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Five Ways to Get More Out of Your Internet Presence

By: Mary Westheimer

Mary Westheimer is CEO of BookZone, the Net's largest publishing community at www.bookzone.com BookZone offers design, development, hosting and promotion to more than 3,500 publishing professionals, as well as BookZonePro, the publishing industry portal that offers information and assistance. For more information, contact BookZone at bookzone@bookzone.com or 800-536-6162 (480-481-9737).

To create as many pathways as possible into your site, you'll want to get registered in Web search engines (the interactive directories that many people use to find the information they're seeking), set up links to similar sites (see below), frequent pertinent newsgroups and electronic mail lists.
1 With hundreds of search engines, thousands of sites for links and tens of thousands of newsgroups and mail lists, the enormity of the job could be discouraging. Be the master of the task by dividing and conquering (thanks, Machiavelli). Set goals of, say, registering in five search engines each week, establishing four links, and participating in two newsgroups and two mail lists in your subject area. After a month or so, adjust the amounts to your comfort level. Use BookZone's Internet Marketing Toolbox at www.bookzonepro.com/mkttoolbox.html to help you get organized.
2 Being in the general search engines is important, but it's not the only place to submit your site. Use those same search engines to find indices on your subject and make sure you're listed there, too. For instance, searching for "literature indices" in Yahoo will lead you to another two dozen lists of places your site should be listed, including BookZone's Literary Leaps, a collection of more than 2,500 book-related links at www.literaryleaps.com. "Medical indices" leads you to another couple dozen lists, which then sends you to sites including Achoo at www.achoo.com. The extra exposure at Achoo can make any health site feel better.
3 The Internet is basically one-to-one marketing, so establishing "reciprocal links," or links between sites that serve similar audiences, is key to generating traffic. Traditionally, people ask for a link to their site in exchange for a link to yours. Shortcut the process by simply setting up a link on your end, then asking the other site's webmaster to follow your lead. Establishing your link to their site first not only shows good will and genuine appreciation of their efforts, it saves you "checking up" time and effort.
4 Start an electronic newsletter. This kind of mailing is an inexpensive and easy way to keep you, your site and your books fresh in the minds of your audience. In fact, "ezines" are one of the most effective ways to promote online, with as much as a 20% response rate compared to less than 1% for banner ads. Why? People sign up for the newsletters, so they're more likely to read them and act. Share what's happening on your site and provide other helpful information - not just sales hype - to attract loyal readers.
5 Use a signature in all of your e-mail and newsgroup postings. This "secret weapon" is the best way to get the word out about your products, services and your site without ever mentioning them directly. This is especially useful on mail lists and newsgroups, which are, ironically, one of the best places to reach your audiences. By answering questions, conveying news and exchanging information, you're getting repeat exposures with minimal or no effort while building good will. (Your e-mail package should have an option for creating signatures, or you can cut-and-paste a small text file. And do keep it small - Netiquette suggests a signature should be about four to six lines long.)
+ Bonus Tip: Don't succumb to the seduction of glitzy graphics, agitating audio or frenetic frames on your site if they're not serving a real purpose. People get impatient quickly and will leave a site rather than wait for graphics to load. Says consultant Wally Bock on his site at www.bockinfo.com: "People will wait about 10 seconds tops to see information on a site if they haven't already established that site's value in their mind. That means that your site needs to come up in about 10 seconds." If your average visitor is using a 56k modem, then that means about 50k maximum of files for your home page.

© 2001, Mary Westheimer, BookZone. All rights reserved.

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The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.

 

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