Promoting Your Website in 2006

Happy New Year!  I hope this year proves to be a prosperous one for you.  To help make that happen, I have listed several ways to increase the number of visitors your site gets.  You or your designer should be able to do these.  If not, give Virtualtech a call.

Write a Page Title. Write a descriptive title for each page of up to 10 words. Remove as many "fluff" words as you can, such as "the," "and," “Inc”. The page title will appear as a link on the search engines.  Include your top search terms in the title and repeat these in the first few lines of the web page.  Unless your company name is one of your top search phrases, don’t put it in the title. (Your customers will be searching for what your company does... if they know your name, they don’t need to search for you) 

Write a Description META Tag. Many search engines include this description below your hyperlinked title. Think of the description as your "classified ad", as this will help searchers choose your link over someone else’s.  Keep the description to less than 30 words and put your most important search terms first. 

Develop Search Term Specific Pages.  These are not  "doorway" pages, but rather, web pages that focused on a different search term or phrase.  For example, instead of only listing your products on the home page, develop a separate page for each one.  These pages will rank higher for their search term since they are so targeted. 

Submit Web Page URL to Search Engines. Look for the "Add Your URL." or "Suggest a Site" link on search engines.  Currently the top search engines are Google, Yahoo, and MSN allow you to submit to them at no charge.  Be wary of the emails that promise to submit your site to thousands of search engines for $39.99.  The only thing this will bring you is more junk email.

Submit Your Site to Internet Directories. Be sure to list your site in the free Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.com) and Alexa (www.alexa.com).  You can also find a list of industry specific directories at Directory Archives (www.directoryarchives.com).  If you are in a very competitive business and have the marketing funds, the Yahoo! Directory is a good choose.  Business sites require a $299 annual fee. 

Request Reciprocal Links. Find complementary web sites and request a reciprocal link to your site.  Develop an out-of-the way page where you put links to other sites -- so you don’t send people out the back door as fast as you bring them in the front door. (Be sure the links are relevant links and that you don’t get too many as they may end up hurting your ranking.) Your best results will be from sites that get a similar amount of traffic as your site. You probably belong to various trade associations that feature member sites. Ask for a link. Even if you have to pay something for a link, it may bring you the kind of targeted traffic from an info hub that you need.

Write Articles for Others to Use in their Newsletters. You can dramatically increase your visibility when you write articles in your area of expertise and distribute them to editors as free content for their e-mail newsletters. Just ask that a link to your website and a one-line description of what you offer be included with the article.

Press Releases. Find newsworthy events within your company and send press releases to print and Web periodicals.  PR Web (www.prweb.com) is a great place to start.

Include Your Web Address anyplace your Phone Number is.  This will include business cards, brochures, and ads.  Don’t forgot to add your web address to your voice mail message.

Using Traditional Marketing. Don’t stop using your current forms of advertising.  Instead, change the focus of these ads to direct people to your website rather than calling you.  

Offer a Free Service or Free Advice. Don’t let your website become a commercial only.  People skip commercials when watching TV, and the Web is no different.  Instead, include something useful on your site.  If you remodel kitchens, give them free planning guide, or if you are an accountant give them free tax tips.  This will keep them coming back and also help position your company as the one to do business with.  

Use a Signature File on all your e-mail correspondents.  Most e-mail programs allow you to designate a "signature" to appear at the end of each message you send. Include your company name, phone number, web address, and a one sentence description of what you offer.   

Publish an E-Mail Newsletter. While it’s a big commitment in time, publishing a e-mail newsletter ("ezine") is one of the very best ways to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, and build future business. It also encourages those who visit your site, but aren’t yet ready to make a purchase, to give you their e-mail addresss so that you can contact them in the future.

Send Offers to Your Visitors and Customers. Your own list of customers and site visitors who have given you permission to contact them will be your most productive list. Send offers, coupon specials, and product updates on a regular basis.  I suggest once a month if you have enough going on.  

Buy a Text Ad in an E-Mail Newsletter. These ads are inexpensive and can be very targeted.  Read a few issues of the publication to ensure you like what you are reading and that the content supports your product or service.  

Purchase Pay Per Click (PPC) Ads.  Yahoo Marketing and Google AdWords are the most popular.  Your ranking is determined by how much you’ve bid for a particular search term compared to other businesses. This can be a cost-effective way to get targeted traffic, since you only pay when someone actually clicks on your link.  The best results come from bidding on specific terms, rather than broad terms.  For example - if you sell mortgages, don’t bid on "mortgages".  Instead, bid on terms like "mortgages Wisconsin", "home loans Appleton Wisconsin".  If using a regional area makes sense, then use it.

January 1, 2006

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