Hello, I’m over here! Getting noticed on the web
Getting noticed on the web is the holy grail of most webmasters and rightfully so. Not only can you turn visitors into dollars, if done properly, but it also gives a feeling of accomplishment. In all honesty, getting people to your site is really not that difficult. There are probably 1000 things that you can do to attract visitors. The real trick is making use of all of them. The mistake that a lot of people make is believing that there is one magical way, some mystical ritual that will invoke the visitor magnet spell. Ok, so I’m being facetious but the reality is it does take work and diligence to make things happen. This is by no means a complete list, for a beginning webmaster or someone who is interested in becoming a webmaster, to follow. I am going to assume that an idea for a web site has already been decided upon.
1. The web site itself. This is a very important aspect of web marketing but I am focusing primarily on external web marketing. There are, however, a few things that I want to cover here because I believe they are very important.
CONVENIENCE This is a big one. People today are accustomed to getting things fast from drive-thru pharmacies to high-speed internet. Instant gratification has become the rule of the day. With this in mind, web pages should load quickly. Believe it or not a 4 second load time for a page is extremely slow today. When the page is loaded potential customers expect to find what they are looking for immediately. Your site should be very well laid out and everything should be easily and quickly navigated. The brick and mortar days of putting the most popular items in the back so customers have to walk through the whole store are not effective for online businesses. This strategy should be avoided at all costs. Some studies have shown that if customers do not find what they are looking for in the first 15 seconds they will move on.
2. The first steps in getting the word out. Visit the popular business directories. http://dir.yahoo.com/, http://sbd.bcentral.com/, http://yellowpages.aol.com/#, There are hundreds more.
3. Search engine submittal. A lot of websites offer this service for a fee. I personally have never found it worth it. I recommend doing this yourself. It is easy and does not take that long to do if you submit it to the top search engines.
4. Forums. Get to know your market. There really is no better research than visiting forums related to your market and reading. Find out what your customer’s concerns are. Keep reading until you feel comfortable enough to post. Don’t spam the forums and be sure to read the rules for posting. A lot of forums will allow you to leave a link and some will not. Either way, make sure you respect the guidelines for posting. I did come across a trick for getting recognized by search engines. Most forums allow you an avatar. That is a picture that appears when you post. You can usually set that up in your preferences when you sign up at most any forums. Typically it is a link to offsite where the picture is hosted. Make sure it is hosted from your web site and named after it. I made a bunch of avatars for a lot of friends and hosted them from my web site. To my surprise, it definitely caught the attention of the search engines. Your goal here is to help not only advertise. After long enough you might just be the person everyone has questions for.
By starting with these four marketing strategies you can lay the foundation for a strong presence on the web. It will not happen overnight but it will increase the popularity of your website. Remember, web marketing is a cumulative proposition. The more marketing strategies you use the better.