Building your brand online can help you be one of the first people/businesses that comes to mind when someone is looking for your product or service. In the small town that I live in, there’s a woman who drives a truck around selling fresh produce. She’s known as the “fruit lady”. She is a walking/driving advertisement for her family owned business. Whenever conversation turns to where to buy the freshest fruits and vegetables, someone will mention her. She is a living example of someone who has done an excellent job of building their brand and creating top-of-mind awareness.
WordPress is not just for blogs any more. It is a powerful CMS (Content Management System) that be used to build websites. My question to you today is: “Should the home page of your website be a blog?”
Like everything else, our online profiles are a reflection on us. It’s part of our brand. Even our statistics tell a lot about us. How many followers do you have compared to the number of people you’re following? How many tweets do you have? Are people that I recognize and respect following you? Do you have a profile pic and use your real name?
Ok… you’ve “opened the virtual doors” to your business/blog by telling your friends, family and anyone else who would listen. So what now? (Maybe you’re seeing flashbacks of Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams”… “if you build it, he will come”.) As reality sets in, and you’re not seeing an increase in the number of visitors (or commenters) or more importantly you’re not seeing the results that you’re looking for (sales, email addresses, attention…), you may start asking yourself what next? Well, there are lots of things you can do like using the Google Webmaster tools, submitting your URL to directories, commenting on blogs and optimizing for search engines but…
Let’s just get back to the basics here…
Anyone who has tried to build a business knows how important it is to build awareness. If your customers don’t know you’re out there, how are they ever going to buy from you? So, how do you build awareness? Advertising is one way but you can also network. If you’re a business with a local customer base, you may already belong to a Chamber of Commerce or a networking group like BNI (Business Network International). So, what’s the equivalent of a Chamber of Commerce or BNI on the Internet?
“Don’t try to be all things to all people.” – I’m sure that’s a recommendation that you’ve heard before. It’s good advice. If you are trying to meet the needs of a broad spectrum of customers, you may end up being so generic that you’re not meeting the specific needs of any one target group. Focusing on (and thoroughly understanding) a specific niche target market enables you to develop an effective marketing message that will resonate with your target customer.
What TLD (top-level-domain) should you choose for your website? Should you use .COM, .BIZ, .US, .ORG, .NET?
If you’ve built a brand and people already know who you are, your most obvious choice for your domain name would be to register your brand name. Chances are high that name will not be available but if it is, you’re good to go. If you’re doing business in the USA, it’s pretty much expected for you to have a “.COM” top-level-domain. If someone has already registered the .COM version, I strongly suggest that you find another domain name and not settle for something like a .ORG or .BIZ. If you do that, visitors looking for you will most likely land on the website for your competition.