How to promote your website

A good web developer knows many tricks that will help optimize your site for search engines. Your developer may use keywords, page descriptions, optimized content, site maps and search engine submissions. But ultimately, your site belongs to you, and you will want to do whatever you can to market it. By following these simple steps, you can promote your site and help drive traffic to it.

1. Drive traffic to your site with links

Incoming links can drive traffic to your site and can improve your search engine ranking. Because Google and other major search engines consider sites with many incoming links to be relevant sites, links to your site can improve your page rank (a measure of the quality and quantity of links, used by Google). Keep in mind, links from reputable sites will help your page rank more than links from sites with low traffic.

Submit Your Site to Business Directories

A link from a directory will help your page ranking and may drive traffic to your site. There are many business directories – many are free, but some require a payment for inclusion of your site.

When looking for directories, you may want to consider the free Open Directory Project, a worldwide directory managed by volunteer editors. It may take quite some time before your listing appears, but a link from this directory will go a long way in promoting your site.

Submit Your Site to Industry Sites and Directories

Many directories and websites cater to specific industries. If you are a member of a trade or industry association, ask for a link from their site to yours. There may be a cost associated with this type of link, but it will help improve your Page Rank.

Embrace Local Google

Sign up for a local listing with Google’s local business center. Local customers are searching for the products and services you offer. Signing up with local Google is free, and it makes you easier to find on Google searches and on Google maps.

2. Become an author

Write articles

You can noticeably increase traffic to your site by writing articles in your area of expertise and by submitting them to article sites such as EzineArticles.com or by distributing them to magazine or newsletter editors. If you include a link to your site and a description of your services at the end of any article you write, you’ll gain publicity anywhere the article appears. This form of viral marketing can result in many links to your site over time.

Write press releases.

If something newsworthy is happening with your business or in your industry, send a news release to any print or web news sources. Make sure you include a link to your site because if your release is published, the link may increase the popularity of your site for the time that it remains active.

Write a blog

If you want people to link to your site, a blog can be a very useful tool. If you offer well-written, industry-specific content, people are likely to link to it, thereby increasing your Page Rank.

3. Embrace Social Media

Like it or not, social media is not a topic to be taken likely. In social media sites, online visitors interact with each other by posting statuses and blogs and by responding to others’ comments. Involvement in social media may seem time consuming, but social media can help promote your site by generating links and sending direct traffic.

Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Plaxo, blogs and forums provide some of the best online communities for promoting your business. Search online to find industry-relevant blogs and discussion forums, and get involved. Forum members and moderators may frown if you overtly pedal your products, so instead, include your company name in your signature block, and contribute honestly to the discussion. As people get to know you and trust you, your words will help to market your site and will ultimately drive traffic to the site.

4. Stick with the tried and true

Embracing new media opens up many new opportunities, but that doesn’t mean the old strategies are obsolete. A mixture of old and new marketing strategies can be very effective when it comes to increasing traffic to your site.

Print Strategies

Add Your URL to any print advertising you produce, including your business cards, your stationery, publications or brochures you send out, classified or listed ads, or in articles or press releases you send out.

Email Strategies

E-mail is a simple and effective way to bring people to your website. If you include your company name, phone number and URL in your email signature, you increase the chances of people visiting your site. E-mail newsletters also provide a medium by which you can promote your business and drive traffic to your site. E-newsletters give you a chance to share news and to keep in touch with your customers and prospects, and unlike a blog, your E-newsletter arrives in your customer’s inbox, asking to be read.

5. Advertise your Site

When it comes to online advertising, there are several pricing models: CPC (Cost per click), CPM (Cost per thousand impressions), CPA (Cost per action), and there are many sites offering banner ads and listings. Look for sites that offer targeted advertising; not only will you increase traffic to your site, but you will attract visitors from your target market. If you are planning to invest in online advertising, start with a small purchase, expect to find yourself immersed in a learning curve, and calculate your return on investment before spending more.

Advertise in industry and trade magazines and newsletters

Small ads that specifically target your intended audience can be a great way to drive traffic to your site, and if the publishers are small, they may offer great advertising rates.

The ideas presented here can help get you started, but you may want to talk to your web developer, then choose the ideas that suit your specific business and marketing strategies and that you feel can most effectively promote your site.

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