One of the biggest questions clients ask is “How will people find me once my website is up and running?”
Our clients are mainly small businesses. The first thing I encourage them to do is to think about ways that they can get the word out about their online venture that they may be more familiar with.
Before you do anything else, make sure your URL is everywhere your business name appears; business cards, letterhead, advertisements, email signature, etc.
Networking – get out there and meet people and hand them your business card and encourage them to visit your website. Many networking events are free or low-cost.
Advertising – this can be done via traditional print media and is often something people forget to do when they start building their online business. This, of course, requires you develop an advertising budget and may require you to get creative to maximize your budget.
But new-fangled techniques shouldn’t be ignored.
New School – Cheap
These are techniques that require more time than money.
Forums – find and participate in online forums. These are online communities dedicated to a particular subject area. When you become a member of the community you are often given the option of adding your URL to your signature, which then creates inbound links to your site and promotes your site on that forum. Just don’t be too sales-y. The key here is a VERY soft sell.
Blogs – similar to forums in that this is an opportunity to provide information to potential customers and begin building relationships. Blogs are different, however, in that there is less give and take. Here you are offering information in the form of articles and helpful little snippets. Read more about blogs here.
Link Baiting – this is where you would create a unique page full of relevant content to which others would want to link. These inbound links increase your ranking in the search engine results which will result in more traffic.
New School – Not Cheap
These techniques require a larger (relative to the options above) budget and some investment of time.
Pay-Per-Click – this is an online advertising campaign where you would create a budget and pay a predetermined amount based on how many times your ad is “clicked.” These ads are typically text only. When setting up a PPC campaign it’s important to carefully select your keywords – those words for which your ad will appear. And you will need to monitor your account carefully to avoid fraud.
Banner Ads – these are the banners that you see with ads in them. They may have some sort of animation. You pay site-owners to put your ad on their website.
These are just a few of the many marketing options available. The most important thing when it comes to marketing your website is to start.