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Step 8:  Marketing & Promotion

Now that you have designed your web site, you need to concentrate on marketing and promotion. The more unique your product, the broader your market reach, the more you will want to concentrate on SEO (search engine optimization).  Conversely, the narrower your market reach, the more competitive your offering, the more you will want to concentrate on supplemental, localized advertising that will drive visitors to your site. 

The quickest and in most instances the least expensive way to generate motivated traffic is to participate in a pay-for-performance program like Overture.  You bid on a particular search term and, if you are fortunate enough to have the highest bid, you will appear in the top sponsored position for that keyword you have selected if the inquiry is made using Yahoo, CNN, MSN, Overture, Infospace, or Alta Vista. Whether you have a unique product offering or just playing to a local audience, you may be in a position to drive a lot of traffic to your site for as little as $0.10 a click through. Ourkidschildcarecenter.com in Temecula California enrolled in the program and in less than a week drove 24 visitors to their site.  Of those visitors, they gained three new enrollments and one new employment application.  Total cost of their advertising program: $2.59.  Not a bad ROI.

SEO is an on-going process.  What you do to optimize your site for search engines today, may not be relevant tomorrow but several factors seem to remain constant.  The domain name you select, the title you give your home page, the keywords you use, and your site’s description are entry level considerations. If they are not directly related to the keywords consumers use to find information about your product and/or service, your site will be deemed irrelevant and, therefore, will not be found. Too, it’s important your content include not only the keywords and keyword phrases you want to target but also derivatives of those keywords/keyword phrases. For example, if you are a web site designer and target the keyword phrase “web site design” it will to be your advantage to use the following words in your content: designer, designer’s, architecture, web site’s, and website among others.  The major search engines rank sites that contain related terminology and/or synonyms higher than those that just repeat the keyword itself.

Regardless of your market reach, it will also be important for you to register your site with as many directories as possible, preferably those that do not require a reciprocal link.   In addition to directories it is important you solicit webmasters from other sites, preferably those who are directly related to your industry. The more links you have the higher your popularity and ranking will be.

DMOZ is the by far the most important directory on the web because it is routinely spidered by five of the major search engines.  If your site has been included in DMOZ, it will be regarded by those search engines as automatically being worthy of indexing because all sites are reviewed by human editors. As a consequence, we recommend you hold off submitting your site for consideration until it is in a condition likely to get an editor’s favorable review. Never submit a site that is under construction.  Lastly, make sure you are submitting your site to the appropriate category.

Keep in mind that SEO requires a great deal of persistence and patience. To learn more about SEO check out WebProWorld.com.  This is an outstanding site where webmasters talk about every facet of web design and optimization. Better yet, the advice offered is free.

Lastly, it is extremely important you submit your index page to search engines once a week.  All too often, web sites are submitted once and forgotten and this is a huge mistake because search engines many times drop sites from their indices. You can out source this task to us for $100 a year or make a small investment in an automated search engine registration tool like Web Position Gold and do it yourself.   They have two packages to offer, the entry level which allows you to submit a single site on a repeated basis is only $149.95. The professional option allows you to submit as many different URLs as you like but costs $349. You can download a demo to see why most designers use it for periodic submissions.

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