The first time I ever tried to launch a website on my own I was eager to follow the advice of every online article, book on promotion, and person who already had a website of their own. I set a monthly budget for online promotion, set monthly goals for book and article sales, then sat back to watch my web site and sales take off. A few months later I was barely breaking even, frustrated, and a little disappointed in my lack of visitors and the small percentage of visits that actually converted into book sales. When I took the time to sit down and see where I had gone wrong I realized that while those giving advice on promotion had great idea’s they weren’t necessarily suited for the small start up website.
Those online search engine submission services we read so much about are not always as effective as one would hope. Many services all but guarantee placement in a “timely” manner but they do not tell you that placement can sometimes take months and even then not get your site recognized when potential buyers perform searches. Spending from $150-$400 to submit your site to big name search engines is often a sure way of getting lost in the crowd. After spending a large amount of money to have my first site listed with AOL, MSN, and more I found that after a month of waiting my site still was available on the larger search engines, in fact out of the 50+ search engines my site was supposed to be submitted to only 12 actually had my domain listed and of those 12 my site was only found after carefully browsing through page after page of search results. .
I also tried participating in a wide variety of pay per click programs in an effort to get my site noticed. While I did show up on major search engines in their sponsored advertisers list my success was short lived. Unless I was willing and able to dedicated hundreds, if not thousands, per month like many of my competitors my site would only be featured for a very short amount of time before fading away again like so many other small sites with smaller budgets.
As a last resort I tried the infamous opt-in email list. I was nervous about using these lists because I didn’t want my domain to be flagged as spamming customers but luckily that did not happen. I spent several hundred dollars to have a brief summery of my sites content along with a link sent to potential clients. While this campaign generated literally thousands of hits of those thousands of surfers only a small percentage took the time to browse beyond my welcome page and an even smaller percentage actually made any purchases. In the end that email campaign lost me far more money than it brought in.
When it comes to online promotion for new sites with smaller budgets should stick with the less expensive, and free services until enough steady traffic and clientele can justify a larger advertising budget. I have found that using search engine submission services that have packages for a maximum of $100 and focus on submitting your site to smaller search engines each month can have a better return than the more expensive services that concentrate on big name engines. By using a small search engine submission service that submitted my site to over one hundred search engines each month the site I was advertising quickly gained an impressive PR ranking and eventually started to appear on larger search engines during keyword searches. If you want to avoid spending even that amount find a free online search engine submission service that requires only a link back for using them and submit your site manually. This may take a little more time and effort than you are used to but the return is worth it.
Also online press releases are a great way to get your site noticed. I listed a simple press release on PR Web and with only a $10.00 donation my press release was widely distributed and after the first week of submitting my press release I noticed a substantial hike in website visitors and sales. The donation is optional and you can give more or less depending on what is best for your budget. There are other press release services available online but PR Web is the one I feel most comfortable with.