Promoting your website can seem like a daunting, complicated task. The truth of it is that it's not a trivial undertaking. But with some well laid plans, you can be sure that you're leaving no stone unturned and working toward the best possible results.
Step 1: Preparation
- Prepare your website for the search engines -
This is a critical phase where elements such as keyphrase selection and web page optimization come into play. Whether you have a website already or not, this is where you need to start. Your site must be prepared and optimized to ensure that when the major search engines and directories visit your site, they index it properly and favourably.
Step 2: Popularity
- Establish a network of incoming links from other sites -
It is crucial that you establish plenty of quality, relevant links to your site. This typically means approaching websites in your industry (be they indirect competitors, vendors, suppliers or directory owners) and asking for a link, or offering to exchange links. Having a strong initial link popularity greatly increases the chances that the major search engines will find you before you even let them know youíre out there. During this phase you should also consider purchasing pay-for-inclusion memberships at some of the major directories. Although the costs can add up and typically need to be renewed yearly, the links that they provide are often extremely valuable.
Step 3: Broadcasting
- Let the search engines and directories know about your site -
This step is essentially web site submission. You should be submitting not only your site, but all pages within your site to the major search engines and directories. You can do this both manually and automatically (if you have the tools). Getting listed with the major players typically takes anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks. As such, you should continue this step until all your pages are indexed on all the search engines. But be careful: once a page is indexed, donít keeping submitting it to that search engine; your work there is done.
Step 4: Advertising
- Purchasing of targeted visitors across the web -
This step involves elements such as pay-per-click campaigns, newsletter ads, website ads, etc. Depending on your budget, this step can be as expensive as you choose. So long as you invest in the right programs and design your ad copy properly, you stand to make an excellent return on your investment here.
Step 5: Monitoring
- Keep an eye on your siteís standings -
Often the most overlooked step, you need to be very vigilante of how your site is performing in the eyes of the search engines. Have your keyphrase rankings increased? Decreased? When? Why? Tracking and charting your progress is extremely important to measuring the effectiveness of any changes you make to your promotion campaign.
So now what?
Now that youíve gone through the 5 key steps, itís time to repeat the process. Actually, once you complete a phase you should never leave it alone. You should be addressing each of these 5 steps on an on-going basis.
Optimized pages become un-optimized the moment a search engine changes its ranking algorithm; which, as any SEO specialist will tell you, happens all too often and all too randomly.
Sites will drop their link to your site without letting you know, or maybe add you and not tell you. Keep your ear to the ground on this front to ensure that youíre capitalizing on any opportunities and keeping your inbound link numbers high. You can also do some optimization with your pay-for-inclusion listings, so take advantage of that.
Pay-per-click advertising is a complete science unto itself, so expect to spend plenty of time learning which keyphrases and ads works, and which don't. Freshen up your ads to grab attention if they're underperforming.
And finally, by tracking your progress you will ensure there are no surprises. Well, there are sure to be surprises, but hopefully you wonít find out about them two months after the fact. Good luck!
Robin Eldred is the president of Apis Design, a Web Design and Promotion company located in Calgary, Alberta: http://www.apis.ca/. Apis specializes in building and promoting eye-catching, user-focused websites that make clients money.