Make The Most Of Your Website

Make The Most Of Your Website

Linking Strategies

Links to your site from other sites drive additional traffic. More links will help you rank higher in the search engines. Links from trusted, popular sites help your site rank higher than links from lower traffic sites.

• Submit Your Site to Key Directories:

A link from a popular directory will help your ranking — and get you traffic. A directory is not a search engine. Rather, it is a hierarchical listing of sites sorted according to category and subcategory. Be sure to list your site in the free Open Directory Project, overseen by overworked volunteer editors. But if you don’t get listed right away, don’t be impatient and resubmit, or you’ll go to the end of the queue. A link in this directory will help you a lot.

Search the web for legitimate directories that your website and business can benefit from. Some directories focus on particular industries, such as education or finance. You might belong to a trade association that features member directories. Ask for a link. Even if you have to pay something for a link from the organization, it may help boost your PageRank. Paid business directories that might help include Yahoo! Directory, About.com and Business.com.

• Reciprocal Links:

Find websites in your general niche and request a reciprocal link to your site, which is basically a link exchange. Your best results will be from sites that generate a similar amount of traffic as your own and can benefit from exposure on your site, as you can on theirs. Only link to complementary sites when the opportunity arises. It’s not just links, but quality links you seek. Keep working at this continuously, a little bit at a time. Patience and persistence will get you some good links, so keep at it.

Social Media

Become Part of a Social Media Community. Some of the best online communities for business include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In addition, you may want to participate in a social bookmarking community in which members share with each other information about websites, articles or news items. These include Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Google Bookmarks. Search engine spiders troll these sites looking for links to something new and relevant. You can usually place a link to your website in your profile, but the biggest gain comes when other people mention you, link to you, or bookmark you.

Promote Your Site in Online Forums and Discussion Lists — “old school” social media. The Internet offers thousands of very targeted email based discussion lists, online forums, and groups made up of people with very specialized interests. Search online for appropriate groups, blogs and forums.

It seems simple, but ask visitors to Bookmark your site or save it in their Favorites list. If you have good content that people want to bookmark, this can generate hundreds of links to your site and significantly raise your rankings.

Traditional Strategies

Just because “old media” strategies aren’t on the Internet doesn’t mean they aren’t effective. A mixed media approach can be very effective.

Include Your URL on Stationery, Cards, and Literature. Make sure that all business cards, stationery, brochures, and literature contain your company’s URL. We recommend leaving off the “http://” part and including only the www.domain.com portion. For an even cleaner look that facilitates ease of use, eliminate the www. portion from the URL as well. Most modern browsers will find the site without either of these prefixes typed in anyway.

Don’t discontinue print advertising that you’ve found effective. Be sure to include your URL in any display or classified ads you purchase in trade journals, newspapers, yellow pages, etc. View your website as an information portal adjunct to the ad. Also consider other traditional media to drive people to your site, such as direct mail, classifieds, post cards, etc. If you have the budget, TV can obviously be used to effectively promote websites in local markets and on a larger scale.

Email Strategies

Install a “Signature” in your Email Program to help potential customers get in touch with you. Most email programs allow you to designate a “signature” to appear at the end of each message you send. Limit it to 6 to 8 lines: Company name, address, phone number, URL, email address, and a one-phrase description of your unique business offering. Look for examples in email messages sent to you.

Start an Email Newsletter. While it requires a commitment of time, creating a fairly regular email publication is one of the most important promotion techniques. This is a great way to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, develop brand awareness and build future business. It also helps you collect email addresses from those who visit your site. To build a subscriber list to your email newsletter, ask visitors to sign up for your newsletter on your website to receive “special offers.” Invite existing customers and business contacts to sign up for your email newsletter. Your own list of contacts and site visitors who have given you permission to contact them will be your most productive list.

Email can be an effective way to bring people to your website. Just don’t spam — that is — don’t send bulk unsolicited emails without permission to people with whom you have no relationship. Many countries have anti-spam laws. •

Some material ported/edited from: Web Marketing Today