How To Create A WordPress Membership Website?

  • Join our community
  • Become a member today
  • Join our experts
  • For our community
  • Working for our community

Do any of these sound familiar?

If not, do a quick Google search and you will stumble upon a number of WordPress membership website where you can learn about new stuff or purchase goods. Some websites are appealing but, don’t meet their promises; others are worth your time and investment.

If you’re an expert at something and want to do something beyond blogging online, creating a WordPress membership website will be productive, and if done right, can become a solid source of income.

What is a membership website?

A membership website has full of exclusive content or special offers, where you have to pay a fee to access it. These websites are arguably considered to be one of the best and most consistent forms of income you can earn online.

Many are pulling their hair, trying to figure out how to start membership websites.

Even if you have no previous experience, we colorwhistle listed these tips will walk you through on creating a WordPress membership website from with ease.

How to create a membership website in WordPress?

To begin, you’ll need the following things to start:

  • A domain name, eg-whitehouse.com
  • A web hosting account to store all your website files
  • A membership website plugin to convert a normal WordPress website to a membership platform

1. Starting your WordPress membership website

You have to use the correct WordPress platform; WordPress.com and WordPress.org are different ones. Beginners often get confused on which version to select. It is recommended you use a self-hosted WordPress.org platform as it will give you access to all the features and tools.

For a self-hosted website, you need the following:

  • WordPress hosting account, $15/year
  • Domain name, $9/year
  • SSL certificate, $70/year

If you feel it is pricey for your budget, you can opt for Bluehost, a hosting provider recommended by WordPress. You can get all the above in one place for around $3/month.

2. Choose a WordPress membership plugin

WordPress wasn’t originally built to run a membership website. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build one.

The best part about WordPress is, there are many plugins available that can be used to create a fully functioning WordPress membership website.

To select the right WordPress membership plugin, you have to decide what kind of membership website you want. Example- content only, webinars, classes, and paid forum.

Popular WordPress membership plugins

Get your membership website up and running according to your requirement with these awesome plugins.

3. Select a theme

WordPress comes with a sea of in-build themes. You have to select a strong theme that will allow adding flexible design elements and also give way for future expansion.

Although responsive technology has improved greatly, it is essential to take time to make the right choice when selecting a Custom WordPress theme. Make a checklist to ensure the theme you chose has all the necessary components you require.

A right theme should highlight your content, keep it responsive across all the devices, and load in the blink of an eye.

Best WordPress membership themes

4. Create content

Membership websites have a story to tell, how you portray yours is important.

Your website has only a few seconds to capture the interest of a visitor. Think about the favorite speeches and books you’ve read. The initial exposure would have influenced your decision to spend more time on reading and listening.

Content for your WordPress membership website should be proactive enough to make users perform an action.

5. Features to be included

Your WordPress membership website is vital for mobilizing your business and helping it grow. But, it can get confusing when you don’t know how a website is supposed to look like,

Here are few common characteristics every membership websites must have:

  • Fully functional- blogs, member-only sections, and membership management.
  • Attractive design- color, theme, logo, and other design elements.
  • Engaging- encourage member interaction and advocate regular visitation.
  • Visibility- optimized for search engines.
  • Ease of use- easy navigation and quick access to information.
  • Flexible- trouble-free implementation of new design trends.
  • Robust-round the clock functioning without functionality issues

6. Attract users

Once you have your WordPress membership website up and running, you have to bring in new members.

Initially, it will be hard to bring new users to your website. So opt for digital marketing services which will allow you to market your membership website using digital technologies in the internet.

Digital marketing is regarded as a proven technique that countless businesses are adopting to get tremendous results.

And also, it will give you access to a mass market at a reasonable price, unlike print marketing. So make use of it.

What are the popular membership websites?

Get inspiring ideas from these membership websites:

1. Style Challenges

Style-Challenges-Wordpress-Membership-website

2. The Media Method Program

Media-Program-Wordpress-Membership-website

3. kelly Edmonds

KellyEdmonds-Wordpress-Membership-Website

4. Backstage

Backstage-Wordpress-Membership-website

5. Ancestry

Ancestry-Wordpress-Membership-website

Wrapping up

With business, sales, purchases, and news becoming more online oriented, having a website is an important part of online development.

If you’re looking for a steady stream of income and increase user engagement, membership websites are a great choice.

Creating and launching a membership website takes hard work. Maybe you are still considering building a WordPress membership website.

Nevertheless, exploring your passion in a new way can be incredibly rewarding. Therefore membership websites might be worth checking out.

Do you need help to create effective membership websites? Get a plan to create a WordPress membership website today!

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Related Posts

Creating a Business Website For Startup Companies

Let’s cut to the chase, you clicked our article because you want to know how to start a website.

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

2019 is just around the corner and it’s hard to believe a sizeable percentage of small business owners still don’t have websites.

According to Clutch’s website for small business survey,

  • 29% of small businesses do not have a website
  • 25% do not own a website due to lack of technical knowledge
  • 22% lack human or financial resources to build one
If your small business doesn’t have a website, here are some of the major things you’ll be missing out.

You’ll get less traction in search results

  • If a consumer wants to learn about your service/product where will they go to learn more?

You’re at the mercy of social networks You’re at the mercy of social networks

  • Social networks change their algorithms all the time. The new changes may make your account less visible in user’s feed.

You look less than legitimate You look less than legitimate

  • Without a website, you look out of date or like you’ve got something to hide.

How To Create A Business Website For Your Startup in 2019?

A website is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity to maintain your visibility.

Consumers turn to the internet for everything from product research to operating hours. So it is no longer feasible to run a small business without a web presence, even if it is just a shop that sells paint.

Starting a website for your small business can sound daunting, especially if you don’t have web design experience. If you need a complex or large website you will certainly have to work with a creative digital agency. For smaller and basic websites, you may be able to do the work yourself!

The following steps will teach you the basics on how to create a website for your small business in 2019, as well as offer tips on designing the website.

Who will find this useful?

There are many articles that explain how to create a website, but most of them are too technical or have very less information.

Unlike the others, our article will help everyone from beginners to tech-savvy users. This is beginner-friendly and contains detailed information on setting up a website.

1. Decide your goals

Website development for small business provides information about your company or is a direct platform for e-commerce.

Before creating a website, it is important to identify the main goals for your website because it will help to determine about website design, potentials risks, and responsibilities.

Generally, if a website is more interactive, it will have more responsibilities. Some websites may be minimal as they just want to provide information about their products/services, business hours, and location. Others may wish to engage their customers with contests, coupons, discussion boards and much more.

If you don’t accept payments through your website, work will be much less. And if you’re retailer or service provider, you’ll need to use external service to receive payments.

Knowing what you want to do with your website is important because when you move forward, it will guide you to develop further.

Therefore, always let your marketing goals, legal obligations, and potential risks determine your website’s strategy.

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Whatever your fundamental goals are when you start a website, think about user experience. Users must be able to easily navigate throughout your website.

2. Choose a domain name

How do people call you? By your name right, likewise, a domain name is how your website will be known online. It is a unique address given to your website on the internet that costs between $8- $35 per year.

How much effort do you need to put into choosing your domain name? Is it really that important?

If you think by having a quality website and business people will visit your website no matter the domain name, you’re wrong. It doesn’t work that way.

Domain name is the key element of your website; it can make or break your website.

It provides valuable branding to your website and makes it easier for people to find and remember you.

Decide what name you want to give your website, for example, www.apple.com, and see if the name is available. To find out, enter the name into the domain search tool like GoDaddy. If it takes you to the registration page, it means the name is available. If not, you have to adjust the name.

What are some tips to choose a domain name?
  • Choose a simple and memorable name. Eg- www.paypal.com
  • Go with “.com”
  • Must be easy to type, pronounce, and spell Eg- Facebook, Bing.
  • Avoid using hyphens and numbers.
  • Select a name that doesn’t bring up any copyright issue.
  • Shorter is always better Eg- www.lifehacker.com
  • Make sure the name is available on social media websites.
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If the domain name is already taken, check the thesaurus for alternate words. Or use a tagline, acronym, nickname, or phrase you say all the time.

3. Select a web host

Before creating a small business websites, it must have a place to reside so it can be accessed on the internet. Only through a web host, you can connect your website to the internet. Choosing a reliable web hosting is important before you start a website.

Your web hosting company is like hardware for your website. It’s where all the information is stored.

How a wrong hosting provider can affect your website?

Loss of revenue

  • Your website may be frequently down and potential customers won’t be able to learn about your business.

Negative effect on SEONegative effect on SEO

  • Website ranking will be affected due to poor downtime and slow websites can hurt your ranking in search engines.

Security attacksSecurity attacks

  • Although there is no perfect solution for keeping a website secure, only a reputable web hosting will backup your data and help to restore it if your website is hacked.
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Depending on your budget, you can get a shared web host (sharing of server with other websites) or dedicated hosting (your own private server). Dedicated hosting is the best option because you need not compete with other websites which will drag your speed.

4. Construct a layout

Now, it’s time to start a website.

Whether you hire a creative digital agency or DIY, it is important to map out a plan for taking customers through your website.

At this stage, you will hear a lot about CMS (content management system). It is nothing but a dashboard you will use to update content on your website. Through CMS, you can easily add images, create new pages, and post blogs.

Before you worry about choosing the right CMS, you have to decide what pages you need for your website. Normally, a website will have a homepage, ‘About Us’ page, ‘Blog’ to showcase your expertise and a ‘Contact Us’ page. Beyond this, it depends on your product/service. To get an idea, visit the websites that are in your niche and find out the number of pages they have.

Plus, these days more people browse from their smartphones instead of a computer. So it is imperative to have a mobile-friendly website. The good news is web-builders like WordPress have multiple responsive themes available.

Which CMS platform should you choose?

WordPress

  • Overall this is the best platform and a majority of websites use WordPress as it has beginner-friendly tools, and plugins plus, experienced users can explore more. It also supports mobile devices which is great for SEO.

JoomlaJoomla

  • With Joomla, you can easily create and manage dynamic websites. It is best suited if you want an ecommerce website, membership website, or one where there is a lot of content to manage.

DrupalDrupal

  • It gives a perfect structure for your website and you need a basic understanding of HTML to publish content. Drupal is great for experienced web developers, but not for beginners.

5. Outline the content of your website

Once you have chosen which platform you are going to use, it’s time to decide what your website for small business is going to say.

When small business owners decide to start a website, they have a tough time figuring out what to say on their website development . You don’t have to stress too much about it, keep it simple, feature minimal text, and place simple options on each page, i.e. submission form, contact us button.

And it is a good idea to make some additional adjustments to according to mobile view, like focusing mainly on call-to-action, contact forms, or mailing list.

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If you’re still struggling to write content for your website, go through these articles 7 Key Pieces of Advice about Web Content Strategy from Content Marketing Institute, they are big players in this field.

6. Pick a logo

It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a top creative digital agency, or doing it on your own; you have to give a unique identity for your business through a logo.

If you’re already using a logo in the offline world, you can use it on your website. But, if you don’t have one or want to upgrade your existing one, these are some of the ways you can create one.

3 Key Ways To Create A Logo

Do it yourself

  • There are many logo designing software’s like GraphicSprings, Tailor Brands which will allow you to create appealing logos on your own. In Tailor Brands, if you find a design you like, you can pay around $25 and download it.

Use 99Designs.com

  • They run contests where multiple designers compete to design your logo. It is a great option because you can see the expertise of many professionals and yet pay for the one you choose. Price ranges from $300-$800, it depends on the number designers you want competing. Bear in mind, there is no guarantee that you’ll get a unique logo design.

Hire a professional logo designer

  • Although they can be a bit expensive, you can get full worth for the money you invest with a professional designer. Experienced logo designers will use their creativity, understand your business and design a perfect logo.
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To make an informed decision, go through these topics, How to Design and Create the Perfect Logo for Your Business and Brand, Explained to Creating Stunning Logos for Your Brand.

7. Design your website

Now that you have all the pieces to start a website, it’s time to put them together.

It takes less than 3 seconds to decide whether a user wants to stay or leave a website. Therefore, it is imperative to make a good first impression. Here are few tips to keep your website for small business engaging to users.

Tips to keep your small business website engaging to users.

Clear navigation

  • A user must be able to learn about your business, find pricing, and contact you easily. If your website is not clear, users will get frustrated and find another one.

Call-to-actions

  • Placing attractive buttons will immediately attract a user’s eye and will lead them to make an action quickly.

Website should load quickly

  • We know that people are impatient and if a website takes long to load, they will look elsewhere. Make sure your web host provider has speedy load times to make your website super fast.

Minimalistic design

  • Don’t overdo it with design and you needn’t cover every square inch with information or image. There are many simple themes in CMS like WordPress, choose wisely.

8. Test and publish your website

Before making your website live, make sure it works well on major browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Go through every page and features on each browser to ensure images, links look smooth.

Another important feature to incorporate in your website is analytic. By setting it up, you can monitor page performance, traffic, and find out why a page is successful or unsuccessful.

Consider Hiring A Web Design Company to Build Your Small Business Website.

Consumers are evaluating a company before they decide to make a purchase, and if your website doesn’t seem professional they will simply move on to your competitor.

While sales and credibility are two main factors for having a professional website for small business, there are some more reasons as to why you have to choose a creative digital agency, to start a website.

Why should you hire a web design company?

  • They will be aware of the latest design trends.
  • Understands technology.
  • Help to build a user-friendly website.
  • Will have the ability to figure out what to focus on.
  • Create a website in less time.
  • Give you instructions on how to maintain your website.

Above all, when you hire a web design company, you will not have the hassle of figuring out how to start a website. You can concentrate on growing your business.

When you employ professional small business website maintenance services, you can relax and rest assured that you did not create a poorly constructed website.

Over to you

Clutch also found that, 92% of small businesses predict that they will have a website by the end of 2019.

It seems optimistic, plus it points out the fact that small business owners understand the importance of having a website and are at least aware of the missed opportunities of not having one.

The online world changes at a fast phase. Sometimes, one year in the online world can be equal to three years in the real world.

But the principles of how to start and grow a small business haven’t changed.

If you’re planning to start a website for your small business, stick to this sequence. You will begin to see improved results once you have your business website in place.

Keep going, you got this. All the best!

Search Intent Keywords – A Complete Guide

The importance of keywords in web content is not in dispute. Your website content would still need to be driven by what people are searching for. You still need to do keyword research to know what people are searching for.

Intent Based Search

If you run a house painting business, your website would need to have the keywords “House painting” in it because people would search for it.

It makes sense then to optimize your website for these keywords. But not everyone typing in the words “house painting” is looking for your services. They may even be looking for instructions on how to paint a house.

This is an example of the intent of the search. For someone looking for instructions for painting, to reach your service page is not a satisfactory response. Even if you are the number one page for this keyword, the site visitor will simply bounce away from your page.

If you have, however, created a blog piece or a downloadable instruction manual or even a video that tells people how to paint a house, you would more than satisfy the search intent while also bringing visitors to your website.

The current Google algorithm is working on the semantic search principle. A simplistic explanation is that search engines now look for content that addresses the multiple meanings of any given keyword.

If your website is equipped to handle various intents, it is more likely to be ranked higher. Keywords have value only if they are able to address the intent of the search.

What is search intent?

Why do people run a Google search? This question has become crucial to companies who are looking to build an online presence.

It is no longer enough to know what people are searching for. You also need to know why they search for it. What is the intent of the search; to know that has become the more important question.

Here is a simple example that demonstrates how a majority of people approach searching on Google or other search engines.

Search Query: Italian restaurant on Fifth Avenue

How does a website tackle search queries? The website is optimized for all possible keywords like “Italian Restaurant” and “Fifth Avenue”.

Search Intent: Reservation

OR

Checking prices

OR

Catering order

OR

Checking wine list

Although any one of these items could have been the intent of the search, a typical web user would start with a simple query and then modify it based on the results he gets.

But if a website on the search engine results page (SERP) displays keywords related to the search intent, the web user is more likely to click that link rather than type a query again.

How can a website tackle search intent?

Since a web user may not always type in the intent of the search, the content on the website must be developed to tackle all possible intents of your website’s visitors.

Search intent is significant because most people using the web to look for information are not web development experts. No one is going to type in all the keywords that you think will bring your website to the number one position on the SERP.

People are more likely to type in a search query starting “What is the price of…”.

Nicole Hess shows us why keyword research needs to change to incorporate search intent. It is a great example to show that your website can have the right keywords and still miss the intent.

By missing the intent, your website may not get picked by Google at all.

Search Query: Plan trip with infant

In Nicole’s search results, the top websites did not even contain the word “infant”. Instead the top results had words like “baby”, “travel plan”, “road trip”.

Google isn’t just looking for exact keywords. Websites that have content that are equal in meaning to the search query are equally eligible for becoming number 1 on the SERP.

As I found when I tried the same search query, none of the top 10 pages had the keyword “infant” in their page titles.

The search engine understands that the intent is to get information or tips on things to do when travelling with a baby. The algorithm is looking for pages that answer these questions.

intent based search

Plus, note the suggestions at the end of the SERP. The top suggestions are for travelling by car which is what a majority of parents have searched for.

It is very likely that this is what our web searcher actually intended and was going to modify his query after giving a quick run through of the top 10 websites. He sees the suggested search and will click on it.

What does search intent mean for your website?

On the one hand it means that content on the website can be based more on natural language, and on the other it means that the website’s overall performance is also key to how it is rated by the search engine.

Having keywords isn’t enough. The website must have intuitive content that the search engine algorithm recognizes as an answer to the search query. Stuffing keywords cannot work anymore.

Content must be valuable and not just voluminous. Before we work out what kind of content is required, let’s first look at the type of searches that people normally do and the intent behind them.

Types of Search Intent Queries

The commonly accepted classification of search intent is as follows:

  1. Navigational Search Intent Queries
  2. Informational Search Intent Queries
  3. Transactional Search Intent Queries

Point to remember: A search query is not a keyword. A keyword, says this article on wordstream, is a Platonic ideal of the search query. It is gleaned from all the searches people are running on a search engine.A search query is the sentence or word that a web user types into the search engine’s search box. It may match the keyword exactly or it may be padded by other words. It is essentially what people type in.

Search queries are important because they determine what the search engine will look for in your website.

Navigational Search Intent Queries

This query is when someone types in “Facebook” or “YouTube” into the search box rather than type the URL into a browser. Google will respond to these queries by listing these websites at the top of the SERP.

Below is an example of a navigational search query.

google search intent

 

How to target navigational Search Intent Queries?

You have to be a site owner to target navigational queries. A true navigational search query will have clear intent. Your site is relevant only if the user was specifically looking for it.

Although some navigational queries are looking for information on the company, the majority want to be taken to the site immediately. This query likely stems from the fact that people are unsure of the full URL; is it flowersathome.com or flowersathome.net?

The next best thing would be to type “flowersathome” or “flowers at home” into the search box. Thus make sure that you own your website’s navigational query. Your brand and company name should appear in the top organic spot and the top sponsored spot.

Informational Search Intent Queries

These are queries that people type in when they are looking for information about something. They want to know how it works, what it is, or how to make it work.

Wikipedia is at the top of the SERP for more than half of informational searches. Type anything into Google that is somewhat generic and it is likely that the first page you get is Wikipedia.

search intent marketing

While conversational queries or long queries may not always return a Wikipedia page, you have to understand that Wikipedia remains successful as an information provider because it provides basic information on a wide range of topics.

Given the collaborative nature of Wikipedia content and its maintenance, information is not always be perceived as reliable. Therefore as an expert in your field, your website can be put to work to provide the best information on your subject.

Informational Search Intent Queries :

High-quality SEO content that gives valuable information is the best way to target informational queries. If people are looking for “tips for vertical gardens”, you as a seller of vertical garden frames should ensure that you have a blog or a video which provides a list of things to do to maintain vertical gardens.

Some of the content types that best work for targeting informational queries include:

  1. Blogs with tips and lists
  2. How-to videos
  3. Step-by-step guides
  4. Infographics that succinctly illustrates a concept.

Point to remember: You want to position yourself as an authority figure in your business. Your content must inform. It should not become an overt marketing exercise where you are shoving all kinds of information into a single blog piece.

If you are writing about maintenance tips for a vertical garden, provide a list of tips. If the reader finds your information useful, she will automatically go to your service page or contact us page or at least remember your website for future queries.

Transactional Search Intent Queries :

A transactional search query is typically one in which the user is looking to complete a transaction.

Examples:

Samsung Galaxy s4 buy

<Service provider> Online phone bill payments

Coffee maker purchase online

Used car sell online

Cakes order online

These web searchers are at the business end of the conversion strategy. They are ready to shell out the cash to complete the sale. Local searches like “Denver ice cream shop” are also transactional in nature.

How to target transactional Search Intent Queries?

If you are a seller (or even a buyer, say wholesaler or retailer) then the best way to capitalize on transactional searches is through PPC. Why Pay Per Click you ask, why not organic SEO strategies. Here are some reasons why PPC is better for transactional searches:

  1. These queries are best suited for generating ROI in paid search. Since people are ready to buy, a sponsored ad will generate a response as much as an organic listing.
  2. Transactional SERP typically show a lot of sponsored ads which pushes organic results below the fold. Sponsored ads are a great way to ensure that your SEO strategies work to your advantage.
  3. Google offers options like adding picture of your product in sponsored ads. This means the people are more likely to click on your link.
  4. When you look at commercial searches only, sponsored ads get the maximum number of clicks, sometimes 50% more than organic results. Many search engines don’t distinguish between sponsored and organic results, therefore to be seen as sponsored is are the way to go.
  5. To generate leads and drive sales, AdWords is a cost-effective and scalable option to go with.

Of course for driving overall traffic you would need content driven SEO strategies as well, because 80% of search queries on the internet are of the informational variety. Even as a seller, you would find that online presence is boosted by developing a website that addresses informational search intent as well.

Search Intent based Content Development

One of the findings to emerge with relation to developing content around keywords is that keyword research driven content may not achieve the kind of search results you are looking for.

The content strategy revolving around developing volumes of content for single keywords will not work anymore. Google and other search engines are evolving to become more sentient. A website has to provide its visitors something valuable to read.

Information is no longer about what a website gives, it is more about what a customer wants. If customer wants instructions, if customer wants tips, if customer wants reviews, then all these things must be provided for.

As this article points out, for keyword research to be effective, it must be driven by search intent.

Only if the intent is fulfilled, your website bounce rate will come down.

Creative content strategy using search intent :

As seen by the infant example, a keyword need not even be present in your web page for it to make to the top of the search results. What is needed is that natural connections be made with a keyword and the natural language that you are using in your website.

If people are searching for rubber boots, nothing is stopping you from using the term “gum boots” or “Wellingtons” to your web pages. These words are semantically connected and Google will be able to rank your page as long as your SEO strategy matches the content in strength.

intent based search optimization

Therefore get creative with your content without worrying too much about exact keywords. You need to know what is driving searches but Google’s latest algorithm allows you the freedom of natural language content. Make full use of it.

Create memorable user experience with Search Intent Queries

A website visitor is more likely to remember your website if they were able to reach your website through content like videos or blogs or infographics – the visual experience is key. Therefore, ensure your content strategy is built around user experience.

  1. Develop trust worthy content
    • Provide facts
    • Back up claims with hard data
    • Share your statistics to boost customer confidence
  2. Tell your customer’s story
    • Make them part of your content development strategy
    • Allow them to share their experience with your product or service
    • Give potential customers a way to interact with existing customers
  3. Share your own experiences – both successes and failures
    • Develop content that shares your company’s journey
    • Share insights into your business formation struggle and how you overcame them
    • Share your success stories

The idea is to create content that develops a bond between your business and your customer. Large corporations need little content – their brands speak for themselves. But even they are now sharing content that puts user experience on the forefront.

As a small business owner, you will also be able to capitalize on search intent driven content strategy. A web development company that specializes in content and SEO strategy is your best option for this.

Specialist companies like Colorwhistle provide turnkey services from development to optimization to marketing which means that we are well versed with how the latest search engine algorithms work.

SEO and content strategies have seen remarkable changes over the years. As search intent becomes a driving force for online success, business owners should partner with web development and strategy experts to glean maximum benefits for their brand and their website.

Search Intent based Keyword research

Your SEO keyword research should encompass not just the keywords identified through a study of the searches that are most common in Google but also understand what people intend by these searches.

Here are 3 simple steps to get you started.

  1. Examine the Search Engine Page Results for a set of keywords for your product or service. It will give you a good idea about why people are looking for certain things.
  2. Use analytical tools that are available on Google to understand how competitive these keywords are
  3. Use these analytics reports to understand what kind of search intent you want to target (for example, informational or commercial)
  4. Develop your keyword and content strategy based on that.

All in all, we must acknowledge that the significance of keywords in web content has changed and we must adapt our strategies to the changes or be left behind.

Small Business Reputation Management

Reputation management for Small Business is a crucial part of any company’s digital marketing strategy but is all too often overlooked. To explain it simply, whereas most digital marketing focuses on ensuring that a brand is exposed to as many people as possible, reputation management ensures that said exposure is positive thereby ensuring that consumers want to do business with you.

To put it another way, having a thousand blog posts about your company is only a good thing if those blog posts are saying nice things. The expression that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ doesn’t really apply to small businesses with thousands of 1 star reviews on Trip Advisor.

Small Business Reputation Management :

So how does Small Business reputation management work for small businesses and what can you do to ensure your comes out of any Google search smelling of roses?

Responding to Feedback :

The key thing to remember when handling Small Business reputation management, is that you need to approach it morally. In other words, you can’t just pay Trip Advisor to remove those bad reviews and nor should you attempt to fake positive feedback. The chances of being discovered doing this are high and the potential repercussions could be very serious for your business.

Instead then, you should focus on responding to your feedback and tackling it head on. Most sites that feature reviews of small businesses allow you to respond with comments. This in turn means that you can answer any negative feedback by offering compensation, by saying how you will deal with the problem and by apologizing for their bad experience. Don’t be defensive – just show that you’re listening and growing and you’ll find it’s good for damage limitation.

Finding Mentions :

Not all mentions occur in official reviews. In some cases bloggers will talk about your business, or your brand name will come up in discussions on forums. Using tools like ‘Social Mention’ you can make sure that any such mentions are brought immediately to your attention.

SEO :

Search engine optimization is an important tool for Small Business reputation management, especially for a small business. The key here is to ensure that your website is what comes up first when people search for your brand and perhaps your social media accounts or any other sites you have. By keeping yourself at the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages) you can thereby control your image and first impression more closely.

Encouraging Positive Feedback :

The unfortunate reality of business is that people are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive reviews. If people have a good experience with your business, that is to be expected and they likely won’t feel the need to inform the world. If you let them down though, they will feel angry and betrayed and will likely write an impassioned review of your services.

Your objective then is to get the people who have a good experience to comment as well. This way, you can ensure that the feedback for your brand is more measured and balanced. There are a number of ways you can do this. One way is simply by asking people to consider leaving a review (even using a pop-up on your website potentially). Another is to give some kind of incentive, though it’s important that this isn’t seen as a bribe.

A great thing about being a small business is that you likely will get the chance to interact with many of your customers in person. This gives you the perfect opportunity to build a relationship and to explain to them how reviews help you. You could even consider snapping a photo of you with your customer and tagging them on social media.

Creating Positive Buzz :

Another aspect of Small Business reputation management is simply creating a positive buzz around your business. If you can create enough positivity around your brand then potentially you can ‘drown out’ anything negative and thereby ensure that you’re seen in a positive light overall.

For instance, you might decide to do something for charity and then heavily promote this so that you have several articles on the subject rising to the top of the SERPs. Combine this with some SEO, press releases and social media marketing and you can generate a lot of buzz around your company that’s positive.

Re-branding :

Online in the most severe cases will it be necessary to rebrand. If you’re considering rebranding there are a number of pros and cons that you should consider. Get in touch and we’ll happily discuss it with you.

Transparency :

Finally, you also need to ensure that you are transparent in your communication with your customers and fans. Make sure that you post on social media and on your blog and that you are putting forward your side of the story. Discuss the ins and outs of your business and how you are trying to improve. If you have any bad press, then you can even consider responding to it online directly.

Oh and just make sure you’re doing good work! Provide great service and great customer care and your community will reward you in time.