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Take the Wheel - Drive Customers to your Website

by Lori Quaranta

So you own a small business and you have made the decision to build a simple website to gain internet exposure. Or maybe you already have a website that no one visits? You can be the proud owner of the slickest website you have ever seen, but if you aren’t getting any traffic because it’s not properly optimized you have wasted a good chunk of change and a lot of your valuable time. Weather you are building a site from scratch or tweaking one that already exists, consider these web hosting and marketing tips to help drive traffic to your website:

For Web Hosting:

1) Start with keywords - Think about terms potential customers would use to find you in a search engine. What would you type in if you were looking for your business?

2) Use a keyword selector tool - Type your keywords into a keyword selector tool to see how many people have searched on the term in the last 30 days. Look for terms in the 2k-10k range that are relevant to your site.

3) Use domain names which match your keywords – My client advertises products that are geared toward leadership skills development. In addition to leadingonedge.com he also has leadership-skills.info and a handful of others.

4) Use keywords throughout your web pages - Put your keywords in the title, description, keywords, graphics, and written text.

5) Use a keyword density analyzer - Check your website against a keyword density analyzer to see how frequently a specific keyword is used. Shoot for 3-15% density.

6) Slick and sexy doesn't get you traffic - Don't waste your money on slick graphics or things that fly across your screen. Most visitors find them annoying and search engines don't care for them.

7) Use Google AdSense on your website - Whenever someone clicks on a Google ad in your website, you get revenue. And the ads are relevant to your content. My websites now pay for themselves with ad revenue alone.

8) Advertise Amazon books and products on your website - Set up an Amazon Associates account and put relevant books and products on your website. When someone buys a product you get referral revenue.

9) Consider using a website starter package - If going it on your own, think about using a website starter package which can have you up and running quickly.

10) Decide where you want to spend your time - In any business, time is money! Small business web hosting is very doable, but it does take time. Decide if you want to do it yourself or have a professional help you.

For Marketing:

1) Get an automated eCommerce system - These can be really good, very comprehensive and very inexpensive. The good ones can do everything from customer base management to product management to shopping cart to newsletter broadcasts.

2) Get a cheap and reliable merchant account provider - You can get merchant account providers that do both the merchant account and internet gateway for you.

3) Put a link back to your website in your email autosignature - This doesn't need to be obnoxious, just a simple link that email recipients can click on to reference your website.

4) Do selective link trading - Link trade, but make sure the content on the other websites is similar to your own. Don't touch "link farms" with a ten-foot pole; search engines hate them.

5) Write articles and include your website address – Every business owner has something to say that someone would love to read about! There are a number of article databases out there that are researched for website content. Find some article databases which house content similar to yours and write a few articles. You'd be amazed at where your articles show up!

6) Write newsletters - Allow for customers and visitors to subscribe to a newsletter to get regular visibility to you and your company. This is also a great way to compile a customer email data base for your business.

7) Consider using a search engine submission services - These services submit your site to multiple search engines & directories. This can be helpful particularly if your website is new.

8) Set up an affiliates program - Allow for others to promote your products on a commission basis. Again a good eCommerce system should already have this built in.

9) Download the Google Toolbar – I am a Google toolbar fanatic! The Google Toolbar has a nifty feature which shows you the page rank (0-10 scale) of every site you visit; the higher your page ranking the higher your placement in search engines.

10) Set up multiple websites - Got three services you perform? Set up three different websites with domain names that match your keywords. Super cheap to do and can be very effective.

Lori Quaranta

About The Author

Lori Quaranta is the creator of Consetta Web Solutions, http://www.consetta.com and Consetta Creative Publicity, http://www.consettapr.com which provides individuals and small business the tools to better market themselves on the internet and through all media types.

Monday, Aug 20th, 2007