How to Promote Your Website
- Signature lines
- Exchange Links
- Search Engines
- Testimonials and Guest Books
- Offline Promotion
- Industry Links
- Press Releases
- Your site
After obtaining your domain name and host making your template, learning CSS and maintaining your site after publishing it, you will need to promote it, lets discuss that. I'm going to use my own FrontPage resource sites as a real life example.
Answer questions on your chosen subject and make sure to include your domain name(s) in your signature line. Places to do that would be:
~ FrontPage Forums and FrontPage expert sites
When it comes to Forums you can read up on their options and utilise the code features to use Keywords to display your links. Be sure to include a title tag and make the link open in a new window.
Below is the code to show you how to achieve this.
This is how it will look.
~ FrontPage Lists and FrontPage Newsgroups
Be sure to observe the list rules about the number of lines your allowed. The maximum usually is seven but it can be less or more. Lists are usually text based so you need to present your links slightly differently (see example below). Include small text explanations along side the links as to what the sites are about. The same method applies to newsgroups.
- http://accessfp.net/ - FrontPage Resource Centre
- http://anyfrontpage.com - Ezine with Free E-books
- http://clarke-abstract-art.com/ - Original Abstract Art
- http://addonfp.com - FrontPage Addons
- http://frontpage-tips.com - Weekly FrontPage Tips
- http://msmvps.com/blogs/frontpage/ - FrontPage News Blog
- http://frontpage-blog.com/ - FrontPage Blog
Links on your site should only be there if they benefit YOUR readers. As with the Forum method of linking above it's best to use keywords and link with text. Search engines can't see graphics so using a button or banner won't help as much as a text based link.
You must organise these links into a resource directory, setup a small site map linking to each category of resources which will allow endless room for growth see this resource links directory for ideas
You yourself should provide a information link page on your own site. With a key worded title, which is linked and a short descriptive blurb about your site. Everything should be provided in html format with instructions on how to apply it to a page.
This is what it looks like on the page
AccessFP - FrontPage Resource Centre
FrontPage, for 97, 98, 2000, 2002, 2003 and FrontPage Express (fpe) - FrontPage Tips, FrontPage tutorials, FrontPage Ezines, FrontPage addons and FrontPage help.
This is the code.
Instructions - If you would like to link to AccessFP with a text link you may insert the code above into your site. Right click in the box and press Select All, then right click again and press Copy then go to your HTML View and place the cursor where you want the code to appear, right click and select paste.
Ask other similar sites to trade links, talk to the owners of similar and complementary sites by sending them a PERSONAL email message. Go to the trouble of finding out their name from their site, look and see if they have a preferred linking method, and link to them before you send them an email. If you link to other sites on the basis it's good for your readers, and after sending a personal email to your selected sites they either decline or don't answer, you have lost nothing. Your still enhancing your site. When you do link to other sites make sure they open in a new window, this is something you should do with any external link because once the reader has finished at the other site and closed the window your site will still be there waiting. By establishing a PERSONAL relationship with the other webmasters of these similar sites, your link could be moved to a more prominent position.
On my homepage at http://accessfp.net look for OUR TOP 10 RECOMMENDED SITES I link to those sites, not just because I think they are very good sites but because I also know the webmasters personally and I think my readers will benefit from the information they contain. I'm happy, their happy and you the reader are happy, that's the goal in this situation.
Ed Note: I have changed my homepage since I wrote this article, however you get the idea.
To find similar links there are a number of methods you can apply.
If you use extreme tracker on your site (free) or similar stat checkers that give good referrer information, you can find out which sites have been visiting and have a link to your site. Usually you will find quite a few similar sites to yours. Your server stats can also supply this information, I have found extreme tracker to give extremely good referrer stats over the years.
~ Search Engines
What better way than to find like minded sites than to find those that invite you to link to them? What's more, they will be FOCUSED links. To employ this method all you have to do is insert "add a link" + "frontpage resources" I'm using the keywords 'frontpage resources' and the result is 28 websites instead of thousands to chose from, not only are they focused on the keywords I used but they also WANT people to link to them. However not everyone uses the words 'add a link' it could be 'suggest a link' or 'reciprocal links wanted' there are many variations, put your thinking cap on and start your search.
Ed Note: The amount of results will of course vary since I first wrote this article
~ Authority sites
My sites are about Microsoft FrontPage and how to use it, but there are related issues that cover in depth every aspect of making sites, such as Colour, fonts, scripts and the list goes on. For your subject think outside the box of what that is, what relates to your industry? What else would your readers like to know about? Start producing content and lead people in, that are interested in other aspects, this way your site becomes known as an 'Authority site' and search engines love Authority sites.
An authority or expert site, requires:
- Strong content.
- A large number of content rich pages.
- A large number of incoming and outgoing links that are themed to website content.
If your site is considered such, then more webmasters will want to link to it. You know your doing well when you get many requests for linkbacks.
Links to your site increase your visibility profile. We all know who has asked permission to link to our sites, but do you have links that you do not know about? As well as using a tracker, consider using a Google search. It is so simple to check on those mystery links. Did you know that "link:" followed by a URL will list the pages that point to that url?
Test your site by keying "link:siteURL
For example, link:accessfp.net will show you all the pages that point to accessfp's home page. Before I knew not to do this I indiscriminately used www in the url also so if you key in link:www.accessfp.net you see links for both ways, however with this much newer site http://frontpage-tips.com if you key in link:frontpage-tips.com you will see links but for link:www.frontpage-tips.com there are none. Having two different methods of presenting your link will result in diluting your anchor text links because the search engines can view the link as two different links.
You can fine tune this by using "+www.accessfp.+net/" this yields many more links.
This is just ONE of the Search Engine Optimization methods I've learnt when I joined this free SEO Techniques class.
Having your own domain name increases your changes of promotion with search engines and makes for an address that much easier to remember. It's only $8.8 at http://namecheap.com for a domain name for the year. (Remember to never host your site at the same place you buy your domain or vice a versa)
Ezines are a great way to let visitors know about new content and up to the minute news about your chosen subject, and can lead to more sales. A huge potential for promotion. Try to give something away for free, for instance FrontPage Ezine gives away free Ebooks (for members only), thereby encouraging them to sign up. You could also offer prizes for competitions and contests.
Any webmaster can produce an ezine, even if it's only to let your readers know of new products and new content on your site. If you can though try and include some titbits, tips, links and any other general news that you think might be welcomed. This is something I urged Linda to do sometime ago, she umm and ahhed and finally made an update ezine. Only being Linda she had to do the job properly of course, and boy did she do a good job I call that outstanding promotion (your reading it now), if she can do it so can you.
Ed Note: I first wrote this article for Linda of All 'Bout Computers and that is who is referred to here.
There are many free services available to publish your ezines, freelists and yahoo being just two. Your publishing pattern does not have to be regular, for instance my FrontPage Ezine used to be monthly and after a break of several months I'll be re-launching it, but the publishing method will be when I want to publish, so there is no pressure to produce something each month, you are fully in control.
To launch a new ezine, journal, newsletter or service like for example FrontPage Tips simply start a group and state what it's going to be about, let potential members know it's going to be launched soon, and then promote it where else you can, your site, your signature lines, an article (catching on yet?). Your members will start to accumulate so you have a membership base to post your first issue to.
You don't always have to have your article published by ezines that you know or by yourself, if you want your articles or tips to be available for publication elsewhere simply put a (see below for an example) resource box which contains:
- Your name
- Your link
- Your licence and copyright
Invite them to request permission to reproduce website articles, state your copyright information and give contact details, if possible include a miniature bio. Do not include the date in the copyright information as potential publishers may feel the content is dated.
Resource boxes are a form of free advertising and can last years, use the opportunity to build your opt-in lists by including your ezine link as well as increasing the link popularity of your site at the same time and brand credibility for yourself. They are effective because you are building a relationship with your reader and giving them information, if your good your 'fan's will follow you around and pass on your details to all they meet, a form of viral marketing. How good am I? Write and let me know if you enjoyed this article, your comments will be published at ABC - along with your site link. Catching on yet?
~ Subscription or sign up boxes
You can provide a short snip on your homepage about anything interesting and a link to learn more. You can also provide a subscription or sign up box for readers , to your Ezine. If you look on the right hand side of every page on http://accessfp.net/ you can see four sign up boxes for:
- Update journal for AccessFP
- List for FrontPage Discussion
- Update ezine for FrontPage Addons
- Ezine for AnyFrontPage Bytes
I have yet to add one for the FrontPage Tips service.
As well as doing this you can provide instructions on how to insert such boxes for other webmasters this is best on your information link page, here is an example below. Follow the instructions above to insert into your page.
Did you know that you can tweak the yahoo sign up box? The box above is published through yahoo groups I've revamped it and used Go for the subscribe button, colouring the button in an eye catching colour, presentation is the key.
~ Ezine Ads
You can also trade ads about your ezine with other similar ezines or related industry ezines. The higher the readership the more likely it is you will have people who are already interested in the subject click on your link to find out more.
Join Ezines with massive memberships that relate to your subject matter, that allow the featuring of member sites in their ezines. I have done this to great effect in the past, several times with Lockergnome and the Langa List. This also helps YOUR opt-in lists and ezines when people visit your site. I've registered huge increases in visitors when my site has been mentioned, the ezines are a good read too.
Submit to the major search engines (Don't forget directories) and do it by hand each month. For the major SE's look to the guidelines and you can't go wrong. You need to spruce up your meta tags to make sure obtain the Free FrontPage Addon TP_ErrOmi which will check your title is in first position, and you have included your description and keyword meta tags (You add the content) it does many other things besides.
Ed Note: TP_ErrOMi is no longer being maintained by the webmaster however if you click the above link, the way back machine carries a copy, remember it is no longer supported, however it's so helpful you will find you cannot do without it.
There are paid search engine placements for keywords, you need to examine very closely your niche, and your pages need to focus on one topic only, each page on your site is a gateway to the world, you work hard on your homepage, but each and every page is important too. Only by working on this aspect beforehand will a planned campaign work well, use your stats to determine what keywords are working for you and which are not, no point in paying for something that is not returning sales and it's sales that are important not hits or page views.
Visit other sites that have Testimonial pages and send out thank you emails or testimonials and they will post your comments along with your url. However you MUST be genuine.
Similar to Testimonials are guest books but most business and professional sites eschew them.
If you pass a site with a dead link, background not configured or graphics not showing when you are surfing take time to let the site know. If you can find a contact email with a personal name all the better. You get back much more, sometimes a link, sometimes a free download of a product, sometimes nothing not even a thank you, but YOU will feel good for the day. Each Update of a dead link etc helps everyone on the web.
Make a page where people can submit their sites for inclusion on your site, a link back being required. Either they submit via email or they can see the results straight away.
Of course you enter your own site in similar set-ups in your chosen subject.
Give an award for Best Site in your chosen subject or something similar, complete with your link in the code. To my mind one has to be honest about this and only give it out if it meets the criteria ,which should be stated on the award page. Doing this will make sure the award will be coveted and word of mouth will ensue. You have to decide on your principles and stick with them. I've done this with an education site I had. I only awarded it three times! Have a page where you list past winners.
Taking this further you can compromise with a Gold, Sliver and Bronze Award extending the link-backs to lesser sites. FrontLook have done this to fine effect. If your reading this article, chances are your site is made with FrontPage, if you use FrontLook Addons submit your site to their Hall of Fame.
This can also work with you yourself having a page where you put your own awards. On some of the awards you will be able to be listed as a 'winner'. Aim for those awards that are sought after. Some years ago a friend of mine called Phil Barnett applied for a Yell Award and exceeded his wildest dreams.
Set up a list and insert your site url(s) in the footer along with the unsubscribe info of course! You can submit a list to lots of list promotion lists; the main page of your list or Ezine should carry your site link. Put your link in any list or group links sections. Set up your email editor with prepared signature files so when you have finished typing a message in a list you can just hit the Insert button for the default signature file. When answering questions in lists of your chosen subject, refer to articles or tips you have written which are on your site or blog, again another form of promotion. Never however use links that carry any of your affiliate codes as this is frowned on as a form of spam.
If your site is about a business or charity, put your email address and/or site on your offline business card, on your car and the bottom of your stationary including envelopes and faxes in fact any hard copy that you produce. Classified ads allow you reach target audiences quite cheaply. Buy in novelty products with your url on them such as pencils, pens, t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, calendars, key chains, bumper stickers, refrigerator magnets and the like, these can be used as freebie giveaways with your ezine, or if you join your local Chamber of Commerce you can donate one for a door raffle with your business card attached. Have flyers or leaflets printed - you could use Microsoft Publisher and do them yourself, for handing out locally, see if your local post office or local pin board where everyone tends to look to see what is going on, will display your notice free of charge. If you own a baby or child related business see if your local mothers and toddlers groups, church groups and child clinic will also display your posters. You can apply this idea to whatever industry your in.
If your website is devoted to a hobby or subject like the AccessFP site, you should consider joining a webring. These are groups of sites with a common subject matter that provide links to each other. Better yet make your own webring
Find sites in your industry (in my case FrontPage) that allow you to promote to a much wider audience that you would normally be able to connect to. A short search provided me with the below information.
Tips on Marketing Yourself as a Developer for Microsoft FrontPage Becoming a qualified Web Presence Developer (WPD) for Microsoft FrontPage is an excellent way to connect with thousands of customers and provide them with FrontPage-based Web development services in areas where they need assistance. You can also use your membership in the Program to help market and successfully grow your company’s Web development business. This also allows you to be included in the FrontPage WPD referral list. What a great form of marketing and promoting your site.
~ Industry recognition
This is something that you can't plan for, it's down to others what they think of your work. However it's nice when it happens to you. In my industry (FrontPage) Microsoft have a program called the Most Valuable Professional Program early 2004 I was awarded Microsoft MVP - FrontPage status. This gives me potential access to seminar's, tele-seminars, articles, newsgroups and much much more that were not available before. My name and site are placed on high traffic pages within Microsoft and people are more likely to link to me. Offline don't expect many people to know what it is though.
Join organisations that relate to your industry, for instance I joined DotComWomen and when they heard I'd been awarded MVP status they interviewed me. In that interview I mentioned a few people that had influenced me and helped me learn along the way, one of whom I'd lost touch with, and they found me through the article because I'd used their name. That's the power of networking one thing leads to another.
When you have something topical and newsworthy to say that's the time to produce a press release. As well as sending them to various agencies link to a section that deals with them and give each one it's own page. Writing an effective news release can do more for your business than any other form of marking, learn how to write them effectively I will be sending out a press release when I re-launch AnyFrontPage Bytes.
Your own site can provide promotion too, in the form of feedback forms and forums. Polls and surveys. Above all you must maintain your site and constantly update with free original content, marketing and promoting your site is an ongoing process, if your serious you will do well.
Maintaining a blog that is not under the same server as your website, will reap you quality back links. The same content must not appear on both however. If you produce articles a short blurb and link to the article on your main website will be just the ticket. Promote your blog in the blog search engines and maintain a RSS feed which can also be promoted this helps others find your blog and as result more visitors to the links on your blog.
Finally you could just write an article using your own sites, blog, lists and ezines as real life examples and have it printed in an ezine that has a large readership - catching on yet?
Tina Clarke is the author and webmaster of many FrontPage articles and tips through her site http://accessfp.net/ Subscribe to her http://frontpage-tips.com/ newsletter which is available only in the mailing list to members - launching soon. You may reprint this article in your opt-in publication, or on your website after first seeking permission from the above site. You must not change the article in any way, and you must include the full resource box plus a working link back. Copyright © Tina Clarke All Rights Reserved. First Published in ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers