Publicizing Your Web Site
Presumably, you want your web pages to
someone's attention, or you wouldn't bother to create them. If you are placing your pages only on a local network or corporate intranet or are distributing your pages exclusively on disk or by email, helping people find your pages may not be much of a problem. If you are adding your pages to the millions upon millions of others on the Internet, however, bringing your intended audience to your site is a very big challenge indeed.
To tackle this problem, you need a basic understanding of how most people decide which pages they will look at. There are basically three ways people can become aware of your web site:
them about it and gives them the address; they enter that address directly into their web browser.
They follow a link to your site from someone else's site.
They find your site listed in a search site such as Google, Yahoo!, or MSN Search.
You can make all three of these happen more often if you invest some time and effort. To increase the number of people who hear about you through word-of-mouth, well, use your mouthand every other channel of communication available to you. If you have an existing contact database or mailing list, announce your web site to those people. Add the site address to your business cards or company literature. Heck, go buy TV and radio ads broadcasting your Internet address if you have the money. In short, do the marketing thing. Good old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing is still the best thing going, even on the Internet.
Getting links to your site from other sites is also pretty straightforwardthough that doesn't mean it isn't a lot of work. Find every other web site
to your topic and offer to add a link to those sites if they add one to yours. If there are specialized directories on your topic, either online or in print, be sure you are listed. There's not much I can say in this book to help you with that, except to go out and do it.
The main thing I can help you with is the third item: being visible at the major Internet search sites. I'm sure you've used at least one or two of the big search sites: Google, Yahoo!, MSN Search, AllTheWeb, Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, and Teoma. (The addresses of these sites are google.com, yahoo.com, search.msn.com, alltheweb.com,
.com, askjeeves.com, and teoma.com.)
The popularity and
of search engines are not etched in stone. In other words, you'll find that search engines come in and out of
according to the whims of the web community, as well as the technical details of how they perform searches. For this reason, you might want to visit http://www.searchenginewatch.com/ for a recent assessment of the most popular search engines.
These sites are basically huge databases that attempt to catalog as many pages on the Internet as possible. They all use automated processing to build the databases, although some (such as Yahoo!)
quality by having each listing checked by a human. Others (such as Teoma) prefer to go for quantity and rely almost entirely on robots or spiders. A robot or spider is an automated computer program that spends all day looking at web pages all over the Internet and building a database of the contents of the pages it
. Still others (such as Google) use highly sophisticated techniques of ranking pages based on how they are linked to from other pages, in addition to using robot techniques.
As the spiders and
constantly add to the database, another automated program, called a search engine, processes
from people who are looking for web pages on specific topics. The search engine looks in the database for pages that contain the key words or phrases that someone is looking for and sends that person a list of all the pages that contain those terms. Some people use the
a search engine whose database was built mostly by people instead of robots.
Some search engines are known as
, which means that they go far beyond offering a search facility. Portals such as Yahoo! typically offer news, weather, shopping, and other kinds of information in addition to a basic search feature. Many web users have grown to appreciate the simplicity of search engines such as Google that aren't encumbered with portal features.