Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Web Site Promotion Tips

1. Submit your main site url (or store url) to many search engines at one time: Here is free tool: http://www.orangesubmit.com/

2. Submit specific product pages to search engines, google, yahoofor example: Copy the url address for specific product like the mango paypaya soap:http://www.lastingscent.com/xcart/product.php?productid=1&cat=1&page=1
Then go to google http://www.google.com/addurl/?continue=/addurland submit that url. Continue with each major product and wait a week to see if the page shows up on the Google index.

3. Start a blog on the site. Your host can often provide blog software for free. Write articles about specific products link back to those product pages,write also about general home spa item,what makes nice gifts for specific people, gift ideas etc.To start a blog there

4. Start a blog offsite like at blogspot.com . Write similar but not exact same articles and link back to site specific items.

5. Go to http://www.wilsonweb.com/ and read other tips on marketing your website. They have free articles and pay ones.

6. Look for other complementary sites to request links from their blog or from their links page. Offer same back.

7. Offering your articles to be used on other sites and e-zines in exchange for a link to your site. Read http://www.wilsonweb.com/linking/wilson-article-marketing-1.htm

8. Consider placing some pay-per-click advertising like Google Adwords.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Developing Your Business Website

A web site does not need high-tech features and graphics to be effective. Some of the most useful sites keep it simple. Focus on the task that the customer is performing or information that the visitor wants. Eye-catching graphics are nice, but they can be expensive to design. Even standard features such as shopping carts require considerable time to create and integrate, and time is money.A simple website that concentrates on the core business and its potential customers can be very effective and the best way to start.

An effective Web site needs the following:
Mission statement or About Us
List of products and services
Contact information for the company and key employees
A link to write an e-mail without having to leave the site

Most of this information can be conveyed in text -- the cheapest and simplest thing to put up on the Web. Text can be changed easily, and almost instantaneously -- helping you avoid expensive designer costs each time you need to update your information.To develop a Web presence, a small company should start small and expand as warranted. Some companies can begin by simply designing a few Web pages that function as an online brochure. The only expenses you'll have are reasonable designer fees and a monthly payment to your Web host.

Optimize your site for search engines by using relavant seach phrases in your text copy. Determine your main search phrases then ask your designer to incorporate that into the titles and meta tags of your site pages. The phrases that your potential visitors will search for may include local and regional words so remember to include those.

When your site is up, keep track of customer reaction and usage to determine when you should expand, and how. Monitor the following:
Number of weekly or monthly e-mails and phone calls resulting from the site
Sales that directly result from Web contacts
Questions about particular sections of the site
Customer references to specific data on the site
Overall company revenue increases after the site isonline.

Expand your site after determining which sections of the site seem to be most interesting to customers, especially those sections that generate questions, comments or actual sales.

Once you design the site, you need to advertise it. Put the URL on all your marketing materials, business cards and letterhead. Work with your Web host to secure the best possible position on Google and other important search engines. And create links with trade association sites and other related sites that can bring you targeted traffic.Unlimited Media offers starter packages for small businesses who want a presence online. Rates are affordable. Full designer support and professional time-tested designs ensure that your site is both attractive and effective. Visit http://www.unlimitedmedia.com/ for information.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Instant Messaging for Small Business

Instant Messaging for Small Business

Instant Messaging is not just for teenagers anymore. Small businesses can benefit from the nearly instant, interactive communication. Unlike email where you send a message and wait for the recipient to check mail, IMs are in real time. Allowing interactions similar to a phone conversation. You can see if someone is available and reach them quickly. You can share files and links to browse the web while chatting. Collaborate or conference with clients long distance without the long distance cost.

Instant messaging is an advantage for those who want to be available for their clients, especially if your business requires consultation. IM can add another means of communication to your phone, fax and email. Even a retail online store can benefit by having a customer service rep available to answer customers questions. You can set the hours and customers will see by the link if the rep is available to chat.

There are a number of business solutions offering IM software for businesses, however these are designed for the larger business and involve an up front cost. A good way to see if your business can benefit from IM without a long term investment is to try one of the free services offered by Yahoo, AOL, MSN or ICQ. While technically promoted for "personal use" these tools offer the small business a free way to enhance communication with both consumers and other business people.

Getting Started:

If you don't already have a favorite messenger service you may want to download software that can "talk" to users of several different services. This allows you to easily chat with the broadest range of customers while allowing them to use their favorite messenger tool. Since users of Yahoo Messenger cannot chat with users of AOL messenger, for example, you may want to install a third party software that is interoperable with all the major services. One such IM software is Easy Message http://www.easymessage.net/ . Easy Message can chat with customers using Yahoo, AOL, MSN and ICQ messenger services. It's also free and takes up few system resources, allowing it to run on less powerful computers. It has fewer customizable personal features like icons, avatars, games and other bells and whistles. However, it has most of the essential communiation tools for small business use.

For other software that works with multiple IM services, see the interoperability chart: http://www.bigblueball.com/IM/interoperability.php

You will need to create a screen name or ID at every service that you want to use. You then enter each screen name or ID into your messenger software. When choosing a screen name or id make sure you choose a business friendly name.

Now you are ready to add "Online Status" links to your contact web page and offer clients another way to contact you. An online status link is a small icon that changes when you are online or offline. The customer can click this link to open their messenger software and send a message to your screen name directly. You will need to add a link to each messenger service that you want to use. See my contact page for example: http://unlimitedmedia.com/contact.php

The most common tools, with the broadest base of users, are AOL (AIM), Yahoo, MSN and ICQ

Links to the various Instant Messenger software and services:

Yahoo: http://messenger.yahoo.com/
AOL: http://www.aim.com/index.adp
MSN: http://messenger.msn.com/
ICQ: http://www.icq.com/

Get the code for your online status indicator to place on your web page:
Yahoo Add Presence
Contact me to set it up.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Generating traffic instantly with Google Advertising

In addition to listing your site on the free search engine, Google offers site owners the opportunity to purchase advertising targeted to their specific keywords.

Google's Adwords program http://www.google.com/ads is a pay per click system, meaning you pay a pre-set amount for every visitor that clicks on your ad and goes to your site. This allows you to get in front of your searching audience right away. The free search engine submission can take several weeks to list a new site and even when you are listed there is no guarantee you will have a good position. With Adwords you can control the amount of exposure your site gets. Of course, there is a cost involved. Even if you have a modest advertising budget you can get started in Adwords with no long term commitment and as little as $5. Realistically, you will want a budget of about $200 to get to a good start. Depending on how much competition there is for your key phrases, you can pay from 50 cents per click and up.

Adwords displays your small advertisement on the right side of the search results. A well written ad will make a big difference in the type of visitor that clicks to your site. The goal is to entice the likely customer to click to your site, while avoiding those who are not likely to buy. The key is in the selection of key phrases and in the copy of your ad.

Selection of Key Phrases

You will want to select key phrases that narrow down the target search where you want your ad to appear. Focus on regional key words such as your city and state if your target customer is more likely to be local. Also use phrases for specific products that the customer may be looking for. You can use a number of key phrases in Adwords to trigger display of your add so that you can get fairly specific with each phrase.

Ad Copywriting
As a general rule you want to include your most common key phrase in your ad. Searchers tend to click on ads that contain one or more of their searched words. So if your search term is "web design Columbus" then you will want to use "web design" in the ad. You have two lines with about 25 characters each so you have to be very concise. Rewrite your ad several times to condense it down to the basic message. Include a compelling words like: low cost, boost profits, discount prices to get the buyers attention. Keep in mind not to attract the wrong kind of shopper to your site. Google lets you try out several ads at one time. You can change the key phrases or ad copy anytime to adjust for what is working and what is not. They offer a set of reporting tools to allow you to see exactly what is most effective.

While not a substitute for a good listing in Google search engine, Adwords program offers the business person a good tool to generate traffic affordably.

For more info on Google AdWords visit their site at http://www.google.com/ads

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Networking with Quality Link Exchanges

Regional Connections

Quality link exchanges with compatible websites can be a productive source of leads. Unlike the free for all link exchanges and offers from online casinos, that usually hurt your site's credibility, carefuly chosen link exchanges enhance your visitor's experience. They can foster refferral business offline as well.

What is a quality link exchange? It is a legitimate site with which you have some synergy, some overlap in your target customers.
Say you are a retailer of high end furniture, you might find that linking with a custom home builder or condo association site may bring you targeted business leads.

A Links page can be added to most sites with minimal re-tooling. Editors can be installed to allow even the web newbie to add/edit their links page. Many website hosts, offer editing tools that enable clients to edit any of their regular web pages.

At Unlimited Media we encourage networking with other quality websites. Below is a sampling of quality websites in our region, spanning Columbus, Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and places in between. Most sites serve customers nationwide.

Consumer & Shopping:
hoopladesigns.net Custom bead, stone and wire jewelry
stainedglass-lighting.com Stained Glass Lamps and Accessories
glovon-clovon.com Home furnishings, Cincinnati, OH
fwfarms.com Smoked Trout & Gourmet food gifts
paolousa.com Modern furnishings, lighting, gifts
paolousa.com custom designed modern jewelry
wallingfordcoffee.com retail coffee, tea and gift packages
flybynightbookstore.com nature-based spiritual books, gifts
windrushsls.com personal security protection and safety products
babygreek.com baby and childrenswear with official sorority logos
columbusdeals.com Shoppers savings resource for metro Columbus
frenchrendezvous.com French gifts, fabrics, collectibles
irelandalacarte.com custom gourmet and pub tours of Ireland
busonus.com Charter Buses and Tours, Cincinnati, OH
mtlookoutchiropractic.com sports injury and chiropractic, Cincinnati

sannemanhomes.com Custom Home Builder, Cincinnati, OH
equisfinancial.com Mortgage Loans, Pittsburgh, PA

Business to Business:
wallingfordcoffee.com office coffee services, retail coffee and tea gift pkgs
azprt.com Printing, full service, Cincinnati, OH
gilliamselect.com service and parts for printing presses, OH
jmillerlimo.com Limosine services
gormansupply.com Promotional Specialties, Cincinnati, OH
classicimpressionsonline.com Promotional Items
displaycenterinc.com retail store displays and supplies, Miami, FL
heerenaviation.com aircraft marketing and consulting, Longbeach, CA
marilynhyland.com marketing, advertising, PR consulting, Cincinnati

Authors, Actors, Artists etc.:
bobelkinsactor.com actor
ivanrogers.com actor, filmmaker
sheilajwilliams.com novelist, fiction
rogerbrucker.com non-fiction
poeticserenities.com christian poetry
anchorworship.org christian music ministry
hotwaxmusic.net music for disc jockeys
chrisdunnett.com classical/fusion music artist
barklage.com videographer
gripmeister.com production equipment grip truck, Cincinnati
anamcaraband.com local band celtic music, Cincinnati

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Website Marketing - writing for search engines

Creating Content with Targeted Articles

One of the best ways to promote your listing on the search engines is to have plenty of related content on your site. The content that search engines like best is text, although depending on your type of site images may serve you well. For most sites from jewelry to web services a few basic articles on the subject will increase a sites rank.

The basics of writing for search engines:

  • Focus on one set of keyphrases per page. Do some research to determine the most commonly used search terms in your subject. WordTracker is one such online tool that gives you how frequently phrases were searched on. One keyphrase can have several variations of use, plurals, etc. Focus on this phrase and closely related keywords. Trying to get too many non related keyphrases into one page will dilute the effectiveness.
  • Keyphrase density should be about 3 or 4 times for every 250 words of copy. 250 words is minimum for most pages.
  • Use less-competitive keywords. Target your page to specific types of visitors, these may be narrower in focus than your overall site and therefore have less competition for top search engine ranking. For example if you sell custom jewelry, there is intense competition for that keyphrase on Google. However if you narrow it regionally "custom jewelry Cincinnati" you will note that the chance of getting a high ranking is much better. Write several short articles for each of these niche audiences.
  • Write smooth flowing copy. Just because you are optimizing your keyword content for search engines doesn't mean you forget about your readers. Avoid short blocky sentences, proof and edit your copy at least once. Longer articles allow you to express your ideas without bunching up your keyphrases. If your reader can tell that you are writing with keyphrases in mind, you might want to edit your text to lighten the density. It often helps to proof and edit the next day or a few hours, after writing it.
  • Guide the reader to the desired action. If the goal of your site is to have readers order an item online or contact you, then your copy should lead them to that towards the end.
  • Avoid too many links in the copy. A few links to specific store items or services can be useful as long as the readablility of the page is not compromised. Keep your links in context.
  • Title and Meta tags should be written for each specific page when possible. Title tags can contain up to 20 words. The Meta description tag will be used often by search engines and may determine whether a visitor clicks into your site.

Coming Soon: Submitting your Site's Pages

Assistance is available with copywriting, page design, site optimization or other web services at Unlimited Media. Contact me to get started or request a Quick Quote for your specific needs.

More Reading:
Copywriting: Key to Search Engine Visibility and Conversions
5 Reasons Why Blogging is Great for Your Jewelry Business