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Prepare Your Web Site To Get The Most Out Of Online Marketing


by Biana Babinsky

Plenty of excellent advice about promoting your online business to prospective customers is widely available: get your web site listed in search engines, exchange links with other web sites, send e-mail to prospects, etc. However, a crucial step is usually omitted from articles about online marketing: what should you do before you start promoting your business online? Here are the top three items you should consider before you begin an online marketing campaign to promote your web site:

Is your web site user-friendly?

Proofread your web site and ask at least one other person to do the same. It is very easy to miss a minor error after you have been staring at your content for a long time, so the importance of having an external reviewer cannot be overemphasized. Glaring grammatical and spelling mistakes on a web site look unprofessional; you should find and remove them before the site is deployed.

Make sure that your contact information is present. It is not necessary to put contact information on every page; a single contact page (with links pointing at it from other pages) will suffice. Your customers should be able to contact you easily.

Be consistent. Use the same navigation system on each page. This helps your customers navigate your site, and makes it easy for them to find a product or service that interests them the most. Avoid complex custom graphical navigation systems; your customers will not waste their time trying to figure out how to use your site they will simply go elsewhere.

Is your web site Search Engine Friendly?

Most people find web sites that interest them by using Search Engines. Your site should be Search Engine-friendly in addition to being user-friendly. It will take much longer for your site to become listed in search engines (if it gets listed at all) if it cannot be effectively spidered by a search engine. This will dramatically reduce customer traffic.

To make your web site Search Engine-friendly, make effective use of the Title tag, as well as the Description and Keywords meta tags. The Title tag should have information that describes the page; your company name is (usually) not a descriptive title. Most search engines use the Title tag as the first line of your listing; strive to make your Title tag say "click me" to a prospective customer. The Description meta tag should have an accurate description of your page, and the Keywords meta tag should contain a set of keywords that list key concepts mentioned on the page.

Does your web site have a Newsletter?

Get your customers to come back even before your web site goes live. Set up a newsletter for your site, and ask your visitors to subscribe to it. Use the Newsletter to send messages about new products (or services) or special offers provided on your site. This will remind your subscribers about your business and help build your brand image.

Do not send messages to the Newsletter too often, as this will overwhelm your subscribers and your newsletter may end up in their "Trash" mailbox along with the other two hundred spam messages they receive daily. On the other hand, an annual newsletter is not sufficient to reinforce your brand image. The ideal frequency is once or twice per month.

Spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail) is a growing problem. Your customers will be reluctant to subscribe to your Newsletter unless they have assurance that their e-mail address will not be shared with third parties. Do not sell, share, or otherwise distribute your subscriber list; post a notice about your privacy policy on your web site to let your subscribers know that their e-mail address will be protected.

Avocado Consulting, Inc offers a complete range of innovative consulting services that enable businesses to leverage the full power of the Internet. We help your business thrive by providing superior online marketing services, user-friendly web design, and innovative technical consulting.

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