There is a saying “If you are not on the Internet, you are not existing”. But creating a website is the least thing that can be made to capture the attention of potential clients. On the example of the blog, I would like to create a plan for online promotion and illustrate the flow of the activities with the Gantt chart.
The first step to take is to define goals of the website. In the case of the blog, the ultimate goals are to “become the primary source of information about Brno and activities in Brno for students and international visitors”, through the “increase of target audience flow” and “increase of popularity of the website”. As for the long-term goal, it is to “obtain the sufficient amount of audience for monetization the traffic through paid reviews or context advertising”. But for now, the blog is non-profit and the main target is the “primary source of information”.
When the goals are formulated, the next step would be to find out the semantic core of the website. This means finding most suitable keywords and search queries. It is very important to understand the target audience at this point, its interests, age and gender, to view the website from the point of view of view of the visitor. For example, a target audience for the “Living in Brno” blog is international student and visiting foreigners at the age from 18 to 25, males and females.
Taking it as a starting point, it is possible to figure out the current most common search queries1 for the blog, as “places to get food delivered” or “food delivery”. It is important to pick the key phrases with medium or low competition to have more chances to appear on the first pages of search results. In this case, the most suitable key phrases to target would be: “takeout food places”, “theme pubs”, “film clubs”, “clubs in Brno”. To expand the area of the influence, I would also suggest targeting: “exchange students”, “clubs in Brno”, “restaurants in Brno” and “pubs in Brno”.
When the semantic core of the website is ready, it is useful to take a look on the competitors, assess their websites and promotion strategy, position and tendencies. The indirect competitors of “Living in Brno” blog are “Brno Now” and “Chechmate Diary”. Direct competitors in the niche of informative blog for international students, reviewing places of interest are not present. Therefore, the correction of the previous set goals and chosen search queries is not needed.
At this point the analysis of the website usually takes place, but I have conducted an analysis in the previous sub-chapter. It is important to get rid of all the mistakes found out with the help of W3C markup validation, increase the amount of the pages indexed by search engine and also increase the involvement of the visitors on the website.
To index the fallen out pages in the search engine an owner must submit a sitemap to the Google directory. Any pages that are not indexed yet will be included to the search engine, as stated in the Google support documentation. The sitemap is also useful in helping determining which web pages are important and it is essential not to prevent Google bots from indexing the website with robots.txt file or meta tags.
For the involvement of the visitors on the website, I offer to create a form for the visitors to be able to submit places they think should be reviewed, options to rate already reviewed places and a chart of most popular places among students, based on visitors voting. In addition to that, I would also recommend paying more attention to the uniqueness of the review articles content – ideally it should be 95.5% authentic. All together these measures will increase the trust of the search engines to the website and regular posting of the fresh information will encourage web-crawlers visit and index the blog more often.
It is important to devote time to the online marketing of the website. Optimizing the website once and leaving it “as it is” will not get sufficient results in the long-run. To follow the strategy of differentiation for the given blog, one has to constantly improve the experience a visitor is getting from the website, introduce new features, and upgrade the old ones. It is useful to involve the visitors to help building the blog they like by asking their opinion and responding to their requests.
Promotion of the website online is not limited by just following the indicators and responding to their change, it may be, as well, a well-placed link, bringing lots of potential customers or grateful readers. For example, asking a fellow-blogger for a positive review is a very good beginning of gaining visitors that would want to come back later. Or discussing a matter on the forum, or involving people from social networks, as marketing in the modern Internet is a process of the communication.
To graphically illustrate the plan of “Living in Brno” website improvement from the current condition to the defined by goals amount of popularity, refer to the Gantt chart below.
As the first step to be taken is the definition of goals, it is planned on the upcoming month. The thorough assessment of the competition should start at the same time as goals definition, as according to the theory of differentiation, one should take into consideration and surpass the advantages of competitors. Analysis of the website overlaps the creation of the sitemap. As it was pointed out in the analysis of general indicators, to increase the amount of pages in the search engine index, the owner should submit a sitemap of the website. It is an important step to increase trust to the website from a search engine.
Task / Time
Table : "Gantt chart"
Content update is scheduled on the time with the estimated least activity of visitors. As have been stated before, the target audience has its features that need to be paid attention to, for example, as international students visitors would be least interested in the website during summer holidays. Along with the content updates comes encouragement of visitors to take part in the development of the website by suggesting places for a review, rating and interacting on the Facebook page. In August international students are already aware of the place of their destination and search for the available information online. September is the month of monitoring performance and success of implemented changes, as well as time of setting new goals.
“Living in Brno” blog was taken for the overview of website analysis process. Alongside with monitoring visitors of the blog, general obtainable indicators were taken into consideration. Analysis has revealed that interest to the website is totally dependent upon the holiday’s schedule, as main visitors are international students. Overview gave an opportunity to create a list of recommendations for the improvement of the blog, illustrated by the Gantt chart spreading the tasks for the next five month.