Thousands of websites companies do the following for their clients every single day.
They create a website that the client is happy with, looks good, has all the little bits and pieces that the website company think will work, and what the client thinks they need. The colours look good, graphics look good, wow it even looks great on mobile.
- Job done.
- Payment made.
- High fives all round.
- End of job.
Time passes and nobody visits the website bar the customer themselves and what I call the accidental tourist.
The Accidental Tourist
Below is a snapshot of analytics for a website that we launched for a client near the start of November. The peak you see at the start is where he shared the new link on his business Facebook page and as you can see the numbers dropped over the following few week. I predict that the daily visitor numbers will probably be about 8-9 visitors per day. This is very typical.
Most new websites with no marketing plans exhibit identical behaviour.
How People Find Websites with Zero Inbound Marketing
You may ask did we as a website company not make it “SEO friendly” and “optimise the pages”.
We do take care of a lot of on site SEO related items but this on its own it won’t help too much.
We set the site up so that all the pages have meaningful page titles, with decent content on every page.
As it is a WordPress site we use the hugely popular plugin from Yoast which make pages have meaningful titles and a few other features that sort out some SEO functionality.
We created a sitemap and submitted to to Google Webmasters so all the right boxes are ticked.
So how do visitors find a site like this at all?
Well they don’t. If they do it is largely by accident.
Google the Actual Business Name
In the case above the client has a physical premises, people already know about his service so the majority of his visitors are just looking for directions or his phone number when they search for his business name.
They Google the business name, get the link and click on it and find what they need as they already know thy want to use this company.
Nothing wrong with that.
In many cases that is perfectly fine with website owners. But if you don’t have a physical premises are relying on online to generate business and nobody knows you exist this is far from enough.
The Magic Formula to Make Millions Online (Joke)
If you look at the definition of marketing (per Wikipedia from the American Marketing Association) it is pretty clear.
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
If you want to be successful online then you need to be doing just this creating, communicating and delivering.
Now for someone who never did that it is a huge paradigm shift and many don’t make it.
The issue we encounter more and more is the implied message that having a website implies an automatic growth in business.
We are very clear with our customers on this front. We explain that having a website is just about the first tiny step to getting more clients for their business.
Making Your Website Work for You
I could write 10,000 words (and more) about how you could market your website and your business online.
But in simple terms you need to be doing something regularly and consistently on your website in that creation, communicating and delivering side of things.
If you are in a competitive area online then it takes a corresponding amount of effort. In areas where it isn’t so competitive not as much but it still needs to be done.
A Simple Example
We created a website last summer for an identical type of client. Busy successful tradesman, wanted a website and hoped it would get him some more business. We created the website and his marketing plan was this (which of course we created for him).
- We create a decent new piece of content on his website every month (about 5-600 words) for 6 months.
- We boosted a post and share it on his business Facebook page (for a modest budget) once a week.
Yes thats it.
To be completely clear here his business is in a small niche market but as a result of above he is now second in search and gets 2-3 email requests a week through his site and 1-2 from his boosted posts.
The approx net value of this to him is about 750-1000 a week. He is running local newspapers adverts also and already was working in this space so this isn’t his only income.
It took about 2 months for this change to happen but it did happen.
In more competitive spaces, content alone won’t move you up the rankings and building your authority takes more work but the mechanics are much the same.