Get your business found online aka 'Embrace Your Niche'
I'm delighted to be here offering my top tips to help you fabulous mamas grow your businesses and get found online. I want to help you arm yourself with the knowhow to make a success of your business to achieve the sales you deserve.
The key factor to your success as a businesswoman is attracting sales.
What’s the easiest way to do that? Get found online or as it’s known SEO : search engine optimisation or as I like to call it “so exciting obviously”!
Search engine optimisation doesn't exactly have the reputation of being interesting or fun, but I have made it my mission in life to light a fire and burn that myth to the ground. In short, SEO is simply getting your business found online.
Yes, it's new knowledge, but I'm here to break it down and start off with some basics to get you off the ground and flying high.
I pride myself on using plain English with a good dollop of enthusiasm (often through the form of dance breaks over on my Instagram Stories, oh yes) to communicate how you can embrace the niche in which you're sitting and get more sales.
Stumble around the overly technical jargon no more, your SEO Queen is here to help. There's no doubt about it, you need to be willing to commit time to work on your SEO but with my help, this journey will be a lot easier for you to make.
Let's Get You Found
So without further ado, here are my top ten tips on how to get your business found online.
1. Who are you speaking to?
You need to work out exactly who you want to sell to. It's all very well saying "Mums aged 30-45" but you have to be more specific.
Ask yourself questions like:
What do they watch on TV?
What films do they love?
How do they spend their free time?
What are they called?
Where do they live?
By giving them a personality you get to know them really well and you then create content on your website and social media channels to attract more sales.
If you're just starting out, or you haven't ever done a target audience profile before, think about who you've loved working with, and what kind of traits they had.
Ask your target clients questions when you're speaking with them, and you'll find out more about them and what makes them tick.
You can then deliver more value to them, becoming known for being a 'Very Useful Person Indeed', therefore attracting more traffic to your website. In fact, I’ve even provided a helpful downloadable PDF for you with this blog post so enjoy!
2. What are you selling?
Let's pretend you're selling artisan chocolates (mmmm chocolate). You're not competing against Cadburys and all the other chocolate brands in the world, you're more niche than this.
It's the same with any business. Understand what you're selling and how it differs from your competitors and this will inform how you communicate this on your website through the text you use, and the kind of images you use, and the useful content you create.
Exercise: Write down some notes about the market you're in and the details of your niche area. It's actually easier to get found when you work in a niche, because you're more likely to get found and much more likely to get clicked on in the search engine results (take it from one who started her SEO life in wedding SEO!)
3. How do you find the right words to use?
Start by doing this exercise:
- Write down words and phrases you use to describe your product/service
- Do the same, but this time think about the words and phrases your clients use (how have you heard them describe what you do?)
- Use an online thesaurus to plug in the words and phrases you've used so far to find out alternative words.
- You then have a nice juicy list of phrases...but what next?
Using our example of the artisan chocolate company, words like 'yummy', 'delicious' are not going to cut the mustard because they're too broad, which is why phrases are key. So 'artisan chocolates' or 'gourmet chocolates' or 'luxury chocolates' would all be great to have on the list.
By bringing in your knowledge of your target audience, you might think they're buying them as a gift, so 'edible gifts' could also be an area to brainstorm.
Once you have this list, type into a spreadsheet and then head to Google Keyword Planner. This is a free tool that tells you how many people a month search for these phrases (volume), and how many of your competitors use these phrases to get found online (competition).
You're looking for the magical combination of a high volume of searches a month and low competition. This is not impossible, but it does take some time. This is also another key reason why it's important to embrace your niche as it's often lower competition.
4. How are you selling it?
We've talked about who and what, but it matters how you sell your product and service too.
You need a website, which you know obvs as you're reading this, but not one of those cheap sites hosted for a quid, but something that is going to stand the test of time.
Don't despair if you don't have the budget for one now, make it a goal to be able to afford one in the near future. And don't let having a cheap site put you off building your SEO.
I recommend heading to Wordpress.org for your next website as it's flexible, functional and will grow easily with your business. If you already have a Wordpress website, I recommend using the Yoast plugin to guide you on how you can improve SEO on your pages.
5. Give people a reason to visit your site regularly
Lots of people create a website and think that's it. But you need to remind people you exist regularly. People's attention spans are short (just think of how we all scroll through our phones mindlessly) and you need to stick in people's minds.
They need to see your brand on average at least 8 times these days before they make a decision to buy from you. You therefore need to provide reasons why people should be visiting your site regularly and consistently.
Publish new work as soon as you create it.
Create multiple pages on your website - Homepage, Contact page, Portfolio (if applicable), Product / Service Pricing page, FAQ - as a starter.
You need lots of content on your site to be taken seriously and to get your readers to stick around. Staying longer on a website is also great for SEO so don't give readers any excuse to click away.
6. Check your images
You need to have professional images on your site, so if you don't already, find a photographer and get that shoot booked. Once you have great images on your site, you need to look at whether they're optimised for SEO.
So often I see sites are slow to load because people have loaded up the big gorgeous images from their photographer at 3000px wide when only 1200px wide is needed really (depending on your website template - check with your web designer or template support!).
To check your site speed go to https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and see if your site is scoring over 70/100. If it's not, look at what's being flagged and aim to correct it. I bet it's the images!
You also need to rename your images to be optimal for Google. Go back to the list of keywords and rename the image files - use the keywords and describe the images but don't overstuff. Just four or five words is fine and don't do this...
artisan chocolates chocolate delicious yummy
artisan chocolate edible gift
Each image should have a unique filename.
When you upload the images, the filenames automatically become the title tags which is a ranking factor for SEO. There's also ALT text to be completed which you can also do if you're feeling confident - it's a box usually next to the filename when you upload your images. This can also be similar to the filename, using keywords and making sure they're unique. ALT text is what appears if the image doesn't load, and search engines love that we put in the effort.
You also need to be pinning your images to Pinterest! ALT text is usually the automatic caption when you pin your images to Pinterest (depending on your website template!)
7. You need to blog
You need to have a blog on your website.
Lots of people get scared about putting themselves out there but I promise you this is the easiest way to attract traffic to your site.
It's cost effective because you're doing it yourself! How do you know what to write about?
Exercise: Write down questions your audience have asked you.
Look up in forums online to see what people are asking about your kind of product.
Look up in Facebook groups to see what people are asking.
Research the heck out of it basically and write a blog post per answer.
You can use images from your own portfolio each time and if you don't have enough images, see what you can do to create more images (book a photographer).
People ask me about videos, and this is fantastic, but if you create a video then create a transcript of the video to feature with the video in the blog post.
You need to choose a keyword phrase from your list per blog post and make this the focus. You can feature the phrase once in the title, once in the text and once in the metadescription (the text that appears in search engine results)
8. You need to build links back to your website
You need to get links back to your site in order to attract traffic.
Register with Google Maps to get yourself literally on the map (you can hide your address if you work from home like me), register with yell.com.
Look up business directories in your county and get yourself registered there.
Look up directory sites in your niche and get registered there.
Set up a spreadsheet with all your target sites and keep track of your progress, otherwise it gets a bit overwhelming.
9. You need to install Google Analytics
You need to install Google Analytics to understand how people are using your website, what the popular content is and therefore what to create more of.
You can also identify what time of day people are using your site (hint: that's the time to publish new content), where people are coming from to your site (organic SEO, social media, referrals, etc).
There is literally a ton of information but even the main dashboard provides you with useful information you can apply to making decisions about your site.
To install it, there's some code you need to add, but Google are increasingly supportive with their documentation (hint: not written just for geeks) and you can find help to add it to your site.
10. Google Sitemap
You need to tell Google you exist and the quickest way to do this is to submit a map of your website to Google.
You can find your sitemap at yourdomain.com/sitemap_xml so test it out and see if a few lines of text appear when you enter this into your browser. If it doesn't, consult your web designer or your template tech support to create it.
You then need to set up a free account with Google (if you don't have one already) and head to Google Search Console. Enter the details to register your site and click Add/Test Sitemap. You then add sitemap_xml to the box and voila! Google knows about your site.
So there you have it! Phew! You made it.
Now that you’ve read through my top ten tips on how to get your business found online, you can put it into action by downloading my target audience profile template here – it’s the foundation to getting found online!
I'm Maddy, I run Making Your Business Shine. My mission is to help passionate creative women create a sch-mazing online presence and grow their businesses by leaving Confusionville for dust and effortlessly attracting and booking the perfect clients. I'm affectionately known as the SEO Queen by my clients - perhaps it's the Emma Thompson-esque accent coupled with the strong and enthusiastic advice I share on how to get found online. Obsessed with the web from an early age (I designed my first website as a teenager before most of my friends had the internet) I now love to combine working with wonderful women with my love of geekery and a good dash of pink lipgloss. You can find me dancing here on Instagram, in my fun Facebook group So Exciting Obviously SEO for Creative Women and you can stalk my services and hire me to run an SEO audit on your site or design you a fresh optimised site here: http://www.business-shine.co.uk/