Book Reviews: 101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site and The Long Tail

I’ve been reading a variety of books on Internet business and marketing recently. Two of them stand out.

The first is 101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site by Susan Sweeney. For such a hot topic, it’s hard to find up-to-date books with practical advice. It seems like every other Web book is written either by an academic with no practical experience or a huckster simply wanting to sell you something.

While undoubtedly a self-promoting book, 101 Ways is jammed with tips for bringing more traffic to your Web site. It’s not exactly a book for novices, but it’s not for experts either. It’s clear, straightforward, and easy-to-read. Sweeney has a knack for taking complex subjects and boiling them down to key ideas that you can put to use.

The book assumes you’ll be selling something on your site and covers planning, optimization, viral marketing, pay per click advertising, e-mail marketing, getting links, and more. The author also makes most of the resources discussed in her book available on her Web site for free.

I knew most of the tips in this book, but I learned a few tricks too. If you’re looking for one basic book on boosting your online traffic, you might want to give this one a try. It was published in 2006, but most of the information is still current and generally conforms to the more cutting edge publications I’ve read recently.

The second book that stands out is The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More by Chris Anderson. This is more of a think piece on how to understand business and the changes that lie ahead.

The basic idea is that business used to offer fewer alternatives in fewer locations, so big sellers were the only concern. You either had a hit or a miss. But with the Internet and new technologies, there is an almost unlimited choice of products in an almost unlimited number of locations. So even products that sell in low quantities can be profitable, and as a whole, these non-hit products can add up to huge profits.

It’s really about how niche marketing is coming of age. This isn’t a new idea, but Anderson brings the idea to life and explains how this will be the future of business. The term “long tail” will make sense after you see the chart he uses to show how back-list products may sell few units, but never reach zero sales.

The examples are a bit repetitive, but are clear and revealing. It’s a quick read and is one of those books that can inspire you or at least help you reconsider how your business will be doing business in the years to come.

You can get more information or buy either of these books from Amazon at the links below:
101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site
The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More

And remember that my Direct Marketing Bookshop is a great place to find books on a wide variety of marketing subjects. Click on the “marketing” category to open a menu for books I’ve handpicked for each specific subject.

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