U-C WEBS' founder Nardo KuitertBy Nardo Kuitert, U-C WEBS
[Published in The Wellington Advertiser, January 2011 for the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce]

You might not expect to hear this from someone who promotes websites in the search engines for his clients, but Search Engine Optimization is not always the recommended course of action. I don’t mean to say that it is never necessary; it is just not the magic bullet that many people make it out to be. So allow me to explain.

For those of you who don’t know what Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is: it is a set of techniques for tweaking a website in order to improve the site’s search engine listings. The idea is that higher rankings will mean more traffic (visitors), which in turn should lead to higher profits.

But SEO is not the holy grail of website promotion. You may not necessarily WANT more visitors; what you want is more PROSPECTS. There is a subtle but very important difference between the two: relevancy. You will need to improve the quality of your website visitors more than you need to increase the quantity of your traffic.

So how do you go about doing that?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Well, for one you need to make sure you target the right keywords. Choose phrases that will most likely attract the right type of website visitor; one that is in need of your products or services and actually wants to pay for them. You probably don’t want to spend precious time and effort quoting for tire-kickers that do not have any intend to buy (from you).

After you have determined the proper phrases to go after (you can do A/B testing* on your website to validate your assumptions) you should make sure that you are being found where your prospects are searching. This can be a myriad of locations: Facebook, Twitter, a mobile (smart) phone, relevant websites, or of course the search engines.

* A/B Testing means: using a software script to rotate several (headline, image, content) options on your website and measure the conversion results.

Once you are being found you need to make sure that your website can “close the deal”. Does it provide an easy way of contacting you? Are your headlines obvious? Is navigating your website effortless? Take a good look at your website, or invite a third party to provide unbiased feedback.

And finally: capturing your prospect’s email addresses for your online newsletter (do you have one, and if not: why not?) allows you to build a relationship with your prospects beyond their initial website visit. You can showcase your company’s products, services and (very important) your skill set and personality – over and over again. You probably heard before that in sales it takes at least 6-7 contacts before people are ready to buy; a newsletter allows you to build those contact moments – and trust.

I hope that these tips will help you be more successful online, and wish you on behalf of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce (visit us at cwchamber.ca or facebook.com/cwchamber) a prosperous 2011!

For more information: contact your Webmaster, or contact Internet Consultant and Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce Director Nardo Kuitert at nardo@ucwebs.com or 519-787-7612.