If you want to grow your business and get more customer leads, which eventuates to more business income, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an important approach, because it's not dependent on how much you spend on advertising.
Note: Time = money, and for smaller businesses, working smarter with smaller advertising budgets is usually the aim. So whether you do the SEO yourself, or hire an affordable SEO consultant or SEO web design freelancer, you're looking for the most bang for your buck, so this is what WWD advises.
Out of all of these, SEO is one of the cheapest long-term ways to bring traffic to your website, and doesn't require a regular budget in the same way that most of the other methods do. When I say 'fast'', bear in mind that it can take a few months of waiting after you set it up, but there are ways to fast-track that, however that's more advanced SEO work and not covered below.
While you're waiting for your SEO to kick in, you could opt for some online ads and/or social media ads. It's worth noting that SEO isn't 'set and forget' and you should monitor and tweak it several times per year, according to your budget. Having said that, doing minimum SEO as part of your website creation process is very valuable, even if you do only do it once.
WWD recently built a website for a yoga business which went live in May 2021 with very basic SEO built in, and received 301 visitors in June, mostly from the USA which is their main intended audience. The retreats page was updated in July with new dates for a retreat in December 2021, and within 48 hours, the first customer enquiry to book a retreat came in. You can click the image to see the live webpage.
From here on, I'm going to concentrate on 'Minimum Viable SEO' which is the best way to start out with SEO for a small to medium business (or even a freelancer / sole trader) because it can always be built up over time.
One of the biggest mistakes that most businesses and startups make, is to build their website and then later think about SEO. This is an issue because if your online presence wasn't designed with SEO in mind, it can be complex i.e. expensive to put it in later, but not impossible, just not ideal.
The reasons for this include:
So the big takeaway is 'Do the SEO right the first time, and include even basic SEO in your first website design and build'
SEO is a pretty intangible thing, it's hard to visualise, so the best way is to put on some 'search engine glasses' so that you can see a webpage through the eyes of a search engine. There's 2 good tools, and in the video below, I do a simple walkthrough of what these tools will show you and what to look for. The tools are:
Video: How to check what a search engine sees on a website
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