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Site Promotion

By Byron Hunte
Posted Monday, October 11, 2004

Many people are new to the web and there seems to be a shortfall in basic information aimed at helping the beginner.

Site promotion is the key to successfully building up your business on the Internet and here are some tips for newcomers that don't cost any money and which took me a considerable time to formulate.

1. Submit site to search engines
Here I have learned to avoid autosubmit software programmes and that best results are obtained by submitting *manually* to the top 10 engines. This way you can accommodate each one's quirks and foibles. It is time consuming but worth it.

2. Submit site to Directories
These are different to search engines in that they have their own categories within which enquirers can find a listing of the sites that interest them without necessarily using a search button. In my view, this is the way Joe public will look for his information in the future and, in my opinion, directories will soon outstrip engines in terms of usage. Pay attention to getting your site listed on as many directories as possible, especially the Open Directory Project ( as their database is used by many of the top search engines and directories.

3. Web Rings
These are associations of web sites with similar focus. If you join one, you will get a web ring logo at the bottom of your site which will allow your visitor to move on to browse all other sites within the ring. Similarly, this will allow visitors to other sites within the ring to find your site and increase your traffic. Some of these rings are huge and others quite tiny. It depends on what sphere you are operating in but, either way, it is another good way to gain additional traffic for your site.

4. E-mail discussion lists
I started one for people interested in starting their own web business (which is what my company does) and which can be joined from my site. This is rigorously kept spam free by me (anyone posting ads to it is ejected without trial) and allows venture capitalists, angels, incubators and entrepreneurs to find each other and discuss common experiences and solutions. Sig files are allowed on my list and I have had good hits from my own, especially as the members of the list are, by definition, my target audience.

5. Word of mouth
I have told everybody I know what I am doing and there are rafts of redundancies occurring in my former industry. These are all bright people with a pocket full of money. They look at my site and like what they see - they tell their friends.

6. The press
I refuse to pay for unfocused advertising which nobody looks at, even in specialist magazines. My advice would be to call the editors up and tell them that you are doing something that nobody else is doing (in their field) and that you have included a free link to their publication as an information service on your site. Would they be interested in doing a small write-up of your site for their next issue? If you can get them to do this, you will get much better traffic generated than a standard advert and for free! They won't always do this for you but hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

7. Reciprocal links
I offer a lot of links to other sites on my own pages and I have called them all personally to ask if they would include a link back to me. Normally webmasters are quite good at this and will try and accommodate you. This is especially advantageous if the site you link to has high traffic. Information sources are amongst the best of these - find a high traffic site that covers your area of commerce and link to it/get reciprocal links.

8. Banners
My experience tells me to forget it - when's the last time you clicked on one.

9. Be Discrete
I belong to lots of e-mail lists and occasionally, someone asks for help on a topic that I think my website would be useful for. I don't send a whole sales pitch in to those lists but send in a very low key reply addressing their specific question and mentioning my URL as an additional resource. This has paid dividends and has not upset any of the list members.

10. Write an article for an opt-in list such as this one! All publicity is good publicity and if you can help others by sharing your knowledge with them at the same time, all the better.

About the Author
Byron Hunte
Sprant Limited - Insurance and Resources for UK eCommerce Startups (


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