STEP 6: Promote Your Web Site and Measure Its Results
1. Do you have a plan in place to market your website?
You cannot create a website and simply expect visitors to come: it just doesn’t happen that way. You need to develop strategies how to lure visitors to your site, make them stay and compel them to do the actions you want from them (e.g. purchase your products, order your services, read your content, recommend your site to others).
Map out a plan as to how you intend to spread the word about your website, identifying strategies to market the site online and offline.
2. Do you regularly review your traffic logs and web site performance tracker?
A good website performance tracking software or web analytics package will tell you how your website’s traffic is performing over time, what are the most viewed pages, where your traffic is coming from, what keywords the users are typing in the search engines to reach your site, how long users stay in your site, and many more critical information.
You can choose to install the web site analytics software from your web host. In many cases, however, it is best to use a third party software. Scout the market for good web analytics software and install it in your site. Google Analytics is free and a robust solution that is used by a lot of websites out there.
3. How are you going to get sites to link to you?
Links are an important source of traffic for every web site. Your site can get a share of the recommending site’s visitors if they link to you; more so if the linking site attracts a huge traffic number (e.g. imagine how many visitors a link from CNN.com can bring to your site). More importantly, the number and quality of sites linking to your web site figures prominently in how search engines rank pages. The logic in its simplest form goes like this: if more sites are linking to you – and these sites are important sites – then you also must be important; hence your site will be rewarded with high ranking in the search engines.
But how are you going to get sites to link to you, much less the big “fishes”?
- Understand that link building has tremendously changed in the last decade. Techniques that worked in 2000 such as link exchanges no longer work with the crackdown by Google. Google does not like links that look artificial and will penalize websites for unnatural links. The best links are those that are considered “editorially given.”
- Think of the type of content that other website owners would want to link from their own sites. Create quality, unique and valuable content that visitors will be willing to share the link to their networks and other websites will talk about and link to.
- Social media has become an important source of links. Build a strong social presence on sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and others. An influential user may see your tweet or post, and before you know, your link became viral and got gazillion links and mentions.
- Routinely check sites that are linking to your website. Use tools such as Google Webmaster Tools or Majestic SEO to periodically check your backlink profile. Your site may be a victim of negative search engine optimization, and someone may have created massive amount of links to your site from porn websites thereby poisoning your entire link profile.
4. Do you know the search engine keywords that you rank well?
Do you know how you perform in “must-be-seen” keywords for your web site? How is your site performing for the same keywords across the various (at least the top three – Google, Yahoo, MSN) search engines? Are you tracking the shift overtime for your keywords (e.g. you may be number one for Google today but gone from their listings 6 months from now)?
5. If your site is not visible in the search engine results pages for its keywords, what strategies do you intend to do?
There are a number of ways to improve your search engine ranking, among them:
Dedicate time and effort to studying what your web site needs to rank well. Then compare your site with that of your competitors’ who are doing well in the search engines: check their on-page optimization (titles, metatags, keyword density, depth of content, etc.), check their backlinks (how many and who are linking to them – can you get links from these websites too?), among others. Make changes and experiment with your website to see what tweaking produces the best results.
Buy keywords from pay-per-click providers.
If you want to be seen in your keywords but are not showing in the organic (non-paying) search engine results, your option is to buy keywords from the search engines. Google has an Adwords program where your ad will be shown alongside the search results pages for the keywords you’ve chosen (as Sponsored Links ads on the top or left side), or in their content network. The price is based on your bid amount multiplied by the number of times your ad was clicked (e.g. you will pay $250 if you bid $0.25/click and your ad generated 1,000 clicks).
Yahoo offers a more complicated program: you pay for every web page (URL) that you submit for inclusion in their search results plus (called a “review fee” of $49 per page) you also pay a per click fee (currently $0.15/click) every time your listing generates a click. Their program guarantees that their spider will visit your URL at a more regular basis, although Yahoo claims that participating in their program is not a guarantee for getting top results in their search engine. Unlike Google where paid listings are clearly marked, Yahoo mixes their unpaid organic search results with the paid listings.
Hire a Search Engine Optimization expert/company.
If you have no time to do search engine optimization, there are a number of firms who are willing to do it for you — for a price. They will analyze your web site, and recommend changes that you can do to improve your ranking. Many SEOs also offer management of keyword bidding process.
Shop carefully, though, and avoid those that promises you number one results for all your keywords in x amount of time (after all, if one of your competitor is also a client, will they bump your result for your competitor?). Also, steer clear of SEOs that will recommend “black hat” SEO strategies that may boost your ranking in the short run but can get your site penalized (and that means bye-bye) by the search engines in the long run. Never blindly trust an SEO to reconfigure your website without understanding the short and long-term repercussions of the change.
Continue Reading: Maintain Your Website and Grow Your Web Business
- Set Your Website Goals
- Develop Your Web Site Strategy
- How to Set Up Your Website
- Operational Requirements of Setting Up a Website
- How to Get Your Website Ready for Launch
- Promote Your Web Site and Measure Its Results
- Maintain Your Website and Grow Your Web Business
Recommended Books on Successful Website Development:
- Best Website: Simple Steps to Successful Websites
- Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites
- The Complete E-Commerce Book: Design, Build & Maintain a Successful Web-based Business
- Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion
- Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites
- The Importance of Diversifying Sources of Traffic
- 5 Steps to Optimizing Your Website
- What is Search Engine Marketing?
- How to Use Web Metrics to Improve Your WebSite
- 10 Free Ways to Promote a Web Site