July 3, 2007
1. Making Use of SEO
Every good webmaster should use search engine optimization techniques for their website. At first glance, this can seem to be an intimidating area to get into, and when you don’t have a very large budget, you may think that it is impossible to use SEO to your advantage. However, there are several free, and/or low-cost, tools on the Internet that will help you out. In addition, websites such as PromotionWorld and SEO-News offer a wealth of content on the subject of SEO. And even Google offers up some candid advice on giving your site an advantage in its results pages. Yes, SEO work takes a large investment in the way of time, but the results of continuous hard work will pay off – there are many companies today that do not use any form of paid advertising because all of their website traffic comes exclusively from non-paid search engine links. I suggest that you give search engine optimization a try for awhile, and see what happens.
2. Exchanging Links with Related Websites
Much has been said lately about the benefits of links, both outgoing and incoming, on the overall marketing success of a website, especially since Google’s Jagger update. The common perception has always been that you need as many incoming links to your website as possible, and that you should spend all of your time exchanging links with everyone you can think of. While I could write a whole article on the myths of links and link exchanging (and I probably will at some point), I’ll try to stay basic here. The main thing to know is that if the site that links to you – or the site you are linking to – has nothing to do with your website, it will do you no good, and may even penalize you in search results. Exchanging links can not only bring you actual traffic, but a link to your website can also act as a “vote” for you in the search engines’ eyes. So choose your link exchange partners wisely. Do not use link farms. Do not blanket the Internet with links to your website. Instead, choose quality, non-competing, content-related websites that are willing to link to your site, either for a fee, or in exchange for a link from your website back to theirs. A strategic link-sharing campaign will be of much greater value to you in the long run than a poorly-planned “blitzkrieg”.
3. Examining (and Conforming to) Customer Needs
Of course, you do know what your customers want, don’t you? So often, entrepreneurs jump into business without even asking potential customers what they really want. This mistake can be deadly, and certainly won’t earn you any friends. And just because you are currently successful does not mean that this will always be the case. Constantly ask your customers what they think about your products and services. Get their suggestions. And if a customer complains to you, or offers up a suggestion on their own, take it to heart – they have gone out of their way to communicate with you, meaning they want some sort of resolution for the situation; this is a golden opportunity to keep them as a customer for life.
4. Keeping Things Simple!
My own company, GlobalWebBrands, made the near-deadly mistake of “over-expanding” in two-thousand-and-five. I will always remember last year as the year that we tried too hard. Things have since settled down, but I will never make that same mistake again.
Please allow me to offer any startups or struggling businesses a very important piece of advice: when you start in a certain line of business, stay in that line of business! Until you have actually been there, you cannot imagine just how much trouble you will get into by rapidly expanding the number and type of products and services you offer, or the number of payment methods you offer, or the number of brands you have, or in the cases of some – the number of physical locations you have.
Diversify – ah yes, the golden word of the past fifteen years. Everybody has been chanting it: business ‘gurus’, personal investment ‘gurus’. Folks, these people are not really gurus at all; rather, they’re goons looking to make a little bit of money!
Customers today want simplicity. They want stability. They do not want everything from one person. Wal-Mart is failing, and they are proving that you just cannot be everything to everybody. Become the expert in your field, and not the Wal-Mart. Be one thing to everybody, and you will be successful beyond your wildest dreams.
In other words: Keep it simple, stupid!
Author: Daniel J. Briere is the CEO of Netpreneur Host, a Web hosting and domain registration company for Webmasters and Internet entrepreneurs.