Now your new and shiny home page is on the web for all to see. Next you'll want to attract some visitors, so all your hard work has not been in vain. Nothing is more depressing than seeing your flashy hit counter gathering only dust. Working your butt off to be present on the web and nobody coming to look. So let's do something about it.
How do your visitors get to your site? Right: hyperlinks. Links are the glue that holds the web together. So the only way anybody is going to get to see your pages is when some other page links to it. The thing to do is getting linked any imaginable way. Let's see how you get linked up. There are several ways to get this done. The best way would probably be to make a damn good site, so people will stand in line just to link it...
- search engines
- directory services
- banner exchange
- linking related sites
- guest books
- illegal activities
Most people find their way on the web with search engines. Despite their clumsiness and inaccuracy they are still the best option to find anything. You punch in a few keywords and start examining the linked pages. Lots of pages will be either unrelated to the subject, simply boring or out of order. But now and again you will find some gems that are worth watching. That's how you found this site in the first place, right?
How do you get listed on a search engine? Well, you go to their home page and find an 'Add URL' link or button. Clicking it will get you to a form, where you can enter details regarding your page. Submitting the data will get you in their database, so other people can find your home page.
If there were only one search engine this would be easy. But there are more, literally hundreds of them. It would be very time consuming to do all of them. You can easily spend hours doing just the major twenty engines. Some clever people have thought of a solution for you. The general idea is filling in the details once and then submitting them to multiple sites.
You can submit your site to the major search engines right here at this site! Have a look at my webannouncer page. There are several other sites on the web where you can do this online also. Services like AddURL, Submit-it, Promote-it offer free submission. Mostly to a limited number of engines for free. You'll have to pay for more engines or do some more work yourself. See my utilities links page for some of these sites.
Another solution is using specialized promotion software. Some of them can be used as a feature limited demo, submitting your site to some ten or twenty engines in the unregistered status. Paying will unlock all engines, mostly several hundreds. See my software links page for some software titles.
Search engines can use data specified in meta tags. For more info on meta tags see the meta tag tutorial. Furthermore there are two utilities to assist you in creating and using meta tags. MetaMake generates meta tags for your page. MetaCheck checks if meta tags are applied correctly.
Another good way of getting linked is in directory services. The best example of this would be Yahoo. Most people see Yahoo as a search engine. While it has a search engine, it is in fact a directory service. Thousands of sites are checked by hand, categorized and listed on their web site. It is a lot of work, and you need to have a good site before even thinking of applying, but it is all well worth it. There are more directories in the webmaster resources directory. Which in itself is also a directory.
The way to get listed is very similar to the search engines. Just find an Add URL link or something similar. If you cannot find that, try finding links like Contact Us. Or if all else fails, an email address of the webmaster. Offering a link on your site may increase your chances of getting listed.
Another way to attract visitors to your site is using an banner ad. This is anadvertisement shown on your pages. In exchange your own banner is shown on other sites. To sort the biggest effect, you can put banners on all your pages. Private banners are often quite ugly, and may not fit to your site. Some may take a while to load also. But they can be relatively effective, generating about one visitor every hundred viewings.
A problem might be designing a banner. Some of you won't master the skill of creating graphics. There's an easy solution to this. Some people will design banners for free, just for the fun of it. Some banner exchange sites have extensive libraries of banners, so you'll only have to add some text to them. Some have even online editors to do this. On my utilities links page are some examples.
Linking related sites
Browsing the web you may encounter sites related to the subject of your site. Or highlighting a specific topic of your site. You could e-mail the maker of that site to offer him a link in exchange for a reciprocal link on his. I have done this many times and some have generated a lot of traffic. Beware however of link lists, often only leading you to other link lists. Most people know this and will probably never get to your site this way. No links here, I'm afraid: you'll have to scower the web for yourself.
The best way to get linked here is to write a polite e-mail to the webmaster of the site. With your site data like url, title, description. Offering a link back may greatly help increasing your chances of getting linked. Having a good site might do the trick also.
Filling out guest books
I never do this myself, but some people have advised me to use a guest book. Both ways: putting a guest book on your page, and filling out other people's guest books. Some people actually seem to read these, and come to your site this way. So if you like the idea, just go to my guestbook links page, setup a guest book and have fun with it.
Probably the single most effective way to attract visitors to your site is to present illegal information. Things like porn, warez (illegal software), cracks (to illegally unlock shareware), serial numbers to the same purpose, bootlegged MP3 music and so on, do REALLY well on the web. Posting messages about this in related news groups will help a lot too.
Alas the fun won't last very long. Your ISP will probably kick you out in a few days, if they notice your pages. Even if what you're posting is not illegal, they will do so to avoid the enormous amount of data traffic generated. Often crashing their server or becoming unreachable. So my advice would just be not to make such pages. Not to be moralistic or anything, I really don't care, it's up to your discretion. But just to keep your pages up on the web.