Website Tips for Smaller Congregations, Part 8

Promote Your Website!

Once you have created a website, you want people to visit, and keep visiting.  The most important quality of popular websites is fresh and useful information. Weed out notices of transpired events.  Keep the new content coming!  This can be a tedious task over the long haul, which is the reason for a having a Telecom team instead of one Web techie, and being on the lookout for future team members too.

In addition to maintaining timely and useful information, here are some other inexpensive ways to promote your website:

Study “search engine optimization”. Most Web “surfers” will find their way to you via search engines.  You must learn how to get your website included in the first page of a Google search report, that is, near the top of the Google (or other search engine’s) stack.  If your site doesn’t make the first page, chances are the seeker won’t find it, because he or she won’t take the trouble to look on subsequent pages.

How to get your site ranked near the top of the Google stack?  Here are some techniques that have worked for me:

Choose search terms that few other content providers are likely to have already picked. My photography “handle,” TCDavis (just so, with no spaces) was devised by this strategy.  Google “TCDavis” and you will find me at the top of the Google stack, in part because very few other content providers are using that handle.

Throw your line in where the most fish are.  Join large social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and promote your site by posting information there with links back to your website.

Contact other site maintainers and tell them that you are providing a link at your site to their site, and ask them to reciprocate. Search engines assign a higher rank to web pages to which many other web pages point (by hyperlinks).

Write a product review for Amazon.com (a HUGE social network, in effect) for a product that has newly been released and therefore hasn’t been reviewed much yet.  Write a detailed review which will be useful to readers seeking information about this new product.  Amazon gives each reviewer a profile space, free.  In your profile space, take advantage of your high visibility:  Promote whatever websites you wish by noting their urls.  Your early review is likely to get lots of “hits,” and grateful readers may very well click on those links in your profile.

People love to look at pictures.  If you take good pictures, display them at the photographer’s social network, Flickr. Once again, take advantage of your visibility there to place links in your photo comments to sites on the web you want your fans to visit.

People love even more to watch videos.  Produce good ones and stream them at YouTube, a hugely popular video site, and in your profile there you will have another platform for promoting the Web links you want them to see (besides your video ones).

Of course, you can also pay a fee to companies which will list your site with various search engines so that it gets included in search indexes.  Make sure to check the effectiveness of such companies.  A good way to check on the honesty and quality of products and services advertized on the Web is to type “review” into a Google search window, followed by whatever you want to investigate.  You will often find reviews by customers who are either very happy or unhappy with the product.  Middle of the roaders don’t usually bother to report.

Please visit my Web literacy blog and leave questions/comments:  www.CyberKenBlog.com , Rev. Tom Davis

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