Having a branded website is the first step for getting online visibility. Think of your website as the foundation of a house or a base camp. Every element of your Brandcasting campaign will link back to your branded website.Â Your website is an extension to your brand, so make sure you build it right the first time.
When building a website, consider having three experts on hand:
1) An SEO expert. While employing an SEO expert can be expensive, it really is the foundation of a good Brandcasting strategy and is worth the cost. But do your homework first. There are some SEO solutions that promise you way more than they can deliver. If you want to know what to avoid when choosing an SEO expert, click here.
2)Â A solid programmer who understands SEO and SEM. I can’t tell you how many times clients come to us with websites with broken links, absent meta tags or are built entirely in flash and are literally un-findable by search engines. Clients then proceed to tell us that they hired a professional designer. Some coders are not aware of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM). If ever there’s a time to hire the experts, now would be it.
3) A knowledgeable designer who builds sites for a living. Make sure you choose a designer who has a working knowledge of what good design means for both a human and a web crawling bot. For example, you may want to make sure your content is text instead of images to get the best optimization for your site. That happens on the design level and a good User Interface (UI) designer will know that. If you want to go it alone on the designing of your site, solutions like Lynda.com offer how-to videos that can be an affordable, albeit a time consuming option. However, I would not suggest taking on programming or SEO work yourself if you have no background or knowledge of either field.
Here are some things to keep in mind when building your main site.
“¢ Make sure your site is well designed, easy to navigate and is structurally sound. This is where a good coder and designer can pay dividends in the future. Keep in mind that it’s not enough to look good to the human eye. Your website must be sexy to a web crawler too. For example, it’s very important to make sure all your links work. If they don’t, web crawlers may stop at a broken link and may never see all the great content you have past that one link. Not sexy. Another thing you may want to consider doing is to have a site map that lays your entire site out in simple HTML code. Sexy, sexy.
“¢ Update content on your website often. The more often you have new content on your site, the more often bots will crawl it thus increasing your website’s visibility and rankings on search engines. If your content is refreshed daily, web crawling bots will visit your site more often. Placing articles or daily blog posts on your site are some of the most common ways to offer up daily content.
“¢ Have a keyword strategy. Having good keywords can make or break an online branding campaign. Having keywords built right into your URL can mean added optimization. For example, if one of your top keywords is “widgets” , it might not be a bad idea to name your site “widgetsforless.com” or some URL with the keyword worked into it. Again, you can see how having a strategy upfront can have implications for the life of your brand in the long run, so it’s always a good idea to get an SEO expert involved from the get-go.
“¢Â Position your brand. Doing a competitive analysis of keywords can help you level the playing field within your industry. Positioning your brand with keywords can mean helping get your site the right kind of traffic. If you are selling widgets, for example, you want to focus keywords around the words that people who are searching to buy widgets are most likely to use. That makes sense, right? A good SEO expert can help you determine what keywords people use when they are looking for your goods and services. Having a list of the right keywords will help you be more findable when searched for. Also, sprinkling your keywords in all forms of content that you release on the Internet will help you rank higher for those keywords and can be a great way to build links back to your main site.
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about different forms of content that can help kick-start your Brandcasting campaign.