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"Promoting Your Site Using Search Engines and Links "

Last Month I said I would pass on some tips on how to get a good search engine placement. I went one step further and have added a new resource that will be just for promotion using search engines and links. In this tutorial I am going to discuss promotion, search engines and links in general terms. There are so many sites coming online that the old days of "put it up and they will come" are gone. Promotion should be done on an ongoing basis! For your convenience all the references to other sites will be repeated at the end of the article so please finish the article and then take the links to further references which will elaborate on the that topic.

Overview of Web Site promotion Strategies

All good marketing and promotion campaigns have two important components which if not determined before you start will doom them to failure. I have been fairly successful in two totally different fields, one being sales and the other as a chef. I believe I have managed this mainly due to one reason ORGANIZATION!! Organization enables you to do more with the resources at your disposal. One of the the most important resources for chefs and salesman is TIME!! Lately I have been managing my time poorly and it has resulted in less then acceptable results. My sales and performance are suffering however, this week I thought about what I have been doing differently and came to the conclusion that I had stopped WORKING MY PLAN!! I forgot my old motto "PLAN TO SUCCEED!!"

So, we have a plan for our marketing campaign but a plan is not successful unless you have some way to measure that success. This is where setting the goals for a plan comes in. This can't be a single thing, it has to be measured in several ways to get a true measure of success. Lets use a web site as an example because that is probably the one thing we all have in common and it happens to be the topic here.

If the site is in the redesign or development stages you can work ways to cut expenses and increase your and the staffs efficiency into the design. These go right to the bottom line and and can be implemented in the integration phase. For an example see last months site developers tip. Most importantly it can be measured by decreases in your overhead or employee costs. You can also cut phone, travel, printing and postage costs by using the net to deliver information and correspondence to customers. Set a goal for sales initiated from the net and devise a strategy to increase those sales. How you say?

Quite simply, the easiest way to do this is to increase the traffic to the site. It's the old numbers game. Any marketer will tell you "increase the number of potential purchasers and your sales should rise unless the product is flawed." Well we all know our products and services are the best so lets get on to how we increase the quality and quantity of traffic we're receiving!

First off, integrate your internet presence into all your promotion materials because the most cost effective manner to inform and dispense information is via the net. The integration program should also include your present infrastructure and policy and procedure. For an example of how to do it with your policy and procedure have a look at one of the tips in the site developers area. Infrastructure is the phones (recordings on answering machines or while customer are on hold) and cover sheets for faxes. Your customers will also appreciate being able to obtain and read the materials at their leisure in the privacy and comfort of their own home! All printed and electronic media presentations must include and prominently display your web site and e-mail addresses.

Your site has been integrated and your page is ready to be promoted, or is it? Before you start to promote your site be sure that you are ready to have the pages viewed and indexed. Ask yourself these questions, be honest now! Am I satisfied with the layout and look of this page or site? Have I used proper HTML document structure? Are my keywords, meta tags and title ready to be indexed? Is my domain directory set up to maximize my exposure?

The Plan for Success

After deciding your goals start to plan your strategy to achieve your goals. Since, there are only so many hours in a day and you only use about half that time for business, time management will be important. I am going to share my plan just so you get an idea of what I'm discussing here.

I have decided to use 60% of my time developing new sites and the manual I will be marketing shortly. I have 12 hours (a short day) so that is on average about seven and a half hours a day devoted to these activities. I use about 4 hours a day writing the articles for this site and the manual. I use about one hour per day researching these subjects and looking for sites that may be used as future featured sites. I will discontinue the search for featured sites because I have enough quality sites lined up to last several months. Another site in development is the page builder site. I use the remaining three and half hours learning CGI because this knowledge is needed to build the page builder site optimize the interactivity at others. This is not for the faint of heart believe me!!

The remaining 40% or four and a half hours are used for promoting the sites and obtaining business for the web design company. I use 50% of my time on pure site promotion. I post my site at as many of the free sites as possible. I check my listings at MY Priority 1search engines weekly to be sure they are still listed and maintaining their rank. If the rank can be improved I re-submit. Another 25% of this time is spent monitoring newsgroups for market niches and product or site promotion. The last 25% is spent gathering information and articles of interest for my sites newsletters and soliciting business for the design company on the phone. I have tried different formulas but found that I was spending too much time on the newsgroups simply because of the volume of posts and information available. If I don't require all the allotted time for one of these areas I use that time submitting to sites.

Start and concentrate on the sites that have similar or related topics to yours at first. Don't be timid about contacting the webmasters of these sites because any webmaster worth his salt is always looking to improve his traffic also so reciprocal links are usually possible unless it is a product in direct competition with you. Sometimes these are even possible, if not there is another route that is open to you which I will be discussing in the article on search engine tips. Once you have exhausted these move on to the free for all link pages. Don't stop or change your schedule until you have the volume of traffic required to make a go of it or you have achieved your goals!

How Do I Use Search Engines In This Plan?

Search Engines and Directories are the key to this plan! Of course you start with the major engines, check them at least once a week to see that you are still listed (accidents do happen) and you are maintaining a good ranking. If you don't have a good rating try to improve it where possible. This is easy at Alta Vista and Infoseek where you submit all your pages and as long as you don't spam them by submitting more then once a day you should be able to achieve a high rating at some point by refining the keywords list and title.

All the search engine information contained in this article was obtained from the list of resources on the search references page. I also keep a separate folder in my mail programs for search engine information and some of the tips were gleaned from here via the newsgroups and lists that I subscribe to. The best list is the newsletter published by Danny Sullivan the author of The Webmasters Guide to Search Engines.

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