Back to Basics: Common Misconceptions About Online Marketing

Great ideaYou’re fired up. You’re a new business owner set with your latest idea (the best thing since sliced bread). You’re ready to jump into making your product or service respected and well known. How hard can it be?

Well, there are millions of sites on the Internet and your competitors are working to rank higher than you.

But don’t be overwhelmed.

Check out this list of common misconceptions about online marketing and learn from others’ mistakes.

Have a good product and it will sell

You must make your online presence known in order to be successful. Word-of-mouth advertising is not enough. With millions of competitors, it is imperative that viewers find you through search. This requires website optimization.

Here are some suggestions you can apply to your site to increase its chances for success:

  • Have A Solid Title – A good title is essential to search engine optimization. Your title is what the search engines display in the search engine results pages. Make sure your title describes what your site does and all it provides. And a good title summarizes is just a few words long.
  • Consistency – Your presentation should be similar throughout your site. Ask yourself: If visitors come to my site would they be confused? Overwhelmed?  Overjoyed?  If your site is confusing, you can count on visitors not staying long and not returning in the future.  Consistency ensures happy viewers.
  • Content – Catchy, relevant content will guarantee happy visitors who come back time and time again. Relevant content is also a huge factor in ranking for specific keywords.  Keep the target market and search engines in mind when adjusting your content. Strong content will keep visitors coming back for more.
  • Avoid Flash – From an SEO perspective, sites built with Flash generally struggle. Because Flash sites are usually slower, the lack of speed turns off some visitors. And the Google algorithm takes speed into account. Remember that Flash sites often make it difficult for on-site optimization. Understanding Flash can impact your search engine placement.
  • Internal Linking – Internal linking helps in more ways than one.   Along with increasing the page rank of an internal page, it helps your entire site get spidered (noticed by search engines).
  • Descriptive URL – These are beneficial for several reasons.  Obviously, they are memorable to users and can assist in navigation, making it easier for visitors to understand which page they are on.  The text in your URL is also used as a factor in rankings.  If your URL has a keyword that is related to your search, you’re likely to get a higher ranking for that term.

My site looks great, it will make money.

Ever been referred to a really good restaurant in the middle of nowhere?  You think to yourself “this place is a hidden treasure; I can’t believe there aren’t more people here.”  You know they would thrive if they made an effort to get the word out. The same is true with websites. You may have your site completely polished, the design and content flawless and ready to go.  Your product may be amazing, but if you don’t generate traffic, you won’t have visitors.  A huge misconception many rookie site owners have is that “my site will sell itself.”  Unless you take the right approach and do proper search engine optimization, your site will be nonexistent to search engines.

I can do this quickly.

Another common myth in the online world is the “get rich quick” mentality. Although many people make a fortune selling their products online, their success does not come overnight.  When an entrepreneur sets out on any new business endeavor, it is important to take the long-term approach. Look at the big picture. Consistency on your site, along with proper SEO, gives you a solid foundation, loyal visitors, various ranking keywords and positioning in the search engines that is necessary to see the results you’ve been working for.

I did the work. I rank high. I’m done.


Your site is highly ranked! Life is good.

You’re getting recognition, traffic and sales.  A mistake many site owners make is quitting once they are ahead.  To be successful, you must be relentless.  Businesses suffer when they become comfortable with their rankings and neglect the fact that their competitors are nipping at their heels.  Their rankings will pass yours if they continually to improve their SEO.

Online marketing takes dedication, knowledge and commitment.  Educate yourself, put in the work and learn from others’ mistakes.

Before you know it your site will no longer be a “hidden treasure.”

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  1. Andrew Johnson says

    Having the right URL is so important. Many companies opt for a URL that matches their slogan, only to be brought back to step 1 when their slogans change or people can’t figure out what kind of products or services they offer.

  2. Javier Vasquez says

    Great post stephanie! Very applicable to any business owner wanting to become more visible online

  3. Ash Buckles says

    Great post, Steph.

    I’m reminded of this quote:

    “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”

    – Jim Rohn

  4. Boyd Norwood says

    One other thing to think about…there is almost always more keyword phrases to focus on. You should never be satisfied to the point of not expanding your keyword list.

    When you have good rankings for your first set of keyword phrases it’s time to do more keyword research, add more content, and optimize for more phrases.

  5. Christian Greiner says

    Great Post Steph,

    This is great advice to new webmasters. I would add that it is never too early to employ an SEO firm. A lot of costly mistakes can be avoided if an SEO is involved early in the process.

  6. Riley Welsh says

    I will definitely have to recommend this to some of my friends. I have a few that own small businesses and really don’t know the beginnings of online marketing and since I am new as well this will be a great reference.

  7. Steve Fitzpatrick says

    I agree with getting SEO done early – given it takes some time to work.

    With our web site it took 6 months to get to rank 1. Imagine if i’d done it 6 months earlier!

  8. John Minter says


    Through my experience working for a prominent NYC based web design marketing firm, I have read countless lists of online marketing suggestions. It always amazes me how avoiding flash is overlooked. Fancy installations like a flash can dramatically slow down the speed of a website and frustrate potential customers.

    Keep up with the great advice and I’ll be sure to check back!

  9. Gareth says

    Thanks for these reminders Steph. I think many website owners fall into the trap of thinking that their sites will sell themselves.

  10. Janine says

    Nice article!  So true.  Many people think that if their website looks great, that is all that counts.

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