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Power Promotion
Content - The Golden Rule

Graphics are great, but...

Content Is King

If you can build a site with free and useful information that people want to read then you've already done 90% of the work required to make a successful site. Word will spread and you'll be sucking in traffic like a black hole. Once you've got visitors arriving to see your free info, you have a captive audience to sell your goods to. With just products and no information you're going to struggle.

This site is a perfect example (I'm not saying that comment was predictable, but there are lost tribes deep in the Amazonian rain forest who knew I was going to say that)...

The Art Of Business Web Site Promotion started its life a few years ago as an email message to a Net friend of mine, Jim Heath, which began "Yeah, didn't you know that if you submit your pages to the search engines you get lots of people visiting..."

He was intrigued, so I wrote him a little page on the topic to put on his site, A survey: how to create websites that work using knowledge I'd gained when I promoted the site for the hotel I was working at (which now gets over 50% of its trade from the Web, by the way).

I expected it to sit in a corner and gather dust, but it started attracting a lot of traffic and a lot of feedback, and people kept linking it which brought even more traffic and eventually I moved it to my own server. Note that even at this point I hadn't done any promotion on it, not even on the search engines.

I kept adding to it (as you can see) and eventually I gave up my day job. So here I am, making my living off this site having never spent a penny on advertising. The moral of the story is:

Information promotes itself.

Building Content The Easy Way

If you're like me then you love your topic and building content won't be a task, it'll be sheer pleasure, but I recognise that you might not be in this position, which is a shame. Never mind, all is not lost.

Existing Copy

If you have a product that you've been selling for a while and you've just decided to put it on the Web, then you probably have plenty of printed info that you can transfer to your Web site. However, re-write it for the Web. Let me explain...

The Internet is quite big, to say the least, but it essentially consists of people sitting in their private office, or at home, surfing the Web alone. They don't like to think that hundreds of other people are looking at the same information at the same time. They want a private audience. With you. You'll be hard-pressed to find any paragraph I've ever written without the words: I; me; we; you. You must speak to that person as if you were chatting to them at a party. That way they know they can trust you, they'll want to buy your product and you'll get lots of feedback. What do you do with the feedback? Read on...

Collecting Copy

Why bother writing original info when somebody's already written it? At the very least you can get ideas to write your own stuff by looking at similar Web sites to yours. Or you can take text and use it for yourself. But...

On pain of death! Never, never use text written by somebody else without a) asking their permisson and b) linking their Web site. I feel very strongly about this because I'm a frequent victim.

In an attempt to combat this, I've set up a partner program so you can link to any page on this site, and each page will have your own banner on it and a link back to your site. You even get paid whenever anybody comes here via your site and orders a product or service from us.

Sign up to the deadlock partner program

Being given ideas

Once you get up and running with your site, and you're providing good info and encouraging feedback (see above) you'll be amazed at how people ask you great questions and even give you tips to use. If you don't believe me, take a look at my message board. Start by building an "FAQ" (Frequently Asked Questions) page with questions that people have always asked about your product, and build it steadily in response to the questions people ask you by email. Always listen (and read email) carefully. Buried in every question there's golden info for you to use.

One more tip before we move on: one line of original info or a new idea thought up by you is worth ten pages of second-hand content.

It's Written In Black And White

It's been researched and proven that black text on a plain white background sells stuff better than any other combination. If it's good enough for David Ogilvy (marketing guru) then it's good enough for me!

It can be tempting to have a 'tasteful' watermark background incorporating your company logo, but no matter how nice it looks, it's interfering with the text and making it harder to read.

While I'm on the subject of copywriting, there's something else. A reader can't concentrate on large blocks of text. I know I can't. You should break your document up into bite-sized paragraphs, each with its own heading to give the reader something to focus on. If you can learn how to use definition lists, all the better. The <DL> tag was in the first-ever HTML spec, but it seems to be a lost art these days. Do you see how my headings stick out to the left, to catch the reader's eye? The structure is very simple. Only three tags:

<DL> <!-- begin definition list -->

<DT><H3>Title</H3> <!-- definition title. It doesn't have to be a title, it just means that the text will be flush to the left -->

<DD> Indented text


<DD> Indented text

</DL> <!-- end definition list -->

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