Whether you’ve just decided to venture out on your own or whether you have been building a business for several years, the most significant roadblock is how to keep a steady stream of new customers coming into your sales funnel every month.

Are you struggling to get out of your business so that you can work on your business? Do you have a problem in your business that wouldn’t be solved by more customers and sales, directly or indirectly? Maybe you need to move the business out of the garage and into proper office space, but you lack the resources to commit to the ongoing overhead expenses. If you were almost certain to get a certain number of new calls every month, could you commit?

While SEO is not the only thing that can deliver these types of results, it’s a proven, predictable and growing method of gaining visibility for your business and services. You’re not the only one who is considering spending part of their marketing budget on SEO. According to a recent study by Borrell Associates, is predicting that the SEO industry will grow to an estimated $72 billion by 2019 and $79 billion by 2020.

Effective SEO takes businesses from obscurity to visibility. It’s like being on the first page of the newspaper or the cover of the magazine. As long as you’re positioned for the right searches, and you’re delivering the right content, you are giving yourself a big chance at snagging real business. So what are basics that you can do for yourself? And what can you hire out if you have the budget for a professional marketing company?

1 Build A Solid Foundation

Select a domain that reflects your brand and services. It shouldn’t be too long or too short. Then select a content management system (CMS) that makes it easy or at least relatively easy for you to add new content to your site.

I recommend a self-hosted WordPress site for most of my clients. There will be some costs associated with setting it up and adding functionality, but it is remarkably easy to scale. Some of the biggest brands in the world rely on WordPress sites. There are so many tools and plugins for the platform, and there are some user-friendly drag and drop builders that eliminate the need to learn to code. Also, there are so many support forums and groups. Some people will suggest other platforms but, in this case, going off the beaten path can mean that you end up stranded on your own. Also building your own site on your own hosting vs another platform, puts you in the driver’s seat. You’ll have complete control over your site.

TIP: Build your new site on a robust platform that has lots of support.

2 Add Content Often

Budget some time or money to add content. If you’re doing it yourself, set aside a few hours every month to write and schedule some updated content for your site. Having to create and add new content regularly keeps you and the site fresh. It makes you focus on news and trends and it makes you keep an eye on your site. You’ll know sooner rather than later if there are any problems with the site or security.

Get your web designer to create couple of templates for you so that you can create new pages of content pretty easily without having to sculpt something new from scratch. Or make sure that your blog posts follow a similar layout. This will save you time when it comes time to add another article.

Tip: Set aside four hours a month to write and schedule at least one new article per week. The article should be engaging, educational or entertaining and targeted to your ideal client.

3 Connect the Site to Branded Social Media Accounts

Plan to incorporate key social media platforms into your SEO. Effectively using social media to attract readers to you, your business and ultimately your website is a great way to jump-start your SEO. If you’ve been in business for a while and have serviced many customers, get them to like your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter and Instagram. Post often and create your content to engage with them, relate to them, offer them support and tips and to lure them back to your website. You might use a helpful hint and post more detailed instructions on the site or offer a special for current customers and link to your site.

One of the most important considerations for converting these visitors into repeat customers is to make sure that the landing page (the page they land on after clicking the link) is “congruent.” Same headlines, same images, same messaging. Make them feel like they’re walking into a perfect warm bath not doing the ice bucket challenge. It should be almost seamless to transition from what attracted them to your social media post to what they see on your landing page on your site.

If you are just starting your business, then plan some time to post relevant content to your account. Share your blog posts, success stories, holiday greetings consistently so that your profile becomes a library of engaging goodness. As you add customers, make sure that every new customer is invited to connect with you through social media. Once they connect, it should feel like welcoming and warm not cold and empty.

TIP: Link your site to your social media properties and vice versa. Post your new articles on your social media accounts and encourage your followers to share, comment and like.

4 Plan to Networking Online

Every new business owner has been advised to get out and network. Make connections and create relationships with potential clients and referral sources. The same is true of your website. It needs to get out and socialize. It especially needs to hang out with the cool kids in your town, niche or industry. And by hanging out with, I mean to be connected to…

We all love referrals. Someone introduces us to a potential client, and things are so much smoother. Websites work the same way. If your perfect client is reading an article on a site that they trust and that site refers them to your site via an “anchor text link” the reader is more likely to trust your site and content as well. The same is true for your new website. A connection or “link” from the right types of sites communicates to your potential customers and to the search engines that your site is relevant to the topic at hand and that it can be trusted. These two factors are as critical to search engine optimization just as they are to acquiring a new customer.

Tip: Find two local news organizations, two local business organizations and two local bloggers who own and manage websites and find out what it takes to get them to link to your site. You may have to write a great article for them, you may be able to trade services or products, or you may have to join the organization. Do what it takes to get them to link to your website.

Accredited Author - Niquelle Wright