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Promoting Your Web Business

Sat 09 Oct 2010 - by Michael Wells

As a guideline, you need to consider some mix of these strategies to get your website launched into the world.

  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  2. Partnering and Link-Exchange
  3. Create Value on your Website
  4. Email Newsletter
  5. Paid Internet Advertising

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is a basic consideration of any public website and should be one of the first things considered in its design.  That is, every website has two audiences -- the people that use it, and the search engines that index it.  You have to consider both of these when you are creating and tagging your photos, pages, and content.

As a basic rule, start by making a list of all the keywords that relate to your business.  Use both specific and general keywords, and then work these into your website content, titles, headings, SEO meta tags, and image tags.  Miru gives you the ability to edit and manage all of these areas yourself.

Partnering and Link-Exchange

Find and select legitimate partners, who you can link exchange with.  You put their website link on your site, and they do the same in returen.  Do not use random link-exchange programmes as these can badly damage your search engine rankin--search engines can see you as “good by association” with the sites that you link with, but also “bad by association” for the same reason. 

Quality matters, and you should never recommend a product or service on your website that you would not recommend first-hand to your best clients.

Create Value on your Website

People are attracted to value, and on the web great content is very valuable.  Make your website interesting, useful, informative and fun, and people will find it, link to it, bookmark it, tell their friends, and keep coming back.

Good content includes articles, tools like financial calculators, reference libraries, dictionaries, photos and videos -- even online games.  Pick the things that work well for you site, relate to your business, and attract the right type of visitors.Consider the McDonalds example.  McDonalds has a fairly average product which is substantially non-unique… so realizing that many of their customers are families with young children, they added a Playland for families.  Burger King is targeting a slightly older more teen-youth audience, and so has added TV’s with music videos, never-ending soda fountains, and a décor suited to their own target audience. 

Learn who your customer is and what will bring them back, even things outside of your core product. 

Email Newsletter

Like any business you need to build a relationship with your clients, and your prospective clients.  The best way to do that on the Internet is currently email newsletters.  Newsletters allow you to regularly keep contact with your customers, remind them that you exist, and gradually develop a relationship with them. 

Use the same approach to newsletters as you do to your website--make certain to deliver content of value.  You can also use your newsletter announce new products, promote specials, run contests, highlight customer case studies, and much much more.  A very well-written newsletter is an especially valuable item as people will refer their friends as well.  Often, something fun (a comic, or humorous excerpts) is just the right light-hearted thing to keep people reading.

Paid Internet Advertising

There are many ways to advertise your website online but perhaps the most cost-effective option is known as Search Engine Marketing or SEM.  It's a very focused and efficient way to promote your website, and learning how to use the tools properly will reward your efforts well.

Start with these services to advertise on the major search engines such as Google and Yahoo;

Summary

Promoting your web business is really no different than promoting your regular business except that Internet-based promotions work even more effectively.

Use all available legitimate means to promote your business, but avoid SPAM, web pop-ups, or any other approaches that will really annoy your customers.  There's no sense in that and in many places, there are costly legal consequences.

If you're working under extreme budget constraints, you can still succeed but you will be investing time rather than money in your promotions efforts.  The list above is arranged lowest-cost to highest-cost.