Creating a great looking, functional website that has a lot of value to provide to its intended audience is certainly important. Once you have that step accomplished, what’s next?
Well, the best looking and value filled website will not do you, your customers or potential customers any good, unless they know it is there. So, that means you need to market your site so you can drive traffic to your site. Otherwise, it is like sitting on top of an oil well and not knowing it is there. It may be chocked full of value, but you have not tapped into it yet; and you are not realizing any benefit from it until you tap it.
There are a number of ways to promote your site. First though, I think it is imperative to develop your brand, so you can deliver a consistent message between your printed materials, your website and all other forms of media you may be utilizing. With this basic concept being a given, let’s take a look at ways to promote your website, so that you can drive traffic to it.
From the start, remember that just driving traffic to your site, does not mean that you will convert that traffic into customers. This is very critical because you will no doubt be the subject of the black hat marketers who will try to convince you that they can get your company listed on one of the first pages of Google or Yahoo; directly, or indirectly inferring that such an accomplishment will increase your sales. However, this thought process has a serious flaw in it. You can only expect to realize a high conversion rate, if your potential customers arrive at your site for the right reasons and when they arrive there they find the site contains relevant quality content and value which is specific to what they are looking for.
You are probably saying to yourself, that seems fairly obvious. Here is what happens that will get businesses turned the wrong direction, so that they forget the obvious. Some black hat Search Engine Marketing [SEM] representative will contact you to let you know that he or she can get your company listed at the top of the Google search pages. There are three ways to accomplish this. The first way takes some time. The search engines have algorithms that give a lot of weight to a couple of key areas; including the quality of your content, and the number of relevant links there are back to your site, from other sites that contain similar content. The second way involves using techniques that the major search engines consider illegal. These could be keyword stuffing, link farms, redirects, improper landing pages and various other ploys and tactics that could render some short-term success. However, as a long term solution they could end up having your website banned from being indexed by the search engines. That is something you never want to happen; because it will have a devastating effect on your brand, your company and your potential for success. The third way involves investing advertising dollars with Google AdWords, or Yahoo Search Marketing [SM]. I mention only those two solutions because they represent the lion’s share of all internet search activity. Moreover, they have networks; which means that other search portals will be using either Google or Yahoo, or Live Search as their search engine.