You have a new website and it looks great. Time to advertise your website. Like all excited new website owners, you dash to check how many people have been looking at the site. The counter shows no new visitors; like all new owners, you sit there looking at the numbers. It may increase whilst you are looking, right? Refreshing the screen doesn’t help either, is this thing broken?
It is a common misunderstanding amongst website owners that if you build it they will come. Owning a new website (or for that matter one that has been upgraded) is much like starting a business you must advertise your website.
So, dust off those entrepreneurial skills that got you started in the first place and consider how you can advertise your website. It takes a miracle. Or lots of good luck, for people just to happen across your website. As all great business owners will tell you, you make your own luck, you must advertise your website.
If you want business from your new website you must drive your customers there. You must hold them by the hand.
In previous articles, I discussed how a website is similar to a shop window. You have to make the site attractive and ensure that customers are attracted to your site in much the same way as they would into any high street store. Customers explore a site based on what is displayed as they journey through the site. Highlight products that you are looking to sell and make the site easy to use. This is foundational when it comes to how to advertise your website.
Make sure your website looks great and is focusing on a small range of products. (Applies equally to services). Remember you don’t need to show customers all of your products at once. One to five will be more than enough to give customers a flavour of your website and make them want to see more.
Now that your site is looking great you can think about how to advertise your website and pull in the customers. Selling on the web isn’t rocket science. The principles you use for advertising your business work equally well to advertise your website.
You will receive countless phone calls, emails, direct mailing etc that say you can achieve a number one spot on Google. I am not going to discuss the merits of these ways to advertise your website here. Your business certainly would benefit from being on the first page of Google and all other search engines.
Let’s face it, if your business doesn’t appear in the first three pages, it is effectively invisible to the world. This is because we are creatures of habit, we don’t tend to click through search engine pages laboriously going through to the tenth, the twentieth the thirtieth page.
However, in truth, not every business can be number 1 in Google for the given keyword or phrase. As a great example the key phrase “web design” produces 2,500,000,000 search results in google.co.uk. Everyone one of those website owners would truly love to see their website at the top of the search engine rankings. I personally receive around 20 emails and 2-3 phone calls a day from SEO “experts” all claiming to be able to get my site to number 1 on Google. Assuming that they send this to every business, they are making a lot of empty promises. Don’t be conned to use these services to advertise your website. Not every web designer can be number 1 on Google with the key phrase “web design.” The best that can be hoped for is to appear on the first page of Google. Advertise your business to a tight geographic or functional area. If you narrow down the search market by, perhaps, limiting the geographic area. Such as “London web design.” Given the size of London, further narrowing may be necessary. Maybe “North London web design” or even narrower are useful terms to advertise your website.
If you have a unique product or service congratulations you should be at the top of Google for your search term straight away without spending time or money to advertise your website.
Before I continue, bear with me whilst I digress a little.
I have seen numerous businesses that were offered number 1 slot on Google. They paid hundreds (and in one case thousands) of pounds. It turned out they did indeed achieve number 1 position in Google. But only for their business name. Assuming that the business name is unique, they should indeed be number 1 without spending any money. Please don’t fall for that scam it won’t help to advertise your website!
Any SEO/SEM or web marketing campaign to get your site ranked higher on the search engines should be seen as a medium to long-term exercise. To advertise your website, you should work with a reputable SEO business. They will suggest several different methods to advertise your website and making your site more attractive to potential customers. This may include possibly re-writing the content of your site to make it more attractive.
Don’t fall for those SEO’s who build the campaign toward Google or any search engines, they should be focusing on real people to advertise your website. Real people are the ones that will pay you for your products or services, not Google!
What can you do in the meantime, whilst you wait for your site to be an overnight sensation on the search engines? How can you advertise your website?
This comes back to my earlier statement, treat your website like a real-world business. You didn’t just open your business and sit there waiting for customers to flock to you. No, you worked hard at advertising your business. Similarly, you will have to advertise your website.
Simple methods to advertise your website
Word of Mouth
This has to be, in my opinion, one of the best forms of advertisement any business can have. The personal recommendation is one of the best ways to advertise your website. We are all more inclined to use a product or service that has been recommended to us.
Use this for your new website, ask your existing customers, contacts and friends to advertise your website.
One of the most important things businesses forget with word of mouth and it is vital. You have to offer a good service.
This often means being courteous, going that extra mile – even if there is no money in it. Offer the kind of service that you personally would expect when visiting other businesses.
Sending out letters and emails to tell people about your new website is a great way to advertise your website. Especially if it contains a special offer.
I personally would recommend only writing to people who have agreed to receive emails and letters from you. Subscribing to, or purchasing mailing lists is a bad way to advertise your website. I tend to throw spam email and letters away without reading them, I am sure that you do too.
If you only have a small customer base, why not join a trade association and ask if you can contact their members? They may even offer to help by giving a word of mouth recommendation or other ways to advertise your website.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other similar services offer you a great opportunity to advertise your website. Include a link to your site. (Ideally to a page outlining the subject of your post).
There are countless other forms of social media to advertise your website. Such as bookmarking sites like Digg, they are all supported by countless followers and offer your business a great way to advertise your website.
A good rule of thumb when using social sites is to not spam them. Don’t keep sending updates to advertise your website, products or services. People will turn off from this quickly. Write something that is useful, interesting or even contentious and people will continue to follow you. I would suggest updating your profile, tweet etc., only once every 3 hours to a maximum of three to four updates a day to advertise your website. Twitter anticipates that it takes three hours for your Tweet to disappear from other people’s feeds, so that is the point that you need to refresh your status to advertise your website.
If your business is dealing in a specific geographical marketplace, good old-fashioned advertising methods are a great way to advertise your website. Advertise in local papers, magazines, trade journals, send flyers out with the local free paper etc. Just because it is old-fashioned doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. If this was the case, advertising companies would be out of business, the last time I checked they were doing rather well!
Remember a business that doesn’t advertise is invisible! Advertise your website.
Make sure that your business cards, letterheads, company vehicles (if you have vans) all advertise your website. Make sure the web address stands out and isn’t obscured by ladders etc (in the case of vans).
All of the above methods are effective ways to advertise your website. I am sure that others will be able to build on this list, but those are enough to start off with.
It is no good doing anything to advertise your website if you don’t keep at it.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep up with ways to advertise your website. Do it well and do it often, is a good motto to live by when you want to advertise your website. If you only dip your toes and do one of the suggestions. Or you only do it once you are wasting your time and money – keep at it! Advertise your website!
Good luck with your new website – I look forward to seeing it.