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Small Websites, Big Traffic!

Internet Magazine, November, 2001

BUILDING A WEBSITE IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF A journey towards successful e - Business. Once you have a site, it's just like having an additional store in a mega mall called the Internet. Without visitors to your online store, you will not even have a chance to sell your products no matter how great they are!

Therefore, we need to allocate our resources for promotions and marketing. There are various tools available, depending on your budget, time and resources.

The first step towards driving more traffic to the website starts with the domain name. You'd realize that some sites such as ( 1234) do not have their own domain name. The tip here is to register your domain name relevant to the company's name, or industry for branding and image. If a thrifty website owner refuses to invest US$70 (RM266) to get his own domain name, it may appear he is not serious about his online venture and this would have a negative effect on his image.

You can get an international domain name,com,.net, at just US$70 (RM266) for a two-year registration, or a local Malaysian domain name,, ., at RM 100 per year. This investment would do wonders for the image of the website. For instance (, (, and ( are some great domain names.

Every client, in addition to having his / her own personal computer to work on, also has a tutor sitting right beside him or her. Lessons are conducted based on the assumption that clients have zero knowledge of computers, even to the point of turning on a PC.

Next, make sure that your site is registered in one of the major international search engines (e.g. Google), directories (e.g. Yahoo!) and even the local ones. It is without doubt that much of the traffic to sites are still driven by these search engines and directories. You do not need to register your site with all the search engines on the Internet. There are probably more than 7,000 so-claimed search engines! Just focus on the top 15 search engines and get your site listed there. You can either do the submission yourself, or hire a consultant to do it. Before proceeding, you need to read more about the search engine submission process, and their criteria.

It's not just-about meta tags (as some so-called consultants will tell you), or domain names. Various search engines and directories have different sets of criteria on what sites they would add on to their database and how they rank a site. It makes a huge difference whether you're No. 1 00 1 or No. 1 in the search results. If you're listed at the very end of the search results, you should focus on optimising your website ranking, to push it to a better position. A good example is (, the beauty portal of Miss Malaysia / World 2000 Tan Su Wei. is ranked No. 1 in Yahoo! for the keywords 'beauty Malaysia" and gets hits from all over the world daily.

Your site should do everything possible to entice surfers to leave their email addresses, join your membership or sign up for your newsletter. your tool for email marketing. If your list is small, say 300 emails, you can even use your Outlook Express to send them newsletters. However, when your membership grows, it might be easier to use a professional service or email softwares.

Email marketing is not just about sending members an email about your latest product, it's about reaching out and giving them value- added information with irresistible offers! The successful formula of a newsletter is time-sensitive materials, reference information, special offers and fun. Email marketing's effectiveness increases if the message is personalized to the reader, eg. 'Dear Fione' in the content and subject rather than just general 'Dear valued customer'.

Another important marketing tool on the Internet is participating in group discussions or forums. Just go to a search engine, and look for these sites, (e.g. Yahoo!) groups. You should choose the groups/forums carefully and evaluate whether these could be prospects who may be interested in your products and services. When you join a group, you must be very tactful in your promotions. Posting commercial messages without value to the other members is a total No-No!

You have to get into the group, build the relationship through helping the other members figure out answers to their problems. Once that relationship has been established, these users would rather deal with your products and services because they trust you. This is an ongoing process, and you can only see the results in the long run, so you'd need to be patient.

One misconception about increasing site traffic is over reliance on online marketing, and not doing offline marketing. It's amazing that people would actually spend money on their website, but not list their domain name on the name card, nor the company's documents, eg. Letterheads, invoices, or storefront. Sometimes, even the employees are not aware of the website! You must focus on where your prospects are. If they are offline now, offer them incentives to go online to your website as well. For instance, if you run a restaurant, your website should have discount vouchers for the members to print out, and redeem it at your outlet.

I often hear comments from small business owners that their websites don't work. The truth is they don't make their websites work. A website owner needs to take responsibility to promote his website just as much as promoting his physical business. Don't just blame others. Increasing traffic to your website requires commitment and creativity.

"Small Websites, Big Traffic - Internet Magazine"

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