Please Note: This article was last updated in 2003.
Letting the world know about your web site is crucial. You can’t just build a web site and hope that people will find it (believe it or not, this actually happens).
How People Discover New Web Sites
The two main ways that people find out about new websites are links from other sites and search engine results pages. Think about how you browse the web. When do you feel best about visiting a new site? Probably when you are sent there by a trusted source like a reputable website or when a high-quality search engine like Google lists the site on a search results page.
Promoting your web site to other web sites (AKA “link development”) helps you get more referrals from both of these sources. In addition to the direct traffic you get from links to your site from reputable web sites, you also get a boost in your search engine ranking for each high-quality link to your site. So your web site promotion efforts should focus on getting more links to your site.
The best way for you as an independent professional to get more high-quality links to your site is to provide unique and useful information on your web site. My online publishing page talks in more detail about why and how to do this.
Once you have created a site with valuable, useful content, you need to get other people to look at it and link to it. As with any promotion campaign, their are a number of ways you can do this. The best way to get links is to find appropriate sites and write them a personalized e-mail letter requesting that they link to you. Identifying appropriate sites and writing a request that will actually get results is an art in itself. Eric Ward’s web site has a number of excellent articles on how to get links to your site.
Other Web Site Promotion Techniques
There are many other ways to promote your web site, and a comprehensive internet marketing plan will include most of these, but if resources are tight, I wouldn’t move on to these techniques until you have exhausted all of your link-development opportunities.
- announce your web site (and enhancements to it) with news releases and other announcements to:
- web site reviewers
- online publications (websites, e-zines, blogs, etc.)
- print publications (magazines, newsletters, directories, etc.)
- make postings to appropriate news groups and other online forums (remember your netiquette)
- include a tell-a-friend device on all web pages and in your e-mail newsletters
- submit your site to second-tier directories and search engines (in addition the important ones you have already submitted to as part of your search engine optimization program)
- put your web site URL on all of your print materials business cards, stationary, catalogs, etc.
- include your web site URL in a “signature file” for all of your outgoing e-mail correspondence
My Website Promotion Qualifications
I have been promoting websites since 1995, both as a marketing manager in a conventional publishing company and as a senior manager for three internet start-ups. I have also helped consulting clients promote their sites. And I managed for a year an online graphics services agency (BannerWorkz) that served top-flight online promoters like 24/7 Media, Countrywide Home Loans, Half.com, and the Nexchange affiliate program.
The “Link Mensch”
This page created 4/5/03; last updated 11/21/03.