From time to time I find out new information on how to promote your website. I post some of it to my blog, and some I post here.
Newsletters are a growing idea for your business. The law is cracking down on spam in email and it’s harder to send a group of emails to many people in a BCC or blind carbon copy as a lot of internet providers will often bounce those emails back. A better idea is to sign up for a newsletter account that takes care of your customer email list for you. Companies like Constant Contact, Mail Chimp have services that you can upload your email list (they don’t use it, it is your own personal list) and when you send out a newsletter, they are able to send out each email as an individual one so it doesn’t get marked as spam.
Better than that, you can add a “sign up” link to your website that allows people and customers you don’t know you sign up for your informative newsletter and the company you use, adds them to your list. And better still, automatically removes people who wish to unsubscribe.
A newsletter is a great way to announce specials, give advice depending on your business, and highlight solutions to client’s problems.
Twitter and Facebook
Everyone seems to be on Facebook now adays and Twittering away. Be very careful about deciding to jump onto the bandwagon with both of these new social media sites. They aren’t really for everyone, and not everyone’s business is right for them. If you don’t have time to dedicate a little time each week or even each day, they aren’t a good fit. Like your website, if you don’t tweet interesting information or post things often enough, people will forget about you.
If you set up a Facebook account for your business, so far you have to set it up with a personal account. This is fine if you work for yourself, but may be trickier if an employee looks after it with their Facebook page.
If you have a young clientelle, then Facebook may be for you, but only if you have events, sales or news quite often to keep it interesting. The same with Twitter. If your organization doesn’t have a lot of things to say or advice to give, then it will be hard to keep people interested or get people to sign up. However once you think of what you could be telling people, the ideas do start to flow.
Blogs attached to your site
I know that it seems like a blog is another website. More work etc. But for most of you, someone else looks after your site. And it costs you each time you want it updated. I know, I have to charge for every update my clients want (well, I have to make a living too!). But sometimes you just want everyone to know about your specials. And if you can’t update your own site, that could be expensive.
The fellow I listened to about this recently said that there were a few reasons why having a blog increased site traffic.
- the structures of blogs are search engine friendly (they are often written in HTML with CSS -cascading style sheets, which cuts out a lot of code to get to the meat of your message.
- It uses basic HTML. A lot of sites have Flash, lots of images etc. which are not search engine friendly.
- Each post has an individual title page. These title pages are what the search engines use.
- Most blogs have links to other sites, and as I mention below, that means site popularity.
- Your content is FRESH! I have clients that I did sites for three years ago, and they do not feel it necessary to update their sites at all. Not even when they don’t necessarily sell the same things now. Your customers will be bored and the search engines will be too. (well they are computer programs, but it does affect how they rank you, whether or not they have to read the same old stuff again!)
I’m always happy to give free advice, and of course I’m happy to set up a blog for you. They are somewhat flexible in that you can have your own header and colours you like. Ask me about Blogs! they are a great compliment to the website that you have already.
Again, they are only relevant for people who have information that they feel that an audience would be interested in and will update it quite often. If you don’t think you would update your blog more than once a year, then you are better just sticking to your website. But the thing that keeps people coming back to blogs and websites is the value added information that you offer. Not ways to do what you do for free, but little information you don’t mind giving your customers. For example, if you are a mechanic, an article on how to keep your car running in top condition in winter, or how to save gas (keep those tires inflated). A gardening site would have what is in bloom right now and planting advice.
Selling for free
You may want to consider putting an ad on sites like Kijiji. A client of mine is a dog breeder and wanted to put her dogs for sale in other places apart from her website. Of course, she has an ad in DogsCanada, which is a good start, but for up to date news on the birth of her puppies, Kijiji worked great! Of the nine puppies she had for sale, she sold six of them to good home via Kijiji. And best of all, the ad was free! We were able to put her website address on the ad and that increased her views to over 90 in a week! Putting an ad isn’t hard and you can sell all sorts of things. We placed an ad in various areas, like Peterborough, Scarborough, Toronto etc. We figured that her present clients are happy to drive a distance to get one of her beautiful golden retrievers so it made sense to put the ads in various places too.
Another way to improve your standing in the search engines, and get more business, is to get a Google account and put a google map on your site. If you go to Google.ca and click on Map above the google search box, you will see Map. Click on this and you’ll likely get a map of North America. Type in your business address at the top (like you would for a search) and your location will come up. You can go to the Google Business centre and add a listing. Make sure you have a google account first. There you can add your listing for your business. Google will then send a confirmation postcard with codes to use.
Apparently it sometimes takes a couple of tries before a postcard with a confirmation number arrives, but then you can go back into the business centre and confirm your location. What happens then, is if someone looks for a location that is close to you, your business should come up at the left list of businesses. Or if someone does a search on car parts for example in their own area, and you are a garage, your business should come up. And since all of this is linked to Google, which is now the number one search engine, it helps your ranking and your site being seen. So make sure your website is up to date and worth visiting!
I know it sounds like when we were in highschool, but the way your site used to be found was in the meta tags that you had on each page. These were key words that described the information that was on your page, and the words that you felt your potential customers or searchers for a site like yours, would use. Unfortunately, like anything, soon a lot of people were abusing this method. Spamming, a device where people would put the words they felt were important into their meta tags numerous times to increase their chances. Or putting in words like Microsoft, in the hope that their page would come up when someone looked for Microsoft, even if their site was to do with widgets not connected with computers at all!
People also believed that having a lot of pages on a website would also make them look more legitimate even if those pages really didn’t have anything on them. This cluttered up the internet again with a lot of junk.
Search engines started to discover that link popularity was a very effective way to weed out ‘junk’ pages and a good way to judge a site. Link popularity is very difficult to abuse (a webmaster would have to control tens or hundreds of sites located on different servers). Also, search engines found that judging a site by who links to it is one of the best indications of site quality. After all, not many webmasters make a habit out of linking to bad or less than useful web sites. Go to Link Popularity