I was just reading this blog post on how Facebook threatened to shut down a business due to a simple misunderstanding. I don’t have complete information on the issue and I don’t even know whether the threat from Facebook was justified or not. Basing one’s business on a particular entity is like walking on a shaky ground that can give in any day, any time.
Just think how many businesses were destroyed when Google suddenly decided to change its ranking algorithm. Websites, blogs and webpages that used to come on the first page for certain search terms were suddenly, within a few minutes, were relegated to as far away as 35th page. The problem is not with Google (to an extent it is, but that’s another subject), the problem is with businesses that solely depend on Google.
Search engines are important, no denying that, but they are not the only means of getting traffic to your website or blog. There are many instances when Google blocked particular websites but they still attracted lots of traffic simply because of the goodwill and networking they had established prior to being blocked.
I’m not saying that you totally ignore the search engines because millions of people use search engines to find what they are looking for and it can be highly profitable if they can find you easily. So do invest a considerable amount of time improving your search engine rankings not just for Google, but for every contemporary search engines. But don’t just stop there.
Things you can do to reduce your dependence on search engines
Please keep in mind that the steps listed below are not something that you can achieve in a few days or even in a few weeks. Formulate a strategy for at least a year. The key is not how much you do, it is how persistently you do. You can assign different tasks to different days of the week and then stick to that routine. Once you have formulated a routine, don’t think much unless “thinking” is really crucial to what you intend to achieve. Excessive thinking leads to procrastination and indecision. Just keep on working.
- Spread your presence evenly. Routinely write for other websites and blogs. This is not just good for your search engine rankings it will also boost your direct traffic and help you come in touch with more and more people.
- Build your mailing list. This is something I have been planning to do for a very long time but haven’t gotten to it. This is VERY important. A major source of your business can come from your mailing list. A mailing list is not just useful for learning email marketing campaigns; it also helps you keep in touch with your prospective clients.
- Interact on other online forums. Join related forums. Leave comments on blogs. Participate in discussions on places like Quora.
- Be more active on social media. This doesn’t require much explanation. Be regular on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – basically wherever your target audience spends its social media time.
- Keep in touch with your clients. Whether you’re working with them right now or not, always keep the channel of communication flowing. If they have previously worked with you and if they were happy with your work, sooner or later they are going to require more work. There are many businesses who generate almost 40% of their revenue off their existing clients and customers.