k then...out on a limb
This is an article that i wrote for a site im building (dont worry its not up and running yet, so no danger of URL dropping!:)).
Troels, for your question, try to put this into the context of promoting sections and categories, rather than single pages.
ps i wrote it for marketing folk, so theres some basic seo stuff covered...
Internally promoting your pages
Your best point to promote your site is within it.
Chances are that when you have covered the bases with your Internet Marketing techniques, you will have several thousand visitors a month on your site (naturally this differs from industry to industry, but the main point is that you will have substantial amount of visitors on your site, who are interested in what you offer).
The success or failure of your website is dependent on your ability to convert those visits into sales.
This article will look at some of the ways you can internally promote your product or service.
Small, catchy graphical ads on your pages that link to other pages can be a useful way of driving your traffic from one part of your site to another (and eventually to your sales page).
From your website logs and stats you will be able to see which of your pages are most popular (most visitors, and most common entry points). This will be largely your homepage, but can also be pages which are top of the search engine results for their keyword.
A graphical advert, generally should contain a minimal amount of text (describing what the page that it links to offers, and also the words “click here” or some variation thereof).
Any pictures or colouring in the ad should be in the same style as the rest of the site. If it looks too different, then your users may think that it is an external advert, ad therefore be put off about clicking on it. Having your brand name or logo on it would help to ensure users that they will remain in the site and also reinforces your brand.
All images should be optimised for the web (low file size), be unobtrusive and be static. This means, stay away from animations if you can (although in some industries they may be appropriate, but in general a static ad is the best route to go down).
The number of graphical ads in one page should be minimal. Any more than one or two gives the user too many options and can on the whole make the page confusing. Keep in mind, when you design a page, you know it back to front. Try to imagine how it will appear to someone to arriving at the page for the first time. Avoid clutter.
Also, try to keep the number of colours in the graphical ad to a minimum. This helps keep the file size low if it is in GIF format. For pictures and graphics that have many colours, JPEG format can be used to keep the file size low.
Using text ads hold many benefits over using graphical ads.
Firstly, there is the file size consideration. Text ads will load quicker than graphical ads, and therefore appear on the page sooner.
Next, you have the search engines to think of.
Generally, your ads will contain keywords relevant to your site. If they are text ads, the search engines can index them, if they are graphical they cannot.
From a marketing point of view, text ads hold an additional benefit.
You can use server side includes (SSI) to display the same ad in different pages within your site. This means that you can change one file and the change in the ads are reflected throughout your site, which is a great way of updating your site on a regular basis (saves so much time). You can include graphics in SSI’s as well.
A text add can easily be formatted to fit in with the style of your site and can usually contain a bit more information than graphical ads.
Text ads can be used in many formats. These have a low file size, are descriptive, have more than one link, can be indexed by search engines and help increase the traffic to these pages.
Links within the text
Having links within your text can be very effective if you use it well.
You will notice that there are very few links in the text of the articles of this site, but there are a limited number in the other pages.
This is because, when you write content, it is for the purpose of informing or selling your users, so you do not want them to leave somewhere else in the middle of it. It’s the web equivalent of someone hanging up the phone on you when you call them.
But in the pages that are for navigation purposes only (your homepage, category pages, sitemap, link pages, etc), well placed links can effectively drive visitors to the pages you want to them to see. Any links within the text should be descriptive of the page it is linking to.
Tips for linking within text:
>The text used for links should be the same as the title and filename of the page it links to. For example, a page called “blue widgets”, with the filename, “blue_widgets.htm”, should be linked to with the text “blue widgets”.
>Don’t have too many on any one page – it just serves to offer too many options to your users.
>Don’t instantly link to your sales page. You must woo your visitors first. Send them to a page describing the benefits of your product or service (ie sell them!) and then link to the order page.
>Links should be in standard format, ie underlined. Visitors must realise that the text is a link. If you format your links the same way that you format your text, then they will not be as effective.
Linking at the end of text
In a site such as this (article based), having a “related links” section at the end of each page will serve to keep users on your site for longer. This helps reinforcing your brand and increase the chances of repeat visitors and eventual sales.
In a site which is selling a product or service, a link at the bottom of the page, after your “pitch” to the order page will help your users travel through your site to it’s natural progression (ie a sale!).
It is always beneficial to offer an alternative to your sales page. Keep in mind your users will not necessarily be sold by your pitch, so by offering a link to more information (which in turn links to your sales page) you will increase your chances of converting a percentage of your “unconvinced” visitors.
Main point to remember
The hard sell does not work on the web, as it too easy for your visitors to leave.
You must subtly woo your visitors and lead up to the sales page. They must feel that it is ultimately their decision to buy our product or service.
You can achieve this by offering the best possible content in your industry and keeping you visitors well informed. Sites that offer great informational content are much more effective than pure sales sites.