Just launched a new website? Congratulations!
Without even seeing it, I bet your website is one in a million…Make that 100 million!

Really.

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There are reportedly over 100  million websites on the Internet according to the Netcraft November 2006 Web Server Survey.

With this number growing every day, I can hardly believe it when I see businesses launch a new website and somehow expect to sit back and watch their millions stream in.

I hate to be the bearer of reality, but the “build it and they will come” days are LONG gone! Actually, I am not entirely sure they were ever here.

Truth is, the expectation that simply putting a website out there and expecting to customers to find you and buy what you’re selling is not only absurd, but very, very dangerous!

With over 300 million Internet users in the United States alone, your audience is a moving target, so expecting them to simply bump into your website in their online travels is highly unrealistic. Believing this is only going to lead to disappointment and frustration… I know, I see it every day when customers finally realize they have to DO something to put their website in the path of their target customers.

That’s not to say that someone looking for your product or service can’t find your website…it happens every day. But this requires forethought, planning and deliberate execution of an online marketing strategy that integrates search engine optimization, internet marketing and proactive marketing activities like PPC, advertising, email, affiliate programs, etc.

I understand that the investment of thousands of dollars into a few “pages” on the internet is counter intuitive to most entrepreneurs and business people. However, with over 80% of your customers turning to search engines as the #1 resource to find businesses that offer the products and services they seek, you simply MUST be online.

It doesn’t matter whether you are an online retailer, not for profit organization, service business, or consultant. If your website cannot be found via search on terms other than your name or business name, you ARE losing business to your competitors.

Sadly, some people will never truly “get” this, no matter how many times they hear it. They believe the stories of internet millions…and believe them on face value.

If you truly want to make your living from your website, be prepared to roll up your sleeves, build relationships and an audience. It is only then that you can expect to earn recognition and trust that will drive revenue.

The Internet is, in fact, the new “mass media” (more on that in my next blog entry!) so you must deploy the same marketing fundamentals as always…simply using new tools.

So, in closing I’ll end with this…accept the reality that simply having a website will not be enough to grow your business…and then go market your way to millions!

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