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Does Your Site Feed Hungry Surfers?
By Sylvia Dickens, Book Reviewer

One of the biggest challenges for any internet marketer is getting people to your web site. As you know, without traffic, no one sees your offer and no sales are made.

The first thing to realize is that people don’t go online looking to buy something. They’re looking for information. This is a leftover concept from when the internet was a place to find free products and service. Surfers are used to getting what they need without paying.

So your first challenge is to gain their trust. You can do that by offering them advice. Over time, they will come to appreciate you and want to do business with you. People who trust you and know that you offer valuable information are much more profitable visitors than those just surfing by.

When they eventually buy your product, you just have to be sure it's of the same or better value and quality as your free advice, product or service.

Here are some ideas you can use to attract people to your site. They continue to work for many top marketers.

People are much alike - they like to get free things. That’s how the internet became so popular so quickly. It provided almost anything surfers could possibly want.

Webmasters, striving to gain people’s trust in this new medium decided to offer their free services. In fact, they didn't have much choice. The internet was still little known, used by few, and not considered a trustworthy place to do business. Luckily for many businesses today, that is changing rapidly.

A free e-zine subscription is one of the most widely used techniques to attract surfers. Free e-books is another way to get people to your site. Once they are there, they will see your other offers. If they like your free products and services, they are more likely to develop a trust in you and will be more open to buying from you.

That's why you need to catch their contact information while they are there. You'll want to follow up with them at least 7-8 times to earn their trust and sell them on your products later.

Some of your visitors are likely to be webmasters who need content for their sites. Providing original, up-to-date material will do several things. You will be viewed as an expert in that particular topic. This means people will come to relate your name with the subject next time they are looking for answers.

If webmasters use your material in their e-zine or on their web site, you will be getting links back to your site. The more links you have out there pointing back to your site, the higher Google will rank your site. In turn, this means your site will appear much higher in the search results for that particular search term.

Offering an online directory has become a popular way for people to list what they have to offer, along with links to services on the internet. There are dangers in building such a site. Be careful that you’re not just building a link farm.

A link farm is a site that offers a collection of links to other sites. The link farm site doesn’t have any of its own content. Such a site will severely handicap your Google ranking. In fact, it could mean it won’t get listed at all.

The benefits of providing a directory are greatly outweighed, unless you include your own articles, advice and other offers of use to your visitors. They will like the directory aspect of your site, but since the major directory sites provide such a great resource, it’s best to leave extensive directory sites to the pros.

Make your directory unique and include value. A good way to do this is to focus on a particular topic for your directory, like internet marketing or world’s best recipes. Your articles and links will relate to those topics only.

For example, a recipe site can offer more than recipes. Add product reviews of anything related to baking and cooking. This could be a new cooking utensil. Link to specialty shops where cooks can find ingredients and supplies. Include books on recipes. This might be a link to Amazon.

Make your site unique. Make it the site people will promote for you to all their friends and anyone else looking for a one-stop destination that answers all their questions. Give away free recipes.

If you have the expertise, consider offering free online seminars or chat rooms where you can “meet” with your visitors at regular intervals to answer their questions on your area of knowledge.

If you’re not an expert at the start, seek someone who is and invite them to join you. In exchange for your expert’s participation, offer him or her a free ad on your site. Give them an extra plug during the online events. Before long, you will become an expert too.

Viral Marketing is an excellent technique to get people to your site. Simply create a product they can download free from your site. It could be freeware, shareware, demos, reports, e-books. Where possible, include your ad inside with a link to your site. Let other people give it away. People will find you when your product is passed on, so be sure to encourage your visitors to spread your product around to all their friends and contacts.

If you take this approach to marketing your site, you're sure to have those hungry surfers chomping at your site's doorway.

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