Designing and building a website takes a lot effort. It’s almost a given today that a business needs a website if they are to compete in this world where the web is a primary source of information for people. But building a website isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning. The next step is to let customers and prospective customers know it’s there and persuade them to stop by. How is this accomplished? Via tools such as search engines, Blogs, pay-per-click advertising and other options.
Search Engine Registration
A key to promoting any website, registering with the three major search engines is a must. Google, Yahoo and MSN all have URL submit links.
1. Before submitting a website, optimize the site for searching.
Decide on keywords and key phrases that define what the site is for. If people were to enter criteria in Google – what would they enter to find the business? Test this by entering selected keywords and phrases in the top search engines and see if the results match the services/products offered by the business.
Make sure all TITLE html tags on all pages in the site have text that includes the keywords/phrases defined above. Have different keywords on each web page if the content is different. Do not put the business name in this tag – people do not tend to look for a business by name (especially if they don’t know it exists).
Use the Meta tags for Description and Keywords. These aren’t used as much by the search engines; however, some search engines will use the description Meta tag in the search results listing.
Ensure the homepage makes use of the keywords/phrases selected. Try to design content in the first paragraph or two that focuses on these terms, but don’t over use them.
2. It’s also important to have other high ranking complimentary sites link to the website. Find out what sites these are and talk to the owners about having the site linked there. Provide a similar link to their site on the website.
Blogs and other Social Media
Creating a business blog is becoming a great marketing tool and is known to improve search engine rankings. Submit the blog to one or more blog directories. It can be used to:
-position a person as an expert in their field
-as a way of introducing new ideas/products
-as an open forum with customers
Be careful using Social Media as a marketing tool. Be prepared to not always like what is said about your business as these are open forums for web users to express opinions and ideas.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Most are familiar with Google AdWords and AdSense, both ways to advertise a business online. Yahoo and MSN Adcenter are two other search marketing options. Choose one to start and develop an advertising plan around it. This type of advertising takes a lot of work and relies heavily on choosing the right keywords/phrases. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for PPC to work, but you do have to plan carefully, track your progress regularly and adapt as necessary.
Other Marketing Tools
Press releases: Create a press release around a new product or event for the business. Submit it to online PR websites. Do not create a press release on the launching of the website. It’s not news.
Article writing: Consider creating some articles that discuss the information/topics that business services. Then submit these to websites that offer articles to other sites for free in return for a brief bio/link to the website.
Business collateral: Ensure the website URL is on all business collateral including business cards, letterhead, cash register receipts and email signatures. All print advertising should also include the URL for the website.
eNewsletters: A great way to promote the business, offering an email newsletter to subscribers helps position the business as knowledge, and enables the promoting of products and services. Try creating a newsletter that contains teasers to articles that are located on the website in a special subscriber section.