Market my website? Why should I have to spend time and money marketing my website? It's supposed to be marketing my business!
That's how so many business owners feel, they spend a bit of money on their website design and then sit, doing nothing, waiting in vain for it to start paying dividends and bringing in the customers. It's very simple really, nobody is going to come to your new site if they don't know about it - if they don't see mention of it, a link to it or aren't recommended it.
So how can you get your website noticed? Here's a list of the common methods you can use:
Magazine & newspaper ads, Yellow Pages, PR articles, leaflets & door drops, business cards, email signatures, company stationary, company vehicles, the front of your store. These and many more are places you can and should advertise your website's URL.
Getting to the top of a keyword search on the major search engines - Google, Yahoo etc. - is high on the wish list of most website owners. Unfortunately it's not something that will happen straightaway. It can take many months of adding content, getting links from other sites and optimizing your content for keywords to get a high listing.
Directories are collections of website addresses that are collated by human beings. Most will charge a fee for inclusion, DMOZ/ODP is the one everyone wants to get listed in - it's free and will have a great effect on your search engine ranking, but expect to wait months if not years for a listing.
This is one of the most powerful ways of promoting your site. It means getting other (hopefully related) sites to include links to yours. To get a link simply email the site owners and ask for one. Often you'll have to reciprocate the kindness i.e. link to their site as well but some will be happy to list your URL for nothing.
If you're a member of local business groups then don't forget to include your web address on their sites. What about all your suppliers, can you get a listing on theirs?
Not only will you get people visiting your site via all these links, you'll also improve your position on search engine listings (search engines algorithms take the number of links to
your site to be an indication of its importance).
Another way you can attract attention is by participating in online discussion forums (to do with your area of expertise of course!). Most will allow you to include a website link in your
signature, i.e. a link to your site in every post you make.
This is a brilliant way of getting noticed. If you don't have any problems writing essays then get your pen out! There are many sites that allow you to submit your articles for free and
they should all allow you to include a resource section on yourself or company with a link back to your site.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay Per Click (PPC) is a very good way of driving traffic to a site in the short term. Google's Adwords is one of the best known PPC systems around,
Overture provide another.
When somebody searches for keywords in Google you get a list of 'sponsored links' on the right hand column (go to Google and search for 'catering work' and see the sponsored links on the right). The owners of the sites don't pay anything unless the person browsing clicks through to their site.
It might be worth putting up a Banner Ads on sites you know your prospective clients are likely to visit. The ads, which will be made to click through to your website, come in GIF format or, increasingly, are created in Flash for a more striking and memorable ad.
Pricing is often Cost Per Click (CPC) but most common is Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM). CPM is related to how many people see your ad.