In this, the second of four posts on Small Company Social Media Strategy, I examine the issues relating to the importance of having your own site, your “Home on the Web” and then briefly discuss the main consituent parts that you need to include when setting your site up
Your Home on the Web
Hub and Spoke Strategy
I am assuming that it is likely you already have a website for your business. If you do that is fine, if not thats fine too, its easy to set up. You must have your own site however. You will need a domain name, e.g. https://jbdcolley.com and this will need to be hosted by an Internet Service Provider e.g GoDaddy, BlueHost. The cost of this is around £20/$30 a year maximum.
The importance of having your own domain is that you control it. You own all the information on it. You set the terms and conditions. If you focus all your activities on Facebook as an example, then you have to conform to their terms and conditions and they can change anything at any time which may have a material adverse impact on you.
Setting up a website is no longer the domain of complex technologists who charge thousands for their services. I set up my own WordPress site with the help of a book and a few videos on YouTube. The book was around £20, the YouTube videos were….Free and WordPress cost me…nothing. What I did have to invest was my time searching out what needed to be done, listening to podcasts, searching the internet, watching YouTube videos and teaching myself from the book. I found it more difficult because I had a very vague idea of the direction I was travelling in. A major purpose of my site today is to provide you with the road map to guide you on this “Social Media Strategy” Journey. This will save you a lot of time, make the process a lot less painful and get you to a point where you can start to win new customers much more quickly. You need to commit and take action.
A word about Design
I was worried about the design aspects of my site and you will probably tell me I still should be :). WordPress (which I will keep coming back to because it is the Content Management System that I know) has templates – hundreds of them which you can download for free. Don’t like that one – fine. Download another and WordPress changes it over for you (although I have not been brave enough to try this!). There are also paid themes or you can commission a custom theme but please rest assured you do not need to do this to start with. Keep it simple (and free).
Name and Branding
It is worth spending a little time thinking about your website name (if you have not got one) and how you are going to brand yourself online. It is important to be original and distinctive. At the same time remember the principle that you are providing information for your potential customer so the site should reflect this and not be filled with self proclaiming glitzy advertising.
The Role of Google
When you are setting up your site you should start to learn about Search Engine Optimisation – SEO. This is the art/science of organising your site so that it can be found and read by the search engines of which Google is the largest but there is also Bing (Microsoft), Yahoo and don’t forget YouTube (owned by Google).
It is worth learning the basics early on so that you do not have to go back and re-do what have already done. There is a huge depth of detail here but as with many things you can apply the 80:20 rule. Learn some of the basics and avoid the common mistakes. You can tackle some of the more advanced techniques later.
When optimising for the Search Engines, you can also use them to provide you with information about the people who come to your site. Google has its Analytics package which is probably the best out there. As they have 90% of the UK search market, it makes sense to go with them in my market. In the US I think their market share is still in the high 40%. This package takes all of five minutes to install, requires you to prove to Google you are the administrator (controller of the site) and once they activate the package (which could be 48 hours) you are up and running. The cost? Oh yes, I forgot to mention, its Free!
Lets look now at some of the key components of your site
What does your Site need?
This is important so I am going to keep going on about it. Your site needs to be written for the people who come to your site. As a good starting exercise, sit down and write down every question you can think of that potential customers ask you. There may be 50 or 100 or even better more than this. Now organise them with some logical structure or set of topics.
Right you have just set out the structure and content headings for your site, which should answer every question some where and be in a well structured and organised format.
Home Page and Navigation
Your home page is like the front cover of a book and its contents page. This should be the page visitors come to when they type in your website address e.g. https://jbdcolley.com
This page should introduce you, the purpose and content of the site and then provide a clear guide to where to go to find the rest of the content.
We can go into more detail about other parts of the home page at a later date but that is its prime function.
Your site should have an “About You” page. When I first wrote mine it was very formal and in the third person. I have since amended it to try to convey a little of my personality and approach. You should do the same. It should definitely have a photo or better still a short video with you in it. The page should contain your contact information, office address and telephone number and how potential customers can reach you – I give a personal email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget, – Find me, know me, like me…etc.
A Blog is a page on which you can post regular articles which should be designed to provide new and helpful content – like this one. The pages come up with the most recent first. There are a number of tools which WordPress provides to make older articles easy to find which we can go into later.
What do you write? Surely that is the most difficult of all? I assure you it is not. Do you remember the questions you wrote down at the beginning of this section – questions from your customers. Each one of those is a potential blog article which should be only 600 to 1000 words (Google’s ideal is 800) so if you have over 100 and you publish one a week, thats you sorted for the next two years blogging.
eBooks and Information Downloads
You should provide the means for your potential customers to interact with you on the site and to encourage this you should offer them something for free. Starting a relationship with a free gift (which only cost you some time not money) is a good way to move them into the liking you and trusting you zones. These can be in the form of eBooks or Checklists or Brochures – all of which you can create on your PC or Mac and save as a PDF file. Simple.
Calls to Action
The final point in this section is to make sure that you include “Calls to Action” on every page of your site. You need to tell your visitor what you want them to do next. This can include
- Signing up for a newsletter and providing their name and email
- Downloading your eBook (and providing their name and email)
- Emailing you a comment (and providing their name and email)
- Subscribing to a mailing list (and providing their name and email)
- Connecting on your other social media sites (and providing their name and email)
- Emailing you (and providing their name and email)
- Calling you for a quotation (and providing their name and email)
Get the idea – provide your name and email!
How Can I Help You with Your Udemy Business?
Are you ready to have a chat about how I can help you?
Lets set up a 30 minute no obligation call to discuss where you are and what you are doing. This will help me to understand what you need and how I can help you.
Simply click on this link – https://jbdcolley.com/survey – to take my short and simple 9 question survey!
There is no obligation at this point. I will review your registration and then get back to you within a few days. We can arrange a short call if you have any questions and then move forward.