09 Aug Make New & Organic Content A High Priority
I have never met a website design client who didn’t care about SEO and his/her Google position. But I don’t have enough appendages on my body (and I do still have all the appendages I was born with) to hold up and account for the number of clients I have had who would prefer not to take an active, personal responsibility for these results.
A web designer may be able to help you at the front end with your web presence, but the ongoing maintenance that it requires to continue to remain relevant for Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask.com, and other search engines is ultimately your responsibility. If you are not willing to pay someone to blog for you or update your social media at least a few times a week, and you aren’t willing to take on some or all of these responsibilities yourself, you shouldn’t expect permanent top tier level search engine results.
In addition — and a lot of people may be angry at me for saying this — do not automatically believe (or pay!) a company that makes blanket promises of results. According to Google themselves, qualification of Google search results can change up to 500-600 times per year. That’s almost twice a day! So, unless you are actively paying someone to check in on your keywords, tags, social media, plugins, AdWords, etcetera, on a very regular basis, it is irresponsible to expect things to change or stay relevant on a daily basis with search engine.
It’s also important to keep in mind that hiring someone to compose and post your blogs or to make posts on your behalf on social media requires a lot of research on the part of the person you are hiring. The President outsources speeches, but he/she still can and should edit and take out words or even entire paragraphs if they aren’t congruent with his/her personal message. There is a ton of time involved in doing this kind of research and in communicating effectively, so as not to represent a person or business inappropriately.
Social media, too, is ever-evolving and more relevant than ever. A lot of these things are necessary for most people’s version of success, and, unfortunately, a lot of these things can feel like a second job for a person who is already working full time to launch or maintain a business.
I often use analogies to demonstrate that, if you do not want to do something for yourself, another person likely wouldn’t want to do it for you for what is considered less than a living wage. Let’s dive in a little further: you can clip, file, and paint your finger and toenails yourself, so why would you pay someone else to do it for you while you sit and read magazines? You can get up in the morning and do sit-ups, push-ups, bicep curls, tricep dips, deadlifts, and run around the block a couple of times, so why would you pay for a personal trainer who stands there telling you to do just that? You can pour yourself a drink at home, or make yourself some food! Why would you ever go to a bar or restaurant? Well, you tell me. Maybe it’s because there is someone out there who specializes in and can maximize the experience you receive from these things. I had a personal trainer for over four months in 2007, and I got incredible results. I’ve also tried painting my nails. It goes well when I paint the left hand…. The right hand? Not so much. Having been a bartender, I understand that sometimes it’s nice to get out of the house and be social and have someone else hand you a cocktail. The same goes for restaurants; sometimes it is just nice to sit down and not have to cook yourself a meal for a change.
My goal here isn’t to sell you on services you don’t want or need — it never has been. I value transparency and honesty above all. I do have one or two clients who blog for themselves, (which is good overall because there is no way I could say what they say in their authentic voices with the expertise that they have,) and I applaud their dedication to their businesses and their brands. If you want a great web presence with a good return on your investment that includes search engine results, but you don’t want to invest some extra time on your nights and weekends and days off, it might be worth hiring someone to help you out. Everything you do for your business is an investment, whether it’s financial or it is based on time.
One other thing that I just have to point out is that I have encountered people who want a Lexus on a Toyota budget. Hiring a person who has been in business for 20 years and expecting to pay them what you would give a college student is unfair and unrealistic. Portfolios and testimonials are key. Please remember that you get what you pay for in most cases.
- Use a plugin like Yoast SEO and MonsterInsights Google Analytics for WordPress to customize your metadata, focus keywords, and to monitor your views and SEO practices.
- Instagram allows you to post your pictures (with hashtags) to Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook with one easy click each. You can also use an app called “HootSuite” or schedule posts using “Buffer”. No excuses, now.
- Sign up for Google AdWords. Just do it. Then, check in on it now and again to see how people are finding you, when, and where, and take some action. Whether you edit existing content or post new content, it is a great asset. Use all of the free services Google has to offer such as Analytics, and Webmaster Tools, too.
- Get engaged. It’s nice to get likes and comments on your photos and blogs, but if you never ever respond to people, you might not get that person to come back. Unless you have really compelling content, but….
- Try giving something away. It sounds counter-intuitive at the gate, but it’s true: offering something for free is a great way to make things engaging and gain the trust of your visitors.
- Speak in your own voice. Be honest, and talk to (respectful) strangers like you would talk to friends.
- Be authentic. Sometimes what you post doesn’t have to be specific to your business. Some of the most likes I’ve ever gotten on photographs (on Instagram) were just pictures of my dogs, or my hammock, or a pretty thing that I saw on a hike. If you act like a real person, real people will generally respond in kind.
I often dole out advice from experience to people who don’t ultimately end up hiring me, simply because I hate seeing people get screwed over by “sales people”. In fact, I have spent hours of my life on the phone with business owners and potential customers who didn’t hire me, but it’s no loss if I saved them some pain, heartache, money, and time in the end. Yes, I should get paid what I am worth, but not at someone else’s expense.