I have a website, why aren’t I mad busy?

‘Hi Sarah’,
‘Hi Emily, how’s it going?’
‘Well the website is great, I don’t have any problems with it, but it’s been there 6 months now and I’m still not getting any work, can you help me figure out why?’
‘Sure, what have you been doing to promote your business, networking, business shows, social media, twitter hours?’
‘No, just the website, I’m waiting for people to find it and then I’ll be super busy.’

At this point I want to cry.  I have a lot of experience working with business start up’s and I have this conversation with them far too often, where they feel like now the website is done they can sit back and wait for the clients or sales to roll on in.

Even with a great website, where we have ticked all the boxes, responsive design, great user experience, ease of navigation, valuable content with full keyword optimisation on the page, internal and external link strategy, search engine optimised, the list goes on.  Even with all that, your website isn’t going to generate you business all on its own.  It’s like having an amazing bicyle that you don’t ride anywhere.

Unless you are working in a super niche market, all the stars are aligned, numerology is all in your favour, your site is unlikely to generate you business all on its own overnight, without other marketing activities.

Your website is an amazing tool within your business toolkit, which you need to use in partnership with a whole load of other strategies.

Here are my top tips for a startup business on the basics for promoting your business:

  1. Get out and meet people, and that means networking on a local level within your area, it doesn’t matter if your product or service reach extends outside your locality, you need to start somewhere.  Networking is a fantastic source of untapped business for you, and it’s amazing how quickly you build clients and valuable contacts this way.  Plus you will gain advice and tips from other people who have trodden the same path as you.
  2. Use social media to your advantage, you cannot ignore it, twitter hours are a great way to do ‘virtual’ networking, you can even multi-task and watch Breaking Bad at the same time.  Use the channels relevant to your business, hell, even if instagram never brings you business, is so fun, who wouldn’t do it?
  3. Share your website, EVERYWHERE, there is no point in having a billion contacts on LinkedIn and tweeting morning noon and night if now and again your don’t link back to your website.
  4. Write a blog, its a great place to share your expertise and gives you a place for fresh content and more of your key phrases and locality keywords that are going to help bring visitors to your site.  Plus you can share it on social media and that’s much more interesting than sharing your home page all the time.

There are obviously lots of other marketing platforms, paper advertising, magazine adverts, leaflet drops and other direct marketing methods, and optimising your website is key, but you need to promote your site.

When I started this business over 6 years ago, I had over 15 years experience in software and user interface design behind me, but I was on my own now.  I spent almost 2 years networking constantly, it was exhausing, but it worked.  One website at a time, then referalls started rolling in, and clients coming back time after time for changes and further work.

My message is, you have to stick at it, put the miles in, but you will get there.  No one ever cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats on their first attempt, they started cycling to the shops, cycling to work, you get the picture.  Pump up your tyres and get back on the saddle.