You are a startup.
And you don’t have a magic wand to put your website to the top positions on Google, make a big figure sale and become a millionaire overnight. Did I get you right?
In order to build a sustainable business in this fiercely competitive business environment, you need to place a priority focus on SEO from the beginning.
Consumers today work, live and play in a digital world. Most consumers use the Internet to learn more about the products they want to buy online. The digital marketplace, therefore, must not be ignored by any online business.
You want your target consumers in ways that help them find your website online when they search for products or services in your niche. That means:
- Touching a broader audience
- Making more sales (and thus more money)
SEO can help you do this by helping the right pages on your website show up higher in search than your competitors’ pages. Focusing on SEO and executing on a high-impact SEO strategy can improve brand awareness and position your business as an authority in your respective industry and market.
Unless you’ve spent a ton of money advertising your brand or you are lucky enough to have a universally recognized brand, consumers likely are not searching for your business directly on Google.
As a startup, both significant advertising dollars and a recognized name are both rare. So, instead look at SEO to boost your site’s search in a more affordable, more organic way.
So you must be thinking now…!
“Is SEO easy?”
I say ‘no’. It takes time, effort and knowledge. Trial and error can be a part of it as well, but there are certainly tried and true practices that can help.
Not familiar at all with SEO? This is article is a great place to start: What is SEO and How Does it Work?
Anyway, back to my point.
You’re likely already overwhelmed with challenges related to startup like that pop up every day. But believe me, when you showcase your brand the RIGHT way online and give it a push with the RIGHT SEO methods, business falls into the place and this can ease at least a few of the burdens you face.
Ok. So, I’ve laid the groundwork. Still with me? Great! Let’s move on to discussing some actionable steps you can take.
Let’s get going.
#1. For goodness sake, get a reliable host
When I started my first online business, I opted for a low cost, no frills hosting service without any second thoughts. However, I didn’t take much time to realize my mistake and switch to a better one.
Find some great website hosting options here: Tools and Resources Page
You can pay as low as $1 or even less per month for hosting.
But do you think will it be reliable?
Is it really matter to use a good hosting service for your website?
Cutting costs is NOT the answer for your startup when it comes to website hosting.
Server down and poor loading speed are the two major drawbacks that could happen to your online business. This can be exceptionally detrimental to your business, especially if you’re selling products directly from your site.
Here’s a scenario I want to put before you:
Somehow a prospect landed on your site and started having a pre-sales conversation with you over a chat. The site crashes mid-conversation without the visitors ever receiving a solid answer to their question. The prospect leaves and might never come back to you since he lost his faith in you or became frustrated with your site.
In frustration, you reached you to your hosting service’s customer support and end up in the queue for an hour or more to fix the issue. Not wanting to wait and waste your time, you try via email and are greeted with an automated message saying, “Our typical response time is 24-48 hours.”
Believe me, this is one small issue that could happen. In general, there is a wide variety of technical issues that could happen to your website if you don’t host your website on reliable servers.
You might think it is just one prospect, but for every one person you know about, there are likely scores of others running away for similar reasons.
What if the same scene gets repeated? How much business do you lose?
Moreover, there’s no guarantee that your data or your customers’ data would be safe. Often, cheap hosting providers host your website on low quality shared servers where you will be sharing the space with other consumers. Just imagine if there’s a DDoS attack or a threat to some website, everyone has an equal share of the consequences.
You get what you pay for. So, get a TRIAL, understand features, and look for reviews (honest), and never fall into the trap of cheap.
#2. Kill the myth about website creation
You need to have a business website with a crazy ton of animations, widgets, and some fancy flashy elements to show up the competition.
No, you don’t have to.
Be it a WordPress, HTML, Wix or any other – Create a website with a theme that is simple yet elegant and focused on the minimal to fulfill your business goals. The main purpose of your website should be to help visitors find information that they came looking for. If your site is too cluttered, that will kill the user experience.
Go for a responsive theme that has various layouts with a mobile-friendly design. In the end, create a website that is rich in information (FAQs, features, video guides, etc.), navigation and stunning visuals that enable readers’ to connect with and trust your business.
I always recommend building websites on WordPress as it has a great facility in terms of customization, security and support from theme providers. As the standard theme providers like Astra, Divi and Genesis offer inbuilt agency templates these days, there’s no need for your startup to hire a serious developer to create a basic or a medium-sized website. It is easy, plus, as an entrepreneur, it is good to have knowledge around various subjects. There are plenty of online tutorials to walk you through various processes involved in the site build. If you need a little support, bring in a freelancer to do some touch ups.
#3. SEO matters – Thrive for it
According to Hubspot’s study, SEO is the lowest risk and highest ROI marketing medium. If you put your time and energy in the RIGHT way, you will be rewarded with fantastic results.
Some people might scare you by saying “SEO is expensive” or “SEO is dead” etc. – unrealistic statements. You can ignore statements like that. Trust me, SEO is here to stay.
SEO has been there and is going to be here for a very long time. So relax, add it to your business plan and pay good attention to it.
You don’t need big agencies or costly tools to get digital marketing done for your online business. All you need is to understand modern SEO techniques and implementation.
Or the best is to have a little chat with market leaders like Anthony Gaenzle to get started off in the right direction.
Yes, there is competition, so it is with everything!
Yes, it takes time to yield results, so it is with everything!
Nothing comes overnight unless you win the lottery with a 0.00000000000000001% of stroke of luck.
Before you hump into SEO, make sure to check out these steps to keep you on the right track.
8 steps for SEO success for your startup
- Set SEO goals.
- Create a plan.
- Get your website ready with top-notch content and user experience.
- Do technical SEO (sitemap, on-page optimization).
- Conduct a website audit to find and fix errors (if any).
- Search for reputation projection opportunities through guest posting, blog commenting, social media marketing and PR.
- Build backlinks to your website from authority sites.
- Stay updated with SEO trends.
SEO is challenging and fun if you plan to do it on your OWN. It should be seriously considered along with your business plan.
Do not fall for cheap (low quality) services that impact you badly in the long run.
If you want to understand more about SEO, I recommend you going through Moz’s FREE SEO learning center.
Wrapping it up
None of the above matters if you don’t put yourself in front and create a personal brand.
I realize that many entrepreneurs still shy away from putting their profiles in “about” pages or elsewhere on their company’s website, and I just don’t get that. People trust people more than they do the business, so show them who you are.
Most importantly, when you publish content for social media or you website, your main focus should be on ‘educating’ readers but not to sell them your product. Of course, selling is important but educating consumers falls in the first priority.
When a reader understands your honesty, a relationship begins to build which leads to trust and ultimately purchasing.
If you’re still wondering why your business needs SEO, my point is simple: It is one of the finest ways to achieve your marketing goals and make more sales.
Do you have any thoughts to share with me? Let me know in the comments.
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- 3 Easy and Actionable SEO Tips to Jumpstart Your Startup - April 11, 2020