In the first article in this series I will logically begin at the beginning, the design and layout of your website or blog to give it the best start for seo purposes.
Website or Blog?
This all depends on one of two directions you may wish to take. Both have the same advantages when creating an online presence it just depends on your own time constraints or to put it mildly can you see yourself writing articles or updates to your blog either daily or at the very least twice weekly? If you said no then you should opt for the traditional website or HTML (static) website.
What kind of products or services should you offer or promote is entirely up to you. I have to take a moment here for a rant, just a small one but over the past few years I have seen some marketers talk about ‘finding niches’ and discovering the few areas of the internet where there is very little competition. All well and good you might think but if you want to find the three people who want to build a chicken coup for their one legged bald chicken, be my guest. To me this is like jumping in a puddle for the same amount of effort as trying to swim the English Channel. The internet is a multi billion industry with all kinds of services and products available to sell, hire, be affiliated with or just sell your own products.
So why not be a part of it even if it’s only a small percentage. For instance the pet industry here in the UK is worth 3BILLION pounds, it’s hard to say what that figure is In the U.S. but it’s obviously big and there’s always room for one more. A niche idea would simply mean delving through the ideas you might have or know about, narrowing it down you could say. If you like dogs you might want to start a blog on dog grooming and the best ways to do so, or you could pick a
particular breed of dog such as the Labrador and produce ebooks available for download describing how to look after your Labrador through its “Puppy Years” to a one about “The First Two Years” and one “Caring for your Labrador in Old Age”. Alongside those ebooks could be adverts that are related to dog ownership, dog leads, collars, dog baskets, dog food etc..
This can be done for any amount of items or peoples tastes that they might want.
The most searched for are women’s fashion, you don’t have to have an online shop that sells everything but again narrowing the field down you could focus on perfume, evening wear, ladies watches, handbags and so on. Whatever you decide there is a market for it, so again do what interests you, if you like it, chances are there are many thousands of others too who have the same interest.
Don’t paddle in a puddle, float in the ocean that is the internet. Just as a side; the percent of just 0.001 (very little surely) of that £3BILLION is £30,000. That is more than a living wage and can be put on autopilot with an online blog or website, with no more time than an hour or two a day for promotion and advertising. Life isn’t always about dreaming big it’s also about the fundamentals or basics. Offer anyone a website now that will pay them $30,000 – £30,000 a year and they’ll tear your arms out to get it.
Starting A Blog
A blog offers a few more promotional aspects such as submitting content to other online blog directories such as HubPages, Blogarama and others. If your blog has been up for any length of time, you’ve likely touched on the same topics over and over again. For example, you might have several articles about training your pet Iguana to skateboard, that he might be the next YouTube sensation or building a tree-house from cardboard.
Sadly, your older articles aren’t being seen any more. But what you can do is gather these related posts together and link to them all from one hub page.
These pages will be visited by people looking for in depth info on that particular topic and you’ll gain new visitors to your blog. Your hub page only takes a few minutes to build. Simply write a quick description of each article and link to it. (Static HTML websites don’t have this blogging, content affect)
Choose a good headline for the page that indicates it’s a great resource for the topic. And include an opt-in box for updates on that particular topic.
This way your readers who are super focused on this one topic will get updated when you post more. And as an added bonus, these pages often rank well in search engines. Remember to link to them from guest posts, forums, and comments sections, this will give them added ‘weight’ in search engines.
There are many more ways to engage with your website audience with a blog, such as comment boxes (make sure you check the boxes about what those who leave posts can do, such as the amount of links a commenter can leave. This will only allow for your site to be spammed if you don’t.) You can create surveys or other interactive means to engage with your readers and have them stay longer on your site and encourage them to come back. WordPress has many available plugins and it is worth researching their depository.
Starting A Website
A static or HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) website can be just as effective and perhaps more as a sales tool, seeing as once complete it doesn’t need or take to much time to update, leaving you more time to advertise your website.
Also it is generally ‘direct’ in the way it can lead your visitors around the website still interacting and engaging but in a way that leads them to either a point of contact, sign up, to learn more or ask for a sale. Rather than a blog which has multiple ‘Tags’ for various articles or posts which sometimes can take a reader off piste as to what it is you are either A) trying to say for a particular product or service you are promoting and B) the sale or contact/sign up action you would like your reader to make. Both can be a great sales tools and both can be overloaded to distract potential sign ups or sales, just be aware not to clutter either with adverts, videos or too many articles that take your audience away from the main point, getting that email. In essence one, the blog can be part of its own promotion while a static website is going to need a mix of various promotional tactics, possibly search engine optimisation or being found in the search engines, just as a blog will do if done right.
I say possibly because there are many different sources of traffic that you can gain without being number one in any given search engine. The marketing possibilities are given a more thorough airing in a separate article. For now I just wanted to give you an idea of the first ‘tool’ in your internet armoury. A clean uncluttered website or blog that has one aim and that is to capture your visitors email.
Stay tuned as the next article in the series wher I will deal with the onsite optimisation process in which I discuss the internal ways of linking your pages for best practices. Thanks for reading, all comments, good or bad below please.