So you've developed your beautiful, wonderfully written, engaging new website. Now what? You probably want people to find it, so follow these simple but essential steps.
1. Submit to search engines & other sites
An absolutely crucial part of promoting your new site is to first of all add it to search engines. This will mean your site will be indexed by them ready to appear when a user runs a search.
It is also worth obtaining links from other web sites back to yours as this will help your site in terms of gaining search engine rankings and exposure. Preferably these web sites should be relevant to your site as that will help drive traffic to your site therefore increasing the effectiveness of the link.
2. Get on social media and then link back
Social media can really help drive traffic and potential customers towards your web site. It would be worth at least creating Twitter and Facebook accounts but there are others you may also decide to use and then adding a link back to your site on them.
To make effective use of these services you will need to keep them regularly updated will information you feel your audience will want to read. To help with this it would be worth making a plan for what type of information you wish to post on social media sites, how often you want to post and who will be responsible.
Sharing is key to social media so make sure you post entries that people who will see them will want to share. This will increase your exposure and hopefully increase your social media users.
3. Add Analytics
There is no point promoting your website if you have no way of knowing that what you are doing is working. Website analytics programs allow you to see how many visitors you receive, where they come from, how long they stay and what pages they visit. This information is invaluable for determining how best to promote your site. If you are getting a lot of visitors for certain phrases and none for others then it may be time to look at how your site is written or structured.
Google Analytics is one of the best analysis packages and is free. Simply sign up for an account and add the relevant code to each page in your site . Its that simple.
4. Pay-per-click (PPC)
One quick way of grabbing some visitors is to spend some money on pay per click advertising. Google Adwords represents a good route into this area. You simply choose what terms you want your adverts to appear for and by setting a limit to the amount you are willing to pay for each click those adverts will appear when that phrase is searched for on Google. The more you pay the higher your ad will appear in the results.
PPC provides instant results and is a good mechanism by which to validate the search terms your clients are using. If a phrase is popular on PPC and provides a lot of clicks then that is probably a good target for your site to try and capture visitors naturally. Make sure you set a sensible daily budget as it is easy to get carried away and spend a lot of money before you realise it. One further tip is to make sure your search phrases are as precise as possible - if not you will be paying a lot of money for less qualified visitors.
5. Check your content
Don't make the mistake of filling your website with keywords that won't make sense to normal users and potential customers, but there are ways you can improve genuine content for search engines. Think about what you're writing in terms of the search terms people might use, and use them in important content like headings and bold text. Even aside of search engines this approach can be useful as you'll be more likely to answer the questions your users have.
It also helps to focus individual pages on a particular search term, so the home page might target "web design cheltenham" and the about page "web marketing cheltenham", for example. Think about your "target" search terms and assign one to each page before reviewing your content.
6. Keep your site up to date
There are few things worse for a website than content that looks like it should be updated but isn't, like a blog where the last entry is two years old. If you're going to include topical content like blogs or social media links, you must make sure you keep them up to date. Google et al also prefer a website that is updated often, as it's more likely to be of interest.
It's always a challenge to keep writing new content, so make a specific commitment like writing a blog entry every week, and stick it in your diary. Write shorter pieces so they won't be so daunting and you're less likely to procrastinate. And look out for things that might justify new content, like a new project, a compliment from a customer, or something in the news.