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Search Engine Submission, Worth the Effort?
With the advancement of algorithms and search optimization, advanced submission of your website to the major engines is simply just not necessary any longer. Webpages these days are indexed by the major engines (most notably Google) by following links tied to your page and links to other relevant data outside of your page. The more connections you have with other relevant sites and vice versa, the better chance you will be picked up by the major search engines out there. Working ‘with’ already indexed sites and having them believe in your material to link back will get you the win you’re looking for in this category.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, you should see that inbound links are a driving force. Achieving those links back to your page from other sites will be the tricky side. Although, if you are creating quality content with appropriate links to other influential sites within the subject matter of your site, this should be a natural tendency of that site organizer. This means that you need to put your axe to the grindstone and come up with original content that others believe in. Doing this will motivate others to link to you and thus complete the linking circle. Remember, they also want to close this loop, it’s in their best interest as well. This is one of the more basic components for the Google Page Rank algorithm.
Now in the grand scheme, if you were to submit your site to the major search engines, it is not going to hurt you. This practice will only take a small amount of time for you to complete. Once it’s done, that’s all you’ll ever have to do for that site. On the other side, it is not exactly going to help you either. If it makes you feel good, I’d say go ahead and do it, there’s far too much negativity in this world to not have a feel-good moment.
One bonus of taking your time to list your site is that it doesn’t cost you anything, not much free in this world, enjoy! This should also contribute to additional warm and fuzzies. There may still be SEO companies out there that inform their clients that this does have a fee associated with it. This should be a red flag that you’re linked up with a nickel-and-diming agency and this will likely be the first of many surprise fees.
Ok, I feel we now have a good foundation to move forward. Let’s take a road trip. No, I mean a literal one, like in a car. New York to beautiful San Diego. We’re all familiar how technology can get us there, but what if it wasn’t there to guide us. Would you be happier with a map? You’re now starting to realize that some direction would be important in such a journey. Now layer in finding food… worth eating, and perhaps some lodging, without the bed bugs please! I use this example because this was an issue from a long time ago. We’ve all solved these dilemmas and have many available tools at our disposal to assist. The internet is that new frontier. That’s exactly what a lot of people feel when they are attempting to navigate! These business owners got out there, created a website and said, “Let that money roll in!” It didn’t take much time before they realized that it’s not that easy. They didn’t have a roadmap; they didn’t have the direction needed to be successful online! This ultimately led to great frustration and now that same motivated business owner is sitting there twiddling her thumbs. I’m hoping that I can lend a hand and provide that guidance needed to assist in getting you back on your feet!
The online world is a vast ocean of information and websites that stretch across the globe. Below I have provided seven steps that will help you traverse the globe, provide the sails for your vessel and help you sail those oceans of information efficiently. Well, I’ll help drive business to your site, to put it simply. This will certainly not be every little detail needed to become the next Jeff Bezos, but it will help you get the ball rolling
Below will be the making of your roadmap to web-driven profitability.
1. Selecting the Right Target Market
The most common misconception around starting a business is that they begin by fully investing in their product or service prior to understanding who they will be selling it to. Just like a Millennial reading an instruction manual, it’s important to understand that you must begin at the end. Who will pay you for what you are providing? If you fancy yourself as an intelligent person, please find your market first, this will be the best first step you could hope for and it will drive most of your decision making. This will allow you to specify your marketing and not fall victim to huge budgets aimed at massive audience for little to no return. Targeted marketing in the right sector will show more fruit and cost significantly less. Do research with your audience and ensure it at least fits a need.
It would be a tough conversation with yourself, loved ones or your investors if you need more capital because you didn’t do your due diligence. Where are your leads coming from, what channels? Target your exact market segment first and get the buzz started among those who may actually like what you do. Think early adopters. A ton of traffic to your site a day is great and all, but wouldn’t you rather they purchase before heading out? 10 hot leads of people in the market for what you are offering will pay the bills, keeping your site active for 1000 ‘lookers’ will not. Find those who want what you have first, then find out how to get in contact with them.
2. Bringing your Product to Market
I think we have a good understanding of how to get started. We must now get to creating that thing that is going to make you money. Let’s get to three areas that can create success for you. Many will say, jump right to Affiliate Programs, I’d say that should not be your first choice. It is a choice, but perhaps you should determine your level of success in other areas at the onset. Here’s my thoughts:
a. The Creation of Product Exclusivity
This is the best and most exciting arena to be in! It’s a party of 1 and you wear the crown. You can set the price, determine the market value for what you are offering and tap in. You can sell the reprint rights or even the patent, if you so choose. You can even set up the affiliate program yourself! I’m confident if you’re reading this that you may already be at this step, you just need to change your mindset.
A great example would be the recent How-To phenomenon. Create one of these ideas and then create the materials for it. Perhaps you know someone else with a How-To product, team up and ask to share the rights, this will certainly pay dividends.
b. Finding the Right Product and Buying-In
Perhaps you have determined an untapped audience for a product already in existence. Or you have determined a new use for a product already created that can satisfy an untapped customer base. This is the making of a major profit sector for you! The ownership rights of many products are sold every day. One could own these products for anywhere between $500 – $20,000. It would be wise, with your newfound knowledge, to offer a larger upfront fee for the full rights vs. a lesser amount for a partnership. Remember, you have this new and exciting channel, do you want this prior owner throwing in her old ideas to your new direction? If you don’t want to pony up the capital solo, perhaps silent investors may be the direction, but not the prior ownership. This will also set you up to not have to pay any royalties and may avoid potential lawsuits due to tricky wording in the contract. Buy outright to avoid all this. You could also search for products that are up for sale or products that are looking for investors. You could buy exclusive online sales rights for a percentage or an upfront fee.
c. Team up with an Affiliate Program for Success
A third option that is becoming more and more popular, I will introduce the concept of an Affiliate Program. As a brand-new online business, this may be a good option. This direction will certainly not pay the financial dividends the prior two options would, but could get your feet wet. Absolutely, having 100% rights to your product will always be the most profitable. If you go this route, choose a product that your target market cannot be without, this is the most important because quantity will be the big player here. You will also want to pay especially close attention to the percentages you should receive from each sale because this will ultimately determine your success.
Some simple math should paint this picture fairly easily. A 5% commission on the sale of, let’s say, $10 books, you make 50 cents per purchase. With this methodology, it would put you in a position which would require the sale of 2,000 units to make just $1000 in profit. Unless you have a WILDLY popular situation, this is not the direction you want to go to support yourself. My recommendation would be to look for those higher priced products and, of course, higher commissioned products. 25% or higher is a nice target for some solid earning potential.
3. Driving Home that Unique Selling Position
Competition is fierce out there these days and you will need to create a Unique Selling Position (USP) for your product or service. There are just too many competing in the same space to try and swing the results your way. This will not create success for you in a global economy. The market is full of easy access results. If this is your position, you will be a dime a dozen.
What do you offer that is unique to you? How do YOU stand out from the crowd? Is there something that you are offering that nobody else is, or better yet, can? Improving things like, better guarantees, better customer service, more technical support, faster shipping or lower prices will help, but in order to make noise you have to do it BIG! Think of that thing that can make you the top choice and make sure people know about it. Lastly, keep your word!
4. Creating a Domain Name and the Hosting Service Selection Process
You will now need to decide on your domain name. This should describe your company in a short and easy to understand way. Your USP and offering should be a part of this perhaps, make it make sense. You will want it to be concise and fairly descriptive on your business. Dashes and misspellings are common areas people fall victim to. Allowing this will likely cause your audience to not reach you and possibly provide extra traffic to your competition, thus negating your hard work!
Now, on to hosting. My personal top choice is an organization called Virtualis. I pick them because they have, in my opinion, the fastest customer service and technical support in the industry. Give it a shot, reach out to them, they will respond to you within the hour, anytime, 24 hours a day. I have not experienced that level of service with any other.
5. Easy to Use, Customer Friendly Sites are Best
It’s now time to develop your site! This is, to me, the most exciting part of the process! The world will now know your name as you shout it from the top of a mountain! If you intend to own and manage a full-time internet business, I would recommend that you learn how to design the site yourself. There are dozens of programs out there that can assist you in this process.
Doing this will obviously save you a bunch of money, although there is the inevitable risk of missing some crucial steps. This could cost you time and money, BUT, you’ve made it this far, didn’t you? If your site is in addition to your main business to enhance sales, then it may just be prudent to hire a professional firm or consultant to work out these kinks for you. Remember, this would be what they do every day vs. something you are attempting to figure out on the side on top of the million other things you have to juggle.
As mentioned earlier, it’s super important to always have your customer in mind when designing. The look, feel and ease of access to purchase is top priority. When you feel you are ready to launch, try and order something yourself. Have friends and family try. What was their experience like? Can they navigate easily? Are the links easy for them to understand? It’s important for your site to be simple. Your customer invests little time in evaluating the site they are on; they can be off in as little as 20 seconds if you’re not careful.
Given that such little time is spent by your customer deciding if they like you or not, make sure that you have your USP in front of their face immediately! Try opening your site while you set a timer. Can you appropriately evaluate what you’re selling and your USP in 15 seconds? Have a friend try. You should be able to provide your 3 key selling points quickly. Why should they buy from you over a company they already know?
6. A Free Offer may just Be the Ticket
This is a great option for a lot of businesses! I mean, who doesn’t like something for free? This will certainly help develop traffic for you and open doors to further conversation with your customers through alternative channels, i.e. mailing lists and Social Media. This also doesn’t have to be a product that has overhead tied to it, it could be an article, a report, news, weather, an e-book you created, etc. I would also highly recommend, as mentioned before, that this is tied to some means of future conversation with your customer, this piece is essential!
7. Opt-In to your future by your Customers Opting-In
Now to tie in our sixth point, opening a dialogue with your customers WILL create success for you. Continuing that conversation will take some work on your end. For many businesses, the creation of a weekly newsletter will keep your customers tuned in, perhaps a ‘Tip of the Day’ or ‘Daily Motivation’ is more your speed?
Whatever the avenue is that you choose, the creation of this audience of loyal followers will be the foundation of your business. Very rarely are customers purchasing at their first visit, perhaps your USP is appealing, but they’re not currently in the market. You have their attention, it’s your job to keep it.
This 7 step roadmap will get you on the right track towards a successful operation. Remember that crazy scenario at the top of the page? Don’t let that be you! Navigating the rough and turbulent web can be tricky. Happy to help, click here to connect and I’ll be happy to answer any of your questions directly.