ONLINE BUSINESS

Nine Ways to Market Your Site for Pennies

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You can market your Web site for little or no money.

Your skills and time will determine which low-cost methods you can perform yourself and which might require professional services.

The methods discussed here require little money but often a lot of time. Before you try them, determine their respective costs by adding up the prices of any tools you'll need, such as paper, printing, or purchased mailing lists. Estimate the hours required to act on each method; multiply that by your hourly work rate and add this to the total.

Apply the Rule of Three

Commit to trying any technique three times to determine its effectiveness. Measure the results by how many leads and customers each one generates -- for instance, conduct a survey on your site asking people how they found it. Focus your effort on the techniques that yield the greatest return on investment (ROI).

Try search engine and keyword optimization. Without search engines and directories, locating information online would be nearly impossible. Getting your site indexed by search engines and directories makes it accessible to customers and drives traffic.

Search engines use keywords to categorize your site and make it easier to find. Determine which keywords customers might use when seeking a product or service you offer and include 5 to 15 in the meta tags in the HTML code, the title tags, and the first few hundred characters of text in your Web pages.

Don't Be Site Unseen

It's easy but time-consuming to manually submit your site. You could use a submission service, such as SelfPromotion.com, Site-See, or submitplus. Shop around. Fees range from free for submission to 20 search engines to $10 (U.S.) for submission to 700, $147 for 800, $200 for 900, and up.

Check search engines often to monitor your site ranking -- just type in your keywords. Use site traffic analysis tools to measure results and determine which search sites send you the most visitors. Concentrate your efforts on these.

Don't try to outsmart the search engines. These tricks, known as "spamdexing," will get your site banned:

  • Senseless repetition of words.
  • Insertion of meta tags unrelated to page content.
  • Use of words that are illegible due to their color or small size.

Online community involvement lets you use communities to reach customers and build credibility. Find discussion groups, chat rooms, and e-zines devoted to topics related to your business. Posting answers to others' questions and contributing articles to e-zines can position you as an expert in your field. That way, when your customers need help, they'll think of your business first.

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Last updated: Jan 5, 2001




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