The internet has become a household tool that it seems everyone knows how to use. Even first graders know how to wiz around on the web faster than I do sometimes. But while it is now a commonplace part of our lives, do you effectively use it as a small business owner to benefit your own business?

Just because you have a website does not mean people (your potential customers) will see it. Yes, it can make your small business look as capable as a large business — but people still have to see it. The need to promote your website is just as important as the budget you developed to get it built. So once the gate is built, you have to develop ways to keep it open for your target audience to find to either go shopping or learn more about your small business. You have got to promote the website to make this happen.

To make your website promotion effective, you as a small business owner need to decide why you want to be on the web anyway. Some reasons come to mind immediately — for example, to communicate to staff or customers. Another reason is to share your knowledge about a topic so you appear to be a source of information for people seeking that information. Third, it is a way to show your business’s personality so that people know what to expect when they go in. Or it is one way that customers can shop your store. Hopefully, you know your reasons for wanting to be on the web and use them as a guide in developing your website.

Understand that for a website to be effective, you need to constantly adopt and adapt it to what is happening in the marketplace. Understanding what is working is essential to a successful website promotion. If it works, keep it on the site and tie it to your other promotional activities. If it is not, then adapt it by trying new ideas. You should always be aware of the new techniques or ideas that exist in your industry and be willing to give them a try.

Commandments of website promotion:

  • Make a commitment to planning and doing website promotion so you can stay on top of your competitors.
  • Know your visitors so you can make sure your website delivers their wants and needs and drives traffic to your business or creates online sales.
  • Be open to learning new things to help you promote your website.
  • Don’t be afraid to look at competitor websites and borrow their techniques if you see a need for them.
  • Be like Gumby, the ‘80’s TV character, always willing to go with the times (when it makes sense).
  • Make changes to your website based on feedback from your visitors and users.
  • Use the analytics from your search engines to help make decisions.
  • Base your decisions on website promotion on their return on investment (ROI), not personal favorites.
  • Take at least one hour per day to work on website promotion.
  • Do not spam.

Your area Missouri SBDC can help answer questions, offers training and one-on-one appointments; reach out to a location near you.

The Missouri SBDC is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.