Put Your Website Online!So your website is finally finished! You have a great domain name, the site is uploaded and hosted by a quality domain host, and now you are ready to show the world. You have followed our website design tips from the previous "Creating a website plan" article so that your customers can find what they need, the website loads quickly, you have created some great unique content and it looks great! So you are done right? Not a chance!
Now the real work begins. Most website owners make a common mistake, they create the new website and figure people will immediately start showing up by the thousands buying your products and making you rich. They fail to do the hard work, the dirty work, the work that frankly just isn't fun. Creating websites is fun, marketing and analyzing data is not but successful website owners find a way to not only do this work but excel at it.
Here are some pointers to help point you in the right direction once the website design stage has been complete.
Planning stage is finished! Wooohoooo!
A) Put Your Website Online.
Don't go with virtual hosting - go with a stand alone ip. Make sure the site is "crawlable" by a spider. All pages should be linked to more than one other page on your site, and not more than 2 levels deep from root. Link the topic vertically as much as possible back to root. A menu that is present on every page should link to your sites main "topic index" pages (the doorways and logical navigation system down into real content). Don't put it online before you have a quality site to put online. It's worse to put a "nothing" site online, than no site at all. You want it flushed out from the start.
Go for a listing in the ODP. If you have the budget, then submit to Looksmart and Yahoo. If you don't have the budget, then try for a freebie on Yahoo (don't hold your breath).
B) Submit Your New Website to the Search Engines and Directories
Submit the root to: Google, Fast, Altavista, WiseNut, (write Teoma), DirectHit, and Hotbot. Now comes the hard part - forget about submissions for the next six months. That's right - submit and forget.
C) Logging and Tracking your Websites Statistics:
Get a quality logger/tracker that can do justice to inbound referrals based on log files (don't use a lame graphic counter - you need the real deal). If your host doesn't support referrers, then back up and get a new host. You can't run a modern site without full referrals available 24x7x365 in real time.
D) Spidering Check - Make Sure the Search Engines Can Spider you new Website:
Watch your logs for spiders from search engines. Make sure those that are crawling the full site, can do so easily. If not, double check your linking system (use standard hrefs) to make sure the spider found it's way throughout the site. Don't fret if it takes two spiderings to get your whole site done by Google or Fast. Other Search Engines are pot luck and doubtful that you will be added at all if not within 6 months.
E) Topic directories.
Almost every keyword sector has an authority hub on it's topic. Go submit within the guidelines.
F) Links - Find On Topic Websites and Get Links or Link Exchanges
Look around your keyword sector in Googles version of the ODP. (this is best done AFTER getting an odp listing - or two). Find sites that have links pages or freely exchange links. Simply request a swap. Put a page of on topic, in context links up your self as a collection spot. Don't freak if you can't get people to swap links - move on. Try to swap links with one fresh site a day. A simple personal email is enough. Stay low key about it and don't worry if site Z won't link with you - they will - eventually they will.
G) Content. Content is King, Keep Adding Content Every Day!
One page of quality content per day. Timely, topical articles are always the best. Try to stay away from to much "bloggin" type personal stuff and look more for "article" topics that a general audience will like. Hone your writing skills and read up on the right style of "web speak" that tends to work with the fast and furious web crowd.
Lots of text breaks - short sentences - lots of dashes - something that reads quickly.
Most web users don't actually read, they scan. This is why it is so important to keep low key pages today. People see a huge overblown page by random, and a portion of them will hit the back button before trying to decipher it. They've got better things to do that waste 15 seconds (a stretch) at understanding your whiz bang flash menu system. Because some big support site can run flashed out motorhead pages, that is no indication that you can. You don't have the pull factor they do.
Use headers, and bold standout text liberally on your pages as logical separators. I call them scanner stoppers where the eye will logically come to rest on the page.
H) Gimmicks. Do Not Let Your Viewers Find You Spammy!
Stay far away from any "fades of the day" or anything that appears spammy, unethical, or tricky. Plant yourself firmly on the high ground in the middle of the road.
I) Link backs - Check Your Link Exchanges Thoroughly
When YOU receive requests for links, check the site out before linking back with them. Check them through Google and their pr value. Look for directory listings. Don't link back to junk just because they asked. Make sure it is a site similar to yours and on topic. Check the page they are requesting a link to is linked to their main site. View their code and check for anything that the Search Engines might find "Wrong". Do not link to sites that are suspect!
J) Rounding out the offerings:
Use options such as Email-a-friend, forums, and mailing lists to round out your sites offerings. Hit the top forums in your market and read, read, read until your eyes hurt you read so much. Stay away from "affiliate fades" that insert content on to your site.
K) Beware of Flyer and Brochure Syndrome
If you have an ecom site or online version of bricks and mortar, be careful not to turn your site into a brochure. These don't work at all. Think about what people want. They aren't coming to your site to view "your content", they are coming to your site looking for "their content". Talk as little about your products and yourself as possible in articles (raise eyebrows...yes, I know).
L) Build one page of content per day.
Head back to the Overture suggestion tool to get ideas for fresh pages.
M) Study those logs.
After 30-60 days you will start to see a few referrals from places you've gotten listed. Look for the keywords people are using. See any bizarre combinations? Why are people using those to find your site? If there is something you have over looked, then build a page around that topic. Retro engineer your site to feed the search engine what it wants. If your site is about "oranges", but your referrals are all about "orange citrus fruit", then you can get busy building articles around "citrus" and "fruit" instead of the generic "oranges".
The search engines will tell you exactly what they want to be fed - listen closely, there is gold in referral logs, it's just a matter of panning for it.
N) Timely Topics
Nothing breeds success like success. Stay abreast of developments in your keyword sector. If big site "Z" is coming out with product "A" at the end of the year, then build a page and have it ready in October so that search engines get it by December. eg: go look at all the Xbox and XP sites in Google right now - those are sites that were on the ball the summer before they launched.
O) Friends and Family
Networking is critical to the success of a site. This is where all that time you spend in forums will pay off. pssst: Here's the catch-22 about forums: lurking is almost useless. The value of a forum is in the interaction with your fellow colleagues and cohorts. You learn long term by the interaction - not by just reading. Networking will pay off in link backs, tips, email exchanges, and it will put you "in the loop" of your keyword sector.
P) Notes, Notes, Notes
If you build one page per day, you will find that brain storm like inspiration will hit you in the head at some magic point. Whether it is in the shower (dry off first), driving down the road (please pull over), or just parked at your desk, write it down! 10 minutes of work later, you will have forgotten all about that great idea you just had. Write it down, and get detailed about what you are thinking. When the inspirational juices are no longer flowing, come back to those content ideas. It sounds simple, but it's a life saver when the ideas stop coming.
Q) Submission check at six months
Walk back through your submissions and see if you got listed in all the search engines you submitted to after six months. If not, then resubmit and forget again. Try those freebie directories again too.
R) Build one page of quality content per day.
Starting to see a theme here? Search engings like Google love content, lots of quality content. Broad based over a wide range of keywords. At the end of a years time, you should have around 400 pages of content. That will get you good placement under a wide range of keywords, generate recip links, and overall position your site to stand on it's own two feet.
Do these things, and I guarantee you that in ones years time you will call your site a success. It will be drawing between 500 and 2000 referrals a day from search engines. If you build a good site with an average of 4 to 5 pages per user, you should be in the 10-15k page views per day range in one years time. What you do with that traffic is up to you, but that is more than enough to "do something" with.
Follow the links if you would like to hire InDemand Sales and Solutions to market your website to the search engines or if you would like to see more on how we can help you with your marketing plan