The Website Development Specialist


Overview  |  Effective Promotion  |  Service Descriptions  |  Rates


  "Your search engine registration techniques, coupled with your outstanding comprehension of HTML coding has placed us at the top of several of the largest search engines on the internet. This in itself has led to drastic improvements in the number of new members we've obtained..."

Chase B. Henderson, Owner
New Millennium Capital

Overview

You can have the best looking, most strategically crafted website on the entire Internet; you can have it hosted on the fastest servers, with the most reliable backbone connections; and it will still be absolutely worthless if no one can find it. That is why effective Promotion is just as important as professional Production and state-of-the-art Hosting. In fact, promotion is the one area that is absolutely indispensable. After all, even cheesy sites on slow servers manage to sell a few products now and then.

What Is Website Promotion?

Do not confuse website promotion with web promotion. The latter involves using a web presence to conduct some form of online promotion or activity, be it market research, the sale of a product or service, name strengthening, customer input, etc. It can include any number of objectives and, in short, simply refers to your purposes for having a website in the first place. The former is much more specific.

By and large, website promotion is any type of advertising (or other activity) for which the sole purpose is to get people to visit an already existing website. It is the primary function of banner ads, links and search engine registrations, as well as a host of other activities both online and off. Think of it this way: Simply placing a multitude of banner ads throughout the web will no doubt get you some decent exposure (i.e., name recognition). But so will any other advertising; that is not "website promotion". In fact, rarely should that be the focus of any Internet advertising.

One way to recognize the validity of this is to turn the situation around. Assume for a moment that you're surfing around on the Internet one day and up pops a banner ad with your name on it. What do you want it to do? Sit there and strengthen your company's name recognition? That's automatic. Here you have a prospect who is already online, looking at your ad and itching to click. The sensible thing would be to encourage him to do just that -- click on your banner and visit your site.

Of course, effective website promotion is not limited to the use of banner ads. In fact, while the goal of website promotion is very specific (to get people to your site), its applications are quite numerous. Banners and Links can be an important part. But just as important -- maybe more so -- is intelligent Search Engine Registration. Likewise, Email and Ezine Advertising can sometimes yield huge returns with little investment. Depending on the geographical limitations of selling your product or service, Online Classified Advertising could also prove to be extremely helpful. And one of the biggest mistakes website promoters make is neglecting the use of Offline (Traditional) Advertising, which plays a powerful role in the most successful website promotion strategies.

There are many other ways to promote your website, as well, and you may be able to handle a good bit of the activity yourself. A number of items, on the other hand, can require the assistance of a professional website promotion company like TC Concepts. (Incidentally, TC Concepts also offers a number of Original Promotions that may be appropriate). As you consider the scope of your own involvement, there are several things that can help guide you in planning your promotional strategy and carrying it out effectively.

Effective Promotion

Making It Work

Like traditional advertising, several content factors can affect the success of your online promotion. Examples of this would include effective ad copy, catchy graphics, good color combinations, and the appropriate use of "white space". But without neglecting these areas, the main things to consider with regard to promoting your web presence are more subtle in nature; relating more to attitudes and actions than to any particular content provisions.

The main problem with website promotion, like any other advertising endeavor, is that there are no guarantees. That said, there are four factors which, when applied, can greatly increase your probability of success. Separately, they are important components of an effective campaign. Combined, they provide the strategy itself. Revolving around the manner in which you will go about promoting your site, they can be summarized as follows:

Intelligent Promotion

It will help you little to do all the right things if you don't do them the right way. The fact is, many people promote their websites in a very haphazard manner, wasting a great deal of time, money and energy that could be much better spent. Depending on the actions taken, it can even result in a condition that can best be described as "promotional damage control", where each succesive activity is undertaken simply to fix a previous failure. Sometimes this is unavoidable. But it has to be watched carefully; in extreme cases, the damage can be irreversible.

Before you do anything, you should consider the ways in which to intelligently initiate an effective promotional strategy and each individual activity that is associated with it.

Should you register your web pages with the search engines before they've been optimized? How do you avoid spending ten hours getting linked from irrelevant sites when you can spend the same amount of time getting just as many links from sites that will actually appeal to your target audience? Are reciprocal links in your best interest? If so, what policy should you set? Where are the best places for you to advertise? What is the dividing line between aggressive email marketing and spamming? The answer to these and other questions are very important and will inevitably affect the measure of your success.

But TC Concepts can walk you through the process. In fact, if you are already having your site produced, hosted or otherwise promoted through TC Concepts, the guidance we can offer is free!

Diversity

By diversity, we do not mean diversity of content. Like traditional advertising, you will likely have the most success by sticking with the same theme and drilling it into people's consciences over and over again. At least for a time.

But you need to do it everywhere. The reason for the availability of so many promotional options is that different people use the Internet for different reasons and, thus, follow different courses. You need to "meet them where they are". By diversifying your approach, you stand a much greater likelihood of reaching the most people within your target audience. And while some businesses have certain promotional limitations, there are almost always ways to extend the market reach.

The diversity of your approach will define this reach. Within the limits of your budget, then, it is advisable to "spread out" your advertising in order to try and reach as many qualified prospects as possible. Your efforts to include several, if not all, promotional avenues will rarely go without benefit.

Diligence

The reason we are not simply calling this section "Commitment" is because that is only part of the equation. Diligence, in our use of the term, refers to your need for both sticking with it (commitment) and staying on top of it (tenacity, oversight, and a healthy dose of skepticism). Sticking with your plan (which, of course, includes provisions for adjustment) is the only way to objectively gauge its success. Staying on top of each promotion -- resubmitting links, checking for accuracy, assuring that your ads are indeed loading when they're supposed to, and making any necessary modifications -- is how you will affect that success.

Someone once said, "Don't put all your eggs in the same basket"; to which another replied, "Go ahead and put them in the same basket, and then watch that basket". Both are considered viable priniciples for Wall Street investing. But when it comes to website promotion, we feel it is best to combine these strategies. Use many "baskets" (that is, diversify) and keep an eye on each one. This isn't as difficult as it may seem. But it is tedious. And, of course, you need to know what you're watching for.

Even then, you cannot simply rely on your own observations to know when and how to take action. There are some things that need to be conducted on an almost routine basis. And, again, though you could certainly handle some of this activity yourself, it is usually preferable (and more affordable) to have the technical and strategic aspects conducted by a company that specializes in website promotion -- particularly if that company already has intimate knowledge of your website and is aware of your specific promotional needs.

Patience

Successful promotions do not usually yield overnight results. Some items simply take a little longer than others. For example, the Infoseek and Alta Vista search engines may pick up your URL submission in a matter of days, sometimes truly overnight. Excite and HotBot, on the other hand, generally take from two weeks to a month. And Yahoo, if they pick you up at all, can take up to 60 days or more. And this is just to get your site indexed. In each case, it will usually take even longer before you see any appreciable return. Know ahead of time that you will need to exercise patience with a number of Internet promotion activities.

Other Notes

One item mentioned earlier deserves further emphasis; and that is the idea of having a budget -- and sticking with it . . . at least for a reasonable pre-determined amount of time. When it comes to analyzing your promotional options, don't allow your enthusiasm to override your judgment or your financial limitations. Rather than betting the bank on a so-called "sure thing", it is almost always better to set some limits, test the approaches, refine as needed, and then increase the scope of your promotional efforts as your website generates the resources to do so.

In connection, be sure you set realistic expectations to begin with. And don't forget to allow yourself some financial wiggle room (flexibility) in each activity you pursue. Set short, medium and long-range goals, and leave enough room in the budget to make modifications as needed.

Finally, as you plan your strategy, decide whether you can get away with seeking mere traffic as opposed to qualified traffic. There are often a number of gray areas in regard to this, and geographical considerations may play a role; but essentially it involves determining whether your product or service has a broad or narrow appeal, and then adjusting the specific applications of your strategy accordingly.

Service Descriptions

Below are some of the specific promotional services for which TC Concepts can offer you assistance. There are others, as well, but these cover the broadest range and most popular options.

Banner Ads, Classifieds and Text Links  [go to rates]

The effectiveness of banner advertising on the Internet is a subject of some dispute. Many people sing its praises. Many others rant about its defects. But like every other form of marketing, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it, and reasonable analysis suggests that the ranters are doing the latter.

Suffice it to say that a successful banner ad campaign requires a significant amount of research and forethought prior to initiation. Site relevancy, placement, rotation, rates, rate structure, and the design of the banner itself all need to be studied carefully. TC Concepts can assess your situation, produce your banner and broker the placement of your ads. We also personally operate a number of sites that may be appropriate. See original promotions for more details.

Many Internet websites offer some form of classified advertising, for which TC Concepts can either act as a full-service broker or simply construct your copy and place your ads. In addition, we own and operate a number of original forums that may be appropriate for your particular product or service. In all of these situations, the wording of your ad copy, the content features included, the rates, and the relevancy of the listing site are usually the areas needing primary attention.

Finally, there are a number of ways to get your website linked from other sites on the Internet by what are known as text-only links, or just text links. These tend to experience a bit of crossover with classified advertising, and some allow for further elaboration with short descriptions. Each method can require a different approach, and each has its unique advantages and drawbacks (or at least some obstacles to overcome). A few examples may help illustrate the situation.

Setting up reciprocal links will require an appropriate page on your own site as well as a clear policy of acceptable standards. Free-for-all links pages can work well for the right business, but they need to be renewed very frequently. A local paid forum might be your best option, but each of these has its own set of peculiarities that need to be examined. Other paid links may be totally worthless, and you'll need to know which ones . . . and why. Industry-specific sites are usually out there and some of them may allow you to link at no charge. With these, you will need to weigh the advantages of getting linked from these sites against the time it will take to locate them.

There are many other options available for normal text-only links. As with banner ads and classifieds, TC Concepts can handle all or part of this activity, and offers its own original promotions as well.

ATTENTION WEBMASTERS: Do you own or operate a forum for banner advertising, classifieds or text-only links (including links with descriptions)? If so, and you would like to become a TC Concepts affiliate, please email us with your URL, target categories, pricing information and applicable agency discounts.

Search Engine Registration  [go to rates]

Submitting a site's URL(s) to the search engines is usually one of the first steps taken in website promotion. And it is certainly an important step. TC Concepts offers a wealth of registration services, including:

  • Page Optimization - This is where we modify your pages to make sure they contain the key elements that the search engines use to assign relevancy. It is a time-consuming process that involves painstaking attention to detail, and it is perhaps the single-most important thing you can have done to promote your website effectively. If your site has not been optimized for the search engines, it is likely to end up low on the list of any relevant keyword searches. It can easily get buried so low that it never gets found. Prior to registration, it is imperative that you have your site optimized. As our clients will attest, TC Concepts is highly qualified for this task. Our optimization techniques are second-to-none and assure your site of receiving the highest ranking that is practically attainable.

  • Basic Registration - This covers the submission of your site to the eight largest search engines on the Internet (AltaVista, Excite, Google, HotBot, Infoseek (GO), Lycos, AOL Netfind and Northern Light). Does not include Yahoo (see "Yahoo Registration", below).

  • Exhaustive Registration - Everything in the basic registration, plus a whole lot more. Depending on the particulars of your site, this can include up to 500 different search engines, directories, Free-For-All links pages and more. Prior to launching an exhaustive registration, we create a profile for your website that makes future submissions a lot smoother. It also allows us to offer these subsequent registrations at a greatly reduced cost (see "Updates and Re-registration", below).

  • Yahoo Registration - Yahoo registration is currently on hold

  • Updates and Re-registration - Just like it sounds, this involves updating or re-registering your links on the above sites. It can be conducted with either the basic or exhaustive plan or divided into specific sections. We can even hand-pick specific sites if, for example, you happen to know you're already pulling up high on certain search engines and don't want to risk sacrificing your current ranking.

  • Feeder Pages - Finally, we can create what we call feeder pages that can greatly affect your ranking with certain search engines. Feeder Pages effectively streamline your site by focusing on only a few key elements per page. The search engine can then assign more weight to those specific pages, bumping them higher up the ladder in searches for those elements. This can be particularly helpful for larger websites or for any sites that have a fairly broad focus. We have recently had to increase our rates for feeder page production due to changes in search engine standards and the increased amount of time that is now required in order to do it right. The offshoot of this is the creation of much better pages which have an even greater likelihood of being found.

Email and Ezines  [go to rates]

Email marketing is a sensitive issue and, by logical extension, it is one tricky business. How can it be effectively directed to the general public without running the risk of spamming? That, of course, is the million dollar question. But then, TC Concepts already has the answer. It can't. Short of developing your own opt-in list or using someone else's, there's just no way. In fact, you're likely to lose your own email account, and maybe your website itself, if you try.

But there is some good news. Targeted opt-in lists are indeed available. They're a bit more expensive than raw addresses, but that's to be expected. By choosing well-qualified targets who have already gone on record as being willing to receive information about your product or service, you should be able to expect a significant increase in response. TC Concepts can handle the entire process for you, or act in a consulting and research capacity that gets you up and running with your own, effective, email advertising campaign.

As an ad agency, TC Concepts can broker ezine advertising, as well. Ezine is short for "electronic magazine", and there are literally thousands to choose from. Of course, rates, targets and frequency will vary substantially from one to the next. The most important thing is to find relevant ezines for the approach you intend to use. And this doesn't always mean matching the ezine to your product or service. In fact, sometimes it can mean anything but that. For more information, you will want to have a one-on-one marketing consultation with TC Concepts. Give us a call today at 936-756-2292 and we can schedule a time to hold conference and discuss your business.

Offline Advertising  [go to rates]

Most (but not all) of our offline advertising services occur in the form of consulting work. Though you should certainly do everything that is practical to promote your site using traditional, offline methods (print, broadcast and display), the scope of necessary activity can vary greatly from one company to the next. Because of this, personal contact with the client is always needed; posting all of the available options online would simply be impractical . . . if not impossible.

Original Promotions  [go to rates]

TC Concepts offers a number of original promotions that may be appropriate for your website marketing needs. Though they can often involve elements of production, the bulk of the activity is purely promotional, usually involving banner ads, classifieds or text links with descriptions. Please visit our Projects and Forums page to learn more about each individual forum, then head to the site of interest for further information and pricing.

Research & Negotiation  [go to rates]

Research is a TC Concepts specialty that carries with it a rather broad interpretation. With many of the previously mentioned activities, research comes with the territory, and no extra charge is involved. In other cases, it can actually represent the nuts and bolts of the particular project and is thus bid separately on a case-by-case basis.

When confronted for the first time with the concept of negotiation services, many people are immediately tempted to question the legitimacy of the "expense" (your accounting department certainly will). But then, most people are amazed when they discover what having a third-party negotiator can actually accomplish; and equally surprised to learn that the cost is usually negligible . . . and sometimes non-existent.

Think of your own business for a moment. When a customer approaches your company, you essentially have the upper hand, don't you? After all, they came to you. It's not like you were holding a gun to their head and forcing them to buy your product. You have the advantage of being able to size up the prospect, and you can pretty much dictate the terms and conditions, right?

On the other hand, a representative of an unkown end-user may care less what you think and tell you to take a flyin' leap. This leverage on the part of the negotiator, coupled with the knowledge of when to give and when to take, can almost always result in a reduced rate or increased service. Each negotiation project is diagnosed and bid on a case-by-case basis.

Rates

We no longer post actual rates for the various services we provide. For any of the online projects that we operate, please see the particular site for rate information. All other web promotion work is customized to the needs of the client and no accurate rate system seems to be of universal benefit. Please call or email for information regarding your particular needs.
 




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PO Box 3672
Conroe, TX 77305

Phone:  936-756-2292
Email:  info@tcconcepts.com


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