16 Ways to Lure Traffic to Your Web Site
by Marcia Yudkin
Building a web site and not
promoting it is like posting a billboard in your
basement. You're just not going to get a lot of
traffic. To get your web site visited and
appreciated, you need to let people know it
exists. If your web site is lonely for visitors,
try these often-overlooked ideas.
1. Use web address
stickers. Not ready yet to reprint your
stationery? Print small, coordinating labels
that feature your online address and copy
inviting people to visit. Stick them on outgoing
envelopes, on seminar folders, on the backs of
your business cards and more.
2. Put your URL in print
ads. This extends the efficacy of a small
print ad, since wired readers can get more
details about your offerings instantly, 24 hours
a day. But include your phone number and street
address as well.
3. Include your URL in
answering machine or voice-mail messages. For
those who call your office outside of office
hours, why not spell out your Web address in
your message, so that they can immediately help
themselves to the information they need?
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4. Utilize your on-hold
message as well. Similarly, instead of
playing "Rhapsody in Blue" for
customers while they wait on the line for a
representative, you can tell them that if
they're calling for directions, prices, return
policies and such, they can click on over to
your web site.
5. Post notices of your
site's content on discussion boards. Whenever
you add useful non-promotional content to your
web site, such as a topical "Frequently
Asked Questions" page, post notices to
relevant newsgroups, forums, discussion boards
and mailing lists. This usually not only
increases traffic at your web site, but also
prompts people to add links to your site.
6. Ask for links. Visit
non-competing informational sites in your area
of expertise and ask the owners to add links to
your site. This works best when your site
includes useful informational resources rather
than strictly promotional material.
7. Exchange links.
Before requesting links, add a section to your
site that contains links to related businesses.
Then contact the webmasters of those sites to
request a return link. You'll find your
initiative frequently reciprocated.
8. Start an email
newsletter. Some say that showing up in your
customers' mailboxes every week or month with
updates, schedules, sale prices or industry news
is even more valuable than the web site itself.
Somewhere in the newsletter, tell readers to
check out your web site for more information on
9. Publicize your content. Add
something to your site no one else in your
industry has, then send a news release to
industry trade magazines about your unique
feature - a Y2K countdown clock, a top-ten list,
a Scuba Diver's Joke of the Week.
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10. Host a giveaway. Announce
a drawing for a free something-or-other once a
month. Those who sign the guest book during that
period - and people can re-register every month
- are eligible to win.
11. Create outdoor signage.
Facing Route 128 in Massachusetts recently was
this sign on a very traditional-looking
restaurant: "pillarhouse.com." It let
technically savvy commuters know they could make
reservations and explore the menu through their
12. Invent alternate domain
names. If you started off as "pamsparties.com"
and then discover that "balloons.com"
is available, grab it and have it open up your
same site. That's what Coca-Cola did when it
registered for both www.cocacola.com and
www.coke.com. The shorter and more memorable
your domain names, the better.
13. Encourage people to
bookmark your site. Obedient creatures that
we humans are, making an explicit bookmark
request either at the site or in advertising
containing your URL increases the chances people
file your address in their browser for a return
14. Append a signature
file. At the end of every e-mail message you
send, append a file containing your contact
information and a line about what's new at your
web site. Change the "what's new" line
frequently to tempt previous visitors to have
15. Offer free classifieds.
A Yahoo! search turned up thousands of sites
offering free classified ads, some regional and
others topic-specific - for bicycle stuff,
crafts, computers and more. Post ads for
products or services related to your business.
16. Print T-shirts.
Order custom-made shirts and wear your web
address on your back. For even more visibility
with this method, sponsor a softball team who
will wear them, or use them as giveaways for a
Copyright 1999 Marcia Yudkin.
All rights reserved.
a book about web site marketing makeovers.
more about web copywriting techniques.
an objective, constructive review of your site.
a web site makeover or redesign.