A Field of Dreams? Not Really…
A question I hear a lot is “How come if my site is so good my traffic is declining?” Or, “why am I getting so few hits on my site, it’s only 6 months old?”
What I keep hearing myself say in response is “the Field of Dreams approach to websites no longer works. You can build it; it does not mean they will come.”
I use the Field of Dreams analogy because for a long time I think that is largely what worked, at least for many sites. Not that SEO did not exist or that quality design and solid keywords did not matter, but 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago, the Internet was not so FULL. According to DOMO, there are 571 new websites created every minute of every day, and there are over 2 million searches initiated on Google in that same minute. So yeah, the space is crowded and busy.
Given those types of numbers there are a few things for every business owner of every site to consider, especially my clientele, locally owned small businesses:
1. Search Engine Optimization is no longer a luxury item, it is a must. You need to have ongoing SEO practices engaged to stay relevant and competitive. That means actually using analytics to track what is bringing people to your site, what is keeping them on your site, and having specific conversion goals.
2. Content is still king: adding relevant content through blogs, photos, products, comments, etc., must happen on a regular basis. A static website is a lower ranked website.
3. Social Media is becoming more important when it comes to branding and public relations. Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Youtube, etc can help you grow your online footprint and provide links back to your site, which is always the goal. I am leery of saying it can be a lead generator, although it can and has been for me personally. But that took months of organic cultivation and a focus on engagement and a willingness to put in the time with no discernible immediate result.
So small business website design not only has to incorporate quality design from the cosmetic and sales and organic perspective, but needs to be adopted with the knowledge that if you build it, you better incorporate SEO and other forms of marketing into your plan if you want the people to come. It is no longer enough to just be there.
See you on the web!