"Whew! Thank heavens THAT's finally done", you contentedly think to yourself as you sit back in your chair after checking final link in brand new website you've been laboring over day and night for past three months and have just uploaded to your webhost's server. "Now I can relax."
That's just so CUTE! Actually ... I have a confession to make. That's what I thought when I finished my first website too. I naively assumed that all search engines indexed every single site on web automatically and that all I had to do was upload my site and ... voila! Instant traffic. I wish!
It doesn't work like that, sorry. "Build it and they will come", you thought? Uh uh. No. They won't. You and your webhost are only ones who know your site exists and, let's face it, your webhost doesn't really care so long as you pay your hosting fees every month.
So, now that your website is officially "out there", real work of making its presence known can start. And, as you will see, this is a never-ending process so you need a plan and a strategy.
To begin with, you need to do your initial submission work. Once that's done, you need to have a systematic, organized method of ensuring your site continues to draw traffic. Here's how to do it:
CREATE A PROMOTION TOOLKIT
Before you do anything else, create a text file and call it "Promotion Toolkit" or something like that. Enter into this file a list of all of your webpages and set up columns for: Engine/ Directory Submitted To, Date Last Submitted, Next Submission Date. In same file, create descriptions of varying lengths for your site. I suggest word lengths of 10, 15, 25, 35, 50, 75 and 100. Do same for purpose of your site. Later, when you start publishing your own ezine, create descriptions for that too. Also write a website announcement and keep a record of keywords that you think site visitors will enter into search engine when looking for sites similar to yours.
You will find your Promotion Toolkit to be invaluable when submitting your site to search engines, directories, announcement lists and all various other places you will be listing your site. By taking time to create powerful, effective descriptions and announcements, you will save an enormous amount of time when actually submitting your site because you can just copy and paste information from your Promotion Toolkit.
INITIAL SUBMISSION WORK
There are two major things you need to do initially: submit your site to major search engines and list it with all online directories you can find.
=> Submitting to Search Engines
Your very first task after creating your Promotion Toolkit is to submit your site to all major search engines. Now, when creating your website you did, of course, first learn about principles of webdesign and importance of meta tags and like for search engine positioning, right? If not, I suggest you do this now BEFORE submitting your site. Perhaps best resource currently available is Ken Evoy's "Make Your Site Sell". If you don't have it, get it.*
There are hundreds of so-called "search engines". In reality, only a handful are worth effort of securing a decent ranking.
Alta Vista - http://www.altavista.com Excite - http://www.excite.com Hotbot - http://www.hotbot.com Infoseek - http://www.infoseek.go.com Lycos - http://www.lycos.com Northern Light - http://www.northernlight.com Web Crawler - http://www.webcrawler.com Yahoo - http://www.yahoo.com
There are a few other major players out there but these are "big 8".
=> Submitting to Directories
In addition to search engines, there are hundreds of directories where you should list your site. Space does not permit listing them here so I recommend you visit Virtual Promote, a brilliant site with links to virtually every promotion point on web today. It will take you a long time to submit to all directories listed there but just work at it and eventually you'll get there. It's at http://www.virtualpromote.com . It was this site that advised setting up a Promotional Toolkit. One of best pieces of advice I ever took.
ONGOING PROMOTION AND MAINTENANCE
OK, so you've taken care of your initial submission work. Let's turn now to what you need to do on an ongoing basis to get and keep traffic flowing to your site. Again, space doesn't permit a detailed treatment of all of these strategies. They're intended just as thought starters.
The single most important thing you can do for long-term viability of your website is create an ezine. This keeps your site uppermost in your readers' minds, reminds them it and you exist, who you are and why they should do business with you. You don't have to make your ezine central plank of your business as I do. You can, instead, just use it as an adjunct to your website; a way of staying in touch with your site visitors. For a really great site to help you get started, visit Kate Schultz' EzineZ.com - http://www.e-zinez.com .
=> Write Articles
This is an amazingly effective way of generating traffic to your website and subscribers to your ezine. Every time you write an article for your ezine, submit it to various article databases that exist for this purpose. Other ezine publishers are always on lookout for good content and if they publish your article (complete with your byline and site details) you will enjoy traffic and subscribers as a result. Some good starting points for article submissions include: