So, I heard you’ve got a website? In our previous Marketing 101: Targeting the right audience, we gave you tips about marketing your products and services to the right clientele in order to achieve better results. This article is about what to do once you’ve already found your market and have a website ready to be launched to the public.
A mistake many new website owners do is to assume that because they have a website out there, it will somehow get promoted alone. Sure, Google and other search engines will index your website but, unless you promote it yourself, nothing is going to happen. It’s like having business cards printed; it’s neat, but if you keep them in your wallet all the time and never hand them out, people will never know know you have them.
In order to get traffic on your website and gain followers as well as potential clients, you will have to prepare an online marketing strategy. Here are the basics of online promotion:
Social media is an amazing tool to promote your website considering networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Google+ each have millions of users. Assuming you are a professional, you could use your personal account to promote your website but you should also create professional business pages for social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ at the very least. A page on Facebook and Google+ will enable your fans to like or +1 your company and follow your products. LinkedIn is a professional network that some use to find and communicate with other professionals, sometimes to hire. So, having a company page there is something else you should seriously consider. Twitter is also a must if you want your fans to be able to follow your brand. Tumblr, although more a microblogging platform, can become a very interesting tool if your company or project produces or works with a lot of visual content. Since Tumblr is all about images and quotes that get reblogged, it could bring you a lot of traffic if one of your posts goes viral.
Having a page or profile on the most popular social media sites is great, but it’s no good if you never update it. Do you run a blog by any chance? If so, you should publish your new articles systematically on those social networks. Some websites like dlvr.it specialize in delivering your blog’s content on the social web (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). If you’ve got time, you should not limit yourself to publishing only your own articles; you could also suggest to your followers and fans some interesting posts written by other bloggers who you think deserve exposure. After all, social media is about being sociable and you’ll realize soon enough that the more you help others, whether it’s other professionals in your field or your fans by suggesting them interesting reads, the more they’ll be willing to help you back.
To sum up: Create a page in every major social media site, use them to promote your website, services or products and to interact with your fans/followers. This will certainly increase user participation and traffic on your site.
Blogging is a great way to have your website hit top results in Google. Why? Every time you post a new blog article on a platform like WordPress (Drupal and Joomla are other alternatives), Google fetches your website and, when a query is made corresponding to the title of your article, your article will be displayed in the results, usually at the top if your title and content contain relevant keywords. So if you work in a very competitive field and have trouble getting at the top of Google’s ranking system, your blog might just be the salvation you were looking for.
Consider this: do you think you would have more chances being found with a website containing only 6 pages or with a website containing hundreds of pages and articles? The second option seems more likely. In fact, the more useful content you have to offer, the easier it will be for people to find you.
What can you blog about, you might wonder? For instance, if like my friend Marcel Naumann you are about to launch a photography portfolio with a blog, you could start by giving out tricks to other photographers or advise potential clients about the difference between good and bad photography. This way, you show you know what you are talking about and that you are willing to provide quality advice, building a relation of trust with your followers and customers since the very beginning.
Sharing your expertise with others is a great way to get your name out there.
Social News Websites
If you are a blogger, sharing your website on social news websites can bring you many, many visits. Communities like Reddit and StumbleUpon will suggest your articles upon submission to readers who share the same interests as you. For example, if you write a killer article about photography, publish it on StumbleUpon and if it gets several likes, the content will be redistributed to more viewers. It’s the same thing with Reddit except that instead of being redistributed, it remains on the first page of the section where you posted your article. The results can range from a few to several thousands clicks depending on your website and article’s popularity, but traffic is traffic; the more people will see your work, the more chances you will have to be hired or to sell your services/products.
Just this Sunday we had over 460 visits coming from Stumbleupon alone for our Weekly Wonders. It was a totally unexpected but nice surprise. The same could happen to you if you take time to explore those social news websites.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In simpler words, it’s about making your website as search-engine-friendly as possible. There is much that can be done with the help of a programmer who can edit your site for it to be indexed in Google more easily, but there are some things you can also do yourself. For example, use smart keywords that you know people will look for in Google in your article title. This article, for instance, has “marketing”, “how to”, “promote”, “website” and “online”. I suspect that after its publication, it will appear in Google when someone will type the phrase “how to promote website”. It could also have been called “Tips and Tricks about Online Marketing” or “Ways to promote your website” and it might work, but adding some extra keywords never hurts (as long as they are consistent with your topic of course).
If you use a blogging platform like WordPress, using tags can also increase your chances of being found on search engines. Adding an excerpt is also great as you will choose what description you’ll give to your article. If you don’t put anything, Google and other websites will simply display the first sentences of your post. While it sometimes can work, it doesn’t always provide a good overview of what the article is about and it may not always entice people to click and read more.
These are just some tips you can use to promote your website online. My advice will always be to sit and write down a marketing strategy or, at the very least, have clear goals and means to achieve them in your mind. The web is your friend and you should use all the tools at your disposition to help yourself become successful.