© 1999-2017 Elena Fawkner
Once you get past the initial utter confusion and
"overwhelmingness" of the scramble to learn how to
start and run an online business, the time eventually
comes to dispense with the training wheels and just
get on with it.
A common trap for new online entrepreneurs is to
try and perfect their website before inviting anyone
to come over. It's true that you shouldn't submit
your site to the major search engines and directories
while your site's still truly under construction but at
some point you have to stop developing and start
marketing. Your site will NEVER be finished and it
will certainly never be perfect. If you wait until it is
before you start inviting guests, you're going to be
one very lonely webmaster indeed.
Working on your website is fun. The visual results
are immediate and, as a result, the self-gratification
you feel admiring your handiwork becomes addictive.
After all, it's a helluva lot easier to control how your
site looks and works than it is to actually drive traffic
Because of this, and the fun factor, there's a tendency
to spend a disproportionate amount of time dabbling
with your site, tweaking this and that and trying out
new cgi scripts when the time has long since passed
when you should have started working on driving traffic
to your site already.
To make a success of any business, including an
online one, you must strive to always be doing the
right thing, the right way and at the right time.
Because being disciplined is so important to making
the most of your time, I find it helps if I commit to
spending a certain period of time every day to one or
more of the marketing activities listed below and
getting it over with as early in the day as possible.
Then I can enjoy the reward of spending time on areas
of my business that I find more enjoyable such as
writing articles, and sourcing new and interesting
programs for my website visitors. By getting the
marketing chores out of the way first, you can enjoy
the rest of your day guilt-free. (That's not to say
that all marketing activities have to be "chores". It's
just that some are more enjoyable than others.)
Be especially careful of your time when it comes to
email. This is another common trap many online
entrepreneurs get sucked into. It comes in endlessly
and builds up quickly. We are always so conscious that
it's sitting there waiting to be read and responded to
that it can become a major distraction. Try to read and
respond to your email in one or two sittings at
particular times of the day. And impose a time limit
too. This will force you to work more efficiently.
(The exception is email from customers who need your
assistance. You need to devote whatever time is
necessary to correcting the problem.) If you're not
disciplined when it comes to email you can quite easily
fritter away an entire day and another and another
with very little to show for it.
OK, so here's a list of the top 15 things you should be
doing to market your online business once your site is
ready for launch. You don't have to do every one of
these activities every single day (although if you do your
business will certainly have a lot to show for it) but do
strive to do at least a few. The results will definitely be
1. Submit Your Main Pages to the Search Engines
Once your site is "ready" (bearing in mind what I said
above), your first job is to hand submit your main pages
to the major search engines.
My "majors" (opinions differ) are:
Yahoo - http://www.yahoo.com (fee)
Alta Vista - http://www.altavista.com (free and fee)
Northern Light - http://www.northernlight.com (free)
Excite - http://www.excite.com (fee)
Hotbot/Lycos -http://hotbot.com (free)
Looksmart - http://www.looksmart.com (fee - get listed
with Looksmart and your listing will also appear at MSN,
Excite, Alta Vista, iWon, Webcrawler and CNN)
It takes anywhere from several weeks to several months
to get listed with some of these engines so start early.
Then submit to the "minors" (i.e. all the others).
Visit http://www.searchenginewatch.com for the latest
news on the search engines and what you can do to
improve your rankings.
Automate the process of search engine submissions as
much as you can. The program I recommend ahead of
all others is Webposition Gold. Check it out here:
2. Submit Your Home Page to Directories
There are literally hundreds so this will be a time-
consuming job. Aim for ten per day and you'll make
progress. Visit http://www.jimworld.com for links to
hundreds of directories.
3. Publish An Ezine
For information about how to do that and generate
subscribers, read "Growing Your List" at
http://www.ahbbo.com/growingyourlist.html . If
you're new to ezine publishing, an excellent resource
is List-Universe.com's Ezine University at
Try to write your own original articles for publication in
your ezine rather than relying on other people to provide
Make sure you have a sign up form on every page of
your website and a pop-up page inviting visitors to
subscribe. To see an example of this in action, visit
Also, automate the process of publicizing your ezine
and submitting your articles as much as possible. One
excellent software program that will do this for you (in
fact the only one I know of) is Ezine Announcer.
4. Negotiate Reciprocal links
Find websites that target the same demographic as
your site and contact the webmasters of those sites
for a reciprocal link. (This just means that each of you
links to the other's site from your links page or
elsewhere else on your site.)
5. Submit to FFA Pages
Opinion is divided on the effectiveness of FFA pages.
Personally, I think they're a waste of time. Others
maintain that although they're pretty useless in terms
of people actually reading your listing, they can be
helpful with search engines that rank your site according
to popularity (i.e., by how many other sites out there
link to your site).
If you do decide to go the FFA route, make sure you
use a free email account rather than your main email
account. You will get a LOT of rubbish mail in response.
You want to be able to delete it in one fell swoop
without having to sort through legitimate mail first.
6. Identify Commonly Searched for Keywords and Create
Doorway Pages to Submit to the Search Engines
What's a doorway page? Just a simple page targeting
a particular keyword tailored specifically for the search
engine you're submitting to. How to create and submit
a doorway page? You can do it manually if time is not
an issue or you can use search submission software
like Webposition Gold mentioned above
Gold also gives you all the information you need about
what the particular search engines look for in order to
rank pages well.
How to find commonly searched for keywords? Use
the Word Tracker service. Dirt cheap but turns up
excellent keywords. Click here for info:
7. Write Articles and Submit Them
Submit them where? Directly to ezine publishers looking
for quality content for their publications, to article
submission lists, to article databases that exist for the
express purpose of providing other people content for
their sites and ezines.
The ezine submitter software I mentioned above can
automate this process for you and save you literally
HOURS of time each week.
8. Remind Visitors to Recommend You
Include a short note in every issue of your ezine
asking your readers to forward your ezine to their
friends and family, sign up for the Recommend-It
service and put
the button on your site and the link in your ezine.
You get the idea. Word of mouth sells!
9. Monitor Your Search Engine Rankings But Don't
Obsess Over Them
Again, use software to take care of the grunt work.
Webposition Gold includes this function.
And when I say don't obsess, realize that search
engines are only one source of traffic. You will find
that a LOT of traffic comes from sources other than
the search engines. Do the things recommended
here and you'll soon see that for yourself.
10. Negotiate Joint Ventures and Co-Ops
Find people to joint venture with - whether it be
for ezine subscribers (you each recommend the
other's ezine on your "thank you for subscribing" page)
or bundle your products together and each sell the
bundled package. There is no limit on the types of
joint ventures and co-operatives you can negotiate.
Be creative and flexible.
11. Join Web Rings
12. Offline Promotion
Don't forget to promote your online business offline.
For more on this, read "Offline Promotion Matters Too"
at http://www.ahbbo.com/offline.html .
13. Host a Forum
Host a forum at your site and contribute to forum
discussions. A lively forum (or bulletin board) will keep
visitors coming back for more.
14. Contribute to Other Forums
Contribute to forum and newsgroup discussions run by
others to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Remember, these are not platforms for blatant advertising.
The most you can get away with is a short signature
15. Create Your Own E-book
Create your own e-book with links to your products and
services or your affiliate programs and distribute it freely
and encourage others to do so too. This is what's
known as "viral" marketing - it spreads like wildfire.
The above activities represent a lot of work and a serious
investment of time on your part. By no means are you
expected to do each and every one of these things
from the get-go. Once you have an established online
presence, though, they do represent a good range of
activities that, pursued regularly, diligently and
consistently, with discipline and patience, will truly grow
your online business exponentially ... and your profits
right along with it.
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Elena Fawkner is editor of Home-Based Business Online.
Best business ideas and opportunities for your home-based or online business.
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Tuesday, 24-Sep-2019 03:41:50 CDT