By Thomas Young, MBA
Now that you have developed a great looking web site that meets the needs of your customers, it’s time to get the word out and bring visitors to your site. It’s terrific to have a Website loaded with benefits for potential customers, but if no one visits, then no one benefits. This includes the site’s owner and developer!
There are two key methods for generating visitors to your site. One involves search engine registration and visibility. The other involves pro-active marketing of your site. Let’s look at a few ways to bring people to your site.
Search Engines: Do the Right Thing
Registering with major search engines is obviously very important. However, that alone will not secure visitors. Your site should be search engine friendly. It is important to research key words and phrases people are using to find sites like yours. Your site should be content rich with those same key words and phrases, especially within the first 200 words. Work with your Website developer to set up a specific search engine strategy. This should be included in the design of your site and in monthly registrations to all of the major search engines. You should receive a monthly report of your site’s placement in the key search engines under various search terms. Do not leave your search engine strategy to chance. Top Websites get good exposure because of a strong search engine strategy.
Word-of-Mouth is Powerful
Sales and marketing professionals know that word-of-mouth referrals are the most powerful forms of personal marketing. Good web sites are promoted by word-of-mouth. Encourage people to visit your site and tell others about it. If you are selling products on your site, offer discounts for referred business and other incentives to draw in visitors. Remind visitors to bookmark the site and return for updates and new information. Update your visitors with dates and times of upcoming events, new features, articles and other areas of interest.
Find publications that are being read by your target market and submit articles. In your article, include a by-line with your site address listed as a resource for more information (notice the by-line at the end of this article). These articles can be written in traditional newsletters, magazines, newspapers and also ezines (electronic magazines on the Internet). Editors are always looking for interesting and informative content. Keep your articles to about 400-600 words and be specific to your topic with a sincere desire to help, teach and inform. If you do not have interesting things to write about, why should anyone visit your web site?
Include Articles on Your Site
Interesting articles provide value to readers and help boost search engine standings by adding more key words and links. These articles should inform readers about important issues in their area of expertise. Whether or not your articles are actually published, post new articles on your site once or twice a month.
Advertise for your site in very targeted, traditional and on-line media. Use call to action ads that encourage the prospective customer to visit your site. Do not attempt to sell your product or services in these ads; rather, use the ads to bring people to the Website. Let the web site do the selling.
Link exchanges and portals are a good way to get exposure for your site. Create links to your site and develop alliances with other reputable sites. Be careful with your links, as visitors may leave your site and not return. Look for high-traffic sites that can increase your visibility with a link to your site. There may be a fee associated with this; however, the rewards could be well worth your investment.
Keep it Fresh
New content and site re-design are critical. They are the oxygen of the Internet. Pay someone to do it if you don’t have the time. A forgotten web site is a waste of money and will not show returns. Update information on your site often. Visitors are turned off by stale Websites.
Monitor Your Site’s Visitors
There are excellent products on the market to track the visitor activity to your site. Make changes to your search engine and promotional strategies based on how people are finding your site and the pages they visit. Check outsuperstats.com or thecounter.com for more information.
Be ready to invest time and money in the promotion of your site. Often, this can be your best advertising expense, as targeted customers visit your informational and benefit-loaded Website. These visitors can become loyal customers, providing long-term business for your company.