1. Technology

If You Build It … Will They Come?

Tips to Promote Your Website


You've got this great Web page, you have all the latest features of DHTML and Frames, but no one is visiting it. How do you get them to go there? Is there some secret?

Here are six easy ways to improve your page and make people want to come view it.

1. Find out who your audience is

If you know your audience you will know what they want to read about and what keeps their interest.

Ways to find out about your audience:

  • Request information through surveys.
  • If you have a bulletin board or chat, review what goes on there.
  • Keep current with your email.
  • Read general surveys of on-line users (a good one is the GVU WWW User Survey).

2. Keep it interesting

If you know what your readers want, but don't give it to them, why would they keep coming to your site? If your site has nothing at all, make sure that it has compelling content. People will return to a site that is interesting and useful even if it doesn't use the latest tricks or features.

Ways to keep your site interesting:

  • Make your site interactive, have surveys and contests to let your readers feel a part of the site.
  • When people suggest things, acknowledge that help live on the site.
  • Add additional community features such as a bullettin board or chat room.
  • Keep your site up-to-date.

3. Put your site in the spotlight

If your site can't be found, no one will visit it. Make sure that the name makes sense and that you use all the tools available to maximize your search engine views.

Ways to get your site found by viewers:

  • Get a domain name with your company name, or page information.
  • Submit it to as many search engines as you can.
  • Use a submission service, like Submit-It, if you can afford to.
  • Whenever relevant, mention your site, in newsgroups, chatrooms, email, over coffee with your friends, etc.
  • Have your URL in your email signature.

4. Make sure your site loads quickly

A slow loading page is an instant turn off, and most browsers won't stay, even if the page is worth the wait. Keep this in mind and make your first few pages quick and intense so that they are hooked and then will wait for more.

Ways to improve the download speed:

  • Use fewer, smaller images. My rule of thumb is no larger than 12K per image.
  • Keep the total page size down. I try to stay below 30K for a total page.
  • Pre-load images. If you make the size 1x1 the image appears as microscopic dot on the page, and your readers won't know it's loading (really).
  • Use the lowsrc attribute. If you have a huge image, you can take away the sting of the download by using lowsrc to load a smaller image first.

5. Don't hide information

Important information on your site shouldn't be hidden. Make sure that it can be easily found by your readers, because most won't search for it.

Ways to bring information to the forefront:

  • Keep your pages to 800x600 resolution.
  • Don't make your readers scroll for the good stuff.
  • Keep your navigation intuitive and near the top.

6. Answer your email

One of the best ways to keep people coming back to your site is to be a friendly voice over the Internet for them. Encourage communication with your readers, and when you get it, answer it.

Things to keep in mind when using email as a marketing tool:

  • Always be polite. Even when provoked, stay cool and calm. Most people forget that they are not talking to a computer, but a real person.
  • Don't spam. Unsolicited email is annoying and can get you in more trouble than it helps.
  • Try to be prompt in your replies, or if you cannot, explain to your readers the delay.
  • Remember to include your URL in the reply.

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