Wyoming Business Tips for Dec. 26

December 20, 2010

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Michael Lambert, Wyoming Entrepreneur Market Research Center manager

"I have a Web site for my business but nobody ever seems to visit it.  What am I doing wrong?" Marie, Evanston

One of the first things to do is to make sure that your site is being indexed by search engines. The Market Research Center offers a free Web optimization service that provides a report on how well the site functions, how visible it is to search engines and gives advice on how to improve. Call a local WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz office for more information.

Once you have optimized the Web site, you still may not get the number of visitors that the business is seeking. Many times the problem is content.

Ken Gordon, writing on MarketingProfs.com suggests that many company Web sites are "incredibly, absurdly, infuriatingly dull." A boring site is one that does not get many visitors. His suggestion to avoid Web site doldrums is to run it like it is a magazine. Try some of the following ideas:

-- Feature Stories. These are the main attraction and have content that relates to the Web site and to what customers want to know. If you have exclusive content that is of value, then the Web site will tend to thrive.

-- "Front of the Book" section. These are the short articles that tend to be at the front of magazines. Highlight a new trend, a new product or service. Make the articles short and fun.

-- Service Pieces. These are articles such as "the five best ways to start a stalled engine," "10 ways to save $15," etc. These need to relate to the company, but can be a great way to make people interested in content.

-- News. Include journalism on your site. Stories should be fresh and address the "who, what, where, when and why" of an issue. Interview people, but be even-handed and fair. By providing true news you can become a trusted source.

-- Opinion. Go ahead a give your opinion. Typically this is done on your blog. Here you can say what you think. However, it is always best to make sure that you offer a forum to opposing views. By doing so, you increase the discussion and relevance of the site.

-- Humor. Humor is hard work, but if done properly can be great. If you have someone who is naturally funny, put them to work.

Don't be afraid to experiment. With your Web site running like a magazine, you can add and remove departments, try new types of features and experiment. Eventually you will end up with content your customers love and that they will recommend to their friends.

For more information about starting international marketing, contact a local Wyoming Entrepreneur office. A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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