In the digital age, your website is everything. It's your business card, your storefront and your brand all rolled into one. Making sure your website sends the right message — and making sure that your potential customers can find it — should be the first items on your marketing to-do list.
Ethan Willis and Randy Garn run a business coaching and consulting firm called Prosper, and they specialize in helping business owners create effective websites that also rank highly in search engine results.
They give BusinessNewsDaily readers five very useful tips on how to start make their website more marketable and accessible.
Social media optimization
The first step to search engine optimization is social media optimization (SMO). It's the golden ticket to higher status in searches. The formulas used to calculate your status in search engine rankings depend on two basic activities: participation and promotion.
Participation in other networks and communities — such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn — are crucial. You should rate articles, submit articles or websites other than your own and build a network of people who are interested in you and your company.
Promotion involves promoting your own articles or websites to the other people within your network. You should also promote others, returning the favor. By participating and promoting, you increase SMO. Expect major payouts in the form of traffic — the kind that converts to sales.
Get listed on directories
Directories are a major way to gain credibility and link popularity for your website. A lot of directories have good page ranking, and it is a good way for your site to get a one-way link from a page that has a good page rank. The best source for finding free and paid directories is a list kept by SEO Company.
Articles help to create back-links to your website, gaining link popularity and furthering natural search engine optimization . Submitting just one article a week creates the opportunity for as many as 20,000 potential published sites. The goal is more back-links to your site than to your competitors.
Keywords in your articles are critical to increase your site's rankings and popularity. Paying for article submissions, at least part of the time, may help to increase your Web popularity. Paid submissions often allow your site to anchor up your major words in your articles. In most cases, paid submission also guarantees your article is submitted. There are several good resources for article submission. They include: Article City, Go Articles , I Snare, Financial Resource Directory and Article Fever.
Avoid poorly executed designs
Like it or not, your business marketing advertisements become an instantly recognizable symbol of your company. If successful, people see your advertisement or your logo and instantly recall your product and business information. If poorly executed, your advertisement becomes the punch line of a bad joke. Think message but also go back to basics with good grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Color plays a surprisingly large part in ensuring successful website design . Fast- food restaurants frequently use oranges, yellows and reds in decorating, packaging, and advertising. When choosing colors for your website and your brand, know your target audience and the intended effect you wish to have.
Harness the power of pop-ups and banners
The most profitable advertisements — those leading to sales — are pop-ups. The most successful pop-ups are placed on your own website advertising a special, a sale or a new product.
Look into upcoming software, such as WhenU, which places price comparison pop-ups on competitors’ sites. Although such software is fairly new on the market, users have found these pop-ups much more profitable.
Banner ads have generally been considered a customer acquisition tool. However, recent research suggests that 12 to 15 percent of clicks on a banner come from return customers. Use rich media (something more than just plain stationary text) in your banners to create customer retention.
Ethan Willis co-authored "The One-Minute Entrepreneur" (Crown Business, 2008). He is passionate about entrepreneurship, has founded or co-founded six businesses in the past twelve years, and has employed over 5,000 people during that span.He has been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, and a Top 100 Entrepreneur by Vspring, and his companies have been recognized as one of the best places to work in Utah.
Randy Garn is one of the founding partners of Prosper Inc. He currently oversees the New Business Development Department and works closely with some of the world's most renowned educators, speakers, and thought leaders.
Garn has founded several online marketing companies including AdCafe.com.He was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, was a Top 40 under 40 Entrepreneur, and has helped the company receive various awards in social and charitable involvement.
Garn and Willis have written a new book, also called "Prosper" (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2011)