Doing SEO on Your Own - a Rough Guide

This guide is for someone who is on a very small budget and can't afford to outsource any SEO work at all. While ultimately the best solution WOULD be to outsource such tasks to professionals, let's see what's possible if you had to do it on your own.

Use an Established Template Like WordPress
Since you're not going to be aware of any technical on-page aspects of search engine optmization, do not attempt to make your own website or use one of the lesser known templates. WordPress is well-established, has on-page optimization already baked into it, and even has e-commerce plugins. Also, for someone on a low-to-no budget, WordPress is a free template with cheap hosting options too. Once you familiarise yourself with WordPress, you can explore its various other plugins that help with things like page speed (e.g. WP cache).

Create an Authentic, Informal Voice
I'm assuming you're an expert at SOMETHING, and that's why you started your blog. In that case, you can speak confidently on your expertise. Do not fall into the trap of trying to sound like a brochure. I know that sounds odd, but a lot of businesses strangely think they need to do this. They say things like "We here at Acme Limited pride ourselves in our professionalism" - they waffle on like this, not saying much at all. They consider this to be "professional". Your website is not a brochure. It's something more intimate than that. Remember that your content is being consumed one person at a time. It's more of a one-to-one conversation than anything else. And so some level of informal style of writing is often called for. It's more engaging, it grabs the attention of the fickle visitor much more than cliched brochure-speak.

Tell Stories About Your Experiences and Expertise Gained
People visit websites to learn something new, to be entertained, to be engage in some memorable way. With that in mind, really lean into your expertise. What can you teach your visitors? What insights can you give them? Maybe you can give them case studies on jobs you've done in the past. Not just "hey, look what a great job I did", but maybe also the challenges you faced along the way, and how you overcame them. People love those kinds of narrative arcs - where you overcome struggles and succeed. Maybe there's times where you just fail, but learn from the failure. This kind of story-telling gives you authenticity and people LOVE stories.

Reach Out
Of course, the idea of "build it and they will come" is one of the great lies told about online marketing. You HAVE to reach out to others if you're going to build an audience. That means going onto social networks and sharing your latest blog entries there, starting a YouTube channel and sharing links to your latest videos (it's always a good idea to share URLs of your own website, with the videos embedded in the page to draw people to your website). Also you will need to think about adding links to your website from directories, other blogs, other websites in your industry. That usually means emailing such website owners and seeing if you can get a link back to your site - perhaps via a unique article you can give them - so that they get something in return too.

Persistence is Key
If there's one thing I've learned in over 20 years of marketing online, it's that persistence is vital. So many businesses fail online simply because they give up too easily. It's not about trying to do as much as possible, it's about contributing to your website little by little on a daily basis. Just keep blogging, reaching out, blogging, reaching out. Never be put off by poor visitor stats - it just takes time, so don't give up!

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