In the ever changing and demanding world of online marketing and e-commerce, general website maintenance is often overshadowed by big buck industry terms such as Search Engine Optimization and Pay Per Click. While these are proven strategies to increase site traffic and conversion, online marketers all to often wear blinders when it comes to their day-to-day marketing strategies. Here are some important website maintenance pointers to keep in mind when developing your online marketing strategy. Remember this is not an exhausted list rather a guide to help you increase your sites performance.
Stay on top of it – You can bet that your competitors are. From tags to copy, from images to keywords, it is always important to keep your website updated. Keep in mind that it is not just your industry that is changing. Search engines are getting smarter, new forms of marketing avenues are arising and the consumer is becoming more e-savvy. Properly maintaining a website is a full time job that never ends. If I had one area to focus my attention, it would be always having current copy. This will not only assure that your site stays current with consumers trends and changes in the industry, but it will also support your search engine optimization initiatives. Search engines respond well to relevant and fresh copy that relate to your chosen keywords. Adding new content will ensure that your site ranks high and that the bots return more often. Testing is also a good way to make sure you are staying on top of your consumer’s needs and wants. Your homepage is a great place to start. You have less than eight seconds to present the information the consumer is looking for in a way that is appealing to them or you will see less than ideal conversions. Your website should be treated like a car. You just fill it with gas and it will only run so long but with regular maintenance and some care, you will ensure that it will be a well oiled machine for years to come.
Don’t give up on traditional marketing – Is online marketing a cost effective form of marketing? Of course it is, however it can be less effective if traditional forms of marketing are ignored or discarded. Traditional marketing helps make your online marketing spend as productive as possible. Let’s compare it to search engine optimization (SEO) and sponsored search (PPC). Company #1 spends a great deal of time and money optimizing their site for search engines and spends a great deal per month making sure they are always in the first spot for paid search. They are seeing good lead volume for the cost and decide to cut all traditional marketing and just stick to online marketing thinking this will help keep costs down. Firm #2 takes a similar approach but decides to restrict its online marketing spend by ranking in the second or third spot on sponsored search and puts the additional funds towards traditional marketing. Now this raises an interesting question. As a consumer, you are doing a search and see both Firm #1 and Firm #2 rank highly in natural search and Firm #1 is doing a bit better in sponsored search. What happens next is the key to the point that I am making. Your odds of winning that consumers click are much better for Firm #2 because the consumer is already familiar with that brand through traditional marketing. The key is to find the most appropriate balance between your online spend and traditional marketing spend to help insure that you are getting the most out of every marketing dollar.
Find new ways to promote – The effectiveness of your site is based solely on your ability to drive quality visitors to your site and make them convert. We all know this. What we don’t realize is that often times our promotional efforts may not directly create conversions. They do however; promote other areas of online marketing such as brand awareness and brand credibility. What is even more striking is that often times your current marketing materials can be leveraged to create more awareness. For example your company sells electronics. As a creative online marketer, you could take that five-minute tutorial about how your product works and post it to YouTube, Yahoo Movies or Google Video. Is this going to increase your conversions by 20 percent? Probably not, what it will do is help gain exposure, create another inbound link for your search engine optimization efforts and most importantly gain awareness for your product and company. Another great tactic is leveraging your sites current content by publishing the content to article databases such as selfgrowth.com. By setting your company apart as an industry expert you gain not only exposure but brand credibility which will pay dividends in terms of conversion. What is so great about leveraging your existing marketing materials is that it is often free. It only costs you and your company time to publish content or posting a movie.
Be patient – Due to the incredible pressure of result driven management, online marketers often do not have the patience to allow their efforts to come to fruition. Let’s take for example this scenario. You have just spent four months choosing the correct keywords, optimizing your site for those keywords and just wrapped up another month of online promotion. Now what? Do I just sit and wait? The answer is yes and no. Keep monitoring your sites performance in the search engines and keep promoting your site and updating the freshness of your content. Do not scrap your strategy on the gut feeling that you are not seeing results quickly enough. Improvements in site rankings often take several months as the spiders return, crawl the new content and re-index your site. The key is to continuously make improvements to your site while being patient enough to see the results of your work, time and money.
Remember that online marketing is not just a science; it is an art. Often the sites that get the most attention do not get that way because they spend millions on promotion. They find new and creative ways to drive traffic and convert leads. Stay on top of your website and how it relates to consumers wants and needs. Optimize your traditional and online marketing spend, learn how to leverage current marketing assets and finally be patient. If the basics are covered, the sky is the limit and who knows maybe your site or product will be the next big thing.
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