So you have a website now…what next?

So you have a website now…what next? Yay! So is that it? Are your phones going to start ring off the hook? Umm… probably not!

There are so many things you need to do once your website is complete. My job as a Web Designer may be finished, but yours is just beginning! After I fine tune your masterpiece with Meta tags, keywords, descriptions and optimize it for search engines, there are several things you will need to do in order to promote yourself. Remember, successful businesses do not happen overnight. You really have to make the effort to market yourself and get your name out there! Let me help by giving you some helpful tips in promoting your new website!

  1. Be active! Promote yourself on the internet. People do not use the yellow pages anymore; they search for local businesses on the internet. Therefore, you want to be sure they can find you. Submit and create free listings on other websites that pertain to your interests. There are tons out there. Do not forget community facilities in your city!
  2. Submit your site to key directories; this will get you traffic and increase you’re ranking as well. Some popular free ones are Yahoo! Directory , Google Directory, Open Directory Project, and Jayde . There are several paid ones out there worth looking at for those willing to invest as well.
  3. Join various trade organizations that feature member listings. Submit your site to specific organizations that focus on particular industries related to your business.
  4. Look for smaller sites in your general niche and request reciprocal links. Be sure to have an area set up somewhere on your website to add their sites as well.
  5. Write your own articles. You definitely can increase your visibility when you write articles of your own expertise. Submit your articles to other websites and newsletters as free content. Just request them to add your website link to the article. You can create a free membership account with Ezine Articles which will help you get started.
  6. Social Media is a really big marketing tool today. What’s great about it is that it is free, unless you want to hire a social media manager to promote your business for you. Interact with people. Respond to blog postings and comments. It’s a great way to share your business with others. This will send you direct traffic to you website. Promote your site in online forums and discussion lists the old school way. Join social community sites such as Facebook , Twitter , and LinkedIn . Make friends and share information! Please remember not to overdo it though. You don’t want to spam them or talk incessantly about your business. When socializing you must listen, comment, and make a genuine contribution for the good of others. Many will want to know more about you and will usually check out your profile for more information.
  7. Create your own blog. Add one on your website or, build a free one with Blogger , WordPress , etc. that links directly to your website. This way people can actually link to your blog that will build more traffic ultimately leading to your website.
  8. Participate in a social bookmarking community such as StumbleUpon , Delicious , Digg .
  9. Hold a contest. People like getting something free. If you publicize a contest or drawing available on your site, you’ll generate more traffic than normal. Be creative, it does not have to cost you a lot. I recently saw a contest on Facebook for a bakery business that created a contest by offering a free cake for someone who could refer them the most fans to their Fanpage. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you could give away a free banner or logo. The possibilities are endless!
  10. Make sure that all business cards, stationery, brochures, and literature contain your company’s URL. I recommend leaving off the http:// part and including only the www.yoursite.com portion.
  11. Be sure to create a “signature” in your email program with your website and business information.
  12. Publish an e-mail newsletter. By creating a monthly publication you can share tips, business information, new products, etc. This is a great way to keep in contact and generate new business. There are many programs out there, some are even free.

The biggest gain comes when other people mention you, link to you, or bookmark you. I am certain there are more strategies out there. Please feel free to add more tips and ideas below in the comment section. During tough times, we could all use new ideas!