7 practical tips on how to market your small business website

Now has never been a more appropriate time to take the necessary steps to make sure your business website is effectively marketed to target customers argues Joe White from Moonfruit.

26th January 2009 at 10:19 am

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Natural search engine rankings are a great way for small companies with tight budgets to increase traffic to their website. Nobody can guarantee positions in rankings, but by systematically optimizing your website around key terms, you can make a big impact.  However, it also doesn’t happen overnight and patience is needed while you establish your website.

Keywords/phrases are the best place to start when looking to boost your website up the search engine rankings. If you have a have a taxi company in Brighton, you want to choose keywords that relate to your business such as ‘Brighton taxis’. The general rule of thumb here is that that the more specific the terms are, the better the chance you have of it ranking higher. So instead of listing single words, a better approach is to use two or three word phrases associated with your site, as this cuts out a lot of unrelated results.

2. Build online communities

Through forums and blogs, you can create online communities on and around your website which will benefit your business’s website in a number of ways. The sense of community will enrich customers’ experience of your site and it will also give them a reason to return. Involve them on discussion boards, encourage them to post blogs, and they will come back to continue the conversation.

3. Create ‘expert content’

This point ties-in with the previous point – creating expert content, through informative and helpful articles, gives customers a reason to visit your site. This reaps further rewards as it generates inbound links when your articles and blogs are mentioned on other websites and links are posted. This will also help to boost your search ranking.

There’s no reason to restrict your comments to your own site as well. Write blogs or articles for other websites which will push your website out further into the public domain and raise your profile. Make sure your articles are original and provide useful information otherwise they won’t get picked up.

4. Use online directories

Another useful way of boosting your site on search engine results is by adding it to relevant and reputable directories. These could be business directories, or interest and subject based directories. Search engines will follow the link from that site and slowly start to index your page.

5. Link to other relevant/complementary sites

Another method to increase traffic is by linking to similar sites. The way to do this is to strike deals with the webmasters of related sites to arrange reciprocal link exchanges. The key tip here is to find sites of a similar size and subject to yours.

6. Online Advertising

This aspect of website marketing is not so subtle, and is a simple case of paying for exposure. Through services such as Google Adwords, you can pay to get your site listed in the sponsored links section of the search results page. The cost per click can be anywhere between 20p and £10 depending on the words you’re advertising on. The benefit of this is that you are guaranteeing exposure and you can also measure exactly how successful it is by using analytical tools.

7.   Tie-in to your offline activity

The final point is an obvious one, but essential and often overlooked.  Ensure that your website is included in all your offline materials in order to boost awareness of your online presence. This can be as simple as putting the website on your business cards, letter heads, or anything else with your business’ name on it.

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Joe is the MD of Moonfruit.com and COO of Gandi Group Limited, a European group focused on the provision of internet services based around domain names. Joe has been involved in the internet industry since founding his first web business in 1997, before being part of the team that founded Moonfruit in 2000. In 2005 Joe raised £10m to acquire French business Gandi.net putting it together with Moonfruit.com to form Gandi Group. http://www.moonfruit.com/

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