Does Anybody Know About My Web Site?
by Peggi Ridgway, Wordpix Solutions / Wordpix.com
in The Bloomin' News, official publication of the Los Angeles
Flower Market of the American Florists Exchange, Ltd.
This article may
be reprinted when including the title and appropriate author byline.
(See suggested wording.)
Welcome to the world of the Web, where owning a web site requires a totally new and different approach to marketing in order to make your web site succeed.
In the early days of this wired world (less than ten years ago!), it was once true that everybody enjoyed an equal playing field. Having a web site meant instant success and early retirement. If you were one of the handful of online sellers who pushed flowers or floral supplies online, you were easily found by those searching for your products.
Well, things have changed, and web sites now proliferate at staggering numbers. In May 2001, more than 20 million web addresses had been registered, with 66 percent of them represented by "live" web sites. It's no wonder that searching for a florist in Van Nuys now results in 2,100 listings at Google.com and nearly 3,000 on
What's a Web Site Owner to Do?
Today's online marketing is a highly sophisticated, calculated process and one that's sometimes very pricey. A myriad of solutions and process exist to help the serious web site owner succeed. As a site owner, you can . . .
buy your way to the top of a consumer
search at any major search engine
purchase banner ads on other sites
list your business and web site in online
register your web site with search engines
(expect to pay up to $300 anually at an engine such as Yahoo or
LookSmart, although smaller engines offer this free)
hire a public relations/marketing
professional experienced/trained in online marketing
Less expensive and free marketing opportunities exist
as well. For starters, here are three important suggestions for your
Get as many reciprocal links
as possible. Make a list of all your friends and
associates who have web sites and, where appropriate, request they
include your web site address and business or product name on a
"links" page. Better yet, if it does not conflict with
their message, also ask for links from other pages on their site. In
return, have your webmaster install link(s) to their site from your
links pages or suitable areas of your site.
Why is the reciprocal links concept so important?
Reciprocal links accomplish several important objectives in the web
site marketing arena, all of which increase the volume of user
traffic to your web site. Inbound linking has been shown to be the
most effective method for increasing targeted traffic to a site! It
serves you in two ways:
The target market comes to you. Inbound
links to your site bring you people who want what you sell.
Before they came to your site, they saw from the link on your
friend's referring site that you sell flowers (name your
product). They came because they wanted to see your flowers.
Having a large number of links pointing to
your site, with your site including links back to the referring
sites, makes your site appear more "popular" to search
engine robots - the automated software used by many search
engines to locate web sites. If your site has lots of reciprocal
links, it's more likely to show up in the top group of search
results when users search for flowers in your specific area -
rather than on page 13 or 27 of your search.
Seek affiliations. Who
can you partner with online? If you're a member of a trade
organization or wire service, you probably already have some
wonderful affiliations in the works and one of the benefits might be
a free listing of your web site on theirs. There are also other ways
to affiliate. For example, if you sell flowers and you happen across
a web site that sells vases, get together and agree to share profits
on referrals. If you arrange for order tracking in advance, both
your webmasters can create order or inquiry forms to help you
monitor where customers came from.
Use traditional methods. Include
your web address on every piece of paper you send out, including
invoices, purchase orders, statements, checks, letterhead, business
cards, flyers, advertisements. Display it on your building or sign
and company vehicles and on stuffers in the statements you mail. Get
your site listed in the printed directories for your chamber of
commerce, trade and professional groups, and in the Yellow Pages.
Don't miss an opportunity to promote your products through your web
Caution: Don't let
anyone (including search engine marketers) hoodwink you into
thinking you must get hundreds or thousands of "hits" to
your web site in order to be successful. That could be hundreds or
thousands of people who have no interest in what you are selling!
This not only is meaningless, it stresses the server hosting your
web site and, depending upon the technology, could shut down the
site and/or its related email services.
What's more important is targeted hits. Getting the
types of visitors you want, the people who are seeking your
products. That comes from careful planning and strategizing - which
includes reciprocal links and affiliations.
article was originally published in the September/October 2001 issue of The
Bloomin' News, and is reprinted with permission of the Los Angeles Flower Market,
its publisher. Peggi
Ridgway is the editor of The Bloomin' News and the author of
the Successful Website Marketing workbook. She can be contacted through the web site for the book
at: mywebsavvy.com or
directly by email: email@example.com.