How to Market Your Website Online Part 1

Nov 30, 2011 by Yuriy Sklyar

How to Market Your Website Online Part 1

Today I'm starting a series of posts that follow the design, development and marketing of one of our projects: Drupal Style.

Drupal Style offers free Drupal themes, various related tutorials, as well as free Illustrator, Photoshop and icon downloads to the design community. There aren't that many Drupal-related websites that offer free high quality content, so we already have an edge there.

The Objectives

In order to meet goals you fist have to set them. I know this might sound silly to some of you, but you would be surprised how many of our clients expect that their new website will automatically start generating millions of dollars right after it's launched.

The truth is that internet is so overcrowded with small businesses which seem to be popping up every second, that it's becoming extremely difficult for service provides to position new businesses online (which is why these services are not cheap).

Proof that there are a lot of small businesses.

One of the things any business can do before they launch is to make sure that their website is search engine friendly. Organic search engine optimization will determine how well your website will eventually perform as it ages. This is a part of our future-proofing service that we offer to our larger clients.

Select your choice of CMS/framework wisely! Even though most of the CMS's have one way or the other to manage your meta tags such as descriptions, titles and keywords, some do it better than others. Our choice of framework has been Drupal due to its scalability , as we find that overall it is a very good starting point for any organization that largely depends on internet for their business development.

Anyways, back to goal setting. In the case of Drupal Style, I'm going to set a very clear goal to begin with. We will aim for the top 5 (maybe even 3?) results in Google for "free drupal themes".

The Current State

Right now the top 5 results are as follows:

Drupal Style currently has a first listing on the 3rd page, and the reason for that is because it's missing all of its meta data. In this case, Google is grabbing the info from the content of the website as it can't find any meta data, which is still good as the content does have some relevant keywords.

Google Analytics Overview

The below image shows the current traffic to Drupal Style. It's not much, but it is very steady, which is what's important. Over the next few months we will increase visits to the website, pages per visit , and although the bounce rate isn't too high and the average time spent on website is fairly good, we will attempt to improve those as well.

Our Plan of Action

First things first - fix the meta tags. Drupal allows you to set global meta info that will be applied to all the pages if they are missing meta tags. Alternatively, you can create separate meta info for specific pages. For now, we will just set the global default tags:

Page Title

Enter a short abstract. Typically it is one sentence. Ours will be "Free Drupal themes, free icons and web design tutorials"

Page Description

Limit your description to about 20 words, with a maximum of 350 characters. It should not contain any HTML tags or other formatting. Ours will be: "Download free Drupal themes (eCommerce, blog, business), quality icons, and read many tutorials on web design and development."

Keywords

Enter a comma separated list of keywords. Avoid duplication of words as this will lower your search engine ranking. I will go with "free drupal themes, photoshop and illustrator tutorials, high quality icons" for starters.

Notice that each one of the elements has the "free drupal themes" in it, that's exactly how we want it.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links on other websites that point back to yours. The more you have, the higher your PageRank is, the higher your website ranks in Google. The simplest, "legal" way of getting inbound links is to either ask for a link exchange or simply engage in conversations on other websites, while mentioning (linking) yours.

I searched for "free drupal themes" and left comments on websites that showed up on the first few pages of search results, letting everyone know that we started giving out Drupal themes for free instead of selling them, like we used to. When you do this, try not to sound like a robot by stuffing your sentence with links and keywords - nobody likes spam. Simple, easy to read explanation, with a link back to your website is enough. The reason why I say this is because some websites moderate their comments, so if you want your comment to get accepted, make it sound good and not spamy.

Now, the good news is that most of the websites already approved my comments/contributions. The not-so-good news is that they might take a while for search engines to index them, which is why organic search engine optimization is tough. Fear not though, once everything is in its place, you will always have better search ranking compared to someone who solely relies on Pay Per Click kind of search marketing, for example.

Social Media

I will briefly touch on this as it's a fairly involved, and to tell you the truth, we haven't done much in terms of social marketing for Drupal Style.

It is important to make it extremely easy for your visitors to keep in touch with your product or service. People might not always come back to your website after bookmarking it, even if they are genuinely interested in what you're doing. There are many reasons for that, but I feel that the main ones are their laziness and bad memory. Instead, get through to them by using something that they interact with on daily basis.

Most common social networks right now are Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, so make sure that your website offers a one-click action/way for them to like your Facebook page, for example. That way, even if they don't follow what you're up to, you can always engage them one way or another.

To the right, I quickly came up with a very visible graphic that gives the people an incentive to like us on our Facebook page. I know it's not "perfect", but for the sake of this post, it works OK.

Since I put it up there a week or so ago, we didn't get a single "like". Still too early to judge whether or not Facebook is the right social platform to promote DS on, but I'm thinking that we will have better luck with Google+ as it seems to have a lot more creative circles. I will cover this more in the second post.

That's it for now. Check back soon for a 2nd part!

Yuriy Sklyar - Principal, Threefifty

I'm responsible for UX and UI (among other things) of all projects that come through the doors of Threefifty.

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