Growing An Online Business
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
There are many things you should be doing to market your online business. You don’t have to do every one of these activities every day but if you aim to do at least a few your e-business will benefit.
Search engines and directories. Firstly, submit your site to as many search engines as possible. The main ones are www.yahoo.com, www.altavista.com, www.googIe.com and www.hotbot.lycos.com. It can take time to get listed so start early. You can visit www.searchenginewatch.com for the latest news on search engines and what you can do to improve your ratings. Visit www.jimworld.com for links to directories.
Publish an e-zine. This is simply an online magazine. Write your own original articles rather than relying on others. Include a reminder to visitors to recommend you, asking them to forward it to their friends and family.
Negotiate reciprocal links. Find websites that target the same people as your site and arrange reciprocal links – this simply means that each of you links to the other’s site. Identify commonly searched-for keywords. This allows you to create doorway pages to submit to the search engines -a simple page targeting a particular keyword.
Monitor your search engine rankings. Don’t become obsessed, as search engines are only one source of traffic. You will find a lot of traffic comes from other sources.
Negotiate joint ventures and co-ops. Find people to do joint ventures with – whether it is for e-zine subscribers or selling your products together as a bundled package. There is no limit on the types of joint ventures and cooperatives you can negotiate.
Offline promotion. Don’t forget to promote your online business offline – in magazines, newspapers or any other form of advertising.
Host a forum. Host a forum at your site and contribute to other forum discussions. This will keep visitors coming back for more. Contribute to those run by others to establish yourself as an expert in your field.