In 1998, promoting your Web site was a very easy process. You placed three lines of code called “meta tags” on the top of your home page and submitted your site to the free search engine (Yahoo) or online directories. Fast forward to the present. Search Engine Optimization – yes, it has its own name now! - has become a time consuming project; it’s There are software programs that reportedly help you increase your rankings and an entire new field has cropped up of practitioners who call themselves Search Engine Optimizers.
It’s not enough to just drive traffic to your web site. You must make your web site “trustable” or all that traffic will disappear. The ideas below will show you some of the ways to help both bring traffic to your site and keep your ideal clients coming back for more of your services or products. It’s also not enough to drive “any old traffic” to your site. You want pre-qualified potential buyers. When your ideal client (target market, niche) comes to your web site, you want them to feel special — to know that they have arrived at the right place for them. So make them feel special. Target your marketing directly at them.
Before you spend lots of money on software, learning about SEO, or on specialists, see which of the following ways can help bring traffic and business to your site.
If your web site sells high-end services or products, but the site itself looks like you took MS Word and threw something up “just because,” people will leave your site, no matter what you’re selling. There are many hosting programs out there that will help you create a first professional looking web site. Not a programmer? Look for hosting packages that include wizards or content management programs to help you create a more professional looking site. (Although I do recommend hiring a professional as your best choice.).
2. Remember that the most important part of your web site is “above the fold.” It’s the first part of your site someone sees when they visit. So grab their attention with emotional headlines that let someone know they’ve come to the right place and you’re the best company to solve their problem.
3. OK. If you’ve created a web site and have no way for your visitors to become part of your community and learn from you, you are better off NOT creating a site. What good is traffic if all they do is come to your site and read? So place a subscription box above the fold (or very close to it) for individuals to join your newsletter. Include an offering of a free report, assessment, audio, ecourse or something else that will help them learn something new and get to know you and your company, too. Forget about providing a link on the page that makes visitors click to get to a newsletter subscription form. The more clicks someone has to make to do something, the greater the chances that they will move on.
4. Don’t create an online newsletter (ezine) unless you’re willing to send it out at least once a month. Never any less. Best is once a week or every other week. If you’re not a writer, stick to black & white newsletters and write a short tip and use an article you obtain for free at article banks. For article banks and directories resources, visit http://www.ArticleBanks.com
5. Swap Ads: Find another ezine published who has the same ideal clients as yours and see if you can place an ad for your ezine in their ezine for free, and they would then place an ad in your ezine for free. Just make sure that the person who owns the other ezine isn’t your direct competition. Instead, look for companies that compliment your service or product.
6. Ask your webmaster to name each of your pages using a keyword you have designated. The keyword is the most important word on the page. They’re words the search engines will use to find that page. Example: www.YourDomainName/WhatIsOnThePage.html
7. Offer added values that make sense to your business and ideal client. This can include articles or tips, affiliate programs, e-books, resources, and books. For books, be sure to choose a source company that provides you with additional income if someone purchases a book from that site.
8. Add a “add to favorites or bookmark this site” script to some of your pages.
9. Add a “Recommend This Site” on your web site. If someone visits your site and knows someone else who may appreciate it, this feature will e-mail the page’s link to a recipient.
10. If you have pages on your site that you update monthly (like an articles page or recommended links page) say so on the page. Even offer an email list especially for those who want to be kept updated when you update the page.
11. Provide a subscription box to your online newsletter on all your pages, or at least your most viewed web site pages. You never know which page someone will find when they conduct a search.
12. On large Web sites, create a “What’s New Page” or, even better, design a “Site Map” (a listing of what’s on the most important areas of your web site) for your visitors.
13. Make it easy for viewers to contact you. I’ve seen too many web sites that have email addresses and when you click on them, they don’t work! The site forces you to cut/paste the information to make further contact. These are either lazy or unknowledgeable business owners. I say that because there are ways to protect your email address from spammers and harvesters; it just takes a little more work and knowledge. I recommend that you create an email address just for your web site and have a contact form created so that potential clients can contact you. Have the form encrypted, making it harder for the “harvesters” to gather your email information and if you start getting spam, change your email address and the encryption on the form. Provide a contact form, but remember, don’t ask for so much information that it seems like you’re asking for their first born!
14. Search engines look for certain things - titles, heading, meta tags - so it is crucial to make sure your site is “search-engine friendly.” 1. Title tags: Title tags should be 60 or so characters and include keywords. 2. Header tags are numbered from 1 to 7: some search engines recognize header tags, so make sure you use these tags for each of the titles on your page. 3. Keyword Meta tags: Add no more than 15 to 20 keywords to keep the search engines from flagging your site for keyword spamming. Prioritize your words. The best way to submit to search engines is to submit to each engine individually. 4. Use keywords in the text area of each page. They are especially important at the beginning of sentences and closer to the top of the page. 5. To learn more about meta tags, visit http://html.about.com/cs/metatags/
15. Search engines do not find your site unless you submit your site’s information to them. a. My best recommendation is that you submit to search engines individually (this is the way I do it and it works great, but is time consuming)! b. Some people prefer to use a free service to submit their sites to search engines. If you do this, I highly recommend that you open a free e-mail address to use when you do “anything” for free on the World Wide Web. c. You can pay for a program that will assist you to submit and critique your site. d. You can also hire a Search Engine Optimization expert to handle your search engine submission.
16. Visit these search engine information sites and learn more about search engines: www.searchenginewatch.com and http://www.searchengineguide.com
17. Find easy and secure ways for your clients to pay you. A shopping cart and a secure way to accept checks and/or credit cards is your best bet. Just using Paypal as a 3rd party merchant account is not enough. Some people want something different. Instead, look into having two 3rd party merchant account or a 3rd party merchant account and your own merchant account as alternatives.
18. Check your links regularly to make sure they all work. Use a free link checker like Xenu, which I’ve been using for years. It’s available at http://home.snafu.de/tilman/xenulink.html.
19. Provide bulletin boards (forums) or blogs to build relationships and community.
20. Conduct periodic contests and announce the winners on your site.
21. Offer a free e-book or e-report on your site. Its size doesn’t matter if you’re providing it for free and it’s specifically for your ideal client. Provide permission for the e-book to be forwarded to others for their personal use.
22. Write articles, post them to your site, and submit them to article banks. www.ArticleBanks.com
23. Build a strong, solid business foundation. Design a business plan, marketing plan, ideal client profile, and 30-second elevator speech. Why? First and foremost, these tools will help you with your business. Secondly, you’ll be very clear and focused on your business and its message and your web site will reflect that. Third, the words you place on your foundation pieces could be used on your web site and you’ll have consistency in your message. Read articles about plans, ideal clients, and elevator speeches at www.CoachMaria.com/articles/ .
24. Design some quizzes or surveys. Statistics show that visitors love online quizzes and assessment tools. Make sure that you have a way to capture email addresses and provide the visitor with the results of the form, too.
25. Participate in online forums or bulletin boards as an expert, moderator, or member. You get to “quietly” promote your business in your 3 or 4 line signature. For bulletin board resources, visit www.TheResourceQueen.com
26. Place your web site address on all your printed literature — business cards, brochures, newsletters, letterhead, ads - everything!! but only if you have a web site that is viewable. Don’t follow this suggestion if your web site is under construction! Instead of helping your business, you’ll annoy folks who come to visit your site.
27. Promote your web address in your signature for e-mails and change your signature regularly to highlight something new you’re promoting.
28. Teach classes or speak to groups about subjects relating to your service or products. Bring a sign-up sheet for your newsletter to the event.
29. Attend networking events locally to bring people to your site. Be careful when networking online. It can start getting addictive. Make sure that all your online marketing produces results. If not, use an idea that will leverage your time better.
30. “Permission Market” by gathering, in writing, the e-mail addresses of students, or an audience, as part of your evaluation forms. Create index cards so that you can invite your friends, networking partners or associates to join your list. Keep any papers involved in this process for at least a year or two so if you have to prove that you have not “spammed” someone, you’ll have the back-up.
31. When your web site is launched, updated, or you write a free e-book, send a press release to the media, your clients, friends and associates.
32. If this list of promotion ideas seems overwhelming, visit your favorite search engine to conduct a search for Search Engine Optimizers and Consultants or ask others who they use and recommend.
33. If you want people to register to gain access to free information on your site, know that freebie seekers don’t like doing this, which is great for you! Who goes into business just to give away the shop? But if you do it right, your ideal client will be happy to join your newsletter. If you want to increase the odds that people register for your free content, offer valuable information and don’t create a form that asks for their life story.
34. Tailor your site to the disabled and those with very slow computers. When placing a graphic on a page, Include “alt” image tags with a written description of what the picture represents. When possible, use keywords in the description, too.
35. Include a site map. Site maps help some search engines to find you. At the very least, they help your visitors learn more about you and your services which, in turn, means they’ll stay on your site longer.
36. Scrolling: Ever gone to a website and had to scroll to the left to right because someone made the page too wide? Most likely you scrolled your way to another site. People don’t mind scrolling up and down for good information or products. But they never like to scroll left and right on a page. No way, no how!
37. Pay per click (PPC) This is a whole other field of advertising on the web that is worth looking into. Google and Overture are the most well know in the PPC field.
38. Blogging. The search engines like blogs because they like pages that are updated often. To learn more about blogging, http://www.theresourcequeen.com/favorites/websitetools.html
39. Attend networking events and provide some sort of postcard advertisement that will bring others to your web site. Maybe give out a sample. Or a gift card. Or even a notice of a free audio they can download from your site.
40. Promote your newsletter or services in Craig’s List under Small Biz Ads
Do I use all of the above? No. But I use many of these techniques and my sites are very highly rated and visited. The choice is yours to choose which forms of marketing online will bring your “ideal clients” to your website. Remember, though, that it’s not just traffic that’s important. It’s the quality of people who visit your website and the relationship you build with them (so that they’ll purchase from you at some point!) that counts!
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