Like many small businesses, we market ourselves and heavily rely on sales originating from search engines. As a search engine services provider, I have learned to implement specific strategies that have always worked well for me through the years. These skills have been one of a few major reasons for our success as an online printing company. Originally, I intended to write an article something like “100 web marketing tips,” however, breaking it down seems more practical. Hopefully, other small businesses will find these tips useful, and I recommend implementing only those that make sense.
None of these online marketing tips are a “silver bullet” but every item offers a way to “boost” your online presence, and more importantly, increase your search engine rankings.
1. Register your website for at least 5 years – Normally I recommend ten. This shows the search engines you plan on sticking around. Most people register for only one year, and it is a fantastic way for search engines to weed through likely spam sites. On Whois.net, you will see that PrintKEG.com does not expire for another eight years.
2. Reliable Host – Where you host your website matters. Choosing a host can be difficult, so make sure your hosting company is reputable. Be sure your web hosting company has reliable up time and is not blacklisted. Blacklisted websites can cause you all sorts of problems.
3. Remember, age matters – The older your domain name is, the better. Someone who has had their website up and running for ten years has an advantage, but don’t worry it can be overcome. It is unlikely your website will qualify for high rankings your first six months. We started from scratch with PrintKEG.com.
4. Stick with your brand – Many people try to stuff keywords in the domain name. It isn’t necessary so stick with your brand or business name. If your keyword is in the domain, that’s fine too. Some search engine optimizers still like keywords in the domain, but I don’t care. If the keyword is already in your company name, then its a plus.
5. Domain Suffixes – I have always read that .com and .org are the best to use for optimization purposes but have found little evidence of this. Use what best fits your company. Recently, I had a customer come up with a great name using the .info (freeclemson.info). I have worked with many businesses using .net and .biz and it seems to make little difference in rankings. It may be a little difficult if you choose a .jp or .fr if you’re targeting North American customers only. A new trend is people choosing Libya suffixes (.ly), but I am still unsure what I think about that.
6. Don’t change domains – Unless you are seriously reworking branding, do not change your domain name. There are instances where you absolutely may have to, but try to avoid.
7. The Big Three – At this time, I recommend only registering your new domain name through Godaddy.com, NetworkSolutions.com or Register.com. I have my reasons, and others may dispute this. My business partner actually searches and find discounts online before registering. Godaddy always has an available discount coupon somewhere online.
8. Make sure you own the website – Register the domain name yourself and make sure the company name is somewhere. Also, log in to your registrar’s control panel and fill out all administrative, billing and technical information.
Part 2 of “Web Marketing Tips” will discuss general website practices essential in improving your ability to promote online.