Web Site Tools & Promotion Resources
Quality web site design can only bring a web site so far. If you are competing in a small market
or have a highly unusual or unique product, a web site built by a skilled online marketing professional
will probably suffice. However, the larger the market (think online competitors, not geography), the
harder it is to gain and hold a #1 search engine ranking.
If you have launched your web site, it's complete and has been online for more than 6 months,
and it's still not meeting your expectations, try using some of these strategies below. If your time,
resources or energy is limited, give us a call (603.491.4340) and we'll tell you which strategy
will best fit your product. And of course, we can also do the work for you!
The following strategies and resources are listed alphabetically, not in order of preference.
Article Submission Sites:
Articles are a great way to improve your online presence and make your name known. Doing it though, can be time consuming, and like all online marketing, there are few silver bullets.
If you choose this method, make sure your article has great content, is easy to read, and grammatically correct ~ spelling and other mistakes will paint a negative impression and prompt submission rejections.
For a list of sites to submit your article(s) to, click here: http://www.freearticlesubmission.org/.
For more information via a subscription service, visit this site, www.ezinearticles.com/.
Feeling lost already? Take a correspondence course about writing online feature articles from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. $165 for the class. See www.dcs.wisc.edu.
Blogs are simply personal or corporate journals written and available online. Anyone can own one for
FREE, and if you have writing skills and something to say they can be useful tools for getting out
your message. They are sometimes stand alone web sites, or aggregated into online communities,
usually around a specific topic but are most successful as promotion tools when aggregated into an online community and included on your business web site, usually via an RSS feed.
The following sites are offered as places to get your blog:
For tips on writing them, consult ProBlogger's article, "How To Write Great Blog Content"
Site looking a little tired? Try changing the colors. The selection of colors for a web site can drive people crazy. How do you find just the right combination, just the right shades? We offer the following sites as aids in your selection process:
ColorCombos.com - Several tools, all good
ColorSchemeDesigner.com - Great tool, just takes a moment to figure out
Color Scheme Chooser - A great site for linear thinkers
You and your web site should make maximum effort to collect email addresses with their associated zip codes. Once you have collect a sufficient number, you can start weekly or monthly 'mass mailings' promoting sales or seasonal items, etc. Some businesses can then save hundreds or thousands of dollars by replacing snail mail campaigns with email.
The following services can help you manage your email lists and mailings.
Constant Contact - Thr gold standard in email marketing services.
Mail Chimp - FREE for certain sized lists, you want to check this little chimp out!
In our humble opinion, Facebook is not a satisfactory replacement for a web site, no more than potatos alone are a satisfactory diet. For a complete understanding, see this article.
Keywords alone won't guarantee quality search engine positioning, but their incorrect or poor use will
absolutely guarantee poor ranking.
Ideally, keywords should be in your domain name, title tags, alt tags, meta tags and approximately
2% of the words in the text of your pages. Each page of your small business web site should be
targeted with a unique combination of keywords. Use online tools to indentify the most popular
keywords for your site. Frankly, in this instance you will need to purchase the better tools,
but some useful free ones still remain but they come and go frequently. For an updated list of free tools,
Music can be used to evoke memories or heighten feelings. Its proper use can be a genuine help to your site but not every site should use it. This is especially true of sites viewed predominately in business settings but created for personal use. No one wants the boss to overhear wedding music at the bride's work station so use caution. Also be cautious to only use royalty free music so you don't get socked with annual fees.
Note that royalty free music does not mean free. There is typically a 'download' fee. Short clips of 15 seconds or less start around $10. Web sites frequently continuously replay the clips (called 'looping') to make 'music' for any length of time. Full length pieces can run as long as 5 or more minutes, and usually range from about $47 to $99.
Some of our favorite royalty free music sites:
The Music Bakery
Text impresses the search engines, but photos and graphics impress users. Today's users are increasingly sophisticated. Make sure that your site is sufficiently attractive so no one has a reason to doubt your credibility or quality of services. The rule of thumb is, the higher the quality or cost of the product or service being sold, the more attractive the web site needs to be.
Much 'stock' photography is available, many millions of images. Fees are inexpensive but the time to view them, and select just the right one(s) can be enormous. And if you have a nice bed and breakfast in a scenic location, stock photography just can't communicate your uniqueness. Seriously consider a commercial photographer. Today's digital cameras do a great job at capturing images, but a poor job in subtly lighting them ~ and that's the magic the professional brings. Of course if you are a Photoshop wiz, that's less of an issue.
If stock photography will work for you, download fees will cost you as little as a $1 each, but $3 - $10 would be more common. Be SURE to save your receipts in case you are ever asked to document your purchase. Depending on the photography source, lack of documentation can cost you $1,000 or more licensing fees, per image! Permanently, perpetually SAVE receipts.
Some sites we like and use:
How well is your site performing? The BEST measure is the cash register. If that isn't humming, start by analyzing your site's traffic. Ask your web site hosting company for site statistics. Then compare your stats vs. the competition. The tools below will help you estimate where you stand. Use these sites to get a rough idea. Our experience tells us the volume isn't particularly accurate but the 'relative numbers' (i.e. you vs. the competition) can be helpful, as well as other information. The user demographics offered at Quantcast are helpful as well.
Search Engines, Networking & Profile Pages:
Search Engine Ranking is a precise but voluminous topic. Google reports analyzing more than 200 aspects of your web to determine natural ranking. We typically counsel clients to concentrate on the basics. Important among them is the number of 'back links' or 'inbound links' you have to your site. Inbound links are best when they are not reciprocated and come from quality sites. Anecdotal observations suggest sites or solicitations offering to place you on 'thousands' of web sites are virtually useless and are frequently said to cause search engines to devalue your pages.
If you are not #1 in search engine ranking already, get your site out there! Ask for links to your web site from your business network of associates, community portals and friends:
Town, Town Library or Chamber of Commerce
Business Development Organizations
Trade or Professional Associations
Retail Merchants & Better Business Bureau
Statewide or Regional Websites (think: DirectoryNH.com, NH.com & MadeInNewHampshire.com, etc.)
Suppliers & Wholesalers
Subcontractors or Service Contractors
Create and place profiles in the following business web sites:
and the following social networking sites:
and if you are daring:
If you have an interesting product or service with quality photography, or photography is your service, you may want to try:
Do you run with a 'group'? Bring it online here:
Consider 'In-Person' networking too. Consider using:
And be CERTAIN your business and your site is listed on Google Maps.
There are several other sites that may be of use to you, depending on your interests, heritage, and location. To see a somewhat expanded list of those, try Wikipedia's list. Keep in mind too that there are often topical link directories online that may offer useful backlinks (lodging or plumbing directories, etc.)
If you are an author, musician or filmmaker, consider self publishing. Self publishing is more respectable than it was 20 years ago, and it's a great way to get your product out on the market fast while also securing quality distribution channels. If you simply want to distribute your product to 'fans' or through your web site, having your product bulk reproduced is the cheapest method. If you need to do small press runs, 'print-on-demand' services are best.
Blurb.com - If you want to create a bookstore quality book, check this site out!
CreateSpace.com - An Amazon.com company, this site can be a good choice.
LuLu.com - With extensive distribution channels, this site can also be a good choice.
For simply duplication services, Google '[product name] duplication' and select your company of choice.
Statistics, Web Performance Tools:
All reputable web site hosting services will have free web site statistics available for site owners. While those tools vary widely they are typically sufficient for the average site owner. However, if you want to get really in depth, you will need an outside tool. There are two we can recommend.
Video Publishing Sites:
The web is swiftly moving toward video and your web site should have it! Once it's created, get it out there. The following sites are listed as free distribution resources. Take care to insure your video matches their intended use and be sure to properly use available keyword tools!
And especially for content producers:
For more information see: Where To Share Your Video Clips (MasterNewMedia.org)
20DollarBanners.com - An inexpensive resource for creating quality banners.
BigNoseBird.com - While this site is short on looks, it's long on help! Over 300 pages of tutorials, reference materials, and other free resources.
Graphics Kingdom - Thousands of clipart, icons, backgrounds, bars, interfaces & other free graphics.
Search Engine Watch - A GREAT resource for those wanting to understand search engines but be prepared, it's a huge topic!
WTS Media - Duplicators of CDs, DVDs, etc..