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Promotion Techniques

By, Lori Redfield

So you’ve done it!  You’ve poured your heart and soul into the perfect design, the perfect concept, THE perfect website.  Don’t stop there.

I have seen countless websites – perfectly good websites sitting out there on the web, looking pretty – but not being seen.  Here are some strategies to implement – over and over again if you want your website to be a success.

First of all, please!  Provide content.  Give your visitors a reason to be there and a reason to come back.  It truly helps if your site’s focus is something you are passionate about.  It is very difficult to succeed with a website you threw together solely because you thought it might ‘make you some money’.  You’ve got to care enough about this baby to work on it constantly – even if it ISN’T making you money.  So choose a topic that won’t bore you and in which you consider yourself a teacher.  You’ve got to offer your visitor something.  They aren’t coming to view your paid ads.

Once the site is created, make sure that you have good Meta tags on every page.  You’ve got to have them.  The search engine spiders feed off them.  They are a breeze to make.  You can find free tools all over the place to help you make them.  I use the Meta tag creator at http://www.anybrowser.com, mainly because I like to support the site.  They offer quality resources for free to their users.  Even if you are getting a resource for free off of the web, you should realize that the webmaster benefits from you using it.  You become one of their statistics – one of their visitors who find the site useful.  The more useful a site is, the more it is frequented, the higher value is placed on advertising space.  So support sites you love – go there often.  If you don’t have any particular page set up as your home page on your browser, choose a site you respect and use it as your home page.

See, really I believe one of the secrets of success is generosity.  If you covet your resources you close yourself off.  If you fear your ‘competition’ instead of embracing them and networking with them, you cut yourself off.  So take the time to support other sites and network.  Network at least once a day.  Set your mind to it.  If you see a site that you love, write the webmaster.  Tell them what you love about it.  There is nothing better then a note from the ethers appreciating all that you have been working on for months.  You never know what can come out of these notes.  Make suggestions.  Tell the webmaster (or webmistress) that you are interested in reciprocal linking, but that you would really much rather go a step further with them.  That a reciprocal link really doesn’t do justice to the amount of respect you have for what they are doing and offer to exchange articles with them, or newsletter ads – anything.  Make some friends!

Ideally you should rent Wordtracker from http://www.wordtracker.com and research the keywords in your meta tags before you create them.  Wordtracker is a miracle!  It’s very cheap to rent for a day (under $10) and it lets you research the words you feel are key to your business and see how many people actually search on those terms, and how many competing sites out there are using those terms.  Now that’s valuable!

A word about metatags: One tag that used to be considered crucial, the keyword metatag, is now considered pretty much useless.  Most of the search engine spiders have stopped looking at this tag.  Adding it won’t hurt your site.  In fact there are a few search engines such as Tehoma that still read it.  But it definitely doesn’t carry enough weight as it used to.

Because the keyword meta tag is ‘dead’, what we need to do is integrate our keywords into the Title tag, the Description tag and probably most importantly, into the text on the site.  You can also add some keywords to the alt tags on your sites images.  But remember, your visitors will see whatever you have written there when they mouse over your images so keep the message brief and professional and don’t over-do it or your site will look bad.

Once you have your metatags created and inserted into every page on your site (being sure to use a different ‘title tag’ for every page.  Go ahead and start submitting to search engines and directories.  That’s the first step.  Please note that I said FIRST step.  Too many people stop there.  

The next thing to do is reciprocal link.  If your site allows it, set up a directory or some form of a reciprocal linking page.  Every morning, sit down with a cup of tea and search.  Search for sites that you would like to exchange links with.  That’s crucial.  You don’t want to add links to YOUR site with just anyone.  Their site needs to be worthwhile.  Something that you WANT to send your visitors to.  This is much more about integrity then it is about ambition.  Keep your integrity and you will have something that people will be loyal to.  Also – search for sites that will let you add a link WITHOUT reciprocating.  That is where it pays to have a site with integrity.  People will actually WANT to link to you simply because they want to offer the resource to their visitors.

Google and other big search engines rank sites according to (amongst other things) their link popularity.  The more you can get links to your sites out there, any where – the better you will find that your search engine results are.  Here is a trick for finding sites to link with.  Go to http:www.google.com and do a search.  Say you sell cloth diapers.  You will search on, ‘add diaper link’ or ‘add baby link’ or ‘add WAHM link’, etc.  You will be shocked at how many sites come up in your search.  It’s fun!

Don’t ever consider yourself done exchanging links.  You may set it aside for awhile, but do pick it up again.  It can never hurt.

What CAN hurt is linking to sites with a low Google rating (below 3) from your site.  I highly recommend surfing with the Google toolbar AND the Alexa toolbar.  Pay attention to the ratings of sites that you are considering exchanging links with.  It can never hurt your search engine results if someone links to you, but it CAN hurt your results if you link to them.  You may be willing to compromise if a site is particularly good.  Why?  Because, A. you want to support good sites and also offer excellent resources to your visitors and B. because chances are if it is a good site – the Google and Alexa rankings will only get better.

Another fun trick is to pay attention to your Alexa bar as you are surfing on sites that are related to your website.  You will see that Alexa provides links to related sites on the toolbar as you are surfing.  Imagine if people were seeing YOUR link up there!  You want that!  So take the time to submit your link as you surf.  If you are on a site that relates to yours, tell Alexa about it.  It only takes a minute to submit it and a second to click the email they will send you.  The results won’t be immediate – but they’re ‘in the bank’.

One other promotion strategy I want to share with you is writing articles.  Like this one!  Write articles on what you know about.  What you care about.  Or what moves you.  In just the same way as you searched for ‘add diaper link’, now you will do a search for ‘add article link’.  Submit your articles all over the place.  Good webmasters are often too busy to write their own articles and they LOVE to publish good ones on their site.  You heard me!  They will publish YOUR article on their site.  They won’t pay you… but they will include a short biography at the end of the article with a link back to your website.  Now THAT’S what I call payment!  Free traffic that you earned!  Someone read your article, recognized that you had something to offer to them and decided, based on the merit of what you have written that they want to know more about you.

I promise you – if you take these pieces of advice to heart, put them into practice and have a good time with it… Your site WILL increase in popularity.  I wish you all the best luck with your promotion efforts and hope that you become excited enough and savvy enough to be one of the lucky folks who really are able to earn a living doing what they love.

Lori Redfield is a freelancing Mother of three, happy wife and blooming online entrepreneur.  She is founder of newly launched http://www.freelancemom.com, an esource for women who want to work from home.

 

 

 

 
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