Every web design client asks at least one question in common, “How do I get people to my site?”. There are many ways to help get people to your website and they all involve some amount of effort and dedication. A few of the common methods include:
- Search engines
- Links from other sites
- Word of mouth
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a big business. The difference between the 10th and 11th spot on Google, Yahoo!, or MSN Search can be huge in terms of potential exposure and revenue for a company. Getting the coveted number one spot for relevant search terms can lead to a significant increase in business. However, the big search engines, unlike most things in this world, can’t be bought out. They will only show your web site to people if they think it is relveant to what the person is looking for.
There are many sources for information on search engine optimization, some reputable, some not. But there are a few things to remember.
- The search engine companies are smarter than you are. Google has more PhD’s than some universities. They can out think you or I with one lobe tied behind their back. Do not try to trick, cheat, or fool them. They will catch you and blacklist you.
- Lots of fresh, relevant content will make search engines and visitors to your site happy. Update your site with new, relevant content as often as you can. It takes hard work, time, and dedication but you will see an increasing return on your investment as time passes and the amount of useful information on your site grows.
- Web pages that are coded to W3C standards will do better in the search rankings for many reasons, make sure that whoever builds your site adheres to those standards.
Links from other sites
When other web sites link to your own they are in effect vouching for you. They are claiming that your site will contain relevant, useful information and their reputation as a web site is backing up that claim. If a very big, important, reputable site links to yours it carries more weight than if a smaller site does, but every link counts. These links will pay off through people following the links to your site, and by improving your reputation and standing on search engines as more sites “vouch” for you.
Word of mouth
This can take many forms but if people are saying positive things about you and your web site and telling their friends and colleagues to visit it you will generate traffic on your site and have more potential customers. This means getting your web site out there and getting people to mention it to others. You can start by adding a mention of your web address to your voice mail, e-mails, letterhead, business cards, and everything else that you use to communicate with people. You can go on radio shows as an expert in your field and mention your web site. The key is to mention your web site and web address clearly whenever and wherever you can.