Do you have an online business that's not generating the online income you expected? Well if it's any consolation, you're not alone. Many online businesses have experienced the 'deadly silence' of the Information Super Highway at some time. If you're selling a product or service online, the necessity for website traffic is obvious, but the methods used to steer visitors to websites, seems to be constantly changing.
What should you do to get more traffic to your website? Firstly, you could invest a little time and money and follow these 10 ways to explode your online business profits. Whether you have an affiliate site or teach people to make money from real estate investing, these guidelines will apply to you.
1. Back to basics with your website
Your website is your store front, and as such should be set out in a way that everyone can easily find their way around. It should be easy to navigate with text links or buttons displayed where your visitors would expect them, which is at the top of the page or on the left-hand side. Also, ensure text links are blue and underlined because that's what people are used to and expect to see.
Don't clutter your website. You can have as many web pages as you need, so there's no point in trying to cram everything onto one page. Spread it out and allow for plenty of white space. It will make your site appear 'open' and friendly. You don't want to make your visitors feel confused or intimidated by too much information. Also, and for the same reason, keep graphics and images to a minimum and never use animated graphics. They cause too much distraction.
2. Make buying from your website a pleasurable experience
Whatever you're selling from your website, It's imperative that your visitor can quickly find the product they want, order it and pay for it in one fluent transaction. To enable them to do this, make sure your products are properly listed and categorized. Always give a good description of the product, its features, benefits and price. It's a good idea to include packing and shipping in the price, so your visitors know exactly what it will cost them.
Wherever possible, always give a guarantee. Online customers need to be assured that they can return the product if faulty or unsuitable. Create a webpage clearly outlining your returns and refunds policy. A guarantee will encourage trust and help build credibility. Making a buying decision and the payment process easy for your customers, may bring them back again. Repeat business is key to boosting your online profits.
3. Give your online customers a reason to come back to your website
If a customer has bought a product or service from you and is completely satisfied with the whole transaction, chances are they will come back. But it is only a chance. So how do you persuade a customer to come back and buy from you again? You could give them something for free, or a bonus each time they buy. You could create loyalty by giving them a virtual 'money off' coupon or voucher, which they can redeem against their next purchase.
You could ask them to subscribe to your 'savers club' in return for 10% off all future purchases. Each purchase they make could earn them points, which could be redeemed for prizes. Every time they purchase a product, their name could be entered into a weekly or monthly draw for a special prize. Make buying from your website fun and rewarding if you want your visitors to become multiple purchasers.
4. Get up close and personal with your prospects
At least as close and personal as you can, without causing undue suspicion of ulterior motives. One way to get closer to your customers is to capture their name and email so you can stay in touch with them. You could make your website a free subscription site. Customers could complete a short online form, giving their name and email and creating a user name and password. You could then email them on a regular basis with relevant product information and news of special offers.
Alternatively, you could ask your site visitors to subscribe to your online newsletter in return for freebies or discounts. This way you'll be able to provide them with more information about your products, new lines, end of lines, special offers, discounts and provide direct links to any part of your website. Keeping in touch with your customers makes them feel valued.
5. Free online promotion tactics
If you want traffic, and traffic equals customers, there are a number of essentially basic things you must do to promote your website. Here, we'll look at the free options. Firstly, submit your website to the search engines. Over the course of a month you should make additions/changes to your website. Even minor changes will count. This lets the search engines know that your site is active.
An active website will maintain its position and even rise above inactive websites. Submit your website to all the local directories. People like to buy local. It makes them feel as though you're operating within their local community. Join a reciprocal link program. Exchanging links with other related, but non-competitive, sites could help with your search engine ranking. A website that has a lot of links pointing to it is considered a popular website. But make sure it is a quality reciprocal link program. I prefer to do my own links. It isn't hard but it takes time and some patience.
6. Search engine optimization - keywords
There have been books written on this subject, companies specialize in it and everyone wants it for their website. Here are the basics. Make sure your web pages each have a 'title' tag. Individual pages should have separate titles and not default titles like 'new_page_1.htm'. By far the most important aspect of SEO is keywords. These are the words or phrases that potential customers are likely to type into the search field of major search engines.
When looking for keywords, search engines will first check your pages' title, then the headline followed by the first 2 paragraphs of text. While it's important to place as many relevant keywords into your web pages' Meta tags, it's equally important to include main keywords and phrases in the content of your viewing page. Keyword density or frequency within the first 2 paragraphs is also significant to search engines in determining how relevant your site is.
7. Web page content. The new king of the road
Fresh, interesting, informative, keyword-rich content is king. Search engines just can't get enough of it. Why? Simple! Because the Internet is primarily an 'Information Highway'. If people use the Internet to search for information, it's logical to assume that search engines are designed to find it for them. A web page that is constantly providing its visitors with news, reviews and interesting articles is high on a search engines hit list.
A websites' level of popularity depends on the value of the relevant content it provides. So, it must be valuable, relevant and it must be grammatically sound. It also needs that infusion of keywords. Adding regular content to your web pages, is a sure fire way of getting your site noticed, and should be placed high on your list of Internet marketing strategies.
8. Internet marketing - your success depends on it
If you're selling anything online, your success will, to a large extent, depend on your level of knowledge and experience in marketing. Marketing is responsible for making or breaking a business, and that applies to both online and offline businesses. To be successful online you must learn to become an all-round successful Internet marketer. Here's one very effective tip…
Write an interesting article about your business or products. It must be informative and not contain blatant advertising. Submit your article to ezines and free article websites. Go to Google and type in 'article submissions'. Register your details, copy and paste your article, assuming you have pre-written it in MS Word, and put your website URL in the resource box provided.
With so many website owners desperate for content, they'll put your article, together with your details and URL, in their newsletters, ezines and on their websites for all their customers to see. Result? Instant free advertising and recognition.
9. Viral marketing - spreading the word
Another marketing strategy worthy of inclusion is viral marketing. This may take a bit of time but it's very effective and is well worth the effort. Here's an example. Write a short e-book, say 10 pages, about your products or services. Include as many facts and figures, features and benefits as you can in order to make the book 'valuable' to your prospective customers. But more importantly, include several links back to your website.
Turn your book into a Portable Document File (pdf). Get the free software to do this by typing 'free pdf' into Google. When you have created your book as a pdf file, submit to 'free ebook submissions' and 'ebook submission', again using Google to find the relevant websites. Also, allow your site visitors to download a free copy from your own website and encourage them to give it to others for free. The idea is to get your free book with your website links circulating around the Internet and bringing new customers to your site.
10. Paid advertising - make it count
Online advertising and marketing are both forms of online promotion. Whilst there are many aspects, which are free, the alternative is to pay for results. The most important thing to consider when choosing to pay is the return you can expect from your investment. If you invest $100, the very least you should expect is to cover that sum. Everything above that is profit. But which is the best way to go for online advertising?
Let's look at a few of the choices. Banner ads, ezine and newsletter ads, pop-up ads, classified ads, email lists and pay per click. Online advertising companies will create banner ads and pop-up ads for you and display them on certain participating websites. If a prospect clicks on the banner or pop-up they are redirected to your website. Ezine, newsletter, email lists and classifieds will generally consist of a written ad, with a text link, being placed into a high volume traffic website, email or subscriber list. With pay per click ads, you only pay for the amount of clicks your ad receives. To know which is the most effective, will require some online research and investigation.
About the Author
Jan Peterson founder of www.goldstarreview.com researches and reviews business opportunities including internet marketing, real estate investing, affiliate marketing, financial investing and more. Over 400 FREE reports available.