A good & professional looking website is a must. A stagnant &
dull website will simply not sell your product or service. These sites will
be like cheap-old-A4-xeroxed-flyers amidst the fancy posters with the GAP
hunks, Vogue ladies and the bright red neon lit Coca-Cola billboard!
Don't get me wrong here. I wouldn't go as far to recommend that you have
all the bells & whistles & the animated dancing baby on screen. That
would be pushing it too far.
What you need is a professional and clean looking website. The first
impression of your website is important as your site (and yours truly
included) is just one of the millions of websites out there! (FACT: While
you are reading this article up till this point, at least a hundred websites
have gone on line… yes, it's THAT competitive in the cyber-jungle out
Make the first impressions of your website count. As it only takes a
mouse click from visitors to get out of your site and into your competitors!
So, a professional looking website is your first step in the effort to
attract visitors (If it didn't attract you, then you won't be reading this,
right?). A well designed website can help you draw in visitors. A well
designed website can help you draw new prospects, repeat customers and help
generate sales because you have grabbed your visitors attention to read what
you have to say.
The Killer Content
What you need next is professional content. You need to show visitors your
expertise and why they should buy from you. You need to build rapport and
A proven method of doing this is by creating a "vertical
portal" or a "community site". Bare with me here, I'll
explain (with examples) on what I actually mean.
A portal is a starting point of the many information online. Usually, a
portal is also known as a community site as it gathers people to interact
with one another. Examples of portals are the big boys like Yahoo, Excite,
About.com... the list goes on.
Don't freak out yet. I'm not suggesting that you need to compete with the
big boys (even though it would be good if you can).
A "vertical" portal is a smaller scale version of the big ones.
Vertical portal is a portal concentrating on a smaller niche market. Or more
precisely, your target market!
Having a vertical portal on your site would show that you know your
business. You can handle enquiries about your industry or area of expertise.
You can build rapport so that that visitors will trust you and buy from you.
Here's an example. If you are selling fishing equipment, you could create
a website about fishing tips and information. On your site would be links to
various websites featuring the best fishing spots. Create a tutorial column
for beginners, write articles on the subject matter, eg: "How to Catch
Fish?" Provide your visitors with news and articles about fishing
expeditions. Anything to show that you know your stuff inside out!
Anything goes to show off your expertise and enthusiasm on your subject.
Establish a community of fishing enthusiast out there with a discussion
forum, a chat room or a moderated mailing list. With an online community
maintained by yourself, you will be able to build trust and rapport amongst
visitors with your expert advice. The bigger and better established the
community, the better it is for you.
With a vertical portal, you are creating what is known as a 'sticky
content' where visitors would want to hang around and come back at a later
time to read on something new that you have in store for them. And in doing
so, you have created yourself a market for your products or services. A
vertical portal is a proven method to attract visitors and subsequently
convert those visitors to customers!
The Killer Contact
Likewise, keeping in touch with your visitors when they are not on your site
is also equally important. Send updates from time to time via email
newsletters on special offers. And the best way to do this is by maintaining
a mailing list of your visitors!
Most of the big boys online uses this relatively cheap approach (I'll
show you a free approach!). Check out .com, eBay.com, Dell.com etc… you'll
see a little box where you will be prompted to fill in your email address
and they will send you newsletters/updates on special offers.
Try and get your visitors email address via a mailing list subscription
and keep in contact with them. Give tips, information, news, offers or even
organize a competition via e-mail. With a mailing list subscription, it
would only take you a click of the mouse button for you to send an e-mail to
hundreds or even thousands of your visitors!
It is an effective method of personal advertising! Those who subscribe to
your newsletter are those who are interested in what you have to say. Thus,
without additional cost (stamps, envelopes, Xerox machine etc. if you use
conventional mail or more commonly known as snail-mail), your potential
customers are just a mouse click away. And remember, since there were no
costs involved, the sales you generate from the mailing list are considered
as guaranteed profits!
The Killer Links
Promoting is a must for all website. Without it, you are bound to fail.
There are many ways to promote your website on the net. The best proven
method and most cost effective (again it's free) way is to exchange links to
your website with other sites that supplement yours! This is called
For example, let's take another look at our business that sells fishing
equipment. A business that is supplementary to fishing equipment might be a
river lodge website! Suggest a link exchange as the lodge site visitors
might find it a good idea to fish, therefore they'd need fishing equipment.
On the other hand, your visitors would need a good fishing spot, therefore,
the lodge link would be helpful!
It's a win-win situation where both sites will get what each one wants:
more visitors! You can write an e-mail or contact the river lodge site owner
and tell them how exchanging links could help both parties. You might even
end up with an agreement such as offering discounts to either site's
visitors in order to give more value to the visitors!
You can be creative here. A bit of brain storming would help you find
your perfect cyber-match. Why reciprocal links are important is because,
once an exchange is made (win-win situation), it is a lot of free
advertising about you, circulating itself in the right market!
Exchanging links can be done in various ways, by exchanging text link,
button link or a banner!
The Killer Listing
If you are serious about driving traffic to your site, you must get your
link out to as many websites as possible. One of the best way is to submit
your site to the thousands of search engines and directories on the net.
The most well known form of advertising is via search engines and
directories listings. Always submit your site to search engines and
directory listings. However, special attention will need to be taken on the
top 10 search engines.
The best (and advisable) way to do this is by manually submitting your
site to the top search engines. You may notice there are various submit
engines available online that claims to submit your site to +400 search
engines and directories. However, I personally recommend you not to submit
to the few top search engine & directories using these services. The top
ones are the ones that would need special attention and you can do so by
manually filling in their form.
If you use the above mentioned submit search engines & directories
services, the end product will not be as great as they claim in their
advertisements and hype. The reason being that all the different search
engines and directories have different methods of listing the submitted
For example, some list by keywords, some lists alphabetically, some lists
by the URL (web address), some lists by the meta tag (hidden keywords
embedded in the codes of your website), and many will list by using the
When using these submit services, you'll be submitting your site blindly,
without considering the position / ranking your site will be in. It is
better for you to submit manually as you can personally tailor your
submission for each search engine. For example, Yahoo.com uses alphabetical
listings... so, you might name your site appropriately to get good listings.
Excite.com uses keywords. So, it'll be wise to go all out in the keyword
submission in it's forms. So now do you see what you are missing by using
these submit services?
Survey shows more than 85% of internet users are using the top search
engines & directories in the world. These include:
So, I suggest that you put in extra effort into submitting to those
search engines and directories. And try to make your site get good listings
there. You can look at the FAQ of each search engines to see what are the
engines are actually looking for to get high listings. Manually inserting
your site to these top search engines wouldn't hurt!
The Killer Update
Last but not least (ok, I know people don't use this cliché anymore), you
need to update your site from time to time. This shows that you are serious
about your website, hence your business! This is important especially for
community sites and vertical portals.
Updating may involve just the main page with up to date news, new tips,
new advice, new offers and the list goes on…
A change does not mean you need to revamp the whole website or putting in
new graphics regularly etc. (even though it's good… the cost will
Changing text on your website does not cost you much if you hire someone
to do it for you. On the other hand you can also do it yourself, as HTML is
not difficult to learn especially editing text!
So, with a regularly updated site, a community, a portal, a newsletter to
keep in touch with your visitors and a great looking website…. You have a
similar package to what the big boys have.
You see them adapting these killer ways to gain and attract visitors! And
you could model their methods, only to a smaller scale targeting your niche
market! Have a look at these sites:
Of course there are many other ways to promote your site and
grab visitor's attention. What you have read are the few little known
secrets that can be cheap and easy to implement but highly effective in
About the Author:
Nik Efay is the owner of Cheap And Easy Way Online- a web design company
catering to small and home-based business. Visit his sites at http://www.cheapandeasywayonline.com