After you make sure you have done everything you could to improve your website, you can start promoting it. Let's see what you can do to effectively market your web site.
Generally, there are a lot of ways to promote your website. Some may be effective, some may be not, some may be relatively cheap, some may cost you an arm and a leg. But the most important thing you need to remember is to market for your target audience. Simply putting up a banner won't do. You'll need to put it where your target audience roams. The closer your message is to your target audience, the more efficient your marketing campaign will be.
Of course, you may think that if you have a website, you don't need any offline promotion. But you don't necessarily need to have a store or even an office to market your business and/or your website. Here are a couple of places where you can put your advertising on:
- local industry newspapers, magazines, etc
- local business centers
- local industry conferences
- radiostations (with the most suitable audience)
Together with expensive advertising, you can do some relatively free advertising as well:
- put your URL on pens and give them to people you meet, your friends and ask them to pass the pens along to their business friends
- use business cards and pass them along as well
- put your URL or company name on T-shirts and give them away for free on various occasions
- sponsor your local event where your target audience may gather (you may sponsor any event you really want to help, too, though)
- paint your URL on the side of your car
- sew a patch with your URL on the back of your backpack or on the side of your suitcase
While expensive marketing methods are more effective, you may as well utilize some free methods that may benefit at least some reaction.
As Internet is a fairly large place, there is a lot of room for advertising as well. You'll need to choose wisely where you need to market your business as well, because you may want to build your reputation as well (using any spam to promote yourself might not help your brand). Here are a couple of ways of online promotion:
- online magazines, newspapers, etc
- buy ad space on other industry websites (forums, interest sites, sites of related industries, etc)
- Pay per Click advertising (PPC)
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Methods listed above drive visitors to your site, regardless of how well optimized the site is. Search engine optimization, in turn, allows you to get more visitors from the search engines by simply improving your on-page SEO.
Generally, on-page SEO factors include:
- site's search engine friendliness (crawlability)
- the right choice of keywords
- optimized titles
- keywords in the main text area
- proper text formatting
- internal site linking
- web site usability
- website accessibility
- external site linking
Naturally, there are other onpage factors, influencing your site search engine optimization, but they are negligibly small and simply come from site usability and accessibility.
Holistic search engine optimization also includes link building. Link building can be done in a variety of ways:
- create unique, quality content for people to link to
- publish quality articles on established online publications in your industry
- building business relationships with sites in your industry
Those would be the most high-quality methods that will work regardless of the search engines. Of course, there are other, cheaper, methods, but they can only give you less quality links and almost no targeted traffic.
The key to getting good reputation, traffic and links is providing value. The more value you provide with your site, content, product and web site marketing, the more you get noticed, the more customers you get.
Here is a good list of things to do to get a fair amount of links.
Though there may be dozens of ways to market your web site, you should check any method you see against a single question: does this promotion method add value to my visitors or not?
To be efficient, you need to:
- select the right promotion channel to reach your target audience
- focus on highlighting the benefits of your product
- be as specific in your message as possible
Though the above principles above are not the only ones to go by, they surely should help.
Though this web site marketing guide is not as exhaustive as it should be, it is a good start to build a solid online presence. Just keep thinking about providing value to your visitors. Naturally, you may want to invest more in your website and product, than in its promotion at first. But sooner or later, you'll need to go out and do market your web site as well.