SEO (which is basically how Google places websites in their search results) is only useful if it drives people to your website where you can either capture email addresses, customer leads or product sales. If optimizing your search engine results doesn't lead to any actual activity on your website, it is useless.
An important part of SEO that most SEO companies will not do is actually implement the keywords, blog posts, and then set up a better way to drive conversions, to get people to contact you onto a Email list.
So while most SEO companies will only research keywords and tell you what kinds of words to put on your website, a more comprehensive SEO strategy would go like this:
- Research keywords to people actually type into Google in order to eventually purchase a product or service, not just figure out random or interesting information. Google Keyword Tools is a good tool to us for this. Google Webmaster Tools is also important to see how your website is currently performing.
- Write blog posts or other website contact that uses those keywords in a variety of ways, but also actually provides valuable content that people will actually want to read.
- Once people visit your website, capture their email address through a pop-up, or newsletter subscription, or offer free content. Or, make it clear how people can contact you with questions, about your services, or how to clearly purchase your items. For most businesses, I like using Squarespace to achieve all of these tools for your website.
- Set up an email address campaign platform, like Mailchimp, where you would send emails once per week to your email list to keep them up to date with new blog posts, information, or to schedule a session with you.
- Once you have the first version of this done, make sure to analyze the website to see how to better optimize the flow and capture of email addresses and leads. The best tool for this is Google Analytics.
Without doing all of these steps, doing SEO optimization on its own is only a small portion of what you actually need. So in order for all the pieces to come together, you must have these 5 main steps figured out at the minimum, then slowly build and improve them over time.
My favorite stage of running a business is the start-up stage. It's the most exciting part of creating a business. But for many first-time business owners, it can be a bit frightening. But, to me, one of my favorite hobbies is starting a new business.
Picking the right name for your business is easy. Start with just your own name.
You want something that people will remember. When I was in college, people always remembered my name Justin Page Wood, but only if I included my middle name "Page." But if I only went by Justin Wood it was too generic, and no one ever remembered it. So Justin Page Wood, as well as my initials 'JPW' were the right starting point for my business. Once I started using it in my emails or any documents, I suddenly found that strangers or people I hardly knew would easily remember my name, even calling me "JPW" or calling me "Justin Page Wood" as if my entire name was actually my first name.
So when you are starting out, whatever you do, choosing your first name is the easiest way to go. If your name is unique, but not too hard to spell, then use that as a starting point.
The other thing to think about is choosing a name that will allow you to do long term growth. For instance, a while back we chose the name "MW Textile Design" for my wife's business. The problem was that she started to move away from Textile Design altogether, so the name no longer made sense. You want your business name to be generic enough that it can work for all sorts of fields, and not corner yourself into a wall. At the same time, you want it to be easy to say, easy to spell, and easy to remember.
Just think about if you were to tell people what your website address is. If you have to spell out each letter for them, or if it is confusing, or too easy to forget, especially if they were to type it into a browser, then you're going to get a lot of missed opportunities for new business.
Overall, here are things to keep in mind:
- Don't make your business name too long, especially your web address. For instance: www.justinpagewoodminimalsitdesign.com is way too long.
- Try as much as possible to use simple, common words that are easy to say, spell and remember.
- Starting with your own personal name is always a good start, unless you've found that people have a hard time saying, spelling or remembering it.
- Don't be afraid to change your business name over the next few months. As you get established, you may find that your business name no longer works. If that is the case, feel free to change it quickly.
There's nothing worse that delaying the start-up of your business just because you do not have a logo ready. In my opinion, there is no need for you to design a logo or hire someone to make a logo when you are just getting started with your business.
A professional logo design is going to run you somewhere around $200 to $2000 USD, depending on the logo designer. And if you are just getting your business started, there is literally no reason why you should take on that kind of expense. That money should be going towards other things that will actually bring you income later on.
To get started, there are some really easy ways around getting a logo for your business:
- My favorite is just to pick a nice font, space out the letters a bit, and stick with that for the first few months. My favorite fonts are Futura Book for a minimalist aesthetic, which is what I use for my own businesses, or Garamond for a more classic look. Both fonts are free if you simply look it up in Google.
- Find a logo building tool online like Squarespace's Logo Maker. I believe it is only $10 to purchase once you build your own logo online, and tool is pretty simple to use.
- Find a premade logo on a platform like Etsy. You simply find a design you like, and a designer will put together the logo files for you, like PNG, AI, and JPG files for your reference. Simply go to Etsy.com and search for a keyword like "premade logo" and you'll find thousands of options.
Once you establish yourself as a business, making enough income per month to justify the cost, you can then hire a logo designer to make something custom for you. At that point, spending $200 or $500 or even $1000 might make financial sense. But when you are just getting started, avoid spending money on things that really won't convert towards getting new sales or new customers.