Get the word out: Promote your website

Provided by the Good News Web Designers Association

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Once you have a website built, how do you get people to use it?

Submit the URL to search engines, including Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, AltaVista, and others. There are many more search engines than you could ever have time to seek and submit to, but it's no matter, because they regularly comb the Net to locate all websites, and after a couple of months, all your webpages will be accessible to people doing searches. You can help increase your ranking in the search engines by using Meta Tags. They go below the <title> tag and above the </head> tag, and they look like this:
<meta name="keywords
" content="list words people might input into search engines">
<
meta name="description" content="summarize the page's content in sentences totaling 35-40 words">

Search for websites that have directories that include your type of site, and ask them to add your URL to their lists. Keep in mind, though, that adding yours to a long list won't bring you many visitors unless yours is at the top of the list. People will travel to other places on the list and never get back to find yours.

Put the URL on letterheads, business cards, brochures, and all publicity that goes out in the mail, in newspapers, in church bulletins, on radio, on bumper stickers, etc. You can even put it into answering machine messages. Whenever the name of your organization is mentioned, the URL should be given with it.

Collect the email addresses of people who visit your website, using a sign-up form. Every time something significant is added to the site, send out an e-letter to the mailing list and inform them about the update. However, never make everyone's addresses visible in the TO or CC fields. It's very rude to send email that makes the addresses available to strangers; some of them will save the addresses to use for their own purposes. To avoid this, send "blind carbon copies" (BCC) or set up a mailing list on a list serv.

Create cyber-cards (electronic post cards). They're popular, and every time one gets sent out, the recipient of the card could potentially visit the rest of your site, especially if you make the link to your Home Page inviting and interesting, placed visibly at the bottom of each card.

Download the above tutorial as a printable Word Document.

Additional ideas from GNWDA members:

Think of non-Internet ways to promote your site:
Posted by: Andrew MacLean

  • Include the website URL on business cards, flyers, stationery and newspaper advertisements.
  • Put a poster in the window of the business.
  • If you use an answering machine, direct callers to either leave a message or go to the website.
  • Promote the website on a message that plays while phone callers are on hold.
  • Put the URL on the business vehicle.

 

EXTRA TIPS

Send announcements about material on the site that tie in with holidays or liturgical seasons. Do it often, but keep the wording fresh and the topics appropriate.

Train representatives of the organization to remember to mention the website and its URL whenever speaking publicly or making contacts with potential website visitors.

At conventions you attend, write your URL on your name tag. At special events hosted by your organization, put the URL on the hand-outs, give-away pens, posters, T-shirts, etc.

Sponsor online contests that deal with the subject matter or purpose of your website, and publicize them through the postal mail and email, in newspapers, in church bulletins, on radio, etc.

 

Return to Directory of Tutorials or GNWDA home page