ONLINE STRATEGIES TO PROMOTE YOUR SITE

As a webmaster you are always interested in finding new ways to bring more visitors to your site, ways to improve your traffic. This article shows you different strategies you can apply to your advantage.

SEO Strategies

One of the most important, inexpensive strategies is to rank high for your preferred keywords on the main search engines, in “organic” or “natural” searches (as opposed to paid ads). Search engines send robot “spiders” to index the content of your webpage. A first step is to prepare your web pages for optimal indexing. Search engine optimization (SEO) offers you the possibility to leave abundant clues on search engines as to what your web page is about.

You can start by writing a keyword-rich page title. You can do that by writing a descriptive title for each page, rich in keywords you want people to find your site with, using 5 to 8 words. Remove as many “filler” words from the title (such as “the,” “and,” etc.) as possible, while still making it readable. This page title will appear hyperlinked on the search engines when your page is found. Lure searchers to click on the title by making it a bit provocative.

Use descriptive keywords along with your business name on your home page. The words people are most likely to search on should appear first in the title (called “keyword prominence”). The title is your identity on the search engines, remember that. The more people see something that interests them in blue hyperlinked words on the search engine, the more likely they are to click on the link.

You can continue to improve your rank by including your keywords in headers. Search engines consider keywords that appear in the page headline and sub headers to be important to the page, so make sure your desired keywords and phrases appear in one or two header tags. The search engine won`t parse your Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) to figure out which are the headlines. Use keywords in the H1, H2, and H3 tags to provide clues to the search engine.

Another thing that will help you is to position your keywords in the first paragraph of your body text. Search engines expect that your first paragraph will contain the important keywords for the document, the introduction for the content of the page. Choose your words carefully and don`t abuse this. For example Google expects a keyword density in the entire body text area of 1.5% to 2% for a word that should rank high.

Including descriptive keywords in the ALT attribute of image tags will also help you. This helps your site be more accessible to site-impaired visitors and gives additional clues to the search engines. The ALT attributes do help get your images ranked higher for image search.

Another step that will prove to be beneficial is to create a site map. A site map page with links to all the pages of your site can help search engines (and visitors) find all your pages, particularly if you have a larger site.

Linking Strategies

Links to your site from other sites bring additional traffic. Search engines consider the number of incoming links to your website, called “link popularity”, as an important indicator of relevance. The more links you have, the higher you will rank in the search engines. If the site that hosts links to your site is trusted and popular it will help you more than getting traffic from a site that is not so well-known.

Your site can get traffic by linking it to a directory, so submit your site to key directories. A directory is a hierarchical listing of sites sorted according to category and subcategory. A free directory where your site can get a spot is Open Directory Project. Directories usually claim a tax for their listings, that`s how Yahoo!Directory works, or About.com and Business.com.

Another strategy for getting links for your site is to write articles for others to use in websites and newsletters. You can increase your visibility by writing articles in your area of expertise and distribute them to editors as free content for their email newsletters or their websites. You will only ask that a link to your website and a one-line description of what you offer be included with the article. This works as an effective “viral” approach that can produce hundreds of links to your site in the long term.

A strategy to increase your link popularity temporarily is to issue news releases. Look for events that are worth being told and send news releases to print and Web periodicals in your industry. Your site`s traffic will be improved temporarily due to the fact that the links to your site will remain for several months in online news databases. It is recommended that you use an online news release service such as PR Web. Your link popularity will also be increased temporarily if you place your website`s URL in online copies of your press release.

Social Media Techniques

Social media consists of people interacting with each other and responding to each other`s reactions. Among the numerous types of social media, the most important ones are the blogs, the social networking sites, the social bookmarking sites and the forums. Social media environments can help you promote your site by sending direct traffic, producing links to your site, and generating awareness.

It is vital that you start a business blog on your website, hosted on your own domain. By offering excellent content and being active in the industry with comments, people will surely link to it, increasing your site`s page rank. Always write about something interesting and be consistent in your posts.

Social media communities offer free visibility. Sites as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter offer incredible business opportunities with minimum costs. Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon and Google Bookmarks are social bookmarking communities which allow members to share with each other information about websites, articles, or news items that they like (or don’t like). Search engine spiders troll these sites looking for links to something new and relevant. You can usually place a link to your website in your profile, but the biggest gain comes when other people mention you (which generates traffic to your site), link to you (which increases your page rank and brings traffic), or bookmark you (which increases your page rank and brings traffic).

Before you start talking about your business in a community, you have to listen, comment and make a genuine contribution for the good of others, make yourself an important presence in that community and gain the members’ trust. Only then, people might be interested in what you sell.

A form of old school social media is to promote your site in online forums and discussion lists. On the internet, you can find a multitude of email based discussion lists, online forums, and groups made up of people with niche interests. Search online for groups, blogs or other forums.

A simple method of making yourself known is to ask your visitors to bookmark your site or save it in their Favorites list. If you have good content that people want to bookmark, this can generate hundreds of links to your site and significantly raise your rankings.

Email Strategies

Email is an important tool through which you can bring people to your site. Just do not spam. Do not send emails to people who have not solicited them or who have no relationship with you. You will find below a few useful tips when it comes to email campaigns.

Te help your potential clients get in touch with you, you can install a “signature” in your email program, which will appear at the end of your email. You should limit yourself to only 6 to lines, so as to not overcrowd the email. Include inside the signature your company’s name, address, phone number, URL, email address and a short, one phrase description about why your business is unique and/or what it has to offer.

Creating a monthly email publication, a newsletter, can require a time investment but it is one of the most important promotion techniques. The newsletter can contain a list of tips, industry updates, or new product information, whatever you believe your customers will appreciate. This is a great way to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, develop brand awareness, and build future business. It also helps you collect email addresses from those who visit your site, but aren’t yet ready to make a purchase.

Another way in which email can prove useful is to send offers to your visitors and customers. You have your own list of customers and site visitors who have given you permission to contact them, they can be your most productive list. Send them special offers, coupon specials, product updates, etc. This way you will keep your current clients happy and they can be so pleased, that they can recommend your site to a third party.

These strategies are mentioned in a general manner, but personalizing them to your personal business will definitely bring you the mentioned results. They will help you survive in the online environment through a plus of awareness and visibility.