Small Business Can Cast Wider Net Online; Extra Effort Pays off for Search Ads, Free Links

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 19, 2006 | Go to article overview

Small Business Can Cast Wider Net Online; Extra Effort Pays off for Search Ads, Free Links


Byline: Dan Caterinicchia, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Small businesses are exploring ways to grow online via Internet advertising and using techniques to rise through the ranks of search-engine queries.

Placement in localized Internet classifieds and directories is still the most popular method of online advertising, but more savvy and aggressive companies can branch out to target global customers, said Emily Riley, advertising and marketing analyst for JupiterResearch in New York.

Getting free links on reputable sites such as Google can be time-consuming, and buying key words for ads from the search engines takes time and money.

But such links can help a skateboard shop in Southern California, for instance, market to potential customers based on their age or the videos they are downloading, Ms. Riley said. The sites and ads for such businesses should feature easily accessible contact information and buying options, she added.

The rewards can help offset the advertising costs.

Ryan Wyrtzen, 21, is the founder of Cheap Travel Consulting, a fledgling online business that charges for assistance in booking hotels, flights and car rentals. He used Web site creation software from Homestead Technologies to build his 15-page site (www.cheaptravelconsulting.com), which went live about six weeks ago.

Mr. Wyrtzen also signed up for SearchLight, an online advertising service from Homestead that guarantees a certain number of visitors annually.

SearchLight provides key-word selection and management of bids to optimize search-engine returns, development of advertising copy and reporting. Searchlight can be set up in less than an hour, and packages start at $30 per month for 240 clicks, said Manvinder Saraon, vice president of marketing and business development for the Menlo Park, Calif. …

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