There are more than 105 million of them in the United States. Worldwide, there could be at least 250 million of them. Them, according to statistics from the Nielsen/Net Ratings service, is the number of active Web surfers. 250 million in the whole world? The figure is more than the populations of Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and a few non-English speaking countries combined. That’s a lot of them!
With so many active surfers around, you would think Webmasters and site owners have an easy time attracting them. Actually, they face an uphill battle to bring visitors and, more importantly, consumers to their Web sites. And a Web site without traffic is like a store built in the middle of the desert. You could have the greatest products and most attractive Web design around, but they’re worthless if no one visits them.
There is one way, however, to turn your Web site into an oasis of business, a way to drive as much traffic to your site as your server can handle: a classified ad.
More on that later. First, all Web builders and site owners should know the basic and time-tested ways to attract traffic to their Web site. The key to all of these methods is to attract the right Web surfers. You want what experts call “targeted visitors,” or people who are actually interested in what you’re selling. To guarantee that this happens, you should follow this checklist of Web traffic golden rules:
Step 1: Optimize your Web pages. Webmasters in the know take the time to set their meta tags. These tags, or codes, are hidden keywords in the Web page that tell search engines like Google and Yahoo exactly what your site is all about. A meta tag, for instance, could be “designer handbags,” “sporting equipment,” or whatever else you happen to be selling. These keywords tell the search engine to direct all handbag or sports shoppers to your site.
Step 2: List your site with every search engine out there. For this step, you simply need to surf over to Google, AltaVista, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines. Click onto their customer service page, where they allow Web builders and site owners to manually submit their site addresses.
Step 3. Spice up your site with interactive features. With articles, newsletters, offers, promotions, and discounts, you give your targeted visitors a reason to stay at your site once they find it. More importantly, you give them reasons to come back and tell their friends about the site. Word of mouth is one of the best, and cheapest, forms of advertising on the planet.
Step 4. Exchange banner ads with friends and with other companies that you do business with. Banner ads are those eye-catching designs at the top and bottom of Web pages. They’re like the billboards of the Internet superhighway. But with these online billboards, a simple click transports the Web surfer directly to your Web site.
Step 5. Exchange Web links with friends and business associates. This, Webmasters and site owners, could be the most important way to drive Web traffic to your site. All of the major search engines rank sites by measuring how many links come to and leave from your Web site.
So links are a way to measure how worthwhile and how legitimate your site is. The better this measurement, the better chance your site will have to show up well in Web surfers’ searches. In other words, these links could be the difference between your site being listed on page 20 of a Google search results, or on page 1.
Building better Web links and search engine results—that’s where classified sites come into play. Some of the most savvy classified sites on the market now offer Web links in their ads. These links lead right to your business’ home page.
Not only are these links convenient one-click ways for more customers to reach your site. They also boost your search engine rankings.
Of course, for business owners, classified sites have so many other benefits, too.
• Unparalleled exposure. Classified sites are like online malls. Not only will you get exposure from shoppers coming specifically to find your goods. You get “spill over” attention from shoppers who came for another item but then start browsing through all of the other ads in the classified “mall.”
• A new arsenal of Web sites. Having online classified ads is like setting up multiple new Web sites across the Internet. Unlike your own original site, these classified ads come with low-cost IT support, security, and advertising.
• Incredible growth opportunities. Businesses and individuals selling on online classified sites pull in more than $1.95 billion a year, according to the statistics firm Kelsey Group. That figure does not even include money from eBay.
• Money for nothing. As valuable as classified sites are, many of the best ones charge very little or absolutely nothing to set up your ads.