Oregon web site promotion

Identify realistic goals. 100 visitors a month, or 10,000? A statewide audience or worldwide? How much time and money are you willing to invest for a desired result?

Inventory your assets:

What do you have to offer visitors? This does not mean "What do you want from visitors?", it means "What service, information, or entertainment of value do I want to give free of charge to my visitors?" If I have an answer, then visitors may trust me with their personel information, patronage, etc. For a small business owner, this free gift may be detailed information about a product or service the visitor is interested in, or take other forms.

What is not included in this is promotional copy - marketing talk. The web is voluntary participation, unlike many forms of advertising. Studies show that visitors leave when confronted with marketing talk. See writing for the web

Search Engine Submission:

In most cases, small businesses and organizations should pay to "express submit" to Yahoo, LookSmart, and/or Inktomi, and submit to ODP (see search engines). This should be done after your site is complete, and thoroughly checked. It will cost about $700-800, a little more if you hire someone to do it. Optional additions would be Altavista, and any relevant specialty search engines. Google will find you when you appear in Yahoo or ODP. Wisenut is still taking free submissions. For the Directory submissions, your pages need to be usable in a variety of browsers, have no broken links, and represent a good addition to their directory. Read and comply with their submission instructions, and keep any "marketing talk" or adjectives out of your description (Their decision on listing you, it is possible to pay the $300 and be rejected)

Pay Per Click:

(GoTo recently renamed Oveture, others), and Pay Per Impression (Google Adwords, and banner advertising). For may small sites, especially those selling products or services, it is difficult, if not impossible to get a high ranking for relevant search terms.- either these are occupied by larger sites, grandfathered sites, or noncommercial sites. The solution is to pay to have your site "featured" in on the search results page, and pay a fee per visitor clicking through to your site.

On Oveture(GoTo) for example, search terms are bid on, you may pay 10 cents per click, or 5 dollars, depending on the amount of competition for the term. More specific terms have lower click thorough - 300 clicks a month might cost you $50, on a more a general term, some folks pay tens of thousands of dollars per month for lots of clicks. These programs can bring you business that you may have not gotten otherwise (the general idea, I guess), at a cost much lower than other marketing methods. (The cost of a newspaper or magazine ad, radio, etc.) And, they are people with an expressed interest in your product. Google Adwords and Looksmart are also in the PPC business.

Pay per click takes a certain amount of time to administer - terms are bid on, so your competitors can outbid you at any time, so checking search results daily is required. Many rather unguessed terms can be productive, so some research and trial and error is necessary.

Small businesses and services find pay per click an effective way to generate immediate traffic at a low initial investment. It is a good way to get the traffic flowing. In the long run, it should be partnered with effective search engine optimization, which can provide more "cost effective" clicks. For income producing sites, often the cost is low enough to be easily absorbed.

Off-line Promotion:

Your web address should be on every piece of paper that leaves your office - stationary, business cards, brochures, envelopes, invoices, etc. If you do run print advertising, by all means include it. (Not sure that print advertising a web address, by itself, is generally worth it.) Tell folks about your web site!

Links to your site: Regional and Topical Directories, related links, and what not to do.

Not all links to your site are created equal. A prominent site, mentioning your site in a relevant context, can deliver a flood of visitors, and bump your placement in the search engines. A link on a disreputable directory or link farm, or a sex site, can get you blacklisted or penalized in search engines. They are only responding to abuse, attempts to circumvent their relevancy.

Most of the current search engines look at sites linking to you, and the link context, to help them determine your sites rank. Oregon or Regional Directory links should have some text description or page theme surrounding the link to you, to be of value. Google also looks at who you link to - good outbound links help. No man is an island.

For Oregon small businesses, targeting search phrases of 2-4 words, often with the word "Oregon" appended, is the general strategy. But a little research and trying different things, can be necessary to find what folks actually search for - which leads us to ....

Next:

Look at >>> logging and tracking your visitors, or Search engines and website promotion (overview) or Search engine notes.

Oregon web site design and promotion guide

May 17, 2002

ML WEBB, web site design and promotion, Eugene, Oregon
pins

Photo above was made in RealSoft 3d, while I was working on a site for an Oregon bowling products company.

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