You need to think about to different approaches when planning the promotion of you new website, the first is for existing customers who you are already in contact with and the second is for potential customers who you need to attract.
Think of your homepage as the shop window, all other pages as inside your shop, and your contact page is like the sales desk because once the customer calls you, you can go into sales mode and make some cash, alternatively, if your site is an eCommerce website your site should do all the selling on its own.
Your current customers are slightly easier to get onto your website because you can actually talk to them personally and physically make them aware of the web address. Any business stationary (i.e. letterheads, invoices, and business cards), any promotional leaflets or brochures and any packaging or carrier bags should have the address of your website clearly printed on it. You should also be mentioning to customers that you have a website and there is lots of information on there about your business and if applicable; tell them that they can order online.
It is important to really promote your website hard; take every opportunity to mention it, even have special business cards printed with the web address prominently displayed if you think it will help.
If you’re looking for new customers, you need to make sure that your website ranks well in search engine results by optimising your site and conducting Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Ensure that your website has lots of keywords on it that link to different pages within your site, and you should also include some keywords in the page title.
Start by submitting your URL (web address) to all of the major search engines so that they begin to ‘crawl’ your website with their spiders and robots, this means that you will start to appear in the search results but not necessarily near the top.
You need to get links to your website active on other people’s websites, and you can do this by adding your site to directories. There are thousands of random directories online that you can submit your link to along with a small taster of what the site is about, this should help because sites like Google will crawl the internet and base their search results on the number of links it finds.
SEO is offered as a professional service by many companies and a simple search on Google for Search Engine Optimization will show you plenty of options that will save you time and are likely to be more effective than if you were to do it yourself.
If you do decide to go ahead and do it yourself, you will be asked for an email address so that confirmation can be sent, we advise you to set up a special account just for SEO emails and it will receive tonnes of spam email, you could even just use a free hotmail account, as long as you remember to check it and confirm your link submissions.
‘Pay Per Click’ advertising is a great way of getting your website onto search engines and onto other websites without all the stress of doing your own SEO work, one of the most popular ways to do this is through Google AdWords. Google will display your ad next to search results that are relevant to your website and charge a small amount each time somebody clicks on it and is taken to your site, it will also display your ad on other websites that relate to yours through their AdSense scheme (see ‘Making More Money from Your Site’).