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A website is like a plant …

No I’m not going mad, bear with me. Many years ago when I was an engineering student, one of my college lecturers had a unique style of teaching. When teaching a subject, particularly one that was a bit complicated, he would put a lot of effort into finding a real life analogy that we could relate it to.

For me, and all the other students on my course, this was a great way of learning and made his lectures the most popular. It is a method that I have used myself many times over the years since when presenting or explaining various topics.

The plant

You get your compost and a pot and plant a seed, you feed and water it and it starts to grow. You continue the process and nurture it and it continues to grow and develop and eventually it blossoms into a wonderful flower. Everyone who sees it remarks how lovely it is. They also tell their friends about it.

The flower lasts for a short while and then withers and dies so there is nothing to come back and see so no more comments. But, if you pick off the dead flower and continue to feed and water the plant, eventually another bud appears and develops into another lovely flower and so the cycle repeats

The website

You start with the seed of an idea, you research and develop it and your web designer grows it into a wonderful looking website for you and publishes it. You tell everyone about it and visitors to your site say how lovely it looks and how useful it is. They tell their friends about it and they come and have a look too.

If you do nothing more with it, visitors have nothing new to come back to see as they have already seen it so interest diminishes. If you continue to add more content on a regular basis and share it, there is always something new and interesting for them to come back for and to talk about and share with their friends.

Hopefully you see the analogy. So many businesses still have an idea, get a website developed and then do nothing more with it. The idea of “build it and visitors will come” has always been a myth and will continue to be.

You constantly have to work on ways of driving traffic to your website using the many different marketing methods available to you these days. You need to plan it and have to make it worth visiting your site and you have to make it work (convert) so that visitors actually do something (your call to action) after they visit it. You also want to encourage them to come back again and again and also to tell their friends about it.

It is not an easy task and it is constantly getting harder as more and more businesses wake up to the fact that online marketing is a much more cost effective and measurable option for them and they start investing in improving their methods and websites, all fighting for that page one listing on Google.

In addition to this, the search engines (Google) are clamping down on dodgy search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques and poor quality content which again makes it more important to ensure your content is fresh, unique, high quality and better than your competitors if you want to get anywhere in the search engine rankings these days.

Author: Steve Wood of Scalar Enterprises

Steve

Steve Wood owns and runs Scalar Enterprises based in Portsmouth in Hampshire. He offers a range of services including Web design, Internet marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO) to small businesses and SMEs in Hampshire and the surrounding areas.

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