Now that you have a small business up and running, what comes next?
A simple answer to that question would be to maximize your website’s SEO, or search-engine-optimization. This means carefully crafting your website to be as search-engine-friendly as possible. Potential customers will see your website come up first when they search on Google, Bing, or other search engines.
Sounds, good, right? Here’s how (and why) to get started.
WHY DO YOU NEED SEO?
SEO gets you customers. SEO boosts the visibility of your website and gains you clicks. Think of it as putting your website in front of the eyeballs of the entire world, not just friends and family. Doing so will boost traffic to your website and grow your business.
If your business is selling a product, SEO will help drive traffic to your website from potential customers all around the globe. You’re not just selling lemonade to neighbors on your street: you are a young entrepreneur with an international enterprise.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO BOOST SEO
Keywords are an easy and free way to maximize your website’s SEO. Keywords are what the search engine bots and algorithms look for when customers type certain words or phrases into the search bar.
These are great ways to make sure your website is being shown to your target audience. Say you are selling sensory-friendly pencil grips that help special needs students hold their pencils easier. You’ll need keywords that target the specific people who buy those types of things: teachers, parents, and occupational therapists.
Make a list of all the words you already associate with your product. In this case, some of those might be “pencil” “special needs” “sensory issues” or “occupational therapy.” Next, do your own online search for these words and see what websites pop up.
Find other websites that sell something similar to your product. Which keywords did you use to find them?
Make a list of words and phrases that are associated with your business. Use those words in your website’s content, including descriptions, captions, titles, and tags. However, make sure not to overuse them!
Overuse: “This sensory-friendly pencil grip for special needs students is designed with sensory issues in mind so that special needs teachers and therapists can better help their students.”
Better: “These pencil grips are designed for students with sensory issues.”
Once you think you’ve got the hang of keywords, run your content through a free SEO checker such as this one.
> Share links
Post your website’s link far and wide!
Make sure your website’s link is included in the bio or signature for every social media app and email you use for your business. There’s no point in having 1,000 IG followers if none of them know how or where to buy your product.
If you are a forum or message board member, make sure to add your link to your signature. Remember to keep your business profile and personal profiles separate; don’t post your pencil grip link on your gamer Discord channel.
Offer to swap links with other young entrepreneurs. If your best friend also has their own business, the two of you can link to one another on your pages under a heading such as “Other Small Businesses I Like” or “Help Other Young Entrepreneurs Like Me!”
> Mind Your Content
Your website’s content should be clean, useful, and correct. Once you have the clicks coming from search engines, invite your potential customers to linger, click around the site’s pages, and – most importantly – spend money.
Customers are easily turned off by distracting, busy, and long-loading web pages. Divide your content into smaller chunks with plenty of headings. Break up long blocks of text into smaller paragraphs. Use listicles instead of info dumps. Don’t overuse very large photos that take longer to load. Avoid using lots of very bright colors.
Keep the content on your webpage relevant to both your business and your community. For your pencil grip business, you might post links to recent articles about sensory issues in elementary schoolers. Customers love to see young entrepreneurs who stay on top of the latest developments in their field and aren’t just selling a product to make money or pad their college application.
Once again, sprinkle your SEO keywords and phrases throughout each page of your website, but don’t overstuff them. This is a good article on how to use keywords and phrases to your best advantage without overdoing it just to get the attention of search engine bots.
Update your web page often. Don’t let the content stagnate. If your page includes a blog, keep a regular schedule for your blog posts. You can write them all ahead of time and schedule them to post once a week. Make sure all the links on your pages still work.
Credit photos and art you use.
Finally, make sure all of the text on your web page is checked for spelling and grammar. Nothing screams, “Amateur!” like typos and easily fixable mistakes. Clean up repetitive words and phrases as well as any slang or inappropriate terms.
SEO shouldn’t be something you stress over, yet it’s worth working on. A website with maximized SEO content will always attract more traffic and paying customers than one without it. Once you get the hang of creating SEO-rich content you may find that it becomes second nature to you. (Maybe you’ll even start a side hustle writing SEO content for your friends!) The main thing to remember is to keep your SEO relevant, clean, and accessible.
You are already a bright and hard-working young entrepreneur, so now is the time to put SEO to work for you!
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation’s commitment to young entrepreneurs, including our college scholarships for high school students, by clicking here.