August 30, 2005
Website Marketing opinions are like belly-buttons
- everyone has one. When I am asked what type of
business I am in, I respond 'real estate'. When further
asked about the homes I sell, I respond that I don't
sell homes because my real estate is entirely digital. I
then further explain with real estate comparisons.
Imagine building a house in the cheapest, most run down
part of a town located in the middle of a desert. That
may appealing to some, but the likelihood that you will
make a lot of money on that home is slim compared to say
a 10 acre seaside villa on Martha's Vineyard. Let us
further imagine that after building your desert
tenement, you can develop it into the waterfront resort
home without moving the building an inch. Digital real
estate can do just that. It doesn't matter where you
are, but with a little work and very little cost, you
can make your site into a valuable piece of your
I have encountered business owners who wanted a website
merely to have "an Internet presence". Being one of a
million websites that sell the same product you do have
a presence, but not a very useful one unless you take
steps to set your web apart from competition both
locally, and worldwide. I present here 10 points that
you need to consider in promoting your website to make
it work for you as a major part of your marketing
First things first...
1. Do you have a Website?
A website is your most permanent and dynamic form of
advertising. If done properly, it can be the most cost
efficient! Just having a website is irrelevant without
considering it's use as a means of increasing your
business traffic. Questions you should ask yourself (or
better yet, others) are the following:
Is your web useable, understandable, and navigable?
Your website should be well laid out and clear about the
product. It should contain well written content, and
have clearly defined links. The menuing should be
apparent and constructed to be obvious to the user how
to find information on your site.
Does your web take advantage of the most useable tags?
To read more about proper use of keywords and metatags,
see the article on
Engine Positioning. We will discuss the use of
tags more in point 7.
2. Is your website more professional in appearance
than your competitions website?
I was asked by a local lawyer to create a website to
focus on his firm's particular legal services and to
pull potential clients from a competitor. The
competitor's web did pretty well in the search engines,
however it had the appearance of having been designed by
his sister's friend's nephew for a 3rd grade school
project. Once the customer's site was set up with all
the keywords and phrases properly embedded on every
page, it went to the top of Google and Yahoo for
searches on regional+services search phrases. If you
compare the sites, you would probably pick the lawyer
with the better designed website because of the
impression the web site provided to visitors. A
professional website = professional lawyer. Even though
the competition was the leader in his legal field, my
customer's practice received a tremendous amount of new
customers that responded based solely upon the website
and it's information.
3. Does your website and web marketing compliment
your other marketing efforts?
This gets into the area of branding. it is not really so
much a website issue as it is a marketing issue. Your
web, brochures, business cards, envelopes, etc, should
all have the same color, theme, and logos.
4. Advertising your website
Do you have an appropriate domain name for your business
or organization? With more simple domain names being
swallowed up, you need to be creative.
Market is an online shopping and classifieds website.
The domain name
www.ChesapeakeBayMarket.com is pretty
long, and not to hard to remember as long as you can
remember how to spell 'Chesapeake'. One solution to a
long domain is a simpler alias. You can get to this
website also through the domain
bit easier to remember, especially at 60 miles per hour
(I'll explain in later).
Now that you have your domain, where do you want to
display it? I am surprised by the amount of business
owners that fail to add their domain name to other
advertising. Put your domain name on everything you can:
Invoices, bills, business cards, answering machine
message, on your product, print ads, envelopes, bumper
stickers, and don't forget your vehicle. As previously
mentioned, this is where a simple domain name or alias
(another domain name that points to the actual site)
comes into play. If someone can pass you on the highway,
read the back of your rear window and remember your
domain name, that may be worth the $75.00 to slap that
ad on the family van. For vehicle ads, forget the phone
number, just state the company name, purpose or
services, and the domain name.