Word Crunchers, Etc.|
Letting the World Know You Have a Website
Once you have your website up and running, you need to let the world know it's there. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen automatically, so it will take a little work on your part. Some search engines have software called spiders which continuously search the web by following links from website to website and cataloguing their contents, ad infinitum. However, until you have created a few links for them to follow, they will not be able to find you.
Obtaining those first links
Most search sites (search engines, directories and malls) have an "Add" form which you can use to submit information about your website. When you register with a search engine, keep in mind that they receive thousands of registrations every day. It can take a month or two for their spider to have time to visit your site and catalogue it. Patience is a virtue you're going to need. A few sites, such as Yahoo! (which is a directory) demand even more patience, because humans review every listing which can take even longer and then they might not accept it.
Organizing your information
The amount of information required on the Add forms varies. Some only require your website address (URL) so they can send their spider out to catalogue your website. Others may require a more information, such as company, contact name, address, phone, fax, email, URL, keywords, short and long descriptions, etc. The rest of the Add forms fall somewhere in between these two extremes. I find it simplifies the process, if you collect all the information in a file using a simple text editing program. I prefer to put the information on a sticky note and place it so I can see the edge of it behind my browser window. Then, by clicking back and forth between the two, I can copy the information from the sticky note and paste it into the various boxes in the form in the form. I find this cuts down on errors and saves typing time.
Just a note of caution, there are some websites which offer to register you with multiple search engines for a price. In most cases, it's not worth the money. Also, unless they're a well-known website, you will have no way of knowing they have done it. Your ISP may have such a service available for less money, and, hopefully, you know them well enough to trust them to do the job. It's a case of "Caveat Emptor" (Buyer Beware). Always know who you're dealing with, including on the web.
A simpler way
If you can afford it, a simpler and faster way to register on multiple search sites, is to purchase software which automates the process. This is what a lot of the companies selling this service use, including ISPs. The cost and capabilities vary, so you will need to look at the product carefully to make sure it will do what you require. You should also ensure they have an easy way to update the software as new search sites are continuously coming on on-line and others are disappearing. One of my proof readers, Tim Hicks (vice-president of WEAV), commented "I'd never buy such software because registering at the important sites is getting easier and easier." He also said "Ninety percent of the benefit from registering will come from the top six or seven sites, unless the site being promoted is a specialty site that would benefit from particular focused search engines." My other proof reader, Murray Fallen (past-president of WEAV), suggested "You can find out which the top sites are by visiting Search Engine Watch searchenginewatch.com. This is THE premier site to learn all about search engines." He also said that currently "the most popular search site is Yahoo!, then comes Alta Vista, Infoseek, Hotbot, Excite, Looksmart, Lycos, Snap and Google, just to mention a few."
Some places to start you off
A good place to start promoting your website is on your own ISPs (Internet Service Provider) members' mall (if they have one), where you can add your site name and a short description. This will provide a link for the search engine spiders to follow to your website. With some ISPs, your link will appear on their mall as soon as you fill out their form, while others may want to check your link first to make sure it meets their standards.
Another place to register your website, if you're located in Victoria, is the Victoria Internet Directory www.localdir.com/add.html. It's a wonderful local resource, a great place to promote your website and provides a second link for spiders to follow.
A third place to link your site to the world is Search BC which only lists BC websites www.searchbc.com/add.
Anancyweb www.anancyweb.com/canadian_search.html has links to various Canadian search engines. You will have to follow the links to each search site and find their "Add URL" or similar page, in order to register.
There are some websites which list search sites that will list your website for free such as: Submit Plus submitplus.bc.ca; @ Submit! uswebsites.com/submit; Webstop www.mmgco.com/top100.html; and Submit It! Free Trial submitit.linkexchange.com/sitrial.htm.
Other promotion methods
There are other ways you can promote your website, e.g. on your business card and letterhead and in your email signature. For more information on this subject see the article I wrote for the April 1997 MACtalk on website promotion at www.crunchers.bc.ca/vicky/library/promotion.html.
This article was originally published in the April 2000 issue of the Victoria Macintosh Users Group's monthly newsletter "MACtalk" in Vicky's column "VMUG On-Line".
Vicky Vickers is the owner of Word Crunchers, Etc. which specializes in website design and HTML training. She is a past-president (1994-6) and former webmaster (1995-8) of Victoria Macintosh Users Group (VMUG). She also founded and was the first president (1996) of the Web Enthusiasts Association of Victoria (WEAV).
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Vicky Vickers, Word Crunchers, Etc.
3290 Shelley Street, Victoria, BC, V8P 4A5
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