by John Eberhard

Many web sites today are not viable, meaning they are not doing what they are supposed to – i.e. producing leads and/or sales. Now I’ll qualify that statement by saying that I’m talking about web sites that are for a commercial purpose. Those sites should be producing leads and/or sales for the business, and it is possible. But in order to do it, you have to drive traffic to the site.

 

There are certain key actions to driving traffic to your site and getting it producing leads and/or sales.

 

What’s Working Now

In the Internet’s short history, the website marketing actions that have been truly effective have changed just about each year. These are the actions that are working right now, and these are the actions you should take as part of a campaign to make your site successful:

 

a. Pay Per Click Advertising
b. Blogging
c. Press releases
d. Google Maps
e. Content Hub Submissions
f. Collecting Identities on Your Web Site
g. Making sure your site is set up to take advantage of traffic
h. Email Marketing to Your Own Lists
i. Search Engine Optimization

 

I will explain each action.

 

a. Pay Per Click Advertising

The term refers to paid advertising that a company can run on search engines, so that when a person enters a specific search term or phrase, your ad appears.

 

One can choose any word or phrase at all and choose to have your ad appear when people enter that phrase on that search engine. However, you will want to select words or phrases that are at least somewhat popular, i.e. that a lot of people are entering. That way you get decent exposure for your ad.

 

One of the biggest advantages to this type of advertising is that you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad and thus arrives at your web site. You start an account with one of these search engines, put some money in it, and every time someone clicks on your ad and comes to your site, your account is debited. This is has an advantage over most other types of advertising, where you pay whether there is any result or not. With paid search engine advertising, you only pay for actual traffic coming to your web site.

The main pay per click providers right now are Google AdWords and MSN Ad Center.

b. Blogging

Blogging is a great way to drive traffic to a web site. You set up a blog, either in a sub-directory on your main site (www.yourwebsite.com/blog) or on a separate web address (www.yourblog.com). Then you set up links to your main web site in the sidebars, and also put links to your main web site in the text of your blog posts.

Whenever you post something to the blog, make sure you send out a notification, called a “ping,” to the blog search engines. WordPress blogs can be set up to do this automatically. For other types of blogs go to www.pingomatic.com.

c. Press releases

An “optimized press release” is a press release which announces an event of some kind, and which contains your selected high priority keywords. These are the keywords that you would like your web site to rank highly for in the regular search engine results pages (SERPs).

By writing press releases that are optimized for the keywords you would like to rank for, and then submitting these to online PR sites, these releases will get listed in Google News, and will then move over into regular Google listings.
It is ideal to write an optimized press release and send it out on online PR sites once a week, and to continue doing this over a several month period. But if you can’t do this every week, once or twice a month is still very helpful.

d. Google Maps

Google Maps is a new feature of Google whereby when Google perceives through the nature of your search that you are searching for something local, it will bring up a map on page one. The map will have balloons on it showing the location of different vendors, and there will be listings shown to the right of the map.

So the Google Maps feature is a great way to get your business listing onto the elusive page one of Google. And with the graphic, it pulls your attention right to the map, which is partway down the page.

This new feature is great for local businesses like restaurants, home improvement companies, health care practices, dance studios, attorneys, private schools, or any business that services a local area. When you consider that 66% of Americans use the Internet to find local businesses, and 73% of all Internet activity is related to local content, if you have a local business, you need to get onto Google Maps.

e. Content Hub Submissions

A content hub, also called an article directory, is a type of web site that has lots of informational articles on it. A person with a web site, who needs article content for their site, can go to a content hub and download articles for free on a wide variety of topics, and then post them on their web site. These content hubs allow you to search by topic or category or by keyword.

 

Writers can post articles on the content hubs. The benefit for the writer is that he can mention his company and include his web site address in the article. And that provides in-bound links to his web site, from the content hubs themselves, and from every web site where that article is posted. In-bound links, meaning links from other web sites that link to yours, increase link popularity, which is one of the main criteria used by Google and other search engines to determine web site ranking.

 

So the content hubs service both writers who want to get the word out on their company or products or services, and people who have web sites who need article content.

Content hubs have been and continue to be a great way to build links to your web site.

f. Collecting Identities on a Web Site

One of the most vitally important – and often neglected – aspects of designing a web site is to include ways to capture identities of people visiting the site. This means to get the name and email address (minimally) of people who visit the site, so you can promote your product or service to them in the future.

 

The solution is to include reasons on your site for the person who is interested, but not going to buy right away, to give you his name and email address now. This allows you to build an email list, which over time, can become a formidable part of your marketing strategy. Free offers of various types, usually of information, are the best way to do this.

 

 g. Making Sure Your Site is Set Up to Take Advantage of Traffic

Once you finally get people coming to your site, you have to have the site set up in order to properly take advantage of the traffic. Aside from having free offers, this includes:

 

1. Having well written and compelling sales text
2. Having photos of your product readily visible, especially if the product is unusual in some way
3. Provide a “BUY” button, large and easy to find on every page
4. Make sure the buying process is easy and intuitive

 

I have seen mistakes on web sites, with omissions on all of the points mentioned above. Any one of those mistakes can kill your sales, and missing out on all four is certain death.

h. Email Marketing to Your Own Lists

Once you have built up an email list, the thing to do is to start marketing to that list with email, either with individual offers for products or services, or with newsletters that contain information articles as well as information on your products or services.

 

8-10 years ago, emailing to rented email lists was a great way to find brand new customers. Unfortunately, certain unscrupulous people overdid it, emailing to email lists endlessly, and ignoring accepted ethical practices that eventually became law in the Federal CAN-SPAM Act. As a result most people are very skeptical of promotional email unless they have “opted in” to some list.

 

So that’s the key. Once you have gotten someone to opt-in to your list, they have given you the OK to send them newsletters or other material. This now gives you the opportunity to give that person more familiarity with you and your company and product.

 

For years marketing experts have said that it takes multiple exposures to you or communications from you to get someone to buy. In other words, someone is not as likely to buy from you the first time they hear of you. It takes repeated exposures, to email to them on a regular basis.

 

i. Search Engine Optimization

It’s important to have your web site set up in order to get the best possible rankings from search engines. There are a lot of factors involved and let’s just say that unless you have a LOT of free time on your hands, it is best to have a professional handle this for you.

 

Summary

Once again, the most important actions to take in order to get your web site producing, are:

 

a. Pay Per Click Advertising
b. Blogging
c. Press releases
d. Google Maps
e. Content Hub Submissions
f. Collecting Identities on Your Web Site
g. Making sure your site is set up to take advantage of traffic
h. Email Marketing to Your Own Lists
i. Search Engine Optimization

 

And there is one more factor, maybe even more important than the rest – which is to do these actions regularly, month after month.

 

Submitting one article to a couple of content hubs isn’t going to accomplish very much. But if you submit a new article twice a month, to the top 100 hubs, for several months, you’re really going to see results. The same goes for paid search engine advertising, blogging, press releases, and emailing to your opt-in lists.

 

The key is doing them on a regular basis and keeping it up for several months. Then you will start seeing some real results.

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