Step 4: Attract Visitors TO YOUR WEBSITE

  If you opened a storefront and located it in a back alley you will never have customers. You would need to create a strategy of marketing and advertising to attract customers. It is the same with a website which is also located in a back alley. The Internet.
  As mentioned earlier the saying "if you build it, they will come" no longer works. Without Visitors your web site basically does not exist. Attracting visitors is what seperates a successful web site from a dead site. There are several things you need to use to attract site visitors. The Internet is a numbers game. Take advantage of every avenue available.
  • Search Engines
  • Printed Ads
  • Reciprocal Links
  • Link Directories
  • Publicity
  • Rip Offs
  Search Engines are generally the basis for increasing your exposure on the Internet. Still for many sites it is not the biggest source for attracting visitors. It is important to be sure but especially for new sites it will be the least effective. There are several Search engines to get listed on including: Google, Yahoo,, Alta Vista, MSN, AOL Search and a number of smaller ones. You can go to each and Submit your site yourself. It takes from 4-8 weeks for each to add your site to their database. They will not just add the link. They will "spider" your site to index the pages and add only what They decide fits. Do not submit your site more than once in a two month period or they may not add you at all. You can also use on-line submit engines to submit your siote to a number of search engines at the same time. We have one for our customers that submits to over a hundred at once. There are also paid services but please read the Rip Off section below about them. You can also add a sitemap which is an index of your entire site made specifically for search engines. Do not submit your site before it is completed.
  You also will want to improve the Ranking with each Search engine. This is called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Everyone wants to be at the top of the search results list. There is no magic bullet for this. Results are according to various criteria and algorithms. How often the search terms exist and where on your site; In-bound links; out-bound links and dozens of others. Trying to out-smart these systems can be counter-productive. They have become smart enough to recognize when keywords are added only for rankings. Then they decrease your rankings accordingly. Stuffing hundreds of keywords on your site does not work. Inbound links (from other sites) is very important but they need to be from sites with relevant content. If your website is about dogs and there is a link from a site about basketball it won't help much if at all. Once your site is indexed the most important criteria will be how fresh your content is. If your content changes frequently it moves you up. When it does not change it moves you down.
 SEO is something you can learn and do yourself. It is a major subject by itself and therefore too large a topic for this discussion. There are many excellent books on the subject. There are also many companies that provide SEO services some excellent and some a total ripoff. I have been involved with SEO for a number of years. It is an unexact science because each search engine works differently and they change how they operate. Tricks that worked well last year no longer work now. Basically it comes down to having a fair amount of (there's that word again) Content; using words/verbage that might be used as search terms inside your content; placing the important words near the top of the pages; and having both valid, relevant inbound AND outbound links. Beyond that is the secrets that is worth the money we are paid. But I have given you more than enough to get a website in the right direction.
 Depending on the type of Content of your site you might find distributing printed advertising advantagous. This can include signs, flyers or anything else to be passed out or displayed. Any exposure for your site is good.
  Reciprocal links is where you post a link for a site and they have a link back to your site. Often these can work better than anything else but are rarely used. You need to contact websites often sending an email to the webmaster. There should never be a cost for this. Also only use websites that are in some ways relavant to yours. You must have a links page to place their links page. You do not need or want to place their links on your main content pages. These kind of links work real well because people have a comfort level with the site they are coming from. It is also not a random click but a specific interest.
  There are millions of websites out there. There are probably tens of thousands (or more) relevant to yours. It is well worth the time to search for these sites and request a link. What helps is to create a banner for your site. Many sites will put a banner link instead of just text. Banners tend to work much better also. It does not have to be real fancy. Name of the site and a small picture is fine. There are several standard sizes for banners. A full banner is 468x60 and 40k in size but there are several other sizes in use. Best to create two versions with different colors in case a site has abackground that does not work.
  Link directories are indexed listings of web site links. Some are free and some are paid. Avoid the paid directories until you get larger. They are used by people like a search engine but can be browsed by category. You either submit your site (a single URL) to be approved or add it with registration. Submit only once and one URL. Most do not require reciprocal links. These will rarely help your ranking with search engines but do generate traffic. There are tens of thousands of them. Some very active like DMOZ and some hardly visited. A trick here is before submitting enter that site's domain name into Google and search. If Google does not return a listing for it then either Google felt it not worthy of being indexed or Google banned the site for some reason and you do not want your site associated with it.
  Another rarely used but very effective means is participating in blogs and message forums. You do not want to appear like you are there just o advertise your site. You want to be a part of the conversations. This also can help with search engine rankings. Etiquette is to simply include a link in your signature. No sales talk or details unless specifically asked or you may get banned. It takes some work but is well worth it if you pick relevant (see a trend here?) sites.
  Finally I need to cover Rip Offs. There are plenty on the Internet. There are some that advertise for a fee to put you at the top of the major search engines. The Search Engines have their own system and can not be overcome. I here more people wasting their money on this Ripoff than any other. If they could provide what they sell then how can EVERYONE be at the top of the list when there is only room for one? They don't work. The other things mentioned in this step are what does work.
  Another increasingly common ripoff is where they will provide you with "Magic keywords" specifically for your site. No such animal. Search Engines are much more sophisticated today. They "read" your Content and not keywords. Maybe you read somewhere where Content is king?
  Sometimes called Free for All Links, they say they will post your link on hundreds of web sites. These companies own the hundreds of sites and have no value with search engines (usually banned by Google) and have few visitors except people paying for their service. SUCKERS!!!
  Email lists. Spamming people will not generate traffic. Sometimes specific e-mail targeting can work but be very careful who you are sending to. Be very careful. Sending spam (even if a service sends it for you) and you may find your hosting service disables your site. There are laws against spam.
  Most of the ways to attract visitors has little or no cost. But it does take work. More work than creating your site. And do not think it ends. It is a constant process. Finding new places for your link. Optimizing web pages better for search engines. A web site can never have too many visitors. It is always not enough.
  New websites used to always have a "Under construction" graphic or message. The truth is websites are always under construction. You will always want to change the look even if just a different color. Add a new feature. Change the menus. It really never ends. Hopefully this book has given you a starting point. The rest is up to you.

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