Web Promotions For Newbies
by Regina Garson
You launched a masterpiece, the site of all sites, the
best of the net. Prepared for an onslaught of surfers, you
fantasize about angry overloaded service providers.
Patiently, you check your counter. In disbelief, you press
reload to make sure it is working. Suppressing guilt, you
reload a few more times to help it along.
Reality Check: Those who wait for the world to surf in will
eventually give up, or die waiting. Your Internet efforts
do not end with the perfect website. They begin. Online as
in the physical world, if no one knows you exist; they will
not come to visit. Establishing a reputation takes as much
effort in cyberspace, as it does in real life. Techniques
and strategies are different, but for both, it is an
ongoing process. Here are some online basics to get your
site noticed and keep it visible.
Organize your Tools:
Begin by making a promotional cut and paste file. Spend
time writing copy and collecting resources. Put the
following items in an easily accessible file. For accuracy,
open this file, to cut and paste when you do site
submissions. An incorrect URL can take longer to get
changed, than submitting a new one. Plan to get it right
the first time. You will need to include:
A longer descriptive title for name only listings.
Key words -- by order of importance.
Site descriptions in various lengths:
A paragraph, 50 words or less,
A few sentences, 25 words or less,
A one sentence description.
Logos and banner URLs -- make note of image size by pixel
There are two choices. Do it yourself, or hire a submission
service. Most established webmasters agree this job is
better done yourself. Making sure submission guidelines are
followed, greatly enhances your chances of being listed.
However, if you are new to the web, a submission service
may be worth the "initial" boost it gives your site. Ask
for recommendations, or referrals from satisfied customers.
Otherwise, start your online publicity efforts by
registering with these places:
For most surfers, this is the first place they look for
anything on the net. Search engines funnel the traffic flow
of the web. Most established sites are listed. If you want
to be found, get listed. Some engines index your whole site
from one URL. For others you need to submit each URL. Search
engines are part of Internet life, check guidelines before
submitting. They are all different. If you want to be found,
you want to be listed.
Not to be confused with search engines, directories index
and catalogue. Getting listed in the right places can make
a difference. Start with major directories like Yahoo and
Lycos. Then look for directories that catalogue sites in
your field. For example, if you run a hotel, you might
begin with regional travel guides.
Network with Links:
Good linked resources are a popular feature of many web
sites. They are frequently bookmarked. Linked resources
provide an excellent opportunity to network by trading
links. The argument persists over whether or not to list
competitive sites. For information providers such as
libraries, linking competitive sources, may actually
enhance your site because of the extended resources. In
retail sales or service, most feel listing complimentary
content a better tactic. If you bake and sell cakes,
consider linking a gift shop or cyber cards, not another
Awards build recognition, reputation and traffic, so do
"Cool" and "Hot" site listings. Apply only after all your
"Under Construction" signs have been removed.
Build and Use your Mailing List:
Build your mailing list from guestbook entries, comments
and inquiries. Invite visitors to join the list. Newsletters
are a good way to stay in touch. In every issue, give
readers the option to be removed from your list. Remember,
occasional mail can be fun, too much is annoying.
Most email packages allow up to six lines of copy for a
signature line. Include URLs, a short description, phone
number and address, if relevant. Whatever your online
activities, this is an excellent source of advertising. Let
your contacts know what you do.
Even small web sites, can advertise online. There are
several excellent banner exchange programs. Your ad banner
is shown on member sites, in exchange for displaying their
banners on your site. Link Exchange is the most popular,
and has a large membership. If there are only a few member
sites, the exchange may be more work than it is worth. The
good ones have rating categories as to site content. Find
out who you will be trading with. Is the group compatible
with your online image? Shop carefully. Advertising is a
valuable online commodity, you should expect a fair return
whether you swap or buy.
Be Part of the Community:
Even though virtual, the Internet is very much a community.
Visit your neighbors. Sign their guestbooks. Be involved.
There are online forums, email groups, usenets, and chat
rooms. Participate knowledgeably in your field. It is bad
netiquette, to simply post a sales message. Instead,
contribute to discussions, and include a signature line
which directs readers to your message site.
There are also numerous opportunities to hone your skills
and have fun with web competitions. Traffic wars can bring
visitors and excitement for entertainment pages. Get
involved. Be aware of what is happening in your field on
the net. Look at who is sponsoring the activities. If your
site is on Football Recruiting, it is probably not worth
your time to participate with a Basket Weavers Group.
However, if you sell baskets, this may be an excellent
Integrate your Real World and Online Resources:
Include your URL and email address on business cards,
stationary, brochures and any other print resources you
use. Remember to include online news in your press
releases and organization announcements. Refer your online
visitors to your real world services, and your real world
customers to your online resources.
It takes time, effort and persistence to build online
traffic. Establishing a reputation on the web takes as much
effort as it does in the physical world. Those who work and
put forth the effort will be the ones who make their places
in this new frontier.
Regina Garson is a writer, editor and web developer/consultant.
She writes for and about the Internet, online and in print.
Editor and publisher of Magic Stream, she has won numerous
awards for her web publications. Enjoying advertising,
sweepstakes and online promotions; she also maintains Gina's
Sweeps and Contest Page. She can be reached by email at:
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