There are numerous ways in which you can advertise your business on the internet:
- Search Engines
- Social Media
- Search Engines
Search Engines like Google send ‘spiders’ around the world wide web that glean information from your web site, take it back to a central location and rank it according to various criteria.
1.1 Google Adwords and Google Adsense
Google Adwords: If you search on Google you will notice “Sponsored Links” on the right. Google give you the option to pay for position in this way. Search “Google Adwords” and follow the instructions.
Google Adsense: You will notice on many web sites there is a widget in which Google Ads appear. Google will pay you every time someone click on one of these ads – when this is installed on your site. Search “Google Adsense” and follow the instructions.
1.2 Search Engine Optimisation
Be warned – when you are assured of so many ‘hits’ – this term is misleading. Rather enquire about unique visitors, number of visits, pages read and time spent on each page.
SEO is a specialized field and better left to the professionals. However, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your web site is Search Engine friendly.
- Choose the correct domain,
- Stay away from Flash,
- Choose your keywords carefully,
- Choose your content carefully,
- Go big or go home,
- Make sure your META TAGS are in place,
- Meet Alexa,
- Add reciprocal links,
- Monitor Page Rank.
If you are a South African business, selling South African products and/or services, then register a .co.za domain. Google used to rank .com sites higher, but this is no longer the case. It’s a good idea to register and either ‘park’ or redirect the .com site to prevent someone holding you to ransom in the future.
Flash Macromedia sites are very impressive, but the take long to load and create barriers to the Search Engines.
Your keywords should be short phrases that refer to location and product/service e.g. ‘garden route accommodation’. Avoid using ‘South Africa’ in the phrases as this will get lost in cyberspace. Don’t go for popular keywords that have no relevance to your site – Google has wised up to that one.
Google loves original content and penalises you for cutting and pasting content from other sites. Make sure your content all ties together like a well written essay – make the top of your home page the introduction and the bottom the conclusion with the body logically distributed throughout the rest of the site. The better it all ties together the higher your ranking will be.
Google love BIG sites so don’t be afraid to expand your sites to include the local attractions in your area and any other relevant information. The articles listed to the right are a good examples of that.
Open your web site in a browser e.g. Internet Explorer. Click ‘View’ then ‘Source’. Near the top of the code you will see the words, TITLE, DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS. Make sure these are there and make sense.
Go to http://www.alexa.com/, download and install the Alexa toolbar. It will give you the page rank for every web site you open and will enable you to monitor your page rank. Google ranks web site from 1-20 million+ with Google being No.1. Makes interesting reading to see how you are doing.
The more links there are pointing to your home page the better – particularly if incoming links come from sites ranked higher than yourself. Create a ‘Links’ page where you link to other web sites with similar content in return for them returning the favour.
Search ‘page rank’ on Google. Find a suitable site. Enter your URL and you will get a rank out of 10. You should be aiming at 3/10 – anything better than that is spectacular.
Newsletters are a great way of keeping in contact with your clients. Allow visitors to subscribe to your newsletter somewhere on your home page. In the case of .html site link this to a reply form. In the case of CMS sites you can install a widget where visitors can subscribe your feeds. Then whenever you publish an article they will get an e mail informing them of this. Use the newsletter to keep clients up to date with new products/services, specials etc. It is also a good way of educating clients to the point where they realise that they need your product/service.
- Social Media
You can no longer afford to ignore this phenomenon. Get on Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. Share your articles on these platforms and make sure you have links to them on your site. If you have a .html site then get a blog going where you publish articles that point back to your site. A CMS site will do this automatically.