Getting Ahead in the Race: Cost-Effective Tips for a Winning Website

1.1 Trillion. This is the number of searches Google alone processes in a year. Of all these searches, millions are potential clients looking to find health, wellness, and life-improvement professionals. In fact, 80% of Internet users have searched for these kinds of topics online, making it the 3rd most popular online activity behind email and researching a product or service before making a purchase.

Since so many people are searching for help online, it is essential that you take control of your web presence and get your information in front of them. Think of getting to the top of Google (and other major search engines) as winning a race. It’s a process that takes time. You have to train, condition your body, and prepare to go the distance. Once the race has begun, you are well on your way to the finish line and recording your personal best!

The first step is signing up and committing to run the race: that is, getting a website. Your website is your home base on the web, the place where you can show your strengths, and an easy way to market your practice to 3 billion internet-using potential clients. You can customize your site by adding photos, videos, and information about your services, all in a way that fits your personality.

The next step is training and conditioning. This is done with Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO. SEO is the collective name for the techniques that convince search engines that your site is relevant to searchers. When search engines consider your site relevant to a particular issue, they will show your site more often to people looking up that topic. This, in turn, should increase the number of visitors to your site!

SEO for your website is just as important as a runner’s training regimen–without a good one, you’ll quickly fall behind the competition. Just like physical training, your SEO plan can be as intense or as light as you’d like. But no matter what, two things are absolutely necessary: keywords and content.

Identifying your industry-related keywords is very important. A keyword is a particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a website or webpage. For example, if you are a coach specializing in career advancement, you want people looking for help in their work to find you, so your keywords would include things like “career coaching,” “job issues,” and “getting ahead at work.”

To draw in website traffic, you need to know your audience and tailor your keywords to them. Keywords should include the concerns of your clients, your specialties, the age groups you work with, your location/s, and anything else you want people to know about you and your practice. The next step is to implement those keywords into unique, fresh content. Content includes any information on your website (information, links, etc.) and should easily identify what you do and say a little about who you are. The more original you are the more likely you are to be differentiated in the world of Google.

You will also want to make sure to update your content regularly. You want Google to visit your site often so that you stay on their radar and they continue to re-evaluate your ranking. The more often you update, the more Google comes to visit. Updating can be as easy as adding a link to an article or new finding in the field.

Now that you have a website and it is prepared to go up against the competition, the last big step is to use your water, snacks, and crowd energy to go the distance and cross the finish line. In terms of Internet marketing, this means taking your optimized site and utilizing social media to network and draw attention to it.

Social media gives you that big boost to carry you to the finish line. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are some of the easiest ways to spread the word about your practice. And the best part? They’re all free, and they all help to provide you with better visibility online. Post new information (articles, fun facts, new developments) on social media, update your website, and keep people informed, and you’ll have the crowd on your side.

You’ll also want to make sure that you get listed in online directories. We make that easy for you: just fill out the information in the Directory Listings section of your website editor, and our Listings team will do the rest!

Just like running a race, optimizing your website takes time, research, and dedication. At CoachingWebsites, we specialize in websites designed specifically for coaching professionals. We provide the necessary resources for an effective online presence including basic search engine optimization, online scheduling, an eNewsletter feature, credit card processing, and more. Start building an online presence today at www.CoachingWebsites.com.

Making the most of Social Media

Looking for a cost effective and simple way to grow your practice? Social media is continuing to grow in popularity – and it doesn’t seem like the trend is going to end anytime soon. You already know how important it is to ‘connect’ with your clients, but maybe you don’t quite know HOW you effectively do this through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – or any of the other channels out there.

There are endless social media resources available to you! With just 30 minutes a day focusing your attention to your online social media users and using these simple tips, you can build your online reputation.

Here are a few of our favorite tips:

1. Focus on quality, never quantity:

- It’s okay to be a little ‘picky’ with who you connect with online. Quality people and information are what gains trust in patient/clients. No one wants to feel like ‘just another number’ nor “cluttered” with useless information.

2. Respond – (return the favor)?

- If someone takes the time to personally reach out to you, in a positive way OR negative, never ignore them! It feels good to be heard, so be sure to always respond to every message individually and in a timely matter to display the upmost care for your clients.

3. Encourage

- Get your online clients to “share” “follow” or “like” etc. by including links to each social media channel on your website. You could even provide a benefit for the person connecting. For instance, “Facebook friends get 10% off”.

- Initiate conversations, with individuals or within communities. Offer tips and other insightful, relevant information about your practice or news about the industry you are in.

4. Blog

- Show off your voice and your expert advice. A blog is a great way to improve your online reputation by articulating well-researched information to your clients gaining trust that you are in fact an expert in your field. (You’re reading ours, aren’t you?!)

Social Network-Specific Tips

1. Facebook – Page Insights

- This tool provides measurements about your page’s performance to help you better understand how people are engaging with your page/content. Note: you must first have more than 30 people “like” your page (and it must be a Business page) for this tool to become available. You’ll see the “See Insights” button appear on the top right.

2. Twitter – Stay up to date with lingo

- Stay current! Post about the things people care about. Twitter has a special lingo used when effectively “tweeting”. Check out Twitter’s glossary to be sure you’re connecting. OR – Get serious. Using the Twitter website can get frustrating after a while. Instead, it’s easier to use a program like TweetDeck or HootSuite to manage your tweets. Doing this will make your posting a lot more efficient!

3. LinkedIn- Pro Site costs money

- OFunnel is a new tool to help you keep up with your LinkedIn network. It alerts you when someone in your network connects with someone new. Easy to try and use.

- Use Sync.ME to synchronize contacts with your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts and ensures that you have the most up to date information about them!