by Renee Kennedy
Do you run a small to medium size business? Do you also have a web site that you are trying to promote successfully? Did you get the impression that it was going to be an easy road to success once you set up your web site?
Let me set things straight!
It’s not an easy road. If you have money you can promote successfully, no problem. In case you haven’t heard, AltaVista is now going to open bidding on #1 and #2 ranks for any keywords which generate over 100,000 queries per month. Bidding starts at .25 per word. Goto.com has a bidding system in place, as well. Yahoo is now charging $199 for their Express Business service. Yahoo will review your site in seven days for this charge but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be listed.
I see a trend that set off alarm bells in my head. These two search engines (pardon me Yahoo I know you’re a directory) are the biggest ones out there, AltaVista in terms of the size of it’s database and Yahoo in terms of a traffic generator. What’s to stop Hotbot, Excite, Lycos, and other biggies from following in their footsteps? If you’ve spent time trying to optimize your pages for search engines, then this news is a little shocking. Why should we continue to optimize when search engines are just going to start charging for ranks?
Let’s analyze the situation carefully. Currently, only AltaVista and Goto are charging for ranks, Yahoo is charging for a site review. Goto.com only costs $25 to get started and you only pay for actual click thrus to your site. At worst, you will lose $25 with Goto. AltaVista will be more expensive but they are only charging for the #1 and #2 positions, that still leaves eight more positions. Also, think about these things:
- If you’ve ever tried to get ranks in search engines, you know how hard it can be and how time consuming.
- Paying for ranks would save you a great amount of time.
- Paying for ranks would give you targeted keywords. (You could choose keywords appropriate to your target market.)
- If the other engines do follow suit there will be price wars for cheapest rates since it’s done on a bidding system the possibility to get in at reasonable rates would increase.
Regardless, this one situation – search engines charging for ranks – should fly a red flag in your mind. Search engines are unpredictable. Whether they are charging for ranks, or changing their algorithms, they are and always have been unpredictable.
Therefore, we cannot rely on search engines as our only way to promote our websites. There are so many other ways that you can promote your site. Unfortunately, these other ways all take time. Most small businesses, are not going to have a lot of money to put out to pay for ranks in search engines or other forms of paid for advertising on the internet. If you don’t have the money to put into your web site promotion you are going to need time. And time, after all, is money.
The good news is that if you organize your time, you can create, maintain and run a website that is an effective method of advertising for your business. Effectiveness must be determined by the owner of the business. Terry and I believe our web site is effective we continue to set and achieve goals. Our goals may be little ones compared to a larger company, but we set them based on our time and money.
Here’s an example: producing our newsletter was a huge goal for our company. First we asked ourselves some questions:
- Do we have the time to commit to this endeavor?
- How often can we get a quality newsletter out to subscribers?
- Is the time that we are going to commit to this worth what we will receive from it?
- What do we expect to receive from the newsletter?
The next thing we had to do is organize our time to fit in the production of a newsletter. We each had to set aside a few hours a week to research for our articles, to write our articles and to administer functions like the free drawing, and answering any questions or suggestions that may come in. We organized our time by giving a little less of it to some of our other promotion strategies.
Here is a list of what you need to do in order to organize your time and promote your site:
- Research internet promotion strategies. Do a search for promotion tutorials, internet promotion, internet marketing strategies, anything like that. Or check out More Resources. This page has links to many web sites which offer promotion resources.
- Prioritize the strategies based on projected results and time involved which you have determined from your research. For instance, search engine ranks can garner a lot of traffic; however, optimizing pages for search engines can take up an enormous amount of time.
- Based on your priorities, choose the strategies that you will employ.
- Allot time each week to each strategy that you have chosen perhaps pick a specific time each week to devote to a specific strategy.
- If you have more than one employee delegate strategies to your employees.
- Set goals for each of your strategies. What results do I want to get out of this strategy? How can I best achieve those results with this strategy? For instance, “I will optimize one web page for Excite for one keyword phrase, with the goal of increasing my unique site visitors by 15 per month.” Goals may be as specific as this one, or they may be more general. Just keep in mind that you are employing the strategy for a reason.
- Keep records. Write down everything that is going on during the implementation of the strategy – anything that will help you analyze the effectiveness of the strategy.
- Analyze the strategy several times after implementing it is the strategy performing, does the time involved outweigh the results, does the strategy achieve the goals we set for it.
- Re-prioritize every month.
In conclusion, in order to promote successfully, you need either money or time. If you don’t have money then you need to structure your time. Research, prioritize, set goals, keep records, continually analyze your situation, and do not rely on one strategy to do all the promotion for your site.