Friday, April 22, 2011

Writers Can Increase Your Web Site Traffic

Executive Summary:
Your Web site is your greatest marketing and sales tool.  Your site needs to get the attention of search engines.  An important element of search engine optimization is matching your Web page content to the language your potential customers are using to find you.  A professional Web site content writer can help.

The Rest of the Story:
Recently, I decided to take my own advice and seek professional help.  [No, not that kind of professional help; I still run from the white coats.]  I attended a workshop on search engine optimization for Web sites.

I went into the workshop expecting that I had figured out about as much as most do-it-yourselfers and was just hoping to learn a little more than my own research had revealed about how search engines work.  Well, I was humbled.

First, I learned that most of the other attendees were well ahead of me in terms of how to build a strong Web site.  They were a mix of marketing professionals, Web site developers, and one-man-shows.  I was the workshop’s biggest dummy, I think.

So, the first thought that I want to share that I brought back from the workshop is this.  Don’t think that you don’t need professional advice or services to build a good Web site.

Your Web site might be as effective as a sign above your door, meaning that if someone comes specifically looking for you they can find you.  Big deal.  However, your Web site can also be a sales person that suddenly appears in front of a potential customer when they decide they might possibly need something you have to offer.  Wouldn’t you much rather have the latter?

Here are a few things to address with your Web site to try and get it to magically appear before your potential customers’ eyes.
  • Learn what keywords potential customers use to search for your offerings and incorporate them into your Web pages – there are Web services such as Wordtracker that can help you do this
  • Applications such as Google Analytics can help you discover what searches your customers used to find your site
  • Incorporate key search words into your URL, your Web site or Web page titles and summaries or subheadings
  • Meta tags:  if you can match your meta tags to the language your customers use to search for your offerings, your priority in the search results increases (this is particularly something the average Joe marketing professional or business owner can use some help figuring out)
  • Write engaging content for your Web site that gets the attention of both your visitors and the search engines (this is the most important part, and the most difficult)

Any Web site developer worth his/her salt can help with the first 4 points.  However, it takes a particular communications expertise to really do the last point well.  This is the one your business should pursue to maximize your Web presence.

Many Web site developers are technical masters of HTML code and are very skilled at constructing formats, layouts, and functionality for Web sites and Web pages.  However, not all Web site developers are skilled at developing engaging content.

Also, most business owners are not writers and don’t care to be.  Marketing professionals might be good communicators and writers, but might not understand the latest algorithms search engines are using to match searches to sites.

This is where a new breed of writers is finding a market.  There are professional writers who specifically serve our businesses by writing polished content that get’s the attention of our visitors and answers visitors' questions, but also gets the attention of the search engines.

 To find one of these writers, try searching the Web using key words such as “Search Engine Optimization,” “SEO,” or “SEO Services.”  Writers often use lingo such as “copy,” so you can try also searching for “Website Copy,” or “Website Content Writer.”  Be sure that the consultant you engage, or the person you hire, is a writer, not just an HTML coder.

Which kind of Web site does your business have?  Does it have a sign above the door that customers have to know how to find?  Or, is it a polished, professional sales person that suddenly appears in front of everyone that asks, “Is there a place where…?”

Go ahead and do a Web search for an expert Web content writer.  Consult your budget.  Make the investment for your business.  You might be surprised how much more Web site traffic and consequential business you achieve as a result.

Consider this.  If you don’t take the initiative and maximize your Web presence, your competitors probably will eventually, if they haven’t already.  Do you want inquiring customers to find your business, or your competitors?

Stay wise, friends.

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