This document is a supplement to
Editing for Clear Communication
Copyright 1996-1999,
Thom Lieb


No portion may be reused without the author's permission.

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Further Reading:
Steve Outing, "Newspaper Print Editions Fail to Promote Their Own Web Sites," Editor & Publisher Interactive, 23-24 June 1997.

Steve Outing,
"We See the Problem; What Are the Solutions?"
Editor & Publisher Interactive, 25-26 June 1997.

"Promote Your Web Site," CNET

The Spider's Apprentice (search engines)

The Art of Business Web Site Promotion
by Jim Rhodes

Directory of Email Discussion Groups

Jodi B. Cohen, "Snake Charmer at Your Web Site: Luring in the Crowds, Editor & Publisher Interactive, 6 December 1996

Carl Sullivan, "Marketing the Web in Other Media," Editor & Publisher, 27 February 1999

Jim Evans, "Paying for Attention," The Industry Standard, 15 March 1999

To learn more about
this college editing textbook or to order
an educational review
copy, please visit
McGraw Hill.


Editing for the Web

Marketing

If you build it, they won't necessarily come.

With millions and millions of pages on the Web, there's no guarantee that anyone will find your site unless you promote it. You can — and should — promote it in the following ways:

Include your Web site address in all materials. Begin by letting your traditional readers or customers know you have a Web site. When you advertise your publications or products, include the site address. Print and broadcast media starting Web sites might want to do short features about the sites to let people know what's on them and how to get to them.

Advertise on radio and television. Increasingly, Web sites are getting the word out using the broadcast media. Many sites, including priceline.com, have found those spots to be a great aid in driving traffic to them.

Register your site. One way many people will get to your site is through searches. Some search engines snake their way through the Web without any prodding from site producers, but others need to be told that your site is out there. One way to speed up the process: Netscape offers a free service that lists a site with about a dozen search engines, and a paid service that reaches hundreds of search engines and directories.

Use keywords wisely. With more than 43 million domains on the World Wide Web as of early 1999, it's not easy to stand out. But you can increase the chances that your site shows up high on the list when someone's searching for information that you provide. The way to do so is by carefully using keywords.

If, for instance, your site offers in-depth information on bicycling, make sure you get that term and other relevant ones in the page title and META DESCRIPTION and KEYWORD tags. META tags rest in the <HEAD> section of an HTML page and give you more visibility in search-engine result listings. The text entered into the DESCRIPTION section is what will show up in the search engine results, rather than just the first 50 or so words on the page; words entered in the KEYWORD section help potential visitors who are looking for specific information track it down. For example:

<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Your source for information on bicycling in the Mid-Atlantic region.">
<META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="Bicycling, bicycles, touring, outdoors, cycling, adventure vacations">

You can increase your odds of getting high placement in search engines by placing your keywords elsewhere on your pages, too. For instance, you can add them in the <ALT> tag for every picture or graphic. Because search engines rank sites on relevance, the site with a keyword repeated the most times is deemed most relevant.

Announce your site to discussion and news groups. Online discussion groups detest attempts at free advertising. But if your site ties in with the topic of discussion, then by all means get the word out on the list. For example, anyone starting a new online news site would be foolish not to alert the members of the online-news discussion group. Specific articles and features also can be promoted this way. For instance, when Mercury Center ran its Dark Alliance series on the crack cocaine explosion, staffers announced the series on several news groups, including alt.politics.org.cia and soc.culture.african.american.

Sponsor other sites, content and services. Much of the advertising on the Web so far consists of trades between sites: You promote mine and I'll promote yours. Sponsoring services and content on other sites can add to your visibility, though it's no guarantee that visitors to those sites will jump over to yours.

Send traditional and email news releases. A well-targeted news release is as good a tool for promoting a Web site as it is for promoting a new product or service. Let the appropriate media folks know that you're up and running so they can let their readers know.

Seek reviews and enter competitions. Editor & Publisher Interactive, for instance, sponsors a yearly online newspaper competition, a great means of getting recognition.

Spend the time to let the world know about your site and the time spent on your Web site will have been well worthwhile. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the feeling of completion — at least for an hour or two. Then it will be time to redesign.

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