A Website is Just One Part of An Effective Digital Marketing Strategy
Many small business owners today are asking, “Do I really need a website?” Well, the short answer is a definite YES! These days, without an online presence, it can be hard for your business to compete and grow. But a website alone won’t get the job done. Did you know that today there are over a billion websites on the World Wide Web! As you can imagine, with so many websites, it can be pretty easy for your website to get lost in the shuffle. In order to prevent that from happening, you will need a well crafted Digital Marketing Strategy.
What is Digital Marketing you ask? Digital Marketing is a broad term used to describe a series of online marketing tactics that a business can employ in order to digitally connect with its audience. A website is just one of those tactics that make up your overall strategy. Other tactics include online branding assets, digital advertising, email marketing, blogging, social media…well the list goes on. Generally speaking, there are two main types of tactics one can use in their overall marketing strategy.
- Tactics that are designed to attract potential customers by providing something of value to them.
- Tactics designed to interrupt potential customers by fighting to get their attention.
We have found the former tactic to be far more preferable and effective than the latter.
For example, banner ads and unsolicited pop-up ads are indeed considered to be forms of digital marketing. But so is creating great blog content that actually provides useful information to its intended readers. The truth is, banner ads and pop-ups are very likely to turn people off your brand, whereas creating useful or entertaining blog content is likely to attract them.
Over the next several weeks, we will be offering some suggestions for digital marketing tactics you could include in the arsenal of your overall digital strategy that we have found to be most effective at attracting customers instead of interrupting them and chasing them away. We will cover best practices for what we have found to be the seven most important pillars of an effective digital marketing strategy.
- Setting up and optimizing your website.
- Creating a digital content strategy.
- Social media promotion.
- Automation that converts visitors to your website into viable leads.
- Effective Paid Advertising
- Turning leads into customers
- Measuring and improving your marketing strategy.
So let’s dive in.
1. Setting up and optimizing your website
If you build it, they will come . . .or will they?
No question that your website is the primary tactic of your overall digital marketing strategy. Try to think of it as the piece of real estate your business owns on the world wide web. With it you can tell people about your products and services, publish interesting content and help your potential customers find and get what they are looking for.
But building a nice looking website isn’t enough. You need to take some steps to insure that people find your site among the billion other site that are out there. The key area of focus here is search engines like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox. These are the tool people use to find online information. The search engine is the first point of contact when people have a question or they are looking for information. So it is very important for your website to make an appearance in those search results.
This is accomplished with Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. It involves steps you can take that will improve the chances of your website being found by Google, Bing, Yahoo, Firefox and the rest of the search engines that people use. The traditional approach to SEO involves two sets of tactics: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On a basic level, on-page SEO is the strategic implementation of keywords on your website, including in page titles, headers, meta descriptions, and other elements you can see. However it can become much more technical, looking into improve your site structure, page load speed, and the rate at which Google is able to index your website. Off-page SEO refers to improving your website’s overall authority, which is largely determined by what other websites are linking to you. The goal with off-page SEO is to attract inbound links (or “backlinks”) from relevant, authoritative websites.
In the past, the goal of SEO was to impress (or trick) the search engines so that they’d give you higher rankings by gaming back links and adding as many keywords on a page as possible — with the ultimate goal being to achieve the coveted #1 spot in the search results for one of your target keywords. Today, search engines are smarter. They can tell the difference between spammy websites that are designed to game the system, and legitimate websites that are providing relevant high-quality content. Modern SEO is about optimizing for the searchers, not just the search engines.
Getting Started with SEO: 5 Elements to Optimize
1. Page Titles
A page title is the text you see at the top of your browser window when viewing a web page. It’s also the title of the page that is presented in search engine results.
Page titles can be found and edited in your page’s HTML code. It is th text that is surrounded by the <title>your page title here</title> tag. here are a few tips for coming up with an effective page title:
- Write page titles that describe and align with the actual content that is on the page.
- Include relevant keywords. This should happen naturally if you follow tip number 1.
- Place your keywords as close to the beginning of the page title as possible.
- Make you page title fewer than 70 characters long.
- Include your company name at the end of the page title if there is space
- Use a different page title for each page of your website.
2. Meta Descriptions
A meta description is a short summary that you can write for a web page, which search engines display in search results.
These descriptions don’t count toward search engine rankings, but they are still incredibly useful for increasing click-through rate. When creating a description, the goal should be to write compelling copy that actually describes what’s on a page so searchers are enticed to visit your website over another that appears in the same results page.
If a piece of text appears larger or more prominent than the other text on a page, it’s probably part of a heading. You can verify this by checking the HTML code of a webpage and looking for text within an <h1>, <h2>, or <h3> tag surrounding it. Both search engines and searchers tend to pay more attention to headings in comparison with regular paragraph text because their larger size denotes the topic of a section. Many readers may scan your blog post, for example, until the find a section that addresses their specific query. It’s a good idea to include keywords in your headings whenever possible.
Keep in mind that <h1> tags give the text more weight as keywords than <h2> or <h3> tags. Including too many headings dilutes the importance of keywords in other headings, so we recommend using the <h1> tag only once. If the page is text-heavy (like a blog post), then feel free to break up the content with multiple <h2> tags as section headers, and <h3> tags as paragraph titles.
Images on a web page can enhance user experience. When inserting images into your website, however, you should keep in mind the following:
- Don’t use images excessively. More pictures can slow down the loading of your page, which will negatively impact both user experience and SEO — search engines take page loading time into account in their ranking algorithms.
- Don’t leave the “alt text” of an image blank. For various reasons, the images on your site may fail to render. To ensure that visitors can still understand the information you’re presenting in the image, customize the “alt text” attribute of an image to describe the image. This will also help search engines understand that your image is relevant to the page, which is factored into search algorithms and will help you draw in relevant traffic from image searches. When writing alt tags, separate words with a dash (-).
5. URL Structure
The URL of a web page is its web address. For example, 1 Source Web’s blog has a URL of https://1sourceweb.com/blog. URL structure refers to how the text in a URL is organised, as well as how the different URLs on your website interact with one another. When structuring your website’s URLs, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Separate keywords with hyphens. For your internal page URLs, separate individual keywords with hyphens (-). For example: http://1sourceweb.com/marketing-automation/ is a good URL that
captures ‘marketing’ and ‘automation’ as keywords.
- Describe what’s on the page. Structure your URLs so that searchers can easily understand what information they’re going to find. For example, if you land on a company’s products page, seeing the URL http://company.com/products/product-name will be much more reassuring than something like http://company.com/1543?/eh?.
- Use 301 redirects when necessary. A 301 redirect forwards an old URL to a new one. Make sure you do this if you change the URL of a page on your site. A common mistake is not applying a 301 redirect between yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com. This can be quite a problem from an SEO standpoint, because search engines will give separate credit to both versions of your site.
What about Mobile?
The topic of mobile marketing is tossed around frequently in marketing circles, often with many different intended meanings. While mobile marketing can mean many things, there is one primary message being conveyed to marketers looking to take advantage of mobile: optimization of websites for mobile viewing.
While there are a few different options for providing a mobile web experience, such as creating a separate mobile site or launching an app, the best option — from an optimization standpoint — is using responsive design.
A responsive website uses the same URL and HTML across all devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The only thing that changes is the CSS, which is a programming language that describes the style and formatting of a web page. CSS allows the content on your website to adapt to different screen sizes, which means visitors always get a great viewing and browsing experience. What’s more, Google prefers responsive design to other mobile technologies because it allows for more efficient crawling and indexing.
Well that’s it for this installment. We hope you find this helpful. Next week we will look at the 2nd step in our series: “2. Creating a Digital Content Strategy – Digital Content that Gets Traffic”