One of the things we don't spend a lot of time on in our curriculum is how people can attract people to their Web site. You can have the best looking Web site, one that does a ton of cool stuff, but if no one visits it, you've got a problem. As a Web developer, customers will look to you for some expertise in this area.
Of course, one of the best things that can be done is for a person to start advertising themselves - print new business cards with the Web site address, add the address to existing publications (menus, newsletters, whatever), etc. Making information available is definitely one of the goals of a Web site, and if putting prices or directions on the Internet helps someone find you without calling your employees, you've saved time, and therefore money.
However, this does not address how to attract new customers, which should also be part of a Web presence goal. Let's say you did a Web site for a small pizza place in Paterson. Someone new to the area says "I want a pizza" and puts pizza paterson nj in to Google...will your site show up? Will it show up high on Google's rankings?
(Those are two VERY different questions, by the way)
You can submit your Web site to just about any search engine for free. For example, you can add it to Google here:
The only problem is, you're not going to show up at the top of the rankings.
You could also pay to have this done, and it's typically around $50-$100 to submit your site to over 100 search engines, big and small. It sounds like a lot of money, perhaps, but if you're being paid $30 an hour to do Web site design, it would take you more than 3 hours to submit to that many search engines. It might be worth charging the customer for that and letting the service do the work for you. (an example of how this service works)
There are also ways you can optimize your placement. There is no one solution that is perfect - no one knows the exact formula Google uses to rank pages, though we have guesses. There are times where you can re-order words, change HTML code, etc. to improve your ranking on Google. The META tag keyword choice is important - what words to choose? How many to use? Use too many and your keywords seem less important to Google, too few and you may not be found.
Though it is an expense, sometimes it pays off to pay to advertise the Web site. There are many services, including Google AdSense, that will allow you to advertise. There are also more targeted Web sites. For example, you can advertise locally on yellowpages.com, or on local sites like northjersey.com or patersononline.com. This way, you are relatively sure you are getting people who are local to you. If you are dealing with a client base who speak another language, knowing local publications in that language can help as well (for example, eldiario.com for Spanish speakers).