I believe SEO is the root to thriving an online business. It’s the reason I learnt this skill inside out over the past decade, it’s also the reason I can work from anywhere in the world. It’s the single most effective marketing method in my personal opinion. You are giving people exactly what they are searching for, when they need it. What more could you want.
If you have a good SEO campaign in place where you rank for a number of profitable keywords, but you find you aren’t converting a lot of customers then you might have a design issue.
Let’s take this from the other way, let’s say you have a great looking website, you’re site is designed by the best agency in town and you have a branding campaign that Nike would be proud of. It’s all going well until you don’t get any customers. What do you do? You might try social media marketing, PPC and eventually you will likely half try SEO.
The problem lies (in both situation) SEO and Web design were treated differently. They weren’t built to be interchangeable.
They are the same thing and that’s something people do not remember.
Build a website that looks great & RANKS in Google. If you can do that then you will be successful in generating revenue online. Whether that be through generating leads for a business or making sales in an online store.
Below is the process I wanted to talk about that I personally believe results in building a successful business of any type. If you can take these out and refine it to any business you will be profitable.
Always start with the concept.
If anyone knows me then they know I really hate ideas. Ideas are worthless. No one cares if you have a great idea. The best business men and women in the world probably didn’t start with the best idea in the world. They took action on their idea and executed that idea well. That’s the difference.
Nevertheless you have to start with your concept. This can be as simple or complicated as you like, but of course simple businesses are best. Let’s use the example of an online store that sells shoes. The idea is simple, we want to sell shoes online.
Branding is semi-important. Again this is something that people overcomplicate to the hills. If you cannot build a brand then you cannot have a business. BUT this brand doesn’t need to cost you £50k to build to be good. Some of the best brand designs in the world have started on fiverr. There are hundreds of multi million pound businesses that still have logos they purchased from fiverr. So get something up. If you can afford to hire a branding agency then do so, but please hire a good one, otherwise you can end up paying £10k for a $5 logo.
Stage 2 is defining the keywords you want to rank for in Google. This is not stage 1 as I find it influences branding decisions too much. Instead you want to find the most profitable keywords for your business. This is very easy to do using the Keyword planner. Find the most profitable keywords directly related to your business and others that are more specific (these are called secondary or long tail keywords.)
In our example our primary keywords would be things like “buy shoes online” “online shoe store”. Our secondary keywords would be specific brands or styles that the shoe store stocked. For example “Nike Running Trainers For Men” Or “Women’s high heel shoes”. These are a lot easier to rank than the more generic primary terms. But the larger terms will have a higher search volume and hence once you are ranked you will be earning a lot more.
This is by far the most difficult step of an entire business. The good thing is, you only have to do this once if you do it correctly. This is where I recommend spending the most money. If it costs you £20k to set-up a site that has perfect on-page optimisation, converts well and has good User experience then it might seem like a big cost today but in the future it will pay for itself 1000 times over through insanely efficient ranking and conversions.
Personally I like to start with keywords and then move into images and add user experience at the end. Then and as a final step I add key design elements. The majority of business owners and design agencies do this in the complete other way. They will start with design, move into SEO and finish with CRO. This all leads to a very low ranking, low converting (but good looking) website. And as we discovered at the start of the article, we want all key elements in place, not just one or 2. That’s a quick way to waste a lot of time and money.
Step 4 is generating backlinks, building citations, press releases, link outreach and essentially all elements that are involved in an offpage or off-site optimisation campaign. In our example if we built the best looking, highest converting shoe store in the world, we would rank precisely 2,341 in Google for “shoe store” because we have no authority at all. We have zero backlinks, and no one is visiting our site. As a result we need to do some off-page optimisation. The most important element of this is backlink generation, but this post is already long enough so instead of posting more content on this just research how to generate links or get in touch with us.
Social media marketing, pay per click and any other form of marketing is step 5. This is where you go all in on your business. This is the start of the 12 hour days, 7 days a week for a year. This is where you start the grind…. Or the hustle as others call it. These 80 hour weeks is what makes or breaks your business. Most of the time people don’t have the discipline to do this (or the knowledge), this is also where you need to spend money. Spend money to advertise, hire a PPC agency if you need to, an SEO agency that’s amazing if you need to and get in front of all your potential customers too.
Once you have your first 100 sales a day its time to scale. Hire employees or VA’s and scale and automate the business. If you do not know how to do this, then read up on it. Build your business so that it could work without you.
Step 1-4 should take less than 6 months. If it starts to take longer than this then you have a serious over-complicating things issue. When you over-complicate you kill your business. Literally you are stopping it from growing before its even born. Do not do this. Instead launch it as soon as you have an MVP (minimum viable product) and tweak along the way if needs be. Step 5 is where most people fall, this is also why 90% of business fail in 5 years, they do not complete stage 5. And if you do, then move onto stage 6 as soon as you possibly can. This is when you can go from £100k a year to £100m a year. Thanks for reading.