If you do not have an effective website you are being robbed. There is no nice way to say it, but other companies have been stealing your customers and income. You work hard to build the reputation of your business, make your customers happy and deliver a quality product. So, why are you letting other companies eat your lunch and earn profits from all of your efforts? The more successful your business is, the more they steal from your customer base and that needs to stop. How long have they been draining your profits and stealing customers? The correct answer is, too long!
This mini-series of articles will explain how these other companies are stealing your money and what we can do to put a stop to it, once and for all. They should earn their money and reputation with hard work and dedication, just like you had to do it.
I guarantee that the successful competition in your industry has a strong online presence and you should be working towards the same goal
Word of mouth is still a great form of advertising, but what about when someone hears about your company and wants to learn more? Without an appealing and functional website, your potential customers and clients will most likely go elsewhere. There is no excuse for not having an effective website and proper online branding in this day and age. I guarantee that all of the successful competition in your industry have taken the steps to secure a strong online presence and you should be working towards the same goal.
I know that sounds all well and good, but what does an “effective website and proper online branding” even mean? I’m glad you asked! I will do my best to explain with minimal tech babble and buzzwords. However, there are a few key terms and concepts that can help you get the most out of this information:
Web Crawlers, Spiders & Robots
Web crawler, spider or robot are commonly used terms for computer programs that were created by companies to scan the internet and index its information. These programs work day and night to grab bits and pieces of information from all over the globe and serve it up to you whenever you use a service like Google. “Web crawler” was a clever name back when most people referred to the internet as the World Wide Web, but I personally prefer the term ‘robot’. I envision a large corporate building full of cubicles that are populated by metal men wearing ties and searching the internet, but that’s just me.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO
Search Engine Optimization or SEO. I know I promised not to hit you with buzzwords, but this one is really useful and easy. SEO is the process of making a website more visible, readable and optimized for the robots that work for search companies, like Google and Bing. There are many levels to SEO, but the one that is most relevant for this article is called “On-Page SEO”. Having a website that is pleasing to your customers is important, but you will gain many more customers by also making it pleasing to the robots that are indexing the internet. This means that your website is free of errors and uses proper design elements that are search engine friendly.
Scraping, Mining & Data Harvesting
This may sound scary and brutal, but those terms just describe the work that the internet robots do while on your website. A robot from Google may “scape” your website to find your business hours or address. Google will then use this information to give people more accurate search results about your company when they try to look you up.
Internet Business Directories
The directory business is ever evolving and has been around since the beginning of the internet. In the early days, directories would be hand built by humans who were assigned different categories, everything from tree trimming companies to auto mechanics. Today, these directories are populated by robots scraping the ever-growing number of websites. Directory websites have become extremely specific and normally target a single industry or product. These websites laser focus on a specific topic to maximize paid advertisement revenues, with these ads bringing in the lion’s share of their profits.
Why Do I care?
Directories, review and social media websites all have their own web robots that harvest data about your company to steal your customers.
Why does any of this matter to you? It matters because these directories may become the first point of contact for your customers if your company lacks a proper website. The directories, review and social media websites all have their own web robots that harvest data about your company to steal your customers. They get paid when they take your customers and send them to a competitor.
Once we put all these pieces of the puzzle together, we can see that secret to effectively representing your company online does not have to be overly complex. Your goal as a business owner is to simply take control of the information on the internet about your business. You want your official website to be the first point of contact with a new customer, instead of having it be a directory service that is trying to earn a buck off your reputation and good name.
We also learned that while having a website is good, having a website that is optimized with On-Page SEO and proper design is better. By having your website correctly built and configured, it will be friendlier to the robots and crawlers that scan the internet for search engines. Customers will find your official website in their search results before the directory websites that are stealing your customers and draining your profits.
Call One Tech Solutions is happy to help you build your first website, improve an existing one or implement a plan of action to take control of your online presence and branding. In the next article, I will be expanding on how these directories, review and social media sites are stealing your customers and income.