What Is Online Marketing? – Part 2 of 6: The Web Site By Richard Hoy

Last week, I wrote about the “core truths” of online marketing:

1.) The Internet is a collection of niches.
2.) Be a good, honest source of information.
3.) Never force yourself on anyone.

This week, I’m going to elaborate on the tactics that enable you to do these things.

The starting point of any online marketing campaign is the web site. You need to have a place around which your prospective buyers can congregate.

For an author, the web site really serves as a way to build a readership to which you can later pitch your book, and future books. Why is building a readership important? Because the person who has the relationship with the customer has the control. Amazon.com is not a powerhouse in the publishing industry because they sell books, but because they have millions of customers to which they can market and sell those books. In other words, Amazon.com has a direct relationship with millions of book buyers.

What you want to do is try to create a similar, though admittedly smaller scale, relationship with the potential book buyers who visit your site.

The first step is to understand the type of web site visitor you want to attract. You can do that by answering these questions:

1.) Who is my target audience?

2.) What makes my book (or product/service) unique?

Let’s use a real example. Say your book is about bonsai trees – which for you that don’t know is the “art of growing dwarfed, ornamentally shaped trees or shrubs in small shallow pots or trays.” (Thanks, Dictionary.com).

So, the answer question number 1 – who is the target audience – are people interested in growing bonsai trees.

Let’s say that, in answer to question number 2, your book has specific chapters on using unusual species to create bonsai trees – like maple or lemon trees. It’s those chapters that make your book different than every other bonsai tree book on the market.

Take these answers and translate them into keyword phrases people might use if they were looking for information on those topics.

Now that we have an idea of what the site should be about, it’s time to refine the type of information we’re going to have on the site. That means we need to find out what phrases people are entering in search engines to find information about bonsai trees.

Here is a free way to find it. Go to:


UPDATE: the free tool above is no longer available. Use Google’s tool instead:

It won’t show you hard numbers, but it will show you estimated search volume as a bar graph.


Enter the phrase “bonsai tree”, and you’ll get the list

15460 bonsai tree
1562 bonsai tree care
620 bonsai tree for sale
522 indoor bonsai tree
411 bonsai tree picture
305 growing bonsai tree
303 buy bonsai tree
296 juniper bonsai tree
237 artificial bonsai tree
215 how to grow bonsai tree
204 bonsai juniper tree care
179 bonsai tree seed
152 bonsai braided money plant tree
138 bonsai tree for home
130 take care a bonsai tree
129 caring for bonsai tree
126 japanese bonsai tree
122 bonsai tree ficus
120 type of bonsai tree
106 how to make a bonsai tree
106 bonsai palm tree
101 history of bonsai tree
98 bonsai tree kit
97 bonsai tree tattoo
96 silk bonsai tree
90 money tree bonsai
86 taking care a bonsai tree
84 flowering bonsai tree
82 bonsai tree pot
79 bonsai tree drawing
79 pruning bonsai tree
77 fake bonsai tree
77 bonsai tree photo gallery
77 bonsai tree information
73 bonsai pine tree
72 bonsai tree wholesale
67 japanese maple bonsai tree
65 bonsai tree supply
63 jade tree bonsai
60 bonsai figurine tree
59 beginner bonsai tree
59 care bonsai money tree
56 glass bonsai tree
55 large bonsai tree
54 bonsai tree maintenance
54 how to plant bonsai tree
53 bonsai sales tree
50 cheap bonsai tree
48 bonsai tree on ebay
48 bonsai tree uk
47 bonsai fruit tree
47 bonsai tree photo
46 bonsai tree pic
46 pre bonsai tree
45 bonsai tree clip art
45 bonsai tree gallery
45 bonsai tree meaning
45 old bonsai tree
43 bonsai oak tree
42 how to trim bonsai tree
41 bonsai tree art
41 bonsai tree delivery
40 bonsai maple tree
40 bonsai specimen tree
39 bonsai tree gift
38 bonsai in new tree york
37 miniature bonsai tree
37 preserved bonsai tree
37 trimming bonsai tree
36 bonsai tree nursery
36 bonsai tree tool
34 chinese elm bonsai tree
34 olive bonsai tree
33 bonsai orange tree
33 bonsai starter tree
31 bonsai bodhi tree
31 bonsai pa see tree
31 bonsai tree trim umbrella
30 apple bonsai tree
30 bonsai tree store
29 outdoor bonsai tree
28 bonsai grape tree
27 bonsai tree image
27 bonsai tree info
25 bonsai ebay stock tree
25 lemon bonsai tree

The number before each phrase means the number of times that phrase was searched on the previous month. The source of this information is Overture, which is a service that lets you buy advertising based on keywords people enter into search engines. Overture’s coverage is approximately 60% of all the searches done online, so these phrases are fairly representative of what people are searching for regarding this topic.

Normally this data is used for making decisions on what keywords to buy on Overture’s service. However, we can use it (for free) as the basis for deciding what information your web site’s content should contain. And remember, niche is better. So instead of writing about “bonsai tree care” write about “olive bonsai trees” or some other niche in the bonsai category. There may be fewer people searching on that term, but that also means there is less competition from other web sites – increasing the chances that your article will be found first. Plus, remember, we identified above that what makes the book in our example unique is the fact that it has chapters on using unusual species to create bonsai trees. So, other phrases from the list like “bonsai grape tree”, “bonsai orange tree”, and “lemon bonsai tree” would also make great content for your site. The list above confirms people are looking for that type of information.

If you have some money to spend on this kind of research, I recommend using Wordtracker – which is a fee-based keyword research tool. It’s more comprehensive that the free Overture tool. And while Wordtracker costs $257 per year, they sell passes allowing access for one day ($7.73), one week ($25.75), and one month ($51.51).

Now that you have an idea of what to write about to attract certain bonsai enthusiasts to your website, you need a way to actually create the web site. There are literally volumes on the nuts and bolts of building a web site. The subject is greater than can be encapsulated in this article. And, the technical minutia of putting together a web site overwhelms many people.

Frankly, how you do build the site isn’t as important as the content you put into it. Good content usually trumps mediocre design.

But you still need some way to publish a site and my recommendation is to use blog software or a blog service. I’ve written about this before, and rather than elaborate here, I’ll just give you the links to those past articles:

One potential drawback of having a blog on a free service is that you can’t have it under your own domain (a web address you pick). Hosting services that make you pay for a blog usually have a provision that lets you use your own domain.

An example of an author doing it right is our own Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations. Tim’s using the blog service my company, Booklocker, provides free to its POD authors. He’s generating enough traffic to not only create sales for his book, but to make money from advertising (of which we let authors keep 100%). His blog can be found here: https://www.cheapestdestinationsblog.com

Next week, we’ll tackle the subject of search engine and directory registration so that people can find your newly-built web site.

Involved in Internet marketing since 1995 (when it officially became a profession), Richard Hoy advises on, and helps execute, Internet marketing efforts for solopreneurs and clients of digital marketing agencies. His current focus is search engine optimization for books on Amazon and for local businesses on Google.