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Marketing on the Internet

Does your web site deliver traffic to your business? Marketing your business over the Internet is a specialized skill and requires careful preparation of your material in consideration of the particular requirements of the medium.

Small businesses who create web sites to market their businesses typically do not have the luxury of widespread name recognition. They must compete with other businesses for attention of the Internet shopper. This means that the site must be something that search engines will find and direct shoppers to when they are searching for information about a product or service.

Here is a simple test you can do to determine how effective your site is...

Identify a term that pertains to your business that someone might be looking for over the Internet. For example, if a dry cleaner had a site, the search term might be "dry clean", or perhaps "quality dry clean", or even "fine clothing", for someone who is looking for a cleaner who won't ruin their expensive things. Don't use your company name, or anything that is unique to your company. You are assuming that the person who is looking doesn't already know about you.

Go to a search engine on the Internet. Any one that you use will work, but you might consider Google, MSN or AOL, as they capture very large portions of Internet search traffic. Enter the search term and do the search to see how many "results" you get. Then, starting with the first site on the list, count down the list until you come to your site. If you have to go past the thirtieth entry, you know that your site will not produce significant results for your business.

To create an effective marketing site, there are several things that you must think about and deal with during the original design process.
  • First, what might your prospects be looking for when you want them to find your business? People search the Internet with phrases that they enter into search engines. Knowing which phrases your prospects will use gives you a list of "keywords" around which your site must be built.

  • Second, you must understand that search engines look for text on your pages. They do not read graphics, so all the attractive graphics that you put on your site are of no help at all to being found by an engine. In fact, graphics get in the way and slow down your load time on your site, another critical component of your effectiveness. The Internet is a fast moving world, and users are impatient. They won't wait around to see your beautiful work.

  • Third, effective marketing depends on focus. If you know what your prospects are looking for, your site should give them exactly that! If you have a lot of product or service to offer, your site must address each item directly and powerfully. This means lots of pages for lots of items. Target each page at a specific group of related keywords.

  • Fourth, your site must be professional looking and easy to understand. Your prospects will not stand for spelling mistakes, clumsy navigation, or ugly screens.

  • Fifth, your site must be designed in such a way that, when the search engines find you and offer your site to the prospect as a "result" of a search, you have to rank within the first thirty returns to have any realistic hope of getting noticed. This is where you are competing with the others in your field, all over the world, to get yourself in front of the prospect.

  • Sixth, you have to be in the business for the long haul. The Internet is a speedy mechanism in many ways, but there are still delays in getting yourself established which you must be aware of and take into account in your marketing strategy. It takes time for many of the principles that you apply to take effect, and, though there are things you can do to accelerate the process, there is a limit to how fast you can make it happen.

The list of things to consider can go on and on for a long time. The pointers above are very general and only scratch the surface of what you need to do. Being a highly competitive field, this is a business for specialists. Only professionals who are working constantly to stay on top of the daily changes in the environment can truly optimize your site, but following the principles I have outlined can make your site better than it is today. We can review your site and advise you about the things you can do to improve your results. For more information, go to our site.

Remember, to be effective in promoting your business, your site must appear on the first page of results that the searcher finds.

About the author:
Richard G. Myers
Computer Productivity Consulting
5602 Dumfries Drive, Houston, Texas 77096
713-721-2109 713-723-1892 (Fax)

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