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Promoting Your Web Site

So, you've finally got a handle on web site design, posted your web site to a server, and you're ready for business....but where are all the customers?  Isn't the Internet the "promised land" for businesses?

Well - it sure would be nice, but it doesn't work quite that way.  Promoting your web site is an important part of any web site package.

Hopefully, you have done some basic "usability" research and determined that your site is easy to navigate.  It doesn't matter how many customers you bring to your web site if they can't find the information they need they will not bother to return a second time.  For web site usability information, visit USIT.COM by Jakob Nielsen, the expert in this field.

First, the Basics:

  • Make sure your web site address is on all your normal advertising materials, stationery, business cards, brochures, etc.

  • Include the URL in all press releases, invoices and statements to customers, etc.

  • Be sure you've included the appropriate meta tags in your web site design.

  • A VERY BASIC item, but one that sometimes needs to be reiterated, is that you should respond promptly to your customers email inquiries.  

Second, 

  • Submit your URL to the most popular search engines.  I usually do this myself.  There are many services that offer to submit your site to hundreds of search engines.  If you have extra money - it doesn't hurt.  However, ask yourself which search engines you and your associates use.  Most people use the top ten search engines.

  • Follow the instructions carefully when submitting to a DIRECTORY, like Yahoo

  • Review ideas and suggestions on a web site, like Search Engine Watch, that tracks how search engines respond.

Third,

  • Surf to other sites that are similar to yours or that would benefit from being linked to your site.  Send a polite, short email stating how you found their site, who you are, and request a link back to your site.

  • If your site has a specific focus, check to see if there is a "Web Ring" you can join.  This involves adding a link and perhaps a graphic to your site that will link to other "like minded" web site.  This may or may not be appropriate, depending upon the focus of your site.

  • If appropriate, you could consider joining a banner program like LinkExchange.  This program doesn't specify a particular focus, but adult content sites can be excluded, if desired.

  • When trying to build a customer base, you could create an "opt-in" mailing list, and email appropriate information to this customer base in a timely manner.  This option allows you to keep you business name in front of your customers, reminding them to visit your site.  For the best response, offer useful, timely information and don't overwhelm them with mail.

Remember, there are billions of web sites out there.  Merely "hanging out your sign" will not bring people to your site.  It takes useful content, marketing, and perseverance to succeed.

For more ideas, check these links:

 


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