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© 1999 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Yes, we all know that and are selling books online. But some small publishers are also selling an impressive number of books online.

How do they do it? They follow five important steps:

1. Build a clean, clear Web site offering information on a topic of interest to the target market. The Web site offers more than one way to order.

2. Build a foundation of low-cost marketing.

  1. Optimize the Web site pages for indexing by search engines.
  2. Register the Web site with search engines and directories.
  3. Research and request strategic incoming links from sites appealing to the target market,
  4. Register with new site lists.
  5. Write and e-mail a catchy publicity release to 1,200 media editors who are interested in hearing the news.

3. Evaluate the traffic to the Web site.

  1. Watch the Web log report to track the number of visitors and confirm that the traffic is increasing.
  2. Watch the Web log report's listing of sites referring visitors to the site. The top referring sites are potential places to advertise. The missing sites, those important sites which don't appear on the list, are the sites where the Web site should be registered again.

4. Start advertising.

  1. Try an inexpensive online ad campaign with banner ads placed on the most popular referring site.
  2. Try an inexpensive offline ad campaign with classified ads displaying a teaser line and the Web address (URL) of the site.

5. Consider setting up an Affiliate program. Take on some sales affiliates the way does. That is, find a site currently attracting your target customer, and offer the site owner a percentage of every sale originating from visitors he sends your way. Your site receives more visitors and makes more sales, because the affiliate highlights the link as an important one.

Follow these five steps, and you can make your Web site an important facet of your publicity program while selling your books directly to the public.

~ Virginia Lawrence is an Information Architect who publishes both in print and online. She can be reached at or at her Web site,



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