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Marketing your Web site ...Search engines, site links bring visitors to 'Net sites

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Tips and tricks of Internet trade were revealed at a recent meeting of Home Based Businesses of the Ozarks. Employees of Atlas Communications were on hand at HBBO's February meeting to offer tips on setting up and getting the most out of a Web site.

Atlas Communications' Skip Greene and Jennie Haymes spoke to HBBO members about establishing a Web page for the organization, as well as how the home-based business owners could establish their own sites on the Internet.

"I often suggest that companies begin with a splash page," Haymes said. "It offers basic information and an introduction to the business sort of like a business card. There are a lot of ways to do this. For example, some use animation. The point is to try doing things that will keep the customer there so they'll keep reading or buying your products or services."

She also said it's not a good idea to have your Web page look just like your brochure. "If it's just like the brochure, you could hand them the brochure," she said.

Greene hosts a weekly radio show, "The Internet Show," at 6:30 p.m. Mondays on KWTO, 560 AM, providing answers to questions about the Internet and Web sites.

Greene and Haymes offered the following suggestions for promoting a Web page a vital element to getting the most out of it.

1. Register the URL with the top search engines, directories and award sites. Having links from these sources can increase your site's traffic. To register your site, check out Register-It! at

2. Write a press release announcing your new site. Include information about the site's content and purpose, and use proper press release writing guidelines.

3. Advertise on other sites. It will increase awareness of your company and, it is hoped, give you an edge over your competition. When placing an ad, evaluate traffic, demographics, placement cost and rotations of your banner. You can also create your own banner ad with your Web site designer.

4. Increase your traffic by obtaining links from numerous sites. Begin with an investigation of other possible links from trade associations, business partners, providers of complimentary products and other Web sites in your industry.

5. Utilize the tricks of the trade. Give viewers a reason to revisit the site and communicate with you. In addition to regularly updating your page, consider options such as creating an online contest and announcing the winner online, or hosting online chat on subjects that apply to your business.

6. Announce your site via news groups. Think of news groups as electronic bulletin boards with a potential to reach millions.

Also, don't send spam also known as junk e-mail. Instead of doing a mass e-mailing, only post announcements to sites that are relevant to your business and where people will appreciate hearing about your product or service.

7. Join e-mail lists and use them to announce your site and business happenings. They're similar to news groups except that users get the messages by e-mail. The user is specifically requesting the information, so it's not considered spamming.

8. Include the Web site address on all of your business correspondence, including outgoing fax cover sheets, business cards, letterhead and envelopes, billing statements, all broadcast advertising, all promotional items and all outgoing purchase orders

Finally, Greene and Haymes recommended setting goals for the Web presence, evaluating them and determining the results. Don't expect overnight success. Instead, strive for incremental results and improvements, they said.

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