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Buy New Zealand For $7 Million 21 July 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

Believe it or not, if you've got a spare US$7,000,000 then you can buy New Zealand!

No, not the entire country -- just the domain newzealand.com.

If you want to score this amazing bargain (NOT!) then just enter your bid 4 on this page.

Dreamers!

Marketing Your Website
Okay, after reading yesterday's instalment you should have a list of the things that identify the type of visitors you might want to attract to your site -- but we're not quite finished in that department yet.

Before you start driving traffic to your website you need to be absolutely sure that you're prepared to handle all those inquiring souls.

There is little point in driving a huge wave of eyeballs to your web pages if you haven't got your site designed and built to capitalise on that traffic.

While it's easy to assume that your website is absolutely wonderful and ready to do all that's asked of it -- you must assume nothing! If you're running a commercial site then it is absolutely essential that you commission an independent site survey and audit to find any problems or suggest improvements.

If you're just putting up a personal homepage or a hobby site then have your friends scrutinise it with a critical eye. It's better to find out all that's wrong with your layout, HTML coding and design before you start driving lots of traffic. Remember -- you only get one chance to make a good impression and if your site doesn't perform, people won't come back.

And speaking of bringing visitors back... if you want to grow the traffic to your site -- as opposed to simply increase the numbers, then you must include some clever mechanisms to keep people coming back.

Here are a few:

  • An emailed reminder -- yes, invite people to leave their email address and offer to send them a short message advising them when you've updated your site with something new and topical. How many times have you visited a website and thought "I must return again later" but never remembered? Is your bookmark list full of sites that you added months or years ago and now can't even remember why? IMPORTANT: please, please, please -- if you're going to build a mailing list to remind people, make absolutely sure that it's of the double opt-in type!

  • Remind users to bookmark your site -- okay, so I've just pointed out the obvious -- that bookmarks aren't always an effective method of ensuring that people revisit your site, but it sure doesn't hurt to remind people to add your URL to their bookmark list. And, surprisingly enough, the reports I've seen indicate that a simple "bookmark this page now" message significantly increases the chances that people will do just that.

  • Update your content regularly -- even if you don't have much to add, just add something, anything on as regular basis as possible. People generally aren't interested in reading the same stuff twice -- but make sure that there's always something new on your website and people will return.

  • Let others contribute -- if you're unable or unwilling to provide your own regular updates, consider adding a discussion area or soliciting material from your visitors. Be careful though, while discussion areas might sound like a nice, cheap, easy way to keep your site fresh, they can backfire and make it look like a dead-end if nobody participates. Also watch out for the idiots who consider it a challenge to leave rude, offensive or defamatory messages.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of preparing the destination (your website) before driving the traffic. Failure to do so could result in you wasting lots of time, effort and possibly even money. Believe it or not, there are several instances of companies advertising their websites on TV before the sites were even built -- and in at least one case here in NZ, before they'd even registered the domain name!

Continued next week...

Note: because this series is likely to be quite long, I'll be republishing the component parts on another site which will also then use all the techniques described as a practical example. The stats for that site will be on display so that visitors can gauge the effectiveness of what's being done.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

NZL Sites
IDG.Net.nz
NZ Netguide
NZ Herald Tech
PC World NZ
Scoop

AUS Sites
Fairfax IT
Australian IT
AFR Tech
AUS Netguide
NineMSN Tech
APC Magazine
Corporate IT

USA Sites
Wired.com
CNet
CNNfn Tech
TechWeb
Yahoo Tech
ZDNet Tech
USA Today Tech
7am.com SciTech

UK Sites
The Register
BBC SciTech

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