That’s just the beginning. Apart from the things listed on the home page that you need to consider, there are other things to think about.
Once the website is up, what then? How do people get to know your site exists?
Well, the site can be submitted to search engines and have keywords and a description added to the meta tags. But people still have to be searching for what you have to offer to find you – amongst the thousands or millions of other sites out there.
There are other things you can do:
- Have your web address (URL) printed on all of your material: business cards, letterhead, with comp slips, printed advertising, brochures and anything else that is printed.
- Include your URL in your signature block for all emails and any forum discussions.
- Find online business forums you can join where your target audience might hang out. Spend time getting to know the culture of the forum and what is accepted practice there. Don’t go promoting your business in a hardsell or you might find yourself booted back out of the forum.
- Locate local business networks that you can join where you can get to meet other people who may have a need for your product or service.
- Set up profiles with Social Networking tools such as LinkedIn.com, Twitter.com and Facebook.com to connect to people you know. MOST important you don’t add just anyone on the list. They must know who you are, even if they don’t know what you’re doing currently. You do not want to become nuisance value or branded a spammer*. This is an ideal opportunity for you to get back in touch with them to let them know what you are now doing. The start of your marketing and promotional activites, or networking.
- Start developing a database of people you know. These will be your initial prospects for your business until that list grows. The more people you meet through networking and day-to-day contact through your daily activites, the bigger your list will grow.
- You can have a signup list on your website so that people can choose to receive information from you with respect to newsletters, email announcements, blog posts and so on. These people will often not be known to you personally but have a personal interest in what you do. This might not take place until your site has aged and the content has been developed sufficiently to be considered good value to the public, i.e. may need to be several months old or more.
It is important to note that it is not the job of your web designer or web host to help you grow the traffic to your website. They can set the site up to be Search Engine Optimised (SEO) so that search engines can find you but ultimately it is the responsibility of the owner of the site to develop a list of their own contacts (database) and grow it using whatever services or systems they can find.
Social networking tools are a great way to get started, particularly if your budget is restrained. But if you wish to take it further you may wish to engage the services of someone with Marketing and PR experience to help get your name out there. Some web companies also provide Branding support. Engaging the services of a Virtual Assistant to help with this may also be beneficial. Many specialise in the use of Social Media tools and database management.
* What is a spammer? Amazingly some people still don’t know. It’s basically someone who sends ‘unwanted’ email and blantantly promotes whatever it is they have to promote. In other words, junk mail. Spammers can be reported and fined, depending on their location and rulings in their country and are considered to be nuisance value.
Kathie M. Thomas