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Q &A Column - From
our March 2001 Newsletter
MARKETING IS KEY TO ONLINE SUCCESS
built a great web site for my business, but I dont get the
anybody is finding it. I think one problem is no one myself
included seems to
be able to find it on search engines. What am I doing wrong?
it comes to publicizing their businesses, most small business owners
buy a storefront sign, list their name in the yellow pages, print
business cards to hand out at networking events, and maybe even
mount a public relations and advertising campaign.
But often the
same people who are so conscientious about their real-world marketing
efforts forget to do the same for their web site. Developing a fabulous
web site is only half the battle when it comes to developing an
online presence. With 3 billion existing web pages and no uniform
system for filing, accessing or storing this vast repository of
information, it can be difficult for your prospective customers
to find your site without your help.
In order for
your web site to yield the results you want increased sales
or simply better awareness of your company and its services
you need to drive traffic to your site. That means helping your
customers and prospective customers find you in cyberspace.
your Web site - There
are two ways people can go to your web site: directly, or through
a search engine/directory web site, such as Yahoo! or Excite.
will type your domain name into their browser and be linked immediately
to your web site. In order to go directly to your site, these visitors
must know a very important piece of information: your domain name,
customers should be the first to know about your companys
web site. If you havent added your domain name to your companys
traditional marketing collateral, business cards, letterhead, ads
and signage, now is the time to do it.
may want to mount an advertising and public relations campaign
either on or off the web touting the unique and useful features
your web site offers to customers. Or perhaps you could organize
a raffle and invite customers to fill out information cards that
include their e-mail addresses, and then announce the winner in
a mass e-mailing to all of them that, of course, prominently
features a direct link to your web site. This type of e-mail promotion
is an example of "e-mail marketing," and can be an effective
tool to cultivate repeat visitors to your site.
In fact, you
can probably come up with a lot of good ideas for promoting direct
traffic to your web site.
and directories - But
the second half of the equation, which is a bit more complicated,
involves search engines and online directories. Many of your prospective
customers will try to find your business by going to Yahoo!, Looksmart,
Google, Altavista or any number of other major search engines and
When it comes
to optimizing your site for search engines and directories, its
important to draft keywords, description and title tags for all
of your web sites pages. The idea behind this is simple. What
keywords will your customers most likely punch into a search engine
or a directory if theyre looking for services that your company
provides? It stands to reason that your keywords should generally
be comprised of a list of the goods or services youre providing,
as well as your location and your business name.
determined these keywords, its time to insert these tags into
the back-end source code of your site and then manually submit your
site to the top directories and search engines. Source code is created
by the programmers and designers who have developed your site and,
with the exception of the title tags, is not visible to visitors
of your web site.
homepage text and internal navigation should also be reviewed to
make it can be easily reviewed by search engine robots, which are
automated devices that roam around the Internet analyzing web sites
and ranking them.
your homepage should have some HTML text that repeats the same keywords
youve put in your source-code tags. Your source-code tags
should load before any images. And in addition to having graphics-based
navigation, its a good idea to include HTML text navigation,
which is easier for the robots to navigate.
important to ask your web site hosting company to provide regular
visitor reports. For example, these statistics will tell you whether
most of your visitors are coming directly to your site or if most
are finding you through the search engines. If youre not getting
enough direct visitors, its time to bolster that part of your
web site marketing campaign. Analyzing your traffic patterns will
show you which of your web site marketing techniques are most effective
and where youll need to adjust your strategies.
Harris is a senior account supervisor at e-agency, a subsidiary
of MCAnet in Oakland. e-agency provides a range of Internet services
including hosting, web site design, wireless and marketing. http://www.mcanet.com.
gain computer skills?
In the first
issue of Our Schools, Our Community, the Alameda Unified School
District reminded residents that the Alameda Adult School is a great
computer classes at bargain prices. Students can take 6-12 week
classes for only
$20-$40. You can choose from Microsoft Works, Access, Outlook, Excel,
PowerPoint, and Publisher. If youre wanting to learn how to
access the Internet
or design web pages, they can help you gain those skills too.
As might be
expected, these classes are very popular. Last quarter, they had
students enrolled and they have now set-up a one-day registration
for the computer classes. If you would like more information, please
hesitate to call CeCe at 510-522-3858.
Motel Goes Hi-Tech
The Coral Reef
Motel and Suites has just completed the installation of data ports
in their motel section. In addition to these 37 units, installation
of data ports in the two wings which house the 52 one-bedroom suites
will begin within the next few weeks.
will enable guests to have access to the internet and the room phone
simultaneously. "We are in the process of significantly upgrading
our technology for the convenience of our guests," says Coral
Reef manager, Barry Adcock.
to the data ports, the Coral Reef has enhanced its computer reservation
system for the 89-unit motel. The Coral Reef offers business and
leisure travelers a heated pool, free continental breakfast and
the comfort of suites for those extended stays. Located at 400 Park
Street, the Coral Reef also offers conference facilities for your
business meeting. Contact Barry Adcock at 510-521-2330 and tell
him the Alameda Chamber sent you!