It is true that any offline business, no matter what the industry can see tremendous increases to their bottom line by venturing into the wilderness online. Don’t be fooled because a wilderness is really what it is.
Anyone can set a website up. In fact, when you buy the domain name, there’s often an up-sell option to include a website builder with it, letting you click your way through a website design that will work for your business. Although, it will be a template based design that isn’t unique to your company, but it’ll get the site up on the net nonetheless.
That’s only the beginning of a long trail-blazing road of trial and error, not really knowing where the compass will take you. A bit too much of the keyword and your into penalisation territory. A little heavy on the tagging side of things, and you could be faced with search engine de-indexation, catapulting you into oblivion.
The myth that’s circulated all over the net is that for a business to be successful online, they must capture organic traffic from search engines. Even Yahoo is taking advantage of that one, and charging for a directory listing, despite the fact that you don’t need to pay to get listed organically.
And don’t count Yahoo out or Bing either, by focusing solely on Google. They’re getting to be the most notorious search engine for businesses to deal with, and why is beyond belief. They dominate so much they can do as they please, without repercussions.
That said, the skinny on Google, although they try to hide behind all sorts of algorithm secrets, is that they only list what people trust.
Sure there’s certain algorithmic factors scanning web pages to index them in the search database, but in terms of ranking organically, it’s not really any secret. You only need to look at the first page of results for any search term, and you’ll see that they’re mostly made up of “trusted” websites – websites that have social factors such as Facebook likes, retweets, plus ones, as well as the odd social bookmark sprinkled in for good measure.
Search engines are starting to use social factors to identify trusted sources, but that’s not the point of this post.
The point is that it isn’t only search engines using trust metrics. It’s people. It’s your customers and potential customers that use the trust factor before deciding if your business is trustworthy or not.
Just as discussions take place offline in little village tea rooms with friends asking for advice on services, or products… they do the same online. They chatter on Facebook, ask questions on Google Plus, and Tweet the news around Twitter. The more chatter there is about your business, the more popular you become.
You’re no longer in a contest to get your website online. You’re in a land of a popularity contest, contending with every business within miles of your location. Some customers will travel the extra few miles if the trust is established, and that is why you need to be using all the tools of the trade you can muster together, so you can win the fight and gain the custom.
It’s the only way to get online and come out a winner, without getting scorched in paid marketing techniques.
The key to success is building on your authority. That gets hard fast as you have your own business to contend with, without having to deal with customer service pings coming in from all the different channels you can find yourself on. It’s enough to make you pull the plug before you get a chance to get it off the ground.
Offline, you have one place to be found, but online you have to be everywhere, to get the most exposure possible.
That’s when small businesses find themselves unable to compete with the global giants. Local businesses have one main thing going for them, when they are unable to compete on a price basis; they’re small and independent for the most part, and that is why people will pay more for the personal level of service they receive.
To keep those high standards up for current and new customers alike, there’s no point in taking yourself to the brink of burn out trying to keep up the pace of maintaining a wide presence online.
Right here on Tweetingz.co.uk, I’ve been helping businesses around the UK contend with the competition. It all started on Twitter, and since then the service has grown to include everything from professional web design, copywriting included, with social media management services able to keep your brand prominent on all the major platforms online, ensuring every small business has the best chance of success right from the get go.
I don’t claim to know every intricate detail about business online, but I can promise you that I know enough to get your business found on the platforms that matter.
If you are one of those business owners looking to get online with a visible presence, then let’s talk.
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