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Creating A SME Web Presence That Delivers

 

Guest articles > Creating A SME Web Presence That Delivers

 

by: Niall Devitt

 

In the today’s business environment the Internet has become an extremely powerful business tool. At a minimum it can be used to generate plenty of juicy new sales leads or at its full potential delivering a full e-commerce sales vehicle and revenue stream.

Unfortunately this been said it still tends to be the very large business groups or industry specific groups such as the hospitality sector that use the internet to anywhere near its full potential.

Using the Internet for your companies’ business advantage need not be either a complicated or costly measure. I believe armed with a little knowledge you can start to develop your company’s web presence so that it will quickly become an important part of your business strategy and ultimately deliver plenty of new sales and customers.

Your Website

Your website is your both your company’s shop front and product showroom on the web. Therefore it’s critical that you put in some work beforehand and plan for its design, wording and creation so that it delivers your company, people and products in their best light. Start by asking yourself questions. What do you want to achieve from this process? Can your on line presence add to your bottom line?

Goal

Once someone visits your site they become a potential customer so the primary goal of a business website needs to be to guide and encourage the visitor to make a positive next step such as giving contact details (leads), picking up the phone to call (leads) or making a decision to purchase on line (sales). Don’t forget a web designer’s business is the look and feel of the site not what your customers will want so you are the one that is best placed to manage the process.

About

Keeping your primary goal in mind your site is also a source of information to your potential customers. In other words, it’s like a sophisticated on-line brochure providing potential buyers with relevant information about the company, its people, products and existing customers. What is a potential customer likely to want to know about your business to help them to buy your product?

Text

The text needs to contain a decent sprinkling of the key words (search terms) that your potential customer is going to type into the search bar when searching for your product. In this way it’s very different to a standard hard copy brochure and that why it’s never a good idea to just replicate existing hard copy text on line. This bit requires some research beforehand from you. You may feel you have a good idea of what people are lightly to be searching for but you also need to consider and research less obvious keywords and search terms. Not doing this is lightly to be cutting off large numbers of potential visitors and ultimately customers. Include all these keywords in the text of the site and where possible in the text of your home page. It is also worth considering that search engines love new information so where you can stay away from coping or replicating existing on line content.

Pictures and Bios

It’s a good idea to include pictures and bios of the main people within the company. This allows you to demonstrate to the potential buyer the levels of experience within the organisation and show off any relevant qualifications and achievements.

Graphics

Buck the latest trends and keep graphics to a minimum. While they can look good they sometimes create more trouble than they are worth. Heavy graphic dependent type-sites are extremely difficult to get a good ranking on Google or the other search engines due to the nature of how websites are indexed. Remember Information rich sites rather than flashy sites usually win the ranking battle within the search engines.

E-content

Newsletters, blogs and free advice are a great way of keeping your potential customers on the site while also giving you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field. The process of having a visitor sign up for a newsletter also provides you with sales leads.

Links Page

You also need to create a links page in your site. This is to allow you to add relevant links to other sites within your site. You include this page so that you can start to exchange links with other sites and build up the back links to your site.

SEO

Now that you have created your website you first need to get it listed in Google, Yahoo and DMOZ. You can wait for the search engines to discover your site or alternatively you apply to have your site listed. Yahoo charge for the privilege but if you wait they will pick it up. Once this is done your next task is to ensure that your site appears high enough up the search engine listings so that people actually click through and visit your home page. This is called search engine optimisation or SEO for short.

One way to do this is to pay an SEO specialist company to do this for you or alternatively you can do it for your self. In simple terms search engine ranking is decided by three factors

1. The number of links backs to your site
2. The quality of these links
3. The relevance to your site of the sites linking in

Online Directories

Your first port of call should be on line directories. There are literally hundreds of directories out there that will list your site. Some charge for the privilege but many don’t. Be warned this can be a time consuming process because you have to enter the details about your site with each application and many take months to list your site. Remember try to target directories that are in some way relevant to your site i.e. Irish, Industry, business or product related.

Link Exchange

Exchanging links with other sites is another extremely effective way of building up the number of quality back links. Again target sites that are relevant to your business. Contact their web or IT person by e-mail or phone and propose to list their site provided the return the favour. Ideally you want to target sites that have a better or at least similar page rank than yours. To see what page rank a site has download the Google toolbar.

Online Articles

You can also write articles within your area of expertise and get them published online including a link to your site. One way to do this is to set up a free account with a site such as www.ezinearticles.com. These types of sites provide a service that allows their visitors to publish your articles on their website or blog therefore creating additional links back to your site. Alternatively you can target relevant sites and directly request to have your article published. Well-placed articles also deliver quality additional visitors and potential customers.

Google Adwords

Adwords is an online advertising service provided by Google. You pay to have your site listed for specific keywords and search terms. In effect you bid for relevant keywords and your site appears somewhere in the sponsored listing section. Where it appears depends on the popularity of the specific search term and the amount that you are prepared to pay. Adwords is a good way to get visitors to your site while you are building up your search rankings.

Google Page Rank

Page rank goes from 0-10 (10 being the highest) and is how Google views the importance of your website. Building up the number of quality back links is the easiest way to achieve a higher ranking. Results take time but it is worth the effort over the long term. Download the Google toolbar and you can watch your rank increase over time.

Summary

Your website should be an effective on line marketing and selling vehicle for your company. It can be used to generate good quality leads or be full e-commerce revenue stream for your business. Creating a professional business website is only the first step, it also needs to appear high enough up the search engine listings so as to attract sufficient visitor numbers. Lastly it will then need to hold these potential buyers attention and guide and encourage them to make a positive next step. This process doesn’t have to be costly provided you are prepared to invest some of your time and energies. What you will get back depends largely on what you are prepared to put in.
 


Niall Devitt is a training consultant and business mentor. With over a decade of experience working as senior sales manager and trainer for some of Ireland’s top companies his expertise lies in creating and implementing performance driven sales programmes. Niall is regularly asked to contribute business articles and his advice has been published through the Irish National Press and broadcast on Radio. Visit his blog on business know-how at www.btbtraining.com.


Contributor: Niall Devitt

Published here on: 30-Sep-07

Classification: Internet, webmaster

Website: www.realworld.ie

MSWord: Creating a SME web presence that delivers.doc

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