MARKETING TIPS FOR YOUR WEBSITE PROGRAMMER
Below you will find some helpful marketing tips to promote your website more
Please note: These are tips ONLY for advanced programmers, not normal owners of website. We do not specialize in this type of service,
but want to share ways of getting a better ranking in the search engines.
So how can you get more visitors to your website? What can you do to stimulate traffic? Here's a checklist of 32 items you need to consider.
Many of these you're probably doing already; others you meant to do and forgot about; still others you've never heard of. Of course, a
great deal has been written about this. While we're not breaking any new ground here, we've tried to summarize some of the most important techniques.
Search Engine Strategies
Perhaps the most important -- and inexpensive -- strategy is to rank high for your preferred words on the main search engines in 'organic'
or 'natural' searches (as opposed to paid ads). Search engines send robot 'spiders' to index the content on your webpage, so let's begin
with steps to prepare your webpages for optimal indexing. The idea here is not to trick the search engines, but to leave them abundant
clues as to what your webpage is about.
1. Write a Page Title. Write a descriptive title for each page of 5 to 8 words. Remove as many 'filler' words from the title, such as
'the', 'and', etc. This page title will appear hyperlinked on the search engines when your page is found. Entice searchers to click on
the title by making it a bit provocative. Place this at the top of the webpage between the HEAD-TAGS tags, in this format:
Web Marketing Checklist -- 32 Ways to Promote Your Website. (It also shows on the blue bar at the top of your web browser.)
Plan to use some descriptive keywords along with your business name on your home page. If you specialize in silver bullets and that's
what people will be searching for, don't just use your company name 'Acme Ammunition, Inc.' use 'Silver and Platinum Bullets -- Acme
Ammunition, Inc.' The words people are most likely to search on should appear first in the title (called 'keyword prominence').
Remember, this title is nearly your entire identity on the search engines. The more people see that interests them in the blue hyperlinked
words on the search engine, the more likely they are to click on the link.
2. Write a Description and Keyword META Tag. The description should be a sentence or two describing the content of the webpage, using
the main keywords and keyphrases on this page. If you include keywords that aren't used on the webpage, you could hurt yourself. Place
the Description META Tag at the top of the webpage, between the tags, in this format: Some search engines include this
description below your hyperlinked title.
Your maximum number of characters should be about 255; just be aware that only the first 60 or so are visible on Google, though more
may be indexed.
When we prepare a webpage, we write the article first, then write a description of the content in that article in a sentence or two,
using each of the important keywords and keyphrases included in the article. This goes into the description META tag. Then for the
keywords META tag, we strip out the common words, leaving just the meaty words and phrases. The keywords META tag is no longer used
for ranking by Google, but it is currently used by Yahoo, so we're leaving it in. Who knows when more search engines will consider it
important again? Every webpage in your site should have a title, and META description tag.
3. Include Your Keywords in Header Tags H1, H2, H3. Search engines consider words that appear in the page headline and sub heads to
be important to the page, so make sure your desired keywords and phrases appear in one or two header tags. Don't expect the search
engine to parse your Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) to figure out which are the headlines -- it won't. Instead, use keywords in the H1,
H2, and H3 tags to provide clues to the search engine. (Note: Some designers no longer use the H1, H2 tags. That's a mistake. Make
sure your designer defines these tags in the CSS rather than creating headline tags with other names.)
4. Make Sure Your Keywords Are in the First Paragraph of Your Body Text. Search engines expect that your first paragraph will contain
the important keywords for the document -- where most people write an introduction to the content of the page. You don't want to just
artificially stuff keywords here, however. More is not better. Google might expect a keyword density in the entire body text area of
maybe 1.5% to 2% for a word that should rank high, so don't overdo it. Other places you might consider including keywords would be in
ALT tags and perhaps COMMENT tags, though few search engines give these much if any weight.
5. Use Keywords in Hyperlinks. Search engines are looking for clues to the focus of your page. When they see words hyperlinked in your
body text, they consider these potentially important, so hyperlink your important keywords and keyphrases. To emphasize it even more,
the webpage you are linking to could have a page name with the keyword or keyphrase, such as blue-widget.htm -- another clue for the
6. Make Your Navigation System Search Engine Friendly. Some webmasters use frames, but frames can cause serious problems with search
engines. Even if search engines can find your content pages, they could be missing the key navigation to help visitors get to the rest
that take a search engine spider from your home page to every page in your site. A site map with links to all your pages can help, too.
If your site isn't getting indexed fully, make sure you submit a Google Sitemap following directions on Google's site
(www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/login). Greg Tarrant's Google Sitemap Generator and Editor (www.sitemapdoc.com) is a free tool
to build these. Be aware that some content management systems and e-commerce catalogs produce dynamic, made-on-the-fly webpages. You
can sometimes recognize them by question marks in the URLs followed by long strings of numbers or letters. Overworked search engines
sometimes stop at the question mark and refuse to go farther. If you find the search engines aren't indexing your interior pages, you
might consider URL rewriting, a site map, and targeted content pages. Commercial solutions include Bruce Clay's Dynamic Site Mapping
(www.bruceclay.com/web_dsm.htm) and YourAmigo.com's SpiderLinker (www.youramigo.com)
7. Develop Several Pages Focused on Particular Keywords. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists no longer recommend using external
doorway or gateway pages, since nearly duplicate webpages might get you penalized. Rather, develop several webpages on your site, each
of which is focused on a different keyword or keyphrase. For example, instead of listing all your services on a single webpage, try
developing a separate webpage for each. These pages will rank higher for their keywords since they contain targeted rather than general
content. You can't fully optimize all the webpages in your site, but these focused-content webpages you'll want to spend lots of time
tweaking to improve their rank.
8. Submit Your Webpage URL to Search Engines. Next, submit your homepage URL to the important Web search engines that robotically index
the Web. Look for a link on the search engine for 'Add Your URL.' In the US, the most used search engines are: Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL
Search, and Ask.com. Some of these feed search content to the other main search engines and portal sites. For Europe and other areas
you'll want to submit to regional search engines. It's a waste of money to pay someone to submit your site to hundreds of search engines.
Avoid registering with FFA (Free For All pages) and other link farms. They don't work well, bring you lots of spam e-mails, and could
cause you to be penalized by the search engines. We'll talk about submitting to directories under 'Linking Strategies' below. If your
page is already indexed by a search engine, don't re-submit it unless you've made significant changes; the search engine spider will
come back and revisit it soon anyway.
9. Fine-tune with Search Engine Optimization. Now fine-tune your focused-content pages (described in point 7), and perhaps your home
page, by making minor adjustments to help them rank high. Many small and large businesses outsource search engine positioning because
of the considerable time investment it requires.
10. Promote Your Local Business on the Internet. These days many people search for local businesses on the Internet. To make sure
they find you include on every page of your website the street address, zip code, phone number, and the five or 10 other local
community place names your business serves. If you can, include place names in the title tag, too. When you seek links to your site
(see below), a local business should get links from local businesses with place names in the communities you serve and complementary
businesses in your industry nationwide.
Links to your site from other sites bring additional traffic. But since Google and other major search engines consider the number of
incoming links to your website ('link popularity') as an important factor in ranking, more links will help you rank higher in the search
engines, too. Google has introduced a 10-point scale called PageRank (10 is the highest rank) to indicate the quantity and quality of
incoming links. All links, however, are not created equal. Links from popular information hubs will help your site rank higher than
those from low traffic sites.
11. Submit Your Site to Key Directories, since a link from a directory will help your ranking -- and get you traffic. Be sure to list
your site in the free Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.com), overseen by overworked volunteer human editors. This hierarchical directory
provides content feeds to all the major search engines. Plus it provides a link to your site from an information hub that Google deems
important. But don't be impatient and resubmit or you'll go to the end of the queue.
Yahoo! Directory is another important directory to be listed in, though their search results recently haven't been featuring their own
directory as prominently. Real humans will read (and too often, pare down) your 200-character sentence, so be very careful and follow
their instructions (http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/).
Hint: Use somewhat less than the maximum number of characters allowable, so
you don't have wordy text that will tempt the Yahoo! editor to begin chopping. Business sites require an annual recurring fee for
Yahoo! Express to have your site considered for inclusion within seven business days (http://docs.yahoo.com/info/suggest/busexpress.html).
Other directories to consider might be About.com and Business.com.
12. Submit Your Site to Industry Sites and Specialized Directories. You may find some directories focused on particular industries,
such as education or finance. You probably belong to various trade associations that feature member sites. Ask for a link. Even if you
have to pay something for a link, it may help boost your PageRank. Beware of directories that solicit you for 'upgraded listings.'
Unless a directory is widely used in your field, your premium ad won't help -- but the link itself will help boost your PageRank and
hence your search engine ranking. Marginal directories come and go very quickly, making it hard to keep up. Don't try to be exhaustive
13. Request Reciprocal Links. Find complementary websites and request a reciprocal link to your site (especially to your free service,
if you offer one). Develop an out-of-the way page where you put links to other sites -- so you don't send people out the back door as
fast as you bring them in the front door. Your best results will be from sites that get a similar amount of traffic to your site.
High-traffic site webmasters are too busy to answer your requests for a link and don't have anything to gain. Look for smaller sites
that may have linking pages.
Check out Ken Evoy's free SiteSell Value Exchange. It (1) registers your site as one that is willing to exchange links with other sites
that have a similar theme/topic content and (2) searches for sites with similar topical content (http://sales.sitesell.com/value-exchange/).
Additionally, two automated link building software programs stand out -- Zeus and Arelis. These search for complementary sites, help you
maintain a link directory, and manage reciprocal links.
However, use these programs to identify the complementary sites, not to send
impersonal automated e-mail spam to site owners. When you locate sites, send a personal e-mail to the administrative contact found in
the Whois Directory (www.networksolutions.com/whois/). If e-mail doesn't get a response, try a phone call. One warning: Be sure to only
link to complementary sites, no matter how often you are bombarded with requests to exchange links with a mortgage site that has nothing
to do with yours. One way Google determines what your site is about is who you link to and who links to you. It's not just links, but
quality links you seek.
14. Write Articles for Others to Use in their Newsletters. You can dramatically increase your visibility when you write articles in your
area of expertise and distribute them to editors as free content for their e-mail newsletters or their websites. Just ask that a link
to your website and a one-line description of what you offer be included with the article. This is an effective 'viral' approach that
can produce hundreds of links to your site over time.
15. Begin a Business Blog. Want links to your site? Begin a business blog on your website, hosted on your own domain. If you offer
excellent content and regular industry comment, people are likely to link to it, increasing your site's PageRank. If you have a blog on
a third-party blog site, occasionally find reasons to talk about and link to your own domain.
16. Issue News Releases. Find newsworthy events and send news releases to print and Web periodicals in your industry. The links to your
site in online news databases may remain for years and have some clout with link popularity. However, opening or redesigning a website
is seldom newsworthy these days. Placing your website URL in online copies of your press release may increase link popularity some.
Just because 'old media' strategies aren't on the Internet doesn't mean they aren't effective. A mixed media approach can be very e
17. Include Your URL on Stationery, Cards, and Literature. This is a no-brainer that is sometimes overlooked. Make sure that all reprints
of cards, stationery, brochures, and literature contain your company's URL. And see that your printer gets the URL syntax correct.
In print, we recommend leaving off the http:// part and including only the www.domain.com portion.
18. Promote using traditional media. Don't discontinue print advertising that you've found effective. But 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
adjunct to the ad. Use a two-step approach: (1) capture readers' attention with the ad, (2) then refer them to a URL where they can
obtain more information and perhaps place an order. Look carefully at small display or classified ads in the back of narrowly-targeted
magazines or trade periodicals. Sometimes these ads are more targeted, more effective, and less expensive than online advertising.
Consider other traditional media to drive people to your site, such as direct mail, classifieds, post cards, etc. TV can be used to
promote websites, especially in a local market.
19. Develop a Free Service. It's boring to invite people, 'Come to our site and learn about our business.' It's quite another to say 'Use
the free kitchen remodeling calculator available exclusively on our site.' Make no mistake, it's expensive in time and energy to develop
free resources, but it is very rewarding in increased traffic to your site. Make sure that your free service is closely related to
what you are selling so the visitors you attract will be good prospects for your business. Give visitors multiple opportunities and
links to cross over to the sales part of your site.
Don't neglect e-mail as an important way to bring people to your website. Just don't spam. That is, don't send bulk unsolicited e-mails
without permission to people with whom you have no relationship.
20. Install a 'Signature' in your E-Mail Program to help potential customers get in touch with you. Most e-mail programs such as AOL and Outlook 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, e-mail address, and a one-phrase description of your unique business offering. Look for
examples on e-mail messages sent to you.
21. Publish an E-Mail Newsletter. While it's a big commitment in time, publishing a monthly e-mail newsletter ('ezine') is one of the
very best ways to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, develop brand awareness, and build future business. It also helps
you collect e-mail addresses from those who visit your site but aren't yet ready to make a purchase. Ask for an e-mail address and
first name so you can personalize the newsletter. You can distribute your newsletter using listservers such as:
22. Send Offers to Your Visitors and Customers. Your own list of customers and site visitors who have given you permission to contact
them will be your most productive list. Send offers, coupon specials, product updates, etc. Personalizing the subject line and the
message may increase the results.
23. Rent targeted e-mail lists. We abhor 'spam,' bulk untargeted, unsolicited e-mail, and you'll pay a very stiff price in a ruined
reputation and cancelled services if you yield to temptation here. But the direct marketing industry has developed targeted e-mail
lists you can rent -- lists consisting of people who have agreed to receive commercial e-mail messages. These lists cost $40 to $400
per thousand or 4¢ to 40¢ per name. Do a smaller test first to determine the quality of the list. Your best bet is to find an e-mail
list broker to help you with this project -- you'll save money and get experienced help for no additional cost.
24. Promote Your Site in Online Forums and Blogs. The Internet offers thousands of very targeted e-mail based discussion lists,
online forums, blogs, and Usenet news groups made up of people with very specialized interests. Use Google Groups to find appropriate
sources (groups.google.com). Don't bother with news groups consisting of pure 'spam.' Instead, find groups where a serious dialog is
taking place. Don't use aggressive marketing and overtly plug your product or service. Rather, add to the discussion in a helpful way
and let the 'signature' at the end of your e-mail message do your marketing for you. People will gradually get to know and trust you,
visit your site, and do business with you.
25. Announce a Contest. People like getting something free. If you publicize a contest or drawing available on your site, you'll
generate more traffic than normal. Make sure your sweepstakes rules are legal in all states and countries you are targeting.
Prizes should be designed to attract individuals who fit a demographic profile describing your best customers.
26. Ask Visitors to Bookmark Your Site. It seems so simple, but make sure you ask visitors to bookmark your site or save it in their
27. Exchange Ads with Complementary Businesses. Banner exchange programs don't work well these days. But consider exchanging e-mail
newsletter ads with complementary businesses to reach new audiences. Just be sure that your partners are careful where they get their
mailing list or you could be in trouble with the CAN-SPAM Act.
28. Devise Viral Marketing Promotion Techniques. So-called viral marketing uses the communication networks (and preferably the resources)
of your site visitors or customers to spread the word about your site exponentially. Word-of-mouth, PR, creating buzz, and network
marketing are offline models. #14 above, 'Write Articles for Others to Use in their Newsletters,' is a viral approach. The classic
example is the free e-mail service, hotmail.com, that includes a tagline about their service at the end of every message sent out,
so friends tell friends, who tell friends.
Paid Advertising Strategies
None of the approaches described above is 'free,' since each takes time and energy. But if you want to grow your business more rapidly,
there comes a point when you need to pay for increased traffic. Advertising is sold in one of three ways: (1) traditional CPM (cost
per thousand views), (2) pay per click (PPC), and (3) pay per action, otherwise known as an affiliate program or lead generation
program. Do some small tests first to determine response. Then calculate your return on investment (ROI) before spending large
amounts. Here are some methods:
29. Buy a Text Ad in an E-Mail Newsletter. Some of the best buys are small text ads in e-mail newsletters targeted at audiences likely
to be interested in your products or services. Many small publishers aren't sophisticated about advertising and offer attractive rates.
30. Begin an Affiliate Program. Essentially, a retailer's affiliate program pays a commission to other sites whose links to the retailer
result in an actual sale. The goal is to build a network of affiliates who have a financial stake in promoting your site. If you're a
merchant you, need to (1) determine the commission you are willing to pay (consider it your advertising cost), (2) select a company
to set up the technical details of your program, and (3) promote your program to get the right kind of affiliates who will link to
your site. Consider affiliate management software.
31. Purchase Pay Per Click (PPC) ads with Yahoo Search Marketing (formerly Overture) and Google AdWords (https://adwords.google.com/select/).
The top ads appear as featured links to the right of 'natural' search engine results for your keywords. Your ranking is determined by
how much you've bid for a particular search word compared to other businesses. This can be a cost-effective way to get targeted traffic,
since you only pay when someone actually clicks on the link. An excellent e-book on PPC strategies is Andrew Goodman's 21 Ways to
Maximize Profits on Google AdWords. Pay Per Click advertising can be quite cost-effective when you learn how to use it. Yahoo Search
Marketing even offers some free credit to get you started.
32. List Your Products with Shopping Comparison Bots and Auction Sites. Shopping bots compare your products and prices to others.
Google's Froogle (www.froogle.com) is free, so be sure to list your products there. A Froogle listing also helps your product page's
ranking on Google. Some work on a PPC basis: mySimon (www.mysimon.com), BizRate (www.bizrate.com), PriceGrabber (www.pricegrabber.com),
and Shopping.com (www.shopping.com). Others expect a commission on the sale and sometimes a listing fee, especially sales systems that
host the merchant. These include eBay (www.ebay.com), Yahoo! Shopping Auctions (http://auctions.shopping.yahoo.com), Amazon zShops,
Marketplace, and Auctions (http://zshops.amazon.com), and Yahoo! Shopping (http://shopping.yahoo.com). You pay to acquire first-time
customers, but hopefully you can sell to them a second, third, and fourth time, too.
We certainly haven't exhausted ways to promote your site, but these will get you started. To effectively market your site, you need to
spend some time adapting these strategies to your own market and capacity. Right now, why don't you make an appointment to go over this
checklist with someone in your organization, and make it the basis for your new Internet marketing strategy?
Always remember - a website is a living, moving, electronic happening. The possibilities are