It is literally amazing how many people start their online business presence by buying a domain name (close to their business name) and building a brochure-ware page. Only ahrefs group buy later do they turn their mind to optimizing their site for (i) their audience and (ii) the way their audience find them. Fewer still take a long, hard look at what their competitors are doing first.
Take it from me, the best way to succeed in search engine optimization is to build it into your business development strategy from the very outset. For this reason – before we turn to optimization techniques – my guide consides first those fundamental questions of what, who and where:
(a) What are you selling?
The first and most obvious question in this sequence is whether you are selling a product or a service and the degree to which you can fulfill this online.
To illustrate the thinking involved, I will use (throughout the guide) the (mythical) example of Doug Chalmers, a purveyor of restored antique doors, brass door fittings and accessories, based in Windsor in the United Kingdom.
Doug makes his money from selling doors (20% of total profit), selling door handles and knockers (25%), selling door bells or pulls (25%) and fitting services (30%). He has sold the bells, pulls, handles and knockers across the United Kingdom (and once or twice overseas, through word of mouth recommendation) but only does fitting within a 20 mile radius and rarely sells doors to people who are not local.
When forced to consider his proposition more carefully, Doug admits that he has no desire – or capability – to sell fitting services outside of his immediate locale (due to capacity and travel considerations). However, he can see a big market worldwide for his brass fittings and accessories.
I know what you are thinking, but don’t laugh. Doug may well be right and (after all) knows his business better than you or I. He gets quite a lot of business from American and French tourists that drop into his shop after a visit to Windsor castle. Many take his business card. Initially, they almost always want to see brass door knockers, but often leave with several small items.
Doug has heard the stories about other local businesses who have been successful online. The Teddington Cheese, for example, sells British and European cheeses across the globe and was a winner of the UK eCommerce Awards in 1999. Who would have thought that cheese was a winner online? Well, Teddington Cheese did and have been reaping the rewards ever since!
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