11.1. Your Web Site Promotion Plan
Before you plunge into the world of Web site promotion, you need a plan. So grab a pencil and plenty of paper, and get read to jot down your ideas for global Web site domination (fiendish cackling is optional).
Although all Webmasters have their own tactics, it's generally agreed that the best way to market a Web site is to follow these steps:
Build a truly great Web site .
If you start promoting your Web site before there's anything to see, you're wasting your effort (and probably burning a few bridges). Nothing says "never come back" like an empty Web site with an "under construction" message.
See step 1 .
If in doubt, polish and perfect your Web site! Fancy graphics aren't the key concern herethe most important detail is whether or not you have some genuinely useful content. Ask yourselfif you were surfing the Web, would you stop to take a look at this site? Make sure you've taken the time to add the kinds of add-on features that will keep visitors coming back. One great option: a discussion forum (see the next chapter for more details on how to add one to your site).
Share links with friends and like-minded sites .
This step is all about building community. Contrary to what you might expect, this sort of small-scale , word-of-mouth promotion might bring more traffic to your Web site than high- powered search engines like Google.
Perfect your Web site's meta tags .
Meta tags are hidden tags that convey important information about your Web site's content, like a list of keywords and a site description. Search engines use them as one way to determine what your Web site's all about.
Submit your Web site to Internet directories .
Like search engines, directories help surfers find Web sites. The difference between directories and search engines is that directories are generally smaller catalogs put together by humans (rather than huge sprawling text indexes amassed by computers).
Submit your Web site to Internet search engines .
Now you're ready for the big time. Once you submit your Web site to Web heavyweights like Google, it officially enters the public eye. However, it still takes time to climb up the rankings and get spotted.
Figure out what happened .
In order to assess the successes and failures of your strategy, you need to know measure some vital statisticshow many people are surfing to your site, how long they're staying, and how many visitors are coming back for more. To take stock, you'll need to crack open tools like hit counters and server logs.
Throughout this chapter, you'll tackle these steps, get some new ideas, and build up a collection of promotion strategies.