Now you have a website—who’s going to find it?

posted by Lauren Rauseo on: 02/11/09 in category: websites | tags:

Now that you have your website, you must feel really accomplished, right? Your job is far from over! So far, you, your six officemates and your mother make up the list of visitors who have spent time on your new web endeavor.

Where there is a logo, there is a URL

So how can you get your new URL out there? Let’s begin with the obvious. Anything that has your company logo on it should also have the website. This includes business cards, letterhead, fax cover sheets, advertisements, annual reports, company brochures and more. Don’t forget your email signature and other electronic forms of communication. (And you better be using your new @company.com email address and not companyname@yahoo.com!)

Make it friendly for users and search engines

Those were easy. But what else can you do to make your company’s web presence known? For starters, let’s hope your site was built by a professional designer, with content that was written for the web. If everyone has done their jobs right, the pages of your site should be adequately filled with search engine-friendly copy that includes keywords for which your customers will be searching, as well as appropriate HTML tags that show search engines the hierarchy of your content (for example, a headline is more important and more deserving of SEO juice than the copy beneath it).

But let me be clear: being adequately filled with keywords does not mean that 98 percent of the words on your site are buzz phrases of your industry repeated over and over again. And implementing HTML to appropriately improve your search engine optimization does not mean using image alt tags to hide 1,200 keywords that didn’t fit into the copy. These seedy practices are frowned upon by the search engines and will ultimately hurt your ranking with them. Play by the rules, and no one will get hurt (and hopefully, somone, i.e. YOU, will get to the top of Google!).

Besides keeping your site’s content relevant and fresh (remember, your website is always a work in progress; never stop updating, adding and refreshing!), you can also up your SEO ranks by having other sites link to yours. Is there an organization that oversees your industry? Are you a member of an affiliated association? Are there other businesses that are not in competition with yours, but whose services are related? These are all perfect opportunities to ask others to link to your website. When it makes sense, you can link to theirs as well, perhaps from a “Resources” page that your site’s visitors will find helpful. As always, be sure to keep it real; exchange links only with genuine and reliable businesses and organizations. Stay away from link farms and other linking schemes that the search engines reject.

If you can’t get it for free, there is no shame in paying for it

If you still can’t manage to reach an acceptable ranking in Google (and it doesn’t happen overnight, so be patient), there’s always pay-per-click. PPC advertising is a paid program that will bring your website to the results pages of internet searchers, but instead of appearing in the organic search area, your link will be seen in a small ad in the sponsored link section, usually at the top of the page and along the right column.

Don’t have much money in your web marketing budget? The beauty of Google Adwords and other PPC options is that you choose how much you want to spend, and you never go over that amount. Placement in the sponsored area is based on how much you bid for the keyword being searched, and your site’s natural relevance to that keyword. So it’s still important to build content-rich pages on your site.

Face it, you have to join Facebook

Finally, one of the best ways to get your website seen is through good old-fashioned networking. But the networking of today is not the networking of a few short years ago. Social networking websites such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter, are easy avenues through which you can build a base of customers or leads, connect with hundreds of people interested in your services (who know others who are potentially interested too!), and spread  your business message in a viral environment. Create a business profile in one or more of these Web 2.0 neighborhoods, and manage it often.

If you’re not quite ready to jump into social networking quite yet, you can always leave it to your site visitors. Feature a “share this” button on your website, which allows visitors to share a link to your website via their Facebook or Twitter page. It’s like putting all the work in the hands of customers who already love your products. Hover over the green share button at the top of this page, and you can try it!

About the Author

Lauren Rauseo is your one-stop shop for print design, websites, HTML email, and more. When she's not busy working on client projects, Lauren enjoys running, doing yoga, drinking a soy white mocha, and having a dance party in the living room with her kids. Shake it off, people, just shake it off.

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