Before You Seek Business

Old advertisment In a previous post, I talked about how to put your small business on the web. Before you go out and start looking for business, you might want to take a look around your site to see if it’s easy to understand what business you hope to accomplish. There’s a lot your blog does or doesn’t do to help you sell you or your product. Let’s look at it.

Obvious Call to Action

When someone lands on your site for the first time, is there an obvious call to action? For instance, look at some of these Genesis child themes (affiliate link). Look at Agency. It has an obvious button: ‘learn more about us.’ Okay, not bad, but is that what you want more than anything else? That’s what I’m talking about.

Christopher S. Penn said it best a while back: if I squint at your website and I don’t know what you want me to do, then you don’t have an obvious call to action.

Simple Contact Points

On [], I put up a contact form when I realized that answering my inbox was going to be too much. Now, there are routing methods in that contact form that make it easy for me to get through a lot of contacts fast (with the help of my team). You should have a few contact points. If you’re a local business, like a retail business, add a phone number for the store. If you intend to talk with people via social apps like Twitter or on a Facebook fan page, by all means, add links to there. But make sure there are simple contact points.

Value Your Blog Real Estate

Overally, your blog design should show that you value your blog real estate. If you’re looking for business, don’t make your sidebars a place that sends traffic away from your site and back out onto Twitter or Facebook. If subscriptions matter to you, then make that a very prominent, obvious, and simple process for people to grasp.

Posts with Calls to Action

If your blog is a blog (sequential content), then make each post have some kind of call to action. In this post, my action is quite subtle: I just want to give you more resources to learn. There are also a couple of affiliate links here and there that could stand to make me some money, but my “primary” call to action in this post is to get you deeper into my content. In your case, should you want to be selling something, be really clear that it’s your call to action.

Now, every call to action might not be about your stuff. You can always write about other people (I recommend this). In that case, the call-to-action might just be that you’re promoting other people. Essentially, the question is this: when they finish this post, what do I most want them to do? If your post doesn’t make it easy for them to do that, you might have to rethink.

Build Social Proof

If you have a blog and not a static website, you might want to encourage comments. Not sure how? Find others who might like what you’re talking about and comment on their posts. Don’t littler the comment sections with links back to your site. Just make sure your comment is filled out with the URL to your site, so that people know how to get back. Everyone knows that if we click your underlined, blue name (or whatever the aesthetics are for the site you’re on), we know we’ll get to you. Don’t do much more than that.

Other ways to get comments involve making sure your site is linked to your Facebook page and as part of your email signature file, and encouraging the occasional comment by asking the right questions. You can tweet about posts, too, provided you try even a little bit to make it compelling. For instance, I ask people questions where the link is my take on a potential answer in a blog post.

Comments help one feel visible and it helps your prospective buyers know that you’re worth it. Need some more thoughts on comments? Here’s a crash course in comments.

Be Clear About the Ask

On my site, I have a work with me page. I figured it was the easiest way to explain to prospective clients how they might work with me. I’m thinking of going back and redoing it, once I get some more blog posts written and in the can. But you can see a sense of what I think might be useful. It should be this way about whatever business you’re trying to start.

People should have no doubt what you’re trying to sell them, even if that’s just a point of view. When I visit, I know what I’m getting into. Is your “ask” just as clear?

Experiment a Little

Let’s close on this note. Experimentation is important to understanding what will work and what won’t work with your site and your business. Don’t “set it and forget it.” Try new things. See what converts. See what does or doesn’t work for you. By experimenting, you’ll find out what people react to and also what people ignore.

It’s how I’ve grown my site, but also how I’ve been able to tell clients what I know works and what doesn’t. Having statistics helps in this regard, by the way. Maybe it’s time to check out either something like Google Analytics or Hubspot.


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