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What Can a Web Site Do For You?

2003 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Since 1997, I've been writing in the SPAWN newsletter about how to set up a Web site and how to market a Web site. When a member recently asked why I spend so much time on this topic, I realized that artists, writers, and publishers don't necessarily see any benefit to having a Web site. And, of course, we all know someone who built a two-page site years ago, did no marketing, and says that the site never did anything for him.

If we simply place a few paragraphs on a page and add a graphic, the site will do nothing for us. We must put in some effort-we must decide what we want our site to do, then map out a plan. A Web site can be an online gallery for an artist, or an extensive resume for a technical writer, or a full media kit for an author, or a bookstore for a publisher, or…

A well-done Web site is a marketing vehicle, so a Web site requires a target market and a goal. We must determine the type of people we want to attract and what we want them to do at the site. We must figure out a way to attract the preferred visitors and to encourage them to fulfill our goal.

Example - Web site for a book on how to care for a Senegal parrot

Target Market

Our target market includes parrot owners and those considering purchasing a Senegal parrot. We must design the site so that that it will attract owners and potential owners of Senegal parrots. Visitors will not necessarily visit just because we have a book, but they will be inclined to visit if we are offering free information on Senegal parrots. That is, we must provide information on the site so that the site becomes a resource for the target market.

Marketing to the Target Market

Our parrot-loving target market searches for information using the search engines, so we must do our online marketing to get well placed in the search engines. When we have lots of information for people searching on Senegal parrots, we want our site to be listed on the first page when someone searches for Senegal parrot.

Selling to the Target Market

Our goal is to have site visitors purchase the book. Our free articles are demonstrating our expertise in Senegal parrots, so when visitors read our articles, they are seeing us as experts in Senegal parrots. At the bottom of each article page, we provide a link to the purchase page, prefaced by a reason for purchasing the book. Every page in the site should lead to the purchase page, and every page should provide a reason for purchasing. When the visitor lands on the purchase page, that page should make purchasing very simple.

What can a Web site do for you? Your Web site can be a minor adjunct to your business card, or it can generate more contract writing jobs for you, or it can sell your books. Your Web site can work for you and increase your revenues if you plan the site well and market it thoroughly.

~ Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is a professional Web Designer and Online Marketing Consultant who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at virginia@spawn.org or visit her Web site at http://www.cognitext.com

 

 

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