So Your Site Is Up – Now What?

Well, it will take more than building it for them to come. Luckily, there are many things you can do to boost your online traffic. Here are just three of them to get you started:

Send Out Press Releases

You can do the whole thing yourself—from writing the release to mailing it out—or you can hire a firm to do it for you.

Last January, shortly after my business partner and I launched our website, I wrote a press release, got two boxes of envelopes, a ream of paper and 100 first-class stamps. I was actually quite excited about sending all those press releases out … until I actually began.

For a press release to generate publicity, you need to send it to relevant publications and to the right reporter or editor within that publication. Otherwise, it will probably end up in the trash.

I found out quickly how much time it took to research all the media and find the right contact person. There are directories of media contacts you can buy, but those are expensive. So, only 23 mailings later, what ended up making the most sense for us was to use an online press release distribution service. For $80, PRWeb (http://www.prweb.com) distributed our release 30,000 times. There’s no way we could have done that.

PRWeb is a firm that was recommended to us, but there are many other options. Check out The Publicity Hound (http://www.publicityhound.com) for lots of tips on getting

publicity, including information on other online press release distribution services, PR firms and articles on how to write press releases.

Send Out Baby Announcements

Make a list of everyone who might like to know you’re now open for business. If you can, turn your announcement into a thank-you note. My list included:

– The director of my local Small Business Development Center. I told him my site was up and thanked him for all his advice during the process of getting the business legally set up with my state and city.

– Friends. I thanked them for the support they’d offered while we built the site, from critiquing copy to testing the navigation buttons, to helping us choose the most reader-friendly fonts and colors for the design. Then, I asked them for one more favor: could they help us spread the news that our site was live?

– People I didn’t know and who didn’t know me. I sent our three e-mail messages to three different women. They each have an online business that helps others start their own. I had attended many of their free teleseminars and read their newsletters voraciously, not only for guidance but also for inspiration. So, after I took my own leap into solopreneurship, I sent them brief notes letting them know how they’d been helpful to me. They replied expressing their appreciation.

Use Your Free E-letter

Send a free publication to your subscribers giving them original and useful information at least once a month. And, while you’re at it, also use your e-zine to drive traffic to your site. Here are some ways:

– At the end of every issue, add a “send to a friend” button. If one of your subscribers thinks of someone who may like what you have to say, he can click on that button. Then, he’s taken to a handy form that lets him enter all the necessary information to forward your newsletter.

– Announce your latest blog entries in your newsletter. Write short teasers, with hyperlinks to the complete text, to make your subscribers curious enough to revisit your website.

– Tell your readers what you have planned for them: a new course, e-book, report, teleseminar. Create anticipation to keep your subscribers interested in what’s coming up. Direct them to landing pages on your site where they can find out more.

Always include that “send to a friend” button in all your e-mail marketing. It really helps to get the word out about you. Just yesterday, my partner and I got an e-mail from someone whose friend is our subscriber. She heard about a free teleseminar we hosted and asked for a copy of the recording. Now, we have a new subscriber and the potential for more, as she tells her own friends about us.

Which reminds me—as you sell your goods, continue to give lots of valuable information for free. That will fuel word-of-mouth marketing better than anything.

The suggestions above are just to get you started building your e-mailing list. They’re simple and inexpensive ways of attracting visitors to your site. For more information on online marketing, I suggest you check out Get Known Now (http://www.getknownnow.com) and Click to Client (http://www.clicktoclient.com). These two sites are excellent sources of free tips, including free teleseminars with guests who have successfully branded their names in cyberspace.

Now, before I sign off, just one more thing …

You probably noticed I left out one obvious way of building traffic to your site: social media. The truth is, I don’t have a profile with any of the social media networks. It’s not that I don’t think it’s worthwhile. I’ve heard from enough people who’ve benefited from their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles that I believe those efforts are valuable.

They’re just not for me, at least not now. I’ve actually had my profile up on Facebook twice. But I just couldn’t get excited about keeping up with it. I prefer cultivating relationships one at a time with people I really end up getting to know. That’s just my way and so far, it’s working. Maybe my progress is slower but it feels good to do it this way. And that leads to my final advice today:

Look at all the strategies you can use to promote your business. As you consider them, observe how your body feels, what your heart tells you. If your whole body contracts at the thought of public speaking, for instance, examine where your aversion is coming from and do one of two things:

  1. If you know you want to speak to a crowd but your mind tells you you’re not good enough or you’ll make a fool of yourself, keep pushing those negative thoughts away. Make growing comfortable speaking in public one of your goals. To prepare, take a class, practice speaking alone, then in front of a group of friends. If you enjoy it, pursue it as part of your marketing.
  2. But if you find that the more you do it, the less it feels right for you, drop it. There are many ways you can make your presence known. No strategy is the right strategy, unless it’s right for you.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: May 27, 2009

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