If You Build It They Won't Come

photo of John Michael Pierobon By: John Michael Pierobon

Many small businesses have spent thousands of dollars to have their Web site developed by talented and not-so-talented artists, yet no one seems to be visiting their Web site. Now that the Internet euphoria is waning, many are wondering what went wrong.

The most likely answer is that they have failed to adequately promote their Web site. People may not be aware, or forget, the Web site exists. Here are some things you can do to market your Web site.

Your domain name may be too hard to remember or too long. Baseball owners are not known to be the brightest marketers. That is why it took them years to realize that http://www.majorleaguebaseball.com was much too long of a Web address. They are now promoting http://www.mlb.com, which is their new, but much shorter, Web address.

There are thousands of search engines. You do not need to register will all of them, but you should register with the most popular ones. The top ten search engines get more than 90% of the search queries. However, you should also register with certain niche search engines. For example, if you run a business which caters to German tourists, you should also register your Web site with German search engines.

Furthermore, you should get listed in directories, and in trade or industry-related Web sites. You should cross-pollinate.

Cross-pollination in this article has nothing to do with bees. Cross-pollination is when your Web site links to another Web site and vice versa. For example, I have a link to Community Newspapers, and on their Web site they have a link to my Web site.

If, for example, your Web site is about diabetes, it would be a good idea to have a Web page with links to other resources about diabetes. Add a Web page to your Web site with links to those important resources. Then write a nice letter to the webmaster of those sites asking to cross-pollinate. Chances are that they will respond favorably to your petition because you are helping each other out.

Your Web site address should be on your stationery, on your advertising, on your invoices, on your products, even on your vehicles. The Fort Lauderdale police department has their Web site address painted on the rear bumper of every squad car. The state of Pennsylvania has its Web site address on their new license plates.

You should wear your Web site address on your sleeve. The fashion trend of "corporate wear" has missed the boat because jackets and polo shirts with corporate names and logos fail to include the Web site address. The same is true with uniforms.

When airlines put you on hold, they tell you lower fares may be available at their Web site, and then they give you the Web address. You are enticed to visit their Web site by the possibility of a lower air fare. What does the recording on your answering machine say? What do your customers hear when they are on hold? Remind them to visit your Web site.

Edit the signature file on your e-mail program (Eudora, Messenger, Outlook, etc.) to include your Web site address so it goes out with every e-mail message you send.

Relaunch your Web site by sending out a press release. Fact checkers at the news organizations will visit your Web site.

It is a combination of all of the above that will get people to come your Web site in the first place. Once they are there, you have to provide a positive experience. Give them a reason to come back again and again.

John Michael Pierobon is an Internet consultant based in Fort Lauderdale.
John Michael may be reached by sending electronic mail to pierobon@pierobon.org

Home | Résumé | Courses | Comments | HTML | Definitions | Articles | Books

Thank you for visiting.

© 2001 - 2006 John Michael Pierobon