Thursday, April 9, 2009
6 Things You Can Do Today to Drive More Traffic to Your Website for Free
Website (and business) marketing is not a one off exercise. Whether you have a brand new website or one that you've had for a while, you need to continue promoting it in order to bring you more visitors.
You need to constantly work on it, fine-tune it, discard methods that are not working and implement new ones.
The following 6 methods are simple to implement and can be done for free by you today.
1. Email Marketing
Your first step should be to send an email to your existing clients announcing the existence of your website. You should also ask your customers to forward your email onto their friends, family and colleagues.
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Think Web Pages, not Websites
If you are starting a new business and don't have any customers yet, send an email to people you know who may be interested in your offer.
Remember to email your clients every time you make changes, add new offers or features to your website to remind them to come back.
The next step could be to send your announcement to an opt-in email list. Opt-in email lists contain people or businesses who have requested to receive information about certain topic(s). There are many companies who can provide you with these lists.
Under no circumstance should you EVER send unsolicited email (spam) to people you either don't know or who have not requested to receive your information.
2. Search Engines & Directories
Submit your website to as many search engines and directories as you can. (A search engine is a searchable database of websites collected by a computer program (called a crawler, robot or spider). When you enter a keyword, the search engine looks for keywords in its database, and any relevant records are displayed.)
Currently there are thousands of search engines and directories on the internet. Some of the main ones include Google, Yahoo, MSN. When submitting your website to the search engines, you can either do it manually by going to the search engine website and adding your URL (website address) or you can employ the services of a Search Engine Submission company, who will do it for you.
Search engines try to rank sites that contain good content higher, so you need keywords and phrases on your pages that best describe your service and products. For example, if you are a florist, use words such as "florist, online florist, virtual florist, wedding florist, florist in Sydney, florist on line, flowers, floral, bouquets, floral arrangements etc." as many times as possible to ensure high search engine ranking. To find out what keywords your customers may be searching use Google's Keyword Tool or Wordtracker.
Once you decide on your keywords, use them in:
(a) Your website's domain name
(b) The title of your page - This is displayed in the top bar of your browser window.
(c) The heading of your home page.
(d) The first paragraph of your home page.
(e) Meta tags - Keywords, description.
(f) Titles of your graphics.
While it is important to use keywords as much as possible, it is also important you use them only if they are relevant and do not sound awkward. If you spam your keywords, you may be penalized or even banned by some search engines.
If this all seems too overwhelming, you can employ the services of a Search Engine optimization company, who will make your website's content more search engine friendly to make it rank higher.
3. Link Exchanges
Find websites whose business complements yours and add their website to your links/resource page. Then contact the company and ask for a reciprocal link. For example if you are a wedding dress designer, you could contact businesses that sell wedding cakes, jewellery, flowers and also venues, celebrants etc. By doing this your website will become a valuable resource for your visitors, since it will provide information they need. They may return to your site over and over to find more information.
On the other hand, you will have visitors coming to your website when they follow a link from your link partners.
Results in search engines are determined by the material you have presented on your site and by other off-page factors such as how many other sites link to your site. The more links you have pointing to your site from relevant websites, the higher your site will rank.
If you need help with this task, you can employ the services of a Link Exchange Company. They are generally inexpensive and can save you hours of time.
4. Email Signature
Every email you send should have an email "signature." This is text that is automatically attached to the bottom of your email message. This text can be used to publicize your business. You can include your name, business name, email address, street or postal address, website details, phone number, fax number, company slogan, description of your company and its products/services. You can set up different signatures for different purposes.
To set up your signature using Outlook Express:
Step 1: Select Tools > Options from the menu bar.
Step 2: Click "Signatures" .
Step 3: Make sure that you select "Add signatures to all outgoing messages" - within the "Signature settings" section. It is up to you whether you would like your signature to appear in "replies" and "forwards"
Step 4: Click "New" (you can change the name from "Signature #1" by clicking "Rename") - within "Signature" section:
Step 5: Type in the text that you would like to appear at the end of your email messages - in "Edit signature" section:
Step 6: If you're happy with this, click "Apply" and "OK".
5. Office Stationery & Merchandising Materials
It is extremely important that your website is included on ALL your office stationery so that customers can see it over and over again. That way they are more likely to remember it. If you've just had your letterheads printed, you can always add your website address on your wordprocessor, when printing your correspondence. For brochures, business cards etc, consider having small labels printed up. Your office stationery should include not only your website address, but also your email. Consider adding your details to:
• Business Cards
• Merchandise bags
• Fax headers
• Display units
6. Set up a Blog
A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. Blogs are typically updated daily or weekly and can easily be managed by you. They provide a way for you to communicate with your customers directly, give you an increased presence on major search engines, allow you to stay ahead of your competition and so much more.
You can easily publish the following information in your blog: Articles, Media releases, Industry news, Surveys - so you can get feedback from your customers, Testimonials, Product reviews, Interviews, Case studies, Links to complementary businesses, Frequently asked questions and problem resolutions, Inspirational quotes, Research findings, etc.
Blogs give you an increased presence on major search engines, like Yahoo! and Google. If you use Blogger(Google's Blogging Tool), every message you post creates a new page on Google so in a very short time you could have a lot of pages pointing to your website, bringing you lots of new visitors.
Don't be scared to try some of these marketing methods - you have nothing to lose!
About The Author
Ivana Katz of Websites 4 Small Business makes it easy for you to get your business on the internet. If you're looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit Websites 4 Small Business and download a website plan for free.