10 Tips for Building Your Online Business and Keeping It Alive

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Obviously, you want your online business to succeed instead of flop. Like most business efforts, you have to learn what to do – very few people succeed by jumping in with both feet. What usually happens is they jump in, find out the water is over their heads and they’ve forgotten how to swim.

Instead, learn how to swim before you jump; the waters of online marketing and online business are really deep. Here are a few swimming lessons, in no particular order:

  1. Link from your site to your blog. If you have a blog and a site, make sure your content is easily accessible to visitors. Don’t make them hunt for your updated content.
  2. Set up social networking. Make your social networks easy to see and follow – don’t hide the buttons somewhere. While most people include social network buttons on their blog, consider putting them in your contact page as well.
  3. Set up social bookmarking. If you don’t already have a way for people to share your content, get some! If you use WordPress, there are tons of social bookmarking plugins available. You can also use something like ShareThis, for regular sites.
  4. Provide a place on your main site for white papers or in depth articles. Blogs are… well, blogs. If you use article marketing as a tool, use your site as one of the article submission areas. Call it “White Papers” or “Long, In-Depth Industry Articles” or “Where We Put Our 2000+ Word Books”. Call it whatever you want, but providing a place like this will help turn your site into an information hub for your industry.
  5. Make sure you have a sitemap. You can pretty it up and have it convenient for visitors to read, or you can just have a plain old XML sitemap. However, sitemaps help search engines crawl your site, so don’t forget to build it and link to it.
  6. Use your keyword analysis and track your usage. We use an Excel sheet, but a Word document works just as well. For each main site page, record what key terms you used, your title and meta description. If you change something, record that as well. This way, you have a steady record of changes and can more easily track how those changes affected your site ranking and traffic.
  7. If you use javascript, create an actual file and link to it in the header of your site. Many people use the header of the site (the part in between <head> and </head>) to put their javascripts. This is the equivalent of stuffing your closet full of crap. Since you don’t want the search engines to open your website closet and have a whole bunch of script fall on them, use files instead!
  8. Don’t ignore content audits. Set a period of time (say, every six months) to do a content audit. A content audit can help you find non-performing pages, identify topics your readers really like and what pages you can get rid of, among other things.
  9. Create a content strategy. You could write up whatever comes to mind, send it out into the waiting black hole of the Internet and wait to see if something comes back. Or, you could create a comprehensive strategy for:
    • what type of content you’ll send out (images, blogs, white papers, videos, etc.)
    • where you’ll put your content (your site, your blog, guest post, YouTube)
    • how you’ll track your efforts (a content tracking program, manual search, etc.)
    • the main (and sub) goals of your content strategy (conversions, more traffic, better engagement)
  10. Share the link love. If you have 15 social networking accounts and each allows you to link to the others, do so. If you’re writing a blog about XYZ and you come across a relevant, supporting article, link to it. If ABC company has a good white paper about your industry, share it with your readers. In other words, don’t keep the links to yourself out of fear for your competition. The confidence you have in your company’s product/services will show.

As a final tip, understand that online and offline business is not the same. You may be trying to reach the same target market, clients, customers, whatever you call them, but the methods you use are often quite different. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can take offline lessons and apply them online without taking additional measures.

How has your online business experience worked for you? Did you find it easy to jump in, or, like most, did you need swimming lessons? Share your number one lesson with others in the comments!

Gabriella Sannino
For the past fifteen years Gabriella has held positions as a consultant, web developer and creative director until she decided it was time to open... Read Full Bio
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  • Jonelle Burns

    Great article – easy tips that anyone can implement! Thanks!

  • David Hartstein

    A very nice article Gabriella. Some very actionable tips here. I agree with the tip about setting up social networking, but I think all too often people do it just because everyone else is. Prior to setting it up, I think it’s important to figure out how you are actually going to use it. Are you just there to take up space or are you actually going to leverage social media as a way to further your brand and your business? Some forethought can go a long way when cultivate a web presence. Overall though, enjoyed the article.

  • S. Gray MacKenzie

    Thanks for the article Gabriella – I appreciate the fact that your insights are both traffic and usability-oriented. I don’t think that you can stress content strategy enough – developing and deploying relevant, targeted content is a major hurdle that weeds out the incompetent from the professionals, and it’s something we all need to focus on. You’ve done it nicely here!

  • Dene Brock

    Thanks for the great tips. I have implemented most of these into my websites, but the idea to have a specific place for in-depth articles is something that I had not thought of. I plan to put that into practice.

    • SEOcopy

      Thanks Dene, I would especially look into implementing this as a strategy. Especially now with all the scrutiny and eyes on content farms. Take the time to build an actual library. I would even go as far as to organize it in such a way where you are sharing like minded content. From videos, to podcast, newsletters, etc. Think outside the box. Nothing wrong with being “The” provider of information in your niche.

  • Anonymous

    great tips, online and offline are completely two different things, and many of the times, something will work well offline, and not as well online, You need to have a marketing plan for offline marketing and a different strategy for online. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Randy Addison

    Setting up social networking is really effective and also a very cheap way of doing promotions and advertising. WEll, thanks for sharing these tips here. Really informative.

  • Anonymous

    These are some great starter tips!

  • Moosa Hemani

    I think its very common but i have to say this that the articles by Gabriella Sannino is always great!

    I seriously love point 3 that is ‘set up social book marking’ This is awesome i like you blog and i really want others to read what i ll goona search on your site is the social media plugin… Sir Aaron Wall make a great change on SEObook blog by adding a twitter button which is very helpful.

  • SEOcopy

    Common sure, for people in the business but do you really think that a content audit is something companies take into consideration? I cannot tell you how many times I have seen sites that talk about social yet don’t provide their Twitter button, or a Fan Page widget. Unfortunately It’s not until Google starts waving updates and patents that people pay attention.

  • Doc Sheldon

    Great stuff, as usual, Gabriella. I like your analogy of stuffing your closet full of crap. Hard to imagine anyone sticking the scripts in the header these days, but I’m sure tons of folks do it!