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Web Site Marketing - Ten Golden Rules
By Steve Cartwright 

Attracting visitors to your Web site is the ultimate goal of every site owner out there, millions of Web sites all fighting for the same visitors. Many Web sites fail to attract visitors, not because of the sites content or general appearance, but because the sites owners have failed to promote the Web site effectively. 

We often refer to the Internet as being similar to a vast library with millions upon million of books (Web sites). Now imagine trying to find one particular book that was not indexed (Search Engines) or promoted (search engine & links) at all. Impossible you would say, but that's exactly what many Web site owners do. 

So how should you promote your Web site? Why do some Web sites appear higher up in the search engine results list? How do you attract visitors? Follow my "Ten Golden Rules" and you'll learn the basics of how many Web site owners promote their Web sites. 

Step One - Have a little patience now, it can pay off a hundred fold later on. 

As you will be entering your details in to many databases, it pays to make sure you have everything just right as many databases seem to get rarely updated and you might have to live with the results for years to come. Practicing a little patience always pays off. 

Step Two - Explore the Internet

Explore the Internet, go out and look around the Internet, learn about your competitors and what they are doing, learn how to use search engines, decide upon your link strategies, perhaps giving reciprocal links. More than anything else practice begging, grovelling and generally being nice, by helping others you will ultimately help yourself. 

Step Three - Review your own Web site

When you think you have an understanding of the Internet, the next thing to do is to review your own Web site. Does it have meta-tags? Are all the keywords correct? Are you using the title correctly? Have you put up any mirror pages? Are all the ALT tags used correctly? And so on. Only when you are completely satisfied with this should you proceed. 

Step Four - Promotional resource kit 

It's now time to gather the basic information required together into a promotional resource kit (PRK). No two kits are ever truly the same as no two Web sites are ever the same. 

This is what we suggest as a basic promotional resource kit::

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One 468 x 60 banner as used by many banner exchange programs. 

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One 88 x 31 button as used on the left hand side of many sites. 

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One logo of any reasonable size. 

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A list of all your Web sites pages with their corresponding URLs and page titles that you wish to have indexed by the major search engines. 

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A list of keywords pertaining to your site, arranged in order of importance (most important ones first). When selecting keywords try adding a few spelling mistakes as most people are terrible at spelling. 

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A description of your Web site which should be concise and attractive to potential visitors; at least two descriptions are required, one with no more than twenty five words and one with around fifty words. 

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Your contact details, typically name, company name, contact person, email address, telephone number, fax number, etc. 

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The category under which your Web site should be listed under in directories such as Yahoo. 

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A description of the target audience for the Web site. 

Lastly, but most importantly you need some means of keeping track of your Web site promotion efforts. I use a notepad and pencil, others use a text editor, use whatever you feel comfortable with.

Step Five - Recheck everything

Recheck everything. This is your last chance to check that everything is just right, and make those last minute changes. After this, take a break and get to know your family, it'll be awhile before you see them again. 

Step Six - Search Engine Submission

With your promotional resource kit in hand, visit all of the major search engines and add your sites URL to the database, remembering that each search engine is different. Only add one pages URL in any twenty-four hour period, you don't want to be perceived as spamming the search engines. In one to eight weeks time, your Web site will start to show up in the search results. 

Step Seven - Reciprocal Links

Almost every Web site owner will find that most visitors to their site will not actually come from search engines, they will come from links with other Web sites. Finding sites that are prepared to link with you is not as hard as you might think. As a guess you already know who your main competitors are, find out their URLs and write them down. Next visit a search engine and enter "link:http://www.example.com" obviously changing the URL to that of your competitors. This will then give you a list of Web site owners that are already linking to your competitors site. 

What you then need to do is to visit each of these sites and see if the Web site owner is prepared to link to your site, a common introductory email would go like this:

"Hi We have just visited your Web site and we liked it so much that we thought we'd ask if you could review our Web site to see if it warrants a link from a site as good as yours. We particularly like… (a little praise here goes a long way) Our site covers (insert your twenty five word description here) Thank you, all help in promoting our site is appreciated. 

Regards 
Name 
Tag line 1Your Web site URLLink banners can be found at The URL of the page with your banners and button links." 

As you can see, the email grovels a bit and praises a little, people like nothing better than a little praise regarding their Web site. The email gives good concise information which doesn't take too long to read, and it gives a link to the page on your Web site which contains suitable link banners and buttons should the recipient of the email require these to link back with. 

Step Eight - Signature file

A good signature file is essential to the promotion of your Web site. The signature file goes at the end of all your emails, not only making your emails look a little more professional but helping to bring in visitors. 

Step Nine - Newsgroups

It's off to the newsgroups now, I would suggest reading and reviewing each particular newsgroup message threads before attempting to post any messages as each group works by a set of rules, learn these rules first, they are often posted at the beginning of each month. Once you understand these rules, try asking / answering a few questions make them relevant to the newsgroup and include your signature file for some free advertising, much like all your emails include this signature file with all postings you make. 

Step Ten - Stationary

Use your existing stationary to promote your Web site, add your URL to your business cards, your company letterhead and even your company brochure. Indeed some business have it mentioned on company cars and even on billboards outside of their offices. 

Step Eleven - Join a banner exchange scheme

Another free way of attracting visitors to your site is to join a banner exchange scheme. If you show a certain numbers of banners on your site, other members will show your banner a certain number of times. The banner program automatically keeps track of all banners shown, the number of times your own banner has been shown and the number of times people have clicked on it, along with a few other details. 

Step Twelve

Oh you thought there where only ten steps. Well there are actually no set rules, as the Internet is constantly changing, and so should your strategies and tactics and always remember the job of promoting your Web site is never complete, so I guess its back to step one when you are ready. 

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