Posted by Melanie Taljaard ● Thu, Feb 28, 2013 @ 07:02 AM

Creating and Enhancing Your Marketing Castle

Consider a website an asset—something you invest in and build to serve your marketing and communication needs today and well into the future.  A website is your marketing castle—and just like you’d build a castle with a vision, you should do the same for your website. 

Chances are your website will be a new customer’s first interaction with your brand.  When you hear about a new service or product, chances are your next step is to look it up in Google and your potential customers are likely to do the same, right?

If you believe this to be true, what are you doing to build and enhance your marketing castle?  Do you like the structure and flow of your website?  If not, start dreaming and planning a website that really represents who you are and what your clients need to know about you in order to do business with you. 

Once your website (or marketing castle) is built, you will need to continue to enhance and maintain your website as your business evolves and changes.  A website is certainly more dynamic and easier to enhance than a castle.

Chances are you’ll get lots of offers to help you enhance your website.  Companies will offer to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) promising that you’ll come up number one in Google for certain keywords.  Perhaps, they will offer linking strategies that make your site come up higher in the search bar.  If these strategies or proposals sound too good to be true, they probably are—like the swamp water land you could buy in Florida, not the ideal place to build a castle! 

Marketing CastleSometimes these offers to ‘fix’ or ‘enhance’ your website or SEO placement are a bit more polished and slick and perhaps you’ve even been tempted to give these offers a try.  After all, you are juggling a gazillion things and quite frankly, it would be nice to tick marketing or website enhancements off the list.

When you are evaluating the merit and value of these pitches here are a couple of indicators that you should stay away from and a tip to help you evaluate the vendors to see if they will really deliver on what they promise. 

Only Invest in Your Own Castle – don’t pay rent at somebody else’s place 

I hear a lot of companies offering to build profiles or to create pages on their site for your company, promising to maximize its presence. 

If the provider is talking about giving you a profile on their site it isn’t going to help you nearly as much as if you enhance your own site.  Quite often these companies promise profiles that are ‘mini-sites’ loaded with features but your content is of most value, for both search optimization and user experience, if it lives on your own website. 

Web visitors may be confused if they see info on a ‘profile’ and then different content on your ‘website’. Many of these providers try to create a mini site that mimics your site. The visitor may not, in fact, know they aren’t on your site. This leads confusion if they see a different web presence each time they search for you. 

Rather sophisticated companies are taking this approach of creating mini-sites and profiles for companies. Yellow Pages and Roger’s Outrank are taking this approach. Invest in your own site, not a profile on another company’s site no matter how smooth and polished a presentation.  Your presence on their website is actually helping their site far more than it is helping you.  It is kind of like paying them rent – helping them to pay the mortgage on their castle and doing very little for your own castle.

Build ONE castle – not a house with many add-ons and out buildings.

Have you found yourself at a cross road of knowing whether you need one site or several sites.  Perhaps you have multiple service locations—do you give them all their own sites?  I have pondered this question and asked many web experts opinions.  Perhaps their answer will be obvious to you!  You want to build one marketing castle, not a house with lots of outbuildings. 

A website will come up higher in search results based on many factors but the volume of relevant content, number of incoming links and age of the website all contribute to your placement in search.  You can actually be penalized for duplicate content on sites.  It takes less time to build one quality site and serves you far better in the long run than maintaining many sites. 

Often companies have several URLs (or web addresses) and that is the reason that they build or keep many websites, but you can easily redirect web users from other URLs to your marketing site – the user won’t even realize they are being redirected and you’ll be building one strong marketing castle. 

You Can’t Build a Castle Overnight

Coming up high in search engines takes time.  Some of the top results in Google are pieces of content that were posted sometime ago. Just like you can’t build a castle over night you can’t get to be number one in Google overnight.  If somebody has promised you overnight success it is probably too good to be true.  Buying Google Adwords can get you to the top practically overnight, but you are going to pay per click (this can be a good plan if it fits your strategy).  While Google Adwords can put you on top overnight, many people choose organic results over the ads. Investing in true SEO doesn’t cost you per click.

Considering a Provider?

If you’re considering a provider to help you with website enhancement or SEO, ask who they’ve helped before – get client names and see how those companies perform in search for keywords you’d use for those services.  Let the work these companies have done for other companies speak for them. 

Looking to see how your website or SEO measures up? Contact me for a free Inbound Marketing Assessment.

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Topics: evaluating marketing, inbound marketing, search engine marketing, internet marketing