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Looking for ways to promote your website? Whether your business is new to the Web or you’ve just finished a site redesign, it’s never too early, too late or too redundant to market your website.

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be key to helping your site appear on page one of Google and Bing. But it’s important to use other ways to promote your website, which also helps with SEO. The more site visits you attract, the more optimized your site will be.

Some Tips

Think of your website as a resource. Because updating or creating a new website may not be “newsworthy,” emphasize the content you’ve added (and why). This will go a lot farther than simply listing your domain address or saying, “Check out our new website.” For instance:

  • You’ve added questions to your FAQs section to save customers time. By going to this section, they no longer have to call you for answers.
  • You now offer more detail about your products and services, giving your customers a central place where they find out why your products and services are better than your competitor’s.
  • You’ve just boosted your About Us section with more bio information about your staff. Now your customers can find out what makes your staff authorities in the industry, adding to your credibility and saleability.
  • You’ve just added more detail to your Contact Us section, such as ways customers can instant message or video chat with your customer service reps.
  • You’ve just added an option to your website that enables visitors to sign up for newsletters or promotional offers?

Go for the pull. Use your marketing materials to let your customers know how your website will make their lives easier.

Sample copy:

Do you need reminders about our shipping policy? Do you have questions about where our products come from and who distributes them?

You’re not alone!

Customers like you frequently ask us for this information. That’s why we’ve added answers to these and many more questions to our new FAQs section.

Visit this section (link to your new FAQs) now to get even more questions and answers section.

Put it everywhere. Think of your website as a party that you’ve planned. If you don’t invite anyone, they won’t come. Now that you have your new website, it’s time to invite folks. But how and where? Some cost-effective ideas:

Your business card. This is the most obvious and you’re probably already doing it. Spice up your approach by using pull questions like what we see above. For example: “What makes our staff the authorities in our industry? Find out at www.mysite.com.”

On Facebook. This option assumes you already have a Facebook page and an audience. If you do, create a schedule of when you’ll promote different sections of your new website. For instance, FAQs on Monday, About Us on Tuesday, and so on. Remember, it’s social media, so ask users to join the conversation. For instance, at the end of your post that promotes your FAQs link, end with question such as: “What frequently asked question do you have?”

Flyers and postcards. Along with your business cards, you can order inexpensive flyers and postcards through services like Vista Print. These are both excellent options if you’re doing a promotion and want to send folks to your website for more info. For example: “Wondering what to give clients for the holidays? Check out our Holiday 2012 specials at (your link here). And don’t be afraid to use a QR code. If you do use a QR code, include in your copy that customers can start shopping right away if they’re using a smartphone. For example: “Got a smartphone? Scan this code with your barcode scanner app to shop now!”

Your newsletter or magazine. If you send a monthly or quarterly magazine (print or online) to your customers or members, feature an article about your new website and how it benefits the readers. If you did a survey before revamping your site to find out what customers needed to access online the most, show a bar chart of survey results, then explain how you addressed their concerns with the new Web design and content. A catchy headline like “You asked, we listened” always helps.

Your Exercise

  1. Using a spreadsheet, write down five things that are new about your website. In the next column, write down why you added this content and why it benefits your customers.
  2. On a separate sheet of paper, jot down questions that might pull your customers in. For example, “Have you ever wondered why our shoes are so comfortable?” “Have you been looking for an archive of all of our magazines?”
  3. Jot down places your customers are most likely to receive information about your company. Are they on Facebook? Do they receive a monthly newsletter from you? Do you have a retail outlet?
  4. Plan your materials and message accordingly. For example, if your customers are always on Facebook, use your pull questions to create posts and link to your new website. On postcards, include a QR code with a pull question, as noted above. If you own a retail outlet or online store, put your postcards in bags or shipping boxes.

Does this get the creative juices flowing? In what ways have you marketed your website? What works for you?

If you often hear the term organic SEO (search engine optimization) but haven’t a clue what it is or where to go to find out, this article offers a primer. In a nutshell, organic SEO is Web content marketing to help companies get found in the unpaid sections—as opposed to the advertised space or business listings—of search engines when users type in relevant key words.

Within the world of SEO, there’s a “good guy” and a “bad guy.” The good guy is known as the “white hat” optimizer, the above-board content marketer who avoids dirty tricks such as link farming—links within articles that appear authentically informative but merely serve as a tool to promote the websites to which these articles link. These links are generally paid for by the client and the articles deceive the readers by appearing to be an objective news source.

The “bad guys” are known as “black hat” optimizers. These are the SEOers who believe in link farming and writing content that is shallow in nature, bloated with key words. The black hatters may resort to other tricks such as website cloaking.

According to Google, many of the black hat tactics lead to penalties of the offending websites. These sites may get banned from the search engines or drop in ranking when there’s an algorithm update. While there are many questions as to whether these penalties are effective in targeting the offenders, the general sentiment among white hatters is to avoid the black hat tactics altogether to avoid penalties in the future.

What makes great organic SEO?

This is a question I hear all the time—as do many of my colleagues who offer similar services as Judy Asman Communication; my answer promotes a multi-pronged approach in marketing and PR. At the base of my philosophies is strengthening your business practices first then using your marketing efforts to showcase your brand. In all cases, the right formula depends on knowing how strict your competition is and a combination of these factors:

  • Consistency. Once your optimized website is launched, it’s important to keep adding relevant, credible and fresh content and to share that content in as many outlets possible. Business owners or marketers who don’t understand this not only eventually see drops in their top positions but they also seem to be the ones who don’t understand that good SEO is only the first step to business success (more on this in last bullet).
  • Omni-presence. In the December 2013 Website Magazine article, “SEO Myths Debunked,” editor Pete Prestipino says, “Social is not the new SEO,” adding that “the only surefire way to leverage the new social-SEO is to create relevant, rich content that consumers want to consume and, of course, share, like retweet, +1, etc.” One of the reasons it’s so important to make sure your content and URL appear on other sites throughout the Internet is so that the search engines acknowledge it as a legitimate site. Your site’s credibility grows when links to it appear in other online sources. This is why I always encourage my clients to get a social media presence and send out news releases. These clients also consistently tweet, share links on Facebook and get quoted by other websites who respect them.
  • Quality content. Really strong emphasis on the word “quality” here. Now with fresher algorithms, the days of gaming the key word system are over. The days of page one articles that leave readers confused are gone too. As a search engine user and a search engine optimizer, I for one think that’s good news. Check out this article from Yahoo! News South Africa, which talks about the latest Google Hummingbird update and why it’s good for premium writers.
  • Easy-to-navigate user experience. Remember that SEO is all about getting found on the Web. But what happens after that?  Search engines also look for engagement. So keep these three things in mind: 1) Getting found is thanks to SEO; 2) Getting customers to act is thanks to calls to action and easy-to-read text; and 3) Closing the sale is thanks to the systems and processes your company already has in place.

I hope this helps. If you have any questions about the above, I invite you to leave a comment below.