Now That I Have a Website,
How Do I Promote It?
By Beverly Miller
Getting your web site listed in search
engines and indexes has become a highly specialized part of
promoting your web site and
your business. It is a constantly changing field and it requires
continual work to maintain your ranking once you have been listed.
However, you want to be extremely careful when submitting to
search engines. It is not a good idea to use any software to
submit as these "can" be useful but only if you are
very experienced. The improper use of them, and in some cases
the use of them at all, can get your site blacklisted by certain
It takes a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks for your site to be considered
for inclusion in most search engines when you use the free submission
service some of them still offer. There are one or two where
it is immediate, but that is unusual. There is no guarantee that
your site will be added either - that is up to the individual
search engine or index's discretion.
There is also no guarantee that your site will be found using
the key words you would like. This is because each one uses their
own individual method for categorizing and ranking sites. This
is where it has become very specialized. Your ranking is determined
by many factors which can be different for individual search
engines, and those factors can change from month to month.
Many of the major search engines that existed a few years ago
have now disappeared or merged with each other. And many now
require payment to submit. Yahoo, which was once considered the
most important index, now requires an annual payment of $299
to be considered for inclusion. However, Yahoo uses Google's
results so once you are listed at Google, when someone searches
at Yahoo using your key words your site should come up at Yahoo
One of the best values left for search engine submission is
Inktomi, which has a pay-for-listing program for $39 a year for
1 URL. Your site will be listed very quickly - generally within
72 hours - to Altavista, HotBot, IWon, LookSmart, Overture, Slide,
WhatUSeek, and other search engines. You can read more about
it here: http://www.positiontech.com/inktomi/index.htm
The following two sites contain excellent resources for learning
what you need to know about submitting your web site. If you
intend to do this yourself, it's very important that you read
and study resources like this, and be sure to check them every
week or two just to keep abreast of changes and new opportunities.
Even if you hire someone to do it for you, I would recommend
that you read the basics so that you can judge for yourself if
what the company you hire is doing is likely to help you or hurt
After your site has been submitted to search engines, you will
want to work on increasing your ranking in the listings when
key words you feel that people will use to find your site are
searched on. This includes keeping an eye on your web stats to
see where people are coming from and what key words they are
using. You can then check and see what the results are for those
words when you try them at various search engines.
Improving your listing
can involve many things. Adjusting the text or title of certain
pages of your web site in moderate ways may help. Increasing
the number of high quality sites that link to you is another
good way to increase your ranking. This is particularly helpful
for Google. Another method that is helpful with some search
engines is your number of visitors. You can help to boost this
number by increasing your offline promotion of the site. Other
techniques that can help include using good signatures in all
of your emails, word of mouth, press releases, a newsletter,
and other promotion.
Using a newsletter or any other form of email promotion can
be helpful, but it must be done carefully. Being accused of spamming
can have very serious implications for a web site and can get
your site blacklisted. It can also result in your not being able
to send email to certain ISP's. An opt in method where your subscribers
must choose to receive your newsletter or emails, and are always
given an immediate and easy way to unsubscribe, is vital. We
use a newsletter program that offers this, plus it archives all
issues of your newsletter on your web site automatically, so
that vistors can read all of your previous issues. This not only
adds new content to your web site, but offers helpful information
for new visitors and can encourage new subscribers to sign up.
Another way to increase your search engine ranking is to develop
reciprocal links with other high quality web sites with subjects
relating to your site. This is something that you must develop
one by one over time. But it can have a very positive effect
on your ranking and on getting targeted traffic to your site.
Here is a detailed article that explains reciprocal linking.
It goes on to give a lot more information on other strategies.
Start small and work at it over time. http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2160301
Develop a good signature line that advertises your web site
and grabs people's attention and use it whenever you email anyone.
You never know when someone will use that to visit your site,
or pass it on to someone else. This site gives some good ideas
on developing effective signature lines in your email. http://www.soho.org/Technology_Articles/Sensational_Email.htm
Creating a well designed web site is just the start. The only
way that anyone but you is going to see it or use it is if you
promote it - and that's a continual process - not a quick, one-shot
Beverly Miller lives in Phoenix, AZ and is a mom and grandmother.
She and her daughter Ruth began their web design business in
1996. Web site development and graphic design was something
they both loved so it seemed natural to start a business together.
Visit their web site Silverleaf Design at http://www.silverlf.com or email Beverly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
**Unedited by BPO staff