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Web Site Basics

Sandra Prior
Jun 5, 2008
So you've slaved for weeks over your first website, designed it from the bottom up, created graphics and typed in content. Lovingly, you made templates to smooth the process of actually building the site and when you finished, you uploaded it to your web space. You've embedded a little hit counter in the front page of your site. Now your work is done. The only thing left to do is sit back and watch the hits roll in. Except they don't.

You watch and you wait and they still don't come. What have you done wrong? Is your website really that bad or did someone tell the world about your embarrassing hygiene problem? The answer is none of the above. All this 'build it and they will come' nonsense is smelly pants boiled in a big vat of cabbage soup. You've got to work hard for those page hits. It's time to put on your PR hat and knuckle down to yet more work.

Submit Yourself

Priority number one: Get yourself listed by as many search engines as you can manage. Oh, and you did remember to include a descriptive title, didn't you? Submitting your address to one search engine after another may sound like a bit of a drag, so what do we do? Find a free submission service to send details of your site to multiple search engines at once.

Search engines aren't the be-all and end-all of finding things on the web. Remember to include web directories like Yahoo and the Open Directory Project. It also pays to do a search to find out if your site is covered by one of the specialist Web directories out there.

Make Friends and Influence People

Finding like minded souls is part of the appeal behind Net communications. Now you have your own website, use it to your advantage. If you find a site that contains similar content to your own, why not get in touch with the owner and suggest a link exchange? You can also find programs that automate this link exchange for you.

The easiest way to hook yourself up with a slew of similar sites is to apply to join an appropriate Web Ring. A Web Ring is a group of themed sites that have got together to help promote each other. Joining up is usually a case of finding an appropriate ring, signing up and adding some code to the bottom of your page. This code helps users navigate to other sites with similar content - or click to your site from a matching site.

Adding Meta Tags

Search engines don't just index your site by the visible content it contains. They also look for the tag embedded in the HTML of a page. These are tags that appear in the section of your page. Although invisible to normal users, they could be the most important part of your page.

Choose the words you use carefully. Common words like 'the', 'it', 'and' are ignored by search engines. Although words like 'sex', 'mp3' are popular on the Net, including them in your keywords could get you penalized if your site has nothing to do with them.

Another thing to avoid is repetition. Some search engines screen out pages that try to improve their ranking by including repeated words. The best approach is to think of honest, descriptive keywords, and list them in their singular rather than plural form.
About the Author
Sandra Prior runs her own websites at http://usacomputers.rr.nu and http://sacomputers.rr.nu.
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