A Guide to Internet Marketing - By: Jim Pretin
Promoting a web site is an arduous task. Small business sites do not have the capital necessary to partake in mainstream advertising. However, there are ways to effectively launch a new site without spending millions of dollars. Let this article serve as a guide for all your internet marketing needs.
TV and radio commercials and print advertising are very expensive. This is undoubtedly the best way to announce your business to the world, but the costs are prohibitive. A full page ad in a prominent magazine or other publication can run as high as $50,000 per ad. TV commercials can run just as high; if the commercial runs during a popular television show or sporting event, the amount you will have to pay can well exceed the costs of print advertising.
So, if you do not have enough money in the coffers for traditional advertising, you need to resort to online marketing. This is not a bad thing. Offline advertising (i.e. radio, TV, print ads) is sometimes not effective. Marketing on the internet is cheaper, and if done correctly, can give you much more bang for your buck.
The cornerstone of internet marketing is search engine submission and optimization. There are hundreds of different search engines and directories on the internet where you can submit your web site for a listing. This is fairly easy to do. Simply sign up for a monthly submission plan with a credible search engine submission service. There are literally hundreds of these submission services on the internet; you can find them by performing a search on Google. However, be wary of submitters that claim to be able to submit your site to 75,000 search engines. Such services are scams, and they will submit your web page to FFA pages and bogus link pages that can actually get you banned from the search engines. You should only do business with submission services that submit to the major engines and directories.
Now that we have covered submission, we need to talk about search engine optimization (SEO), which is even more important. To optimize a site, you need to maximize keyword density and optimize the positioning for the words or phrases that best characterize the subject matter of your site, and you need to use proper Meta tags so that the search engines can interpret your web pages. If you do not know how to optimize your web site, you should search for an optimization professional on Google. Steer clear of SEO experts who want to charge $1,000 per month or more. Their goal is to bleed you dry before you figure out that they really can not help you get to the top of the rankings. Stick to providers who will optimize your site for a one-time fee.
More important than SEO is link popularity. Link popularity is the number of web sites that currently link to your site. The more inbound links you acquire, the higher your search engine ranking will be. There are several ways you can garner links. You can submit your site to free directories, or join a link exchange and trade links with other sites, or, you can author articles and press releases and submit them to article directories, who will then distribute your articles to webmasters looking for free content, who must link back to your website when they publish your article on theirs.
If you are not patient enough to wait for your search engine ranking to improve, you can attract visitors to your web site instantly by using pay-per-click advertising (PPC). With PPC, you pay a certain cost per click to have an ad for your web page run at or near the top of the search engine listings for certain keywords. This can be extremely costly and ineffective. It is not uncommon for webmasters to blow thousands of dollars on PPC advertising and make only a few sales.
The best way to promote your site, if you are actually selling something, is through an affiliate program. You need to provide an affiliate code to other online merchants so that they will place your banner on their site; every time you make a sale that resulted from an affiliate referral, the affiliate gets a commission. Some internet companies have thousands of affiliates, and get all the business they would ever need or want this way; and it costs you nothing. To recruit affiliates, you should submit your affiliate program to as many directories as possible (there are directories where you can list your affiliate program for free). The best way to find affiliates is by listing your program on forums or message boards visited by webmasters who are looking to generate additional revenue for their online business. You will have to consult with an experienced programmer who can set up the program so that the affiliate codes can be tracked properly.
If you are persistent and use all of these methods, you are likely to succeed with internet marketing. It will probably take approximately 3 years of performing each of the tasks outlined in this article, on a daily basis, to get where you want to be. Just stick with it and your efforts will be rewarded in the long run.
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Jim Pretin is the owner of http://www.forms4free.com, a service that helps programmers make email forms.