Consultants say that supermarket Web sites need to do a much better job making shoppers aware of their Web service. Here Joe Dysert, an Internet business consultant, Thousand Oaks, Calif., gives some recommendations.
an e-mail customer distribution list of a firm with an already-established Web presence. Often, the firm owning the list recommends via e-mail that its customers visit the site of the list renter. Sometimes, this list owner also includes a discount coupon for goods or services at the list renter's site.
Consider a professional search engine listing firm: Seasoned Web users turn to search engines like Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com) and Excite! (www.excite.com) to help them find specific information on the Net quickly. Essentially, they simply type in a subject area and the search engine brings back "links" that they can "click on" for further information.
Given the great power these search engines have to steer thousands of Net cruisers to specific sites, it should come as no surprise that a number of Web-savvy firms have cropped up to help firms be among the first "links" the search engines return to information seekers. More information on such firms can be found at SearchEngineWatch (www.searchenginewatch.com).
List your site with hundreds of search engines for free: Those who would rather not lay out hard cash just yet can still get their site listed in hundreds of search engines by visiting Virtual Promote, a Web site devoted to the art of Web site promotion. Point your browser to Virtual Promote (www.virtualpromote.com/promot1.html), and you'll find links to nearly 500 sites offering links to thousands of search engines.
Another option: Use a software program like Web Site Traffic Builder, by Draper, Utah-based Intelliquis (www.intelliquis.com). Traffic Builder automatically registers your site with more than 900 Internet search engines and will automatically put your business in the appropriate category for each search engine. Plus, you can use the software to check your site's position on the Net's eight most popular search engines. A similar program, WebPosition Gold, by FirstPlace Software (www.firstplace.com), focuses on getting your site placed high up on the Web's top search engines.
Link 'til you drop: Probably the easiest, least expensive, and most effective way to promote a site is to link your page with every other noncompetitive page on the Internet that shares the same interest. Loblaw Cos. (www.loblaw.com), based in Toronto, self-pollinates its presence on the Web by offering links between its PC Financial, PhotoLab, The Drycleaner and Giftbaskets divisions.
Add a "recommend this site to a friend" button: The old maxim "Nothing is more valuable than word-of-mouth promotion" never rang truer in cyberspace. Get your Web designer to ad a "recommend this site" button. By clicking on the button, the visitor can dash off a quick "heads-up" about the site to a friend that is automatically forwarded to the friend's e-mail address.