If you’re reading this blog, congratulations! You are on the internet! It’s where all the cool kids hang out, and anyone who doesn’t may as well not exist. While this might sound reminiscent of your high school days, the concept isn’t really that far removed. Cool stuff gets attention, and once the “cool” runs out, the attention is gone with it. And the last thing you want as a brand or business is to become yesterday’s news.
But what does it take to avoid such a tragic demise? The simplest place to start is to check off the basics.
Here are 5 fundamental factors to establish yourself on the web to ensure you don’t end up gone.com.
1. A Website
Your website is the face of your business on the world wide web. To not have one is total cyber-suicide. And the only thing borderline worse than not having one, is to have an outdated one. If you want to make sure yours is up to par in 2016, these are my top 3 requisites for maintaining a classic, yet modern website:
- Responsive: This means your website is designed and built to be viewed optimally on any screen, be it a computer, tablet, or mobile device. In 2014, mobile web traffic officially surpassed PC traffic; a feat described by Search Engine Watch as a “tectonic shift” in the internet world. Non-responsive sites are not only one of my pet peeves, but as of April 2015, Google’s algorithm now penalizes sites for not complying with mobile-friendly standards. The lesson in this? Happy Google, happy life.
- User-friendly: An organized, easy-to-navigate site is like a breath of fresh air. Want to make a site visitor insta-frustrated? Hide the stuff they came to find. You not only just lost a potential customer, but also increased your site’s bounce rate, which in itself has a negative effect on your site’s search engine rankings. To make a great impression and convert visitors into customers, structure your site so that they can easily find anything they need without hassle. Google-bots will dig it, too.
- Informative: Not just contextually, but visually as well. This point stretches itself across each and every component of your web identity, and will be explored as it applies to each of those components throughout this piece. Contextually speaking, you want your audience to have a clear understanding of who you are and what you do: what services or products you offer, the cost or terms of service, why they should do business with you as opposed to the other guys, etc. On the visual side, make your contact information stand out in places it cannot be missed. Offer calls to action that really pop. And above all, include your branding assets in a cohesive and memorable fashion. A recognizable logo leaves a lasting impression, and brand awareness is everything.
2. Social Media Marketing & Management
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit…pick your poison.
I barely remember the world before social media, and I was heading into college when Facebook was first available only to those with an @college.edu email address. And now my mom, dad, and even my grandmother (Hi Gram!) use it on a daily basis. The point being, times have changed, they’ve changed fast, and they will continue to change and evolve. C’est la interwebz.
But real talk, being socially active on a regular, consistent basis is a HUGE part of your online presence, and social media and marketing go hand in hand. It’s one of the easiest methods of inbound marketing to manage, and gives you the ability to engage and interact directly with your audience. The number of users on each major platform a while back, exemplifying the immense reach of these channels. What brand or business doesn’t see all the potential in that?! Furthermore, it has become a necessary part of every business’ marketing strategy, and, in reality, validates your existence in the world.
Yet with so many available options, it’s important to consider both your industry and your audience when determining which platforms will be the most beneficial to you that you want to focus on managing. Each boasts it’s own audience, has a unique voice, and caters to a specific medium. It’s safe to say that if you start with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (because we live in Google’s world), you’re well covered. And remember, this is SOCIAL media! Don’t be afraid to have fun, be real, and get creative. Post a picture of Jane in HR on her birthday and invite your followers to celebrate with you. Share a funny meme that is relative to your industry. Ask your audience for their opinion on a new product. It’s about building a relationship with your potential customers through content: informative, engaging, promotional content.
3. Consistent Blogging
Content, content, content: ’tis the King that makes the web world go round. Google loves it, rankings depend on it, web users devour it. Every website should have a blog if they want to be favored by search engines and provide value to their audience. It’s your chance to solidify your brand or business as the best, and your team as the experts.
There are 2 very important components to successful blogging:
- Quality: Writing a paragraph of boring text posting it on your company’s blog is a waste. Google won’t even recognize it as anything of substance. A proper blog should be relevant, educational and compelling, and around 350-500 words. The goal is to generate content that people want to read, and people want to share; both of which drive traffic to your website, and promote brand awareness. Win-win.
- Quantity: Posting a blog everyday is great if you’re posting quality content, but posting daily isn’t going to do you any good if it’s crap content. And writing 5 great blogs, posting them 5 days in a row, and then going radio silent for 3 months isn’t going to help you either. Quality always reigns over quantity when it comes to web content, and consistency equals relevancy in Google’s eyes. Aim to post at least once a month if that is all you can manage, but shoot for weekly if possible. It will help you out tremendously in the long run.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of those necessary evils that has a significant impact on your web presence. It’s how search engines determine where your website should be listed when people search for terms related to your business. There’s black hat (bad, non-compliant practices) and white hat SEO (the good kind), as well as organic (free, takes time) and paid SEO ($$$, faster results).
Organic, white hat SEO is undoubtedly the most successful route, but it requires patience, time, and expertise. It can become a self-taught skill, but really relies on proper planning from the get-go. An SEO strategy should be implemented when building your website, writing your content, and generating blog posts, as optimizing all of your content with keywords is what will tell Google that your website is relevant for those terms. It could take 3 months to 3 years to get your website on the 1st page of Google for a given keyword, but if you keep up with both your on- and off-page maintenance, an organic ranking can remain pretty solid.
Paid SEO (i.e. PPC, AdWords) is a great way to kick start your ranking efforts, as your position within paid ad real estate on search engines is determined by the depth of your pocket. It can help by initially boosting traffic, with the hope that it will settle into more steady organic traffic once the paid campaign has run it’s course. Without organic efforts to coincide with paid campaigns, your position will drop once you stop running it.
As important as SEO is, it can really hurt you if you don’t do it the right way. Practicing black hat efforts can get your website blacklisted, leaving you looking like a non-existent online entity. That’s not a place you want to end up. So do your research, consider hiring an SEO professional, or try and tackle it on your own with caution. It will inevitably be a pain to do, but in the end, you will be glad you did it, and did it the right way when your website shows up first for “video company nh” (shameless optimization opportunity taken).
5. Video Content
And here we are at the final (and most awesome!) key element for building your web presence; VIDEO! Okay, clearly my opinion is a bit biased here, but this is definitely the sexiest of them all. The sky is the limit when it comes to creating video marketing content, but a company overview is a staple must-have. Ideally, it should be the visual version of your homepage content, and your web traffic is more likely to watch your video than read the text you’ve provided. Keep in mind though that audience’s attention spans last about :60 seconds tops, so make sure to cater to that to keep them engaged, and the payoff that video can provide your business or brand with will make it well worth the investment. And I say “investment” because a bad video can actually do more harm than not having a video at all.
You may think your cousin with a camera who makes viral videos for fun can handle it…or the new marketing intern shooting footage on an iPhone is the way to go…or finding a professional videographer with cheap rates from a “Help Wanted” Facebook post is a great find. But trust me; putting any of those videos on the front page of your website to represent your business is a risk. Brightcove found that, “62% of consumers are more likely to have a negative perception of a brand that published a poor quality video.” Don’t make that mistake.
On the bright side, there are some amazingly affordable, professional video production companies out there that will work with you and your budget to produce spectacular video content. At New Sky Productions, our passion derives from telling stories. And we have mastered that art while applying it to producing video. From corporate videos to product demos, television commercials to social media campaigns, we are the experts when it comes to creating beautiful videos that will not only impress you, but your entire audience as well. Consumer internet traffic is growing rapidly every year, making NOW the perfect time to jump on board. This isn’t a party you want to miss.
Were you able to check off all 5 of these? Are you on top of your web marketing game? If not, have no fear! It’s not too late to catch up, but time is certainly of the essence. You don’t want to be missing out on opportunities to grow your business and build more brand awareness. And we can certainly help! Aside from our video production services, we are also media consultants, social strategists, and content creation connoisseurs. So, let’s chat about how you can better equip your business to dominate the web and get the party started!