Home FAQs About the web How can I publicise my website?
How can I publicise my website?

First, it's worth making the point that, perhaps surprisingly, not everyone wants to publicise their website and attract large numbers of visitors. For example we run one site for a residential marina, that includes a few public pages for anyone looking for more information, and then many more pages only accessible to residents, containing information about the running of the organisation. It's to provide this private channel for residents that is the site's main function.

Others may use their website primarily as a 'second point of contact' - for example to refer personal contacts to for detailed information or downloads about a particular subject - rather than as an initial sales device.

Convert traffic into sales

But many do want to attract relevant traffic, and then convert this into sales. And the first somewhat obvious point to make here is that, to attract visitors to your website , first of all they need to find it in what is generally a very crowded marketplace.

Getting your site found is a complicated subject. Start researching it on the internet and you'll soon see that much has been written, and there are many many people who will happily take your money in exchange for varying levels of success at getting your site found  – or 'optimising your site' (SEO) as it's referred to.

But there are plenty of simple things you can do yourself to encourage traffic, and here are a few of them:

Promote offline

First of all, advertise your website on all your offline marketing collateral - from your business card to your leaflets and brochures - as well as on all advertising. Tell all your customers you've got a new website, especially if it contains information that can add value to what you're offering, so there's an incentive for them to visit. Some people even make their domain name their trading name - complete with the .com, .co.uk  or whatever, suffix. And regularly remind contacts it exists, perhaps via an online or offline newsletter or social media like Facebook (more about social media in a moment), which can point people to the new content you'll regularly be writing to keep your website fresh.

Seek inbound links

Secondly the search engines, such as Google, like relevant, reputable 'inbound links'; that is, links to your website from others, especially if those others are about a similar subject. So if your website is all about web design and creation (as ours is!), having links from established sites that are all about this subject are probably better than links from your local fish and chip shop (although the fish and chip shop link may still be worth having!). There again, getting a link from a site that Google rates very highly, like for example many national newspapers, may really help yours get noticed; this isn't just because the newspaper site will get many readers, it's also because Google gives links from higher rated sites a greater 'weighting'.

So a good strategy could be to write articles for respected websites (or offline publications) that relate to your area of expertise, which include a link in the article itself and/or in your credit (always use relevant text to link, such as 'website design in Southampton' rather than 'click here'). 

But beware of 'disreputable links', offered by – as you might imagine – disreputable companies, that could actually damage your site's ranking by the search engines.

Keep your content fresh

Search engines 'like' plenty of detailed, frequently updated content about your subject area. So while you primarily need to write your site for humans, so that when they arrive they get the information they need and then act upon it, keep in the back of your mind that you are also 'talking to the engines', and make it nice and clear what your site's all about. A blog section can offer a way to provide up-to-date information for your audience, and keep your site looking fresh for humans and search engines alike. (If you'd like to include a blog section on your site, please enquire.)

If your site offers, just for example, web site creation in Southampton, think about which search terms people might use to find you, and make sure these words (probably 'website', 'design', 'web', 'site',  'cheap', 'Southampton,' 'Hampshire' etc) are reasonably plentiful in your text. (See what we did there?)

Be realistic

 It's also imporant to be realistic about where your site is likely to appear in search engine results. For example if we wanted to do well on Google search, it would be unrealistic to expect to appear at number one worldwide when people searched for 'web design'; but if we narrowed the field down and decided on 'Southampton web design',  we might have more of a chance (although that's going to be pretty competitive too). Similarly for a therapist who specialises in say, counselling: globally that's going to be a competitive term, so being creative and thinking about niche markets and related search terms might prove more successful.

Use social media

Many businesses are successful at building a following online using social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Used appropriately to project the right tone and image, these can generate significant interest in your business, help position you as an expert, and in turn drive traffic to your website with links through to your latest news, for example; this traffic is ready for you to then convert into sales through the compelling content you created earlier.

No guarantees with 'organic search'

Be aware that we do not, and cannot guarantee that your site will show up in the search results of any search engine, whatever terms you type in. This is because we control neither the ever-changing criteria the search engines use to rank sites, nor the many sites yours will probably be competing with.

We regularly get unsolicited emails from unidentifiable people (or computer programmes?) offering to improve our ranking, and "put us on the 1st page of Google," but they don't specify the search terms they guarantee, nor the methods they employ.

As mentioned earlier, it's worth looking closely at the background, claims, and methods,of anyone who says they can 'guarantee' good rankings.

Paid-for advertising

Another option to publicise your site is to use a paid-for service, such as Google AdWords, advertising on Facebook or elsewhere. Managing this isn't a service we currently offer, but a few hours' research, or less, should be enough to get you started with AdWords, for example. And the exciting thing about online advertising is that it's so fast - you can have ads up and running in next to no time.

That's it for now. But remember it's important to be clear (and realistic) from the beginning about the results you expect from your site, to invest some time in getting the content right, and remember that it can take time for things to start to happen. Do check the client-only FAQs regularly as we hope to post more ideas about getting your site noticed soon.

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