“Build it and they will come” is not a very good web strategy.
Instead, think “if I spent $3000 on a website but no visitors came, did
I spend $3000?” There are no guarantees that anyone will ever visit a
site. But there are ways to make sure they do.
Much of web marketing follows the rules of any other mode of
publicity: identify an audience, build a brand, appeal to a lifestyle
and keep in touch with your customers and their needs. A sucessful web
campaign utilizes print mailings, manufactured buzz, genuine word of
mouth and email. Finances can limit the options available but everyone
can do something.
One of the most exciting aspects of the internet is that the most
popular sites are usually those that have something interesting to
offer visitors. The cost of entry to the web is so low that the little
guys can compete with giant corporations. A good strategy involves
finding a niche and building a community around it. Personality and idiosyncracy are actually competitive advantages!
It would be cruel of me to just drop off a completed website at the
end of two months and wash my hands of the project. Many web designers
do that, but I’m more interested in building sites that are used. I can
work with you on all aspects of publicity, from design to launch and
beyond to analyzing visitor patterns to learn how we can serve them better.
Making sites sticky
We don’t want someone to visit your site once, click on a few links
and then disappear forever. We want to give your visitors reasons to
come back frequently, a quality we call “sticky” in web parlance. Is
your site a useful reference site? Can we get visitors to sign up for
email updates? Is there a community of users around your site?
Making sites search engine friendly
Google. We all want Google to visit our sites. One of the biggest
scams out there are the companies that will register your site for only
$300 or $500 or $700. The search engines get their
competitive advantage by including the whole web and there’s no reason
you need to pay anyone to get the attention of the big search engines.
The most important way to bring Google to your site is to build it
with your audience in mind. What are the keywords you want people to
find you with? Your town name? Your business? Some specific quality of
your work? I can build the site from the ground up to highlight those
phrases. Here too, being a niche player is an advantage.
I know lots of Google tricks. One site of mine started attracting four times the visits after its programmer and I redesigned it for Google. My sites are so well indexed that if I often get visitors searching for
the oddest things. We can actually tell when visitors come from search
engines and we can even tell what they’re searching for! Google
apparently thinks I know “how to flatten used sod” and am the guy to
ask if you wonder “do amish women wear bras.” I can make sure your important search terms also get noticed by Google and the rest!