MAKING YOUR WEBSITE WORK FOR YOU: ATTRACTING VISITORS
Just building a website is not enough. You need to get people to visit it. And just submitting to the search engines wonít do much. Here is a brief overview of 3 effective strategies to get people to your website: 1) Search Engines, 2) PR and Marketing and 3) Email Newsletters. Here is a quick list of doís and doníts for each:
Search Engine DO's:
DO Optimize Your Web Site:
Make sure your website is built correctly and well organized. Your designer should (but many donít) include Title Tags and Meta Tags, plus lots of good text content that features key words that your visitors will use to search. Title tags appear on the top of your web browser window and Meta Tags are hidden in the html code. Good website Organization also helps Search engines index you.
DO Get Links TO Your Site:
Good links not only bring traffic Ė they increase your importance in the eyes of the search engines. Get links anywhere you can: web directories, organizations to which you belong your partners, members or clients. Consider paying for inclusion on sites that will give direct links to your site. A good web designer or Search Engine Optimization company can help you grow these links.
DO Pay Per Click (Google AdWords or Overture):
Join a Pay-Per-Click program to advertise on search results. Get very targeted advertising in front of people who are searching for you. These ads come up like search results when people are entering key words that you pick.
Search Engine DONíTs:
DONíT Assume people will find your website just because you built it.
DONíT Hire just anyone to do your Search Engine Optimization
There are so called ďBlack HatĒ SEOís who use shady tricks to improve your ranking. You may end up penalized by the search engines, or find that you are bound to the company to keep your ranking.
DON'T Be afraid of Pay-Per-Click.
It is easy and cheap to try with incredible potential benefits. It can be much cheaper than other advertising options. And you can put a limit on your investment Ė start with just $2 a day if you like. It is fairly easy to set up and, if you donít have time, an expert can get you going very quickly.
PR and Marketing DO's:
DO Direct Visitors to Website in All Print Marketing:
Include your web address on all marketing including your brochures, and business cards.
DO Advertise on the Web:
Advertising on other websites can be effective if you are targeting your audience.
DO Get Press:
Put out press releases that reference the website. Even if the story is not picked up, the presence of your web address on various distribution wires is good for your ranking.
DO Create Integrated Marketing Campaigns:
A print advertising campaign can be even more effective with an online component. You can use design consistency to show continuity and grow your brand. A print piece can invite visitors online to complete a transaction, get a prize or learn more.
PR and Marketing DON'Ts:
DONíT Forget to put your website address on all your contact materials.
DONíT Forget to set up email with your domain name. Every time you send an email it advertises your website.
DONíT Advertise on sites that do not match your goals or standards. Avoid annoying pop-up windows or obnoxious banner ads that might turn people off rather than interest them.
Email Newsletters DOs:
DO Stay in the mind of your current and potential clients.
Find a method that is easy for you to send messages to your mailing list. You can start with your personal email list, perhaps by sending small personal updates or simple newsletters. Or you can use an automated program to manage the list and send emails.
DO Create an email sign up form on your website.
DO Keep messages ďTimely, Relevant and Personal.Ē
Position yourself as an expert by providing timely relevant information or survey your audience to find out what is relevant.
Email Newsletters DON'Ts:
It is often illegal and does not build a positive image for your brand. Donít buy unknown lists. Allow people to opt-out. Always be honest in your subject headers and main content, and always be clear where the message comes from.
DONíT Be inconsistent.
Send messages on a schedule that is realistic for you to keep
After getting through the hard work of developing a web site it can be hard to imagine spending more time or money to get people to visit it. Keep in mind it doesnít take much. And marketing yourself on the web can greatly expand your potential audience while lowering your costs of doing business.
About The Author
Marc S. Grobman is Design Director for Tommy Dew Design (www.tommydew.com), a Graphic and Web Design firm with offices in Oakland and Santa Monica, California.