Quit building websites

I had the opportunity to speak at the 15th annual NARMS Spring Conference last month. It was a workshop on using social media to leverage a membership with the association. Check out the agenda; my slides and workshop recording are linked up there. (Sunday, April 18 1:00pm)

Over a month has passed and I still have one question a participant asked, playing over and over in my head. It went something like;

I don’t have the time to wax philosophically about the retail marketing industry. Why do I need a blog?

I answered his question as I do anytime someone tells me they don’t need a blog or have time to write a blog. The short answer goes something like this: Your blog is your web site and your web site is your blog. Quit making the distinction.

Your primary audience is now a machine
It used to be you marketed your web site to customers and other human beings. Now, you market to search engines (SEM — Search Engine Marketing) as most searches now start on Google or Bing. Your primary audience in the search engine and your end audience is a C-Suite executive. In order to be a visible business, you have to show up first on the search engines and then punch your way out of that to a human being. If your website can’t do that, you just don’t make the short list of vendors.

It turns out that blogging software like WordPressor MovableType is set up to easily work with search engines by being SEO and SEM-friendly. It is also easy to quickly and prolifically add optimized content to your website. In fact, if you go out to the Internet right now, it is hard to tell a “blog” from a “web site” any more as many “blogs” function primarily as CMS (Content Management Systems) ICC/Decision Services (iccds.com) is one such site. My employer’s web site Rivershark Inc (rivershark.com) is another example.

It’s all about the keywords
How do potential clients describe what you do? In plain language, please. For example, a plumber does not “provide a comprehensive whole-house fluid distribution and waste removal solution.” He unclogs drains and toilets, installs faucets and fixes leaks. When determining keywords, think like a potential clients trying to find a solution to their problem in ways they identify the problem.

Everything you write for your website — from press releases to about pages to articles — focuses on those keywords.

Adding content rapidly and frequently is critical
A search engine indexes pages, not web sites. Once your services, about us and contact us page is indexed, that pretty much it. With nothing left to do with your site, the search engine indexing robot moves on to your competitors’ web sites. And the sites that keep adding content and keeping the search engine indexing robots busy by adding new stuff wins. The easiest way to jolt a search engine robot out of dormancy is to add new stuff.

And you don’t have to wax philosophically about your industry. You can share your opinion on a recent news story that affects you. Your can write a news release. You can welcome a new client. Whatever you do, focus on keywords and keep the content flowing. Building your web site on top of blogging software allows you to do that easily, all the while creating content that search engines know how to process quickly. 100-300 words is all you need for most articles.

But stepping away from the defining what is a web site and what is a blog is the first major step.

Originally published at GerardMcLean.com

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