7 Effective Ways To Promote Your Web Site

 

Article by: Tony L. Callahan


It seems that many Internet marketers believe that all they need to do to be successful is put a site on the web and wait. They believe surfers will flock to the site, credit cards in hand, anxious to make them the next Internet millionaire. At the risk of destroying someone's dreams, this simply is not the way it happens.

Surfers must know about your site before they can visit it. In its most basic form, a web site is a billboard directing your visitors to your products and services. To be effective, surfers must see your billboard. To accomplish this, it is necessary to promote a web site constantly. So how does the Internet business person go about promoting their web site?

Basically, there are two choices. The easiest way is to pay someone else to do it. There are several companies, including my own, that specialize in helping people promote their web based businesses. The problem with these services is they are relatively expensive. What does a person do if they run a small business, making small monthly profits? How do small businesses, with limited budgets, entice surfers to visit their Web site? Below, I discuss seven effective methods that are available at little or no cost.

1. Direct e-mail is the most effective way of promoting your web site. We will examine other methods of promotion, but none are as cost effective as direct e-mail. With the proliferation of free e-mail services such as Hotmail, many people as choosing this as their primary means of web site promotion.

One reason for direct e-mail's effectiveness is that everyone who receives your message will read the subject line. No other form of commercial promotion can claim this. A catchy subject line can guarantee a high percentage of recipients will open your message.

2. Advertise in E-zines. E-zines offer most of the advantages of direct e-mail, without the risks or the effort. Additionally, e-zines usually reach very specific, targeted markets. This is the real beauty of e-zine advertising.

General, untargeted mailings advertising a good product at a reasonable price generate responses on the order of 5%. Of these responses only about 3% will actually make a purchase. You can see how untargeted mailings could generate the need for you to do a large amount of work for very little return. With targeted advertising, I have experienced numbers more on the order of 7% response with 40% purchases. The reason for the dramatic difference is obvious. The readers of the e-zines were pre-qualified as interested in my products. Higher interest equals higher sales percentage.

3. List your Web site with the search engines. There are many search engines available on the Internet, with more coming online every day. The process of registering is very simple, but can consume a large amount of time. This is especially true when you consider that you will probably need to resubmit your site on a regular basis.

My suggestion is that you focus your attention on the major search engines. Excite, Infoseek, WebCrawler, Lycos, Alta Vista, Hotbot and Yahoo probably account for 80% or more of the searches performed on the Internet. Also, I recommend that you avoid the myriad free submission services and take care of the submissions to these seven yourself, by hand. If you want to try the freebies for submission to the minor search engines, give it a shot, but your listing in the big seven is too important to take a chance on.

4. Buy banner ads. This does not mean avoid banner exchanges, however, you will receive better quality visitors from good banners placed on carefully selected, high volume web sites that receive visitors who may be interested in your product. There are many brokers, such as WebConnect http://www.webconnect.com that can assist you in placing your ads. To test the effectiveness of your banners, link each different ad to a different "doorway" page and monitor the traffic through your web site statistics.

5. Place ads on high traffic links pages and negotiate reciprocal links with complementary businesses. The links pages may not generate traffic for you directly but it is an inexpensive way to get your URL on many pages. This can improve your standing in search engines that use link popularity as part of their placement algorithm.

Be cautious of who you exchange reciprocal links with. Try to find businesses that compliment yours, not compete with it. If you offer accessories for automobiles, link with auto dealers or auto parts suppliers.

6. Put your e-mail address and URL on all your company's print literature, letterhead, and display advertising. If you provide people a means to find out more about your products or services in a low pressure way, many will do so and some of those will buy.

7. Utilize the news groups. First, find the groups that are likely to be frequented by people interested in products such as yours. DejaNews http://www.dejanews.com might be of help to you as you perform the necessary research. It can search thousands of groups for particular subjects, revealing the groups for you to target.

After you have identified some target groups, monitor the discussions for a few weeks to get the feel of the group. Once you have a grip on what is going on in a particular group, start contributing to the discussions. At the bottom of each of your messages, be sure to include a "signature". A "signature" is a short, 5 to 10 line, advertisement of your product or service. Be sure to include your product, URL and e-mail address in your signature. Every time you contribute to the discussion, hundreds of people will see your ad. This method requires some effort, but can pay big dividends if you are in it for the long haul.

None of these methods are a magic bullet, none of them will bring you millions overnight. By employing these seven methods of promotion consistently, over time, you should notice an increase in your web site traffic. More importantly, you should see an increase in the quality of the traffic you receive, resulting in more sales. And that is the real bottom line.

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Tony L. Callahan, is a successful Internet Promotions Consultant with more than twenty years of industry experience and is president of his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote. He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions. To subscribe, send e-mail to: Web-Links-subscribe@topica.com.

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