The Basics of Website PromotionWritten by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg, Ph.D.
Website promotion is, quite simply, process of getting word out about your site. Like any kind of marketing or promotional effort, website promotion requires planning and strategy.
Where to Start
Before jumping headfirst into site promotion (and, perhaps, even before building your site), youíll want to think carefully about your target market and your siteís purpose. Who do you want to visit your site? What do you want those visitors to do when they get there? With so much information out there, and so many means available for website promotion, itís tempting to dive in without testing waters. Just as with more traditional forms of spreading word, though, you want to figure out what you have to offer, and who will be most interested. Promotion should focus on bringing those visitors to your site who want or need whatever it is you have to offer.
The Tried and True
Once you have determined your target market and how your site will serve that market, youíll want to start looking into various methods of website promotion. Given that youíre working with an internet-based medium, youíll likely think first of internet-based forms of promotion. Donít overlook more traditional methods of announcing your site, though. Do you have a business card? Have your siteís URL printed on it. Do same with other paper promotional items you produce routinely. Do you send press releases to media with news about your business? Certainly include URL in these. Do you advertise in newspaper, or on radio or TV? Your URL should now be a part of contact information included in those ads.
The "New Media"
Of course, Web opens up new possibilities for promoting your site, and you certainly want to take advantage of them. Here are seven possible ways to promote your site through Internet:
1. Get listed Where do you go on Net when you want to find information? Probably Yahoo!, Google, AltaVista, or one of many other search engines, directories or portals available on Web. So itís likely that your target market does same. Check into processes for submitting your siteís URL to search engines and directories Ė many of these services will list your site for free. The grand-daddy of directories, Yahoo!, does charge just to look at a business site (currently for $299, with no guarantee of a listing), but keep in mind that about half of all web traffic comes from Yahoo! -- you may decide that itís a smart investment in your website promotion efforts. Also keep in mind that there are smaller engines and directories tailored to specific topics and interests, and you may find that getting listed with one of these will give you a more prominent position in engine/directory, and provide you with more targeted traffic. Also, donít overlook local and regional engines/directories. For more information, see my article on Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.).
2. Get Linked While most webmasters will first think of search engines and directories for their website promotion, more traffic (six to seven times as much) comes from links on other pages than from search engines. How do you get these links? Generally, you need to propose a link swap with another site. That is, you contact webmaster of another site to which youíd like to be linked, and offer to link to his/her site if s/he will do same. Short-cuts, such as FFA pages, are generally not most effective kinds of links Ė because so many people submit to these sites, individual links may appear for only minutes or even seconds. Also keep in mind that people visit these sites to submit their own links, not to find information.
Weave Your Own WebWritten by A. Raymond Randall
Many elementary school children know miracle of Charlotte's Web. Weaving words "Some Pig" into center of her web, Charlotte keeps Wilbur from frying pan. E.B. White's story provides some fascinating guidelines for web spinning.
Charlotte's wisdom assures Wilbur about what matters. On one hand, when Wilbur tries creating his own web, she instructs, "You can't spin a web...and I advise you to put idea out of your mind." Wilbur lacks "spinnerets, and ... know how". She also informs Wilbur, "...you don't need a web." However with some "know how", every webmaster may weave a "terrific" web. A spider called Charlotte offers wise suggestions.
Have a plan.
Wilbur had no plan to save himself from butcher, and when first asked, Charlotte did not have much of a plan. She does suggest importance of "working on it", and in her case, "hanging head down...that's when I do my thinking". Don't suggest you turn yourself upside down, but do suggest taking time to ponder YOUR plan. When Wilbur asks if he can help, she says, "I'll work on it alone". I am convinced that you must design your own plan when weaving your web. Stay away from templates and pre-made web site designs. Generations of web designers preceded Charlotte; she mimicked structure, but not content. Her choices evolved from her unique and distinctive plan.
Have a purpose.