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What Does Ranking on Search Mean?
I am a Marketing Professional. I live, eat and breathe marketing to help companies thrive, and even administer marketing CPR to business owners when necessary. I live to promote viable products and services and to express intrinsic value for businesses when it comes to customer relationships. None of it, nothing, matters unless your product, service, or brand is findable in the expansive ocean we call the Internet. I don’t get to decide if what you are selling is something people want; that happens before you come to the marketing table. With all that in consideration, I ask plainly, how is it that I find you when looking for your product or service?
Before Digital (I call it BD), companies were limited to high cost, low reach print ads in local newspapers, Yellow Page ads, and handing out lots of business cards. Today, After Digital (AD), our options to reach people are infinite. It all starts with a website presence and knowing your choices with internet media starts with search engines. Google your company name (put your company name in the address bar of an internet search engine such as Google, and see what others see). Then search for a few keywords which are words that describe your product, business, or service, and see what comes up. If your business doesn’t come up on the first page of a search using a specific keyword related to your business, then your business does not exist.
DIY or Not DIY?
Let’s inventory your digital assets. The biggest asset you have is your website. It’s an inanimate object, floating in the Cloud waiting to be discovered. The most important thing you can do before you build a website or have someone build a website for you is to know what SEO is and how it is implemented into your website making sure it mirrors your business goals. The search engines rule the internet and knowing the rules of engagement are critical to business survival. Don’t believe the DIY website builders that this is an undertaking you can do without experience or specialized knowledge. There’s science involved in getting on the first page of a SERP, which are the page listings of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query.
Website builders are CMS builders or Content Management Systems that manage and arrange pictures, video, sound, and written words. DIY website builders depend on your ignorance to buy into their “solution”. Their basic solution is taking your money for a barely functioning, expensive internet business card. The hope is that you’ll build using their free tool and then you must continuously upgrade their services and the associated costs to increase functionality. You want people to find you? That’s gonna cost you something whether you start out “free” or create your list of functions you want your website to perform and evaluate those costs upfront.
Not having a brick and mortar location doesn’t negate the cost of having start-up costs. Yes, the overhead part of your cost of doing business won’t go to leasing an office or shop, but you’ve got to have a budget for your online presence. 1 in 5 small businesses fails in their first year. That is a sobering statistic. It’s my observation that the reason for this disconnect is underestimating the costs of doing business and not having a thorough go-to-market plan. Understanding sales and marketing in the digital age is key to your survival.
Website Builders and Developers 101
Do-it-yourself website builders are out there. There’s WIX, Shopify, Weebly, Squarespace and more. If your business is a side-hustle or hobby, then these will do for a small revenue stream. A business that will scale and grow requires much more. Your website will need to inform, connect, engage, sell products or services, manage inventory or service personnel, and collect fees, taxes, and calculate shipping costs. You’re going to need a website built by a developer who understands how to program those features and then implement keywords, content, and SEO so it all works together shining a light on your brand to prospects.
You’ll also find website designers who say they “custom code” websites. If this is true, then the cost will be much higher than a DIY builder and it comes with all kinds of risk and takes much longer than using a template to develop a website. You are literally married to the company or person who designs your “custom” website with code because you immediately can’t make any changes without them.
At some point in time, the developer goes away, changes course without checking how that will affect your business, or even worse, disappears. It happens too often. Get a website built on Fiverr or Thumbtack by someone in a foreign land for cheap and you’re creating huge vulnerability. My phone rings and I hear angst from business owners whose websites disappear and the developer is nowhere to be found.
CMS Builders and Next Steps – What You Need to Know
So, you must decide at the very beginning of your business during the planning process if you’ve got the technical acumen to navigate business and website decisions and challenges or if you’ll need help to make decisions that will propel your business to profits. In the middle of the website developer world are many choices. Questions to ask before you proceed with a website build are:
Be sure all these questions are addressed before you create your own or hire a website developer. Be sure you have documentation on software purchases and licenses and that you have logins and passwords for every piece of software or app used on your website.
Ranking Organically on Search
So why all the yellow flags? As soon as you buy a domain, you’ll start getting solicitations for Google Ads, Google business listings, getting on the first page of a Google search, and more. The whole goal when it comes to showing up on search is to come up in a search organically without paying for Google Ads. The complete key to ranking properly is to follow search engine rules and develop an ongoing keyword strategy, refining it as you go.
How do you accomplish this? The website Moz.com is a plethora of information on search and ranking. They give away information – so go get on it and find these free resources:
Here is a visual of their “Mozlows Hierarchy of Needs”:
Starting a business is a serious and sometimes a daunting undertaking. The information shared here is to help you avoid costly pitfalls that many new businesses face. Take a few hours to understand the SEO process. It’s the equivalent of hiring a great architect to build a dream home or building without a plan with cheap materials and waiting for your first hurricane. It’s a decision that every business owner makes and it’s my mission to help you not fail. Don’t be a statistic. Take time to learn and hire a reputable local professional to help you create the best possible online solution for your business.
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