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.