Getting Good Exposure: Advertising Your Site
Part 1: General Advertising
By The Small Lady
Finally. Your website is finished. The fruit of your labors, the results of many days of planning, hard work, research and testing, is finally done. Your site is ready to be seen by the world. There is just one small problem...how do you tell people that your site is out there?
There are many ways you can get traffic to your site which I will tell you about. I've divided them into two groups: General Advertising and Targeted Advertising. General Advertising is broader, while Targeted Advertising is more precise in that you are appealing to a specific audience. This part is General Advertising and is applicable to almost any type of website out there, be it Sailormoon or not.
Note: this lesson deals with the matter of GETTING traffic to your website. KEEPING traffic coming, as well as getting return traffic, is for another time. But I will say briefly that for all the advertising in the world, the quality of your site will be the thing that keeps visitors coming back, not merely being listed in AltaVista.
Submit your site to search engines.
When you create your website, it is not automatically included in directories such as AltaVista or Excite; it needs to be added. The way to do this is to go to the main page of the search engine of your choice. You will notice a link such as "Suggest a Site," "Add a Page," "Add URL" (URLs are the address of the page), or something along those lines. Click on that link; it will take you to a form page. Fill out the little form they take you to (and remember to make sure that you type in your URL correctly!), and it's done. Some directories will add you within a couple of days, while others may take a week or more. Yahoo is notorious for taking several months to even a year to add your link.
Some of the more common search engines are:
For an even longer list of search engines, including some obscure and very subject-specific ones, try this page.
If you want to save yourself the work, you can take advantages of submission services that will submit your URL to many search engines within minutes and with little effort on your part! Not all of the search engines may be applicable to your site, so you may not be included in every single search engine. Most of these services charge you a small fee, but there are a number of excellent free services to take advantage of!. One of the best free services to use is Submit Plus. There, you can submit your URL to over 100 search engines for free.
Join a banner exchange program
If you are willing to put up with a little extra HTML code, joining a banner exchange could work out well. In a banner exchange, participating sites display other sites' banners at random; all the visitor would have to do is click on the banner to be taken to that banner's site. Most banner exchanges will let you select what types of sites that your banner will appear on, so your advertising can target a specific audience.
There are some things you will need to remember about banner exchanges. First, you will need to have to have a banner made for your site. You can create one yourself, or you can go to a graphics gallery and have one made for you (many will make a banner for you for free). Most exchanges only accept banners that are either 400x60 or 468x60 in size. Second, you will have to display other banners on your site if you wish for your banner to be shown elsewhere; if you delete your HTML code and not display banners, your own banner will be removed from the rotation. Lastly, know that for every individual banner exchange you join, you will have to add the appropriate HTML code to your site. If you join five exchanges, you will have to display a banner for each exchange: a total of five banners on your site.
Include your URL in your signature.
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? A signature (or sig.) file is a bit of text that will get tacked onto the end of your e-mails automatically. It's good for tucking in your name, e-mail address or other contact information so you don't need to manually enter it every time you send an e-mail. Tuck your URL in the sig. file as well and you have just created a way to get cheap and easy advertising to every single person you write to.
No matter whatever advertising methods you use, traffic will not instantly rush to your site. The most popular sites out there were not born receiving hundreds of hits a day; it took them a long time to reach that point. Every day that your site is out there, people will see it. And one person may decide to link back to you, or tell someone else about your site. And then the next day, another person may decide to link back to you. And then the next day...and so on. Spreading the word about a site takes time, so the best thing you can do is be patient and continue to work on improving and developing your site into the best it can be.