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Building Your Business Online

Online Marketing Tips

Is your site designed correctly for effective online promotion?
Ensure your website is 'search engine friendly'.
Promote your site to search engines & directories.
Announce your site in relevant Newsgroups.
Promote your business through Mailing Lists or Newsletters.
Include your website URL across all company communication.
How to keep people coming back to your website.
How to get further assistance with your Internet marketing.


Is your site designed correctly for effective online promotion?

The first thing to consider when promoting your business on the Internet to ensure that your website has been designed in such a way that your promotional efforts will be effective. Many website designers develop a website without considering the effect bad design has on future promotional efforts.

The key to designing an effective website is to keep it simple.

  • Your website should clearly explain your business products and services in the first 25 words on your home page. This not only helps search engines interpret your website when they visit, but most people surfing the web will not spend that much time trying to decipher intricate navigation systems or long mission statements about your company.
  • Very few people read web pages in detail, they generally know what they are looking for and quickly scan various websites to find it. If you can deliver your company message using short, punchy sentences - it is more likely to be read and understood.
  • Write one key point per paragraph, and use bold text and links strategically. Think about your own surfing pattern, and imagine yourself stumbling across your website - would you bother reading it?
  • Ensure there is contact information on the front page. This should include an email address, a phone number and a street address. This not only provides your visitors with a clear communication path to you, but it is also necessary for effective search engine promotion.

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Ensure your website is 'search engine friendly'.

Search engines and directories can be the most effective method of online promotion. Almost 15% of all Internet traffic in Australia is directed to search engines and directories (source: www.hitwise.com.au) and most people will find out about a website via search engines and directories.

Being included in the results of the worlds major search engines and directories is imperative for the successful promotion of your website.

If you have followed all the tips outlined above for effective website design, there are some further things you can do to ensure your site has a better chance of being included in search engines and directories.

Pass these tips on to your website developer and ask them to check your site for you!

  • Include Meta-tags on all pages on your website. Meta-tags are special HTML code used by some search engines to determine the content on your website, and to describe your website in a search result.
    Make sure your website developer has included Meta-tags on every page on your site, and ensure that the tags include a clear and compelling description of your business.
  • Choose at least 10 keywords that you think people would use to find your business, and that describe your business products and services clearly.
  • Include a small number of the keywords relevant to your business within the following HTML tags: the title tag, the heading tags, the alt tags, and within body copy towards the top of every page.
  • Try to use the plural version of words where possible; keep them lowercase; don't repeat them to often, and include any mis-spellings of words associated with your business.
  • Try to get as many other sites linking to yours as possible. The more sites that link to you, and the more 'popular' they are, the more popular you will become in a search result.
    For example, if your website is linked from ninemsn.com.au, you will have a better chance of being returned high in the search results on most major search engines. This is because there are a lot of other websites linking to ninemsn, therefore making ninemsn a "link popular" site. And this "link popularity" is a major factor for a lot of search engines when deciding which websites to return first in a search result.
  • There are a significant number of other factors that determine which websites a search engine or directory will return first in a search. For further assistance read How to get further assistance with your Internet marketing.

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Promote your site to search engines & directories.

Once you have a well designed and "search engine friendly" website, it's time to submit it to the search engines and directories.

It's important to distinguish between a search engine and a directory. So without going into too much detail - search engines use automated programs called "spiders" to visit your website and index your content, whilst directories use human editors to classify your website into a relevant category.

  • In order for your website to appear in any search result it must first be submitted to the search engine or directory. There is an art to successful submissions, but for greatest effect, submit your site to the most popular search engines and directories first.

    These are the top 10 search engines and directories visited by Australian Internet users:
    Yahoo (directory)
    Yahoo Australia (directory)
    LookSmart (directory)
    Google
    MSN
    OptusNet
    Netscape
    ninemsn
    Lycos
    AltaVista Australia

    (Source: www.hitwise.com.au - Australia's most popular websites! Rankings for the month of July 2001)

    The above search engines and directories capture almost 60% of all Australian search traffic, and Yahoo alone captures almost 40%. So focusing your effort on these search engines and directories will give you the best return on your investment.
  • Submit your homepage only to directories and submit the most important 5 or so pages of your website to the search engines.
  • Make sure you have followed all the tips outlined above before you begin submitting your website! And remember that it can take many months before your site will appear in most search engines and directories, and even then there's no guarantee that a search engine will ever include you.
  • Some search engines & directories will accept payment for inclusion in their directory or database. If you would like to fast track and virtually guarantee your submission you can opt to pay a small fee to have your site indexed or categorised almost immediately.

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Announce your site in relevant Newsgroups.

Newsgroups are a very popular and sometimes overlooked area of the Internet for online marketing. Newsgroups are like interactive bulletin boards or online discussion groups for Internet users all over the world, and they exist for almost every conceivable topic.

Anyone can join most newsgroups and once joined you can post questions and answers and related information to the newsgroup topic for discussion or comment.

Some newsgroups will also allow announcements about website launches and or promotions.

  • Finding and posting to newsgroups via the web is easy using services like Google Groups.

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Promote your business through Mailing Lists or Newsletters.

Mailing lists and newsletters are another way to communicate to a very targeted audience. Like newsgroups, mailing lists exist for every conceivable topic and allow subscribers to promote and share ideas via email.

Some mailing lists will accept posting questions, answers or announcements, while others are like newsletters and authored by individuals or organisations who are experts in their field.

  • Finding the right mailing list or newsletter for you to post details of your business is easy using services like Topica.com.
  • Make sure that every post you make to a mailing list is accompanied with a short email signature below every message that promotes your business.

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Include your website URL across all company communication.

One of the easiest and most effective promotional efforts you can do is to ensure that all emails, letters, faxes, and signage includes your website address.

  • Make your website address part of every communication out of your business. On your front door, on your company letterhead, and at the bottom of every email you send.

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How to keep people coming back to your website.

Getting people to your site is hard enough! Keeping them coming back is even harder.

Some simple things you can do to make your website more appealing to repeat visitors include:

  • Set up your own mailing list on your website. A mailing list is a great way to build up a list of contacts and potential customers that you can send newsletters too, and entice with special offers or promotions. Tools for creating and managing mailing lists on your website are available from Topica.com.
  • Create a news section on your site and update it with press releases, and general company announcements or achievements.

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How to get further assistance with your Internet marketing.

Sinewave Interactive have worked with hundreds of businesses large and small to successfully build their online business using the most cost effective, and proven methods of online promotion.

Sinewave Interactive have been offering this service in the Australian market for almost 5 years and are considered the leaders in the field.

If you would like more information about search engine promotion or would like assistance in developing an effective online marketing strategy - contact the team of experts at Sinewave Interactive via email info@sinewave.com.au or on the phone through their parent company Hitwise on 03-8530-2400.

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