7 Tips to Affordably Promote Your Small Business Web Site

I don’t know about you, but when I put my first web site up, I was outright disappointed with the results.

My first site looked pretty bad in retrospect, but when I’d finished designing it and had a few pages put up, I was excited to see it live.

One of the first things I did was check out my pages in google. Imagine my surprise when I typed my url into the search box and it said there were no results. I had no idea why.

Turns out your site has to be “indexed” before it’ll come up in the search engines.

Well, that was awhile ago and my site eventually did get indexed. And so, I waited for the sales to come in. Nothing.

I was puzzled and more than a little frustrated. What could I be doing wrong?

I started to research, and to make a long story short, one of the things I found was that I needed to promote it. (You’d think I might have known that, being in marketing and all, but marketing a web site is very different from other marketing strategies.)

There’s tons of information about promoting web sites – books, magazine and online articles galore. And very little space in a short article, but here’s a little of what I’ve found:

1. Before promoting your site, you want to make sure it’s ready to promote. If you’re not able to design a professional looking site, hire someone to do it. Design strongly affects credibility, and studies show visitors have viewing patterns that are very helpful when thinking about what to put where.

2. Add optimized content to your site as often as possible. (Most search engines “spider” your site more often if there’s regular changes to content.) And while we’re on the subject of content and search engines, web site content is different than copywriting for print. If you don’t base web site content on keyword phrases, your site will never be found.

3. Work on building links to your site because some search engines base their page ranking heavily on link building. But be careful with your link building campaign. Get them from quality sites with related content if you can. Don’t simply exchange links with someone else. Reciprocal linking used to work well, but search engines have gotten a whole lot smarter.

4. A great way to add content to your site, get incoming links and increase credibility all at the same time is through article marketing. Articles soon make you an expert in a subject. If they’re good articles, others will publish them, giving inbound links. And, of course, you can add them to your own site, but if you do, either make sure they’re indexed first on your site, or reword the article because content that’s seen as duplicate may not get indexed.

5. There are several places that offer free press releases. Write one and publish it any time your company has news for more links.

6. Add your company information to any business directories you find. There’s lots of free ones. DMOZ is particularly important.

7. Offer a free newsletter on your website in exchange for email addresses. Your company is only as good as its client and potential client list, and emails are a very inexpensive marketing tool. Just make sure you have permission from everyone on your email list. Nobody likes spam.

Well that’s about it for today’s tips on promoting your web site. I guess, I’d add one more thing. Remember to promote your company offline too. Add your url to every piece of printed material your company has. Ask them to visit your site, and while they’re there, to sign up for your newsletter.

Promoting your web site can be fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work. And it takes time. This is one place where patience can be a definite virtue.

Improve Your Small Business Web Presence – 7 Best Practices

Before you think of ways to improve your website, take a moment to answer these questions. What is the purpose of your business website? If it is to provide valuable information to customers, how would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10? And how many people are you reaching?

Once you have an answer to those questions, here you will find 7 basic practices or tools you can implement that will help to improve your website presence and visitor satisfaction. All at a very low cost, or sometimes at no cost.

  1. Install Google Analytics. Google analytics is a free tool that any webmaster can install and use. The information you can get from analytics is enough to make the average persons head spin, but at a very basic glance you can find valuable information such as: how many people visit your site, what search term landed them on your site, length of visit, which site referred them, new vs. return visitors, and many other valuable stats that can only be used to improve your website. Do this first and start gathering data.
  2. Write valuable articles and submit to online article directories. Webmasters love posting fresh and unique content. Article directories are where everyday experts can write and submit articles for webmasters to grab and re-publish. Write articles with unique and helpful information and submit them to the top article directories. In the footer of each article include an author bio. A link back to your website should be included in the footer.
  3. Add a Blog with increasing valuable information. Use it to introduce new products or services. One of the more simple ways to make your website an ever growing source of information is to post new information about every week, blogs make this very easy. In time, your site will become an authority destination for anybody looking for information related to your area of expertise.
  4. Create Web2.0 Pages. Squidoo and HubPages are just two examples of Web2.0 sites. Similar to articles, a number of Web2.0 sites allow you to create pages on various topics. Create a page about an aspect of your business that customers will be interested in. Within your page, you can point readers back to your website.
  5. Add Your Website to Google Local. When customers in your local area search for you your listing will come up next to a map. That is exactly what local residents are looking for. You can not be listed if you do not add your site.
  6. Write and submit a Press Release to PRWEB or other PR services. Can you think of something newsworthy that recently happened in your business? Write a press release about it. Your press release will be syndicated to all news engines such as Yahoo! and Google to name a couple. Many local sources will pick probably pick it up as well. The better the news, the more coverage you will get.
  7. Add Video To Your Website. All you need is a camera and a topic. Creating video is a simple way to help your website stand out above the competition.

By incorporating these simple practices, tools and disciplines to your website, your company website will increasingly be noticed on the internet. Prepare to be surprised how new customers find you and how existing customers use and share your website as a source of information and communication.

After you take action on some of the above tips, look at your website again and re-rate it. Make it a monthly practice to look at your site and think what you can do to make it the most valuable source you can for your customers.

Small Business Web Solutions

For any business, big or small, that wants to garner success in the online market, for it the website plays a key role. After all, it is the website of a company which represents it and plays a significant role in the branding and marketing of the business. This is an absolutely essential tool for a small business especially. Thus, it is important to take the help of professional small business web solutions to ensure that the website acts as the spokesperson of a business and helps in selling its products and services.

Do It Yourself
Today, the market is flooded with Do It Yourself or DIY web solutions. This is especially useful in cases where the business owner is himself very savvy technically. This will allow him to understand how to setup the open source software applications without having to resort to any external technical assistance. There are also easily available ready-to-use templates which do not require hiring a professional to design the website. These are again very useful for starter companies with minimal budget.

Easily searchable
For any company which wants to do good business on the internet, it needs to be found first and for that, making its website easily searchable is a crucial thing. Therefore, once a website is in place it is important to furnish it with informational and engaging content, enriched with evenly spaced keywords. Even having keywords in the titles and subheads makes a website easily searchable by the search engines whenever a matching keyword is being searched for by a user. While there are experienced SEO professionals who can execute the job easily, for starter small companies, tutorials and other online resources or books on search engine optimization may help to a considerable extent. However, since professionals know the market much better having studied the trends in a focused manner, these particular sorts of web solutions is best purchased from them than experiment alone.

Upgrading
Small business web solutions may be required for upgrading the content of a website, its design or its technological features. In such cases, freelancers can be hired for a particular project. They are known to be more affordable than professional companies which have a team of experts to execute such jobs and hence, are comparatively expensive. In either case, small business web solutions are useful in keeping a website updated and easily searchable, so that it can keep attracting visitors, engage them in their site with great content and keep them coming back in lure of transactions.