This post and the next three are the heart of The Ultimate Checklist For Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises series. Prior articles have covered the basics of market research for new ventures, how to choose your legal business entity and social media profiles. Now it is time to turn our attention to web strategies for marketing and the basics of SEO html for your website.
Why Entrepreneurs and Professional Practices Should Establish an Internet Presence
Entrepreneurs, inventors and professionals should realize that virtually every business venture will need a website. The internet replaced the yellow pages years ago. Now, finding a product or service, is as easy as typing a few select keywords into a Google or Bing search box. Having a quality and well thought out website will tell potential clients, customers or investors:
- Who you are and what you have to offer.
- Why they should do business with your company.
- How to make contact with your company.
- Your company image or personality.
More importantly, the value of internet marketing is that it has the potential to reach more people than print and radio combined and has a permanence not available by any other form of marketing. For example, a radio ad last for 15-60 seconds, a web page last indefinitely. In addition, your reach is now international, the cost of marketing is less and internet marketing is 100% measurable.
Types of Web Presence for Entrepreneurs and Businesses to Consider
It does not matter if your website is a few pages or hundreds of pages, what matters most is the type of web presence you establish. A web presence can be described as the look and functionality of your web site. A web site can be designed to look like a magazine or may be set up to present a certain professional image. Others may be specifically designed to sell a product or service. Obviously, a site designed to sell you a good or service will want certain features (colors, fonts, banners, feature placements etc.) that are different than a professional practice webpage. For example, your website may be:
- A brochure type site (restaurant, bar, garage, non-profit, fundraising etc.) which is designed to provide information to others.
- A blog/informational site demonstrating knowledge or skills.
- An ecommerce site for the selling of goods or products.
- A Professional Practice site providing information and/or resources.
- Used for drawing attention to a new technology venture
- A hybrid which is the combination of any of the above sites.
A great place to start looking at website themes is The Thesis Theme for WordPress, WordPress, FreeWebSiteTemplates. You do not need to commit to a theme or purchase a design at this point in time. You only need to identify something you might like. Selecting the actual theme will be covered in our next post.
How to get your website to show up in the search results without paying for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) marketing or Adwords will be discussed in upcoming posts titled The Basics of SEO and How Entrepreneurs Can Market Their Website for FREE. Both articles will show entrepreneurs, innovators and micro-enterprises how to get great traction without wasting valuable start up capital. There are thousands of people and companies offering help with SEO marketing but I can tell you only a few know what they are really talking about. I will also tell you why I can make that statement with confidence.
Deciding on Your External Web Presence
The last step before deciding exactly what type of website to start is to determine the type of external web presence you will want. An external web presence is the tools you will want to help market your product on the internet. In order to choose what is best for you it is important that you consider your overall marketing strategy in relation to your new venture business plan. This includes:
- Knowing who your target market is.
- Knowing what are they interested in reading/seeing.
- Knowing how will you appeal to them
- Knowing how will you keep their interest in order to convert them to a lead or purchase.
Do not guess at the list above. A good business person leaves nothing to chance. Entrepreneurs need to build their financial projections from the ground up. This means knowing how many visits it will take to generate a lead and how many leads will it take to generate a customer. The answer is different for every industry and product.
The Entrepreneur’s Advisor final caution is to be wary of people, websites or companies that guarantee sales or web traffic. Building an internet presence takes time and effort and cannot be purchased for overnight success. Most businesses take years to build whether they are a store or professional practice or internet sales. It can take 6 – 24 months to build a sustainable business, therefore, it makes sense to do it right and spend enough time on the research and planning.
Share your tips and advice for establishing a web presence by leaving a comment. The next post will explain how to set up your website including purchasing domains, finding a host, setting goals, capturing leads, direct sales, image branding and blogging.
The Ultimate Checklist for Entrepreneur, Innovators and Micro-enterprises series post so far are:
- The Ultimate Checklist For Entrepreneurs, Innovators and Micro-enterprises
- Choosing Your New Venture Legal Entity
- Choosing Names for New Ventures, Domains and Social Media
- Social Name Check Tool From The Entrepreneurs Advisor – This was a bonus addition to give you a free tool to check social media names.