Give users a reason to visit your
website by providing them with information and/or entertainment. Unlike advertising in a
magazine or TV commercial where the reader or viewer is exposed to your advertisements
because they happen to be reading an article or watching a TV show, users of the WWW must
choose to visit your website first. Therefore if your website offers nothing more than a
one page advertisement the amount of traffic that you will generate will be extremely
limited to those individuals seeking to purchase your product. However, by providing users
with industry information or tips you can increase your advertising base to not only reach
those interested in your product but also to those that are casually surfing the web in
search of information related to your product or industry.
While graphics are important in
capturing and retaining the attention of users, they should not be overdone. Since time is
money and this is especially true on the WWW, users don't want to be burdened with long
downloads associated with large graphic files. Most users would rather move on then wait
for these files to download. If you are really concerned about graphical presentation
remember that half the users of the WWW do not view the web graphically, either due to the
fact that they don't have a graphical browser or because they don't have their graphic
viewer turned on. Also since users have already made the decision to visit your website,
it is not necessary to recatch their attention all over again with eye-catching graphics.
At this point more emphasis should be placed on the content and the message you wish to
convey. While the power of well designed graphics can not be denied, the cost/benefit
should be analyzed more carefully on the Internet then in other forms of advertising.
Navigation & Hyperlinks
When designing a web site it is
important to make it user friendly. Nothing is more frustrating than entering a website
that has thousands of hyperlinks with no clear direction or design. In most instances each
page should have no more than 5 hyperlinks. As is the case with any blanket statement
there are exceptions, such as sites in which large volumes of data or topics are stored.
However, in these cases a search database should be established to aid users in locating
information rather than providing a hyperlink for every keyword or bit of information. By
providing too many hyperlinks it becomes harder to control what information you want your
user to leave your website with. Additionally, hyperlinks should be strategically placed.
Don't place a hyperlink in the middle of sentence in which you are trying to make a point.
If there is information that you definitely want users to view before they leave, try
using buttons as hyperlinks to this information. Nothing begs out more to explore than a
well designed and placed button on a website.
Provide Useful Information
We briefly discussed this topic above
when talking about providing users with information or entertainment on your website. One
advantage to using this marketing strategy is that it allows you the flexibility to
advertise in some newsgroups or other bulletin boards without sounding like an
advertisement; which by the way is usually frowned upon. By posting that your web site has
information or entertainment that might be useful to readers of that newsgroup, you are
offering something instead of interrupting the group with a blatant advertisement.
Continuing with the example above a winery may wish to post a message in a newsgroup
related to wine discussions, that their website contains information on wine selections
and/or related information. However, before posting in a newsgroup spend a couple of days
reading articles and the FAQ. By doing this you can get a feel for the general attitude to
commercial adds and the level of advertising that is permitted. Some groups allow zero
advertising and the penalties for breaking this rule can be substantial. Being flamed is
no fun!!! Never send out a blanket message to several unrelated newsgroups, this is a sure
way to be flamed. In addition you should try to register your website in as many search
engines and directories as possible. Also think about offering a free sample of your
product or maybe a coupon. This not only will increase traffic to your area but it also
provides you with the name and address of potential clients.