Welcome to the last post in a series meant to demystify the website building process. Once your website is live the next step is to attract users, the popular phrase describing this process is search engine optimization (SEO). There are several ways to drive traffic to your site and you might want to take advantage of all or some of them.
First, submit your site to the various search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. There is a process and a waiting period for each search engine that you submit your site to. Yahoo offers a guaranteed site crawl for a fee while Google lets webmasters submit a site map that enables Google to find all of the site’s pages. It’s important to do what you can to increase your site’s prominence. You can do this by cross-linking your pages, frequently using keyword phrases in your content, updating the content frequently to encourage repeat crawls of the site, and using static URLs instead of dynamically generated ones.
There are “white hat” and “black hat” techniques. One can help you succeed while the other can get you blacklisted. If you implemented some or all of the suggested design best practices, then you should achieve some level of success with search engines.
In addition to submitting your site to search engine crawlers, search the Internet for blogs, forums and other sites that share that same topic matter, goal or purpose. Investigate posting your site’s URL on these common sites, forums or blogs.
Social media outlets such as Twitter, Digg, Facebook, and LinkedIn are good sites to use for promotion. Once they are set up, you can add the links to your site to increase your site’s visibility and accessibility.
There are additional options to increasing traffic to your site. You can set up a form to enable users to leave contact information such as email addresses. Once you have a list of email addresses, you can send emails to your list promoting the site and its goal. You can promote the various social media sites that you have set up or you can use email to increase awareness about the event, cause, or purpose of your site.
If you are overwhelmed by the SEO process, there are search engine optimization companies that charge for their services but can take care of the SEO process for you. However, be aware that if you’ve designed and built your site then this last step is the easiest. Remember that when in doubt, Google it. There are loads of articles, blogs and advice columns about search engine optimization. Take advantage of the knowledge and experience that others freely share on the Internet. Best of luck!
Check out the rest of the series: