Two top priorities for small business websites, 2013
"Are you focusing on content, SEO, social media, mobile and responsive Web design, or link building to boost traffic to your website in 2013?"
A panel with Matt Cutts & Duane Forrester at the recent SMX West had some interesting insight into how small businesses should prioritize their Web development, marketing and SEO efforts.
While most of the focus was on the upcoming release of Google's Panda #25 (expected on Friday the 15th, March or Monday the 18th), I found two comments by Duane to be more interesting. In particular:
- Content is the #1 priority
- Prepare for mobile
This article will look at why good quality content has become so important for small business, how to publish great content, and the best way to upgrade to a responsive Web design to provide a great mobile browsing experience.
Content is the #1 priority
At the risk of sounding smug... well, duh!
Google made it abundantly clear that it was going to go after anyone who tried to manipulate search rankings, in order to have their low quality content appear above higher quality content.
The simple facts are:
- black hat SEOs thought they would be able to outsmart Google indefinitely
- businesses love hiring the lowest cost SEO services to do a terrible job
And, while it is likely that the smartest of SEO cheats may stay ahead of Google for a while yet, the expertise and resources it will take will probably become financially unsustainable.
In other words, it will ultimately be less expensive to create great content and compete on an even footing.
Read The best Internet marketing strategy on a small business budget for some great reasons why content is the best form of Internet marketing, as well as some great pointers on how to create top quality content that drives Web traffic effectively.
Content for business online
From a business perspective, content is an interesting challenge. Either you buy into the idea that great content is the best way to market a business, or you don't.
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If you don't, then don't waste time and money doing a half-hearted job. Rather pay for traffic using PPC, because mediocre content will bring little to no benefit - while consuming plenty of resources.
If you do believe that content is the most important long term investment in growth online, then find the right people to create the best content possible - you will have to pay them well for their skill.
Content & SEO, together with an understanding of business and Internet marketing, requires a multi-talented, experienced, and skilled person ( or team) who is unlikely to work for $5 per hour, or $20 per month.
Prepare for mobile
Currently, SME Pals is upgrading to Drupal 7 in order to take advantage of its excellent support for responsive Web design.
Why? Mobile is the new Internet reality.
Unfortunately, the current platform, Drupal 6, has little to no native support for mobile and this means that the process of upgrading to a mobile website for Drupal 6 users is a technical challenge.
Not ideal for small business owners who don't have the time, money, or technical expertise to upgrade a highly customized Drupal 6 website.
Upgrading an existing site to a responsive Web design
But, depending on what platform you use, the process of upgrading to mobile may be easy or difficult, cheap or expensive.
For Drupal 6 webmasters, the arduous task of upgrading to Drupal 7 lies ahead of you. However, for many WordPress users, for example, the task of going mobile is as simple as finding a high quality mobile theme.
Check out 3 top WordPress tips for small business to learn more about where to find great mobile WordPress themes.
Choosing a new Web platform with great mobile support
If you are still shopping around for the best website solution, save yourself a lot of time and trouble by choosing one with great mobile support built in.
Website builders like the ones mentioned in the referenced articles are a great option for all businesses (regardless of whether you have any technical expertise or not) because they are constantly updated without requiring any effort.
Believe me, when you're elbows deep in the internals of Drupal, a high quality website builder is an appealing option. You can look through a list of the leading website builders with built-in responsive Web design at Which is the best mobile website builder?
I should point out that anyone who actually knows SEO would argue that both of these top two priorities are part and parcel of good SEO. After all, great content is the foundation of SEO, and responsive Web design is SEO at its best - Google knows if your website supports mobile or not.
Do you agree with these two priorities for websites in 2013? What areas are you focusing on to bring in more Web traffic and growth?
Share your tips and advice in the comments.
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