39 Tips on How to Promote your WebSite
Web - internet Marketing
Increase your Sales, improve Search Engine rankings,
increase site traffic, ranking and sales.
All about promoting a site and selling on the web.
Understanding paid promotion, search engine placement,
organic ranking and PPC.

Overview: Many beginners and even mid-size company executives mistakenly believe in a "build it and they will come" approach to web marketing. Internet marketing does not work that way. Marketing via a web site is a major endeavor, requiring both big effort and money. It is a science. Web clutter increases at an exponential rate, and you have to break through that clutter. That has been the reason that advertising was always a large expense to most companies getting started. It still is, even if you do most of it by building authoritative unique content. Even if you use paid promotion like PPC (pay per click) or banners or buy inbound links, the content still has to be good and relevant to the interest of the clicker-prospect, and placed where they can find it.

Your site lives and dies by your marketing strategy and proper promotion which includes design, its wording and advertising and promotion campaigns. It should be integrated with an appeal-testing and improvement plan. You must know what you are doing and terms such as "landing page", and search engine spider-readable. (many shopping cart and other pages are not)

There is a reason advertising agencies were paid 15% for identifying good placement and creating good ads. Marketing consultants and graphics and media experts added to those costs. Those have simply been partly transformed into web graphics, web developers and various search engine ranking so-called SEO experts. Big companies use media placement consultants, SEO agencies and services to create ads and place banners and links, plus internal staff full-time managing their campaigns and special promotions. The new field of social networks and video media add new avenues for reaching prospects. But you must COMPETE.

The small business executive has to be an expert in their field, and in proper integrated site design and promotion, or the site will sit there for years doing nothing. The most important person in this new era of web marketing is your carefully chosen expert "web site designer" who is aware of pitfalls and requirements to keep you from hurting yourself, such as by hiring an SEO firm or PPC consultant who doesn't know what they are doing and harms your site or wastes your money.

At the bottom, we show some hands-on pay per click advertising basics to get your site propagating.--- First we will

  • outline the importance of web site promotion and integration of all aspects of your web marketing strategy.
  • warn you of pitfalls and caveats to avoid.
  • define web promotion and issues and problems of Search Engine rankings and other direct means of traffic-building.
  • give you fine points of SEO-Search Engine Optimization, what to prioritize for rankings, major choices to make, and timing issues.
  • urge having one control point of web files, site design and updates and campaign integration into the site
    (your web site designer-developer).

Below are some tips on website promotion, which stems from your web marketing strategy, part of your crucial business marketing strategy. See our pages on starting or buying a business and how to increase sales, and web selling articles. Increasing sales online is part of your overall business and marketing strategy. In early stages, usually 3 to 4 years, your web site must follow classical campaign cycles to test headlines, ad copy, appeals and content, much like in the old "direct marketing" days.

1) Web site promotion is a top priority for a web site owner, or the site will not be top-ranked nor findable/visible and will not likely succeed. Competition and clutter on the web is so high and growing that only the most diligent and/or wealthy promoters hold the top positions in search engines like Google and Bing and are visible in directories and on banners and elsewhere. You have to be there in your focused main keyword slots and directory sub-categories as in this high quality human-edited directory which features product category landing pages..

2) Success at web site promotion and traffic building is a real science requiring study, expertise and work. But beware. Many so-called promotion "experts" are not, and most "SEO experts" are not either. Many are rip-offs and scams, and often end up corrupting your web site code and making your site partly invisible and "non-compliant" with W3C standards (which a good web site designer-developer strives to maintain so the search engine spiders don't get lost). Don't let anyone but your Webmaster or web site designer developer maintain and manage your web site and files. Site files are not to be fiddled with by amateurs. A good web developer-webmaster keeps "versions" and backups (complete snapshots) of your web site files for several reasons, and no updates should be made which are not kept in such back-up repository, which is also important for copyright enforcement, and to return to a page version that ranked higher. Minor changes in web pages can reduce popularity. It's all about gradual planned change and testing by campaigns or preferably simultaneous testing to improve traffic and conversions. Changes in versions must be tracked and preferably done all at once periodically at end of campaigns.

3) What is web site promotion? Promotion is marketing term for activities to increase visibility, traffic and sales that in regular business include things like testing appeals and copy by direct testing campaigns, creating "PR" events, special offers, giving demonstrations, samples, news releases and creating "buzz" about your company or products, including advertising is part of promotion. But on the web, promotion has some of those meanings (still doing campaigns) and a slightly different meaning, primarily building "qualified traffic" to your web site. Qualified" means interested in, needing and capable of buying your services or products, immediately or soon. In some businesses, most any traffic is good, but in most businesses qualified traffic is much more important. You should remember this very important distinction. Without it, you will not likely have web success. (ie: you will fail)

4) Most businesses and organizations fail at proper web site promotion. On the Internet, site promotion is integral to all other aspects of the business and strategy. It depends on properly matching the business and resources to the best market niches on the web. Therefore, the central issue is having congruent strategies to include all the relevant key wording content of the site which must match the less-competitive key words on search engines, and be interesting and credible to your prospect. But that is only part of the problem. There are technical and search engine disqualification rules to consider, such as over-duplicating keywords (spamming), buying low-grade inbound links, and failing to properly use meta-tags. There are also non-paid promotion, quality directories and other forms of promotion to consider.

5) Other search engine standards and rules can be a serious obstacle to a high ranking. Even if you use paid promotion and "PPC" (*pay per click), top positions are more expensive to achieve without good content that is informative, relevant, authoritative and distinguished from others. Google's main measure of how authoritative is your site is how many trusted high-ranking sites link to your site and how much inbound traffic you have. Now you see it is a chicken or the egg type problem. Which comes first? Paid and organic (unpaid) ranking are also helped by the number of quality links to your site. Links from major companies and information sites and quality directories in the "core" of the internet improve rankings, such as from Yahoo and Amazon.

So, promotion and good ranking requires planning, coordination, integration, discipline, knowledge, time, money and effort to understand and do, even for wealthy companies.

6) The biggest misconception and scam is SEO-Search engine optimization companies promising you they can get your site to the top of search engines. What most don't disclose (which is fraud) is that a) they actually don't get you to the top, and b) when they do it is in obscure unused search key word categories and c) on obscure search engines. Others promise your banner or link placement on many web pages. Those pages turn out to be their own pages about gambling or similar things, with little traffic. Some people have signed up for $1000 per month for such rip-off scams. And who cares about the obscure unknown search engines and directories that no one visits? Focus on the bigger names and learning how they rate web site quality.

7) This brings us back to the first tier search engines, directories and inbound links. These determine the most important rankings and traffic. Unfortunately, costs of PPC "Pay per click" bidding have gone sky high. That is called the "auction effect". It only takes 3 or 4 consistent wealthy bidders to drive prices wild, and now even the next lower 10 positions are expensive on Google. This works against the small new company over time, as leaders become entrenched and hold top positions,and PPC bids creep up. You have to do an even better job than they do if you hope to compete at all-- from site design to excellent PPC management.

8) So, your big choice is whether you can spend thousands of dollars on bidding for PPC ranking, or a thousand+ hours doing link-building and building a better web site which MIGHT (or might not) rank in the top 10 organically. That is, your big choice is whether to emphasize PPC or organic ranking. If you don't have a few hundred dollars per month (at least $100) for PPC, the only choice is organic, emphasizing content quality and authority, and seeking inbound links and generating interest and traffic in other ways to make your site rated as "authoritative". Organic ranking is placement by search engines in their regular unpaid rankings under the featured paid web sites (like on Google). Competition is fierce either way. Organic placement includes the coveted "inbound links" rating factor and great content to be classified as "authoritative". Don't forget, you have to know all the other rating rules and technical aspects. Big content also makes for a difficult to navigate site and slow page loading. Only web developers-webmasters expert in all this can really help you balance and master these complex requirements. You may be better off in keyword phrase categories with 3 to 5 words which are more specific to your business and/or products. Those phrases should appear in your web page at least twice but less than ten times. Write great informative content that interests humans. The keywords in the site will then be determined by a tool that analyzes your site.

9) Time is a critical factor. Either way you go, paid or organic, it takes literally years for a site to fully propagate if it is not heavily-promoted by paid promotion, and even if it is, it still takes over a year. Don't expect much traffic or to make much money in less than 6 months unless you do things well the first time or two and use paid advertising upon a high-demand wow product in a growing field, a product only uniquely available through YOU. If yours is me-too small company with a weak budget, little staffing and a me-too product available from many, your marketing job is going to be tough and the outlook is dim. (ie: find a better business)

10) Good promotion is planned from before the web site is even named. The name is important, preferably having important keywords in it. The entire site design, look, focus and strategy is built around the web marketing strategy which is based on long research of competition and niches (gaps) in the market matched to an overall business strategy which takes all that into account based on resources and budget of the company. The first question is how much staffing and budget will be dedicated to web site development and promotion? If you do not have at least $10,000 to $15,000 cash and one or two dedicated staff expert webmaster and promotion persons to build and promote your site, you need to be doubly careful, depending on how complex your site is. If you expect to play at web marketing part- time with about $1000 total budget, don't expect much. You would have to be extremely lucky in your choice of services and products and how and where you offer them. You would have to utilize non-ranking means to build traffic, such as special offers and email blasts, and perhaps Groupon-type offers. (Don't do email blasts yourself. They will shut down your mail account and others will blacklist you. Your limit per day is about 20 to one domain like Yahoo or Verizon.)

11) Next a web site owner must understand the difference between traffic and qualified traffic and conversions. Conversions are what matters: people who buy or join up. If you use paid advertising promotion, you must work hard to "qualify" and "screen" the people and traffic coming to your site--before they click! Paid placement, PPC or ads must screen out those who are not really interested or who can't afford your offering. That is high priority.

12) There is a high priority to have your web marketing integrated into everything you do, from the beginning, including domain name selection. Because it can take about a year for a website to propagate, it is also important to get a name early and get some semblance of a home page up as soon as competitor research is done and the focus, differentiation, positioning, style, keywords and marketing strategy are determined.

13) A key factor is whether you have flexibility. Do you have an existing business or are you starting a new one, a web version of your business, or a new web business? Understand that the web is different than regular business, with competition growing fast. The barriers to entry are low compared to "brick and mortar" businesses. You must have and emphasize some competitive advantage or expertise. See Checklist starting a new website.

14) The emphasis in marketing and in Web-Success pages is finding a niche and tweaking your business's focus and differentiation. Trade dress and style matter, but more important is the content and following proven advertising principles. Your site should also be fast and easy to navigate, or all the promotion in the world will not matter. Also, you have about 2-3 seconds to interest the visitor. Don't drive them off with obnoxious pop-ups or slow-loading Flash media that is also strange and cryptic (you call it creative, tantalizing and mysterious - Blahhh !).

15) Inbound links are important, as above. Larger companies sometimes quietly pay for quality inbound links just like they pay for banners and PPC SEO rankings. They place such links carefully on relevant or related quality sites which mention their business activity, such as customer service products. Consider buying a quality existing site that someone lost interest in or did not promote properly, especially if the site is in a similar line of business or informational and has some traffic, ranking and quality content. You may then tweak that and it can help traffic to your main site. But it must have focus, value and quality of its own to visitors, or you get nothing or may be penalized by Google as search engine manipulation.

A lot of companies hire freelancers to pepper forums, social media and other postings with their links. This is usually short-sighted, unethical and penalized by Google. It can backfire. Some use reviewers by sending them products. That can also backfire seen as page rank manipulation or link schemes penalized by Google. Don't do it.

Don't even start a website before you study Google's Webmaster Guidelines listing factors you should follow for good page ranking.

16) PPC or pay per click advertising like Google is very important, and if you have a budget for it, or even if you go organic, you must study their requirements for content and ease of spidering. Pay per click is a tricky business, and you must be an expert at screening prospects before they click !! Writing ad copy takes practice. Study successful business's paid ads that run a long time. Name the audience and product in the ad. Study basic advertising copy writing books. Before you set off into Google and Search Engine PPC land, study carefully how to design ads, select quality keywords and how to bid and place ads. Most people hired to do Google PPC are not so great, and there are questions whether Google's agents have a conflict as not always saving you money. There actually are alternatives to Google. Bing still is questionably useful for the money. Recent changes to include social media into site rankings may help some companies and hurt many. If your products and customer service are bad or weak, avoid Bing. (We are working on a Bing Review site.)

Scheduling and carefully choosing geographic areas can save you money on Google and Bing. Learning to watch for gaps when others do not run ads can be advantageous. Look at the bottom of our Pages for our Google Adwords and Bing Advertiser Login links. Yes, you have to sign up with an account to do PPC paid promotion on Google and Bing. Test the waters. Get some practice.

17) Your web designer will suggest "landing pages" focused upon various audiences, their needs, and other important strong features of your business or product. Focused landing pages and gateway sites can help guide campaigns and test interest. Remember, you are doing what old direct-mail experts did: find what appeals and offers and lists (audiences) work.

18) A key part of your business strategy is your budget and whether you can afford mostly paid promotion or rely on free "organic" search engine placement, which is hard to do and does not work unless you work constantly at it for thousands of hours. unless you are in a very tiny niche of unusual product with little competition. If you are in a major category with a common product, you likely will never compete with paying advertisers. Go over your goals, your business strategy, your web strategies and your budget with your web designer and their web business consulting arm to review your goals and make suggestions for more improvements to save you money and be more competitive in the long run. A good web designer-webmaster can suggest how to save money on PPC, narrow your focus some and how to use focused landing pages and alternate hooks and gateways to more strongly draw prospects. These may require a lot of content writing and alternate domain names, if you get ambitious, to compete organically. If you are not good at writing, have it critiqued or hire someone.

19) Avoid most web site promotion companies, especially those who only do "SEO" keyword and key phrase additions to your site. Don't give them the keys (passwords) to your site!! They can mess it up. Do not play around yourself with a good web site using a WYSIWYG page editor, and we would especially never use Frontpage. That is a quick way to make your site fail or be costly and hard to maintain. Real expert web designers do editing directly to HTML to keep code clean and compliant. Top experts almost never use WYSIWYG and never do so after the page is mostly built.

If you MUST add or change text frequently, the web site designer can set off text areas from the main HTML to let you do some, like using a Content Manager in certain areas of pages directly from your PC to the server, but remember, that creates back-up issues. Changing text often does not give your content time to propagate. At least 2 to 3 months between changes is recommended, except for a "news" area.

20) Do consider placing links around blogs, forums and places which will link inbound to your site. Consider minimal link exchanges. The problem with exchanges is people leave your site if you add links !! All outbound links should open in a new window.

21) Try to work out deals on link lists and top lists which can help organic placement.

22) A few QUALITY Directories and medium search engines can get some inbound links which help rankings. Better directories are also useful generally and generate some traffic directly. Avoid the Free for all disorganized directories.

23) Email marketing (like newsletters and announcements) is becoming one of the better ways to gain traffic, from "opt-in" lists. There are several bulk email senders with editors to aid in e-publishing of newsletters and notices.

24) Read up on web promotion to stay abreast, and don't fall for fads. Much of social network marketing is a fad and not very productive so far. People don't want to talk about commercials and products in their private affairs. Talk to a reputable general web promotion expert, not someone so specialized as a PPC consultant.

25) Social network sites can have some benefit, but few products are so good that people want to really read about them during their private interactions. Too many companies become obnoxious this way, horning in on private lives. Worse, some company executives start to mix in their family lives and trips and trivia into their company website, and vice-versa. That is unprofessional. Don't do it.

Now for some nitty-gritty how-to of Pay per Click on Google Adwords or Bing:

26) First get familiar with Google adwords by playing with it and starting a "Campaign". Each focus of the business or period such as a quarter, or a theme of the promotion can be the campaign. Think "goal" and theme. What do you want to convey or feature most?? Examine your strengths and weaknesses.

27)Study your competition or similar business on Google. Study their ads and their site. Study also the high organic rankings in keywords representing your field or product.

28) Understand that "quality" of a keyword phrase to Google means not so general, but very narrow and specific. That could be 3 or 4 keywords. The point is "relevance". What is relevant to your business and product and also to the prospect?

29) Now it gets tricky, because you not only have to research related relevant words and phrases, such as with keyword suggestion tools (See Wordtracker and Google's tool)but you have to think like a web surfer. How many ways are they likely to look for you? Don't guess so much. Go look at related keywords and their "popularity". You are looking for fair to good popularity, at least 600 per month clicks per phrase. Spread among 10 or so advertisers, that gives you a chance at about 2 per day, if your ad is good.

30) As above, learn about ad copy writing; Don't guess. Learn it from a book on basic advertising. Each part of the ad is like each top part of your website. It consists of a great headline that gets attention, names the audience and offers a benefit. "Corn Sufferers: Remove corns overnight", is the old classic example. Note which ads of your competitors run more consistently. Those are the ones to emulate. But learn correct methods, because a word or two wrong can make several times in what the ad pulls.

31) Qualify your prospect before they click! Tell them what it costs, or that you are not the cheapest, etc.. The cheapskates and people looking for "free" will likely skip the comparable to-higher priced offers. Give info but tease a little, like the evening news opening. Be as specific as possible about the product.

32) On actual Google or Bing bidding. Go slow and learn how it works. On Google, the "First Page Minimum" seems inaccurately high. We have often made first page by going 10-20% under that number.

33) Learn how to time your ads by days of week and times of day. Try different times. Note your bid click costs. Google adjusts your bid to just what is necessary to retain your relative position. If you have $2.00 per click, and 2 others are above you at $2.50 and 3.00, when the one under you is lower or gone, your click cost will drop. We have found it often useful to be around number 4 to 8 (of 11) on bids. The bidder below you is weak and may drop out at times.

34) Likewise learn geographic territory controls. Google lets you exclude metro areas you may not want to do business with. There is much to be gained by experimenting with half of the metro areas, seeing which come in lower cost per bid. You are better off to be #6 in half the main areas (if you are national or regional) than pay too much being #8 on twice as many. The reason is you want to have tons of keyword phrases.

35) Be careful to set your "Settings" to "off network" (use search only).

36) Set your "matching" (near bottom) in Settings to "phrase" or exact and when you typing your keywords. Enclose most of your keywords in quotes, or brackets [] for exact matching to search words. This is difficult to do, but worth understanding.

37) Don't forget to use negative keywords (means "don't include" if some additional words), often overlooked in blocking clicks of similar but unrelated words.

38) Set your default bids first, in the mid-range, roughly at 2/3 of what it takes to be #6 of Google advertisers in your word, such as $1.20 per keyword. Likewise use the Settings tab per campaign to set your daily click cost limit, and set your date ending the campaign. At first, promote for a couple of days at a time and then take a day or two to check results. You will save money that way.

39) See the Google Adwords Log-In link at bottom of each Web-Success page. Next to each is the Bing advertiser log in. To advertise you do need an account and means of payment, a credit or debit card. Remember, costs can add up.

We will be bringing you links to useful tools and how-to site pages to help you really learn where the gaps are in PPC competition. Remember, no highly successful business has much real competition. It works the same way with keyword phrase bidding. And be patient, it takes at least a year to learn enough to feel comfortable and be competitive in web site promotion.

In summary, good promotion is a combination of good strategy, decisions whether to emphasize PPC or organic promotion, plus much effort and good planning, study and design from the inception, done diligently for years. That is like success in most businesses, isn't it? Business is like war. It is tough and unforgiving, not the "easy money" that charlatans misrepresent web business to be. This is also a good time to really study proper web site design tips and factors for web business success.

Good Luck

Note: If you would like more helpful information about starting a website or a web business, then browse our other information guides and tips on our menu above: 11 Web Business Success Tips, Starting a Web Business Checklist, How to Choose a Domain Name, How to Choose a Domain Registration Company, How to Choose a Hosting Company, Tips for Designing a Website, How to Get My Website Working, How to Promote Your Website, 10 Website Improvement Tips

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