Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Aaron Houghton  – Enjoy!

Image Credit: Qole Pejorian Flickr CC

Throughout my career I’ve run my own small businesses, consulted with small business owners, and built software for small business users. I’m one of the biggest small business advocates you’ll ever meet. The passionate entrepreneurs who decide to launch and run their own businesses are the force that drives this world forward.

One of my favorite things about small business owners is that they’re natural do-it-yourselfers. As a small business owner yourself, you’ve probably learned that in order to get something done right, you oftentimes have to do it yourself.

In this article I’ll show you how to take your web marketing results into your own hands.

Although it’s common to assume that web marketing should be handled by the techies, don’t make this huge mistake. Your knowledge about your business make you the person most capable of generating big web marketing results – more sales leads and new customers for your business.

Small business owners who use this process acquire new customers at drastically lower costs than buying visitors through cost-per-click ads. Our research shows that following this process over one year produces high quality free website traffic equal to that from a $100,000 paid search engine advertising campaign.

Let’s get started.

Build a Website that You Control

You probably already have a website for your business, but if you don’t, it’s critical that you set one up immediately. A business website is the digital representation of your personal expertise. It’s where you build your authority as an expert on the topics you know best.

To establish your expertise you’ll write blog posts and articles using keywords that are important to your prospective customers. In order to do this, you need to have access to quickly and easily add new blog posts and pages on your website.

Websites built on simple editing platforms like WordPress or SquareSpace allow you to edit existing pages and add new ones at any time.

If you can’t easily edit your current business website, just create a new website right now. Imagine that you’re starting a little online magazine. Register a domain name that explains your primary topics of expertise, for instance or and set up a hosting account with GoDaddy that gives you the ability to edit and add pages to the site on your own.

Choose the Right Keywords For Your Business

In web marketing, keywords are the building blocks of success. Having the right web marketing strategy really just boils down to having the right list of keywords. It’s that simple.

Your best keywords are the words that your customers are already using.

Ask a few of your customers how they describe your business when talking with friends. Pay special attention to the words they use and write them down.

Think about the problems that your prospective customers are experiencing that your business can help them with. Add descriptions of those problems to your keyword list too. For instance, if you are a locksmith, you would write locked out of my car or need to change the locks on my house.

If your business serves a local region make sure to include all of its names too. For instance Chapel Hill, North Carolina is also referred to as part of the Triangle Area of North Carolina, and Central North Carolina. Create multiple versions of each of your existing keywords by adding the region names at the end, like locked out of my car chapel hill north carolina and locked out of my car triangle area north carolina.

You should have 25-50 words or short phrases in your list now (each on its own line). Copy your list and paste it into the Google Keyword Tool to see which keywords have the highest volume of searches and lowest level of competition.

Find the ten keywords that have the highest search volume and the lowest level of competition. You now have the perfect web marketing strategy for your business. Let’s get started implementing it.

Create a Content Schedule

You need to begin writing blog posts and articles about each of your top ten keywords. Don’t expect to do this today. It’s actually best to add these new pages to your website steadily over time.

Take a look at your schedule and add a recurring weekly event to remind you to write at least one new article each week. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Ask employees, friends, business partners, or customers to contribute. Give them a topic from your keyword list and tell them to take any angle they would like.

A good blog post or article page is three to four paragraphs in length, is focused tightly on a single keyword from your list, and is written in a friendly, conversational tone.

Write your article, or edit an article submitted to you, and then add it as a blog post or new page on your website. Include links in the article, where relevant, to product or service pages on your website.

Optimize Your Pages

Give your new blog posts and articles the best chance possible to pull in new visitors by making sure they’re optimized for the search engines.

The search engines pay special attention to certain page fields so you can gain a better search engine rankings just by putting the right words in the right places. Check for basic optimization by making sure that each page’s keyword (or keyphrase) can be found in the page title and meta description and is also used several times within the article’s text.

Use free tools like BoostSuite or SEOMoz to automatically scan your website and see where changes need to be made. Most optimization fixes are just simple text changes so you can optimize each new article in only a few minutes right when you post it online.

Commit to the Process and Get Started

Our research shows that adding one new optimized article to your website every week for one year generates an amount of free search engine traffic that would have cost around $100,000 if purchased through paid search engine advertising.

Now that’s a competitive advantage! But you actually have to follow this process to generate these results.

Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Are you willing to do the work required to grow your business and have new customers knocking down your door?

Start back at the top of the article and work your way through the process. Find your best keywords, write your first article, optimize it then add it as a new page on your website now. Your website will start receiving new visitors in just a few days.

Keep it up week after week and you’ll build a powerful web marketing system that produces thousands of website visitors and a steady flow of new customers for your business throughout the year.

Aaron Houghton is a serial entrepreneur who builds web marketing products for small business owners. Aaron is currently co-founder and CEO of BoostSuite is a product that helps small business owners get more marketing results on their own. Formerly Aaron was co-founder of email newsletter leader that was sold to Vocus in 2012 for $180M. Aaron was an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner in 2008, was listed to Inc Magazine’s 30 under 30 list 2010, and was named as a Top 10 Most Influential CEO in 2010 (behind Zuckerberg, Andrew Mason, and Matt Mullenweg). In his free time Aaron is an avid wakeboarder and outdoor adventurer.


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  • “How much should I invest to create content on my business website?”

    I get this question all the time from prospective clients…

    Thanks for doing the research!

    “Our research shows that adding one new optimized article to your website every week for one year generates an amount of free search engine traffic that would have cost around $100,000 if purchased through paid search engine advertising.”

  • Paul McGuire

    Great post! I love it, straight to the point and easy to follow.

    While wordpress is a great platform, I think it should be said that for most businesses, buying a premium theme is the easiest way to make it true do-it-yourself. I tried to do it myself using a free theme and found the lack of documentation and proper guidance on how to properly do everything made it quite hard.

    Many premium themes out there can be had for $50 or less and will give you much more robust back-end customization options to either select a pre-templated page or build your own depending on what you have. Many also have videos to explain how to find the options to set it up how you want it. If you make sure to get a responsive theme then you don’t have to worry about how your page looks on mobile devices and tablets, they just fix that for you.

    Most themes these days come with a slider that makes it very easy to put up three photos to capture the attention of visitors right away.

  • Loyalty Kiosk

    Great article! Thanks for providing such a great post.

  • I agree and think you really can’t overlook #3 – create a content schedule. Your website is an organic, living creature in the environment known as the internet. You have to feed it content so that it continues to thrive and attract more customers. I think that’s a huge advantage to business owners: to actually commit to this idea of creating a content schedule.

  • Casey Grant

    Excellent post! I shared with all my entrepreneurial friends. Creating 12 keywords and hyper focusing on just those is a genius idea that I’m going to implement in 2013.

  • A really excellent post! I am in complete agreement with all of the points and I think that point 3 is vital and is often massively overlooked not just by small businesses but by medium and large companies too. Ensuring that your website is regularly updated with unique quality information will mean that you inevitably get new readers and build a larger following, Search engines appreciate good content on a regular basis which gives you a great platform for growth.

  • Hey, Aaron here.

    Thanks for the very positive feedback everyone. I’m sorry that I
    missed you all here back in November. I’m going to ask the Duct Tape
    team if they can make sure I’m alerted when there are comments on my
    articles in the future.

    As a quick summary response. Totally agree about WordPress and the default set up. About 25% of users are on WordPress so we see its challenges every day. Premium themes or plug-ins are usually required to make it fully
    functional from a search engine optimization standpoint.

    Several people liked the point about creating a content schedule. I’d love to
    know if you use your regular schedule/calendar or some other method to
    remind yourself to create new content each week (or month)?

    Walt I’m glad you found the $100,000 weekly content marketing value useful. It’s staggering to consider how many businesses just spend the $100k
    instead of hiring someone for much less to write good content (or
    writing the content themselves and putting that cash in their pockets as
    profit). Let’s tell the world there is a better way!

  • Thank you for this data…. much appreciated at this time as I am just now learning so marketing on a very tight budget.

  • VeronicaBonaccorso

    I thoroughly enjoyed The SEO Key book by Joshua Grasmick. The book covered everything from basic information on how Google works to taking you on a journey through the technical steps of marketing a business in the search results. I finished the SEO key book in less than 24 hours and wrote a lot of notes and highlighted several important factors to revisit. After finishing the book, I immediately worked with my Web Site Developer on the results to improve my business. I have already started utilizing many of the pointers I picked up in the book and already see results in less than a week. I was appreciative of the external resources and specific techniques I can put to use. The book is practical and easy to understand – it covers everything