Before you think about adding products to your web site you need to attract visitors. You need to promote your site, remember that no one will visit you unless they know you exist. Setting up a business on the Internet is like setting up shop down a dark alley way, the premises might be great, the products great, but you need signposts and flashing neon lights to get people to visit you. The same is true in online business, promote your site or die, it need not cost you much, but you must do it.
It is a popular myth that if you set up a web site the world will beat a path to your door, the truth is that if no one hears about you no one will visit you. Your site is after all just one of over zillion sites around the world with collectively over 30 trillion web pages. This means that you need to put a great deal of effort into promoting your site, encouraging people to visit it, and once they have done so give them something sufficiently interesting that they will add your site to their bookmark file and hopefully return.
If you have an existing business the first step in the promotional process is to make sure that your web site and e-mail address are clearly displayed on all your existing business collateral. This means adding them to your headed paper, to your business cards, to the sign outside your premises, onto any transport you may use, even onto order forms, invoices and till roll receipts.
Similarly your web site and e-mail addresses should be clearly printed on any advertising that you do, they are as important as your postal address and phone number. In a survey we recently did on web site promotion by SMEs we found that 37% of ads by such companies either failed to include their web address, or printed it in characters that were so small as to be illegible.
Remember that over 60% of all web site visitors do so because of either personal recommendation, or seeing the URL displayed in an advert or a magazine review.
The next best means of promotion, and the best if you do not have an existing business, is to submit your site to all important search engines and business directories. If done skilfully this can bring your site a lot of visitors from all around the world. However, to do so you will need to master the skill of SEO, and will probably need to subtly modify your web pages to improve their positioning. Another good reason for knowing a little bit about HTML programming and web design.
Some other online promotional techniques are forum postings, signature links, blog commenting,local citation links and press release distribution. However, these techniques must be used very carefully or they can be harmful for your online business/website. You need to find blogs and forums which are relevant to your site’s content and become a contributor.
There is also the option of using online advertising, either on some high traffic web site with a related visitor profile, or on a targeted newsletter, however, such options can be expensive, and need to be considered very carefully. Finally there is the option of using traditional promotional techniques, such as taking out special newspaper and magazine ads, but once again these can prove very expensive and sometimes are of doubtful value.