So, your new website has gone live. And, if you say so yourself, it’s looking pretty damned good.
Now all you need are for those on-line enquiry forms to come through and the telephone to ring. It won’t be long now before those sales figures pick up! Happy Days here we come.....
Oh dear. If it worked that way each and every business that launched a new website would be inundated with enquiries. But it doesn’t, and the majority of websites will sit there quietly in the deep chasms of the world wide web, out of view of customers in the shadows, being just another website amongst the millions of others.
Many businesses still believe that having a fabulous new website will be the solution to increasing sales. They will invest thousands of dollars getting their new website designed and built, without even thinking of how they are going to get that website in front of their customer’s eyes. They believe that their fabulous new website will automatically appear on Page 1 of Google, just because it looks fabulous!
The harsh reality is we as website owners need to make our websites work for us. Yes, we can hand out business cards with our website address on, yes we can also let our customers know that we have a brand new website in an e-mail message, but the only way we can be effectively seen by customers out there in the marketplace is by being on Page 1 of Google.
Unless you are in a niche industry with few competitors, achieving a position on Page 1 of Google takes time and a lot of work. Google scores each website it indexes using a secret algorithm of over 200 different criteria. No one (apart from those few at Google) really knows what those criteria are, but many of us in the industry have a good idea.
This is where the on-line marketing technique of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO comes in. SEO on-line marketing looks at improving all on-site elements of a website to make it more attractive to Google, as well as promoting the website elsewhere on the world wide web, which Google seems to love too. SEO is not an overnight success story, and does take time (and money if someone else is doing it for you). But the results can be fantastic, and when your website appears ‘organically’ on Page 1 of Google there’s a good chance your investment will be repaid through increased sales generated by customer leads.
The alternative to SEO is to pay Google itself for your website to appear on Page 1. The way this works is that you appear as a ‘sponsored listing’ on Page 1 of Google for certain ‘search phrases’ or ‘key words’ that you choose. Every time someone clicks on your listing Google takes a payment from you. This method of advertising your website is often referred to as ‘Pay Per Click’, because you are literally paying Google every time someone clicks on your advert. The cost per click varies hugely depending on how competitive that ‘search phrase or ‘keyword’ is, and as you can imagine your marketing spend with Google can be eaten up very quickly indeed. The plus side to this method of on-line marketing is that it can have instant effect in getting your website seen by customers.