You might have the greatest looking website with loads of exciting features and pages, but if nobody knows about it, then its not really doing you or your company any good. Publishing a website is only the first step in developing an online presence, once your site is live, you need to start telling people about it! This article will cover a few of the recommended ways of promoting your site.
Business cards and stationary
The first thing you should aim to do is display your website details on every piece of media that you have control over. Take this opportunity to revitalise your business cards and stationary, utilise the same branding and colour scheme that has been developed for the website on your promotional materials. If you have paid someone to design a new site for you, then it shouldn’t cost a great deal more to extend the design to cover additional items.
Posters and Flyers
Its important to get your message out to as many individuals as possible, why not have a flyer designed to promote the launch of your new website and the services that you have to offer? Make use of any space that you have availabe to you, for example create a poster or signage to go in the office window, you never know who might be passing by.
If you have been involved in something unique or remotely newsworthy, why not write a short press release about it or pay someone to do this on your behalf (being sure to quote your website details). Editors of newspapers and magazines are always looking for content to fill their pages, why not give them a helping hand and send them some choice words about your recent endeavors. If published not only will your company be seen by a large volume of people, but you will receive a backlink (discussed later) from a reputable website, which can only improve your search engine rankings.
The last few years has seen the explosion of social media over the internet. Why not take advantage of those hundreds of friends that you have out their and post link to your site on a status update. Each and every one of your friends who ‘retweets’ or ‘likes’ the link will be in turn showing it to their group of friends… you can rapidly reach a large volume of people. For more information on this why not read this article on Social Media?
One word of warning would be to do this in moderation, as people might soon become irritated if they are seeing a message from you every few days. Once a month might be more suitable.
There are two main approaches to advertising your site via search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Take Google (the largest) for example, you can either advertise using paid listing which google calls ‘Google Adwords’, or you can aim for the much more difficult ‘Organic’ Listings.
These are displayed on the far right of the results screen and sometimes at the top of the page (highlighted), they work on a cost per click basis. A website owner registers an account with Google Adwords, deposits a set amount of money (£100 for example), then sets up a ‘campaign’. In this campaign, the user chooses a selection of keywords that they would like to rank for (i.e. ‘blue widget’ and ‘red widget’). The user must then decide how much they are willing to pay every time someone clicks on their advert. If the keywords are very popular you will have to set this value higher (for example to appear regularly on the first page of Google for ‘web design newcaste’ you might have to pay 1.50 – 2.00 per click). As you would expect, over time your credit will decrease and you will need to add more money to your budget.
Whilst this does seem quite an expensive way to advertise your firm, you might be interested to know a number of web hosting companies offer free Google Adwords vouchers, when you take out a new hosting package. Google itself offers £30 free to new customers.
These form the main body of the google results page and are determined entirely by Googles search algorythms.The art of trying to increase your sites ranking in these organic listings is called ‘Search Engine Optimization (SEO)’. This process can be considered in two distinct parts; On site Optimization deals with the ways in which your website has been written i.e. dispurtion of keywords throughout the site, website coding and structure etc (this is covered in more detail here), Off Site Optimization is primarily about the quantity and quality of links back to your website.
For the purposes off this article, we are only going to consider Off site Optimization techniques that you can employ yourself to increase your websites standing on the internet. Basically, Google is interested in what other people (or websites) think about your site. If someone creates a link (reffered to as backlinks) to your site, then it is like them casting a vote to say ‘i think this site is worthy’. If the website that the link is coming from, is from a website in the same field as your own, (i.e. it covers the same topics, and is geared towards similar keywords) then that vote is worth considerably more.
Here are a few suggestions to generate backlinks to your site:
Make sure that you first of all register your company and website details with both the Yell and BT phone directories (its free).
Then register your details with as many ‘online business directories’ that you can find on the web. One technique I found useful was to search for your competitors websites via Google and note down which directories they are listed with. In most cases these are free and only take a few minutes. One directory may result in your gaining 10+ backlinks (i found this with blogrectory).
If you are proud of the work you do and the quality of service you offer, then why not encourage your previous customers to complete a short review (one paragraph) about your company. One such website that I came across lately was ‘www.freeindex.co.uk’, register an account with them, then ask customers to make a review of your profile. This site has over 1.5 million visits a month, and works on number of reviews, therefore if you search for ‘web design newcastle’, it will list all relevant results, but the one with the most positive reviews comes at the top of the list (at the time of writing this article Sure Media is number one).
Its always worth sending an email to owners of other websites, that may offer a related service to your own or even the same service. Ask if they might be happy to add a link to your site in exchange for a link to thier own. This will benefit both sites, but be sure not to over do this as it might detract from the user experience and asthetics of your site. If you are happy with the quality of your site then you shouldn’t lose customers this way.
Write Articles (or Blog)
One of the best ways of getting links back to your own site is to write interesting quality content. If someone likes what you have to say, then not only will they keep coming back, but they might also add a link to your content. Why not consider starting a blog on your site, or if you dont want to go the full hog, why not write a few select articles about your area of profession. You can then publish them on your site, and more importantly ‘submit them to article publishing sites’. The way this works, is that other people can then republish your article on their site, whilst publishing a link back to your site at the same time.
Engage in your community
You should spend some time reading other peoples articles and comment regularly if possible. Over time you might refer people back to your own site or articles that you have published. When you log in to make a comment, a number of blogs give you the chance to submit your website details and effectvely provide a link back to your site.
These are a few of the techniques that you might consider when promoting your site. To see how effective your attempts at promoting yourself are, you should register for a Google Webmaster and Analytics account and check your statistics regularly (see this article here).