A relatively untouched promotion venue for your entrepreneurship program, especially if you have an on-line component, is the Internet. While many niches have long since been saturated on-line, that is not the case with community college entrepreneurship. Because of the recent development of entrepreneurship education at the community college, there is an open frontier for on-line marketing of your program. However, to market successfully on-line, you need to understand a little about how search engines work. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a web programmer to implement these steps.)
Search engines place emphasis on certain things about a web site to determine which sites should be displayed in order of perceived importance. Once you know which factors the search engines are emphasizing, you can use them to earn a top spot in the search engine rankings. You can use a number of tools to assist you for each of the items below, and I’ll post links to them in the blog section of the NACCE web site.
The first thing you need to know is what people are searching for when you hope they’ll find your web site. This means you need to know what keywords they are typing into the search engine. Once you know what they’re searching for, you want to make sure that your web pages use and emphasize those words. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your web page has between 400 and 600 words of keyword-rich text. Doing things like using larger type, putting the words in bold, and naming the page using the keyword add emphasis.
Search engines also have a bias toward new and frequently updated content. Unfortunately, most college web pages are stagnant and static. Once they’ve been published, they often sit untouched until the entire web site is redone. Placing new content (keyword-rich!) on your site on a regular basis can give you a boost in the search engine rankings. An easy way to do this is to create a blog on your school’s site. Or, how about a student blog where they can share their experiences in your program?
For search engines, links to your site are like popularity votes. The more popular your site is, the higher it will rank in the search engines. There are many ways to get links. The best, and most often repeated advice, is to create something worth linking to. Additional ways to generate inbound links include submitting your pages to on-line directories, submitting on-line press releases about your program, or article marketing where you submit original articles to a web site that are then picked up by other web site owners who provide a link back to your site.
We’ve just scratched the surface, but these tips are some of the most important when it comes to promoting your program online.