As the internet age advances, more and more businesses are finding new life online. The potential benefits of such a venture are great as the internet allows for access to millions of possible customers across the globe. The startup costs tend to be lower as many entrepreneurs run their online businesses from home. Unlike a physical store or office, online businesses are usually open 24hrs a day, everyday. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the success rate for startup online businesses is about 10% as 9 out of 10 online businesses simply don’t work. Getting traffic to your site can be the most difficult of tasks. There you are eager and ready, your website looks great, your merchandise or service is ready and the future seems bright. So how do you get people to come to your site? The following will give you 5 methods that will help steer you in the correct direction.
- Search Optimization
Search optimization is the method used to allow for your website to be ranked higher as a result of a search for specific keywords or phrases by a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Businesses will target certain keywords that are relevant to their content and place them on the homepage and/or other pages on their site. As an example we can look at the online retailer, jewelrypayless.com. They optimize words such as “silver jewelry” or “men’s ring”, etc. When Google receives a request for one of these key words jewelrypayless.com will come up in the search results. It is, however, not as easy as this. Your site may show up on page 100 buried deep within the search result listings. In order to get listed higher more work has to be done, as described in this article. Also, the act of optimizing a site requires some knowledge of HTML which is the basic language with which websites are built. You can use an HTML editor such Dreamweaver or Frontpage to add keywords to the pages which you are optimizing.
- Linking Strategy
Websites often reserve an area of their site dedicated to links. The page usually consists of categorized links pointing to other recommended sites. Usually, websites will exchange links for mutual benefit. The more links you have pointing to your site, the better. Links to your site(inbound) show the search engines that your site has value. The best way to go about this process is to establish good content on your site and begin targeting websites you would link to exchange links with. You can buy software to help you do this or you can manually send out link exchange invitations via email.
- Pay Per Click
The fastest way to get traffic is through pay-per-click advertising. Essentially, every time a web surfer clicks on an ad of your creation, you will pay. The price can range from 25 cents to $2 per click depending on the popularity of the keyword or phrases you’ve chosen. Basically, your ad will pop up in an area designated for paid ads once the keyword has been searched. It is important that you understand the correct keywords for your business in order to avoid paying unnecessary fees for irrelevant keywords. The most effective and popular of the pay per click ad sponsors are Google and Overture. You can also use shopping malls such as Nextag.com, Bizrate.com or Shopping.com to advertise via pay-per-click. Make sure to set your budget and monitor the results carefully making adjustments as you go along. Pay-per-click can be unreasonably expensive if not managed carefully.
Affiliates are companies, individuals and organizations that you have established business relationships with in order to increase your exposure and sales revenue. Affiliates send traffic to your site via a link representing your business on their site. If the prospective customer should buy from you the affiliate gets a commission from the transaction. In order to use affiliates you are required to register with an affiliate program and begin recruiting affiliates to work for you. Offering a handsome commission can attract affiliates to sign up. Having a professional website that will be easy for them integrate with their own site can also peak the interests of potential affiliates. Always treat your affiliates well, paying them on time and communicating with them on a regular basis.
- Offline Advertising
An often neglected part of marketing online businesses, offline advertising, can be an effective means by which to bring in new customers and create “word of mouth” interest in your site. Ads in magazines, newspapers, tv, radio and local publications are some of the ways through which you can promote your business. Passing out flyers or sending out postcards can also result in new business, especially if you are offering a discount in the form of an exclusive coupon code. Be creative in trying to promote your business on a grass roots level. Read books such as “Guerilla Marketing” by Jay Levinson to gain insight on how to go about marketing in a cost effective manner.
In conclusion, succeeding online can be difficult but rewarding. If you use these methods to help you in your research and application of a business and marketing strategy, along with sacrificing time and putting forth a strong effort there is a good chance that you will be successful with your online business.