When it comes to online visibility, creating a dedicated website is the most effective method to improve your presence online and gain notoriety. You can grow your business online using strategies such as
- Social media marketing
- Email newsletters
- Partnerships with other brands
you’re most likely to get the most out of your online presence if you build a good website. That being said, you should still be making use of all the different marketing strategies available to you to maximise your chances of growing your notoriety and expanding your reach online.
Where should I start?
When considering the prospect of creating a business website, it’s important to take a seat and consider what exactly you want to get out of your online presence. Are you:
- Selling products?
- Selling a weekly/monthly/yearly subscription to a service?
- Creating a strictly informative blog?
- Building a hybrid website with both commercial and informational elements?
Knowing what your website will provide for your audience will allow you to know what strategy to implement and how to best meet your visitors’ expectations.
Content: Write for your audience
It may seem overly simplistic, but it’s important to know how to write for your audience before launching your website. Regardless of the nature of your website, it will always involve some writing and would ideally include regular content publishing.
It’s essential to know what your target audience is looking for so that you can then optimise your website’s content accordingly. This will give you a significant advantage in terms of getting users to acknowledge your website, as you will be letting them know that you’re a viable option for their specific needs.
These elements matter because of the variety of Internet users’ search intent and the way this affects your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Your main goal, regardless of the nature of your business, is to get more visibility online and grow your client portfolio.
Optimising your content means first and foremost making it adapted to users’ expectations and prioritising their user experience so that the search engine can subsequently give you a high ranking amongst the search results.
Internet users read web content in a very specific way that typically involves factors of speed and straightforwardness.
Before deciding whether or not to read something, people tend to scan a text. They want to know what your text is about, before starting to read it all the way through (Source: Yoast)
To make your content adapted to the style of reading that’s specific to Internet users, you need to optimise your content beyond just using the right keywords. This means that your text should be:
- Well structured:
- Pertinent and engaging page title - this is the title that appears on the search engine but not on the webpage
- Relevant first header (H1) - this is the title that appears on the webpage itself as part of your content
- Introductory paragraph
- Secondary headers (H2-H6) according to the subject
- Concluding paragraph
- Easy to read and worded succinctly
- Well spaced-out
- Treats one particular subject
- Useful to readers
When it comes to that last point, remember that the longer the article, the more successful it seems to be amongst users. In fact,
content that appears on the first page has an average of 1890 words (Source: Backlinko)
Since a site’s ranking on Google is directly related to the way users react to it, this means that you have a better chance of your audience responding positively to your content the longer you make it.
Branding: Have a clear view of who you are
Whatever your situation is, branding is an extremely important element to consider. It represents the identity of your business and the first impression it’s going to make on your audience.
It’s useful to figure out how you wish to present your business both visually and in terms of content. Your branding will be directly related to your website’s content optimisation as you want to make sure your brand’s identity is cohesive and corresponds to your target audience.
This means that good branding shows up in the texts included in your website, specifically the parts where you present or introduce what you do and who you are. Think about how you want to represent your brand textually and what kinds of characteristics you would want to highlight.
For example, if you’re selling a monthly subscription for an editing software, try to showcase specifics about your brand that make it unique and give it an edge over its competitors.
In your text, you could emphasise words such as “affordable” or “accessible”, “full suite of services”, “smooth/intuitive interface”, “designed to help you realise your vision”, “recommended by experts in the field”... Such expressions are meant to introduce your target audience to what your brand represents and will ideally entice them to get on board with your offer.
How should I proceed?
In the beginning stages of your website launch, you should pay attention to a few different factors.
Choose a good domain name
Your domain name should be representative of your brand and it should be clear and distinctive if possible. Search the Internet for domain names that may be too close to the one you have in mind and try to make yours as unique as you can.
Try to stay away from domain names that may be too obscure, nonsensical, or have no relation to your business as these will be much more difficult and expensive to brand (Source: Forbes). You want a domain that immediately lets users know what your business is about.
This is because you want to maximise your chances of appearing amongst the first results. When users are making a search query for something specific such as “buy gardening equipment”, your website is more likely to be suggested to them if its domain name has the word “gardening” in it, in addition to a location whenever possible.
This is not to say that the domain name is the sole (or the most important) contributing factor to a good SEO, but it does make a difference. Particularly if you’re a small business, you’re likely to boost your SEO if you use a recognisable domain name that’s pertinent to your offer and indicative of specific geolocation.
Importantly, keep your domain name short and memorable, so that people won’t have a hard time remembering and finding your website. Avoid including characters such as hyphens and numbers whenever possible and create a name that straightforwardly conveys the content of your website.
Structure your website data
Structured data is a technical element of website creation. Its main purpose is to create an effective, clear line of communication with Google.
Having structured data means that the search engine will be able to find, understand, and display your website easily. Google has spiders that “crawl” the Internet for dead links, fraudulent websites, illegitimate webpages… Their job is to separate these pages from ones that they understand and deem good enough to rank well on the results page.
Structured data is not only addressed to the search engine and its crawlers but it’s also primarily conceived to give users a good experience. The better your website’s coding is, the easier your site will be for Google to find, analyse, organise; and more importantly the better your visitors’ experience will be.
This means that as you build your website with the intent of satisfying the needs of your audience, you are also satisfying Google’s requirements for a website that deserves a high ranking.
Ultimately, structured data looks complicated as a coding process but makes your website easier to read and navigate by your visitors.
It’s good to know that there is a standardised format for structuring your website’s data that’s recognised by Google, known as JSON-LD. Google recommends using this format to structure your website’s data whenever possible.
Build a secure website
Securing your website is extremely important and fortunately doesn’t require a lot of technical expertise. Security related issues are easily preventable.
There are several steps you can take to make sure your website stays safe from threats and avoid the risk of losing traffic or lowering your conversion rate.
- Buy an SSL certificate
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is responsible for encrypting the data that gets communicated between your visitors and your website.
Buying an SSL certificate is a simple but cardinal first step to ensure all the information that makes its way onto your website (such as your clients’ personal information, payment details, etc.) is protected from hackers.
Google considers this factor when finding, indexing, and classifying websites. It typically warns users against websites that don’t have SSL installed and tries to keep them out.
- Keep an eye out for scams
The best way to do that is by installing anti-malware software. This will save you the time and effort it takes to understand the technical aspects of protecting a website.
This type of software detects and removes any malware, i.e. anything that might represent a threat to your website. This can be a virus or, for example, an attack on the server on which your website is hosted such as an instance of DDoS (distributed denial of service).
You can choose between a paid and a free version of anti-malware software, depending on your specific needs and the level of security you’re looking for. Different software options offer different packages with different protection levels.
In addition to installing anti-malware software, you should have the instinct of being wary of emails, messages, and comments containing spammy links or asking for personal information. Consider also monitoring your comments or even manually accepting interventions on your website, especially if you’re just starting.
- Maintain your website
Unless you’re using a website builder, you need to keep your website updated with the latest versions of the software and of any extensions you may have installed. This is especially important for keeping your website from
- bugging, glitching and having slower loading times, which makes user experience significantly worse and thus affects both your visitor’s satisfaction and your site’s ranking on Google
becoming an easy target for hackers as its security becomes outdated
Publish quality content regularly
Regular content publishing plays a crucial role in keeping your website’s performance the best it can be. Updating your website with relevant and targeted content on a regular basis will not only keep your audience engaged but also help you out with Google’s algorithm.
Depending on the nature of your business, your target audience’s search intent and interests, and what you’re trying to achieve through your online presence, your content should be (1) specific, and (2) useful for your visitors.
Your articles should be pertinent to your sector. Each article would ideally address one specific question or subject and should be well-linked to other articles on your site. Taking this approach when it comes to content will make your site navigation pleasant for your visitors and will allow them to spend more time on your website and get something valuable out of it.
Consider regularly updating your platform with evergreen content: content that addresses timeless topics and will always be useful for Internet users no matter the location or time. This way, you can increase your traffic and improve your ranking on the results pages while simultaneously offering your visitors a pleasant experience on your website.
Create an engaging landing page
A landing page is essential for any online business, whether you’re selling a product or simply maintaining a blog. This is the page that introduces your visitors to your brand and gives them an idea of what kind of content they can expect to get from your site.
An engaging landing page will be visually appealing and contain short blocks of text. The point is to catch your visitors’ attention, offer them something they might be looking for, and tell them why they should consider engaging with your website as opposed to others.
Beyond just introducing your brand succinctly and straightforwardly, your landing page should have the ultimate goal of calling your visitors to action.
A good landing page will not only contain enough information to make your brand stand out but also leave some space for your prospects to interact with it in some way. This can be continuing to navigate your site through links to articles or blog entries, entering their information to receive a free Ebook, signing up for a weekly email newsletter… It all depends on the nature and content of your website.
Promote your site off the page
There is one final thing to keep in mind: not all optimisation happens on the webpage. While it’s extremely important to create and publish quality content, build good landing pages, and offer your visitors a secure and pleasant user experience, it’s also important to supplement that with off-page strategies.
To do so, you can promote your website on your different social media platforms, acquiring quality backlinks, through sponsorships or mutually beneficial partnerships, by setting up events, and even sometimes via word-of-mouth marketing. It’s definitely essential to perfect your on-page strategies, but don’t forget about all the additional steps you can take to gain even more visibility and notoriety.