Website Marking Tips
"If you build it, they will come" does not apply to websites!
Ok. So you have a really cool website up and running (that hopefully we designed!). You've sent an email to family and friends and they've oohed and aawed and patted you on the back for doing such a spectacular job; and then the traffic numbers flatline. Nobody is looking at your website, let alone contacting you to buy your products or hiring you for your services. What went wrong? You've shelled out big bucks for your snazzy website, you've spent hours working with your copy and photos. Where is everybody?
Well, your work isn't done just yet!
Think of your website as you would a brick and mortar storefront business, you can remodel, stock your items, hire the best employees, and nobody will show up unless you tell people you are there. It would be like putting up no storefront signs and not advertising or letting that brand new box of 500 business cards just sit on your desk and not passing them out to everybody. It doesn't make sense.
Below are some ideas I've gleaned from the web over the years about marketing your website along with some basic tips for utilizing social media options such as FaceBook.
This is especially useful if you live in a town such as Sheridan, Wyoming (that's where we are!). Always make sure you have attractive business cards on hand to pass out with your web address (URL). Always include your website URL on all correspondence, stationary, brochures, etc, even in the signature of your outgoing emails. This sounds like a no-brainer, but it's very easily over looked!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There are a ton of companies out there ready and willing to charge you a ton of money for the all important search engine optimization. If you are wanting to go big nationwide or even worldwide, you may want to check into hiring a good optimization company, otherwise, there are many things we can help with to improve your visibility.
One of the most important are the keywords (meta tags) incorporated in the code of your web pages. This is what the search engine "bots" look at to be able to offer your website up when people run a search. We need about 15 words, which includes your business name and location, as well as key descriptions pertaining to your website. For example, here is the list of our meta tag keywords:
<meta name="keywords" content="Sheridan, Wyoming, WY, Graphic Design, Designer, Logos, Websites, E-commerce Websites, Printing, Business Cards, Stationery, Envelopes, Post Cards, Brochures, Rack Cards, Fliers, Ads, Appointment Cards, Hang Tags, Forms, Media Kits, Catalogs, Menus, Punch Cards, Posters, Signage, Photo Restoration, Retouching, Large Format Banners" />
You also need a good description, again, utilizing some of your most important keywords. This is what shows up in the search engine results. Again, here is ours:
<meta name="Description" content="Sheridan Design LLC provides professional custom graphic design solutions for your website and print needs." />
I also try to use your business name/keywords in alt tags, the descriptions when you hover your mouse over an image. Search engines factor those in as well. I also recommend submitting your site to search engines directly, if you run a search on "submit your website to search engines" you should come up with a slew of places you can submit your website.
Note that it takes 3-4 weeks for the main search engines to get around to indexing your website to show up in search engines and at first, you may be further down on the list of results. It can take a while to climb up in the rankings but if we have your keywords and description in place and keyword rich content, you should be well on your way to higher rankings. It just takes time!
Additional Marketing Ideas
Don't sit back and expect a flood of traffic yet! While search engine optimization is very important, it's not the end! It's also a good idea to get out there and interact with other websites as well so people can find you and get to know your business. It's recommended that you find websites similar to your niche and participate in their forums, or blogs. While it's never a good idea to spam other sites, well worded commentary can be helpful in driving people over to your website.
Working with Social Media
Just like building your website traffic, you have to take some time and initiative to make social media sites work for you. Sites such as FaceBook and Twitter can be an amazing source of potential contacts for your business. It's a quick way to get news and special offers out to an audience who specifically chose to receive your information by "liking" your business page on FaceBook.
Again, this takes some elbow grease on your part. Once you let your friends and family know about becoming your fan, you need to keep at it by posting enticing content somewhat frequently. Very often, people will get on board with FaceBook only to let it just sit there and wonder why six months have gone by and they only have 6 fans, 5 of them being friends and family. Feel free to keep asking friends, family and fans to help spread the word, but be careful about becoming too annoying with it! Contests and giveaways are always a good way to keep fans excited and prompt them to share your site with their friends and family.
Take some time to learn how FaceBook works and understand the difference between your personal page and your business page. There's a handy little help page at the bottom right hand corner of every page on FaceBook. Take a look through there, there's a ton of info and you'll be up and running in no time!
Put some thought into your banner/thumbnail image! This is some prime real estate that you can think of as ad space. If you go to our FaceBook page (click here) you can get an idea of what we can do to help create a nice banner image for your business page. While you're there, click the "Like" button at the top and become a fan! (ha! see what I did there?). Keep in mind, you do have to sign up for a personal FaceBook page to view business pages, you can do so here: www.facebook.com
Yet Even MORE Goodies!
This list of tips is borrowed from an extremely talented photographer and very good friend of mine, Diana Volk. She is a case study in what to do right with well over 5,000 fans on her FaceBook page!
1. Keep content fresh: this gives fans a reason to come back to your page frequently.
2. Give fans something they can't get anywhere else: offer free shipping only to FaceBook fans, an exclusive product coupon for fans only, a weekly special, etc.
3. Encourage interaction: social media is a two way communication. Post a question to solicit fans opinions. Give tips.
4. Say thanks: a little thank you can go a LONG way. Let people get to feel like they know you.
5. Don't give up: don't be surprised if your mom and sister are your only fans. Keep posting, keep testing, and keep trying--don't give up!
6. Promote other peoples pages: you will find that they will share your page. Encourage people to share posts. Have favorites on your fan page and encourage them to add you to their favorites.
7. Promote your facebook page on your web page, twitter, blog, and business cards.
8. Have a competition: competitions can go viral too! Have a giveaway where the winner is who can bring in the most fans, the possibilities are endless!
I hope this has been useful when considering ways to increase your website traffic, hang in there and don't expect too much too soon! Remember, we are here to help!