Starting Your First Web Project, Conclusion

STARTING YOUR FIRST WEB PROJECT

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN

In Starting Your First Web Project, Conclusion of our example of John’s recipe Website, we will address promoting the completed Website. Now that John has his recipe site completed, he now turns his attention to getting traffic to his site. He does so with traditional search engine submissions; accumulating inbound links from high ranking, similar subject sites; discussion board presence; press releases; traditional promotion; and Keywords Everywhere .


SEARCH ENGINE SUBMISSION

John has correctly determined that he should avoid automated search engine submission services. He also knows that it is not the number of search engines on which he gets listed that is important, but rather the quality of the search engines that include his site and the ranking he receives on those search engines. Most traffic comes from only a handful of the most popular search engines.

Respectively, John submits his site to Yahoo!, Google, and ODP. Next, he selects approximately 10 of the other popular search engines. After carefully reading all submissions instructions given on each site, he lists his site in these search engines one by one.

As an ongoing project, John will search for subject-specific search engines and directories dedicated to cooking for possible submission of his site. For example, John goes to Google and searches for “recipe search engines.” There are several promising results, many of which allow him to suggest his site for inclusion.


INBOUND LINKS

Links to your site from high-ranking Websites increases your site’s value with the search engines and, of course, directly draws traffic to your site. (Links to your site from low-value sites do not improve your site’s ranking and draws no significant traffic. Most experts believe that links to your site from low-value sites does not reduce your site’s ranking with the search engines, however. It is believed that such a penalty would make sites vulnerable to their competition, who could submit sites to these low-value pages as sabotage.) Thus, the objective is to persuade the high-ranking sites to include links to your site.

It is important that the links to your site come from pages on the same or a similar subject. It is also important that the inbound links come from pages that do not have a lot of other links on them (with the major search engines being the obvious exception). While links from FFA sites and other sites that are nothing more than a list of links may not penalize your ranking, it will do you no good and, thus, is not worth spending any time on.

John searches for high-ranking Websites that deal with cooking or recipes and contacts the Webmasters regarding exchanging links. He negotiates for in-context links rather than just inclusion on a “links page” that has numerous links on it already. He starts with those sites that he has already determined warrant outbound links in his content. In the search engine ranking world, you are measured by the company you keep, so to speak. Since John has worked hard to create a valuable site, he wants his outbound links to be to, and his inbound links to come from, only top-notch sites.

There are services that assist you with exchanging links for your Website. You are better off to handle this matter yourself, however. It is a simple matter to find high-ranking sites that pertain to your keywords. You just type your keywords into the search engines and see what sites come up in the first three pages of search engine results. These sites, by definition, are the high-ranking sites. Then, you simply look for contact information for the Webmaster. Contact the Webmaster to discuss exchanging links.

You will be at a disadvantage at first, because your site has not yet obtained a good ranking. A link from your as-yet unestablished site to an already high-ranking site will not be much of carrot to them. As you can see, it is a bit of a catch-22 for the new Webmaster. High-ranking sites are not interested in exchanging links with low-ranking sites. Yet, you need high-ranking sites to link to you in order to gain a high ranking. What’s a new Webmaster to do?

Some enterprising new Webmasters have used this strategy. Create an “Awards” page on your site and bestow awards to a couple of the high-ranking sites in your subject area. Create a graphic banner with a trophy for them to put on their site to announce the award. Require that this graphic link back to your awards page. For example, John could review the top cooking sites and pick a couple that he particularly likes. He could then bestow them the “John’s Best Cooking Site Award” or the “SouthernRecipes.com Best Cooking Site Award.” He would then notify the Webmaster of the award and give instructions for how to place the trophy graphic and link on their site. Webmasters of high-ranking sites are more likely to go along with this because it gives their site more perceived value to its audience. The Webmaster may be so pleased with the award that he/she creates other links to your site as well. (Obviously, you have a good site because it recognizes the value in his/her site!)

Remember that the spirit of the Internet has always been the free flow of information and cooperation, rather than competition. Hopefully, other Webmasters will not see your site as competition but as another source of good information for their audience. You should become very familiar with the high-ranking sites in your subject area and even consider customizing areas of your site to be complementary to them. Find out what information they need to add value to what they already offer and provide that information on your site.

Above all, be patient. It takes time to accumulate links to your site. If your site has value, however, it will happen over time.


DISCUSSION BOARD PRESENCE

Another way to promote your site is to make yourself known on discussion boards pertaining to your site’s subject. Be very careful here, though. It is a mistake and often considered spamming if you do this incorrectly. Make sure you become familiar with the rules of each board and read the board for several days before posting anything. When you do post, do so to answer someone’s question or provide useful information. Do not hawk your site! If allowed, put your URL in the signature line of your posts. Then do not mention your site, but establish a reputation of being knowledgeable in the subject area and people will begin to look at your signature line and be curious about your site. If you have been helpful on the discussion board, readers will assume that your site is helpful also.

Over time, participants of the board will go to your site and they will begin to talk about it. Some of those high-ranking Webmasters may be there and if they like you, they may link to your site. Your goal is not to promote your site yourself on these discussion boards, but to let others do it for you.

Note: Many affiliate programs do not allow any of the affiliate URLs to be posted on Discussion Boards–even in signature lines. The line between appropriate use of discussion boards and inappropriate promotion is a fine line. Many spam complaints result from postings on discussion boards. If you decide to use discussion boards to promote your own Website, be careful to do it appropriately. In fact, do not think of it as promoting your site, but think of it as providing a useful service that will allow you to make friends who will eventually provide promotion for your site.


PRESS RELEASES

Draft an interesting and catchy press release for your site. Here is where the power words come into play.”Suburban Mom Launches Hot and Spicy Website,” for example.

The trick to writing an effective press release is to do as much of the work as you can for the reporters. Write like you were the reporter writing it. Quote yourself and get quotes from others if you can to make it sound like a professional news story. If you do a good job writing the press release, it will be used by a lot of media who have space to fill and no time left to write anything. You have already done the work for them!

Send your press release to as many newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, news Websites, and other media as you can. You can submit your press release to many of the media online. When stories are written about your Website, get permission to reproduce them on your site. It will make your site look professional to have news stories about the site included on it. (In the meantime, put your press release itself on your Website.)


START AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM

If your budget allows, you can start your own affiliate program and pay for clicks to your site generated by your affiliates. There are affiliates services available on the Internet that will promote and manage your affiliate program for you for a fee. With the advent of the PPCs, however, it is a lot less expensive and a lot less trouble to use the PPC’s to generate paid clicks to your site rather than managing your own affiliate program.


TRADITIONAL PROMOTION

You can also promote your new site with all of the traditional online and offline techniques. Put your URL in the signature line of your e-mail. Print up business cards for your Website and leave them everywhere. Stick your business card in every piece of mail you send out. If your budget allows, consider traditional media advertising (newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, etc.). Classified ads in newspapers can be a relatively inexpensive way to reach a target audience for your subject.


PAY PER CLICK SEARCH ENGINES (PPCs)

As we conclude our focus on the example of our hypothetical friend John’s recipe Website, let’s return to the concept that we started with in Lesson 1. John initially assessed the profitability of his Website by determining the cost of his keywords and key phrases on Keywords Everywhere and the amount of traffic he could expect from those keywords. Most of the other promotion techniques we have discussed in this lesson so far take a while to work–especially traditional search engine optimization. John can jumpstart his site promotion within his budget by using Keywords Everywhere, however. With Keywords Everywhere, you can set your own budget. We discussed using Keywords Everywhere in Lesson 1.  Get traffic to your site while you are waiting for the traditional search engines to rank you.


CONCLUSION

STARTING YOUR FIRST WEB PROJECT

John is off to a good start in promoting his site. He has submitted his site properly to the major search engines. He has begun accumulating inbound links from high-ranking sites. He is establishing his presence on the major cooking discussion boards. He has prepared a catchy press release and sent it to as many media outlets as he could. He has used all the traditional promotion techniques that his budget would allow. He is well on his way to having a successful and profitable Website.

Over the last several lessons, we have followed John through the entire process of planning, designing, and promoting his recipe Website. We will conclude our focus on this example now, and say goodbye to John, although we will revisit him when examples are needed for reviewing concepts discussed in these lessons.

If you have followed Starting Your First Web Project course from the beginning, you should now have a good grasp on the basics of Internet Marketing. If you haven’t started your own Website yet, there is no reason why you should not start it right now! I can picture John saying, “If I can do it, you can do it too!”

Optimized with PageSpeed Ninja