You validated your code, did your marketing research, and your site is finally live. Now what?

page rank visual

Happy visitors turn into happy customers!

These are just a few tips to get you started, they may seem obvious to you, and if so, good! You are ahead of the pack because most small business aren’t even online, let alone utilizing all the free exposure at their finger tips.

According to a Small Business Success Index (SMBSI) poll conducted last month only half (56%) of small businesses have websites. Of those businesses with websites, only a quarter (27%) have a SEO program in place. So not only do many small businesses lack an online presence, most of them are basically invisible to search engines.

Simply having a website to generate leads (which a third of small businesses said is their goal) is not enough, of course. It must be maintained and updated consistently with fresh content, such as new blog posts, testimonials, case studies, and other useful information that demonstrates a business’ expertise and keeps potential and current customers returning often. Unfortunately, 55% of small businesses update their sites less frequently than once a month.

Small businesses owners are using social media to engage existing customers (rather than identify and attract new customers). 31% use social media, up from 24% a year ago and 12% two years ago. The most commonly used social media sites, by the way, are Facebook (27%) and LinkedIn (18%).

So heres a few things you should be doing to invest in your success:

1.Blog, Blog, Blog

AKA “Better Listings on Google” Why is this?

Blogs are updated frequently and visited often by Search Engines which helps them gain page rank quickly. If your content is relevant to what people are searching for your blog will come up naturally in the rankings thus giving you the opportunity to start a conversation with them and be seen as a a valuable resource in whatever community your website serves.

If you’re lucky, those visitors will have sites as well and will link to your site from theirs; this is what’s known as inbound links or backlinks something that you definitely want to happen!

Blogroll! Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. Think of it as a vote of confidence from Google.

2. Tweet!

Not just about what you have to offer, think of twitter as a conversation you would like to start with your potential customers.

Following the same strategy as blogging, you want your tweets to be relevant to current events “trends” and the information should be useful and engaging. People will “follow” you on twitter and if they want to continue the conversation, they will go to your site. Make it worth the trip!

3. Participate In Forums Relevant To Your Industry.

If you’re thinking of writing a book to compliment your website say on the history of music in film, then you may want to build up a reputation as an authority on the subject over at www.filmscoremonthly.com for example. They have a very active forum where users discuss every topic in film and film music, you can post comments, answer questions, link to your own site in your signature and when your ready to publish that book of yours, you’ll already have a base of potential customers.

This example is relevant for any industry you can think of. There is a forum out there just right for you.

Now get to it, and good luck!