Introduction | 2.Search Engines | 3.Getting Ranked | Writing Effective Press Releases | Branding | Using Bulk Email | More to come

Promoting Your Website
This is essential reading for anyone who is looking to maximize their investment in a website or online e-commerce service. A lot of what's published here is just plain commonsense, the rest has been gathered from more than a decade's experience in the field of building, operating and promoting online ventures.

Don't waste hundreds or even thousands of dollars on publications that offer to spill the "secrets" of generating traffic to your website or services that promise to give you a high ranking on search engines -- everything you need to know is right here.

1. Be Prepared
So you've spent a small fortune in time and/or money to build what you believe is a top-quality website and now you want to "turn on the taps" and drive lots of traffic to it -- but are you sure it's ready?

Before you drum up all this traffic you need to be absolutely sure that your website is up to the task and that those who arrive on your cyber-doorstep aren't going to go away disappointed -- because chances are that if they do, you'll never see them again.

Preparing your website for launch involves more than just making sure that it looks pretty. Here are some of the critical things you ought to check:

  • Link validation. Check that all the links on every page work correctly. If a user clicks on a link and gets an error they may decide that you're not the professional, reliable operator you profess to be.

  • Browser compatibility. Even though the vast majority of web-surfers these days use Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 5.x or 6.x, there is still a percentage of others who use Netscape, Opera, or some other type. If just 50 out of every 1,000 visitors to your website are using one of these other browsers and find it impossible to properly navigate or read your content then over time that could add up to a sizeable amount of lost business and return visits.

  • HTML Correctness. It's important to realize that many browsers will cope with small flaws in a page's HTML so don't assume that just because your webpages look okay that there aren't any subtle errors in them. Unfortunately, many search engines are far less tollerant of HTML errors so there's a very good chance that such flaws may confuse their page indexing and ranking systems. This could adversely impact the ranking of your website and significantly impact what will likely be your most valuable source of traffic.

  • Server capacity. If you suddenly find that there are hoards of people visiting your website you need to be sure that your hosting company has the bandwidth and capacity to support this. In most cases this won't be an issue -- however, you should always keep an eye on just how well your site is responding because slow sites disappoint visitors and they may not stick around or come back -- that's bad for business.
If you've already built your website then there may be some things that it's just too late to change.

For instance... a website that uses frames has some decided disadvantages over sites that don't. These disadvantages include:

  • Users have difficulty bookmarking individual pages
  • Search engines may not index content inside the frames
  • Other sites may have difficulty linking to specific pages
Likewise, a site that has much of its content embedded in a Flash file will likely be slow to load and not indexed by search engines. There are ways around these problems and they'll be explained a little later.

It's now time for a blatant plug in the form of a link to the Site Survey Service I offer to those who are about to launch a new or significantly updated website. Please consider this as an economical way of ensuring that your site is ready for the big-time.

Introduction | 2.Search Engines | 3.Getting Ranked | Writing Effective Press Releases | Branding | Using Bulk Email | More to come