If You Market It, Will They Come?

I have stumbled across numerous websites that are either incomplete or stagnant. I’m sorry to tell the website owners out there, but the popular movie quote, “If you build it, they will come,” is not applying to websites. Building a website is just the first step. After the site is built, it must be marketed. Chances are one means of marketing isn’t enough either. The most successful websites are marketed in multiple ways.

One obvious step to bring traffic is search engines, but search engine optimization is an ongoing effort for websites. It isn’t something that is done once and never thought about again. Google, Yahoo, and other search engines are continually tweaking their search algorithms. Competing websites are adding new content and modifying their sites continually. If we want to make it to the top and stay there, you are going to have to do the same with your site.

Another effective marketing channel is social media. This too requires a continual commitment. You need to help your customers and potential customers find you on the social media sites and then maintain an on-going conversation with them. And these two steps are only a small piece of the marketing puzzle. I didn’t even touch on Search Engine Marketing, Content Marketing, Print Advertising, etc.

It just pains me to see companies make the initial investment of a website and then do nothing with it. You will see no return on investment if you don’t change your thinking. Building the site is only the beginning, not the end, and there are so many marketing myths, just beware!

Website Owners Learning the Hard Way

Over the past week or so, I have been working with a new client on a website and domain. The business owner is a member of an organization I recently built a website for and I was attempting to link to her business website from the organization’s when I noticed her site was down. I contacted her to ensure she knew her site was down and offer my assistance in getting it back up.

I heard for the second time in only a few months, that she had unintentionally let her domain renewal lapse and a less than helpful company had swooped in and purchased it almost immediately. Check out also this post about how Microsoft uses creative data mining.

She has now spent more than a month trying to contact the company that now owns what used to be her domain name. I have tried to help her contact them without much success. They are not making it easy by any means. They are requiring us to submit all bids for the domain name through a third-party service. The service alone costs upwards of $99.

I am now working with the business owner to determine if it will be worth the price for her to pursue the domain name or to simply start over with a new domain name. There is a very important lesson to be learned here. Domains are much cheaper to automatically renew than to have to buy back after losing.

With the number of websites growing exponentially every day, if you find a domain you may want at any point in the future, purchase it NOW! Chances are someone else will also want it in the future and you don’t want to have to fight for it. It will be cheaper, in the long run, to pay a small annual fee every year until you decide to use it.