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Website Promotion

 
Brian H. Gill

I think that promotion is where many webmasters and website owners aren't getting the job done.

Good promotion for a website starts with basic design decisions. These include choosing a good name for each page, and making sure that search engines can find each page.

As an example of good naming, let's say that a site that is dedicated to music of the '60s and '70s has a page about Herman and the Hermits. Search engines, and alert viewers, are more likely to associate that page with the subject if the file name is something like hermits.html and the title "Herman's Hermits."

After the website is published, it's time to give potential viewers a chance to find it, by making good use of:

  • Search engines
  • Directories
  • Link sharing

Many search engines offer special placement for a fee. Often, this is on a pay-per-click basis. It's not a bad idea, for website owners with extra money in their promotion budget.

I have submitted websites to about a dozen search engines. There simply aren't more major search entities than that. For the most part, these do not not charge a fee, or offer a free submission option. I've found that, once a site is indexed by Google, Yahoo, and a few others, the smaller players will pick the website up, too.

Directories, lists of websites organized by some criteria, are important tools, too. Finding the right directories, and getting a website added to them, gives visitors another way to find your site. In addition to uncounted specialized directories (like "Web Sites in This Area" on Brendan's Island), there are a handful of leaders. Perhaps the most important single place to get your site placed is the Open Source Directory. Many other search services use this resource as a source for their directories.

Sharing links with complimentary sites helps, too. Webmasters from other sites may ask you to linkshare, or you may contact other sites. I have established links to Brendan's Island using both methods. Link sharing is usually free, largely because both sites benefit from the links. Not only do visitors find their way to the other site, but search engine ranking may be improved by having appropriate incoming links.

I have been talking about legitimate linksharing, of course: not those pages that let anybody add links. It isn't any help to have a link to your site tucked between one to somebody's vacation pictures and another to an envelope-stuffing franchise.

Then there are the more traditional promotions. A press release can encourage publications to promote your website without additional costs.

Obviously, a business with a website should get the site's address on their letterhead and business literature as soon as possible.

There are other old-fashioned ways to boost traffic:

  • Posters
  • Newspaper and magazine ads
  • Even buying time on television

The problem with these methods is that they typically cost more money than online promotion.

Finally, there is the best promotion tool of all: word of mouth. These days, word of mouth includes email. Don't forget to put your website's address in your email signature.

copyright 2004, Brian H. Gill

 
   

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Brian H. Gill
brianhgill@brendans-island.com

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