Once people have found your site, how do you keep them coming back? One way is to provide services. Such services can include chat rooms, discussion boards, and other interactive facilities.
Providing resource services
One of the best ways to both attract people to your site and keep them coming back, is to provide a service or resource that keeps people interested in your business field. For example, many of the larger software companies, such as IBM and Microsoft, maintain extensive libraries of developer information and tutorials. Whether they maintain these libraries out of altruism is only known by the executive officers of these companies, but there isn’t any doubt that these kinds of sites drive traffic. If you’re selling vintage records, you might want to maintain a series of articles on music, or links to musicians. If you’re an insurance agent, you might want to include articles and/or links to tips on safe driving. Maintaining a services area on your Web site will also result in links from other sites. But most importantly, it will keep your content fresh and keep visitors coming back.
Creating message boards and chat sites
Many Web hosts now offer easy-to-use message boards that you can customize for your site to match topics relevant to your Web site. This is a good way to get your Web site visitors involved in the topic areas of interest on your site. You can also find free message board software on the Internet, but configuring them can be a little tricky and usually requires a little knowledge of the back-end processes of your Web host. For example, if you’re using a Web host that uses a Linux environment, you’ll probably want to find free software that uses PHP as its logic engine. Similarly, if you’re on a Microsoft-based environment, you’ll want either an ASP-based message software solution or a .NET solution.
Many host providers also provide chat solutions, which is another way to get your visitors engaged with your site.
The Don’ts of Web Site Promotion
There are a number of things you most certainly should not do to promote your site, because they’re either unethical or possibly even illegal.
Hopefully, you don’t need anyone to tell you what spam is or why you shouldn’t be someone who engages in its use. Even though sending such bulk mailings costs the sender virtually nothing, its toll on the rest of us is substantial. And no matter what the promoters of bulk e-mail tell you, your message will not only be ignored and deleted, but your name will be tarnished if you’re associated with bulk e-mail. Spamming with unsolicited e-mail typically results in e-mail servers (both the sending and receiving servers) going down under the load of a massive e-mailing, filled e-mail boxes, and wasted bandwidth.
Redundant URL submissions
As you’ll see in the sections that follow, most Web site indexing services, such as Yahoo and Alta Vista, provide an online form where you can submit the address (URL) of your site to be included in their index. It’s possible to submit a single site more than once, but doing so will also blacklist you with the search engines. So avoid the temptation and play by the rules to achieve the best results.
Usenet newsgroup flooding
Another form of inappropriate promotion is the spamming of newsgroups. This is similar to e-mail spamming. Most newsgroups have strict policies against spamming and will aggressively report spammers to their ISPs and/or host providers. Even groups that might once have been advertisement-friendly may now have policies against bulk e-mail advertising because spamming has become such a problem. Check with your newsgroup’s FAQ to find out its policies regarding advertising.
Chat room or forum flooding
Some “marketers” have begun to use programs to flood chat rooms (particularly on AOL or IRC) with messages, or spam every user connected to that service. The message here is the same as in any other spam situation: All you’ll do is annoy people and give yourself a bad name.
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