pic
hot topics

Promoting your website

There are three main ways that people arrive at websites - direct navigation, web referrals and search engines.

DIRECT NAVIGATION

The best way of generating web traffic is to make sure you include your web address on all printed material - business cards, letters, flyers, etc.

Choose a simple web address (URL) which avoids hyphens or other punctuation as it will be easier for people to remember. If you operate exclusively in the UK, choose a .co.uk address. If you trade abroad, consider a .com or .eu address as well.

For more information on choosing a domain name, see our guide on website hosting options.

WEB REFERRALS

Web referrals are an important means of attracting visitors to your site. There are a number of ways you can generate these.

* Include your web address in all email footers.
* Email marketing - targeted electronic newsletters and offers to customers can be very effective. If the offer is interesting it is easy for people to pass the email on.
* Online advertising - the use of banner and pop-up adverts on other websites to drive people to yours, see the page in this guide on advertising and sponsorship.
* Reciprocal marketing - finding sites with complementary content and agreeing to have links or banners to each other's sites.
* Forums - you can set up your own, or monitor others, join the discussion and point people towards your website, see the page in this guide on community building.

SEARCH ENGINES

While search engines are far outstripped by direct referrals, they can still prove useful for attracting customers. Competition for a high ranking on the major search engines is intense because few web users look beyond the second page of results.

If you are expecting your website to generate significant commercial returns, it will be well worth spending the time and effort to ensure you get the most out of your search engine placement.