The following article featuring Craig Wilson and Sticky was in Sydney Morning Herald on 26 August 2010
HOW TO BOOST YOUR NET WORTH
There are tricks that will increase the number of people who visit your business website, writes Megan Johnston, Sydney Morning Herald.
Small business owners are waking up to the need to go online and are setting up websites in record numbers. It’s good news for consumers but if you’re an owner vying for e-business, how can you make sure you get noticed.
Craig Wilson, who is managing director of the digital marketing agency Sticky, says first and foremost you need to create a site that the public will want to visit. If your web presence is boring and never chances, what reason will people have to visit? Wilson says you don’t have to start big with lots of graphics and video. You just need to have content on the site that is interesting and regularly updated. Once people are through the door you’ll have your chance to sell you wares to them.
“The owner [could] find a niche in their industry and start blogging on it,” he says. “Before they know it, they’ll become the go to person on that topic and it can attract a lot of traffic.”
Wilson says another trick is embedding search-friendly terms in the content, code and links – a process known widely as “search-engine-optimisation”.
Tools such as Google’s Wonder Wheel can reveal the most popular industry terminology, while Google Analytics lets owners understand how visitors interact with their website.
“Start including those terms in as many posts as possible, mention them several times on the site, hyperlink the key words and tag photos directly,” he says. “Work out your strengths and weaknesses and go from there.”
Social media avenues such as Facebook and Twitter also help owners promote content to industry and consumer networks, while added functions such as e-commerce and booking systems can boost business.
Using such a simple, proven strategy, small businesses may not even need to promote themselves off-line, Wilson says. But he warns that no matter how many clicks your website receives , they mean little if they are not concerted into sales. Hence the reason for prompts that encourage visitors to send and email, buy a product, subscribe or leave their details.
“Don’t just let them go away,” he says.
If this sounds too daunting, professional help is available, says Sydney travel agent Robyn Arthur, who is working with consultants to redesign the website for her boutique travel agency Handpicked Holidays (www.handpickedholidays.com.au).
Her offshoot side website at giftwrappedtravel.com.au was created by a designer now based in England and a programmer from Canada. Arthur says her marketing strategy has grown organically as each venture has matured. She now uses or plans to use a mix of online tactics and tools to attract customers from all over the world, including sponsorships, email marketing, special offers, analytic tools, Good AdWords and affiliate networks, which use one website to promote another. She also registers niche website domains to promote specific product lines, such as londontheatretickets.com.au.
“The internet has changed the dynamics [of the travel industry] and that’s why we started to think outside the square and tweak our business to a changing world,” Arthur says.
Eastern suburbs businesswoman Sarah Jenkins uses the web to promote her high-end custom-book service SignatureBook (signaturebooks.com.au) and photography course business SignaturePhoto (signaturephoto.com.au). Optimising website content for search engines and tailoring it to target niche audiences has helped double traffic, as have listings online directories, flyers and business cards.
“Neither of them are the flashiest of websites but they are simple and people can find exactly what they want,” Jenkin says. “If I didn’t have a website I would not have a business,” she says. “There’s no magic formula but there are things you can do and I think some small businesses don’t realise the power of that.”