This is my first post to the WebsiteForge blog so I thought it would be fitting to write a message for the first time website owner. The information is still good for anyone running a site who feels they could use more traffic.
Now that you've started your new website you're probably excited to get your first customer/sale. While this is an exciting time, reality for most will soon creep in and your excitement may turn to disappointment and self doubt.
Why? Because you spent some money - probably a good amount, and time (probably more than you thought you would) building and launching a new website and after days, weeks, even months you haven't had a single sale.
I've been around website businesses for years, close to a decade now I guess. I've seen a lot of money go into great website ideas. I've seen websites that cost a few thousand dollars bloom into businesses generating tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for their owners. I've even seen a site which cost about $30,000 to develop and launch, sell within a year to a competitor for over $1,000,000.00! Not too shabby...
I've also seen a lot of money go into websites that never made a sale, never resulted in any extra business, and ultimately, never succeeded in any way.
The client walks away from their great website idea disappointed, bitter and somewhat poorer. But that doesn't have to be the case. You see, building and launching a website is only one part of what you need to do. It's a big part, don't get me wrong, but it is just the first step of many.
What else do you need to be successful with your website? Well... you need to know where you're going to find customers! Just like every other business, your website business needs customers to succeed. You can get these customers from many places including the traditional places like print, television, and radio advertising. You just need to mention your website address in your ad along with the rest of your message.
Another great place to find customers is right on the web, through a Search Engine! Yahoo! and Google are the ones you should be most interested in. These two search engines generate about 90% of all searches made on search engines. MSN.com is a distant third. It's not as important for you now, but it's becoming more and more important every day.
There's more than one way to get on a search engine, some are more difficult and take more time, while another is easier, takes less time, but will cost you abundantly more.
Pay Per Click Advertising:
Let's start with the expensive way to get on a search engine. Pay Per Click advertising...aka Sponsored Listings. When you go to Yahoo! or Google, type in your search words, and get results, you will see Sponsored listing along with the natural web results. The sponsored listings are paid advertisements. The great thing about sponsored listings is that you can get the top position for your desired keywords quickly, as long as you have the money.
How much money? Well, the minimum is just $25 per month. Sounds good so far, eh? Here's the rub, though. You bid for position and pay per click. Yeah, that's right. You pay every single time somebody clicks on your ad. How much per click depends on your competition. Currently the minimum bid is 10 cents. Not too bad, but not too likely either.
Your competition bids against you for the top positions, which quickly drives your per click cost up. How much? Well, it could be a whole lot. I've seen a per click fee as high as $100, but that's not really very common. Realistically, you could pay 20 cents, 30 cents, a dollar, maybe even 3 dollars per click. If your search words are competitive and receive tens of thousands of searches a month, your cost could be pretty high.
Natural Search Engine Listings:
The other, less expensive way to be found on the search engines is through natural listings. These are the listings that appear naturally within the search results, usually under the sponsored listings. You can tell most of the time which these are because they are numbered and appear in the main area of the page.
You don't pay for these listings by sending money to the search engines. You cannot be moved to the top by paying more than the next guy... these listings must be earned.
How do you get listed naturally? Good question, fair enough... Not easy to answer though.
One way is to submit your website by going to Yahoo! or Google and finding their respective URL submission page. You enter your domain name and click the submit button. BAM! You've been submitted, it's that easy.
What will that get you? Not a heck of a lot nowadays. Why? Because, there are billions of pages already in Yahoo! and Google, and your pages must compete against all of them and rise to the top.
Here's a quick tutorial: Go to Yahoo! and perform a search using the search words "New York". When the results load, look toward the top of the page on the right where it shows the number of results. It should read something like "Results 1 - 10 of about 137,000,000 for new york - 0.09 sec."
That 137,000,000 represents the approximate number of pages your page will compete against for the search words "New York". Now, how likely is it that your brand spankin new page about New York is going to be more important than 137 million other pages that were there long before yours?
Not likely at all.
Why Natural Search Engine Listings?
I chose that search term to make a point, of course. It really doesn't matter if there are 100 pages you compete against or 100 million, if your site doesn't make it into the top 10, 20 or 30, your site will not be getting traffic of any significance.
The reason I like the natural listing method so much is because you can still get in and make a killing without spending tens of thousands a month on advertising. It's still the best place for the little site to become the BIG site.
As a professional website promotion and marketing guy I can tell you this is where you can get way more bang for the buck.
There's no way to gaurantee anything about what goes on with the natural listings, but in my years of experience I've been able to help my clients succeed for a fraction of what they'd have paid through pay per click.
*If you submit your website to the search engines, please do so only one time. Do not repeatedly submit your site to Yahoo! or Google as this practice can have a negative impact on your website listing. Once a site has been submitted, it can only be accepted once. Every other time is a waste of resources to the search engine.
By Kevin Gannon
Kevin Gannon is the Search Engine Optimization and Website Promotion expert we recommend to our customers. You can reach him by telephone, his number is (248) 349-6281.