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“Build and they shall come!” – Well, not quite that simple as far as a website is concerned. You can have the fanciest of websites and, unless there is relevant content there, you are not going to get any meaningful traffic. Sometimes with all the decisions to be made about the look and feel of the website, some businesses forget to think of how they are going to sustain their involvement with their website.

There are many small and medium businesses which are interested in starting small with Internet marketing and so they just get a website. Nothing wrong with the idea. Social media can seem overwhelming and irrelevant to businesses which have never used these tools before and so a website may be a good entry point for testing the waters. However, it is critical to make sure that the virtual presence a business creates for itself should be the kind that can attract the right kind of traffic. The other way to look at it is, if you are setting up shop on the web, remember to stock the shelves with appropriate inventory!

Fairly often I run into websites which are nothing more than place holders. It is as though somebody at the business thought they should have an Internet presence and they got a website and then forgot all about it. It is understandable that a small business may not have the resources for constant Internet marketing engagement and it is eminently sensible in this case to start with one marketing tool like a website. However, given the dynamic nature of how people access information on the web, a static web page with little or no updates can be counter-productive.

Image courtesy Time

As these photos show even the Eiffel Tower was built in stages!

Take the time to plan out a website management strategy and lay out your website accordingly. A website should be based on how much a business owner can afford to spend in terms of time and money. It is also worth stressing here that it is important to provide high-quality information in even the most simple of websites. Error-filled or sloppy content will create an unprofessional image. Starting off small is fine and, with a little bit of planning and attention to detail, you can still make a great first impression:

  • If you are clear that you are just getting the domain name now and do not have the time or money to spend on it, it is a good idea to put a general update on the nature of the business and the contact information. Time specific updates such as events or promotions will only serve to point out the neglect of the site, if you do not plan to tend to it often.
  • If you believe you have the resources to make monthly updates, you can add some timely seasonal information with the right keywords that is pertinent to your business. This is likely to draw people who are searching for localized information in terms of community and time of year. For example a local nursery setting up a website, can give monthly gardening tips pertinent to that area. It is a good way to keep local gardeners engaged with the website especially if the updates can cater to the novice and the expert gardener.
  • If you can allot time every week to keep your website updated, it is a great idea to offer weekly coupons and specials. This will mean that regulars will know to look for this information and it will serve as a way of ensuring customer loyalty.
  • If you can manage the time and resources to engage with your website everday, think in terms of adding a discussion site and serve as moderator to let people gather and talk about things related to your business. If you run a local beauty salon, it may be interesting to have a place for people to discuss great finds in terms of cosmetics. While your primary focus will be local customers, this kind of regular engagement is bound to increase your web traffic and contribute to increase virtual visibility. If you have this kind of time and willingness, you may also be ready for other marketing tools such as Facebook and Twitter.

As is obvious, this is an approach that will allow you to progressively escalate your Internet marketing efforts.