So the storefront is open, the banner is flashing, the products are ready, but the cart is still empty. What to do? How do you get customers to your site? Don’t despair. There are many ways to drive eyeballs to your new e-commerce site.
Let’s take a look at what can give you the biggest e-bang for your Web buck.
Getting a search engine to cough up your name after a key word is typed in, although not an exact science, is still among the best bets for driving customers to your site. In order to have that happen, you need to understand how search engines work and use that to your advantage.
The first thing you have to do to come up on a search engine result is to let the site know you are out there. All search engines accept submissions, so first of all, submit your URL to every search engine you can find. If that seems too cumbersome, check out www.submit-it.com, an automatic submission service that may or may not cost you money, depending upon what you want.
Realize too that search engines might just find you without any effort on your part.
Once search engines know about you, they will analyze your site, either by using an electronic “spider” or a real human. The search engine will examine the name of your URL and weigh that heavily, which is one reason why single nouns are so popular as Web site names. The engines will also weigh heavily the words near the top of your page.
Also, repetition of words is important to about half of all search engines, but are a detriment in the ranking of other engines, so be careful.
Equally important will be the analysis of your “meta tags.” Meta tags are the hidden nuggets of information placed in the head part of a Web HTML document. Putting words in your meta tag can really drive people to your site via inclusion in a search result. Similarly, some search engines like to see a lot of links to and from your site.
So, if you want hits from search engine results, make sure to put key words that describe your site in your URL, at the top of the page, in the meta tags, repeat them, and have links into and out of the site.
Besides their usefulness in driving eyeballs to your site from search engines, having links to your site from other sites is another way to generate traffic. Other than creating reciprocal links to and from sites like your own, you might want to try to link to, or get listed on: Cool Sites of the Day and What’s New.
Similarly, there are many specialty link sites that do nothing but list links to sites in their areas of interest. Find the ones that cover your business and submit your link to their sites.
Witness the slew of dot-com ads during the last Super Bowl. Of course, few of us have that kind of budget, but that doesn’t mean we need not learn the lesson: Advertising does indeed work. If you can buy some radio time, it may be worth the expense. Run a classified ad in the paper. Also, buying banner ads on other sites and on search engines can create great results.