Tips on How to Promote your Website:
How to Choose and Test Keywords and Content
Keyword tools for promotion - Internet Marketing
To Increase Sales, Improve Search Engine rankings
Understanding SEO: How to Build a great website

Overview: You must build a better website to improve rankings to increase sales or membership. Even if you choose paid promotion, better design helps sell. Part of site promotion is to build a great site with proven-tested Headlines and appeals, relevant content, focused landing or product pages with popular keywords, key-phrases and unique content. It does no good to buy top center ranking or be on the first search Page of Google or Bing/Yahoo--if the web pages don't sell by informing, creating confidence and trust.

It should be obvious that high organic ranking requires an absolutely wonderful, uniquely authoritative (cited by others) website with volumes of content which dominates a niche (differentiated). But even if you buy PPC-pay per click paid promotion, inbound links, banners and directory listings---the pages must be designed not only with strong keywords in mind, but they must match each page's target audience.

Each page is a doorway with a purpose and hook; The home page and main topical landing pages still must be interesting, relevant and informative to site visitors. As we said, good promotion begins before the site is even named and with deciding and refining the title and description.

What you learn in our articles on promotion can make the difference between a struggling business or niche-leader with qualified buyers finding and appreciating your products. The methods to finalize the initial site or first major update will be usable in whatever we do, and for improvements to follow so you reduce the chance of setting off into wasting thousands of dollars and years of your life, which often happens when people set out on a whim and a guess. There is no need to guess. Do your research, build a great strategy, test and KNOW what works.

As in our other articles, choosing keywords and focus of pages must be integrated with your web marketing strategy. Unless you are extremely lucky and do tremendous market research and design before your first website version, the best headlines, content and keywords can only be found by cycles of testing and improvement in advertising or promotion campaigns. These cycles of improvements use long-proven methods of direct marketing--applied to the web..

Where to start research and planning for a great website and promotion:

1) To begin proper keyword and content research for site improvement or planning, start here:

  • Read the relevant WebSuccess articles, especially regarding planning, Before you begin and how to promote.
  • Follow the preliminary steps noted in those articles, especially as to research, business and marketing strategy and positioning, and developing your unique selling proposition (how your product and company are better and why they should buy from you, in 50 words or less).
  • Develop your tentative Website title and description, your main tentative appeals and headlines and main pages topics.
  • You will have done research for strategies, but here you verify competition and niches by more research, beginning testing keyword phrases on Google and using search keyword popularity tools.
  • Write an Outline of your planned website using Title, Description, Unique Selling Proposition, your Marketing Plan, your main appeals, tentative Headings and Headlines and tentative pages.
  • Separately on your positioning diagram, refine your final market and niche positioning diagram showing your industry, sub-industry, main players in the industry, main buyer segments, the main competitors, sub-competitors and companies that support the main players, and flows between them. (this can require a whole wall with large labels)
  • Find the places your prime prospects gather, things they talk about, publications and websites that serve each segment and buyer type you will serve. Your marketing plan should have already identified the main buyer types and motivations.
  • Projecting your best guess of changes in the industry over the next five years, and the main issues of the industry that make your product better or in growing demand, project the position and nich(es) that you want to occupy.
  • Begin testing keyword phrases related to all the above, particularly regarding your product and issues (differences/controversy) as to why your product or method might be better. Test for keyword phrase popularity and list all terminology. Keep lists of most popular keywords per topic.
  • Incorporate those topics and issues into your website outline as possible, but focus on your product features, advantages, motivations to buy it and the positive feelings that come from use of your product. Those words must end up in your web pages too.
  • As you choose and decide your website's main purpose, structure, topics and focus of pages---sort and add into your website outline the popular keyword phrases you previously researched and listed, under page topics.
  • Develop a good long list of frequently asked questions and issues and important facts about your product types. Write the questions as if you were searching for that information on Google. Add questions relating to your main home page title and descriptions and headings, and those of every page.

Tools for Finding and Testing Keywords and Key Phrases:

Among many good tools for searching keywords and key phrase relevance and popularity is Google's own Keyword Tool. You can also use the regular Google search window with Google "instant" turned on (default is on). Make your list of keyword ideas and from looking at competitors and your own strategy and focus.

That is how you make a good start on testing appeals, keywords and headlines. But it is not all. To test appeals and headlines, you have to study actual ads and headlines, not just keywords.

Parallels to Direct Marketing and Advertising Basics:

2) We begin test marketing by showing the parallels to classical direct marketing and advertising and show some internet differences to consider.

This is where you study competitor's ads, and begin to try or pretend as to what would be your own headlines and advertising, like as if you were running magazine, newspaper or banner ads on publication websites or newsletters. If you don't have competitors, great; Assume you will have and study the most near parallel businesses to your own, looking at their ads on Google and in websites focuses on related topics.

Direct marketers never expected to always be able to choose the best appeals and wording the first time out. They continually did many parallel tests of wording and appeals in small ads or offers, using "key codes". They saved time by testing several "offers" and "appeals" at one time. Like the smart web marketer, they of course did research on competitors and learned what ads others ran for long periods, because those ads worked or competitors would not run them (they were expensive). You check those quickly and test offers quickly on the internet---the same way.

The direct-marketing approach used promotion "campaigns", like advertising campaigns. Does that sound familiar? That is why Google Adwords advertising and keyword selection is based on campaigns, within which there are "Ad Groups". The smart internet marketer begins to get the idea that the parallels are many, and the principles almost the same, except that Google and Bing let you do most of the hard expensive work of direct marketing much more quickly and inexpensively, for testing.

About half way through designing your site, build a test "landing page" or two or use a draft home page to test appeals and offers using the same "parallel" advertising techniques of direct marketers. Test headlines and keywords, systematically testing different combinations of words and phrases. Use basic advertising and headlines principles we list below, and read advertising classic books (old school how-to type by the old pro). Combine the new internet tools to incorporate popular keyword phrases.

Factors in Choosing how to Test Keywords, Appeals, Headlines and Content:

3) The advantages of the internet combined with basic advertising and "ad copy" writing principles and direct marketing---are many.

  • You can research popularity of keywords (appeals and offers) even before buying PPC Adwords or banner ads
  • You can instantly research competitors; offerings and ads and see which ads run for long periods (those are the good appeals and good headlines)
  • Google and others offer many keyword popularity research tools
  • Some free or cheap tools even let you examine your competitors' web pages for how their keywords measure up and what meta tag errors they made
  • You can enter and test bids/costs of keywords
  • You can examine and research various niches for strategies or sub-strategies for focus of landing page topics or target audience segments
  • You can keep up with what audience segments are interested in, in forums and blogs, and what are hot topics (remember, emotion raising topics are what motivate sales (ie: love/hate polarity is indicator of sellability)
  • You can create focused landing pages and use only a little bit of paid promotion to test appeals and headlines
  • You can practice the art of "screening" prospects to not click, if you are going to use PPC like Adwords (you want qualified serious clickers, not lookers
  • Even if you are going to use organic placement, you still must test what appeals and headlines and tag lines work to motivate action like clicking.

That is not an exhaustive list of how useful and powerful the internet can be to a smart internet marketer using proven direct marketing and advertising principles along with proven business strategy formulation methods.

4) Even more important than all the testing of appeals and headlines and focus of topics and finding of popular keywords---is the ability to use all that to refine the business and marketing strategy. This is crucial if the business is primarily an internet-based business. Competition and clutter are growing so high that many nice expensive web businesses are going broke, with little traffic, poor organic ranking and face stiff Adwords bid competition.

It is not enough to build a beautiful and functional site, or even to have a good product---if you don't know how to identify and attack niches or revise or re-bundle (reframe-rename) offerings to avoid direct head-on competition. Just like an auction with 2 or 3 strong bidders can make buying at auction prohibitively expensive, the same can happen a) on buying advertising or PPC keyword bids and b) as to the opposite---price-cutting by what are called "stupid" or "cut throat" competitors, who may either be stupid or actually able to buy volume to resell much cheaper than you or with pockets deep enough to drive competitors out of business over a couple of years. Those are strategies that fit the strengths of certain businesses. Price competition (low price provider) is a formula for disaster, and a growing problem on the internet. Trying to compete nationally or globally is a poor strategy for any business with me-too products in a crowded niche.

If your situation is somewhat like that, you at least have to utilize every one of the methods on this website (and other tips on other sites) to maintain at least one competitive advantage of doing excellent web marketing.

Deciding how to test keywords, appeals, headlines and content:

5) Deciding how to test keywords and design and write page-focused content using those keywords still depends largely on the choice you made to emphasize PPC or organic ranking. Again, you must research and test keywords and refine focus and strategy before finalizing your web pages. Get used to the fact that you must write some good interesting content regardless of your choice on paid versus organic ranking. Here are factors to consider:

  • Can you follow some or most of the techniques presented in these articles?
  • Does your business strategy (strengths and resources match market gaps) allow for a strong internet presence (strong web budget or staffing)?
  • Can you emphasize a niche strategy within your business strategy based on evaluating competition, your strengths and resources (SWOT) and an honest appraisal of your product offering uniqueness, quality and demand?
  • Do you have a few hundred dollars per month for PPC appeal testing for about six months, even if you choose to go mostly organic?
  • Before you write extensive content, will you design and write for mostly organic ranking, and, if so, outline your proposed website after researching keywords, competition, appeals and find headlines that "pull"? (Pages need focus on topics of interest centered on related (relevant) keyword phrases which you researched and found popular.)
  • How fast must you get started selling; That is how long can you wait to see high ranking? (Regardless whether paid or organic, don't expect results in less than several months)
  • Can you write quality authoritative content (are you a good writer)?
  • How much do you know about basic advertising and direct marketing?

These questions are not exhaustive, not all-inclusive. To win in the internet business, you have to think, adjust, adapt and refine your strategy just as you do in the rest of your business. The proven most-successful way to avoid mis-steps and possible huge expense and lost time is to do the best job before designing and writing the website, and the best on-going improvement of the site using campaign-testing methods.

Understanding Key Advertising Concepts- the Basics:

6) Your website is typically first and foremost an advertisement. Even if you are educating others and talking engineering principles, you now have to at first sell what you are doing as better than other sources. If traffic never builds to your site, it is a waste of time. If you don' know the most important advertising principles, you will likely fail:

  • Test Headlines more than anything; Don't assume you know what works.
  • Headlines are most important.
  • Slight changes in headlines and appeals can make several times difference in response rates.
  • Name your target audience and state the main benefit in the headlines.
  • Appeals state the main benefits and feelings generated by the product or service.
  • Tease a little bit - don't give the whole story.
  • Place the Headlines in places to be seen, such as in Google Adwords ads, and in the top parts of your website pages, precisely relating to the topics of the page (not just any headlines or content - they must match).
  • Sub headlines or tag lines must support and add to the power of the headline.
  • Don't be vague or general; Be specific- who, what, when. ("Corn sufferers: pain gone overnight!") (that is the classical ad that names its audience and sits up and barks benefits--in 5 words!).
  • Support your headline claims with specific facts, testimonials, examples and case histories.
  • Attract attention, name the audience, show the product in use, talk about the product, use faces and interesting pictures.
  • Be sure the page answers all the "objections" a buyer might have.
  • Have a "Call to action" --Ask for the order (provide a big buy button on every page).

Read up on case histories of successful direct marketers from the days of snail mail and catalogs. These people knew what they were doing. They almost never wasted money. You can waste a ton of money on ads that don't work. Never think you know how the prospects will see your ads, and even your website. Ask them. Ask for comments with a 1 minute exit survey and even pay them $1 or $2 for their time. You can have a different survey for each main page with a Next or Exit button. The Exit goes to a survey, and apologizes for not having what they wanted, or asking if that was the reason. Give them the option to just leave and not do the survey.

What are details of the preliminary Keyword and Appeal testing phase?

7) Simply extend these principles and practice you began of testing headlines and appeals on your key landing pages and improving home page. Expect the home page to change over several months. The first version for testing should have had the basic purposes named in your description, and listed main facts and features of your offerings, not like the endless "teasers" that some sites become. Serious buyers with money don't hang out long on tiresome teaser sites that never quite tell you specifics while making incredible claims.

Your original "space holder" homepage was little more than part of your outline with which you began this keyword-content-appeal testing phase. It should have been a very simple layout without tables, columns and so forth ... just Lean, interesting, clean and tasteful. You add some content as you go. But that is not the main design which you will install at the midpoint of this section's testing procedure, to be further improved in cycles.

Use the Google and other site tools to continue finding and testing popular key word phrases related to your main topic pages. You are trying to have one to five main landing pages including the home page. Each page is a bit focused as to scope and topic and audience segment, or main feature.

Your marketing strategy refinements should now have lists of appeals, features and benefits charted for each of your buyer types. Incorporate those into your page content. Compose (or hire and ad copy composer) to come up with about 20 good ads for each landing page and home page. On some keep the headline almost the same and vary the tag lines. Try them out on strangers before placing them. Don't try to be cutesy. Be clear, direct, name the product, the audience need, etc..

For a couple of months at least, test ads, keywords and appeals using Bing or Google Adwords. Try to hold factors constant during tests, such as time of day, days of week, geographic locations. You can test just a couple of metro areas. When you find some strong appeals and headlines, you then vary the locations, to test whether that was peculiar to those two cities. Use a site statistics tracker to look at visitor paths.

The appeals you discover (hopefully slightly different and differentiated (positioning) from your competitors) are now used to finalize the theme, and unique selling propositions meeting needs of each segment of your prospects. You are near finalizing your first main phase/version of your website, utilizing all that you learned in research and testing. You have learned to be scientific, like direct marketers, doing experiments, finding what works.

Cycles of keyword and headline testing and improvement for more sales or memberships:

8) During the first couple of years, we repeat this process of cycles of testing and improvement, remembering that your competition will not stay the same. It gets better and others enter the fray. Your job is to incorporate the best keyword phrases of 3 to 5 words, and focus your pages to be unique and meet certain segments of prospects better than any other competitor. Don't get caught up in making some special marketing method until you have exhausted everything else and covered these basics, mostly of having a great product and delivering it better than others, and most important, being there with the words your prospect segments will type.

Your cycles of improvement should be done in coordination with your web developer's plans for style and layout improvements, if any. The web designer keeps versions and backups of your site, because you may want to "step back" to a prior version that had more results. They also help keep your copyright control and track versions for you. Help them do this job by making them the central point of contact and coordination, if you bring in SEO experts or advisors. Do not let others, or yourself use some "HTML editor" without coordinating with your web developer and webmaster.

This is also the phase to continue exploring new ads with new appeals, and refining keyword phrases. This can never be done too well. It takes time and effort, but it pays off. Even if your site is not the best, biggest and most authoritative, you will have learned what ads work, and when to run them when doing paid promotion like PPC Adwords. That is a tremendous advantage over competitors who play at promoting, which is most. As you see, this is serious and somewhat tedious work, essential to your website and business success.

Remember, when using paid placement you must try to screen out lookers and those who can't afford your product. State a price or imply some aspect that is not Free, cheap or give-away, unless you run a special 2 for 1 type sale. Those may be the type of ads that work to get people to try some types of good products that they may continue to buy, if exceptional.

And remember, regardless of how you bring prospects, paid or organic, appeals should be tested with some paid ads. And you should be sure your web pages are quick and easy to use, and get to the point, attract attention, are attractive to look at, and state how you are different and better, and then add credibility. Most of all pages should be concise and informative and well organized in sections and have bullets of main points.

Better web designers and their SEO arms will have additional techniques to save money on paid advertising, such as "negative keywords".

Summary:

In sum, when you choose to emphasize paid or organic placement, we suggest a hybrid approach emphasizing one or the other. Design around that choice. But for both methods, you must test appeals and headlines the way direct marketers did. You must become a keyword keyphrase expert regarding your business. Find out which are most popular and continue testing, whether paid or organic. Use paid promotion such as Adwords wisely, such as for testing appeals and wording and for brief specials. Set limits for paid promotion budgets and campaign end dates (usually the same day, even if the actual campaign runs months- watch it daily). Either way, your site must be interesting and have focused pages and contain fairly popular and relevant keywords. Do much competitor and keyword research before you even name the site and pages if possible. .

Good Luck

Note: For more helpful information about starting a web business, browse our other information guides and tips on our menu.

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