Some webmasters devote all their time to website promotion but forget about the content they are promoting. Others develop wonderful content that ends up hidden in a cul de sac on the web. Webmasters can achieve balance by both developing quality content and promoting it effectively. Keep in mind these basics of web site promotion as you develop your web site’s strategy.
Get Yourself in a few Trusted Directories
The most obvious way to promote your web site is to make sure the major search engines and directories know who you are and where to find you. These are some of the major search engines. Make sure you submit to search engines. It’s a good practice to give the prospective directory’s submission policies a glance before jumping in.
- Open Directory Project (DMOZ)
- Best of the Web (botw.com)
- Other authoritative general directories and niche directories that you research (only the good ones)
The aforementioned are general directories. These types have been long displaced by search engines. Niche directories can be quite the more useful. If your site is of a particular niche, getting it listed in a directory of the same niche is understood to send a stronger signal of relevance to search engines. Users particularly interested in your niche have a good chance of finding you as well.
What’s the most rewarding way to promote your web site? Create something of value and give it to your visitors. You may not be a writer, programmer, or artist but most webmasters have some sort of creative skill or expertise that others need. If you can offer your web site’s visitors something of good quality that’s free, they will love you. Here are some examples of content that you can create and offer freely on your web site to establish your presence and attract visitors:
- Freeware programs, screen savers, scripts
- Graphics like wallpaper, backgrounds, icons
- Articles, tutorials, or reviews
- Advice, tips, or Q&A’s
- Free quotes for a service you offer
Link well, and often. Because of the emphasis that search engines place on link popularity, it’s important that your web site be linked from other websites, especially from sites that are high in traffic and search engine ranking. Generally, webmasters will be more inclined to link to you if doing so will benefit them in some way. If nothing else, make sure your site is a good resource for them to send visitors before approaching them.
You cannot single-handedly commandeer the Internet. If you see a classy web site with products or services that might complement yours, then send the webmaster an e-mail introducing yourself and suggesting ideas for combining forces. Suggest adding your chocolate to his peanut butter to create a Reese’s Cup.
Become Active in Forums
With the advent of fast and well-coded forum packages such as vBulletin Instant Community, forums have become a valuable exchange for learning, networking, and promoting. Visit forums related to your web site’s topic and offer your expertise or ask questions. As you talk it up with others in your line of work, forum visitors will respect your remarks and many will notice your signature link and visit your web site. SitePoint has an excellent webmaster forum in which to explore this idea. I’ve personally learned a lot from this forum.
David Gowans of Free Webmaster Help elaborates on some of these ideas and discusses further ways to promote your web site in FreeWebmasterHelp’s Promotion Tutorial.