SEO plays an important role in basically every type of website. But proper search engine optimization is arguably most important for a small start-up.
A company just starting out doesn’t have the name recognition or build-in audience of a larger brand. The initial months are crucial for building a web presence. Here are five simple way to optimize your new site. Implementing each tip will help your site start off strong and then grow quickly.
1. Choose Quality AND Quantity
Creating content takes time. But an engaging, informative post can attract readers for literally years. Many young sites chose to focus on creating high-quality posts which are released relatively infrequently. Some sites create just one quality piece of content to be released each month!
This is almost never a workable strategy. If your brand is reasonably well-established, you can get by with fewer posts. But even then you’ll want to publish pretty regularly.
The general rule for an established site is to publish at least two 500 word pieces each week. That’s enough new content for a site at least maintain position in the search results.
A brand new site needs a bit more content than an established one. I recommend longer pieces with a minimum word count of at least 750. You should also publish more frequently. Generally, the best days will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
You should also publish long form content. These will be posts exceeding 2,000 words. There are several types of long form content you can try. Check out Using Long Form Content to Boost Your SEO for more information.
Tips for Publishing
Launching a site is hard enough. The idea of adding three new posts each month can seem impossible. I completely understand. Here’s how I handle the situation:
Before I launch a new site, I create at least two weeks of content. That’s six pieces ready to go before launch. I pick topics which are relatively perennial and not related to any specific date or season. Then after launch I publish the posts on the M-W-F schedule.
This two-week lead-up time is enough of a cushion that I’m never completely overwhelmed by deadline pressure. There’s always a spare afternoon here and there within a two-week time period where I can find the time to write a blog post.
2. Repurpose Your Existing Content
Publishing a piece of content is sometimes only just the start. You never know what style of content will appeal to your audience. This is why you should repurpose your content.
Repurposing your content is simply shifting the format. Turn a blog post into a podcast or a video. Take a series of blog posts related to one topic and create a longer webinar.
Repurposing content is usually pretty easy. After all, you already did the hard work when you researched and created the original piece of content! So shifting formats and publishing repurposed content is usually an easy, low effort way to gain more mileage out of your existing work.
3. Be a Guest Blogger
Guest blogging is a simple way to increase brand awareness about your industry. Basically, guest blogging has three components:
- Identifying key blogs related to either your industry or target customer based.
- Connecting with those blogs about potential guest blogging
- Creating a landing page on your site designed to engage new visitors who found you through your guest blog. This is part of your conversion funnel.
For much more on guest blogging, check out Connect with Bloggers Using these Top Outreach Tools.
4. Include an Introductory Video
People respond to other people better than they respond to brands. So when introducing your brand, showcase yourself and anyone else “behind the scenes.”
Create a video where you appear on-camera. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just welcome new visitors, introduce your brand and provide a brief overview of the products or services you provide.
Potential customers want to have a sense of the actual people who will be providing the product or service. A video is a good way for people to connect with you.
5. Focus on the Competition
No matter what product or service you provide, you’ll have competitors. You’ll need to understand who these competitors are. Check out their websites and determine what they’re doing well and where they might be falling short.
Also, read through the competition’s social media pages. Are there are reoccurring complaints about anything specific?
The idea here is to avoid making the same mistakes as your competition. You want to provide customers with a better alternative.
Another way you can stand out from the competition is to focus on the little details. Many sites, especially those which have been around for a long time, have a tendency to let little technical details about site maintenance slide.
Here are four minor details to pay attention to:
- User Experience – Make sure your site is easy to navigate. A table of contents if often a good idea. You’ll also want a consistent navigation bar across the tops of all pages.
- Clear, Clever Headlines – You only have a few seconds to engage with a potential reader. Make your headline acknowledge a problem and offer a solution. Be creative and specific with your language.
- Mobile – Older sites have to update for mobile. By building your site with mobile from the ground up, you’ll often have an advantage over those older sites.
Sometimes the difference between success and failure is a few minor site operations such as page loading speed and other “quality of life” features. So keeping an eye on the little details can lead to big rewards.
Using Content to Start Off on the Right Foot
Launching a new site is a stressful, busy time. The right content practices can be crucial. The five steps above will help every piece of content make a big impact.
My tip is to do as much as you can before your official launch date. Create at least two weeks of content. Research possible guest blogging opportunities. Check out your competition.
As you design and build your site, incorporate catchy headlines and clear, engaging copy. Use lots of white space. Make sure navigation is always simple, direct and intuitive. Always try to connect with potential customers on a personal level.