Corner: You built it, but will they come? Some tips on getting traffic
to your website.
By Bob Hubbard
Your new website has gone live at last! After
weeks--possibly months--of labor, it’s online and it looks great.
Only one problem remains: How do you get people to visit it?
you can wait the 1 to 6+ months for the backlogged search engines to
catch up and list you. But you need traffic now. So what do you do?
I’m often asked this very question by our clients. In this article
I’ll give several suggestions to help you promote your website
for maximum exposure. Some will fit better than others, depending on
your target audience, but all of them are proven strategies for success.
Realize that the Search Engines are only part of the puzzle.
Getting listed takes time and tweaking. Most of them are backlogged
by months, and it’s getting tougher to get listed in them. Of
course you can spend a lot of cash to get yourself listed under ‘Automatic
Self Cleaning Water Strainers’, but would you get the same results
under just ‘Strainers’? A well thought-out plan for getting
listed can take up to a year to fully realize results. You must do other
things to get the word out in order to get both immediate and long-term
Don’t depend on your designer to advertise for you.
Too often companies and individuals have websites built, do nothing
to promote the site themselves, and then wonder why it wasn’t
as successful as they hoped. You don’t expect Kinkos to pass out
your flyers; why expect your designer to know how to market your business
to your customers? Their job is to develop a site that meets both your
and your clients’ needs. You must spread the word to your prospects
yourself, through all means--online and traditional.
Put your website’s address in front of everyone.
You wouldn’t leave your phone number off of your business cards--why
leave off your website address? Make certain it is on all of your stationery,
flyers, brochures, etc. Put it on the back bumper of your cars and vans.
Put it on your signage and in your front window. Put it on your promo
items and give them away like mad! People like freebies, and if they
are useful, they will keep them around. The more visible you make it,
the more times people will see it--and the more they see it, the more
likely they will visit.
Yellow Pages ads.
Spend the extra money to get your web address added to your yellow pages
listing. That little extra effort can lead to new leads. Many people
will check out listings as follows: Biggest color ads, biggest black-and-white
ads, smaller ads, text only box ads, and line ads. Adding a website
to your ad can greatly increase your inquiry rate.
Issue a press release.
This step is often overlooked by start-ups. Taking the time to properly
prepare a release can greatly benefit your business.
Find websites that complement yours and propose a link exchange. This
has a dual benefit: You gain traffic from their visitors, and the more
companies that link to you, the higher your ranking in some search engines.
You must do your research here, but if properly implemented you can
see great rewards from this strategy.
Your regular advertising.
Make certain that any print or media advertising you do has your website
mentioned somewhere in it. Too many times this simple step is overlooked.
You cannot rely on Internet advertising alone to make your site a success.
Even Amazon.com and E-Bay have to use traditional advertising. Have
you seen the “Do You, uh, Yahoo!?” ads? There’s a
Visit web forums and the Usenet newsgroups.
You can successfully advertise your company through these discussion
groups (formerly known as “bulletin boards”), but be careful,
especially when advertising on Usenet. Many people frown on advertising
there, so be sure to carefully research any group you wish to advertise
on before making your post. A few extra days patience can save you from
a major public relations nightmare.
Publish an e-newsletter.
This has many benefits to you. It helps establish your credibility.
It helps keep your clients and prospects up to date on your company
and its offerings. It educates. It adds content to your website. The
content helps you get better listings with the search engines and as
it changes on a regular basis it helps bring return visitors. Return
visitors will in many cases put your website address on their links
pages which in turn helps drive traffic and boost search engine rankings.
A well done, Opt-In (they subscribe) newsletter can also provide you
with a detailed mailing list of people interested in what you have to
offer. The costs of emailing are almost nil. Done properly, this can
be a great boost.
Your business card.
Make it a mini-flyer, include your website, and pass them out whenever
you can. When you go to trade shows or conventions, take 500-1000 and
hand them out to everyone. Go to every booth and trade cards with them.
“But I have plenty of my old ones”, you say. Well, unless
your cards are works of art, throw them out and get new ones with your
web address on it and send 2 to every customer and prospect you have.
Email. Let us not forget email. You and your employees probably
send several emails each day, at the minimum. Make sure that your web
address is featured in the ‘signature’ of each email. Too
many times I receive email from clients and prospects that have missed
this simple step. Many modern email programs allow for multiple signatures
so you can have 1 for each occasion if you wish.
message is: In order to see your site succeed, you need to promote it.
There are millions and millions of websites online. While the numbers
vary, it is estimated that only 40-60% of the web is listed on search
engines. That means that the other 40-60% must be doing something else
to get traffic. You wouldn’t open a store in your basement, tell
no one, and then wonder why you went broke. Starting a website online
is like that, except that you have the power to route a superhighway
through your front door. You simply have to promote it using all of
the means at your hands. Keep in mind that this is only an outline,
and that many of these steps are more complicated than they may seem
to be. Only by properly researching the correct approaches will you
get the most success from them. Give these tips some thought. I’m
sure you will find several that will work for you. Good luck! See you
on the web.
Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal site
MartialTalk.com and president of SilverStar WebDesigns inc., a web site
design and hosting company specializing in affordable solutions for
martial artists. A student of all the arts, he is currently studying
Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
November 2002 – Buffalo Computer and Internet Magazine
July 2003 – MartialTalk Magazine
©2003 Bob Hubbard - All Rights Reserved