It was no surprise that the recent global pandemic profoundly impacted countless businesses and even entire industries. However, what many economists did not anticipate was the emergence of courageous and clever entrepreneurs turning out in record numbers, ready to roll up their sleeves and seize any opportunity – pandemic or not. In fact, a recent study was conducted and found that Americans launched 4.4 million businesses last year, a 24% jump compared to business formation in 2019.

Simultaneously, it’s getting easier for businesses to launch and establish an online presence. Do-it-yourself website development programs have become more user-friendly, resulting in more small- to medium-sized business owners opting to tackle it themselves.

As start-ups look to develop and maintain their online presence, below are a few tips for new business owners to get the most out of their efforts and content.

Choose the right platform

CMS’s – or content management systems – continue to gain popularity due to their user-friendly nature when building websites. A few big players in the space that are preferred among smaller businesses include WordPress, Squarespace and Wix. A CMS helps a user build a website without having to code it from scratch by utilizing templates, plug-ins and more, allowing for more time and energy to be spent on content creation. However, it’s important to be selective when choosing a CMS as the level of user-friendliness and ease of SEO can vary greatly. Most CMS’s have free versions you can test drive ahead of committing. Pay attention to the level of support and tutorials provided in addition to the SEO capabilities, which are typically built-in and make optimizing and analyzing keywords easier.

Use landing pages to drive conversions

Landing pages are pages on your website that are simple, free of distractions (social media links, pathways away from the intended goal) and clearly guide users to perform a specific call to action, making them a great tool for lead generation. In fact, if you’re going to spend any amount of money on ads, make sure you clean up your destination pages and feature a specific call to action to ensure a higher rate of conversion. For example, a call to action can look like signing up for a newsletter or downloading a promotion in exchange for their email address. In short, a landing page is key to converting web traffic into leads, and making sure users can quickly gather information on a business and act is critical.

Chase your customer – not Google

Business owners and marketing teams have become obsessed with Google and thriving within its ecosystem, but what many people don’t realize, is that Google doesn’t want you to chase it. Google wants you to chase your customer. The customer experience is what reigns supreme for Google, therefore it has become vital for businesses to understand their customer-base on a deeper level in order to provide quality content to draw them in. Think of your website as a relationship-building tool as opposed to a business pitch. Think of how your customers engage with your business. Next, explore resources and insight you can share with your customers to help them within this realm. For a carpet cleaning company, that may look like blog posts sharing details on what types of carpets are best for high foot traffic areas, or how to spot clean a stain while they wait for a professional. Build assets and draft copy that will help solidify your business as credible, trusted brand, and the leads will follow.

Ensure content consistency

Updating your website regularly is a must – whether you have an informational blog, a rotating menu or company announcements to share. Making sure the website copy is consistent across all platforms (ads, social media, etc.) is also critical. The keywords that are chosen to identify your business need to be reflected everywhere, but in an organic way where your website copy still reads naturally. Keep keywords basic and aligned with what your customers are searching for on Google. And, steer clear of grandiose terms and ideas that stray from the intended message or audience. The moment you provide customers with exactly what they’re looking for, Google will begin to recognize this and rank you higher in search.

It’s in an entrepreneur’s best interest to understand every facet of their business, which leads them to wear dozens of hats. Sometimes, during the startup phase, new business owners wear even more, which is why it’s essential to get the most out of any content. By understanding some digital marketing basics, identifying your audience and pumping out customer-driven content, entrepreneurs are laying a solid foundation for their newly formed venture and planting the seeds for future growth.

Steve Krull is the CEO and co-founder of Be Found Online, a digital marketing agency where he and his teams have been helping businesses with online visibility for more than 10 years. Throughout his career, he’s worked with dozens of brands to drive business and web traffic through specialized digital marketing tactics. When he’s not working, Steve can be found reading spy novels, rooting for the Chicago Cubs and riding his bicycle.

New business stock image by Freedomz/Shutterstock