Holistic Web Page Marketing....
Holistic web page marketing transformed our online business from an obscure website lost in the orbits of cyberspace into a successful internet business with over 25,000 visits a month. This is the third article in our Holistic Internet Marketing series. To start from the beginning check out the first article in the series, holistic internet marketing, which covers an intro to holistic marketing strategies online or check out our second article in the series, holistic website optimizing for a deep look into a holistic approach to keyword optimization. Or get started here and read our story of how we were lost in cyberspace before we ran across holistic web page marketing strategies... You can learn alot from our mistakes!
Holistic Web Page Marketing Dont's : Chapter 1
We got started with our first little website about nine years ago. It was a simple "service website" (translation = sales site for our services). It had a handful of pages that talked about Patrick's healing services. He was a Reiki master, Master sound healer, Certified Nutritionist and Intuitive counselor.
We were just getting into some "serious promotion" at the time, reading books on marketing and doing healing festivals and workshops. Sooo, I figured it was time for a website. I didn't know a thing about holistic web page marketing at the time (sure wish I did!) and I didn't know a thing about putting up a website, graphic design, or how to effectively promote brand recognition.
I spent an hour or two researching webhosts and got irritated that it was actually going to cost me money to put up a little website! I mean really... we only needed two or three pages to let people know about all of the "amazing healing services" Patrick offered. So I did what any self-respecting newcomer to the internet would do (and what many have done). I signed up for a free website account with a little no-name company.
It's been so long, I can't even remember the name of it! But I do remember how the whole thing turned out. We didn't have our own domain name. Our "title" was tacked on to the end of the companies url. After I spent a few weeks futzing around with it I had three pages up that talked about Patrick. My pages shared space with ads that the "host company" automatically placed on there. It was the reason they offered free websites in the first place! Folks give them free content, and they make money off any visitors.
It was a pretty good situation for them, but a bad one for all the folks using their website hosting service. Off-topic ads showed up everywhere, competing with what I was sure were absolutely incredible sales pages about Patrick's services. In retrospect between my content and their ads the entire thing was one gigantic, blaring, obnoxious ad!
Then we got busy. Patrick was getting local clients for his energy healing business and we were doing tons of events on top of working full-time. I ignored the little website. Every once in a while I'd type in the long, long url and go look at it. I was probably the only one in all of world that ever did....
There was a little voice in the back of my head that knew this wasn't the way to build a website. (I say a website, because that's all we were thinking of at the time, not a web business). The url was unprofessional and all of those ads were definitely distracting. And for some odd reason, I never could find the website for any search engine terms. I mean, I typed in Reiki, and our Reiki services page was nowhere to be found!
After a long time (many, many years) I stewed it over and decided to launch a "real website". It was time to move up in the world! My search began for the ultimate webhost. One that wouldn't plaster my site with ads, one that would give me my very own domain name, and one that would actually show up in the search engines! I still didn't know anything about holistic web page marketing so it was like shooting in the dark.. And so begins Chapter 2....
Holistic Web Page Marketing Dont's : Chapter 2
The dawning of a new era, let the trumpets sound... after a ton of careful research (spanning a full day this time) I had found my ideal webhost!
I would sign up with Yahoo Geocities (now completely defunct). They were not "too expensive" at only $12 a month. And for that price I would have my very own domain name. They even had an amazing tool associated with it, something called "traffic statistics" that would tell me how many people came to visit my site.
We were making money with our healing business locally, and it's not like $12 a month was any sort of stretch, so I decided to take the plunge. Patrick and I talked about it and meditated on it and thought about what other people would be typing in and finally decided on the name of our very own website... wwww.sacredsoundhealer.com was born.
Patrick had moved heavily into sound healing in the years since we'd put up the first website, and so it seemed a natural that we would highlight that aspect of his services and downplay the others.
I dug into it with a passion. This website would generate tons of traffic and build his business up tremendously. I made pretty little graphics for the site, and together we wrote the pages. We had a home page, a page about his Reiki services, a page about his Nutritional consulting services, a page about his Sound healing services, and a page about his Intuitive counseling services.
We were destined for stardom. We'd hit the big time now.
As I put up each page the webhost had a little section for adding in a few keywords. Cool! I could actually tell the search engines what the pages were about (unlike with my first website company). Now people would find our website in the search engines! Yay!
I thought hard about those keywords. What should they be? I really had no idea. I decided to be really specific. For the Reiki services page I chose "reiki" and "reiki sessions". For the sound healing page I chose "sound healing" and "sound healing sessions".
I continued on like that for each of the pages. It meant that now when someone typed in Reiki they would find us!
A funny thing happened though. Or should I say a funny thing didn't happen.... Whenever I typed in Reiki into a search engine our page didn't show up. In fact none of the pages on our website did.
Hmmm. This was odd. We'd had the website up for a really long time. Almost a year. And yet I never found us in the search engines and when I looked at that "traffic statistic" tool it always had really, really low numbers. Like 5 or 6 people a month.
I decided to make it bigger. Then we'd get more traffic! I added a biography page for Patrick and a few extra pages about crystal singing bowls and reiki. It didn't change a thing though.
And sometimes when I'd type in our website domain name (the full url) into the search engine an error message would say page not found. That's how I learned about a thing called "downtime". Evidently all webhosts suffer from "downtime" on occasion. At least that's what the webhost said in their frequently asked questions section.
That "downtime" meant that sometimes my website wouldn't be there. Not good for my visitors! Wait. I didn't have any visitors. Well, not good for the 5 people a month that did come to my website!
I was paying good money for this and I wasn't in any of the search engines, and I had to deal with "downtime". I was a bit frustrated. There were also little issues. Sometimes my "deep link" pages would disappear. Any pages with a link from the homepage would still be there, but the extra reiki pages (also known as tier 3 pages) off the main reiki page would just vanish.
I kept going in and re-adding my links to make them reappear. By this time we had close to 20 pages on the website and I felt like it should really be getting some traffic. Instead all that seemed to be happening is I kept working with this weird glitchy system, re-linking my pages over and over again.
I was frustrated, but had spent soooo much time putting up the website, I didn't want to switch to another company. And besides I didn't know which company would be any better. So I stuck with it for 3 whole years. (I still didn't know anything about holistic web page marketing)
During that time I decided to put up a second website. My webhost didn't have shopping cart technology so I couldn't integrate my second website concept into my first one. I was going to have a reiki charged crystal jewelry website.... and so begins the third and final chapter of our story.
Holistic Web Page Marketing Dont's : Chapter 3
We handed out business cards to prospective clients all the time, and many of them visited once and were impressed enough to sign up for a healing session with Patrick. So we decided to keep that website going. But I really wanted my own website as well.
I'd started making hand-crafted and wire-wrapped crystal jewelry several years before. I'd been making a nice side income from wholesale accounts with stores and the ocassional healing conference and fair I vended at brought in big profits of over $1,000 typically. Sometimes close to $2,000.
With such a demand for my jewelry pieces I figured it was time to have a website to sell them from. The fairs and festivals were tiring and I had to keep all kinds of vending equipment around the house: folding tables, necklace busts by the truckload, staging props, platforms, etc.
So I researched for what felt like a really, really long time... almost a week. I was looking for the perfect webhost. One that had built in shopping cart technology so I wouldn't have to do any coding (I still didn't know any html) and the ability to add descriptions and pretty pictures.
After a while I ran across prestostore.com. Just like that, and I could have a gorgeous website for my jewelry. Their templates were beautiful and their sample sites looked "really professional". Exactly what I was looking for! But.... it was going to cost 30 bucks a month.
Hey, for my new online career I could handle that! I signed up and started taking photos of my jewelry line and adding descriptions to the listings.
It took months but finally www.mielikkidesigns.com (Mielikki is a Finnish goddess of the woods and fit with my 50% Finnish heritage nicely) was born.
I felt I'd perfected marketing by this point. (Holistic web page marketing? Still no clue!) My tag line was "Every Woman is a Goddess". I hand-crafted the graphics for the entire site to match my earring, pendant and necklace cards. There were beautiful faded-out purple vines subtly hanging in the corners. It was gorgeous. (it really was!)
But as the months went on I noticed something upsetting. I hadn't made a single sale from the website.
Even though I regularly sold hundreds of pieces locally, I hadn't had a single website sale. It didn't make sense. My gorgeous shopping-cart website wasn't making the grade. And more than that, it didn't have the "traffic statistic" feature like my other webhost so I didn't know if anyone was "ever" finding my site.
And so closes Chapter 3 of our sordid little tale. We were spending $42 a month to host two websites that had done nothing to bring in national exposure, regional exposure, or even a single sale. The first site www.sacredsoundhealer.com was up for over 3 years and the second website www.mielikkidesigns.com was a 1 year old.
Our fairy tale has a happy ending though, and we'll get into that happily ever after tale in the fourth article in our Holistic Internet Marketing series. It has a lot to do with how we discovered holistic web page marketing and the difference between throwing up a sales or shopping cart site and actually building a website that works. But as you know, every fairy tale has a moral to the story. Let's dissect the mistakes we made, so you can avoid them.
Holistic Web Page Marketing Morals of the Story
Holistic Web Page Marketing Moral #1: Be in charge of your message: With our first website, we weren't in charge of our message. Trying to be really cheap, we went for a free option that had glaring ads that benefited the hosting company. Most of those free webhost packages are gone these days, but they've been replaced by a thousand and one blog platforms. To brand your company and business, you need complete control over what elements are added to your webpages.
Holistic Web Page Marketing Moral #2: Give people a connection: With our second and third websites, we didn't offer people a real connection to us. They were typical "service websites" and "shopping cart websites". The message was loud and clear. Too loud and clear. It said buy-buy-buy. Buy a necklace. Book a healing session. There was nothing else there. No "content" to entice people to stick around long enough to get to know us and decide if they wanted to buy something or book a healing service.
Holistic Web Page Marketing Moral #3: Decide if your website is a hobby or a business: We treated our websites like a hobby. We didn't research "anything" about how to create an effective website, successful marketing approaches or keyword optimization. If you want to spend your time building a website that doesn't work, take the approach we did. You'll be out years of time with nothing to show for it in the end. Otherwise, do some research and discover what "works". Articles 1 and 2 of this series cover alot of ground about what it takes for successful holistic web page marketing.
Holistic Web Page Marketing Moral #4: Research your webhost extensively: What all three of our webhosts had in common was the desire to get our money. And they did. (yes even the freebie got paid from ads they placed on our site). They really didn't care about our success as a business. And it showed in the lack of tools and functionality that they offered. The second webhost had serious downtime issues and glitches in their system that kept that site from ever having a chance of being successful (if we had given it a chance in the first place by keyword optimizing). The third website had no way of being keyword optimized. There was no availability for putting up content pages at all. It simply would never be found in the search engines no matter how much I worked on it. The only thing that could have helped would have been an advertising budget the size of Texas. These hosts didn't teach us the basics of website building or anything remotely close to holistic web page marketing concepts!
Holistic Web Page Marketing Moral #5: Think holistically about your business model: We didn't have a holistic mindset to our business. Sure everything tied together in the fact that it was related to energy healing modalities, but our business model was too scattered. We didn't spend much time thinking about things from a visitors or customers viewpoint. What would they have wanted... A chance to get to know the website owners a little bit, before buying something. A connection and reason to stick around. A feeling of understanding where we were coming from. The sales pitches were too strong in all three of our websites as they are in most service and shopping cart websites.
Holistic Web Page Marketing Moral #6: Add Value to your business model: People respond to things that are "real" and they flee at the first sign of marketing. Keep it real and add value to your business model by embracing the holistic marketing principle of over-delivering. Share articles about your niche with your visitors. Give them something for free. A free newsletter, a sample, a question and answer advice column, a place where they can share their thoughts. When you think outside the box, you'll find many things that you can offer visitors for free that don't break the bank for you. It's a core principle in holistic web page marketing, add value for your visitors...
So we've given you a bit to think about with our failed attempts, but we promised a rainbow at the end, and it does exist. Find out how we turned everything around once we learned about holistic web page marketing and took the time to understand basic keyword optimization strategies in our next article in the series Holistic Web Page Marketing Success...
(more coming soon)
Holistic Marketing Guide for your Business:
Creating a Holistic Office Space
Feng Shui Decorating Tips for a Healing Office
Practitioner Pricing Tips
Business Success Tips
Holistic Internet Marketing Guide 4 Part Series:
Holistic Internet Marketing
Holistic Website Optimizing
Holistic Web Page Marketing What Not to Do
Holistic Web Page Marketing What to Do
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