Take advantage of free and cheap opportunities to promote your site. Use e-mail: It's hardly on the cutting edge of technology, but it's still useful -- and free. A regular e-newsletter, which you may have to pay a modest fee to distribute via a Web service, can keep your customers informed regarding what your company is doing and offer a way to approach them directly. In a newsletter, you can present information about sales, partnerships and other important developments.
With a blog for nearly every subculture and field of interest, there is likely at least one blog or online community -- possibly many -- relating to the field in which your business operates. Contact bloggers, make yourself open to them for questions and interviews, send them press releases, include them on mailing lists and ask them to review your services. If your business hosts parties or is unveiling a new product, invite bloggers, journalists and other similarly influential types to the event.
There are numerous services for paid advertising, such as Google AdWords, and what is most appropriate for your site depends on your budget. Consider also consulting with your designer or webmaster about which advertising services they recommend.
If you can't afford to pay to market your site, take advantage of free tools. For example, Google Webmaster Tools lets you make your site more search engine friendly by making sure Google is aware of your Web site and will include it in search listings. Google also hosts a webmaster community in which people ask questions.
Social networking sites for business, such as LinkedIn, provide free forums in which you can connect with other professionals in your field. Learn which organizations and associations they belong to, as that process may lead you to an even wider community of experts and helpful resources. Other social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are now popular for businesses reaching out to consumers. With the lines between the professional and personal worlds blurring, these sites can be good places to interact with customers, teach them about what you're doing and show that your company is more than simply another business.
For more information about running a business Web site, e-commerce and other related topics, look over some of the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- Chamberlain, Jennifer. Pixel Pop Designs. Personal communication. April 16, 2009.
- "Creating a Great Web Site on the Cheap." Inc. http://www.inc.com/guides/start_biz/20685.html
- Dreisbach, Crystal. "Pick a Business Model That Works for You." Inc. June 2000.http://www.inc.com/articles/2000/06/20003.html
- Google. "Google Webmasters." http://www.google.com/webmasters/
- "How to Set Up Your Own Online Business." eWorkingWomen. http://www.eworkingwomen.com/experts/ebiz11.html
- Matthews, Carole. "Taking Business Online." Inc. October 2003. http://www.inc.com/articles/2003/10/websitedesign.html
- Nice, Karim. FridgeFilters.com. Personal communication. April 12, 2009.
- Schommer, David. "Set Up Your Business Web Site Cheaply." KPHO. http://www.kpho.com/smallbusiness/14663181/detail.html
- Sterne, Jim. "Come In. I've Been Expecting You." Inc. March 2000.http://www.inc.com/magazine/20000315/17884.html
- "Top Ten Small Business Web Site Marketing Tips." PawPrint.http://www.pawprint.net/internet-marketing/small-business-web-site.php