A common mistake made by businesses both big and small is to spend all their budget developing a website and then only consider online promotion as an after thought, (if at all).
Web marketing is essential, but something that frequently gets overlooked.
Websites are without question a highly effective marketing medium. But to work they need visitors!
Without visitors your website will be like having a TV commercial produced and then never shown on TV. Or brochures printed but not distributed to customers. Clearly to do so would be a waste of money – and yet so many businesses effectively do this very thing with their websites.
No matter how good a website may be or how much money is spent on design and development, it will still be just one of many millions competing for attention on the World Wide Web. Adopting a “Build it & they’ll come” mentality is naive and wishful thinking that simply won’t cut it in these fiercely competitive times.
The Web contains literally billions of web pages and millions more are added daily. [Just how many is not clear, however a study released way back in July 2000 by business intelligence company Cyveillance estimated that 7.3 million unique pages were being added daily. Given the huge growth of the web since 2000 & boom in blogging it’s likely the figure is now very much higher. And that means the competition to stand out is even greater].
The vast size of the Web means that simply creating a website and publishing it on the Web does not guarantee your desired audience will find it. If ever the analogy of finding a needle in a haystack applied, then this is it!
So how do you ensure your website gets found?
To break through the clutter and get visibility it’s essential that traffic is driven to a website.
This can be achieved through a variety of off-line and on-line marketing techniques, (ideally in a combined and integrated manner).
When budgeting for your website you need to consider more than just its development costs. Basically there are 3 broad cost areas that should be budgeted for. These are:
- The initial cost of developing the site;
- Ongoing maintenance and hosting costs;
- And last but not least, a budget for actively marketing your website.
Some US Fortune 500 companies who spend millions on developing websites allocate around 25% of their budget on development, 25% on maintenance/hosting and 50% on website promotion. In NZ significantly smaller proportions of website budgets are allocated to website promotion, however this is changing as smart marketers realise the competitive advantage they can gain.
The key point is don’t spend all your budget developing the site and have nothing left for marketing it.
In future postings we’ll discuss specific ways of promoting your website and driving traffic to it.