Just because you now have a Web site doesn't mean people other than your current customers will visit it. Getting hits isn't that different than attracting customers to a business location. If your shop is tucked away in an alley without a sign and you don't advertise, there's a good chance that the only new customers you get simply stumbled across it by mistake.
Getting traffic to your Web site is possible and it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Here are 12 tips to get you started.
1. Search Engine Optimization By learning more about what Search Engines look for when indexing sites, it's possible to adjust your site to suit their requirements. There are a number of factors to consider. Here are just a few:
Linking strategies - The more links that point to your site, the more instant traffic you will generate, but also, the more favorably search engines will rank your site.
Keyword density and relevance - The number of relevant keywords which feature in your body copy and the more frequently they appear in relation to the number of words on your page, the better your site will rank.
Site design - Search engines love certain site designs and dislike others. By knowing which ones are looked upon favorably you can then ensure your site design complies. For instance, framed sites are generally frowned upon.
Keywords and other metatags - In the HTML code behind your site there's the opportunity to include keywords. These are a list of phrases that your visitors are likely to type into a search engine to find your type of business. The more relevant the keyword, the more hits you're likely to get.
Knowing what people type into search engines when they're surfing the Internet can give you an ace up your sleeve when it comes to adding keywords to your site. Naturally, adding popular keywords gives you a much better chance of getting hits. You can subscribe to a free report listing the top 500 keywords on a monthly basis through the Word Tracker Web site.
2. Submit Your URL to Different Search Engines
Even though we mentioned that keywords are powerful they're useless if you haven't submitted your site to search engines. To have your site appear when people type in a keyword it's critical that a particular search engine knows about your site. To do that, you can either submit your site manually by visiting each and every search engine on the Web, you can enlist the services of someone to do it for you.
Whatever you do, don't feel tempted to utilize the services of someone who automatically submits your site to hundreds or even thousands of search engines. This is considered to be spam and could lead to your site being blacklisted.
Another point to consider is paying for search engine indexing. Most of the major search engines now offer paid indexing where, for a small fee, you can ensure your site gets indexed quickly and/or you can guarantee a high placement. With the major search engines, this is well worth the money.
3. Use Newsgroups
Newsgroups are an effective way of building an email list if you use net etiquette wisely. Basically, newsgroups are forums bringing together people who are interested in a certain topic. They post and reply to messages online. There are tens of thousands of newsgroups split into a broad range of categories -- anything from MP3 and X-rated topics to a variety of business related subjects. You can build a mailing list by posting very soft sell messages on a newsgroup mentioning some information that you have that may interest viewers and then point them to your email address or your URL. An effective way would be to offer subscription to a newsletter or a report.
4. Purchase Banner Advertising
Some people say banner advertising works and some say it doesn't, however as a lead generation tool it's (more often than not) much more cost effective than print media (depending on how net-friendly your type of business is and the effectiveness of your banner).
There are a number of "pay per click" advertising opportunities where you only pay for the number of clicks your ad experiences. This is a great way of testing various approaches in a very affordable way, not to mention that it's a fantastic way of maximizing your ROI (return-on-investment).
5. Participate in Banner Exchange Programs
A number of Web sites offer free banner exchange programs where you include banners on your site in exchange for your banner featuring on someone else's site. Generally, for each two hits a banner on your site generates, you are entitled to one banner hit on someone else's site.
This can be a very effective tool to generate business, but bear in mind that many of the banners in these programs relate to gambling, money-making opportunities and adult sites. It's important to do a little homework first to ensure that the banners you'll be placing on your site are appropriate.
Be aware that some search engines frown upon these programs, so becoming involved could cause your site to drop in rankings.
6. Advertise in E-Zines
If your inbox is anything like mine, you'll know that there are oodles and oodles of e-zines out there and many of them offer the opportunity to pay for advertising space within the publication.
At NewslettersForFree.com you can instantly subscribe to hundreds of E-Zines and in turn you can also have your E-Zine featured in their directory for a monthly fee.
7. List Your Site in Online Directories
A number of sites will grant free listings in their business directories. You can search on 'free business directory listings' to find many such opportunities.
8. E-mail Marketing
Not only can a Web site be a powerful sales tool, but it's also a great way of building greater client loyalty. To do that, you can include member-only areas that offer value-added information and other membership privileges. You can host a discussion forum where members can exchange ideas.
9. E-mail Market to Purchased "Opt-in" Lists
You can hire lists of people who have indicated they would like to receive information on certain topics. Even though you'll be mailing to a cold list, it's not spam because these people have indicated that they would like to receive email on certain topics.
On the other hand, if you do send unsolicited e-mail you're deemed as 'sending spam' and there are all sorts of possible ramifications including your ISP closing your account, net heads jamming up your e-mail with thousands (even tens of thousands) of abuse messages rendering your e-mail account virtually useless until you've cleared the barrage of messages.
10. Advertise Offline
It's important to use traditional media (such as newspapers and magazines) to promote your site. Naturally, the extent to which you'll do this will depend on your budget, however with print media, the good news is that your ad doesn't need to be exceptionally large because all you're trying to sell in your advertising are visits to your Web site.
11. Create Affiliate Programs
This is an online version of a referral program where you pay other businesses money when a sale is made via a link they have from their site to yours. The good news is that it needn't be that complicated to set one up. It's simply a matter of developing a system to track where all your sales are made from and then developing a system to pay the affiliate fees to your affiliates. One such system that is perfect for marketing e-books, as an example, is ClickBank.
12. Advertise on Free Classified Sites
There are sites available that will automatically post a FREE introductory ad to hundreds of classifieds sites. For more Internet marketing tips visit the Words that Sell Web site.
Adapted from webreference.com.
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