So you have a website for your business, but
you donít do anything with it, you donít get a lot of visitors
(or traffic) and it doesnít lead to much business, but at
least you have a site, right? Well thatís a good start, but
without visitors, the site isnít doing you any good.
Websites really need to be indexed by the search
engines. Iíve had clients hire me to get them traffic, and
Iíll discover that their sites have never been indexed, The
easiest way to do this is to manually submit the website,
i.e. register its presence under the correct category with
the main Search Engines.
Each search engine has its own method of submission,
but generally the process is the same. There are services
that will submit your site for free to most of the major search
engines, but the best way is to do it manually. That way,
you have more control over what gets submitted to each category
within the search engines directory.
Google offers submissions
here, and Yahoo offers submissions here,
and MSN search engine offers their submissions here.
It will take a few weeks to get picked up, and in the case
of Google, 9 months or more is not unheard of. Sites
that get found "naturally" through incoming links
can actually get picked up by the engines in a few days or
less. That does not mean they will get ranked naturally in
that time, so if you need to drive traffic to your website
immediately, there is no faster way than with Pay Per Click
advertising. More about PPC here
Donít get fooled by services that offer
to submit your site monthly or even more frequently to all
the search engines. Once is all it takes, and to do so any
more risks severe penalties from some search engines.
The search engines really weigh heavily on
relevant links from similar or related businesses. A better
option than submission is to have the search engines "find"
their website on their own, through the establishment of incoming
links from another related website. You have a site about
being a florist, the best way for your site to get found is
to get an incoming link from another website serving similar
interests, maybe your supplier or wholesaler, that is already
indexed by the search engines. That's easier said than done
though, and link building can be the subject of an entire
article itself, or even an entire book! A brand new website,
with no inbound links, will need submitting.
Do you have friends or associates who are in
business with their own websites? The search engines have
a complicated method of working out the value of any particular
link, and at the time of writing there are strong indications
that "exchanged links" or "link swaps"
are a lot less valuable than one way links.
Donít get fooled by services that offer
to give hundreds of links free. This is called link farming,
and most of the links will be irrelevant to your business.
Even worse you may get links from sites that are distatsefull.
Link Farming can very easily lead to your website being "blackballed",
which means your URL will be banned for up to 2 years.
Besides search engines there are other ways
to get traffic. Make sure youíre using your email address
with your own domain name. If you have a domain name hosted,
I guarantee you can do this for free. However, I canít count
the number of businesses Iíve seen that still use someoneís
personal email address for their company email. Getting mail
from a ďbusinessĒ whose email is firstname.lastname@example.org really
does not send out the right business image.
By using your domain name, you are presenting
a more professional image. Also, you should add a mail signature
in your e-mail program with a link to your website. Then,
every single email message you send out will be signed with
your name, company name, phone number and website URL. Anyone
that reads your email will be able to click right to your
Anywhere you advertise your phone number you
should also have your website URL displayed. Your business
cards and letterhead are just the beginning. Are you a retail
business or a service operation? Do you use a cash register
or printed receipts? Do you run advertisements in your local
newspapers? Do you print flyers or handouts to distribute
in your business and around town? All of these are great places
to put your URL.
Remember, your website can ďanswerĒ an inquiry 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is long after the
last employee has gone home and nobody is answering the phone.
By using your domain name in your email address and other
places Iíve listed here, people will start to look at your
site just out of curiosity.