What are keywords and why are they critical for your small business’ website &(and everything else that you do online to promote your business)?

 This blog post is part of the “What and Why” Series. You can learn more about the What and Why Series by clicking here. 

In my last post, I explained what a Direct Response Website is and why it is important for your small business.  I also told you that in  each of my next blog posts I would explain five essential elements of a  Direct Response Website.

You may be surprised to see that, according to The Maven,  the first element of designing  a Direct Response Website has nothing to do with graphic design. Actually, it is more related to search engine optimization.  The first essential element of designing a Direct Response Website is to make sure that you know the right keywords to use, and put them in the right places on your website.

Keywords are the words that people type into the search box in a search engine. Yes, they are simple little things — but using the right ones, in the right way, can have a huge impact on your business.

Remember — words sell, pictures don’t. The images on your site should support your words, not the other way around. So it’s best to pick your keywords first, the write the copy around your keywords.

After all, as soon as you’re done designing your website, you’re going to want people to find it…and not just any “people”  — you want your target customer to find your website.  In other words, you want people who are interested in what you have to sell to find your website when they search on the internet for information, products, and services related to what you have to offer.

In order to have any chance of the people who are interested in what you have to sell finding your website when they use a search engine, your site must include the words that your target customers will type into the search engine to find information, products and services related to your business — and those keywords must be in the right places on your website.

Now doesn’t make the most sense figure out the words that your target customer will put into the search engines to find information, products and services related to what you have to offer — and put them into the right places on your website, as you build your site — rather than waiting till the website is done and then having to “backtrack” and modify the site?

Well, The Maven certainly thinks it so! But surprisingly, many website designers don’t agree!

I frequently meet small business owners who have had a website designed by a graphic artist and then then are told to “go have it optimized.”   Then business owners  are upset  when they realize the extra time, money, and effort it will take to perform keyword research and integrate their keywords into their website. (Has this happened to you? If so, please share your experience in the comments below!) Sometimes clients get even more frustrated when the keyword research that I perform reveals important insights into their target customer that if they had known, they would have integrated into the their website and other marketing campaigns.

Keywords are the cornerstone of everything you do online, from creating your website to  blogging to using social media. Every aspect of marketing your business on the internet should be built around your keywords. Therefore, in order to save time, money, and heartache down-the-road, I recommend that you take the time to do keyword research  before you create your website or do anything else online to promote your business.

So, to sum up, the first step in designing a website that help your business get new customers is not actually related to graphic design at all.  The first step is to determine the (key)words that your target customers enter into the search engines to find information, products, and services specifically related to your business.  Armed with that knowledge, you can move forward and design a website that will be extremely effective at more leads and sales for your small business.

Do you agree?

Have you had a website designed and then was upset when you realized the extra time, money and effort it would take to have it optimized? It seems to happen to my clients all the time! Please share your experience in the comments below!

Want To Learn More? 

Then be sure to come back! In the next post The Maven will show you a simple method for finding the best keywords to use on your website.

What is a Direct Response Website and Why Is It Important For Your Business?

This is the first official blog post of The What and Why Series. You can learn more about The What And Why Series by clicking  here.

Everyday I meet small  business owners who have nice-looking websites, and even get lots of visitors, but do not generate business from their site. Their website is just another expense, when it should be an asset for their company!

In fact,  one entrepreneur recently said to me, “I don’t get it. I’m number one in google for good keywords, and my phone should be ringing-off-the-hook, but it’s not! I rarely get a phone call from someone who has been to my website and I can’t afford traditional marketing like newspaper ads! Can you help me figure out what’s wrong? ”

I suspected that I knew the cause of her problem, and one look at her  website confirmed it.  While her site looked attractive and provided adequate information about the business, it was basically an online brochure. It was not set up to encourage visitors to take any action, like to make a call, for example. Her site was not designed to begin a relationship with a prospect, generate leads, or make sales.

A Direct Response Website is a site that is designed to get a targeted group of people to take a specific action(s) with the ultimate goal of generating a lead or a sale. These specific actions can include: calling a phone number, filling out a form, signing up for email, printing out a coupon, engaging in online chat and / or making a purchase.

A Direct Response Website can certainly be attractive and reflect your branding, but  (prepare to be shocked!) it doesn’t even have to look good help put money in your pocket. Even a simple, basic, (dare I say it — “ugly”)  website can be more effective at generating leads and sales than a fancy, beautiful one, if the site is  set up according to the principles of Direct Response website design.

Creating a Direct Response Website, or tweaking your current website to incorporate some of the tools and principles of Direct Response Design is critical to your business for several reasons.  If your website doesn’t  “do it’s job” of generating leads and sales then:

  1. As I said above, it is an expense, not an asset for your company.
  2. You will have to spend more money on traditional advertising to try to attract new customers.
  3. Even if you do spend more money on traditional advertising to get new customers, they will likely look at your website before they decide to call you, come into your store or place an order, so you want your website to encourage them to take action right away!
  4. If you invest time and money in using social media to attract new business, your efforts will likewise be undermined by having an old-fashioned, ineffective, brochure-style website. After finding you on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, people will go to your website to “check you out.”  If your website isn’t set up to generate leads or sales sell, you’ll simply miss out on a lot new business.

Need I say more?

Well, yes, in fact, I must say more…

I’m not going to just tell you about what a Direct Response Website is and why it is important…and leave you hanging…

That would make me a very mean Maven…and “mean” is not my style!

I imagine that, at this point, you want to know how to design a Direct Response Website, or how to tweak your current website to include Direct Response tools and principles.  So below  I will  list  the five essential elements of a Direct Response Website and I will describe each element in greater depth, in the upcoming posts in the “What and Why” Series.

5 Essential Elements of a Direct Response Website Are:

  • Well Researched Keywords In The Right Places
  • Concise, “Emotional,” Action-Focused Copywriting
  • Simple Design & Natural Navigation
  • A “Call-To-Action” On Every Page (but not too many!)
  • A Lead-Capture Mechanism With An “Ethical Bribe”
  • A Blog (Yes. I said it and I mean it! Your company’s website needs a blog. Period.)

That’s all for now. As I said above, I will cover each of these elements of  Direct Response Websites in future blog posts…so stay tuned! Or, if you just can’t wait, and you need help designed a Direct Response Website right now, then contact me here. I have several affordable options to help get your phone ringin’ and your door swingin’!)