The three responses:
1. If I put a web site out there it will be one of millions! So it's useless for me to have a website!
Usually when I get this response I reply that like everything else your web site has to be marketed. Would you start a business and never advertise? It's like signing a death warrant. Even though a web site is used as advertisement for your business in some cases it (the web site) still has to be marketed as well. I usually don't spend to much time with these people and let them get on with their lives.
2. If I put up a web site I can sell out all of my inventory that's taking up space!
I just came across this one today, and had to let the customer know that just putting up a web site is not going to magically help him get rid of all of his excess inventory. He had to know the finer points of how to get a web site noticed. One thing about these type of customers I noticed is that they don't realize it takes money to make money. Below I will give numerous examples that are very cost effective for getting your web site noticed. But to do the job fully and correctly, you'll have to expect to spend some money. In the end it is always worth it. (Except if you are trying to sell ice cubes in Antarctica. Then I would highly suggest hiring an excellent salesperson.)
3. Great! I can have a web site up to display my items 24/7! Can you point me in the right direction on how to market a web site?
These are the kind of responses I like! Someone with good business sense and knows a little bit on how to succeed in business. These kinds of customers I can speak freely to and give them the different kind of options that they can take. And this article will touch base on some of the details on what to do. It would pay to do research on marketing from the internet, marketing books, advisors, etc. There are many sources out there if you look.
Not all web traffic is equal!
One thing that you have to remember is that not all web traffic is equal! I added many pages detailing how to set up a SSL certificate on different control panels. Plus a FAQ page on SSL certificates and the details of the options you have for picking a SSL certificate. (SSL certificates are the things that give you a padlocked secure site for shopping carts and what not.) As a result of this I get MUCH traffic from people using the search engines looking for information on SSL certificates. At least a few hundred per month. This type of traffic generally already have a web site and are looking for instructions on how to install a SSL certificate they already have. I generally only sell SSL certificates to people that I designed their web pages for. It just makes it simpler for me. Although anyone is welcome to visit my site and purchase one for a web site somewhere else.
So you can see how this type of traffic is not very beneficial for making me money, but I am glad that I can help the public out in some way. I also get a fair amount of traffic from software that can be downloaded from my site. And again this does not generate much business. But one thing to remember is that this type of traffic does make your site more known and remembered, and someone may remember your site when someone talks to them about needing this or that.
How do you get web traffic that counts?
To get web traffic that counts and to make your web site known to the public you have to market your site to let people know that it is there. After people know that your web site is there you will have a portal to your business where people can visit 24/7. It's like having a salesperson at your beck and call 24 hours a day, and having someone to sell your merchandise online 24 hours a day. In the long run with the right marketing plan this can really pay off, and here are some tips on how to do it.
You can set up a pay per click advertising campaign to however much you want to spend per month. A great deal of keyword research should be done on this and there are some courses on the web that will help you learn how to get the most benefit from this. Pay per click campaigns are the results of the sponsored listings in the search engines. The search engines have to make money some how to stay up and running! Don't they? This is why you see meta search engines slowly dying out. Here is Wikipedia's definition of PPC:
Pay per click, or PPC, is an advertising technique used on websites, especially search engines. Pay per click advertisements are usually text ads placed near search results; when a site visitor clicks on the advertisement, the advertiser is charged a small amount. Variants include pay for placement and pay for ranking. Pay per click is also sometimes known as Cost Per Click or CPC.
The most popular pay-per-click search engines are Google AdWords and Yahoo! Overture, followed by Findwhat, Shopping.com, NexTag, Bizrate and Pricegrabber. Depending on the search engine, minimum prices per click start at US$0.01 (up to US$0.50). Very popular search terms can cost much more on popular engines. Abuse of the pay per click model can result in click fraud.
PPC engines can be categorized in "Keyword" engines and "Product" engines.
SEO or Organic Listings!
SEO (search engine optimization) is more costly at first, but pays off in the long run. Organic searches are used 80% of the time, while the sponsored searches are used 20% of the time. As an example of what SEO can do for your site. If you typed in 'web development contractor' into MSN or Google you'll see my site, Theinternetpresence.com, at the #1 position. And it is currently #18 in Yahoo! These stats were taken on 6/9/05. Some of the things that I am going to list below will both help get your site noticed and help your web site rankings in the search engine. Be looking for Highwebrankings.com coming soon to help you achieve these results.
SEO is achieved by careful research of your keywords (which you may already have if you did this for your PPC campaign), careful placement of keywords in your content, proper web design structure, submitting your site to search engines and directories, and building a good linking strategy.
Get Valuable Links Pointing to your Site!
This method can both be free and cost you money. There are numerous directories and search engines that you can submit to that do not cost a dime. THE most important directory to submit to still doesn't cost a dime! It is DMOZ found at Dmoz.org. Although it is free it is slow in getting listed there. It can take months to get listed there. The 2nd most popular (and most valuable) directory to submit to is Yahoo! It's cost is currently $299 per year. These two directories help your search engine rankings the best and are also helpful to getting your web site known. Do a search on the internet for more directories to submit to. Especially directories that are specific to your web site theme. For example if you sell shoes you could type in 'shoe directory' into the search engine.
You can also write articles like this one and put your web site address on the bottom, do reciprocal linking (but there are dangers with this if you do it with the wrong people), and many other ways to get links pointing to your site. For more information on how to do this visit Theinternetpresence.com. It has an article there entitled, "How and Why to Build a Linking Strategy."
Have your web site address printed on your insvoices, receipts, business cards, flyers, newspaper ads, radio ads, and television ads. The possibilities are endless. Let all of your customers know that you have a web site now. Set up a press release pointing out the conveniences for your customers if they use your web site. Word of mouth goes a long way. Another idea is to have your web site address plastered on bill boards or on the side of company vehicles. Giving away promotional items such as pens that have your web site address on it can help too. Just be sure that the pens work well or else they can end up giving you a bad name. I've thrown away quite a few crappy pens in my day and thought that the businesses had the same quality.
On Site Promotion!
While people are at your site you can set up a 'Refer a Friend' link, 'Email this Page to a Friend' link, or a 'Print This Page' link to help gain popularity. Also you could offer discount coupons that are only available from your web site. This will help you track where your customers are coming from.
If you do a little hunting and searching you'll find many ways to promote your web site, and soon your web site will become so popular that it will be promoting your business very well. If you would like more informational articles on how to promote your business and web site read our archive of articles at Theinternetpresence.com and coming soon Highwebrankings.com.
Highwebrankings.com is going to be a division of Internet Presence that will show you how to optimize your site, provide you with the reports you need to SEO your site, offer services such as keyword research, etc. And if you don't want to attempt to do it yourself we can do it for you. So be looking for this site to show up in the coming months.