You’ve built the world’s best website, spent the time, money, and research to design it, and added loads of wonderful and unique content or products that the masses will be clamoring for! With great excitement you launch your website into a reliable hosting environment, entering the world of online web mastering. You go to sleep and wake up the next morning both nervous and excited. With wide-eyes you open your email with the expectations of seeing your first sale. The email begins to open, blood is rushing through your veins and excitement is about to overwhelm you when finally your email box opens and you find… nothing! In moments your demeanor of excitement quickly fades into one of dejection. Time passes… weeks, maybe even months, only for the same recurrence of events to take place. It’s almost enough to make you throw in the towel and admit defeat.
You’ve heard the phrase “build it and they will come”. It most definitely does not apply to websites. In an arena with literally more than a billion websites, the probability of a user coming across yours by anything other than random chance is next to none. One thing many new webmasters overlook is marketing their website. Arguably, marketing is even more important than the content or product you’re selling or promoting on your site. Without proper marketing you’ll never gain the foothold in the market that you both desire and deserve. We’ll explore several in-expensive methods that you can take advantage of to start marketing your website today!
Writing and submitting articles is one of the most effective ways to increase your websites exposure and garner more traffic. Take a moment to reflect on some of the websites you’ve visited over the last month. There’s a good chance that many of them you found as a result of reading some form of article or online story. Articles do not simply exist… they’re created, many of them for the purpose of both entertaining the reader and gaining exposure to their service or website. Take a look at the articles on MSN or Yahoo and you’ll find a great many that contain links to websites that the author is affiliated with. Articles are an outstanding promotional tool that you can leverage to expose your website to a great number of people. Perhaps the best part is you’ll be targeting relevant traffic which can help increase your conversions. After all, a user won’t read an article about the latest in Ballerina outfits unless they are specifically interested in that subject matter.
Write your articles with the user in mind and make sure you’re an expert on the subject matter. If a reader can sense that you don’t know what you’re talking about, your reputation is shot! Also, do NOT write a sales pitch! Try to stay focused on providing quality and useful information to the potential readers rather than trying to sell a product or service. The last thing you want to do is write an article that can be considered a form of spam. It’s suggested you run your article through a spell-check program and have one or more colleagues proof read it before publishing. Since we’re on the subject of publishing, how and where do you get your articles published?
Getting Your Article Published
Writing your article is the easy part. Getting your article published is going to take a little more work. The idea is to get your article in front of as many users as you possibly can. To do this you’ll need to submit your articles to a great number of article directories and websites. Although there are hundreds (possibly thousands) of places to submit to, listed below you’ll find the top three article submission resources that we find to be the most effective.
Article Sender [http://www.articlesender.com] – Submit articles to dozens of websites. Extremely convenient way to submit to multiple locations.
Ezine Articles – Extensive article directory
Idea Marketers – Featuring a high quality article directory
Once you have your articles in circulation, you both increase your web exposrue and gain one-way incoming links, which are important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Shortly after your site has been launched, prepare a press release. The press release should detail the launching of the site and the services or product it provides. The press release should be your sales pitch, but be careful not to get too carried away. Make it short and to the point so that it gets your message across to the user and offers them something of value. submit a new press release whenever you have something new on your site that might be interesting to users.
Paying for Traffic
The easy way to get traffic to your site is to pay for it. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately it’s not. The competition on buying traffic is really heating up and clicks are becoming more and more expensive. There are really two options you have for buying traffic. The first is to set-up a Pay-Per Click (PPC) campaign with search engines such as Google (known as Google AdWords). The other is to buy traffic from services that guarantee X number of leads for a set fee. Of the two, AdWords is recommended. Why? Simple. You have more control over the users that are directed to your website. With AdWords you set-up your own ad campaign, which consists of writing a catchy ad or two and then targeting them to the keywords you feel users will search on. When a user search matches the keywords you’ve set-up, they’ll see your ad at the top of the search engine results page (SERPs) in the form of a sponsored link. When the user clicks your ad they are directed to your website and Google collects a small fee based on the Cost Per Click (CPC). For more information, see the article on Keyword Strategies at Free Links Direct.
Start a News Letter
Newsletters are a great way to keep your users up-to-date on the latest and greatest your site has to offer. News Letters are less of a tool to gain new visitors as it is to retain previous visitors. You’ve heard the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” and that can definitely apply to websites. Users need reminders that you’re website is out there and offering them deals and services they just can’t refuse! Make sure to have an option for users to subscribe to a newsletter on your website. For users that make purchases, automatically enroll them in the news letter (with the ability to opt out of course… no one likes spam). Send the news letter out on a monthly basis and pack it with the best deals and content your site has to offer! Maybe even add something “extra” that will make visitors want to sign up, such as coupon codes to save extra money on purchases or offers for free stuff.
Become a Walking Promotion
To be successful you need to be a walking promotion. Don’t be shy in dropping the name of your website to co-workers, family, and friends. Everyone is a potential lead that can turn into a sale. The idea is to explore all options and not leave any possible sales on the table. The most successful people are those who are passionate about what they do and make sure people know it. It also doesn’t hurt that word of mouth is the cheapest (and one of the most effective) ways to promote your website.
Just because you have an online site doesn’t mean you can’t participate in offline marketing! Try to find magazines (yes, people still read magazines) that cater to your particular market. For example, if you’re website is all about guitars then you would want to look into publishing a small ad in the business section of a guitar magazine. To keep metrics on the traffic that is generated from your offline ads, have a drop-down selection in your registration / check-out process that asks how the user found your site. Try to explore other forms of offline marketing, even the hokey ones such as applying a decal with your web address to the back window of your car. Unconventional marketing can sometimes be the most beneficial.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is just as important a form of marketing as a flyer or promotional ad. With proper and efficient SEO, you expose your website to potentially millions of users each day. Although there have been entire books written on the subject of SEO, below you will find the most common (and effective) methods for optimizing your pages. For a complete guide on SEO, please visit the Free Links Direct SEO archive.
Keywords Keywords are the series of words that you are specifically trying to target. For example, a site that provides users free links would be optimized for keywords “free links”. Do not under-estimate the importance of keywords.
Page Titles A Page title is the text that appears in the header of your Browser. Every page on your website MUST contain a page title for proper SEO. Note that page titles should contain your keywords or keyword phrase.
Header Text Each page should contain header text with the keyword that is between H1, STRONG or (at the very least) B tags. Search engines place greater emphasis on these tags.
Relevant Content Search engines LOVE content. I mean, they really LOVE content… especially content that is original and useful. The fact is, the more content your web pages contain the more likely the search engines will find it. So, rule of thumb is always write great content with the user in mind.
Build a Site Users Want
When the dust settles from your successful marketing blitz and users start to visit your site, you want to ensure that they stay there and keep coming back for more. What’s the trick for user retention? There is none. Provide users with a quality website that has a professional design, clean navigation and well defined content and you’ve done what you need to keep users on your site. The best form of marketing is building a site that the users will really care about and want to visit. All you need is that initial nudge to get users to your site. Word of mouth will take over from there and you’ll be well on your way to success.