In an era where every man, woman and their dog has a website, it’s time to take a step back and ask, do you really need a website? Now, before we go ahead an answer this, its worth pointing out, I build websites for a living. So my answer should really be yes. But the reality is, no, you don’t. These days you need to focus on building a web presence.
So what is a web presence and how do you get one. Well in this article I’ll try and pull apart what it is, and provide you with a few first steps to get your web presence up and running.
What is a web presence?
Web presence is simply your reach outline. The greater your web presence, they greater your ability to get a message out there and capture new followers.
Years ago, all you needed was a website, but these days a website is only part of the puzzle. Today a great website is a bit like owning Piccadilly Road in the game of Monopoly. Just because you own it, doesn’t mean everyone’s going to start landing on it. Instead you need to buy, build and grow your empire to increase your chances of someone landing on one of your properties.
Web presence is like owning all properties on the board, jam-packed with hotels. No matter what the other person rolls, they are destined to be hit with your
So how do you grow web presence?
Growing web presence is different for every business, but it is made up of three areas:
- Discover: This is how easy it is for a follower to find your content. Generally the size of your footprint (how much content you have online) and the value it delivers will dictate how easily discovered you are. Ways of increasing your discoverability is by growing your content on a website and via social media.
- Convert: This is how well you turn visitors into followers. You can usually get followers to subscribe to your mailing lists, follow social media to ensure they are captured in your web of ongoing content goodness.
- Retain: This is how well you keep followers. My mum always used to say, a happy follower is a follower for life. Ok, she didn’t say that, but if she did, I think what she meant was by providing valuable content to your followers (in the form of regular newsletters, event messages etc) you will reduce follower churn.
How to get started growing a web presence?
Tip 1: Start with your website
Yes, before you start sending hate mail, I do realise I slapped “You don’t need a website” right in the title even though I’ve thrown this in as tip one. But what most people fail to recognise, if your website is just a glorified digital business card, your chances of capturing a customer is about the same as if you left a stack of business cards on your dining room table.
What you really need is content. Glorious content. What’s more, you want to focus all this content around a centralised theme or goal. Essentially, you want your content to align to the rest of your marketing channels and use it to attract more people to come to your website. This concept is also known as inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing is like fishing. Your website is the fisherman. Valuable content (such as a blog post, a free PDF or some pretty downloadable wallpapers) is the bait. Your potential customers are the fish.
If you’re new to this all, I suggest building a WordPress site around blog articles (as a starting point). Once you have a solid foundation for your inbound marketing, your website should be focused on capturing interested users for followup (eg. sign up to a newsletter).
Tip 2: Leverage social media
In my opinion, an effective social media channel is one that connects your followers back to your websites glorious content. Essentially you need to be turning those likes into conversions / sales.
The best way to do this to mimmic the themes of content you are pushing out on your website – just in greater volumes and frequency. Here, you want to echo the message to as many social channels as you can. In doing so, you create followers by giving them a taste of the value they seek and leaving your capture methods on your website to convert them to customers.
Tip 3: Grow subscribers and lists
Once you hit the point of generating oodles of content, it’s important to push notifications to followers who want to consume it. These days, the tried and tested method is to build a subscriber list and then sending out regular email newsletters with updates to the content from your website. If you’re new to this all, the best place to start is MailChimp. If you have any issues, feel free to hit me up with questions.
Is your website up to scratch? Try our automated website audit tool to generate a PDF report and see how it stacks up.