Checklist for Website Creation by Indemand Sales and Solutions
So you have spent money, time and effort putting together a website, but for some reason you just aren't getting the traffic you would like. How can you increase the number of visitors you get? How can you get people to see the great site you have developed?
We have read the books, listened to the experts, attended the seminars, learned from experience, and have compiled the best and most effective ways to get visitors to your site. While much of this information has been covered before online and in published material, we hope this collection of ideas can help you get the most from your site. Even if you encounter just one or two new ideas that can help, this effort was worthwhile
The following list in point form is a checklist you can run through to make certain you have covered all the key points needed to help your site grow in popularity. if you select a topic, it will take you to a more detailed explanation. Good luck!
Free Website Promotion Checklist:
The first thing you should do once you have completed your website design is submit it to the search engines. Over 80% of the traffic you will receive comes from the top 6-8 search engines. If you can find a specialty search engine that is specific to your industry, that is excellent, but you will find that being listed on 1000 small engines is not a valuable as having good ratings on the main ones. For this reason I rarely recommend software that submits you to a massive list of search engines. Not only do you have little control on where you end up, but that money can usually be better used someplace else.
Software that can help you monitor your position on the search engines, however, can be an invaluable tool to build your visitor base. The software we recommend is Web Position Gold. Not only can they help you increase your rankings in the search engines, but they can help you track your visitors, and provide information that will help you market more effectively.
Many Search Engines will send a robot (automated script) to your site when you submit to them. If you do not have a title on the pages it looks at, it will generally take the first text it finds as use that for your listing. Not only does it reduce the professional look of your site when it gets listed, but it reduces your chances of people visiting you because the title information may be vague and indirect. By taking a few minutes and using your Metatags effectively, your ratings in the search engines can be dramatically enhanced.
While we are on the topic of Metatags, make sure you use them to list your keywords. These are the words that will find your website when a potential customer is using a search engine.
If you can find a mailing list that is specific to your area of interest, sign up. Not only can the extra source of information be good for you, your input into the list conversations builds credibility, helps you make contacts and develop resources, and could even become a source of customers. Always make sure you put your website information at the bottom of any posting to a mail list, but don't send out messages just to push your business. People will recognize that right away, and unhappy people rarely buy from you :)
The same can be said for newsgroups. Enter the conversation. Participate. Enjoy. And always put your information at the bottom of any posting you do.
Regular Newsletters help you keep in touch with your existing customers. If you provide a sign-up on your site it can also help your customer-base grow. You can use your newsletter to offer promotional deals and inform people about new products you are introducing. Not only is it an excellent promotional tool, but you will find it is cost effective as well, compared to written material (Postage can be murder on a small business!)
This goes without saying, but we'll say it just in case. Always ask for visitors to bookmark your site
This includes letterhead, business cards, correspondence, stationary, etc. Anything that you have printed for you should contain your website address.
If you have existing marketing projects that are performing well for you, don't abondon them. The Internet is a potentially vast resource, but it should only be one aspect of your marketing plan. Take the time to periodically evaluate your marketing efforts and focus on those methods that are particularly successful for you.
This is always an option. Sometimes the specialist you contract is worth the money, sometimes they are not. Before coming to an agreement with anyone to do Internet Marketing for you, check their track record, ask for recommendations, look at testimonials, and get a written agenda from them explaining EXACTLY what they can and will do for you. Anywhere is life there are skilled professionals and those who are not. Make certain you are dealing with former.
Most email clients such as Eudora, Outlook, Outlook Express, even Microsoft Hotmail, allows you to create a signature file. This is a collection of information that automatically gets attached to any outgoing email you send. Name, Company, Phone & Fax number, Address, and Website should all be included.
If you have a product or service you have developed that is free, people will happily use it. More importantly to you, they will tell other people about it. There are many sites on the Internet that offer free services to build their viewing audience. And they do it not only to be nice, but to build trust, traffic, and eventually, profits.
There is strength in numbers...and experience, and wisdom. By joining a group that is interested in the same things your site is, you will find people interested in what you are doing, and possibly even what you are selling. Also, you can tap their experience and knowledge and use it to leap years ahead of where you would be otherwise. (For example, one of the services we provide is website design, so it makes sense for one of our staff to attend the monthly WEAV meeting).
There are many websites that are dedicated to providing current and accurate Listings of Companies and Websites for particular industries. Have your site placed on the eminent ones, preferably with your location (if applicable) and contact information, and a link back to your website. Generally you will find that the popular ones require membership fees, sometimes this is worthwhile, but not always. Once again, ask for stats, track records, anything that will help you make a fair judgement.
Find the high traffic websites that offer product or services that compliments your own. Usually these websites are more than willing to trade links with you, as it shares your traffic with them as well. This is a WIN-WIN situation which we highly recommend.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to develop a high volume of traffic quickly is to release a press/news release to the major information vendors on the Internet. If you have an article that they are willing to release, you will find that your website can gain a large initial reading. However, if you don't have the content to back up their expectations, you can find you lose visitors as quickly as you get them. So make sure your sales engine is a viable one and be prepared.
You should have a feedback/more info form on your site (it's polite), and it's a good idea to request a LITTLE (not a lot) information from your visitor when they are filling it out. This allows you to know who you are dealing with, and also helps with the marketing decisions. You do not want to make them write a small book before they get to contact you, however, as this frustrating thing will make many people simply go elsewhere. As a general rule, name and email is a good start, since you can gather the rest of the information you want as you develop the relationship.
Always remember that statistically, if a customer is pleased they will tell at least one person about their positive experience. But also keep in mind, if a customer is DIS-pleased, they will tell up to 10 friends about the treatment they recieved. This is a massive concern to you, as repeat sales are usually one of the major requirement for a business to succeed. Make sure you reply to communication such as Email quickly and politely. Fill orders within 24 hours, and try to automate as much of the process as possible. Auto-responders and other tools can help you to keep your customers happy, and keep them telling their friends what a great service/product you offer.
Many ISP's offer some sort of community mall as their free service (Remember #12?). Joining such malls usually doesn't provide a lot of sales or traffic, but every bit helps.
Everyone loves to win a contest or get something for free. If your cash-flow will allow it, offer a monthly draw or a contest - this will keep people coming back to your site to see what the latest prize is, who won, etc...
Banner exchange programs are a simple, low-cost way to publicize your website. In exchange for showing the banner ads of other companies on your page (particularly complimentary ones) you get your banner shown on many different sites, usually with no/low cost. Banners have been shown to be losing some of their punch with viewers, but for the cost, is still an excellent avenue to persue.
Paid Banner Ads, on the otherhand, can be costly, depending on the arrange you agree to. For the returns we've seen for banner ads (which can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars) we don't recommend them unless the company running the ads is willing to negotiate on the price.
On of the benefits of having a Newsletter is that you already have an audience of people who have signed up. These are people interested in your product or service, and will appreciate the email you send them. There are broadcast lists available that target direct groups of consumers, and these can be used with success, as long as you are careful. We recommend testing any lists purchased first with a small broadcast, just to determine the quality of the list you are using.
Never use Spam (uncontrolled mass emailing) to try to sell product. Not only will you anger a great number of people, but no one is going to buy a product from someone that is annoying them. And thanks to modern technology, it is now easier than ever to delete mail sent to you :)
Depending on your service or product these can be very useful. They help you rapidly get exposure for your website, and can contribute greatly to sales. Be careful when initially setting up the program that you anticipate everything, especially the payment structure for your affiliates, few things can kill a business as quickly as the rumor of a fraud. Look at the affiliate agreements other successful companies are using, they will contain excellent ideas and may help guide your away from possible costly mistakes.
Although this is a simple concept, people rarely seem to apply it. In any business, you have competition, so it makes sense to check what they are offering, what services, how they do business, how fast are they, how reliable, etc. This can provide you will a wealth of valuable ideas that you may apply in your own business.
There have been many books, articles, and workshops written or produced on this subject. What we've listed is certainly not all the steps you should consider, but it is an excellent start. Drop back in later and double check to make sure you haven't missed anything you were intending to do. And you can also check to see if we've updated with any new information that could be useful. (Since we're sure you'll be back at a later date, maybe you should bookmark us right now ;)
If you have followed even some the suggestions given I am sure you will find your site is a success.
We wish you the best of luck!