Small Business Promotion, Search Engines and Visibility Online  
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  How will anybody find me? The Internet could be seen as a monstrous global library with over a billion books. If your "book" (or in this case - your web site) is not in the card catalog, no one has the slightest chance of finding you! On the World Wide Web the card catalog is represented by a "Search Engine." When searching the card catalog, you would look up a book by title, author or subject. When you search the web you essentially do the same thing. "Madame Zora's Mystic Magic" would be listed under title, or the subject "Fortune Tellers" or you might search by keywords like Tarot, medium, channelling, etc.

The most important thing you can do to maximize your search engine position is to effectively use "META Tags" there is much confusion and misunderstanding about this important HTML tool. We've distilled it to Eight Ingredients that will get you top ranking in the search engines. Click on that link for the simple basics to doing well in the major search engines. Metatags are HTML code that are directed only to the search engine spiders and tell potential visitors what your web site is about. It is no more complex than that. Learn these eight ingredients and you will soar in the search engines from the bottom to the top of the listings!

Just for fun, this search engine allows you to search just our site or the entire web. Give it a try, it's fun to see the difference between millions of results out in the world wide web and just a few very relevant results locally!

So promotion of a web site includes telling all the search engines what to catalog. Your web site title, key words, description of content, phone, fax, e-mail address, contact name, etc., are all required to properly catalog your pages and your web address. This is a well covered topic on the internet and you can refer to our tutorial on the subject in another lesson. Submitting this information to each of the hundreds of search engines is a time consuming task. If you don't do it yourself, then you should definitely pay a promotion service to submit that information for you! And make sure that your web address is printed on every bit of your promotional and business material!

    Ya gotta have connections

The second critical task of web promotion is to search out complementary businesses to "link" to. Each additional web site that lists your address somewhere on their site (typically a "links" page) magically increases the ranking of your importance to the search engines. If you can "link" to other businesses that buy from you or use your services by getting them to list your web address, then you will find that visitors to your clients' and suppliers' web pages will soon be visiting your web pages!

The more places you get to link to you, the more traffic you will generate to your web site. There are dozens of ways to do this. You can begin by joining professional organizations online that list your service as a "Link." You may be asked to return the favor, which is called a "reciprocal link." We practice what we preach at WebSite101. Would you consider linking to us? Attempt to get listed by your suppliers, your clients, businesses that provide complementary services and all of the specialized online directories you can find. And make sure that your web address is printed on every bit of your promotional and business material!
I'm Rich!
Can the web make me rich?
Companies will often pay for an expensive web site design with attractive graphics, all the latest bells and whistles, then become disillusioned when the page is rarely visited by potential customers. They find that their expensive new high-tech toy is doing them no good. "But what's wrong? We've been told that the internet is a low-cost, 24 hour-a-day method of exposing our business to the world!"

The problem is not in the quality of the web site, but simply a lack of promotion! If you were to get a new whiz-bang phone with built-in paging, conference calling, speakerphone and voicemail, but then didn't publish your phone number in the yellow pages, you would experience the same thing. No phone calls. You understand readily that it increases your exposure to have an advertisement in the phone book, in your local newspaper, in print advertising, and you'd never think of forgetting to put your phone number on your business cards! The situation is exactly the same with your web address! You must make that as important as your business address! You want it to be visible and memorable! And make sure that your web address is printed on every bit of your promotional and business material!
What an Idea!How will they remember me? If you give your visitors something useful to remember you by, they will return for more business. If they really like what you give them, they may tell a friend! Businesses give away "promotional" pens, cups, paperweights and key chains to customers to win their favor and keep their name in the client's mind. On the internet, the promotional "give-away" is information. If your web site is to promote your deep tissue massage or shiatsu business, then you may consider offering your visitors educational pages discussing the history of these forms of treatment and include illustrations of pressure points on the human body. You might offer limited self treatment advice for clients with particularly common problems like headache or back trouble. You may offer "links" to other web sites that can provide further information.

Web sites offer the ideal way to discuss your personal philosophy, your training, your background and your qualifications. You can post your business hours, your prices, display your business location and show your professional equipment. You can offer related products or books for sale. You can even entertain them by offering free screen savers (related to your business topic) for their computers. You should have a fun or memorable web address and e-mail address Make your site memorable, give away information or entertainment and make sure that your web address is printed on every bit of your promotional and business material!

WebSite101: Can Somebody Explain This Stuff to Me?

How about advertising? If you've been surfing long you will have noticed small advertisements on most commercial web sites. These "banner ads" have become an accepted standard. Those ads indicate that the web site owner has joined LinkExchange or another banner exchange service. The concept is simple; if you agree to show ads for other businesses on your web site, LinkExchange will arrange for your ads to appear on participating web sites! Each time a visitor to your page views the ads from a member business you are credited toward showing your banner on member sites! The banner above is what is circulated by LinkExchange for us on other sites. When the banner is clicked the surfer is transferred to that web site! When you click on our banner above you will be taken to our great new free banner creation tool! If your advertising budget is limited, then the exchange of banner ads will allow you to advertise for free!
There are numerous promotion techniques used by webmasters including electronic press releases, mailed press releases (here's ours), brochures, e-zine participation (or creation of your own e-zine) and regular search engine submission plans. But one of the most important things you can do is to monitor your position in the top ten search engines and work to improve your site ranking there. There are several ways to do this and one we recommend is more important than all other combined methods. That is Search Engine Optimization using techniques in another lesson.

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