Many corporations know that they need a corporate website to be visible. However, most of them don’t know that merely having a corporate website doesn’t necessarily mean that they have web presence too. So what exactly is web presence anyway?
I Also Have A Website Too, But Nobody Even Noticed
Most people have the misconception that just by having a corporate website, people the world over will know who you are, and will come to visit your website regularly. When they realise the sad truth that nobody even knows that their website exist, they will then start questioning their web designer. The most common question that they throw to their web designer is this :
“Why isn’t my website displayed in any web search?”
Web designers, being the creative people that they are, will probably throw the ball back to their client’s court. When discussing about what the client wanted in the very beginning, clients often opt not to include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in their package…
Errr… So What Exactly Is SEO?
The thing with websites existing in cyberspace is like a tiny little restaurant in a massive shopping mall. The more well-known you are, the more customers will come patronise your restaurant. Likewise, the more customers patronise your restaurant, the more well-known you will become. So what if you’re new, and nobody knows who you are?…
This is a vicious cycle, a chicken and egg situation. So if you are a new tenant in this massive mall (just launched your website), nobody knows you, and nobody will patronise you. You need to break this vicious cycle if you want to get customers to start walking into your restaurant. How you break this vicious cycle is exactly how SEO works.
There are only two options for you to break the cycle :-
(1) Pay for SEO services when designing your website
Engage your web designer or an SEO specialist to streamline your website. This is normally done when you start to build your website, not after it’s been built. The SEO specialist will monitor and modify the contents of your website to get more attention from search engines. The more attention you get, the higher your SEO ranking is.
This is akin to paying the mall’s management for advertising space and promotional floor space. You want your ads and promotions to direct traffic into your restaurant.
Just like advertising space and promotional floor space, SEO services are not cheap. More often than not, SEO services cost more than the whole website design package itself. And just like advertising and promotion exercises, it has to be repeated regularly to slowly build up your exposure to potential visitors.
Therefore, engaging SEO specialist services is a potentially expensive affair…
Be advised though, that the moment you stop paying, the SEO work stops too. And that means your SEO ranking will plummet like a rock from the sky. What many people fail to understand is that SEO, like success, is a journey, not a destination. You can never attain SEO perfection. You can only work hard to maintain it.
(2) Manage Your Own SEO And Web Maintenance
Surprisingly, managing your own SEO isn’t as difficult as you might think. But it does take quite a lot of elbow-grease on your part, and it also demands a constant attention. Do understand that when you engage an SEO specialist, you are not paying them to do a difficult job. You are actually paying them to do a tedious job instead.
Managing your own SEO literary means managing and maintaining your web content. It takes quite a lot of intimate understanding of your website. You need to know what content attracts search engine crawlers, and what content repels them. One of the biggest attraction is a regularly updated website. And that inevitably means no undead websites.
As if regularly maintaining and publishing articles on your website isn’t bad enough, improving your SEO ranking means more than just keeping your website updated. Search engines crawlers also add up all visits and external connections to your website. So the more visitors and external links you have pointing back to your website, the higher your SEO score will be. One of the most effective methods to do this is to hitch a ride with social media. But now we’re talking about Social Media Management, a whole new ballgame altogether.
Your Web Presence Is Your Brand In Cyberspace
If is of no use if you have a website, but nobody even knows that you exist. Just like how you would build your brand in the physical world, you would also build your brand in cyberspace too. You want the residents of cyberspace to not only know that your website exist. You also want them to be aware of the commanding presence that you cast in cyberspace.
So how exactly do you propose to do that?
(1) Focus keywords
Every static page and article (post) must have a unique focus keyword. This will help to organise your articles to be searchable within your website, as well as by Search Engines out there like Google.
(2) Regular updates
Publishing new articles on a regular interval demonstrates that your website is indeed alive and kicking, and not an undead site. Regularly updated websites receive more search engine crawlers than dormant ones.
Be advised though, that regularly publishing boring articles will not do you any good. If you want more organic traffic (human visitors), you need to give your visitors a reason to come back for more. Publish articles that are relevant to your industry, or useful information that your visitors would like to read.
(3) Advertise your updates
Every time you publish a new article, announce it in as many channels as possible. This is where having social media accounts comes in useful.
(4) Organise interesting events
It doesn’t matter whether you organise a physical event or an online event. Road shows, conferences, exhibitions, product launches, seminars, appearance on television or radio, even family days or annual dinners. Plan something, advertise it, and stir up some interest. Get people to talk about it. The more they talk about it, the more people will know who you are.
(5) Encourage participation
Start a controversial topic, and then invite participants to contribute their opinion or argument. Propose a motion, and get participants to vote in a survey form. Offer coupons for redemption of services or products from your company. Organise a contest or a competition. Basically, do anything to get people to participate in your activities.
When People Say They Want A Website, They Actually Mean That They Want Web Presence
I have carried out discussions with many potential clients looking to design a website. But when probed deeper, most of them are actually looking to establish their web presence, not just a website. Unfortunately, not many of them are aware of the difference.
Wanting a website is like wanting to own a car. But owning a car doesn’t automatically mean that you can drive your car. You will still need to obtain a driving licence, and learn how to drive the car on a real road, and socialise with the rest of the other road users. Wanting a web presence is like wanting to be able to feel the wind in your hair as you drive your car on a real road.
Henceforth, having a website doesn’t automatically mean you have a web presence too. Likewise, owning a car doesn’t automatically mean you can legally drive it.