The sixth in a series of seven essential secrets of a successful web presence

DesignYou want people to find you. Here are five primary areas to consider in promoting your site.

1. Search Engines

The primary means for finding information on the Internet is still search engines such as Google and Yahoo. You will want to make sure that you do some of the basics for optimizing your site for search engine listings. If you have already included elements such as focused content, you are largely there. To better prepare your site for search engines, you will want to be sure and include the following:

  • Title tag on each page. This is done via the “title” tag in the page headers. Be sure to include a descriptive title on every page. Put the most important words of the title up front because some search engines only look at the first portion of your page title. This may include your city and state in your title.
  • Description meta tag: In the section of each page you are able to put a description of that page. Search engines often times use this to display on the search engine results page. Your description can be just a 2 to 3 sentence summary of what that page includes. It is also helpful to include a call-to-action within the description to help searchers choose to click on your listing instead of someone else's.
  • Headings within the content: In your body, you should always use keyword rich headings. You should have the main heading set as a Heading 1 (H1) and then use Heading 2's and 3's as needed. This helps to make the page more scannable by your readers and also provides strong clues to the search engines of what is important on the page.

2. Links from Other Sites

Links from other web sites not only draw direct traffic to your site but can also enhance your search engine ranking. Try to get listed in as many different sites as possible. It is particularly advantageous to look at any organizations or trade groups. These sites can be sites specific to vertical markets, local community activities and more. High quality websites are particularly helpful for links back to your site. Each link back to your site is like a vote, and some votes are more important than others.

3. Links and Likes from Social Media Sites

Search engines are increasingly picking up clues from social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. A strong social media strategy can help not only make more visitors and their friends aware of you, but also help to increase your search engine rankings as more people “like” and recommend your website.

4. Printed Use of your web address

Be sure to include your web address on all printed communications, both internal and external. This includes your newsletter, advertisements, signs, promotional materials, press releases, business cards, letterhead, and any other printed item. Often times people are unwilling to call a phone number or they may want information when the office is closed. By widely distributing your web address you become more accessible to people wanting to know more about your organization.

5. Use your own branded email

One of the most often overlooked methods of advertising your web site is using your own branded email. When you use This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. instead of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., you are advertising AOL or your particular Internet service provider. Why advertise AOL or MSN or Yahoo when you are communicating on your organization’s behalf? By using your own web address for your email, you are advertising your own web site address and providing another way for people to contact you or find more information about you.

Next: The seventh secret - Include a Call to Action