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Beginners guide to website marketing 2009
mack

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 6:40 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Beginners guide to website marketing 2009

In the past I have written a couple of beginners guides to website marketing articles and have posted them here. A lot of the information contained within those original posts is to a greater or lesser extent still very much applicable today, but I thought it was time to revisit the topic and bring then right up to date. There have been quite a lot of changes over the past couple of years and there are quite a lot of new and exciting ways to let people know you are here. If we think back (circa 99) it was all keywords and meta descriptions. Now website marketing is a cross between art and science, maths and mystery.

This article is written with the intention that the reader is a webmaster, or someone who is just starting to promote their own website. I have written it in such a way as to make it easy for newbie's to understand, but at the same time still be useful to seasoned professionals. It should be noted that a lot of the information within this post should not be taken as fact, seo and website marketing is such a fast moving industry and because of this you will notice the goal keeps being moved.

What is website marketing?

Marketing your website is vital if you want people to find you. I remember when I first uploaded my first website. I was very impressed and thought "yes, people will love this". If the truth be told they probably would have liked the site, if they knew it existed and where able to find it. Simply having a website is not enough, people will not find you unless you act to help them. there are millions of websites out there, what would bring a user to your website?

Marketing is what can drive traffic to your site. I will not lie and say website marketing is for everyone, or say it is simple. you need to be prepared to put in a lot of work and be very patient but a properly conceived marketing plan can be very cost effective compared to other forms of marketing. It is also very effective both short term and long term when it comes to increasing your brand awareness. In this digital age that we live in there is no company I can think of that couldn't make good use of a well marketed website.

Lets put things into perspective with a very strange and fictional example...
A new town has just been built. It has all the utilities set up and running, it has shops, a school, housing and parks. It basically has all the things any small town would need except for one small detail. It has no roads going in or out. How much traffic do you think will be arriving at this town? Oh I forget to mention the name of this town... Your new website.

In the beginning there was nothing

Ok so you have a plan, you have though up a great idea for a new site and you are about to start building it. Great, the very early stages of development is am excellent time to start implementing your website marketing strategy. Many may disagree and say design and marketing are very different tasks.. I can see why people would think this, but right from the point where you start adding content to your site is where you need to have your marketing hat on, even the actual structure of your site should be considered from a potential seo/sem point of view.

Structuring your website

The way we lay out our site structure can have a positive or negative effect not only from a marketing point of view but also from a usability point of view. You may be asking what has structure and usability got to do with marketing? well nothing at all if you're short signed, but If you look further you will realise that a well laid out site, that is easy to use and delivers excellent content is a good site. Now lets think away from the internet. you have two potential marketing projects. You can either be lead marketer for this brand new Mercedes SLK, or this car Mack made out of cardboard and sticky back plastic. The choice is obvious and so is the answer. Its far easier to market a good product.. going back to the web, a good site is a far easier site to market than something that looks and feels half hearted.

Now lets get back on topic and sort out our structure. This will depend a lot on the sort of website you are working on, and the topic. when it comes to structure there really is no perfect layout but I will demonstrate one of the more common structures. This is often referred to as the pyramid. I am a bit of a car enthusiast so this example is based on cars.

The most important page on most websites is the homepage. For my car site I have an index.html file (homepage) and this page contains some general information about the site. It has a set of navigational links to the various manufacturers I have reviewed. One of these links is Chrysler. If I click this link am taken to example.com/Chrysler/ The Chrysler page will have information on the company and link to the models Chrysler makes. Les say I click on cruiser it will take me to the following page
example.com/Chrysler/cruiser/ again we have another page with information, this time info on the Chrysler cruiser.

What we end up with is a nice neat folder structure containing our html files. Not only does this allow is to keep our site organised it also enables us to use very simple yet effective bread crumb navigation links...

Home > Chrysler > Cruiser

I love breadcrumbs for 2 reasons.
1 They allow you to retrace your steps very easily
2 They allow visitors who have arrived at the site to go down one level if the information is not 100% what they where looking for. for example they may be interested in Chrysler, just not that specific model. If your navigation system allows them to go back a stage, they can easily navigate to the model they where interested in.

I find it a good idea to mock up your site structure with post it notes on a wall or white board, just scribble the page title on each. I find this an extremely easy way to work out just how the jigsaw of pages will be pieced together.

now for the pages

The structure of the site is only part of the equation, you now need to develop the pages themselves. What you need to remember is, this is what your site visitor will see, they need to look good but work perfectly. Many people who visit webmasterworld.com are designers and/or developers, but it is very important to get your priorities right. There are people who can develop a site and there those who cant. If you are still very new to the industry then I suggest you hire a designer if your site is going to be a business, or part of your existing business. If on the other hand you are simply building a site to educate yourself about web development then I admire you and encourage you to continue.

The actual design and creation of the pages goes far beyond the scope of this article, what we will do is talk about aspects of a page that are very important from a marketing point of view.

Page title

The title is a short and concise term used to describe the main function of the page. I cringe every time I open a page look at the title and see "Home Page" this would be all well and good if you where a major established online company, but not for a new site.

Lets go back to our example with the car website. We had a homepage, a page about Chrysler and a page about the Chrysler Cruiser. Good examples of titles would be "Information about cars" "Information about Chrysler cars" "Information about the Chrysler Cruiser" When you are writing a Page title try and be specific, do not use excessive wording because this will reduce the value of your important words. The page title should be placed within the html header of the document as shown with this example...


<html>
<head>
<title>Your page title goes here</title>
</head>
<body>
</body>
</html>

Meta description and meta keywords

In recent times these 2 items have been quite heavily depreciated from a search engine point of view, but I still believe it makes sense to add them. The description and keywords tags are not simply there for search engines, they are part of the overall html mark-up language. We also do not entirely know what will happen in the future. For these reasons I suggest using them. The description tag is simply a description of the page, not the site, but the single page. I see quite a lot of examples of the description tag being used on every page to describe the website. Going back to our car example lets write a description for the Chrysler cruiser page...


<meta name="description"content="Information and articles about the Chrysler cruiser">

The keyword tag follows the same mark-up, but it used differently. The keyword tag is used simply to contain words related to the page..


<meta name="keywords"content="cars, autos, Chrysler, cruiser">

Try and use precise words and avoid words that are borderline or off topic. The keyword and description tags are also placed within the header section of the html document...


<html>
<head>
<title>Your page title goes here</title>
<meta name="description"content="your page description">
<meta name="keywords"content="keywords, related, to, page">
</head>
<body>
</body>
</html>

Content

I have said this before and I will say this again... On the web content is king. It is the content that readers will view, it is the content search engines will analyse, it is the content that will make other sites link to you. If your site lacks good quality original content then you will really struggle when it comes to marketing. Again it comes down to quality, it is a lot easier to market something that is good. When writing content think to yourself, what will my users want to read. Concentrate on generating good quality content for your pages. Content creation is far from easy, but you will know your industry well. Yet again we will go back to our car site example. If you where creating content about the car think in terms of what would a potential owner want to know. What
is it like to drive, what about economy figures and performance. Think of as many key areas as possible and cover them all with a well drafted and laid out article.

It used to be the case that you could stuff keywords into your articles or content and this would push up the keyword density and in effect allow you to rank better in search engines as a result, now things have changed and search engines have got a lot smarter. By reading a piece of text you should be able to work out what the piece is about. Search engines are getting to about the same level. When you start to over do it you run the risk of being flagged as spam. Here are to examples...

The Chrysler cruiser is a well built attractive car with a wide range of futures and optional extras. On the road it handles well and its performance is impressive. The Chrysler cruiser prices start from just $#*$! and comes with a manufacture backed warranty.


The Chrysler cruiser is a well built attractive Chrysler car with a wide range of futures and optional Chrysler cruiser extras. On the road the Chrysler cruiser handles well and its performance is impressive. The Chrysler cruiser prices start from just $#*$! and
comes with a Chrysler cruiser manufacture backed warranty from Chrysler.

The first example reads well. The 2nd example is crammed with keywords and key phrases. As a result it doesn't read so well. The keyword density is also very high. To be honest the 2nd snippet may do better for the short term, but it is clearly a little bit spammy. One golden rule I always follow is design your site with the user in mind. With search engines getting smarter all the time it is only a matter of time before search engines and users view pages in the same way.

Page headings

Page headings are used as headings for various content items. We can think in terms of print media and newspapers, they use headings to highlight articles and make us notice things by causing a stand out effect. On the web we can do the same thing by using different types of header tags.

<H1>This is the main page heading</H1>
<H2>This is a section heading within a page</H2>
<H3>this is a lesser heading for an area of content</H3>

Page headings should be correctly nested. What I mean by this is your H1 should be followed by your H2 and then your H3. You may choose to have several H3 headings, but don't then go back and use an H2 further down the page. From an SEO point of view improper use of the H tags may not hurt you, but it is certainly not how the tags where intended to be used. The heading tags are designed to allow you to highlight certain areas of your content. The tag its self is not to be used for a large area of text, but simply for a short piece of heading text. Here is a very simplistic example...


<h1>Winter gardening</h1>
now place you page intro text so the user knows what the page is about
<h2>Winter flowering plants</h2>
again some information directly related to the h2 header
<h3>Winter shrubs</h3>
content about winter shrubs
<h3>Winter roses</h3>
content about winter roses

The example I used was very simple but it showed how the content and the heading tags can be used to create a nested set of heading to break up and point out specific areas of content within the page. When we look at a page the headings stand out. The same is true for search engines. The headings are in effect providing the search engine with tips to help it work out what our page is about. The more help we can provide to the search engine the better. When ever a search engine seen a heading it thinks .. "ohh this part is important".

content copy

Make sure your copy reads well and is free of typing and grammatical mistakes. My spelling is terrible so I generally have someone proof read my content before I upload it. Using a spell check is good, but even with that there are sometimes bits and pieces that get through, either errors or grammar mistakes. Make your content flow. Make it easy for your users to simply have a read and get the information they require. When I create content I always find errors when I proof read. I have came to an arrangement with a friend online whereby we proof read each others content. It is amazing how blind you can be to your own mistakes no matter how many times you read it. This is important from a site quality issue, remember what we spoke about earlier, it is a lot easier to market something that is good.

Navigation

We very briefly spoke about navigation earlier within this post. Navigation is not only the means that users will trust to guide them through your website, it also dictates the route each engine spiders will take as they crawl your pages. there are pages on your site that will be a lot more important than others, you want to make it as easy as possible for users and search engines to be able to locate these pages. For example your sales page is a lot more important than a page dedicated to your companies history.
What we can do is introduce a link structure for our navigation areas.

top navigation

Just like it says on the tin, the top navigation area can be made up of a section of links that allow the user to navigate the site. What you need to be aware of is, these links are taking up some prime on page real-estate so should be mainly used for very important links. What are people looking for? give them as much direct access to this content as possible.

Side navigation

Side navigation can be placed to the left or right of your main content. There are many arguments regarding what side it should be placed on, but both left and right do work. There are people who will choose right or left based on various findings, but this topic goes beyond this articles scope. The side navigation is good for breaking your site up into topic areas, If we go back to the car site as an example the side navigation could be used to split the site by manufacturer Ford, Audi, GM and so on. Like all site navigational systems the aim to to route traffic through your site by letting the user have direct access to key areas.

Bottom navigation

It is very common to have simply...

Home - About us - Contact us

This works well, but there are instances where sites have gone to far

Home - About us - Contact us - Directions - Phone us

In the above example the site is creating links that are not needed. In the first example the contact us page could be used to either contain the directions and phone number details, or the contact us page could have linked to the directions and phone number pages. It is important to keep as many of your links pointing to important pages as possible. The reason for this will very soon become apparent.

Continued in next message...

[edited by: mack at 2:44 pm (utc) on Feb. 3, 2009]

 

mack

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 6:52 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)


Pagerank

Ok we now have a website with all our internal links in place. We are now just like that "small new town" we discussed earlier, we have all our own internal links (roads) leading from place to place (pages) but we do not have any roads leading into our town. This needs to be fixed before we can expect any traffic. In order to build roads leading to our website we need links from other websites. Without links the internet would simply not work. When we surf the web we click links to move from page to page and site to site. It is one of the fundamental requirements of the web.

Search engines follow links as well. Without links they would not be able to locate new pages or websites. In order for your site to be found by search engines you need links. There are a number of ways to attract links we will look into a few of these now. It is however very important to ensure that your site is 100% finished and ready to be seen by the public before you go seeking out links. It all comes back to the issue of quality. When you ask someone for a link they will look at your site to determine if it is "worthy" Make sure your site is at the launch stage before you start actively seeking out links. A link is not simply a link, think of it as a road. It will carry users and search engine spiders to your pages, but online a link is also classed as a vote. If site X links to you this will be classed as a vote for your site from site X. When a site links, or casts its vote it is almost as if site X thinks your site is good.

The Google search engine uses a system called pagerank to collect information on links and gives every web page a numerical value between 0-10. The value is worked out based on not just the number of votes, but the power of each and every vote. For example if you receive a link from a site with a Goole Page Rank of one, this will still count as a vote and will help t increase your own sites PR, but if you receive a link from a site with a Page Rank of say 7, the vote will have a much greater effect.

in days gone by Google Page Rank was almost an online currency used by seo's and marketers. The Google toolbar for example can be used to show a web pages page rank. In the past this figure was though to be accurate, but now the pagerank display on the toolbar is little more than a toy. Only Google will have the true value for a pages "importance" The toolbar data that is publicly available is at the very least several months out of date. It does still have its uses, but I personally see it as ego rank, more than a
true indication of a web page.

Page rank its self is still a major factor, even if Google keep this information to themselves. By generating good quality links you will increase your "importance" over time. It is not just about the number of links you can get pointing to your site, but also how relevant the linking page is to your own content. Lets say for example I have a gardening website. A link from another gardening website would be a lot better than a link from a car website. On topic links are a lot better than general links. This is not a page rank issue but a relevance issue.

If we now take a look back to our new site we will begin to see why we where so concerted about our own internal linking scheme. Every link that points to our website brings with it some link love. We then need to distribute this "link love" within our own site. This is why we try as much as possible to only link directly to important pages. We want to retain as much linking power as possible within the site to focus on the really important pages.

Getting links

link building is by far the most time consuming and frustrating aspect of website marketing. The two main methods of doing this are web directory submissions and requesting links from other websites. The later can indeed be very time consuming. it involves carrying out research of your market to find sites that are related to yours, but not in direct competition. What you should then do is create a well written short and concise email and send it to the person/company that operate the site. This is very much a numbers game. Because there have been so many spam mails sent regarding link exchanges and link requests a lot of the messages you send will find themselves in a spam filter, you may also find your messages simply being deleted because they are link requests. When sending link request emails it is very important to make the message as personalise as possible. Starting your email with "Dear webmaster" is probably not the best way no make a first impression. find the name of the person who runs the website, read their website and base your email on what you find. I sometimes even make a suggestion of what page I believe my link would be best located on. What you really need to do is put yourself in the other persons shoes. They may be like you and take pride in their website, with this in mind they are not going to link to you, if your website is in competition with their website, is not related to their website or offers little or no value to their users. Don't waste your time, and more impatiently anyone else's time with worthless link requests.

Web directories

There are literally thousands of web directories out there and these vary in quality from very good to terrible. A web directory is a site that contains listings of other websites arranged into categories. A web directory, like a search engine is designed to allow their users to locate information and websites. It is important to note that there are several different types of web directories. General directories that list websites on a very wide range of topics, niche directories that list sites that are related to a specific topic or subject and local directories that list sites that are related to a specific geographical location.

You should try and list your site in as many general directories as possible, as many niche directories that are within your topic range and if applicable as many local directories that are relevant to your businesses geographical area. When you are suggesting your site at web directories it is important to make sure you do it correctly. Find the best category, write a true description and provide as accurately as possible any other general information the directory may require. It is important to note that many directories are ran by people like you and me. Try not to create any more work for then by writing sloppy descriptions or suggesting your site in the wrong category. By doing this the editor will probably do the simplest of things and delete your listing.

There are various things you can do to locate web directories you can use Google or any other search engine and simply search for "[your industry] web directory" or "[your industry] add url". there are a wide range of search terms that will provide you with directories that allow you to ad your site.

Do not forget the big two: the yahoo directory and the open directory project are the largest of the web directories. the open directory project (Dmoz) www.dmoz.org is one of the oldest web directories on the web. Getting your site listed there will not only gain you a link and possibly some traffic it will also ensure that your site is added to a wide range of directories that use data from the open directory project. Getting a site listed at the open directory project is free, but it can be very difficult and time consuming to get listed.

The yahoo! directory dir.yahoo.com is a commercial directory. This means a fee is charged for a review. Note this is only for a review, this does not mean your site will be listed. There are however exceptions and Yahoo! does allow free submissions within certain categories. Free inclusion does take a lot longer, and you may not get in using the free method. Personally I haven't been able to get a site into the Yahoo directory using the free submit for about 6 months. It is always worth trying though, if you don't want to, or can't pay the Yahoo express submit fee.

Adding your site to as many directories as possible will do two things. Each directory may have its own users, obviously the more popular directories such as dmoz and yahoo will have more users than lesser directories but they can all send you some traffic. Every link from a directory to your site also gives search engines yet another route to finding your website. In the example we used earlier (the small new town) we are now starting to get some roads into our town and then can bring in traffic. in reality link building and directory submissions is an on going task. It is not something you do once then forget. You should continue to seek out new links and new listings as you attempt to keep your business getting stronger and stronger.

Search engines

It used to be considered to be a good idea to manually suggest your website to search engines. I haven't done this for about 2 years (at least) there really is no reason to do this any more. if you're site is live and has links pointing to it, the search engines will find it. I do not see how filling out an "add url" form on a search engine will make any difference. We briefly touched on link importance. The more links you can get the better. If these links come from pages that the search engines view as important then this is even better still. if you can get links from pages that search engine see as important, and are on a very related topic then you are doing very well indeed.

Link text

It has long been understood that the actual text used when creating a link (anchor text) is important. For example if we have a site about gardening it would be far better to have the link text [gardening information] than simply [click here]. This is not quite as true as it used to be, but it still has an effect. Search engines now seem to be looking at the body of text that surrounds the link as opposed to just the link text its self. from a natural seo point of view this is good. It really drives home the fact that links from related pages are great, and it means you no longer need to feel to bad when you successfully ask for a link on a related site, go and have a look ad see...

for information and advise on gardening [click here]

At least the text surrounding the link will help us out
it is not only external links where anchor can help. they can also be used to good effect within your sites own navigational links.

for [map directions] click here

is better than...

[click here] for map directions

You have a lot more control over anchor text within your own site as opposed to external links, although here are still things you can do in an effort to try and get good anchor text within your incoming links. When using web directories it is important to note that what ever you supply as a page title will be used as the actual anchor text for the link. Try and write concise and specific titles when you are adding your site to web directories.

Blogging

Over the past couple of years bogging or weblogging has gone mainstream. Today it seams as if almost anyone who uses the web can have a blog. Businesses are also looking towards blogging as a way of keeping the interest of existing users, and potential gaining new users. Blogging within businesses is certainly very popular, but should you do it and how should you implement it?

If you have the time to blog you should certainly conceder a blog for your business, but you should not let it distract you from the real task of running your website/business. A business blog is almost like the social side of your business. It is just used to pass on information that users may be interested in. for example "We have just finished redecorating our showroom", "Meet our new sales manager Joe Blogs". These pieces of information do not actually sell anything, but they do retain user interest in your company. On the web people don't just want to buy things, they are hungry for information.

When you set up a business blog you have two main choices, you can either install a blog script on your own server, or you can use a blog hosting service. The one thing I would recommend against is hosting he blog as part of your main business domain for example yourcompany.com/blog this dilutes the main purpose of your site. You want the blog to drive traffic to your main site, not the other way around. If you have considering this then you may want to host the blog on a similar domain such as yourbusinessnameblog.com this can be helpful from a branding point of view.

Now that you have a blog you cant post pretty much anything that you feel may be of interest to your users, but is not important enough to place on your main site. The whole point of the blog is to allow people to personalise with your company. Being able to read what many would view as un important snippets of information will make people feel as if they know your company. You also need to be aware that the blog is in effect another website. Just like your main site it will not promote its self. Promoting a blog is in may respects similar to promoting or marketing any other site, but there are some aspects of blog marketing that are very much blog orientated. For now lets simply link to the blog from the main site. Even a simple text link from your footer navigation area will help. This will at least ensure your existing users are aware of your new blog.

one important factor to think about when running a blog is that blogs are supposed to update regularly. If a blog becomes stale due to infrequent updates it, in effect becomes just like any other website and if you want to attract users you will need to go through the entire marketing plan simply for your blog. A frequently updated blog is very different. There are search engines out there that specialise at indexing blogs. Even Google has a blog search. Blog search engines differ from conventional search engines in a number of ways, but most notably they base a lot of their ranking on frequency of updating content. In order to give your blog the best hope of ranking well within blog search tools you need to be updating your blog as often as possible. Try and add something at least every couple of days.

RSS

RSS stands for really simple syndication. A lot of blog scripts and most of the blog hosting services will support this. An RSS feed is a simple xml document that contains information about recent blog entries. There are search services that specialise in indexing RSS content. Feedburner for example or Technorati. These are very popular services and they work by gathering the most recent posts from the blogsphere. Notice the words "most recent", this is why it is vital for a blog to update regularly if you want it to be successful. Techorati and Feedburner work by checking your blogs RSS feed periodically and making any new/recent entries searchable. You first of all need to let these services know your blog exists. To do this you must register with the
services and provide the url of your RSS feed..

Feed Pinging

One thing that makes blogs unique from a promotional point of view it their ability to self promote. every time you post new content your RSS file will be updated. Most blog systems also have the ability to "ping" services that monitor RSS activity. A ping is basically your blog saying "look I have new content". The RSS services can then come and retrieve the new content from your site.

Although RSS is common place amongst blogs, it can and in many cases should be used for conventional sites, especially if you have a large site and/r produce a lot of content. By making your content available as RSS you are exposing your content to a whole new audience, who may have otherwise not noticed you. RSS feed readers are now becoming more and more common, they are not quite at the level of being used by your average Joe surfer, but they are steadily gaining momentum as the technology becomes more understandable and easier to use. RSS feed readers are starting to appear within a wide range of applications from web browsers and email clients through to mobile phones and portable devices. With RSS you are giving the user, or his/her device the ability to control how the content is displayed, for example your site may look great, but how well will it work on a cell phone. If you have RSS content made available then more users will be able to experience your content without the constraints of your design on their display device.

The whole point of RSS is to broaden your reach, and by doing so you are making more people know you exist. RSS can also be very advantageous to your user. Lets say you run a website all about your town or local area. You have a section about roads, within this section you have details about all local road works. You also provide this content via RSS. A local user with this feed on his phone is going to love your service, and subsequently your site.

RSS feeds are also great for getting links. As I mentioned earlier there are a lot of sites that either allow users to search for content within feeds or display snippets from sites with RSS feeds. If a site is showing details or info from your RSS feed it will usually contain a link back to your website. specifically to the page the snippet refers to.

Deep links

Up until now when we where talking about getting links we have been refering to getting links pointing to your website, not specific pages. Deep links are different. A deep link is a link from another site that links directly to an internal page within your site. Deep links are generally from pages that are directly related so the link relevance is generally very high. Deep links pass all their link love directly to the receiving page. This benefits the page a lot. If the link simply went directly to your sites homepage the relevance would be a little lower, and any user who clicked through may not find exactly what he/she was looking for and the link love effect would be reduced. A direct link to a piece of content is always a good result.

Social media

Today a lot of companies big and small are dabbling in social media. Social media in effect allows a business to socialise with other online users within social media and social networking sites such as Bebo or Facebook. This is in many ways similar to Blogging because you are not generating income by doing this, what you are doing is increasing user awareness of your company. We previously used a gardening website as an example, lets use the same example. You run a website providing info and articles about gardening, you sign up on various social networking sites and become a member of various groups related to gardening. Your business now has direct exposure to people who are interested in your business topic.

Within the social networking sites you may also want to create your own group. This may sound like a strange way of doing things but if you had a link on your site inviting people to join your group on Facebook for example you may well find quite a lot of your existing website users joining your group just to see what it was all about. As a result of this other users on the social network sites will see your group has members and may may join as a result. The whole point to social networking is to network. People like to meet like minded people. If you can do this and also expose users to your company then even better.

Another aspect of social media is the ability to share and create. a perfect example of this is video sharing sites such as Youtube. Video sites were conceived to be entertaining, but sites like Youtube can also be great for marketing.

back in the day when people wanted to know something about a product they would simply search for it and read reviews. Now thanks to sites like Youtube they can actually view the product being used. If you sell products on your website, you might want to allow your user to
see it in action. A real world example I can think of was a site I found when shopping for an RC plane. The online store had all the usual photos and descriptions but it has something different. You could click a link and a new page opened with a Youtube video embedded. This allowed me to see the plane being flown. It turns out the video was created by the site and they used Youtube to host the video before using the Youtube embed code within their pages. By doing this the bandwidth cost them nothing to show the videos, and they could also receive traffic from Youtube, because Youtube users would be able to search for the plane and find the video along with a description and a link to the site selling it.

Another thing that you can try to achieve using sites like Youtube is viral video. Creating a viral video is an art onto its self. The concept is simple, yet the implementation and development can be very difficult. The idea behind viral video it to create a video that is
very funny or has an impact on the user. The idea behind the viral video concept is to have a video that web users will pass about via email, IM or any other means. The trick is to incorporate some form of branding within the video so that users will visit your website. Not all viral videos are marketing, some just have the viral effect by accident. Actually setting out to create something viral is certainly not easy.

Back to basics

There are a lot of things you can do to help promote your website. Just simple things like adding a signature to all outgoing email with your web site address linked from it, or adding your url to company stationary. This article was by no means designed to cover all aspects of website marketing, it was simply designed to give you some ideas. Only you know your website and your users. Do what you can to gain users, retain users and convert users to customers.

Summary

Marketing a website is never an easy task. It takes a lot of time, it involves a lot of effort and at times, it can seam to be going nowhere. Keep at it. The rewards are there for the taking and if you want it, go get it.

For archive purposes...
You can also view the 2003 version here. [webmasterworld.com]
And the 2004 version here. [webmasterworld.com]

Mack.

phranque

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 10:47 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

thanks for that writeup, mack - i hadn't seen the earlier versions.
however i wanted to debate this statement:
You may choose to have several H3 headings, but don't then go back and use an H2 further down the page.

while there should be one and only one H1 header per page the H2-H6 headers should follow a normal hierarchy of subjects, so it would be typical to go back to another H2 header after some H3's.

for an example i refer to the w3c accessibility guidelines.
G141: Organizing a page using headings ¦ Techniques for WCAG 2.0:
[w3.org...]

simonuk

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 11:41 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Very nice article!

Can I also add? :-)

Title & Description & Keyword
One of the worst things you can do is duplicate these on other pages. Always make sure the content inside these tags are unique and relevant to each page.

Domain length
A little controversial but I swear by having a domain registered for more than two years helps in some search engines because it shows commitment to the domain. It only costs a few extra so why not register for a little longer?

Readability
You may well understand the topic but the other person may not. Try to keep the readability level of the page to Primary / Elementary School level.

Yoshimi

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 11:46 am on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Readability will depend on your audience though, there is no point in having a website aimed at lecturers in maths, and covering "how to solve long dividion"

simonuk

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 12:07 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

It isn't the content that gets watered down; it's the way you describe the content that should be considered.

I could say "When you're about to add a positioned absolute element inside an ancestor or parent element you should consider the parents surrounding it as well as other ancestor elements near it for it may require further positioning for each element (both parent or ancestral) below the element in question.

Or I could, in a more easy to understand way, just say:

"Positioned absolute elements do not follow the same flow as non-absolute positioned elements so take care because it can easily break the layout. You may need to position other sections around and below the absolute positioned div"

Same thing said at different levels. This is what I was getting at.

Yoshimi

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 12:09 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

but each way could appeal to different audiences equally, what I was getting at is don't take
Try to keep the readability level of the page to Primary / Elementary School level.
as an absolute, write for the audience you're writing for.
mack

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 1:17 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

@phranque, youre right about the propper way of using the hested H tags. In the thread I was simply refering the the correct usage within the example. In the real world a page may well have the need for several H2 tags.

@simonuk

Title & Description & Keyword

Agree 100%, they should all be unique and specific to the page. I touched on the importance of these elements being per page and not site wide. But it is a very valid point.

I also agree with you regarding domain age. Especialy if it hasn't changed owners.

Mack.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 2:19 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good article!

Make sure your copy reads well and is free of typing and grammatical mistakes. My spelling is terrible so I generally have someone proof read my content before I upload it.

This is so important particularly when targeting older people who may consider that errors like these demonstrate any sort of ignorance on the website owner's part. If you are trying to get an important message over make sure it is grammatically correct and that it has no spelling mistakes.

For example, there are several typos and spelling errors within your post. I appreciate that is not important here and that you have openly admitted that your spelling is bad. But even before I saw this I had spotted errors and my old and wizened head had involuntarily started to send me "messages".

I think the importance of spelling and grammar cannot be stressed enough .. but then I am now 60 years of age. Perhaps the young 'uns don't bother/notice as much.

pab1953

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 7:37 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

The author states that "the most important page on most websites is the home page." One reason for this is that not only is the home page the first page a visitor often sees on a site, but the home page may be the _only_ page they see. So not only do you have the importance of first impressions to consider, you also need to be keenly aware of putting your best foot forward.

An important aspect of this is keeping the content on the home page fresh, or conversely, not letting it get stale. There are many ways to do this. If your site has a blog on the home page, or if it _is_ a blog, write a new entry. There are gadgets and code available that let your site display a fresh image with each page refresh. And any site owner who is not generating and displaying new content regularly (daily -- at least weekly) and hopes to generate income through the site, had better shut up shop and seek a new line of work.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 7:47 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

And any site owner who is not generating and displaying new content regularly (daily -- at least weekly) and hopes to generate income through the site, had better shut up shop and seek a new line of work.

I doubt that this is that important. On my sites the information seldom changes and I make a living from them. Relatively speaking there are very few websites who change content daily or weekly. On websites where customers land once, perhaps do some business then go away again there is no real need to keep changing content.

Example, a web design company: Why would a web design company have to change the content on their site on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis?

[edited by: BeeDeeDubbleU at 7:50 pm (utc) on Feb. 3, 2009]

wolfadeus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 8:19 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sweet! Newbies: Follow this guide and you have gone 95% of the way to great rankings. If this will monetize is a differnt story.

By the way, with a few minor exceptions (eg. social networks), such guides have remained the same in the past five or even more years.

httpwebwitch

WebmasterWorld Administrator httpwebwitch us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 8:58 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

mack, you should apply for an ISBN number for this. Stellar post.

anallawalla

WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 9:08 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I love breadcrumbs for 2 reasons.
1 They allow you to retrace your steps very easily
2 They allow visitors who have arrived at the site to go down one level if the information is not 100% what they where looking for. for example they may be interested in Chrysler, just not that specific model. If your navigation system allows them to go back a stage, they can easily navigate to the model they where interested in.

I love breadcrumbs for one reason (the others are a given):
  • PageRank sculpting aka Inverted Pyramid. A helpful breadcrumb path is a byproduct of careful inverted-pyramid site design. PR sculpting is a recent label for the same work.

creative craig

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 10:53 pm on Feb 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Nice work my friend - a simple but concise over view for people who are just starting out with their first website.

2clean

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 8:01 am on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Of course a lot more could be added, but it wouldn't be a beginners guide then would it!
Good job.

nealrodriguez

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 3:36 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

as an addendum to social media; you should work to find communities that are relevant to your niche and add to the discussions pertinent to your vertical when developing content. it is also a good idea to learn how content is promoted to popular sections where it has the opportunity of driving most views by your target market. it's the art of marketing without marketing.

KevinBoss

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 4:29 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Very nice writeup! I'm curious as to why you didn't include the option of creating the company blog as a subdomain?

mack

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 8:51 pm on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

The blog could be added as a subdomain such as blog.example.com I was just using another domain as an example of how the blog and the main site should be kept very much apart. The use of subdomains in my oppionis is just find, because Google and many other se's view subdomains as different websites.

Mack.

redstorm

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 3:28 am on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good guidelines, i can learn something new every time i read it. Only shortcoming is it changed little comparing to that of years ago.

pradhan

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 5:29 am on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

a nice article to study for beginners but looking too basic...

mack

WebmasterWorld Administrator mack us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 5:58 am on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thats why it is for beginners :)

Every single section in that post could have easily taken up a page to itself, but then it becomes information oveload.

We get a lot of new members joining who are just at the start of their web development journey, this was simply to wet their appetites and point them in the right direction.

Mack.

brotherhood of LAN

WebmasterWorld Administrator brotherhood_of_lan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 8:28 am on Feb 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Nicely put together mack

nice article to study for beginners but looking too basic...

Thats why it is for beginners :)

Yep.. it's all too easy to assume the things you know now are 'easy', a beginner needs to know the basic terminology and methods to advance...

There's a lot of SEO/content/structure information there to build from. If mack covered 'all' the basics he would have to release a book ;)

Winooski

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 5:27 pm on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good karma for sure. Great job, and cheers, mack!

rajit197

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 6:01 am on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks a lot for the guide ..

VarunS

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 8:17 pm on Feb 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks..the thread title is meant for me ;)

gsmith

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 10:04 pm on Apr 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you!

arklight333

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 9:35 pm on Apr 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks mack for this helpful guideline.......

kellyburby1

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 10:32 am on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

well that was really a knowledgeable article for the Beginners . Looking forward for more such stuff.
Thanx

Artsyrat

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3840938 posted 9:07 pm on May 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

Excellent. Man, I'm looking forward to the next update of this. Thanks Mack for your insight and sharing your knowledge. Can I copy this to my helpful info file?

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