Building a great website/blog and brand takes time and hard work.
Unfortunately, many aspiring web entrepreneurs put too much emphasis on these three time-wasting activities.
In this post we will look at the top 3 digital marketing timewasters and how you can avoid obsessing over them in your business.
Changing the Layout, Colors and General Appearance of Their Site
Designing our website is one of the first steps in our long journey to build a small business brand.
Just when we thought we had everything figured out, the little artist in our head keeps second-guessing everything we just did and we start changing colors, moving the position or our logo, changing the font, messing with our navigation options, etc.
This is a mistake for two reasons: Your site will never be perfect. However, if you followed a few basic web design principles at the beginning, chances are your site is already good enough and ready to be enhanced with useful, valuable content.
Once you build a strong readership base, constantly changing the appearance of your site will negatively affect your brand. Customers like consistency and familiarity.
If as a result of your constant changes customers can’t find what they want or don’t recognize your site you’ll end up losing brand equity.
The best strategy is to make very subtle changes to your site once a year or so. In other words, make your web design changes few and far between and keep your branding consistent.
Believing That SEO Is the Be-all and End-all of Your Marketing
Preparing and optimizing our site for the search engines is just one of the many tactics at our disposal to promote and build our brand online. Putting all our eggs in the SEO basket is risky since search engines keep changing their ranking algorithms on a regular basis, and what works today may not work tomorrow.
If we find ourselves spending too much time fiddling with page titles, changing the wording in our headlines or worrying about our keyword density, it is time to stop and ask ourselves if that time wouldn’t be better utilized creating useful content and building a loyal customer / reader base.
If you are just starting out, you may want to check the SEO advice coming straight from the horse’s mouth and read the design and content guidelines of the offered by the main search engines. You can then read some online tutorials and a few good ebooks on the subject.
I would suggest, however, that you focus on the basics and don’t get tied up by the extremely technical stuff. As with any other topic, the law of diminishing returns applies here, and you don’t want to spend more time chasing Google’s tail than building and improving your site.
Obsessing about Ads and Revenue
Unless you run a purely informational site, ad revenue shouldn’t be a significant part of your business model.
If you sell something online and are trying to build your brand, ads will be a distraction from your core offering, where you can make more money than the few cents per click you would be getting by plastering ads all over your site.
Additionally, ads are detrimental to the user experience (especially if placed in the prime areas of the page) and make your site less likely to be linked by others.
In the crucial early stages, plastering your site with ads is branding suicide. Your main focus should be in building a loyal following of people who visit your site regularly, subscribe to your feeds and link to you.
Even for more established sites, or sites that are purely informational in nature, some experts suggest waiting until a site can draw around 1,000 visitors per day before placing ads.
In summary, build value first, tell people about it, and tell them to tell their friends. Everything else will fall into place at the right time.
Brian Jackson is the former owner of Shoestring Branding, a marketing and branding blog for entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on internet-based tools and strategies. It was recently acquired by BrandBlast.com