Marketing your site two-headed arrow Marketing your business

“If you build it they will come” - NOT NECESSARILY!

Not if it's a website, they won't -- unless you promote the site.

It's a Catch-22: You're building a website to promote your business, but this cannot happen unless you promote your website.

How can you promote your site and reap the benefits for your business?

Here are a few suggestions that you can implement:

As the owner of the business and the website, you must make certain that your current and potential clients are aware of your website address — so refer them to the site for information. This means, of course, that the info should be on the site.

  1. Your web address should be included on all brochures and other advertising materials, letterhead, invoices, business cards and correspondence. This includes email!
  2. If you're selling a product, the web address should be imprinted on a label or embedded in the product (please don't do this if you're selling live animals).
  3. Your busy and "away" phone messages should refer your callers to the website.
  4. Give them a reason to visit your site other than to purchase your products or services. Teach them; inform them.
  5. Keep your content fresh. Change/add content regularly. People don't come back to a static site often. Make it worth their while to return!
  6. Links to your site are very helpful. Ask your friends and business associates to link their sites to yours. It's best to ask them yourself, since you know them, rather than having your web designer do it. Most business people are glad to link to you if you will reciprocate – it helps them too! (You'll need to ask your web designer to add their links.) Here are a few suggestions for whom to invite:
  • Professional associations you belong to.
  • Local businesses.
  • Your suppliers.
  • Your satisfied customers/clients.

A savvy web designer will know what to do to help the search engines (like Google) find and rank your site. Here are some things you can ask your designer to implement:

  1. Utilize page titles that employ key words appropriate to the page content. You may need to help with keywords, especially if you have a somewhat esoteric business. You are the best person to get into your potential clients' heads and know what they might be searching for. Very specific keywords are most useful, but they should be realistic.
  2. Text that utilizes good keywords specific to your product or business, focused on each page and reflected in the page title, should be a goal.
  3. Code-compliant text, which means, among other things, that all graphics have "alt” tags, is most helpful, giving you an opportunity to include more keywords in a valid manner. "Alt" tags are included in the coding that comprises your website; they are the tags that cause titles to appear when you pass your mouse over an image.
  4. The use of cascading style sheets to format the page (which is recommended by W3C, the organization that determines the compliancy of code) will separate out the heavy formating coding and make it easier for the search engines to find the relevant text.
  5. Speaking of graphics: Graphics help to break up text and make the human visitor's stay on your site more pleasant. Be sure not to over-use graphics, however, and to be sure they are appropriate to the textual content. Also see our information on Flash intro pages. And don't forget the alt tags!
  6. A site map will enable the search engines to navigate your site more easily.
  7. Oh yes, have your designer list your site with the major search engines. Do not ask to have your site listed on 9,999 search engines; that's an exercise in foolishness. Google, Yahoo, AOL, MSN, for example, are more than enough since these are what most people use.

Read about Google's guidelines for webmasters to see what they suggest.