Who do I listen to for business success tips? I gave you a list a several blogs back. I listen to those who "do-it", who have "heart & soul" and those who overcome the obstacles. I listen to those who not only look and sound like experts but have a track record.
Stephanie Chandler is another I listen to. Here she makes points about ways to grow your business online.
8 Ways to Grow Your Business Online
By Stephanie Chandler
Studies show that more and more people are going online to make purchasing decisions. The Internet has fast become a tool for researching cars, finding real estate agents, ordering flowers, and locating unique gifts. This presents a tremendous opportunity for any business to generate new revenues. By placing more focus on online marketing, you can capture new customers and grow your business.
Here are some steps to get you started:
1. Build an Effective Website
Your business website is a reflection of your business and if your site doesn't convey the level of professionalism that you want, you could be losing business. The first sign that your site isn't working for your business is if you cringe when someone asks to see it! Make it a priority to develop a website that represents your business in the most professional way possible.
2. Engage Site Visitors
You have less than 3 seconds to capture the interest of a person who visits your website. Therefore, the copy on your site should be compelling, well-written, and easy to read. Nobody wants to read endless paragraphs on a Web page so use plenty of sub-headings, bullets and other strategies to break up the text.
3. Call Visitors to Action
Your site will be more powerful when written with copy that sells. A good call to action can make all the difference. For example, ask site visitors to sign up for your newsletter, call today or fill out a form that gathers information. Provide an incentive to respond by offering a complimentary report or other valuable reward for taking action.
4. Optimize Your Site for Search Engines
One of the most basic elements in search engine optimization is to include the keywords within the text on your Web pages that potential visitors would use to find you. These keywords and phrases should be repeated throughout a page several times. For example, if you sell homes in Sacramento, your site should include the terms "Sacramento," "Sacramento home," "buy a home," and "sell a home." These terms should also be embedded in the meta tags for each page on your site.
5. Add Content Frequently
The search engines use complicated algorithms to rank the popularity of websites and one of the criteria is based on the frequency of new content. Static websites are penalized by the search engines and can actually hurt your ranking status. To boost your traffic, add new content and update existing content on your Web pages regularly. You can do this by posting current news or events, adding articles, posting press releases, and including any other kind of relevant content. As a bonus, not only will the search engines reward you with increased traffic, but you will be offering more value to your site visitors, giving them a reason to return to your site again and again.
6. Publish an Electronic Newsletter
Publishing an e-newsletter is a powerful and cost-effective way to reach your target audience. Service providers, retail operations, and any other business that relies on client relationships can benefit from sending a newsletter. A newsletter allows you to get repeat exposure with your customer base, announce new products, services or events, and can ultimately shorten sales cycles.
7. Host a Blog
If you want a quick and effective way to gain status with the search engines, consider hosting a blog. Similar to an online diary, a blog allows you to post brief entries on a regular basis. You will see the best results by posting three or more times per week. The good news is that blog entries don't have to be long. In fact, shorter entries are better (remember, online attention spans are short!); one to four paragraphs is sufficient. Ideal blog topics include industry statistics, your opinions on related subjects, links to useful resources, and even interviews with other industry professionals. Start by visiting some other blog sites to get some ideas.
8. Implement Pay Per Click
One of the quickest ways to drive traffic to your website and increase business is with the right pay-per-click campaign. This strategy allows you to bid for top placement in the search engines and pay for each click through to your site. Bids start as low as ten cents per click and can be as high as several dollars for popular keyword terms. If your site is doing its job and you are converting visitors into customers, pay-per-click can grow your business in amazing ways. This strategy works for those who want to reach a global audience or those who want to generate business in their own towns.
About the Author:
Stephanie Chandler is a noted small business expert and the author of FROM ENTREPRENEUR TO INFOPRENEUR: MAKE MONEY WITH BOOKS, E-BOOKS AND INFORMATION PRODUCTS. She is the founder of http://businessinfoguide.com/, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs.