There’s a lot of traffic out there. Nielsen/NetRatings estimates that over 134 million people in the United States are now online. But with all the places to go, how do you drive the right people to your website? And once they’re there, how do you get them to stay and want to return? Perhaps you long ago recognized the need for a Web presence, or maybe you just recently got your site up and running. Either way, you need to assess your online location, as well as how you’re promoting it. Try to look at your website as an outsider would, and ask some basic questions. Is your website user-friendly? User-friendly means several things. For one, your website needs to download quickly. The idea of the Internet is easy access to information. If your homepage takes forever to download, you can be guaranteed this will decrease your number of visitors. People are going to move on to where things are happening, and happening quickly. Is your website visually pleasing? While this means different things to different people, there are general standards of good taste, as well as certain colors that are easy on the eye. Think about your audience and the image you’re trying to project to your visitors, most of whom you hope will become your clients. If fluorescent green is your favorite color, fill your home with it. As far as using it as the predominate color for your website, it’s likely to turn visitors away. When it comes to content, clear concise copy is where it’s at. People don’t have time to read every minute detail about every activity you’ve undertaken. Yet, isn’t the goal to include as much relevant material as possible? Yes, provided it’s delivered in a format that has the user in mind. Brief summaries that lead to more information, if so desired, are preferable to full pages of dense text. With regard to the text itself, pay attention to grammar and spelling. Everyone makes mistakes, but a site that’s loaded with errors gives the impression that the organization itself is unprofessional. Similarly, be sure the tone of your language reflects the image you wish to project. This will depend, to some extent, on your client base. While your website is an opportunity for you to showcase your individuality and creativity, again, everything should be within the realm of reasonableness. Remember your target audience. What you include at your site will depend on how you to intend to use it, as well as your ability to maintain any features you choose to incorporate. In order to keep people coming back however, freshness of content is key. Whether you choose to only update job listings, or you include other dated resources, keep your information current. Nothing will turn off a potential candidate faster than an outdated job list. Likewise, an article from last year, featured as this week’s news, sends an unprofessional message. How you market your site may be depend on budgetary constraints. You should start by including your URL as part of your address. Add it to your business cards, your letterhead, and be sure to include it as part of your email correspondence as well. If you use print advertising, include it in all your ads. The same goes for radio. In a radio spot, the logical place to include a URL is after the physical address. “You can visit us at 123 Main Street in Pleasantville, or on the Web at acerecruiting.com.” Posting banner ads at other sites is another good way to drive traffic to your site. Like billboards on heavily-traveled highways, banners at busy sites can get a lot of exposure. The downside to this is that, as with billboards, there are often many banners. And, unless you choose a site your target audience is likely to visit, you may end up with mostly passersby. Even when placed at an ideal location, the banner itself must generate positive interest. WNG Advertising offers ten tips for creating effective banners. Learn the Net features a page with several additional Internet marketing tips, including information about how to easily register with multiple search engines and suggestions regarding links. At the homepage, simply enter the word “publicize” in the search field and then click on “Build Your website: Publicizing Your Site.” A dynamic Web presence can dramatically affect your ability to reach prospective candidates. By creating and maintaining a website that’s user-friendly and informative, and using all available marketing avenues to promote it, you can increase traffic to your online location. Let your website be a driving force of your business.