Online Strategy for Start-ups

It’s good that you started casting your eyes here and that you are interested in setting-up your online start-up business on balance of Lego blocks. The Lego blocks here are divided into three main components:
1. Website and Content Management System
2. Search Engine Optimization
3. Online Marketing

1. WEBSITE TECHNOLOGY
I mean to have a professional looking website or blog can cost you as low as AED 100 including hosting.

A. Select your design:

The design with a look-and-feel is first step after having the brand creative objectives and guidelines ready to direct a designer to do a customized design template from scratch or existing ones that would be available on websites like templatemonster.com and if you considering low budget online strategy.

B. Develop a compatible and scalable website

Few things you need to take care of while develop this website that will allow you to make further amends on the website and add additional plug-ins with zero or minimal cost and renovation:
i. Developed in XHTML
ii. Develop table-free CSS (custom style sheet)
iii. Develop with minimal flash programming, as it is not a search engine friendly
iv. Integrate into a content management system, there are few free open-source CMS like Joomla.com, Mambo.com, Drupal.org. This will allow you also to generic pages as much as you want without additional cost

2) SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

You have to understand that search engine optimization is the 2nd major component and its a continues process to maintain a search engine ranking in the organic result and among the top for certain keywords. If a website is not optimized for search engine you can find out through traffic analytics programs like Google Analytics and check if you are getting traffic from top search engines like google.com, yahoo.com, and msn.com. This should reveals that the majority of the traffic to the website is brought by search engines.

3) ONLINE MARKETING
It is a tactical communication plan that covers all the online activities that undertake promoting your website. This plan is splitted into two categories: free or paid.

A. Free activities:

i. Search results: this is another way to appear on the search engine result since it’s organic without no cost. All it requires is a solid search engine optimization strategy and with continues follow-up.
ii. Back-linking strategy: try to get other relevant sites or blogs link to your website, and the most effective to search engine rankings are the back-links to your website or blog that have relevant content.
iii. Social media marketing: it’s an opportunity for you to take advantage of free tools such as forums, social platforms such as Facebook.com, photo and video sharing to promote your business like YouTube.com and Flickr.com respectively, and rest of platforms.

B. Paid-for activities:
i. Search engine marketing (SEM), also known as pay per click marketing (PPC): it means paying search engine to promote a website or blog. The key difference with unpaid (also known as organic) search engine results is how they are positioned on the page. The key players in PPC are:

  • Google: Google AdWords
  • Yahoo: Yahoo! Search Marketing
  • MSN: Microsoft adCenter

The organic results are always shown on the left, below the yellow “sponsored links” results. The SEM results are above the organic results and in the right column.

ii. Other online marketing activities that is good to buzz your business and generate traffic would have to pay for, these would be for instance:

  • Email marketing – establishing and dispatching email shots, which will be talk about in a separate post
  • Business Listing – having a paid business listing in recognized online directories
  • Banner Advertising – having a banner advertisement on another website
  • Reciprocal Link – paying for a link from relevant content website or blog

Now, are you ready to start having a proper online strategy with your Lego blocks…

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Tarek is the founder and chief researcher at Youngberry, a youth research and marketing firm dedicated to the region. Tarek founded interactiveME.com and previously worked as Manager at Flip Media (Interactive Agency), Bayt.com (Job Site) and Consulting House Qatar (Consulting firm). He is researcher and writer on internet & disruptive innovation, entrepreneurship, and youth culture.

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