Announce Your Pages
© 2000 by Walt Howe
Once the search engines are taken care of, where else can you announce your pages offsite to attract interest?
(last revised February 19, 2000)
The most obvious thing you can do is to create yourself a signature block that includes a direct link to your web site. Always include it wherever you post messages, whether in e-mail, mailing lists, newsgroups, or message boards. Where HTML is permitted, make the link a live, clickable one. Where HTML is not used, list the URL anyway.
One very good place that welcomes announcements of educational or general interest is the Net Happenings mailing list and newsgroup. Use their Resource Submittal Form to publicize your pages. I recommend sampling their articles before posting.
Another place to make announcements is mailing lists and newsgroups related to your subject matter. If there is a netwide community for your topic, you may be already familiar with these. It is very important to become familiar with the lists and newsgroups you choose before posting. Some welcome such announcements and some consider it unwanted spam. You need to know which. You won't help yourself at all, if your announcements are viewed as spam. You can sometimes get around this when you see someone ask a question that your page answers. Then volunteering the information is appropriate. But don't force it, and don't plant the question yourself! Those techniques are usually seen through.
Web rings are another place to consider. Web rings are a set of sites related by a common subject that link to each other and permit travelling around the ring in a circular pattern from site to site. You can search for existing web rings by topic at the main WebRing site. Review the sites in related rings and decide if you would like to be part of the ring. You have to apply, but if you have a good quality site, you will probably be accepted. The advantage of web rings is that it will bring new visitors to your site. The disadvantage is that if you don't stand up well to the others, you won't get repeat visits. If you are just starting out, and you don't have anything unique or original on your site, you may want to wait until your site matures some more before joining a ring.
There are some topical sites that will ask you to join that have a star, not a ring structure. They are at the center of the star with many links pointing outward. They ask you to join and point to them in return for a link to your site. They may even ask you for a fee. Be very suspicious of these sites. This model is designed to bring them many visitors and only send you back a few. Rings, on the other hand are set up so that you can travel from one to the next in a circular pattern, favoring no single site. In the ring structure, everybody benefits equally!
Are your pages very unusual or newsworthy? Some places like USA Today's Hot Sites and MSNBC's Incredibly Useful Sites ask for suggestions.
If you regularly participate in or run a message base, try to go a step beyond announcing your new pages. Try to seed a discussion about your pages. The more people talk about it, the more your pages will be visited. Always include an active link to your pages in your signature!
There is an excellent discussion of ways to promote web pages in Delphi's Hosts Forum