If you build it, will they come?

It's all about marketing after your website is built.

The single biggest mistake made by most website owners, too little marketing is done to create awareness and generate enough interest to see the benefits a website can provide. Simply creating a website will not generate mobs of traffic and will not cause your website to be immediately listed in all the search engines. Having a website is meaningless if no one knows about it, yet many businesses spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars building their website and then sit back and wait for the business to come rolling in. It just isn’t going to happen. Don’t expect it and you won’t be disappointed. Building a website is only one step in an overall marketing plan. ...

Website promotion
Promotion of your website is an ongoing process. You should make your URL (website address) known to the public using as many methods as possible. The options listed here aren't the only ones available. Regardless of which methods you use, remember that your ultimate goal isn't to only bring in traffic, it’s to bring in qualified traffic.

Search Engine
Search Engines are becoming the online equivalent of printed business directories, such as the Yellow Pages. It is important that you optimize your website for listing its details with Search Engines. Otherwise, you may be missing potential customer leads. Search engines want to deliver the most relevant pages at the top, so they use highly sophisticated and complex algorithms to rank websites. Focus on three key factors to improve your search engine positioning; highly targeted keywords, content and optimized web page code.
Manually submit your website information to each individual search engine regularly. Automated search engine submission software is not recommended. Most Search Engines have a formal, online process for submitting Website details. The process varies with each Search Engine. For the majority of Search Engines, all you need to do is provide the domain name of your Website (e.g. www.andrechelle.com), a short description and your keywords. You should also resubmit your website to the search engines after any significant change is made to the website.

Target Regionally Specific Directories
These smaller directories are usually tightly focused on your particular area and customer base. Newspapers, Internet Service Providers, local business magazines and other local guides are often popular with local residents because they carry information about local news and entertainment events. Getting your website listed in regionally specific directories and business listings can allow you to reach your target market where they visit most.

Link popularity is an important criterion in most search engine ranking algorithms. Some use it almost exclusively. Developing quality inbound links is critical for high rankings. You have created great content and offer a superb service -- and now, you want people to know about it. To ensure that your website has the visibility it deserves, you will need other websites to point (link) to yours. The more popular your website is, the better it will rank.

Reciprocal Links

Reciprocal links form a vital part of any website promotion effort. The process of exchanging (reciprocal) links is essentially a simple one, but there are various approaches that can be taken in searching out and requesting links. Reciprocal links generally bring in more qualified visitors than the search engines

Client Links
Don’t overlook your existing client base for link partners. There is a good chance your business clients have established websites. Ask them for reciprocal links, which can lead to increased traffic to your site.

Links from Related Businesses
You can improve your link popularity score by trading links with related businesses. That also helps bring targeted traffic to the linked Web sites.
Perhaps you already have working relationships with other local businesses. For instance, a carpet cleaner might provide links to local carpet -related resources like installers, retail carpet stores, or even other services like painters, and hardwood refinishers, etc. Ideally, these businesses would return the favor and everyone would benefit.

Offline marketing

Your website is only one tool in your Marketing toolbox, and is most effective when used in conjunction with your other marketing tools. Whatever you have printed, make sure it has your URL on it, your letterhead, post cards, brochures, sales letters, invoices, and business cards. Add it to any advertisements you place in newspapers, magazines, on the radio or television or in the yellow pages. Include it in any email correspondence. And be sure to mention it in any conversations you have with potential customers.

Display your URL on all company cars, trucks and vans. Vehicular advertising is a great method of promotion. Advertise your website wherever you go – even in traffic! Use large, easy to read lettering to attract attention and get read.

Get FREE big media promotion.
Press releases are excellent for getting the attention of the public. For example, this may be to announce the opening of your new business where you will have an excellent opportunity to display your URL. Once your site is launched, or after a major revision, get out a press release. Almost all e-zine, TV, radio, newspaper, and magazine editors accept press releases. Now that most media sources are online, e-mail is the preferred way for them to receive your releases. Your release should be one page long and offer valuable information of interest to the publications' readers. Editors won't print a blatant ad that is not accompanied by newsworthy information.

Well designed, content rich web pages are imperative if you wish to have success in marketing your website. Dedicate yourself and recognize that you will need to spend the time and energy required promoting your website and services, both online and offline. This “extra work” may seem daunting when you are first planning to develop your website, but it is well worth the effort. The point is, don’t be intimidated, but rather educated and realistic.

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