability dramatically. But too many see it as “too difficult” or “too expensive” or something that they just “don’t [want to?] understand”.

They have been however convinced that they “must have a website or they are not even in the game”.

Yet too many businesses’ whilst they have ignored the opportunities that IP offers them at such a reasonable cost, once they have built their website then proceed to ignore that!

It’s very strange. How many businesses would say?

* ‘Let’s build a new store and then leave it empty’;

* ‘Let’s plan a direct mail campaign buy all the kit and then not bother to buy the stamps to send it out’;

* ‘Let’s pay for the stock and then just store it’.

Yet those are the equivalents of building and paying for a website and then not promoting it effectively in ALL advertising and promotions INCLUDING the world wide web itself.

One can see why people think it might not be worth the effort. There are over 55,000,000 top level domains on the web. There are nearly 12,000,000,000 web pages with about 10,000,000 added daily! On the other hand web based business is growing at 15 – 25% compound annually

There are millions of web searches by millions of people every day [See Google Zeitgeist to get a flavour of what people search for – the other ‘big cats’ Yahoo and MSN also have similar pages.] Please ignore the fact that the most popular searches are actors and news etc. What do you expect? There are plenty of more ‘mainstream business’ searches too.

Some examples of the other UK searches that are done:

– Builder over 150,000 times in May 2005 – builder Bristol 57 times.

– Fashion over 800,000 times – far too many for me to bother with says the local retailer. Oh yeah! Click here – notice what the search engines can do now!

– Hotel was searched for over 5,000,000 times in May 2005. Hotel Bath was searched for 1,652 times; Bath Spa hotel 497 times, hotel Bath England 263 times and hotel Bath UK 228 times and there are a bucket load of results in the 100 plus searches category.

Over 85% of people use a search engine to find their way around the internet the majority use Google but Yahoo and MSN also have very large numbers of followers and cannot be ignored. There are also thousands of smaller general and specialized search engines and directories that are regulalry used.

If you are not working the search engines, familiarising yourself and your business with Pay per Click marketing, building up your prospect and customer email list and using your website to generate prospects that lead to sales then why bother having a website?

So you will ask how do we go about all of this?

Clearly the obvious answer is ask us to do it!

But a few tips are probably more what you were looking for! So:

– Look at your web marketing plan as a long-term effort to grow your site to be the best most comprehensive (local / regional / national / interactive / amusing / something) resource on your product or service.

– Be clear about what makes your site better and more valuable to your site visitors.

– Make sure each page within your site targets and is optimized for only one or two keyword phrases each.

– Use 2 – 6 word phrases instead of one-word keywords and you’ll get more targeted visitors as well. Search your top keyword phrases on the various search engines so that you are aware of the competition and the volume of sites already successfully ranking for the terms you are targeting.

– Use this information to help you with Pay per Click campaign development.

– Add new information to your site regularly. Resources, white papers and tips not only add value but will naturally work wonders as keyword targeted pages. Offer the type of information those seeking your product or service will find useful and search for and that other sites will want to link to. You need to have well written content of value; not keyword stuffed ramblings.

– Use the resources and downloads you offer to build your database.

Finally, just one other point – it doesn’t “happen the next day”. The technology is fast but search engines are programmed to provide the most relevant results – that means they realise that longevity is important and expect that good sites understand that they have to be ‘proven’ to rise up their rankings.