DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE
My website is launched, now what?
Creating your first website is a major step. But once it is launched: now what? A website needs to be driven. As a small business owner your time is limited and driving a website CAN consume a lot of time.
Brenda offers Webmaster Services. A comprehensive program bundling multiple organic services at a monthly rate to boost your search engine rankings, tackle reputation management and more.
The Internet changes so frequently. What worked five years ago no longer will net the same results. This can easily frustrates website owners. My blog is devoted to these continuing changes.
Here are more ways you can drive your website.
- social networking
- add a video
- add a blog
- email marketing
- mobile website
- internet advertising - Pay-Per-Click. Read how to make an informed choice.
Specifically it is not “just Facebook” it is all social networking which helps drive your site. Social networking needs to be in your marketing plan. Offer customers multiple ways to connect with you and contact you.
Somewhere you have to decide how much time you have to devote to this. Facebook makes it easy—it isn’t going away
with over 1 billion users—some are likely your existing clients. Add a Google+ button to your website and let it do the work. LinkedIn is a professional network, join and connect as you have time. Find the social networks which can be eased into your business day. Use Pinterest and Instagram if you have products, artwork, photography for advertising. This isn't about using every social platform, but choosing where you might engage with existing clients and find new ones.
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Business videos are exploding into an essential interactive marketing tool. Every website can benefit using video. Take advantage of this great marketing tool. YouTube is now a critical player in the search world—use this portal. Owned by Google it is THE place to have a video presence online. When you're ready to use a professional our partner Douglas Simon Photography & Video will manage your project from scripting to editing and final production.
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Add a blog.
Blogging is a great way to drive your website because it provides new content to your website, which is attractive to Google. Read more about why you should blog.
There are free/off-site blogs, but give thought to this before creating a free blog. While you can put links to your website, a blog RESIDING on your website is a better strategy to maximize changes to your website for search engines.
Free is easy to get up and running, but won’t give you the greatest value. There is a learning curve and it is best to optimize any graphics and photos you use. You can post links back to your site for some help in driving your website. Keep in mind it isn’t easy to move your blog files at a later date, and with some services you won’t be able to do this.
Time is the factor to weigh before taking up blogging. It can take 15—30 minutes easily, depending upon the depth of your articles. You cannot copy from other sources just to fill your blog. Google recognizes duplicate content and penalizes websites for this.
You want your blog to educate your web visitors, and connect with others in your business category community. You also want to contribute to other blogs with a link back to your site, but again, this needs to be authentic, thus the time factor becomes substantial.
The purpose of my own blog is to easily pass onto my clients changes in the Internet and operations for their business websites. Trends come and go and it is information I want to get into my clients hands so they can drive their websites. You can keep it simple and effective!
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Email marketing isn’t going away. Our inboxes are full of them and for good reason: they work. 67% of cell phone users read email on their phone. Make sure your email newsletter is viewable on cell phones.
There ARE laws governing email. Each marketing email must include how to unsubscribe instructions. Acceptable is: “reply to this email with unsubscribe in the subject line”. When you receive these requests you must remove the email from your mailing list. Being flagged as "spam" puts your email campaign at risk and getting blacklisted is a headache you want to avoid.
Those slick, pretty emails emails (HTML) from amazon.com can be created with the help of your web designer. These are the most customized emails. The files you see are actually hosted on your server. The email is small so it quickly drops in your Inbox, then grabs the files to display. Quick and custom layouts.
You need to be aware that while you can design your email you can’t guarantee how it will be viewed. Each recipient chooses how they receive and display their email—often blocking all images. Outlook then asks, "Do you want to download blocked images?" While amazon.com sends a lovely layout—those who choose NOT to download images receive a clunky email with blank boxes for pictures with text inserted.
There are a number of free email campaign managers (Mail Chimp, Constant Contact) which allow up to a limited number of emails per month, but have a large variety of templates, or let you create your own. If you use Excel uploading your subscriber list is a breeze. These companies handle the back end of a newsletter campaign for unsubscribers, with a dashboard allowing you to see you opened the email which gives you valuable insight into the success of each newsletter. This has a learning curve, but if you have a staff member who can handle it - it's a great tool. For those with no staff I offer this service.
Another option: You can create your email design in Publisher and save to send as email. Using Publisher means you must optimize the photos (= you need to know how to use a photo graphic program). If your email is laden with un-optimized and large photos the file size will be too large to send as an email and annoys people to the point of blocking, or flagging as spam. One client sends me the images for the newsletter email and I optimize. The finished file is larger than an HTML hosted email would be, but small enough to be acceptable to send as email. This is a way to begin, and budget minded. Also note—the above user email rules apply and your design may not show up as you intended. It can be frustrating, but if you keep it simple—it is do-able. Test, test, test is the key.
If you choose to send email from your domain email check with your web hosting regarding email lists. If you have less than 300 emails on your list you are probably within their limits. But most web host companies limit how many emails you can send within a day. If their maximum is 300—you won’t be able to send any other business emails in that day.There are a couple of good reasons for this limitation.
- When so much email is being sent through a server (where your web site resides) it is uses up resources better left to keeping your website downloading fast.
- Next is the spamming factor. If web hosting doesn’t limit the email activity spammers run rampant. Most websites are hosted on shared servers. Once spammers get a hold of a server they will drag down all the sites on that server. When the spamming activity is tagged by Yahoo, Google—webmail—it will begin to blacklist that IP address (your web host server) as spam—which now compromises all the sites. Be thankful to your web hosting for being watchful!
So what to do with a large email list? Use a fee based email marketing company. These typically have templates to choose from and create your layout. You will upload your email list. Their software helps combat being sent to the spam bin (though nothing is foolproof) and helps manage the opts out.
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