Getting Good Exposure: Advertising Your Site
Part 2: Targeted Advertising
By The Small Lady
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 Targeted Advertising. Here, I will highlight some ways of advertising that are Sailormoon or anime specific. However, if your site is not about Sailormoon or anime, don't worry. Resources such as the ones listed below exist in almost all online communities in some way, shape or form; you just need to hunt them out.
Note again: 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.
Now for the good stuff.
Ask the webmaster if they will put a link to your site on theirs
I put this under Targeted Advertising in that you will most likely not be asking a fly-fishing site if they can post a link to your Sailormoon page; you would instead be asking a Sailormoon site to post a link to your Sailormoon page. Also, there has been tension in the past about the links that sites choose to post (or not post), and I felt that this problem is definitely anime-specific.
The way to get a site to post a link to your page is like this: Write the site owner and ask politely. Offer to put up a link to their site in return. Then wait for the reply. If they link you, be sure to be true to your word and give them a link back. If they choose not to, thank them for their time, accept it and move on. That's all.
Remember that as you are free to choose what sites that you link to, others are free to do the same. No one is obligated to link to a site, even if that other site has linked to them first. Perhaps they are very finicky about what sites they want to link to, perhaps they are only seeking certain types of links, perhaps they don't really want to link to anyone at all...before you get mad, ask yourself if have you always linked to every site that asked and if not, why you said no to some of them. Then remember that if you can have those opinions, other people are entitled to having their own as well.
So if your request for a link has been refused, just shrug it off. It's no big deal.
Have link banners and buttons all ready
Some people prefer to link to sites using cute banner and button graphics. You should make (or have made) a couple of each type and have them ready on your site for downloading. If you want, go the extra mile and provide HTML code for your visitors to cut and paste into their pages; it will make it easier for them and may encourage them to link to you.
Add your site to a link list
A link list is exactly that, a list of links. They come in all shapes and sizes. Links are organized into specific categories so that if you wanted to find pages about Sailormercury, all of the sites featuring her would be all together. Criteria for being listed vary among them; most will link every site submitted while others are more stringent about what sites they choose.
Some of the best Sailormoon/Anime link lists are:
Add-a-link chains are also worth signing your site up for as well!
Join a webring
Webrings are just what the name says: a ring of related sites linked together. They are usually subject specific, ranging from all pages Sailormoon to webrings only featuring sites about the manga version of Sailorpluto. They are free to join and can help get a good amount of traffic to your site. The catch? More extra HTML code and graphics to place on your site. For each webring that you join, you will have to place that site's webring code on your page (how else would the pages linked together in the ring?). Six webrings, six separate HTML codes. I recommend that if you plan to join many webrings (or banner exchanges), that you either create a separate page for all the HTML fragments, or remove any graphics from the HTML fragments and just have plain text.
Apply for awards
Applying for awards can be a good way to attract attention to your site...especially if you win a few of them! It will usually get you a nice award graphic and a link on the award giver's site. There are millions of awards competitions you can enter, but they all vary drastically in criteria and in value: some award programs will demand nothing but the finest websites, while others will give you an award just for asking. But it is free publicity, and if that is what you are seeking, then you have nothing to lose by applying.
Nominate your site to a WPR
Having your site reviewed by a WPR is a great way to get exposure, as well as advice and tips on how to make your site even better. There are a couple of drawbacks to this tactic. First of all, your site may not be reviewed right away, or not at all. Some WPRs enter sites into a queue and review them in the order they are received; others enter sites into a pool and choose ones to review as they see fit. Second, you need to be comfortable with the idea that your site will be publicly critiqued, and that the WPR's view of your site and your view of the site may not be quite the same.
The Amazoness Quartet does not accept self-nominations. But lately, the trend now is that more and more WPRs are taking self-nominations, and in fact, several have switched to accepting self-nominations only. So browse through the other groups out there and nominate yourself to the ones that you like, or that you feel will best serve your needs.
Sign a guestbook or two
This is a grey area. Some people feel that you should not sign a guestbook merely to advertise your site; to them, a guestbook is a place to leave feedback. Other sites, however, set up guestbooks precisely for the purpose of letting people advertise their sites. This is an area that should be taken on a case by case basis. My advice is to respect the wishes of the guestbook owner whenever possible. If you do decide to plug your site, be as polite as possible. Also, if you paste in graphic links, paste in small banners or buttons as opposed to large graphics that will take forever to load, and will probably result in your guestbook entry being deleted.
Announce it on a forum or mailing list
Most Sailormoon forums will either permit such types of announcements, and some even have an area set aside for such posts. Mailing lists often encourage such announcements as well, so why not announce your site? Remember to make your announcement notice as polite and objective as possible, and refrain from using such wording as "This is the best Sailormars site there is!" because while you may think it's the best, others may feel otherwise. Also, use simple text links for your siteódo not paste in large banners.
Good luck and happy public relations!