If you own a business, getting that business up and running online can seem like a Herculean task. When it finally goes live, it may be tempting to sit back and bask in your accomplishment but that is the last thing you should do.

While it’s true that more than 90 percent of consumers go online to look for products and services, just because you are online doesn’t mean these consumers will find you. In fact, not actively promoting your brand online is the same as not being online at all.

According to The First 5 Things to Do After Getting Your Business Online, an article by the small business editor at Small Business Trends, there are some critical steps you need to take to keep your business moving forward after it goes online.

  1. Use your domain name to promote your brand
  2. Create lots and lots (did we mention a lot) of content
  3. Find customers through email, social media, and search engine optimization
  4. Create ecommerce capabilities and/or capture leads online
  5. Remain flexible and open to new ways of doing things

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t accomplish every item on this list immediately or perfectly. The important thing is that you have a plan and continue to work toward your online goals.

Keep track of what you learn and don’t be afraid to make adjustments along the way.  As your needs change, you may need a full-fledged ecommerce site or you may want to make your website mobile-friendly.

Of course, if you feel that you are in over your head when it comes to getting notice online, it might be time to enlist some help. At GoLeads, we have helped people just like you create content, actively connect with new customers, and capture leads. And that is just the beginning.

Finally, remember that just because your business is online, it doesn’t mean you can only use online methods to get it noticed. A combination of online and offline marketing tactics is usually the best strategy for getting your business noticed.

Search engine optimization (SEO) has always been important to businesses. However, recent changes to Google’s algorithm mean that now, more than ever, businesses need a firm grasp on the best practices in SEO. This is especially true for businesses that rely heavily on results from search engines to drive traffic to their websites.

At GoLeads, we are always amazed at the responses we receive from clients after we introduce the subject of SEO to them. Answers are varied, but usually come down to these top 3:

“Oh, we’re already doing this.”

“I have someone concentrating on this full time.”

“We do outbound calling. We don’t want inbound calls.”   (Really?)

What’s interesting about the first two responses is that it doesn’t take much research to recognize they really aren’t doing anything when it comes to SEO. We can never find them in the organic listings under their keywords or phrases. Plus, their back-end coding is all wrong, there is no new content…the list goes on.

The great thing about SEO is that it’s never too late to start taking an active approach to it. Now is the time to get back in the game. That’s because Google has changed the rules quite dramatically that it’s possible for everyone to compete for visibility.

Need another incentive? Businesses that do not abide by Google guidelines may be removed from its search engine entirely.

While deciphering and adhering to SEO best practices may seem daunting, fear not! Learning how to best leverage SEO for your business is not impossible. What follows are the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to the latest in SEO:

  1. YOUR WEBSITE MUST BE MOBILE AND USER FRIENDLY. Most of us realize that every business must have a mobile website. But equally important is that your mobile website is easy to read and look good on every type of mobile device, including smart phones and tablets.
  2. CONTENT REMAINS KING. Content continues to reign supreme and it is becoming more important all the time. Today’s content must be high quality, provide useful insights, and be easily shared.
  3. SPEED COUNTS. Slow websites will be penalized. For example, if the pages on your website take too long to load, your page ranking will suffer.
  4. TIME (ON YOUR WEBSITE) IS OF THE ESSENCE. There is no such thing as someone spending too much time on your site. In fact, Google will be judging your content on how long people spend on your website. Likewise, if you have a lot of visitors to your website but they don’t stay for long, you need to find out why that is and take steps to change it.

Knowing what SEO strategies are most important and how to implement them can be a struggle. At GoLeads, we help businesses just like yours do this every single day and we can do the same for you. Navigating the new SEO landscape can be difficult, but the good news is you don’t have to go it alone!

Today’s many social media platforms make engaging with customers and prospects easier than ever. Unfortunately, this fact gives many business owners the mistaken impression that social media marketing is a simple undertaking. In truth, getting your target audience to engage with you on social media is no easy task.

In her article, 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing, Susan Gunelius tells us that social media can dramatically increase a company’s following. But like anything else, what you put into your social media marketing strategy is directly related to what you will get out of it.

If you publish amazing, quality content and work to build your online audience of quality followers, they’ll share it with their own audiences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their own blogs and more.

This sharing and discussing of your content opens new entry points for search engines like Google to find it in keyword searches. Those entry points could grow to hundreds or thousands of more potential ways for people to find you online.

At GoLeads, we tell our customers that the more accessible and inviting a company’s social media marketing efforts seem, the more hard work and strategizing actually went into those efforts.

Your social media strategy should always keep in mind the audience you are trying to reach. For example, if you are looking to attract investment bankers, your posts should contain information that specifically speaks to that audience. And fluff copy isn’t going to do the job. After all, these professionals know their industry inside and out and won’t waste valuable time on content that doesn’t bring something new to the table. Gunelius’ Law of Value talks about this:

You must add value to the conversation. Focus less on conversions and more on creating amazing content and developing relationships with online influencers. In time, those people will become a powerful catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

Producing quality content takes a lot of time and a great deal of research. And it’s important to remember that it takes patience to achieve social media success. Therefore, don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than you expected to gain traction. When it comes to social media, slow and steady really does win the race.

Usability Crucial to Increased Website Traffic

No matter how much traffic your website is generating, it can always generate more. Many business owners believe that the best way to generate more traffic to their website is to have a slick design with compelling graphics and images. While no one would argue that those are great ways to improve your website’s appearance, the best way to increase traffic to your website is to improve its usability.

Jacob Nielsen is the author of “How Users Read on the Web.” According to Nielsen’s research, the more usable a website, the more traffic it will generate. That’s because when a website is usable, people are more likely to revisit that site and encourage others to do the same. In other words, usability helps to create a buzz around your website.

Now that we know what website usability does, let’s define it. To put it in the simplest terms, usable websites contain content that is objective, concise, and easy for readers to scan. Many people are surprised to learn that people read articles and content on the internet differently than they do newspapers or magazines.

So how can you improve the usability of your website content? Remember that people quickly scan a website before they take the time to read it. If a quick scan turns up something they think may be of interest, then, and only then, will they take the time to read the content.

Here are some other tips to increase your website’s usability:

  1. Get to the point. Quickly. Long descriptions and explanations turn readers off.
  2. Start with your conclusion. Many people only read a paragraph or two so this may be the only shot you have to connect with them.
  3. One concept per paragraph, please.
  4. Headlines Matter!
  5. Bullet points, numbered lists, and infographics are always a hit.
  6. Include a brief summary of the content. If it is appealing, it will entice people to read the entire article. If it isn’t, at least they get the main idea.
  7. Shorter is better. Edit, edit, and edit again to keep word counts to a minimum.
  8. Know who your audience is before you write anything.
  9. Write like you are talking to the person reading the article – and only that person.
  10. Quote the experts. By doing so, you sound like an expert.

Once you have incorporated these tips into your content, it’s time to write more content. Remember, if your content is interesting and engaging, people will come back for more. It’s your job to make sure it’s there for them!

There are very few purchases you make without doing some comparison shopping. After all, smart shoppers want to know they are getting the best value for their money. They also want to take some time to investigate all their options.

GoLeads believes that when you compare our products and services to those of the competition, you will be impressed with what we have to offer. That’s why we don’t mind when potential customers take the time to look around.

At Goleads, we know that generating sales leads is an ongoing task for any business. There are countless ways to generate leads. These include things like attending meet-and-greets, setting up a booth at tradeshows, and staying active on social media.

However, when it comes to generating leads, you can always being doing more. That’s why the tried-and-true method of partnering with a list services company for new business leads is an important way to ensure that you are never short on prospects.

One of the most important ways a list services company can help you to refine and perfect your lead generation efforts is by allowing you to selectively target prospects by narrowing those prospects down by the specific perimeters you choose. Need prospects close to your headquarters? Want to get in touch with CEOs? Looking for nonprofits? No matter what you are looking for, a list services company can help you find it.

If you have decided that a list services company is the right decision for your business, the next step is to find the list services company that meets your specific needs. It may take some time to find the right match but it is definitely well worth the effort if you want the highest quality leads.

The best way to find the right list services company is to do some old-fashioned comparison shopping. By obtaining lists from companies you are considering hiring, you can quickly discern which company is best for you by trying out their lists and then answering a few questions:

  1. Do the leads match the criteria provided?
  2. Are the leads interested in what I am selling?
  3. Is the information up-to-date or will I spend a lot of time chasing down information that is missing or incorrect?
  4. What is the overall response rate of the leads?
  5. Does the amount I am paying per qualified sales lead make good financial sense?

Once you have answered these questions, you should have a good idea of what list services company is right for you. While comparing list companies might take some extra time, it is well worth the effort. Remember, high quality sales leads are the key to the success of your business.