A couple of weeks ago we received a meeting request from a large manufacturing company. The company’s representative found us while doing a Google search on social media for the manufacturing industry and read this article on our website. Before her search, we were not on her radar. We don’t pay Google for ads and we don’t have the company on a mailing or email list. We now have an appointment with the CEO and are definitely looking forward to the opportunity to present a proposal.
The above is just one example of how prospective clients have contacted us because they found an article on our site that matched their internet search. In fact, a good portion of visitors who come to our website do not come through the “front door” – in other words, most don’t get here by typing in www.mediavinemarketing.com. When we look at our Google Analytics, we see that most visitors are landing on either our articles or one of our website’s interior pages. That means that they are searching for something we address on our website, not our company name.
If we had minimal content on our website, we would not receive even a fraction of the visitors that we do every month. There is simply too much competition out there and we are a small firm with a relatively small marketing budget, so we cannot spend huge dollars with Google to capture search traffic for “social media marketing” or even “social media Chicago”. But we can keep adding articles to our site that speak to what our target market wants to know. And the articles stay on our website as long as we want; they don’t go away once we stop paying Google, such as what happens when your daily ad budget is spent.
When you’re a small business, it can be tough to find the time to write and post good articles. We know this- we do a much better job with this for our clients than we do for ourselves. But, the return on the couple of hours it takes to research, write, refine and post an article on your website can be huge.
If you would like to have more people find your business “through the side door”, consider adding a blog (preferably a WordPress one, but we’re biased) to your website and giving your prospects a bit of the information you know they want. We can help with both adding a blog to your site as well as supplying you with writing resources!
Note: We didn’t coin the phrase “coming in the side door.” Adrienne LaFrance from Nieman Journalism Lab did.
When we speak with prospective clients, we always do an analysis of their digital presence. This analysis includes a close look at their website and a conversation about how often they make changes to their website. Often, the answer is “very rarely”, and the reason given is usually a variation of “we haven’t gotten around to it and, by the way, it’s really tough to get in touch with our web developer or it takes them forever to make changes”. If you have a website built using the WordPress Content Management System (check out WordPress.org for more info), you remove the issue of contacting and paying your web developer for content changes. You can log in to your own site and add or delete text or pages quickly and easily. (And, yes, there are other Content Management Systems out there, but we prefer WordPress for several reasons).
Why is it important to be able to change and add to the content on your website if you use social media?
Second, the key component of any social media campaign is content. And the best content is always your own. Putting your articles, videos, and photos on your own website and then sharing links to that content on the various social media platforms is a great way to get people back to your primary digital real estate – your website. When you add your own content to your website, it’s always there for people to find. We get continual traffic to our website because we have developed a library of articles that contain keywords and phrases that people use in their internet searches. People find us and contact us through articles that we added to our site – and some of those articles are almost two years old.
Second, Google scores websites based on “freshness of content”. This influences how Google ranks your website for search terms. This is a great article from SEOmoz that explains more about how Google looks at website content to determine rankings.
Third, when you can log in to your own website to make changes, you are in control and you can do it at any time. If something is happening at your company or in your industry, you can share it on your website as soon as you know about it. This also makes for timely social media content. You add the event or article to your site, share the link to the page on Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook, and now you’ve got website traffic from people who are interested in what you have to say.
Fourth, there are hundreds of tools available for WordPress websites that make sharing your content via social media very simple. You can also track how often your content is shared and encourage people to follow your accounts right from your site.
Fifth, a changing website is a current website. It’s time to start thinking about it as something that is dynamic rather than static. Too many sites are just online business cards or brochures. Your company changes all the time; your website should, too. Your website can be working for you, even when you’re not. WordPress makes it easier.
Many people think of WordPress as an inexpensive and relatively easy way to start a blog site, and indeed they are correct. You can start a blog site on WordPress.com in mere minutes and it is free. However, WordPress is so much more. When you develop a website with the WordPress.org content management system, you’ve got a wealth of options and flexibility from which to choose. We’ve been designing and developing websites for ourselves (this is a WordPress site) and for our clients using the WordPress Content Management System for the last couple of years. Here’s why:
1. You can easily add content to your own website.
Our clients love this because they don’t have to always contact us (or pay us, for that matter!) to make content changes. A website developed with the WordPress.org software offers users the ability to add or change content with much of the same functionality you would find on a Microsoft Word document. Add a page, some photos, a video, social media buttons or more with just a few clicks. It can be that easy. We are usually able to train our clients on their new websites in less than two hours.
2. WordPress websites can look like “regular” websites but give their owners the flexiblity of a blogging site.
A decent designer and web developer can make a custom “theme” (the design and functionality of the site) so that a site built on WordPress doesn’t necessarily look like it’s built on WordPress. Also, there are literally hundreds of themes that are available for free or for purchase, so even a novice can develop a decent-looking site in a short amount of time.
3. WordPress is supported by a lot of awesome developers and designers.
Although WordPress is an open-source software, you don’t need to worry about it disappearing anytime soon. The WordPress community is strong and growing. In fact, in August of this year (2011), San Francisco will be hosting the “WordCamp” official annual conference, where hundreds of users, designers, developers and professionals from all over the world will get together to indulge their WordPress “geekery” (their word, not mine).
4. If there’s a feature that you think you want, there’s probably a free or inexpensive plugin for that.
We are continually amazed by the features that are available to integrate into a WordPress website. Fancy interactive calendars, e-commerce set-ups, SEO, social media buttons, commenting, sharing, file backup- the list goes on. If there is a feature you’ve seen on another website, most likely there’s a plugin that will give you that functionality.
5. They’re great for Search Engine Optimization.
When you know you can add your own content quickly and easily, you tend to do just that, which is great for SEO. The search engines like to see fresh content on sites, especially when you add content in the form of pages or even blog posts on a regular basis.
WordPress sites tend to be very “crawlable” by the search engines and they tend to rank well in Google search results pages. You also get the benefit of pings, comments and trackbacks. These features let individuals and other blogs interact with a WordPress site and bring inbound links and traffic (in the form of pings and trackbacks) and free content and visitors (in the form of blog post comments).
6. The blog part is already built in.
When you build a site with WordPress.org, the blogging functionality is an integral part of the package. There’s no retrofitting or adding a blog onto an existing site.
As you can see, we are huge fans of using the WordPress content management system to build all of our websites. If you are also a fan, please tell us why.
If you are like many business owners, the idea that you should be blogging came after you spent a bunch of money on your website. So you figure that you can just start a blog on one of the free blogging sites and link it to your website. That should be good enough, right? Wrong.
Here are 3 reasons why your blog should be on your website:
Drive customers to your main digital property: If you are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. to announce and post links to your latest blogs, you should be driving that traffic to your main website so that people can check out your company’s products and services. Your blog posts should come from the place that represents your company. Also, it may be tough to brand one of the template sites to look like your own website.
Enhance your SEO (Search Engine Optimization): When your blog is located on your website, any traffic to the blog goes to your website. This can help your search engine ranking. Also, updating your blog gives your website fresh content, which is something that the search engines like to see. Having a blog on your site does not guarantee great search engine rankings, especially if you don’t blog much or use platforms such as Facebook or Twitter to send out links to your posts. However, some fresh content and some traffic is usually better than nothing.
You are at the mercy of the blogging site. When you put your content on someone else’s site, you could risk losing everything if they fold, get shut down or change their policies. Why trust another website with all of your good content?
Talk with your website developer about including a blog on your website (we prefer the WordPress Content Management System). It is also a great idea to think about converting your main website to a WordPress site because you can then update and edit much of the content on the website yourself. Good web developers can make a WordPress site look like a “regular” website.