3 Tips for Building Awareness & Getting Your Website on Track

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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…

1) Who are you?

Do people know who you are? Are they aware of your website/blog? Are they getting to recognize and trust you? When you leave comments on blogs (like this one) do you have a globally recognized Gravatar so that we see you (either your picture or logo) and not the default, generic grey icon? When you send emails, are you using an email address with your domain name?  Does your signature line in your emails give your contact information, the URL to your website (including “http://” to make it clickable!) and info like your Twitter name?

2) Are you where your customers are?

I’m sure you already know who your niche target customer is. Do you know what social networks they hang out on? Are they business people looking to network online? If so, you may want to join me on LinkedIn. If your demographic is a younger crowd, you may want to build an online presence on MySpace. And can you really go wrong with Facebook? I just heard on the news that they reached 500-million members this week. (Although, I wonder if my target customer were a nuclear scientist if that would be the best place to network with them. – Maybe, maybe not.)

3) Are you building your brand?

In tip #1, I mentioned creating a globally recognized avatar using Gravatar. I also recommended using an email address from your website domain. In tip #2, I talked about creating a presence on social networking sites where your niche target customers are. It’s equally important to create a recognizable and meaningful user nameand consistently use it whenever you participate. This user ID should be the same one that you register your Gravatar with. (I’m associated with the user ID “KeepUpWeb”.)

As a general rule of thumb, I recommend registering your user name on as many social networking sites as possible. Granted, you can’t maintain them all but you do want to ensure that no one else registers your user name. You need to protect your brand. After you’ve registered your user name, pick 2 or 3 social networking sites (or  whatever number you can feasibly manage) and build an online presence there.

Bottom line, are you doing all you can to build awareness? Are you establishing yourself/your business as a brand? Does your niche target customer know who you are, what you have to say (or sell) and how to find you?

I’m sure that many of you who are reading this have experiences to share. Who is your target customer and how are you reaching them online? What words of advice do you have to share?

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Author: Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

34 thoughts on “3 Tips for Building Awareness & Getting Your Website on Track”

  1. Basic set ups are very important because claims your internet identity for people to know you and to know that it’s really you. Unless you an internet Identity it would be hard to build trust to the people you know in the internet.

      1. It’s still been weeks since I started using my gravatar. I was very happy when I started seeing my pictures every time I do my comments.

    1. Thanks Chris. Whether you’re launching a new business or growing an existing one, I think it always comes down to these 3 basic questions:

      Who am I? Who’s my Customer? What am I doing to build my brand?

  2. Hi Sherryl,
    Speaking of “opening virtual doors”, just thought I’d pass this one forward to you. This program could be a big help to other internet marketers out there. It’s called Google Sniper. And it addresses a lot of the key SEO issues and how to capitalize on them. Plus it also utilizes WordPress because of how well Google loves it. This could provide a big boost to those who may have been struggling in the past and how to proceed forward in their marketing. Lots of excellent videos and pdf manual make for easy reading and viewing. Please pass this along so others can take advantage of a great informational product.
    Thank you, Sherryl, and have a great day!
    Steve Balliett

  3. I loved this article. We have already started implementing some of your ideas on his website.

    1. Naomi, I’m glad you enjoyed my article. I checked out your website and it’s got a nice clean look to it. You really need to add alt-tags to your pictures. Right now, it looks like they all say “picture” (when someone moves their cursor over it). Each picture should have a meaningful title. Also, you desperately need more content. Send an email to sherryl @ keepupwiththeweb.com if you’d like a few (free) tips and suggestions.

  4. Great job refreshing the basics for the old hands and setting them out for those who are new. Just as your post makes clear, it is critical that you not only brand and network, but that you do so relevantly and choose your targets. Posts like these help a lot to keep me grounded. I have a bad habit of going off on tangents every time I find something else to try, and it reminds to not neglect what works.
    Paul Novak recently posted..Automated BookmarkingMy Profile

    1. I have the same bad habit of going off on tangents. Lots of “tangents” pay off though. I clicked on the link to your “Automated Bookmarking” article and am very glad I did. (Of course, I added 2 tasks to my “to-do” list because I read your article.) I now am going to try out IMAutomator and look into Susan’s suggestion of checking out BizSugar.

  5. I understand that what seems simple to me may be challenging to a non-techie but Gravatar is basically associating your email address to your picture. I try to use screenshots for illustrations when I can but at the same time, I want to keep my posts relatively short and easy to read. Anytime you (or anyone else) need an extra hand, please feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email at…. sherryl @ keepupwiththeweb.com.

    Glad you dropped by and I hope this is the first of many visits here!

  6. This is my first time here. This article is great. The problem I seem to have is reading about needing to do something, like creating a Gravatar, then spending a couple of hours trying to figure out how to do it then running into some other thing I have to figure out how to do. I’m not complaining. I’ve learned a lot and I’ll keep reading and learning, just need to remember this is not a get rich scheme but a job. Thanks for your help.

  7. What a great article! You certainly hit the nail on head. Just because you build it doesn’t mean they will come, you still need to put in work!

    1. Glad you like my article! Agreed… you have to work at it and also measure what is happening so that you know what needs improvement and what you should leave alone.

  8. Great tips. I finally got went to gravatar to get my Avatar. I have trouble remembering names on the web and their avatar always helped me remember them.
    It is also important to use the same name. Don’t use your first name on one site and your first and last name on the other.

    One additional tip is to comment on as many blogs as you can. People will begin to recognize you and will start to go to your site. Also Google picks up your comments and it helps your SEO.

    1. Good to see faces with the names here! I definitely agree that commenting on blogs helps both build awareness and your SEO. It can take a good chunk of time from your day. How do you decide which blogs to comment on?

  9. Agree with what you say Sherryl.

    My target group are business people. Now when Linkedin changed the format for discussions in group I noticed that I lost readers. So I started posting discussions on ASMALLWORLD and Internations instead and that has worked out very well.

    Do wish Linkedin would go back to a discussion format similar to the old one however. The new format has resulted in people selling their services/products completely taking over and there are very few discussions nowadays.

  10. Hi Sherry,

    Good advice and one thing I learnt many years ago in marketing is that you will become bored with your marketing campaigns, branding etc long before many of your customers have ever heard or connected with you.

    It is tempting to change things but make sure there is a vaild reason first.
    Susan Oakes recently posted..You Lose If You Are a Copycat With Your MarketingMy Profile

    1. That is so true about us getting bored with our own marketing efforts! I remember years ago being advised not to bother running a print ad unless I committed to running it a minimum of 3 times. I wonder what the advice is now about changing your profile pic for your Gravatar. I’m starting to get a little tired of mine already! (probably not a valid reason to change it)

      1. It’s weird that my newest blog post isn’t popping up in commentluv. I wonder if signing up for the gravatar thingy messed it up?

  11. OK Sherryl – after seeing that dull grey image appear in my comment, I immediately went over to Gravatar and set my image. I probably wouldn’t have done this if I hadn’t read this post. So…thanks!!

  12. Great “back to basics” advice! I think people get frustrated (I am definitely guilty of this) when things don’t seem to happen fast enough. You feel like you’re doing all the right things but everything is moving slower than you’d like. Building a brand takes time. It won’t just happen overnight. I think if you stick with it, the results will come.

    1. It does take time to build a brand. I think consistency is the key and little things like having a recognizable avatar does make a difference. Glad to see this post motivated you to get one! I like it. 🙂

  13. #2 is a great one and I don’t think it’s very easy to figure out. We can generalize, but we have to remember that not every wants our stuff. I think that’s the most difficult thing for companies to realize. They find out soon enough, though, with social media. It’s a great way to gauge interest and test reach.

    Probably one of the biggest mistakes I see companies make online is underestimating their reach. They feel like the whole Internet is at their feet. It’s not true. I saw a great marketing metric today to measure reach: multiply your following by the average followings of your followers. When people do that, they’ll have a MUCH better idea of how many people they are actually reaching with their networks.

    1. Tia, Once again you’re “on the same page” as me when you mention measuring your reach. Tip #4 was going to be something on the line of “what gets measured gets done” (now, it will be a future article). I was going to talk about measuring the basics. I wasn’t even thinking about market reach.

      Great point! Thanks for bringing it up here.

  14. Great article Sherryl. You break it all down to the three most important basic questions/areas small business owners need to concentrate on. I also like to break it down further in another way by asking two simple questions: 1) who are you? and 2) Why should I care?.

    Thanks for sharing your insights 🙂

    1. “Why should I care?” – Great point Julie. A marketing guru once told me that our potential clients listen to the station WIIFM (“What’s in it for me”) and that we need to be tuned in and communicating with that in mind. Thanks for the post.

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