Four ways for your website to become relevant online

The web is evolving fast. Long gone are the days that you could rely on static HTML for your website. Nowadays, In order to be found and to be taken seriously on the internet, your brand needs to be participatory and open in order to serve the new demographic of  media snackers. They want the news that are relevant to them in any device at any time and anywhere.

The internet community is a participatory democracy in which your RSS is your billboard and your links are your votes. RSS and links allow you to become relevant within your niche and really exude knowledge and authority through the content you produce. It is true, however, that you can continue to do well if your main business does not depend on the flow of customers that the internet  produces.

If you are an “old media” brand, the effect that the web will have in your business will be delayed but cannot be stopped. Online, your brand is competing with small, heterogeneous, fast and nimble companies that have the internet on their DNA.

How to become relevant?

First, let’s lay down the assumptions that I am taking into consideration.

  1. You have a brand offline. The brand offers real services and has a strong presence offline.Your brand can be one of the biggest outsourcing companies in the world or a travel company in Ecuador. I am using these only as an example of businesses that have a real presence offline.
  2. You have a presence online but your revenues are not 100% tied to your online presence.

There are a few very important things that you should be doing to achieve a higher level of relevancy and authority on the internet. To do this we are going to assume that the final goal is to drive more traffic to the website. Traffic is king and queen.

SEO/SEM (Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing)

  • SEO and SEM are tactics that take care of the basics. SEO helps you clean your page and potentially acquire relevant links (votes) to your page that will help you rank higher in search engine results. SEM helps you fill in the gaps. If natural rankings are elusive, SEM gives you a smart way to buy top positions alongside the natural results.
  • There is a lot more detail to this tactic and if you are looking to see how your website is doing in terms of natural an paid search, there are several paid and free services that can help you. Adgooro, GoogleRankings, SEOBOOK, SEOConsultants and SEOchat are some website that offer free tools  to do research as well as helpful SEM/SEO forums. Marin Software (fantastic product for enterprise), Covario, Omniture and others for a solutions directed to the enterprise.

Thought leadership.

  • Thought leadership allows your brand to stay ahead of the pack and have the possibility that blogs like techcrunch or readwriteweb can cover your research. This can give your brand some media play in new media publications. However, keep in mind that if not done properly your brand can be missing out in some very targeted and relevant links (votes) if your piece is not ready to provide value  beyond the data published. Always think about a good reason why third party publications would want to link back to that page in your site. In general, standard press releases are a deterent to links.

Technological innovation

  • If you are a technology company then be innovative in your website as well. Use the latest and most reliable technology to show your clients that you are up to speed with the market.  Innovate by creating client facing tools as well as intranet tools.

API and widget access to your thought leadership.

  • The value of the web is ony as high as the content published and its relevancy to your target market.  If your brand is a thought leader and a technology innovator then take the final step. Allow your content to be easily avaiable to your consituency. But understand that your constituency is not formed only by your clients but by the always-on media that surrounds you. Blogs and wikis need an easy way to access the wealth of information that you are providing. This needs to be done by providing channels that are readily accessible not only by readers but by systems that can interact. Build an API.

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