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Online marketing crucial to success

Before you select a web developer to build your website, it may be wise to ask how they intend to help you market the site online.

Online marketing involves attracting the right type of visitor to your site and, if you have an e-commerce facility, encouraging them to make a purchase. It also involves building customer relations to encourage customers to return.

Online marketing will be key to the success of your Internet business. In fact, many experienced Internet businesses are finding they need to spend considerably more in marketing their website than in building and maintaining their web presence.

The following questions will help you identify web developers who understand how to create online success.

When you ask the questions, don’t just take a “Yeh, we can do that” for an answer. Ask for examples which demonstrate the developer at least understands what you are talking about.

Ask the developer what strategies they use when they build the site to ensure it can be found by the major search engines. The developer should be able to explain how frames, content and meta-data effect the way search engines behave. If they can’t, it is unlikely they will build a site that can be found easily.

The developer should also make recommendations relating to how frequently and it what circumstances your website should be re-registered with the major search engines. If they recommend using only registration software, it is unlikely your site will get into the top listings on the major search engines.

Ask your developer for examples of their work, and time how long the home page takes to come down. If it takes more than ten seconds ask why. Also ask to see how the examples appear when viewed in different versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer.

Your online market will be continually changing – new competitors will enter, existing ones improve and new opportunities will materialize. Ask your developer what they can do to help you keep track of your online market.

Developing web rings or affinity groups can provide low cost opportunities to advertise to prospects that have similar product interests. Ask your developer what experience they have in developing these opportunities.

Internet users find online newsletters preferable to banner ads as a means of receiving promotional information. Ask your developer if they can arrange an online newsletter subscription service, and how they can help you find material to put into the newsletter.

Many online marketing strategies involve co-operative arrangements between different players. Most common are link exchanges or banner ad exchanges, where businesses agree to expose one another’s promotional material on their respective websites.

These relationships can be extended to include co-branding where two or more players may create a completely new online service which attracts large numbers of Internet users. The new service can be co-branded so that both players benefit from the traffic generated. You should ask your web developer if they have the resources to provide co-branding opportunities.

Most web developers will offer to register your domain name and arrange to host your site. If you are starting with a basic website, your developer should provide a range of options.

Ask your developer to explain the pros and cons of each service. If they only have one option it is highly likely to cost you more in the long run.

Internet marketing services will be one of the major Internet growth areas as more businesses begin selling online.

In order to provide comprehensive and high quality internet marketing services, web developers and ISPs will have to invest in people with the right skills. Gaining access to these skills will be critical for online success, so it is essential when you move into the online marketing arena you choose the right partners by asking the right questions.

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