How to Promote Your Web Site

As the latest, greatest frontier for interactive communication, the World Wide Web offers the potential for tremendous exposure --even notoriety, if you know how to use the medium to promote yourself and your work. How can you do this? There are a number of different ways to bring traffic over to your corner of cyberspace. How much and what kind, will be largely dependent on the kind of content you have to offer and how you've designed your website. Of course, having to compete for attention with over 45,000 other sites doesn't make the task appear any less daunting! Don't be discouraged though. With realistic expectations you can increase the chances of more people finding your website by following the steps I've outlined below:

  1. Registering your site with the different search sites like Yahoo, Lycos, WebCrawler, EINet Galaxy and InfoSeek.

    Free and simple, this is probably the most often overlooked way to get people to your site. The fundamental trick to the Web (and the Internet as a whole) is how to find information, so what better way to be found than by being where everyone goes to find things? Now there's a free service called SubmitIt! that lets you register your site with whichever of these you want, in one simple step.

  2. Announcing your site to What's Cool/New sites and other Web indexes There are a number of sites that maintain updated lists of what's new and "cool" on the Web. Unlike the search site registries, these places do not automatically list your site just because you send them your information. Usually someone will review and evaluate your site before adding it to their list. That's why being listed in one of these indices has such cache. Two of the most popular places to do this with are NCSA Mosaic's What's New and Netscape's What's New pages. There are plenty of other indexes that list sites by category or type. You'll have to do a little research to find the ones that are appropriate to your particular site.

  3. Post in Newsgroups or Mailing Lists when appropriate. Take this one with a grain of salt. Don't blindly use these forums as a way to promote your website or you might unwittingly get flamed or harrassed. If the content of your site has something valuable to offer a specific audience, then by all means, find the appropriate newsgroups and mailing lists and let those people know about it.

  4. Traditional Advertising, Marketing and PR. The best way to publicize your Web site is to become active in the Internet community, and be sure to include your site (and URL) in all your advertisements and marketing materials. It can't hurt to send press releases to the ever-growing list of Internet-related publications either.

Also, find Web sites related to yours or in your area of interest and ask them to include links on their site to yours. Almost all sites will do that for free, especially if you agree to list them at your site too. And last but not least, word of mouth. Make sure you tell all your friends, peers and customers about your site.

This article originally appeared in the October 1995 IICS Newsletter