As a bare minimum we register all of our clients with the following Internet Search Engines:
- Alta Vista
Here are some of the things that you can do yourself to promote your site:
Write a page title
Write a descriptive title for each page of 5 to 8 words. Remove as many "filler" words from the title, such as "the," "and," etc. This page title appears on the Web search engines when your page is found. Entice surfers to click on the title by making it a bit provocative. Place this at the top of the Web page between the<HEADER></HEADER>
tags, in this format:
<TITLE>Web Marketing Checklist -- 23 Ways to Promote Your Site</TITLE>
Prepare a list of 50 to 100 keywords -- the kind of words that if someone entered one of these words, you'd like him to find your site. Make sure that you don't repeat any word more than three times. Place those words at the top of the Web page, between the <HEADER></HEADER> tags, in a META tag in this format:
<META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="promoting, promotion, Web marketing, online sale">
Write a page description
Select the most important 20 keywords, and write a careful 200 to 250 character (including spaces) sentence or two. You don't need to repeat any words used in the page title. Keep this readable but tight. Eliminate as many "filler" words as you can, to make room for the important words, the keywords which do the actual work for you. Place those words at the top of the Web page, between the <HEADER></HEADER> tags, in a META tag in this format:
<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Increase visitor hits, attracting traffic through submitting URLs, META tags, news releases, banner ads, and reciprocal links">
Submit page to search engines
Next, submit your page to the important Web search engines and directories. To do this, consider using a submission service such as Submit-It http://www.submit-it.com and All4one Submission Machine
The most important search engines which robotically "spider" your site are:
Submit page to Yahoo!
Yahoo is probably the most important listing of all -- though it's technically a directory, rather than a search engine. It uses real humans to read (and too often, pare down) your 200 character sentence, so be very careful, and follow their instructions. http://www.yahoo.com/docs/info/include.html
Submit page to other directories
You've probably seen offers to submit your pages to 300 different search engines. Don't bother. The most important 25 are probably enough, unless you find some specific to your industry. Many of the rest are wannabe's that solicit you for "upgraded listings." These marginal directories come and go very quickly making it hard to keep up.
Request links on industry sites
You probably belong to various trade associations that feature member sites. Ask for a link.
Include URL on stationaries, cards and liteerature
Make sure that all reprints of cards, stationery, brochures, and literature contain your company's URL. And see that your printer gets the URL syntax correct, with slashes leaning right rather than left.
Include URL in display advertising
We don't recommend discontinuing print advertising you've found to be effective. But be sure to include your URL in any display or classified ads you purchase in trade journals, newspapers, etc. View your Web site as an information adjunct to the ad. Catch readers' attention with the ad, and then refer them to a Web page where they can obtain more information or perhaps place an order.
Develop a free services market
It's one thing to say, "Come to our site and learn about our business." It's quite another to say "Use the free kitchen remodeling calculator available exclusively on our site." Make no mistake, it's expensive in time and energy to develop free resources such as our Web Marketing Info Center http://www.wilsonweb.com/webmarket but it is very rewarding in increased traffic to your site. Make sure that your free service is closely related to what you are selling, so the visitors you attract will also be good prospects for your business. Give visitors multiple opportunities to enter the part of the site where you're marketing your product or service.
Request reciprocal links
Find complementary Web Sites and request a reciprocal link to your site (especially to your free service, if you offer one). Develop an out-of-the way page where you put links to other sites -- so you don't send people out the back door as fast as you bring them in the front door.
Issue News Releases
Find newsworthy events (such as the launching of your free service), and send news releases to print and Web periodicals in your industry. You may want to use a Web news release service, such as one offered by Eric Ward's URLwire http://www.urlwire.com
Request links from business link sites
Especially if you offer a free service, you can request links from many of the small business linking pages on the Web. When you have something free to offer, many doors open to you. Surf the Net looking for places that might link to your site. Then e-mail the site owner or webmaster with your site name, URL, and a brief 200-word description of what you offer there.
Capture visitor e-mail address and request permission to send updates
On your Web Site's response form, include a checkbox where the visitor can give you permission to e-mail updates about products or services. Now your e-mails to visitors are not "spam." You're responding to their request for more information.
Publish an e-mail newsletter
While it's a big commitment in time, publishing a weekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter is one of the very best ways to keep in touch with your prospects, generate trust, develop brand awareness, and build future business. You can distribute your newsletter using your e-mail program, or have people subscribe on your Web Site directly to a Majordomo program offered by your Internet Service Provider. More information can be found at
Install a "signature" in your e-mail program
Most e-mail programs such as Eudora or Netscape allow you to designate a "signature" to appear at the end of each message you send. Limit it to 6 to 8 lines: Company name, address, phone number, URL, e-mail address, and a one-phrase description of your unique business offerings. Look for examples on e-mail messages sent to you.
Promote your site in mailing lists and news groups
The Internet offers thousands of very targeted mailing lists and news groups made up of people with very specialized interests. Use DejaNews http://www.dejanews.com to find appropriate sources. Don't bother with news groups constituted of pure "spam." Instead, find groups where a dialog is taking place. Don't use aggressive marketing, even if you see other jerks doing so. Rather, join in the discussion and let the "signature" at the end of your e-mail message do your marketing for you. People will gradually get to know and trust you, visit your site, and do business with you.
Join a mall
You may gain a little traffic this way, but not a lot. The biggest and free-est mall, if you will, is Yahoo. Get a good listing there, and you won't need other malls very much.
Annouce a contest
People like getting something free. If you publicize a contest or drawing available on your site, you'll generate more traffic than normal.
Join a banner exchange program
Of the many banner exchange programs, LinkExchange is the biggest. http://www.linkexchange.com. Essentially, you agree to show a rotating banner on your site for other LinkExchange members, and they do the same for you.
Purchase banner ads on appropiate sites
You may need to spend money to boost traffic by purchasing banner advertising. Choose sites that seem to attract the kinds of people who would be good prospects for your business or product. Expect to pay $10 to $40 per thousand people who see your ad, and achieve a click-through rate of 1% to 2%. You can find media brokers such as WPRC http://www.wprc.com/pldb/wprcpldb.shtml who can help you find appropriate and cost-effective places to advertise.
Use traditional promotional media
You may decide to use traditional media to drive people to your site, such as direct mail, classifieds, display ads, etc. This can be especially helpful in smaller industry niches.
Rent targeted e-mail lists
We abhor "spam," bulk untargeted, unsolicited e-mail. But the direct marketing industry has developed targeted e-mail lists you can rent of people who have agreed to receive commercial e-mail messages. Some companies which offer such services are listed at http://www.wilsonweb.com/webmarket/lists.htm
We certainly haven't exhausted ways to promote your site, but these will get you started. To effectively market your site you need to spend some time adapting these strategies to your own market and capacity.
The Web Marketing Checklist: 23 Ways to Promote Your Site
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Appeared in Web Marketing Today, Issue 39, December 1, 1997