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42 Replies Latest reply: Feb 29, 2008 9:06 AM by HandyHerman RSS

What is the best way to build a web presence?

gmonkey Newbie
Currently Being Moderated
I am a new business person with a home based business. We sell custom made wall hangings. How do we create a web presence for ourselves and get our message out to potential customers? I am particularily interested in how we get our website to show up in sites like Yahoo! or Google without having to pay them for advertising.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    Flowers Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I'm not a website expert, therefore I thought my perspective may be helpful for another novice. A lot of people with tell you that is it "easy" to create your own website, and there are a lot of "do it yourself" services to choose from. However, I tried a few and didn't think it was that easy. There are just a lot of little things to manage besides designing the website like getting a domain and driving traffic to the website. Companies like Website Pros will do everything for you, and I think they are a fairly well-priced full-service website company. They can manage everything for you, from the look and feel of the design to the lead generation. Personally, I think its the way to go; it would let you focus on your business rather than technical troubleshooting...
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    NetworkGuru Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Adding your website to search engines is simple and free. To add yourself, go to the search engine(s) of your choice and select to Submit Your Site. On Yahoo.com, go to the bottom of the webpage and select "Suggest a Site". For Google.com, select the About link on the bottom of the webpage, then select "Submit your content to Google". Or, you can purchase a program like WebPosition, http://www.webposition.com, which will help you submit to many search engines at one time.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    DustinSteller Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    There are lots of great ways to guerilla market your website.

    First off, I recommend one thing...Build a blog! Free blogs are out there (blogger.com) or you can install one on your own domain (wordpress.org). They are perfect ways to develop a repoire with your potential clients, showcase your work, updates your client base, add specials, build that marketing "buzz" that is needed to create synnergy and develop real traffic that leads to sales... It works like a symbiotic tool with your website. All this, and it builds traffic and reputable content to increase your Search Engine optimization.

    Example:
    My photo business site, http://www.stellerphoto.com is linked to my photo blog (http://www.stellerphoto.com/blog/) and several other photo sharing sites like Flickr and Vox. All of them link to one another and I regularly post info to each of them. The traffic, after starting my blog only two months ago, has been mind-boggling. Over 3,000 unique hits to my blog in the first 2 MONTHS! Woohoo! It is already developing a local name for itself and developing real leads for new clients.

    Post what you love, post what your product is about, post about anything. Make it readable. Make it fun. Use good grammar and spell-check (It's important!). Create a reason for your target market to come back and want to read/see more. Generate that buzz to drive real traffic to your storefront and to your corporate site.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    buybigtires Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Okay...let's start off with the basic "do's" and "don'ts":

    1. Hire a quality web designer, have him build a CSS compliant site(for more information, visit http://www.html.net/tutorials/css/lesson1.asp), or build it yourself, if you don't mind reading alot and making many mistakes along the way.

    2. Write articles on your field, or in your area of expertise at places like http://www.ezinearticles.com . They will allow you to put "links" to your website in the signature field.

    3. Talk with someone about Search Engine Optimization, or read about it at these sites: http://www.seomoz.org , http://www.sphinn.com

    4. Develop a budget for Pay-Per-Click, and get it up and running. Google "Adwords" and Yahoo PPC are the leaders at this time.

    5.Get a domain name of your own. Sorry.. whatever.blogspot.com is not going to do it for you. Go to http://www.dreamhost.com or http://www.godaddy.com. to do so. I prefer dreamhost, as they give you one domain name free with paid hosting. If someone else is developing your website, they will appreciate DreamHost more as well.

    6. Start a blog...it's a great way to develop relationships with your customers, and keep them up to date with your industry. Wordpress and Moveable Type are the two biggies. DreamHost has a one-click installation feature for this that is extremely easy to set up.

    Now the "don'ts"

    1. Never let a designer talk you into an "All Flash" site. These do not show up on the search engines, and they are not easy to add content or pages to.

    2.Don't just keep running a PPC campaign. This is only a substitute until "organic" traffic begins to arrive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_traffic)

    3. Never rest on your laurels. The search engines and web technologies change daily. The site that cut it 6 months ago, won't cut it today. I am currently on my third site redesign in 9 mos.

    4. Never pay for those scams that promise "Front Page of Google for $160 a month" they are just upcharging you for a PPC campaign. They are not actually doing any work.

    5. Never engage in reciprocal linking. Trust me on this one. DON"T

    6. Never get impatient. Web growth is incremental...and is measured in baby steps. Sorry, results are not guaranteed. Just because you built it, doesn't mean they will come.

    7. Never stop learning. There's always something that will make you better, stronger, faster, and less likely to get ripped off.

    That's all I have for now. The Web is a great place to grow and retain business.

    Good Luck.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    The Organizer Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    You've been given some great advice already. I'd add one additional thought. Get published on the web. There are any number of sites with which you can post an article relating to your business. Make sure you use your URL in your bio. and folks will be able to link back to your website. If you have a "free" report or tip sheet etc. that they can acquire by going to your site you can put that offer in your bio as well.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    jp1234 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Buy Big Tires has done an excellent job of covering the way to get started. The only thing I would add is that I used a web site building software that was extremely easy to use, had excellent support and included templates I used to create my site in about eight man hours. The name of it is Web Plus 10 and is made by Serif. If you can use Microsoft Word, you should be able to use this product.

    Oh, and by the way, look at contributing to and participating in 'social networking' sites like Facebook, YouTube, etc.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    kkrake Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Before reading my comments let me submit publicly that I am the principal owner of a Search Engine Marketing Firm called Search-Werks.

    Reading the comments here, I think BuyBigTires gave some good advice but I would alternatively offer that a PayPerClick search engine marketing campaign should ALWAYS be running in some form. It does not have to be big $, just smart $. Organically generated free traffic is never a guarantee and most small businesses struggle mightily in this arena to compete against the scale of large websites that seem to always show in top positions regardless of whether they are relevant to the search query (ie. Wikipedia, Amazon, etc.). My suggestion would be:

    1. ALWAYS install some sort of tracking mechanism on your site before you get started so that you know how many visits you receive, where they are looking on your site, what terms are they searching for in your onsite search box, what terms drove them to your site, which terms seem to grab the most engagement, etc. Options for tracking include free solutions from Google Analytics (very easy to install the basic tracking) and subscription services from companies like ClickTracks. You can get a Google Analytics account when you open a Google AdWords account.

    2. Start small and test the water. Its easy to quickly blow cash on Google and Yahoo. Use the daily budget function on Google and Yahoo to protect you from spending too much. It can be capped at any level. Figure out what works with your analytics tool before increasing the effort or spend.

    3. Use your natural search traffic keywords (shown in your analytics tool) to build strong PayPerClick campaigns that work very synergistically and vice versa. For instance, if you find a paid search term is working well at your business goal for the site, make sure you move that term into your title tags in your website content. Then you can compete on those terms in the free natural search market as well. Additionally, if you find you are performing well on Yahoo but not on Google on specific critical keywords, you can use paid search engine advertising to capture impressions where your natural ranking is not up to par. Natural search traffic and paid search traffic complement each other. If your budgets are small, just use it sensibly.

    4. If you do proceed with a PayPerClick campaign, _understand how keyword match types work_! The search engines are motivated to show ads and receive clicks on paid ads. Broad matching logic generates traffic but it does not generate as much QUALITY traffic. Use match types to generate traffic that is highly relevant to your website business goals. Also make sure you implement negative keywords. For instance, on the term "champion", you will find a sportswear company, a spark plug company, a boat company, a home company, and information on who won last years sports titles. With negative keywords in your campaigns, you can prevent your ad from showing up for a spark plug search when you are trying to sell boats.

    PayPerClick search engine advertising is the most efficient advertising available when its done well.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    arooly.com Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Go to http://godaddy.com, or http://hostgator.com, buy a domain and pay few dollars a month for shared hosting.

    Install for free on your domain Wordpress blog.
    Go to wordpress.org and watch their tutorials, admin + posting.
    Look for wordpress templates for wordpress (there are maybe 10000 out there).

    Publish your first article on the blog.
    Find your blog RSS feed address.
    Go to http://pingomatic.com and submit your rss feed.

    After $15 and 24-72 hours later, you will have the search engines all over your blog and in 1-2 weeks indexed.

    All this should take you 1/2 day and save you $1000-$5000.

    http://arooly.com
    We love making money for our customers.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    jp1234 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Do you mind giving an example of a negative keyword?
    • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
      buybigtires Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      For instance, I sell off-road tires for heavy equipment, but I don't sell 4-wheeler tires.

      Therefore, I would put in my adwords campaign -quad -atv -four wheeler -dirtbike.

      In this way, I am able to keep from paying for customers who have no interest in my product.
    • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
      kkrake Newbie
      Currently Being Moderated
      JP1234 - sure no problem on the negative keyword post. Taking my previous post as the example, if I am ChampionBoats.com, in my campaign set up, I would put in my negative keyword set terms associated with sportswear, windows, NCAA football, homes, etc. You want to bid on the terms: Champion boats, Championboats, etc and add as a negative keyword sportswear, clothing, window, windows, etc. This will prevent the ad from showing on any search with that word in it.

      You can populate your negative keyword list at the campaign level in AdWords and Yahoo Search. Google shows it very prominently on the campaign page but Yahoo makes it a little harder to find.

      Negative keywords are designed to suppress your ad from showing when a similar but irrelevant search query is performed. It keeps your ad relevancy high and prevents paid clicks on your ad from people who had no intention of buying boats but really were looking for windows.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    jp1234 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I never understood negative keywords before. Thanks so much. No wonder I didn't get much from them! LOL.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    rkfrantz Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I'd like to add my comments on building a web presence. While it is indead possible to to build a site quickly and inexpensively, and even submit your finished site to the major search engines, all this would be a waste of time if nobody ever looks at your site.

    From my experience, when people search the web, most will not go past the third page of search results, so even if you have the sharpest site around, if it ends up on page 20 of the search results, you won't get any visitors, which means no customers.

    You will either need to advertise your site, post articles in forums with links back to your site, and most importantly, you need to have links from other high traffic, relevant sites in addition to a professionally optimised site if you want to get people to actually visit your site, Once the visitors are there, it's up to the design and functionallity of the site to keep them there and keep them coming back.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    bdesq1 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    There's a fast and easy service called Breez-e.com (http://www.breez-e.com) where you can get a great website for only a few dollars. The results are great and customer service, if needed is excellent.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    Web Marketing Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    A lot of great advice has been provided about building a web site. I have a web marketing company, and one of the most important things I find is having a web designer that's a marketing guy, not just a designer. Many web designers will ask you what you want your site to look like, rather than what your marketing plan is. You should also be able to make instant changes and updates on your site without knowing how to use more than e-mail. Lastly, most web sites are priced by page and functionality. I believe it takes even small businesses at least 20 pages to fully present your business. All of your business. That could be well over $2,000. I build self managed sites over 40 pages for under a grand every day.
    I believe web sites are soon to be the #1 place people go to compare companies and products. Make sure yours is better than your competitors and provides the most info. I can help you do that if you choose. mailto:richard@smbwebmarketing.com.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    NatOnline Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    I think before building a web presence you must read a lot of tips online from different sources, most of them are webmaster forums.

    Avoid all SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies whom claim they can put your site on the top 10 with guarantees, there is no guarantee with search engines changes.

    I did the SEO myself, because the cost could be very expensive from a good SEO compagnie. We are talking about a few thousand dollars, perhaps if you are good enough you won't need this kind of services anyway.

    Back to the topic, there are many ways to build a web presence, you just need to find wich one work best for your business.

    I head many people I know of, saying build an e-commerce, wait a little and make money. That is so wrong...

    To Build a web present, you need to submit your site to directories, social bookmarks, forums, search engines, and the most important writing articles on your site. As far as I am concern, recipro links should be use carefully, and corresponding to your topic.

    Good luck !
  • Re: Your Lack of business Knowledge will sink your ship
    NatOnline Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    MLM has always a business startup kit, this is how they make money.

    I saw people selling e-commerce with products.
    I saw people selling e-commerce with a login for update, so you can never move your site somewhere else, because they are loocked
    I saw people selling a system for SEO to make millions dollars sales

    Don't be naive, internet is full of scam artists, I prefere experience from reel life and webmaster forums, at least they are honest !
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    emmagination Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Google search refers more visitors to all of my websites more than any other search engine, so I would focus more energy on their SEO practices. Use lots of text in your website, but not in a spamming technique. They can actually tell the grade level of the context writing on your website. Flash is pretty, but doesn't end up on search engines like text.

    One of the most important things people often leave out is "link backs". The more websites (related to your business) that link back to your website, the more relevant you become in a search engine. Some people say this is how Google determines how important a website is. So if you run a window company and there are a thousand New Window product websites linking back to your "window manufacturing" company website, then you must be a pretty good "window manufacturing" company. Getting links from myspace, press releases, and non related websites will get you in the search engines, but not at the top if someone searches "window manufacturer".
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    KOMI-Virginia Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I have had much success with http://www.quickbizsites.com. The site is very user friendly and I have built at least 4 websites using their services. They also have tools to assist you in creating dynamic displays and for you to post digital photos of your product. I am not a webmaster by no stretch of the imagination, but I think that my site came out pretty nice. http://www.komi-virginia.com.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    NatOnline Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    Getting tons of backlinks within hours will penalize your site on most search engines ! don't do that, baclinks building need to be made slowly, 100 or 200 per day are already plenty.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    NatOnline Expert
    Currently Being Moderated
    Good to know, thanks ;-)
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    jp1234 Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dare,

    You need to get in touch with me regarding this backlink product you have recommended at mailto:jphicks@sbcglobal.net . It is important I speak with you before I post again regarding this and you.

    Thanks.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    Faerie Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    Are people online already buying what you sell?

    If so, it's easier. You just need to get found when they search. There are already a bunch of good posts about how to achieve that goal.

    What if you have something really unique? How do people find you if they aren't even looking for you?

    One strategy is to have a combination of unique items and items that already have a customer base on the internet. Optimize your site for products that people are out there looking for and then make sure your website encourages them to look around at your more unique items.

  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    dare2succeed Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated
    I've got good results from http://www.free-traffic-guru.com
    It's easy to get a web presence and my message out by
    attracting targeted unique visitors to my website.

    If you sell custom made wall hangings, you could get a
    domain custom-made-wall-hangings.com. The unique
    system targets highly relevant specific keyword niches
    which only bring interested visitors who are looking for
    exactly what you are selling.

    You can also create subdomains which are highly targeted
    to your specific niche product that will drive daily targeted
    traffic to any website you might have.
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    intechspecial Master
    Currently Being Moderated
    How about starting out with a Brochure Web page?

    You can be online as early as tomorrow!

    http://www.intechspecial.com
  • Re: What is the best way to build a web presence?
    HandyHerman Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    You should also try posting a business profile on Handyherman.com. It is a website for small businesses to advertising thier business using a profile based format. Customers search for a service or good in thier area can search Handyherman.com for business profiles that match thier needs. Please let me know what you think. Thank you.

    -Drew

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