In the movie “Field of Dreams,” Kevin Costner’s character heard whispers of “Build it and they will come.” So, he constructed a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, and remarkably the unexpected happened: People came. With websites, getting people to show up to your ballpark requires a bit more effort.
There is often an expectation that if you have a website, people will find you, you’ll have more business, etc. Traffic (and additional business) may come eventually, but it will not happen overnight. In order for your website to get found, people need to know about it. Some of the ways you can make that happen include search engine submissions, social networking, and pay-per-click advertising.
So, you have a website? Great! Now what? Traffic won’t magically come to you. Search engines might eventually crawl your site if others link to it. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your site is found:
Submit your site to the major search engines:
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft Live Search represent the “Big Three” search engines. Getting listed on these engines is your first, and arguably best, opportunity for search engine-based referral traffic.
Promote your site on social networks. If you use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, make sure your friends know about your site (Don’t spam them, though!). Go to where your customers are. Engage them. Encourage them to visit your site; to use your services.
Google AdWords: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising. Spend money on targeted, keyword-based advertising when you’re first starting out. It could be a while before your site ranks highly in search engine results. PPC ads guarantee a higher-profile placement on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Let’s say you have an automotive repair business and you’re hoping to generate more traffic to your website. You’d like to buy some ads on Google Adwords to be displayed on SERPs. While getting things set up, you select some keywords that you think people might use to find your business. Generic keywords have greater competition; this is why you want to try and be as specific as you can with your keywords. Someone looking for “Automotive Repair Augusta GA” is more likely to be looking for your services versus someone who might be searching for “Automotive Repair.”
Some other things to consider with PPC:
- You’re only charged if someone actually clicks on your ad.
- You can set a maximum daily budget on Google AdWords. Once you’ve spent your budget for the day, your ad will no longer appear in SERPs. (This helps you budget for PPC more efficiently.)
- The more specific your keyword phrase, the less you’ll pay per click (usually).
- The more specific your keyword phrase, the more likely people seeing your ad might be interested in your services.
Traditional Advertising. Make sure your website address is included in all advertising, such as radio, TV commercials, billboards, business cards, newspaper and magazine ads, and even email signatures. Anytime you have the opportunity to tell someone about your site, do it.