How to Promote and Market a Website
How Do You Promote Your Website to the World?
What - precisely - is the point of having the fanciest, all-singing, all-dancing website in the world,if no one ever sees it? Stop and think about it for a minute: how many newspapers would continue to be published if no one ever read them; how many stores or shops would stay in business if no one ever visited them? The concept of creating a website is exactly the same: its creation is only the very first of many steps in ensuring we achieve our desired purpose of either getting our message across or selling our product. The principals and techniques are identical, whether we are talking about an individual's personal site...or the site of a multi-national corporation. We have to get the virtual word out to the people whom we are hoping to attract and drive traffic to our website.
The good news is that I hope to show you on this one page a wide variety of ways in which we can promote and market our websites. The even better news is that I will show you how you can earn more money from the very act of promoting and marketing your site!
I promise also that I will update this page with new tips, as and when I discover them, so why not add it to your favourites for future reference?
The True Story of an Experiment Conducted...
And a valuable lesson learned!
When I had just started full time internet marketing in 2007, I decided one day to conduct what I believed would be a worthwhile experiment. I basically wanted to see what level of competition I faced in my local area in a certain respect - always advisable, yes?
I therefore invented myself as the elderly proprietor of a small local plumbing business. I searched Google and the Yellow Pages and found what looked like six very different types of website producers within my area, taking three from each source. I then proceeded to contact each of them, stating my case as to what my business was and that it had been recommended to me that I should get myself a presence on this new "Internet thing." I asked them for quotes and details of precisely what they would provide me for my money.
I was absolutely astounded! The cheapest quote I received was 395.00! (About $600.00 at that time.) To be fair, some of the website designs were out of this world, with flashing musical displays, etcetera - but as I went on to explain, I was a small time local plumber, not the lead singer of an internationally renowned Heavy Metal Rock Band!
I then proceeded to query how often they would update the site for me and how they would go about marketing it. The best answer I got to the former question was that, "Quotes for specific updates were available upon request." How helpful! To the second question, I received six "virtual" blank stares.
Please keep this story in mind as you read on...
And the answers, of course!
Do I have to already have a website or Blog in order to use this system?
Absolutely not. There is no requirement whatsoever for you to already have a Blog or website in order to start using this promotional and money-making system. All it would mean in such circumstances is that the Squidoo page you create essentially becomes the site you promote using the rest of the techniques!
Why should a professional person such as a scientist, for example, use this system?
This system is just as valuable to an eminent scientist as to anyone else. Perhaps it may be the scientist's latest theoretical paper that he or she wishes to promote and have read? They may be on the lecture tour, looking for invites. What if a university is looking for a specialist in a particular field? They may well choose to do so online in this day and age and he who has the most prominent web profile will be likely to be the first considered! Squidoo in particular has a lot of members in these highly specialised professional fields.
Why should I use this system to promote my small business?
Especially in this aftermath of "Credit Crunch," every business - large or small - is competing for the potential customer's hard-earned dollar, pound, or euro. Imagine therefore that you own a small plumbing business but the problem is that there are another five of them in your small town. The competition will be cut-throat. If someone in your town wants some plumbing work done, what are they most likely to do? Pop out and buy the local newspaper and look for adverts? Extremely unlikely - waken up to the twenty-first century! They will Google "plumber" and the name of the town. Who gets the job? The plumber in the town with the highest Web profile!
I will freely admit that the reason I began following the principals outlined below was to make money online. I had to - writing and marketing online is the biggest part of my job! I soon found, however, that I actually enjoyed working this way and the satisfaction in seeing a newly created site start to pull in search engine traffic is immense. I hope you can see just from the above examples, however, that there are many reasons why someone would be motivated to follow these guidelines - are you one of them? You almost certainly should be!
Start with Content...then Build Links!
The importance of either cannot be over-emphasised
Quality, fresh content is essential for the success of any website. We have to include what the people who clicked through to our site want to read about and update it and add to it frequently. There is no getting away from the fact that this is the most important factor for any website.
When we have our content, however, what we have to look at is linking our site to and from others around the web. There are a great many ways in which we can do this but one of the easiest and most effective is to link to it ourselves from other URL's which we own or control. This can be everything from a Social Networking site, to a Blog, to another actual website.
The following few sections cover some of the top sites upon which we can promote and market a website for free - and remember, potentially earn more money at the same time.
Hub Pages allows you to construct a web page via a variety of different modules. There are many differences between the two hosting sites, however. Hub Pages, for example, requires the user to have their own accounts with such as Google Adsense, Amazon and e-Bay in order to effectively monetise their page.
Gather Even More Links - By Joining Gather!
The sophisticated social networking site
Gather is a form of Social Networking site specifically targeted at the over thirties. It may therefore be just the type of place where you wish to establish a presence and start to get your message out. It is another site where the articles which are written upon it enjoy high search engine rankings.
How to Promote Your Website
There is of course only so much information I can include in a project of this size. Here, however, are some far more comprehensive guides available to buy online from Amazon. Surely a more than worthwhile investment...?
The online interaction site for professionals
Whether it be Marketing or Medicine, if you are in any recognised Professional field, you cannot afford not to have a profile on LinkedIn if you wish to optimise your online presence. LinkedIn has over thirty million professionals just like you, exchanging information, seeking new contacts and sharing ideas. If you are already a member, you will appreciate the value of this site - if not, why not join up today?
How Many Blogs Do You Have?
One? None? Start a new one today.
Blogs - or weblogs - are basically a running commentary on virtually any subject under the sun on specially hosted web pages. Bloggers write on everything from food and drink, to travel, to complex scientific theory. The concept is one of adding regular content around a central theme. This is a fantastic opportunity therefore for us to promote and market a website relating to ourselves or our business in an extremely cost and time effective fashion.
So who should you choose to host your Blog with? There are a great many possibilities but I would initially recommend only one.
Blogger.com is Google's blog hosting service. It allows us to add our Google Adsense ID to generate Pay Per Click income from the adverts automatically posted to our site. This was the very first Blogging service I used and I still use it today.
Add Your Website or Blog to a Bookmarking Site - Think of these sites as telephone directories for web pages
There are a great many bookmarking sites to which we can submit the URL of our web page or Blog. Essentially, as well as providing us with another all-important link, they allow people searching on them to find pages relevant to their search terms. Add your link, an explanation where applicable and some relevant tags - i.e., words or phrases which people who would find your site useful may search under.
Places to seek, acquire and provide knowledge - and obtain links, of course!
It is naturally extremely difficult for me to be precise in this section as to which forums you should participate in as you will of course have to find one relevant to your own subject or field of expertise and the website or business you are looking to market and promote. Search Google for "online forum" and the details of your subject. It may take a little time to find the right one but these debates can prove lucrative in the longer term.
One site which I would recommend in this general area is "Yahoo Answers." I try to spend fifteen minutes every few days - or even once a week - providing a few relevant answers to questions on this forum of sorts and of course include a link to one of my appropriate sites in the space actually provided for same. This in itself is unlikely to generate you a lot of traffic but the residual benefit is the enhanced standing it can provide your site with the Yahoo search engine. I have a great many sites which receive more traffic from Yahoo than from Google - and in each case they are ones with which I have answered questions on this page. You will need to sign up for a Yahoo account - if you don't already have one - in order to use Answers.
Footnote: Please see the section further down this page about Spam before joining any forums.
Of Course, Not All Links Should be Inbound
We have to have some outbound links as well!
Obtaining inbound links to our site or blog is extremely important and I hope that I have demonstrated above a variety of ways in which this can be achieved. It is equally important, however, that we also provide relevant links outwards from our site to others. Don't think of this as advertising the competition or diverting viewers away from your site. It should be seen as providing a service to your web page viewers, by giving them the option of finding more relevant content on the subject to which you write. This will be appreciated by your site visitors - and the search engine "spiders" alike!
It perhaps goes without saying that if you are such as the plumber used as an example further up this page, your outbound links should not be to the sites of your five competitiors! You may instead wish to link to sites offering such as advice on how to prevent frozen pipes in the Winter. Your visitors will find the information valuable and be consequently grateful to you.
One word of caution here, however. While we can never have enough inbound links, outbound links should not be excessive. Yes, they are a plus for your site with the search engines but don't overdo it. I once viewed a site which had (I counted them) no less than 247 links listed, one after another - the link list was longer than the rest of the site combined! This is something which far from being helpful to your visitors is likely to irritate them - that site certainly irritated me!
Look at how I have incorporated outbound links in to this site. To this point of the page, there are around forty outbound links. Are they all relevant? - absolutely. Are they irritating? - I don't believe so and certainly hope not! They provide both essential information and valuable assistance to you, the site visitor. Think carefully as to how you can provide a similar service on your site, for your visitors.
Warning - Danger Ahead!!
Please do not fall for this "scam" as I did
As you are browsing around the Web, you will see a lot of Google ads promising you this and that, including fantastic tips in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and free submission to zillions of search engines. They sound too good to be true - because they are!
Not long after I started in Internet Marketing, I had a site which was performing very well in all respects. It was well linked, it was getting traffic from both Google and Yahoo and it was making me a bit of money. Unfortunately, on the recommendation of an acquaintance and "friend," I joined a scheme which promised to have me top of the Google rankings for my primary tag within ninety days.
It took me all of two minutes to submit my URL and primary tag, plus - I can't quite recall - but I think it was a one hundred word summary of my site and click on "Send." It is one of the worst single clicks I have ever made online, I kid you not.
Since that day, I have had not one single hit on that site from Google! Believe it or not, the site still performs well as it continues to be well linked and receives on average about two hundred hits a week from Yahoo - but imagine how many hits it would get were it not clearly "black-listed" by Google?
Please believe me, no matter how tempting it sounds and how reputable the company appear to be, a Google slap is the last thing anyone or any website needs.
SPAM!!! - The "Never Never" of Successful Online Marketing
Please take very careful note of and be sure always to adhere to the contents of this section
Spam is essentially e-mail content sent to recipients you don't know - usually in the form of bulk messages - who did not request it, probably don't need it and almost certainly don't want it. We all receive it in our e-mail inboxes and probably have filters to try to reduce it as much as possible. It is annoying, it is destructive - and it is frequently extremely offensive! I personally stopped using my original e-mail account due to the large quantities of obscene and sick Spam of the worst kind that I was receiving and my ISP's total lack of ability or even simple willingness to assist me in blocking it or in any other way addressing the issue.
It is worth noting that it is possible to Spam forums as well as e-mail addresses. When posting to a forum, do so only once on any one forum and be relevant. By all means, come back another time and post additional content on either a slightly different topic or on the same subject from a slightly different perspective. Do not add numerous, meaningless or duplicate posts, one after another. This will do you no favours and may even get you banned.
It is also worth pointing out that any reputable web hosting company - including Squidoo - will take a very grim view of any of their content producers being involved in Spamming. This could in many instances result in your content being deleted and you personally banished from the site.
Please, therefore, realise that just as you hate Spam, so do other people. In simple terms - don't do it!
Footnote: Not all bulk messages are considered Spam, of course. It is perfectly acceptable to send a link to your new page or site to your friends, your colleagues, your other genuine online contacts, including a message perhaps asking for their feedback. This is in fact to be encouraged - it helps you out and the information you are imparting may even prove interesting or useful to them!
How Long Will All of this Take Me?
I quite simply don't have the time!
The good news in this respect is that no one would ever be expected to sit down and perform all of these tasks in one online session. It is a gradual process, conducted over a period of time. The most time consuming part is in getting your Squidoo page, Hub page, Blog, etcetera set up in the first instance. but such are one-off tasks. Once they are set up, add a little fresh content to one of them every day, or second day, on a rotational basis. Remember though that the content should be fresh - never duplicate content between sites. That is Google suicide!
The bottom line of it all is that if you are serious about wanting to promote and market a website, your business, yourself - or all three! - online, you have to make the time to follow procedures such as the ones outlined on this page. You have to boost your profile with the online community and the search engines - or simply sit back and watch your rivals or competition pass you by.
Let us consider three quick points:
I have an interview for the perfect job. I need a new outfit to look my best!
Will you make the time to go and purchase said outfit? Of course you will! This could be a focal point in your career and it is vital that you maximise your chances.
I am a scientist. I have the opportunity to organise an important seminar but it will be so much work!
It will indeed be a lot of work but think of how it will boost your professional profile and career prospects. You will find the time.
I am a plumber. My tools are really getting past their best. I have to find the time to buy some new ones!
Every good worker looks after his tools, so come what may, you know that you will find that time from somewhere.
Do you see my point? I put it to you, therefore, that the techniques and principals outlined on this page are at least ten times more important to your long term success than the three examples given above.
Do you have the time to get started?