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After a small business or individual creates a website, the next step is to drive traffic to the website. Driving traffic to a website increases revenue through advertisements, affiliates, and mass exposure. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), affiliate advertising, blogging, and social networking are successful tools that are proven to increase website traffic. This guide is ideal for individuals or small businesses that want to increase revenue by driving traffic to a particular website.
After a small business or individual creates a website, the next step is to drive traffic to the website. Driving traffic to a website increases revenue through advertisements, affiliates, and mass exposure. Search Engine Optimization (SEO), affiliate advertising, blogging, and social networking are successful tools that are proven to increase website traffic. This guide is ideal for individuals or small businesses that want to increase revenue by driving traffic to a particular website. Quick Guide to Driving Traffic to Your Site Table of Contents Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 1 Affiliate Advertising 2 Blogging 2 Social Networking 5 Appendix A: On-Line Glossaries for Internet Advertising Terminology 6 Quick Guide to Driving Traffic to Your Site Selling your products and/or services is the primary way that most of us hope to make money from our websites; however, unless you have enough visitors to your site, you are not likely to make any money. This is based on the same principle that applies to brick and mortar businesses – if no one comes through your doors, you will not sell a thing. You must actively seek ways to drive traffic to your website, and this guide will give you some tips and tricks for doing just that. The basics of promoting any business, whether it is web-based or brick and mortar, are pretty standard: Provide a quality product or service that will result in happy customers. Happy customers increase word-of-mouth advertising for you, and also result in repeat business. Remember the old adage, “the customer comes first.” While there are some people who you will never be able to satisfy no matter what you do, you can save yourself from negative feedback and thread posts by offering timely, responsive customer service, and making things that go wrong (because they do) right to the best of your ability. Offer added value or bonuses, where you can – things that your customers cannot get from your competition. One of the best is referral bonuses – when one of your customers sends another customer to you, reward them in some way. When competing for business on the World Wide Web, however, there are some specifics that you absolutely must know in order to bring in business. The four main categories that we will cover here are: Search Engine Optimization; Affiliate Advertising; Blogging; and Social Networking. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Search Engine Optimization simply stated is making sure that your site comes up as close to the top of a list of search results as possible. This is done primarily through the use of keywords, but also involves targeting different types of searches, as well as overcoming naturally-occurring barriers in the form of how servers index certain data. SEO can have a lot to do with how your site is designed and you can take steps to ensure that everything from your shopping cart to your menus are search-engine friendly. Keywords can make or break your website and the following information is compiled from the top-rated internet advice for making it work for you: Find the best keywords for the product or service you offer by considering how relevant they are to site content and how likely folks are to use them while searching for products similar to yours. You can get some help with this from a couple of different tools that do © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. 1 this for you: (1) WordTracker; and (2) Keyword Research , both of which offer free trials before you buy. Ensure that your page titles start with targeted keywords, and that your permanent body copy is keyword rich. Repeating keywords throughout your copy may lessen the quality of your writing style (most of us who write tend to shy away from redundancy), but will ultimately pull in business, so there is a small trade-off here. When using graphics and pictures, make sure that you include captions and that your captions are keyword rich. Include a site index which is formatted so that each index entry acts as a link back to a page on your site. Make sure that your site’s filenames and directories are named with keywords. Here are a few more considerations for keywords on your site. (Please also refer to the document titled, “Checklist for Search Engine Optimization.”) o Keyword phrase order anticipates search terms: try to think of how people will search. o Keyword appears early in page or tag: put it at the top of the page, in a large, bold font. o Keywords used in links to other sites: optimizes clicks on those links. o Keyword phrases structured around popular search terms: again, try to think of how people will search. o Keywords are not diluted to the point of uselessness: too many can be counter- productive. o No keyword stuffing (artificially inflated density): doing this can get you kicked out of the mix on popular sites. o Keyword stemming for languages other than English: consider the population to which you are marketing. Affiliate Advertising This form of marketing can be likened to a band taking part of the “door” or a portion of ticket price paid by each audience member who enters the venue. There are several methods available out there, but these are the top four: Cost-per-Click (CPC)/Pay-per-Click (PPC): This is where you allow banners (or advertisements) to be displayed on your site and you are paid each time one of the visitors to your site clicks on that banner/advertisement. The most popular of these is Google’s AdSense, a free program that is easy to use and nets good results. Cost-per-Mil (CPM)/Cost-per-Impression (CPI): This method is generally more effective if you have a lot of traffic on your site. It, too, permits advertisements or © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. 2 banners to be displayed on your site, and then you are paid for each thousand ‘impressions’ (each time the advertised page loads). Pay-for-Performance (P4P): Again, you will be required to display advertisements or banners on your site when using this method, however, it will take more than a click or a page loading in order for you to be paid – the customer must complete a specific task, such as signing up for a newsletter or actually making a purchase from the advertiser, before you are paid. Sponsorship: This is a traditional form of advertising (you see it constantly in television commercials), and the same theory applies to web site advertising. A sponsor will purchase space on your site in which to advertise their product or service. You will have to work, however, in order to find sponsors for your site, and this method is also known as “sell-to” advertising. You will have to sell the idea of advertising to the company you wish to sponsor your site. Blogging When the term “blog” was first coined, it literally stood for “web log,” which was an on-line diary, and while this definition still applies to most blogs, there are a myriad of different types out there, including artlogs, photoblogs, and micro-blogging. A big part of a blog is the ability of readers to comment and respond to the blog, and what can be handy about a blog is that folks find them interesting and you can put that to work for you by creating one on your site to connect with your customers and potential customers. The fact that this is a viable marketing tool can be evidenced by the fact that many large corporations these days include a blog on their websites. The fact is that a blog can increase your chances of being found during a web search. While the entire goal here is to drive traffic to your site, you must be careful to steer clear of a blog that seems like all you want to do is market (even if that’s all you want to do). Your blog must be an open and engaging forum that people want to read, and that once they do read it, will elicit comments from them. Bear in mind, however, that all of the comments are not going to be positive, so preparing yourself for that is important. Your blog should reflect the personality and values of your enterprise. If you are selling books, for example, your blog posts can be your own personal reactions to some that you’ve read, or how reading certain stories as a child helped to shape your future. The comments that come back to you on your blog posts can tell you more about your customers, and what they’re looking for, and simply having a blog gives your company a more warm, human element. Make your blog one that tells a story about your company; maybe about your personal history and what prompted you to start the site. Highlight your successes, or charity work that your company has done and that made you feel good. The more human the blog, the less it comes off sounding like you’re trying to sell something through it. Once you’ve started the blog, you may find that reading the comments that come back to you, and making your daily or weekly updates are something you really look forward to. Dedicate a page to your company blog and write as a person, or have someone in your organization with good writing skills write for you. Better yet, if you have several employees, you can highlight their personalities by including them in the © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. 3 blog post and coming up with new ideas for the blog. Being creative with your blog is a sure-fire way to bring traffic to your site, and the more traffic, the more potential sales you can look forward to. Social Networking As stated in the very first section of this article, word-of-mouth referrals are one of the best marketing tools out there, and constitute probably the first method of marketing since people started sharing the products they made (or grew) at home for their own use. (“Farmer Bill has the best milk cow in these parts, take him some potatoes and he’ll trade you for sweet cream.”) With the advent of the internet, there was born an entirely new forum for social networking, and it is this that you want to put to use when bringing business to your website. First, you must understand the terms, “viral marketing,” and “viral advertising.” While these terms may at first conjure up negative images of a nasty computer virus, know that the concept is the same – spreading something from one computer to another – but that viral marketing is not a computer “disease.” Viral advertising is the method by which companies spread the word about their company, gaining brand recognition and getting their products or services out there into the internet community. It is in the interest of your bottom line to market in this manner. Another term that you should first understand is “social bookmarking.” This refers to the ability of internet users to bookmark, or save a page that they have found interesting or useful. Links to pages can be saved on one’s own little corner of the internet, or can be placed on someone else’s page, blog, or social forum. The more people who bookmark your site, the more potential you have for new people to find it. Social Networking forums include sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Bebo, just to name a few. There are literally hundreds out there. Studies have shown that social influence is the primary reason that over forty percent of the world’s internet population will try a new product or service. Large companies have found that giving away something to users of Facebook generates comments, blog posts, and the desired result – a spreading viral campaign about that product that reaches far more potential customers than advertising banners or spam. Does this mean that you have to give something away in order to begin such a campaign? No, of course not, but you’re probably wondering how to do so without spending a lot of money. One of the best ways to do this is to come up with something that has entertainment value and blast e- mail it out there to users of social networking forums. A perfect example of this is the dancing baby video that actually ended up on a television show after having been passed around the internet. If folks find it interesting or entertaining, they will link to it on their site, and will forward that e-mail to others, who, in turn, forward it to more people, thus the start of a successful viral campaign. There are many resources out there these days that can help you think of creative viral marketing strategies – just type the search term, “how to start a viral marketing campaign,” into your web browser and read what others are doing. By being creative and keeping an open mind, you might just come up with the perfect campaign for your product or service. © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. 4 Appendix A: On-Line Glossaries for Internet Advertising Terminology WhatIs?Com Newspaper Agency Corporation Ad Glossary © Copyright 2010 Docstoc Inc. 5
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