In the past, we've talked about how any doll artist can launch their very own reborn doll website in just a few easy steps. It doesn't take years of college training, a super-powered PC, or lots of money. As long as you have an internet-connected computer and the desire to have your business online, you can launch a website in no time. Once you're website is up and running, though, you'll then need to work on driving visitors (AKA traffic) to it.
Unless you're familiar with running websites for business (no personal) reasons, you might not realize just how important traffic is. With a personal blog, you can hop online and make an occasional entry about your work, hobbies, thoughts or pretty much anything else you desire. There's no need to actively promote your site since you are doing it strictly for fun.
In order to run a successful business website, whether it's to sell reborn dolls, clothes or birdhouses, you must constantly work on driving traffic to it. The bottom line is that you aren't going to make any sales, leads or even gain the branding benefits of exposure if people don't see your site; and the only way for people to see your reborn doll website is if you actively work on promoting and driving traffic to it.
Submit Your Reborn Website To Multiple Search Engines
One of the best ways to generate traffic to a reborn website is through search engines like Google. As you probably know already, these are essentially websites where users can perform a keyword search to find related websites. If a collector is looking for an Ashton Drake reborn, they could open up the address of their favorite search engine to find it. You can use this to your advantage by taking the necessary steps to ensure your website shows up in the various search engines.
Most of the major search engines use digital workers, known as bots, to crawl websites and webpages connected to the internet. These bots work in the background of the internet and require no human interaction. Once they reach a website, they will read HTML code, images, pictures, video and other content to determine if/how it should be displayed in the respective search engine. For instance, a website with photos and discussions about tablet computers would likely rank for the keyword "tablet computers."
Instead of waiting and hoping that bots will find your website, you can take matters into your own hands by submitting it manually. Once you reach the search engines' homepage, look around for a "submit site" button or webmaster's area. Follow the instructions given to submit your site.
Here are some of the top websites to submit your reborn website to:
Note: Google, Yahoo and Bing generate far more traffic than the second tier search engines, so focus on them at first.
Paid Traffic Method #1 - Google Adwords
Arguably, the single most effective way to drive quality traffic to your reborn website is through the Google Adwords program, which is how Google generates over 90% of their company revenue. This is known as a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform where webmasters (like you) can purchase qualified visitors for their website. You may not realize it, but there are two types of websites displayed on the Google search results - free (organic) and paid (Adwords). Typically, the Adwords ads show up as the first 1-3 listings at the very top (shaded in a different color) of the page and the 1-8 ads off to the right-hand side of the page.
You might be wondering what the benefit is to advertising your reborn website on Adwords if Google offers free listings as well. In a perfect world, your reborn website would show up as the first result on all of the important buying keywords, but this is practically never the case. You might nail some notable rankings for a few keywords, but chances are you'll lack rankings for others. Thankfully, you can still show up for those keywords by bidding on them through Google Adwords. When a potential customers searches for a specific reborn doll, your website will show up right there in front of them.
How to use Google Adwords:
- Sign up for a free account and verifying your information (including name, address, phone number and method of payment).
- Click on the "Create your first campaign" button.
- Choose your campaign settings (I recommend selecting Search ads only to prevent low-quality visitors).
- Select CPC from the list of options.
- Choose to start your campaign today with no end date (you can stop it later).
- Set a daily budget to prevent the possibility of burning through a month's budget in a single day. If the visitors coming to your site through the Adwords campaign are purchasing your reborn dolls, then should obviously raise the daily budget.
- Create an ad group along with your first ad.
- Select the search keywords you want to trigger your ad, and then choose a maximum bid for those keywords.
More information on launching an Adwords campaign can be found at support.google.com/adwords
Paid Traffic Method #2 - Bing Ads
Bing Ads is a PPC advertising platform that's quite similar to Google Adwords. If you're able to run successfully launch and run an Adwords campaign, you shouldn't have any problems with Bing Ads. While the interface is set up differently, the process of running an ad campaign for your website is nearly the same. You sign up for free account, update all of your personal and financial information, then use the online wizard to setup your campaign. Bing Ads uses the same effective cost-per-click (CPC) platform as Adwords, so you'll need to choose a maximum bid for each of the search keywords and phrases you wish to trigger your ads.
One of the unique benefits to using Bing Ads is that your advertisements will displayed on both the Bing and Yahoo search engines. During the later half of April 2012, the two massive internet search engine companies merged their advertising platforms together. This was one of the largest IT mergers in history and offered advertisers the ability to display their ads on both search engines through one platform - Bing Ads. With the two search engine advertising platforms combines, your ads will have greater exposure and generate more traffic.
More information on launching a Bing Ads campaign can be found at http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/get-started
Paid Traffic Method #3 - Banner Ads
If you've spent an accumulative total of at least 5 minutes surfing the internet, you've probably seen a banner ad placed on a website. These ads are essentially how many high-traffic websites make their money. Website owners looking to generate money from their traffic will sell ad space for a specific length of time to various companies and business. If you have a website that sells reborn dolls, you can purchase banner space on websites related to your products in hopes that it will attract more buyers. Banner advertisement has been around since the early days of the internet and it's highly doubtful that it will be going away anytime soon.
In addition to generating direct sales, banner space also helps to brand your reborn doll business. As more and more people see it on doll-related websites, they will begin to know and trust your name as a leader in the reborn doll community. This is worth a whole lot more than just a few direct sales, as the value and demand for your reborns will essentially go up as a result of branding.
Here are some of the most effective platforms for purchasing banner ads:
Free Traffic Method #1 - Social Media
Of course you don't always have to pay for traffic to your website. One of the most effective free traffic generating methods is to utilize social media networking sites to spread the word about your reborn doll website and the products you offer. All of the major social media sites are completely free to use, and when used correctly, they can be a powerful marketing tool to drive loads of free traffic to your reborn website.
Your ultimate goal when launching various social media accounts is to generate a following by the demographic who would most likely be interested in purchasing your product, which are reborn dolls in this case. Sign up for an account, start following other reborn doll collectors and artists, and then update your accounts with fresh information and links about 3-5 times a week (if possible). Throw in likes to your product pages and let your followers know about special offers and discounts. People love to save a buck with a coupon or special discount offer, so make sure you are offering them on your social media updates.
Here's a list of the top social media networking sites:
Free Traffic Method #2 - Article Directory Submissions
Article directory submissions are yet another free way to drive traffic to your website. If you've never used them before, you might be wondering how exactly they work, so let me explain - basically, you write and submit an article on a topic of your choosing to some of the high-traffic directories out there. Depending on the specific directory you are submitting to, you can then include a backlink to your reborn doll website in either the article body or in your signature at the foot of the article. People visit these article directories to find certain information, and they may stumble across your hyperlink and follow it to your site.
The trick to successfully driving traffic to your reborn website through article submissions is to write engaging content that pulls the reader in and generates enough interest so they feel like they must visit the link posted in your article. In the past, you could blast the same article to dozens of article directories, but most of them quality directories are cracking down on this behavior. A better tactic is to write unique, high-quality
Here are some of the top free article directories for 2013 (changes frequently, so we'll do our best to update):
Note: All of the article directories previously listed offer free submissions; however, there are dozens of other directories out there (not mentioned here) that require a payment for submission. We recommend avoiding these so-called paid article directories at all costs. While some of them may be able to generate some new visitors to your reborn website, there are simply too many other free directories out there. Save your money and use it for a more effective traffic-generating method, such as Google Adwords.
Free/Paid Traffic Method - Web Directories
Web directories are sites built for the sole purpose of linking to other sites. Webmasters can submit a link to their site along with a title, description and relevant keywords. Potential customers may discover the listing by searching for it on the web directory or by seeing it listed in the search engines (higher quality web directories are more likely to be listed in the search engine results). The goal of submitting your reborn website to quality web directories is that collectors will discover the listing, click the link and purchase a doll from your site.
There are literally thousands of both free and paid web directories out there, but only a fraction of them hold any real value. In fact, submitting to your reborn site to low-quality web directories could actually negatively effect your rankings. So, how do you know whether or not a web directory is considered quality? It really boils down to their submission guidelines and the types of sites they accept. Directories that allow pharma, hacking and other illegal material should be avoided. After all, would you want your reborn doll website to be associated with the likes of these?
Here are the top free and paid web directories (highest quality listed first):
- DMOZ (free)
- Yahoo ($299/year)
- Best of The Web ($199.95/year)
- So Much (free)
- Link Centre (free)
- Joe Ant ($39.99 one-time fee)
- Go Guides ($69.99 one-time fee)
- eZilion ($169/year)
- v7n ($49.95 one-time fee)
- A Big Dir (free)
- Little Web Directory (free)
- The Great Directory (free)
- Canny Link ($19.95 one-time fee)
- Jayde (free)
- Elib ($90 one-time fee)
- A List Directory (free)