Cost Effective Web Marketing
Consider Your URL
Since we are discussing matters that will influence how a page appears, it is worth considering the actual URL of the page itself. Since the URL that appears in your browser reflects the file path for the page, it makes good sense to have the file name reflect the navigation of the site. For the web designer, it makes sense to have files arranged in a logical manner. This only applies to pages that have not been dynamically created by a database program, of course.
Extra Things You Can Do
Where to submit Your Site
Google and Yahoo
You should now have your Web site ready to submit to search portals. There are free automated programs available that will submit your pages to a selection of search engines. There are drawbacks to using them though. Some search engines will not accept automated submissions, so you'll need to do it manually. Most search engines will accept manual submission of your site to them.
Google, far and away the most popular search engine, allows you to do this for nothing. You can also submit your site to Yahoo free, but you need to be a member of Yahoo. Yahoo is useful because several other search portals use Yahoos database.
The Open Directory Project
After Google, probably the most important place to submit your site to is The Open Directory Project. This is the largest human-maintained directory of the Web. Because it allows virtually anyone to access its resources, many search portals such as AOL, Netscape and HotBot take advantage of this and include their data into their own systems. This means that once you are included on the ODP database, you are also included in many others.
While Google and Yahoo don't charge you anything for submitting your site to them, they don't guarantee where or when your site will appear in their listings. However, they do have sponsored links that appear either above or beside the listing of search engine hits. These are useful for promoting your Web site since they are targeted links. If, for instance, someone searches for "bagpipes," then not only will they get a list of bagpipe related sites returned, but they will also see the "sponsored links."
Free Promotional Techniques
This is one of the easier ways of getting your Web site promoted. What it involves is that you display an advertising banner, button or text link on your Web site, and other sites do the same for your ads. The simplest way of swapping banner ads is to join an existing banner swapping network:
Banner networks work because you are provided with a few lines of HTML code to include on your Web pages, usually near the top. The HTML creates banners from other sites on your pages. When a visitor clicks on them, they are redirected to their Web site. At the same time, you provide the network organizer with your own banner to display elsewhere.
There are many banner ad networks available, so choose with caution. Try to find one that will direct traffic to your site, by displaying your ad on related sites. In order for the network to make money, they will perhaps ask you to display 2 banners in return for displaying yours once. No network will promise a 1:1 ratio, so avoid those that do. Don't pay for extra banners until you get good results from the free ads. Most networks promise not to display ads for pornographic or other unsuitable sites, but you have no control over them. Also, be aware that you might get buttons or text links instead of banners.
Peer to Peer Swaps
While banner swapping can yield increased exposure of your site, sometimes a more targeted approach is required. The object of the exercise is to get your ad seen by as many possible visitors as possible, so if you can arrange a deal with the webmaster of a busier site than yours it could be advantageous.
You may have to compromise. In return for prominently displaying an advertisement for a busier or better known Web site than yours, you might have to agree to a lesser degree of prominence on their site.
These are networks of similarly themed sites which creates links from one to another to form a chain. You will display a Web link icon and a list of at least some of the other sites in the ring. If you're just launching your Web site it's probably best to try to join an established ring.
There are possible flaws in joining a web ring. You need to allow space on your pages to display the ring logo. Visitors might think that you are part of an organization, and if some of the sites are badly built, you might be associated with the rest of them. You will have no control over which sites join the ring, and link to you and vice versa.
Article Submission Sites
Article submission sites are an effective way of promoting your own goods and services as well as generating traffic to your Web site. Their purpose is to provide webmasters, e-book editors and e-zine publishers with free content for their own publications. The articles are usually arranged into different categories, and the site is normally searchable. Here's how they work:
You write an article or series of articles about what you have to offer on your Web site. The purpose of the article is not to directly sell your goods. Let us suppose that your Web site sells a wide range of possible gifts for all members of the family. Your article might discuss birthday gift ideas for teenage boys.
The purpose is to make your article interesting enough and informative enough for it to be used somewhere else. Since you have included some biographical details about yourself, including your own URL, and your article is published exactly as it appears on the article site, your URL appears in the end-users Web site. Thus you are getting free publicity, and the publisher is getting free content.
Paid or Free Submissions
Article submission sites allow you to submit your article for nothing. You register with the site, and you can select what category you want your article to appear in. When you write your article you will include the same keywords as you did when you wrote the HTML for your web site. Thus a search engine will find your site, as well as the article you wrote about it.
Some article sites will allow you to bid for better placement within their pages. Basically, the more you bid, the higher prominence you will get on the article sites home page. Thus you are the first thing a publisher notices. Even if you are outbid for top spot, chances are you will still be on the home page. Since a lot of the sites also have separate front pages for each of the categories, even if you dont achieve prime position on the sites home page, you likely will in the category pages.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can promote your Web site. By far the simplest way is to ensure that your site has carefully chosen keywords for search engines to find. You can also submit your Web site to search engines, ad exchange networks, Web rings and article submission sites free.
About the Author
Rajesh V. Tavakari, is the Senior SEO of Ethical Website Promotion & Website Optimization Services, offering affordable Web site promotion and natural optimization services since 1998.
This article originally appeared on WebReference.com.
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