Submitting to “free” search engines is nice but they don’t guarantee positioning and it can take up to 3 months to crawl your site to get you listed in the popular directories.
To effectively get listed in search engines you need to use meta-tags and keywords in addition to placing your site in the right category for engines to index you. This works better if you know some coding and can add the necessary HTML into the header of your page(s) for the bots to pick up.
Many of these engines ask for a reciprocal link and they often give you an ugly button with their logo to post on the front page of your site ---by the time you get done with all your free submissions you’ll have a very cluttered page, which will detract from what you are trying to present to your audience.
If you want my opinion, free site submission engines are not the best way to promote your site. Google, MSN and Yahoo are probably all you’re going to need as far as submissions go.
Bumping is another free way to drive traffic to your website to make it more visible. This can become a tedious and time con-suming activity because it must be done regularly in order to keep your siggy (signature button, usually 125x125) at the top of the bumping list.
If you’re diligent this system can work well but you have to keep in mind that you’ll be bumping against several other sites; in the end your webpage may only get just a few minutes to possibly 1 day of exposure! If you use a bumping service, make sure it’s a close-knit circuit of folks like a friendly eBay group or a small affiliate group.
There are also several online directories that participate in a free banner & link exchange program. They list your site in their service and in return you have to post their link or a “rotating” banner on your site (usually 468x60). Keep in mind that similar sites are grouped together.
This means the banner you post on your site will rotate every several minutes (or so) to display one of the other sites in the directory you’re listed in. That’s not bad advertising but you have to remember that the rest of the sites become your competitors since this service groups by similarity. For instance, if you’re listed in the art and crafts category you are instantly competing with all the other sites listed in this category.
In my opinion banner exchanges are not the most productive way to publicize your site because you may be hurting it more than helping it (if you’re competing for sales).
There’s a newer trend based on the old banner exchange model and it’s called a plugboard. Plugboards are easier to manage, the buttons are much smaller (88 x 31) and they work similarly to bumping.
You “plug” your siggy or button into the grid a couple times a week and in return you offer a plugboard on your site. The good part about hosting your own bumps or plugs is that you can place them on any page you want and have sole discretion as to the size of the grid. Plugboards can be fun, interesting and do get a lot of attention! *check my plugboard below*
There’s yet another type of free service people often use and it’s called a webring. Webrings works similarly to banner exchanges only here you are given a specific script or code to place in your webpage. If you’re not code-savvy and something goes wrong, your site will not be picked up by the “ring” and your broken code will pose as a disruption to the rest of the sites in the ring! In any event, webrings are not as popular as they used to be (and not attractive at all!) and are mostly used for personal hobby websites.
*A typical webring code will produce an image that looks like this on your page:
So what are you suppose to do to get some traffic to your site? Free services are great if you’re trying to get readers for your blog or people to join your group, and they are a must if you’re trying to keep startup costs down for your online business.
Just keep in mind that you have to do some research and choose services wisely. You don’t want to overdo it with banners, buttons and blinking things all over your site and you want to make sure you’re not “condemning” your site’s overall performance!
Another thing to remember, if you come across a good blog or group that posts regularly, you can ask them if they’ll feature your website in one of their posts or in list you in their “fav” links section.
Of-course nothing worthwhile comes free so you’ll have to give something in order to get something back. If you sell a product, see if you can barter. If you offer a service, ask if they’d like a month’s worth of free service in exchange for featuring your banner or link on their site.
To find top-ranking bloggers of every kind, visit Technorati.com (directory of all blogs) and search by category for the type of blog you’d like to advertise in. Some blogs receive thousands of hits per day and if you’re able to negotiate something with the blog owner you’d be getting loads of publicity!
Don’t forget that anyone can have a website but it takes patience and hard work to get it noticed! The last thing you want is for your website to be buried, burned or forgotten.
Sites to try:
- Auction Bump
- Store Promoter
- Ms. Biz Bloggers
- Top100 Directories
- Banner Maker
- Banner Maker2
- PlugMe Plugboard
- PlugBoard Gratuit
- For Ebay Bumps