Tuesday, August 16, 2011

50 Ways to Get Your Site Noticed

This article aims to show you how to attract users and make them hungry for more.
Who is this post for? Anyone with a website. Not all of the items listed below will apply
directly to you and your business; however, they are, at the very least, an excellent source
for inspiration.

1. Write Fresh and Catchy Content

If you have good content, people will always come back for more. One of the most important
things about content is to keep it fresh and up-to-date. But, just like Smashing Magazine, make
sure to archive your content for people to refer back to.
Fresh and catchy content

2. Listen to Your Community

If you are already lucky enough to have a community—even just some regular users—listen to
them. You can do this by emailing your users directly, setting up comment forms, live chat,
or even user feedback systems such as UserVoice, which allow users to vote on site issues
and functionality. By listening to your community, you can determine exactly what they want.
Listen to your community

3. Monitor How Your Site is Used

Knowing how users use your site is vital. This allows you to target their needs better. The best
way is to keep a close eye on your analytics data; check what country/area your users are
coming from, what search terms are working well for you and what sites are giving you the best
Find out how users navigate your site via heat maps. These help you alter your site so that it is
easier for your visitors to use and find what they want. This keeps your users happy and more
likely to return.
Monitor how your site is used

4. Take Part in the Online Community

When you read your favorite blog or read an article of interest, leave a comment with your name,
email address and website link. Ensure you are an active member of a relevant forum discussion
or networking group. Of course, make sure you are an active member of your own site’s online
community sector.
Take part in the on-line community

Smashing Magazines commenting system making it easy to take part.

5. Submit to Directories and Galleries

This should be an ongoing process since there are many local, national and worldwide directories.
Your first stop should be DMOZ.org. Following this, submit to the local directories and those
specializing in your site’s business sector.
If you are designing web sites and are proud of your work, submit your site to web design galleries.
These directories—such as CSS Beauty and CSS Elite—feature beautiful and creative designs
and ask users to comment on and rate each design. Once people see your work, they may become
your visitors.

6. Use Email Signatures

Whenever you send out an email, make sure you have your URL in the email signature. It’s a
simple idea, but it’s effective.
Email signatures

7. Have Business Cards at Hand . . . Always

Ensure you always have business cards to hand out. If you meet someone needing your services,
it always pays to have a striking and memorable business card to exchange. It is worth spending
time on your business card to make it creative and memorable, otherwise you may just be left at
the bottom of the pile with the rest.
Exchangnig business cards

8. Use Company Stationery

Put your website address on everything: pens, letterheads, flyers, and anything that represents
your company. Make sure it is clear and pushes people to visit your web site. For example, you
could say, “For more information on our new product, check ourwebsite.com”

9. Win an Award

Winning an award is not easy, but it can lead to a flood of new visitors for your site. Even if you are
a runner up, people will be curious and want to find out who you are. The winner of the
.net magazine Interactive Site of the Year in 2009, www.ecodazoo.com, received huge amounts
of visits from the www.thenetawards.comsite. Choose your competition wisely and remember,
winning is not everything, but getting your URL in front of as many readers as possible is.
Ecodazoo pushes the boundaries of 3D design on the web

10. Run Competitions

On the flip side of winning an award, running a competition can be just as beneficial to your
analytics stats. This could be as simple as coming up with a new name for your latest product,
or as complex as designing a new logo. Either way, this will attract more users to your site and
show that you are giving back to your users as well as taking.
The Webby Awards
The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet.

11. Optimize for Search Engines (SEO)

Effective SEO, common sense and web standards go together. The idea is to create semantic,
valid code that uses the right tool for the job. This means using the right HTML tags and having
a unique title and appropriate meta data for each page. Ensure search engine spiders can
correctly index your site. And don’t forget that good content is a must. Remember, the most
important way to climb the search engine ranks is through quality links. For more information
on this, visit the Google Webmasters/Site owners guidelines.

12. Pay for Advertising

Pay per click advertising can drive a great deal of traffic to your site, if you correctly target your
keywords. Placing your banner or link on relevant sites will vastly improve the chance of you
getting noticed.
Paid advertising
The most effective advertising gets your message to a relevant audience.

13. Write Articles

Writing articles for other sites as well as your own is a fantastic way to get noticed. If you work
with web technologies, consider writing a tutorial for Nettuts+. If you sell power tools, consider
writing an article about the best router for making coffee tables. Target the niche that you’re after.
Just make sure you add your URL next to your name. If it’s well-written, people will want to
know more about you.
Write articles

14. Create a Blog

As you know, blogs are big and they are continuing to thrive as people want quick, useful
information about a product, service or general newsWordPress has been at the forefront
of blogging and gives us the tools to make rich, search engine-friendly blogs with beautiful designs.
Of course, it is up to you to fill your blog with fresh and catchy content.

15. Join Online Community Websites

In the past year, we have seen the social web boom and many sites have reaped huge benefits.
Creating your own Facebook page, uploading your work to Deviant Art or creating your own
Squidoo page all help build your online presence.
Facebook group

16. Get on Twitter

We all know the power of Twitter by now, and much has been said on the subject of using
Twitter as a marketing tool. But the fact remains: it is a very effective way of getting noticed.
Get the most out of Twitter by choosing one of the many tools available. Keep inside your
niche area, follow people that matter to your website, and make it personal. Do not just
spout marketing spiel or you will quickly lose followers. If you are part of a niche area
consider setting up your own Twibe (a group of Twitter users) or use Twitter’s list feature.

17. Record Podcasts and Videocasts

If you have something to say and you think others will be interested, then consider making a
podcast orvideocastBoagworld.com has been a leader in this area for the web design field
and Paul Boag has said that the majority of his new clients have come through the podcast.
Here are eight tips to remember when thinking about podcasting:
  • Invest in a good microphone.
  • Reduce background noise.
  • Prepare, but do not read a script.
  • Follow a consistent format.
  • Invite guest speakers.
  • Have regularly-scheduled podcasts.
  • Enjoy the process and relax!

18. Offer Newsletters and RSS feeds

Users sign up for your newsletter and you have your captive audience. If used properly,
newsletters can be very effective tools for driving people to your site. Check out
Smashing Magazine’s best practices articlebefore embarking on your campaign. When
you are ready, use a service like MailChimp to monitor your success.
Similar to newsletters, having an RSS feed of your content is another way to keep users
noticing your web site. They are easy to set up and a good way to keep your users
up-to-date on your website. Make sure you keep your feeds relevant, interesting, informative
and easy to find.

19. Send Seasonal Cards and E-Cards

Send out cards to your clients either by snail-mail or email. This is not only a nice gesture but
also keeps your website address firmly imprinted in their mind. Using services like Cards Direct
is a quick and easy way to spread the holiday cheer with your website address attached to it.

20. Run an Event

Running an event is a fantastic way to both market your business and connect with your
customers, clients and experts in your sector. For example, the Future of Web Design events
are run all around the world featuring many professionals from the web design community.
Your event does not have to be about web design; it can be focused on your site and your
business’ sector, in order to to raise awareness of you and your site.
Alternatively, you can be one of the speakers. This form of marketing has worked very
well for people like Brett Welch, Danny Somekh and Folkert Gorter who spoke at the
FOWD London 2009.
Carsonified events

21. Sell Branded T-shirts

Do your own marketing: have t-shirts, bags, folders and other items sporting your website
address clearly.
Joomla T-Shirts
Joomla raises peoples awareness with its online shop.

22. Create a Mobile App

Can your service be provided via a mobile app? Would customers want to purchase your
product on the go? If so, consider creating your own mobile application. If you want to tap
into the vast iPhone / iPad market, you can consider selling your app on the iPhone app store.
You can create the app yourself or use a company like Siruna to create the mobile
application for you.
App Store

23. Help with Charity Work

You can donate directly to a charity or run a charity event. There are many charities out there,
so choose wisely and carefully.

24. Sponsor a College and University Project

Many courses require a student to get a set amount of work experience or do a final year
project. Contact your local college and/or university and offer them a project that you would
like their students to help on. My final year project was to create a new search engine-optimized
template for a local business directory. The directory benefited from the new template
tremendously and we learned a great deal as a team.
Submitting proposals for college and university projects not only supports your website,
but it also helps students gain real-life experience in their chosen field. Here are a few examples:
College and University Project Sponsorship

25. Place Your Content Elsewhere

Your website is not the only place to put your content. If you sell a product, you can also list it
on eBay. If you are a band, why not put your songs on Last.fm? If your site publishes tutorials,
you can also submit a tutorial to other sites, like Nettuts+. Once people notice your content
they will be more inclined to visit your site, hungry for more.

26. Give Away Free Stuff

In the case of Vista Print, they offer free business cards; the cards have your logo and details
on one side and theirs on the other. Here is a list of ideas you can give away:
Vista print

27. Sponsor Something

Sponsorship can be a remarkable way of getting your website in front of hundreds or thousands
of eyes. When choosing a sponsorship project, keep to ones that will reflect well on your
company as well as being relevant. For more information check out the following sites in the
UK and North America. You can also place advertisements stating that you or your company
is looking for sponsorship proposals from individuals or companies. When you receive the
proposals, have a set criteria of what you’re looking for in mind.
Datapower Tools five aside football team
The DataPowertools.co.uk 5-a-side football team.

28. Get in the News

The news takes many forms in today’s media; one of the most beneficial ways to increase
awareness of your site is to get it featured on a popular news website. One of the top five
news portals is Google News. You should concentrate on having original content, multiple
authors, proper attribution, and good response time. For more information, check out the
Website Magazine article “Get Your Website Included in Google News“.

Man reading the news

29. Release Press Releases

Do you have web site that people are interested in on a national or local level? Why not
submit a press release informing the public about your new site? Simply place an ad in the
local paper or a sector-specific magazine.

30. Sell Merchandise

Do you have a product that you think will sell? Why not try your hand at merchandising?
If you are new to all this, you can use services like 50below.com to help setup your online
store. If you do have a number of products, list them on various other platforms like
eBayFroogle, and Amazon with links back to your site within the product descriptions.
50 Below

31. Solve a Problem

Find a problem that affects your website’s sector, create a fix, and publish it. A good
solution to a difficult problem is a surefire way to get people flocking to your website.
One example is the PNG fix for Internet Explorer; this simple site received thousands
of hits as it helped solve a problem with image transparencies in IE6.

32. Add Widgets to your Website

Give your site a boost by adding news feedsblogstweetswidgetsDelicious links,
Diggs andStumbleUpon links to your site. For the most comprehensive list of widgets,
try the netvibes ecosystem. When adding widgets to your website, keep in mind that
they should enhance the user experience and not clutter your website. Less is more!

33. Publish and Share YouTube videos

We all know that YouTube is massive. One of the biggest ways that websites get
noticed is by uploading or creating creativefunshockinginteresting, or downright
weird videos. Setting up your own channel will allow users to subscribe to it, thus
giving you more eyes on your content and website URL. Making a short introduction,
or a series of clips like Expert Village is a cost-effective way of driving traffic to your
site, as well as climbing the search engine results ladder.
Expert Village

34. Offer Free Services

Having a specific free service that is useful and intuitive could attract a plethora of users.
Here are some examples of sites with free tools and services:

35. Solicit Consultation Services

If you are a specialist in your field, consider offering consultation services. A consultation
service can be done via the internet, over the phone, or in person. You can provide this
service to individuals, groups, or businesses; and with the power of Skype and a web
cam, it can be just as though you are standing next to them. You could even offer
alternative consultation services, like usability testing.
What tools are the professional online consultants using? Many online consultants use
Skype because it is cheap, effective and well-supported. When using any peer-to-peer
communications service, make sure you set-up a separate account for your consultation
service so you keep your private messaging private. Skype offers a Skype Prime account
where you can register as a trainer and people can contact you for one-on-one or group

36. Make Affiliate Schemes

As a business, you offer rewards to affiliate marketers for every visit or consumer brought
to the site usingaffiliate marketing techniques. This method allows you to attract more
customers to your site by letting someone else do the hard work. You can offer different
types of schemes such as co-branding, white labeling, loyalty schemes and many more.
There are hundreds of thousands of schemes available, so make yours attractive to
marketers by offering high rewards for sales.
Affiliate programs
The Affiliate Programs forum contains information about hundreds of schemes and—most importantly—user feedback from people using them.

37. Give out Vouchers and Special Offers

If you have a marketing budget, spend some time attracting users with goodies. Maybe you
could offer 10% off their next subscription, or a free trial to your service for 30 days.
Vouchers can also attract users as you can post your voucher on one of the many voucher sites.
Special Offers
Make your special offer loud and proud so people notice.

38. Become a Reseller

A reselling service is where you sell an existing product or service such as hosting and
domain names. Reselling is a way to gain passive income by offering a quality product
or service you would not be able to develop alone. This ability to give a better service
will attract customers. If you ensure good customer service you might benefit from
word of mouth recommendations.

39. Have a Great Idea

The internet has been a veritable breeding ground for creative people and ideas. This
creativity has given birth to some amazing ideas that make people flock to the site. If you
think you have a great idea, harness it. Turn your idea into a reality, like Google’s originators
Larry and Sergey, who created a fast and simple search environment called Backrub in 1995.
Don’t forget the student who sold pixels to put himself through University in 2004!
1,000,000 pixels
"The main motivation for doing this is to pay for my degree studies."

40. Create a Plug-in, Template or Widget

A widget or plug-in is a design to enhance a platform. It is designed to entertain or make life
easier for users. Keep this in mind when developing. For example, you can make a
WordPress plugin or Joomla template. Make sure people know who made it and where
they can find your website.
Theme forest
Theme Forest helps designers sell their work.

41. Write Tutorials

If you are an expert in your field and you know what your talking about, choose a subject
and write a tutorial on it. You can then make the tutorials available on your own site
(to capture your audience), or submit your tutorial to sites such as Nettuts+.

42. Write a Book

Writing a book is time-consuming and it is a labour of love, but it can reap so many benefits
as a product in its own right. It will raise awareness for its topic and author. Books like Elliot
Jay Stock’s Sexy Web design, Steve Krug’s Don`t Make me Think or even an audio book
like Chris Anderson‘s “The Long Tail” have brought brand awareness and visitors to each
of the authors’ respective websites.

43. Start a Magazine or Online Publication

Blogging is a simplified version of creating an online magazine. Your online magazine should
be much more by concentrating on different types of content, building a community of readers,
and exploiting variousrevenue streams.
When creating an online magazine make sure you know your CMS inside out. It will be the
foundations of your business and web site and should allow you to make publishing the
content painless. Think about how you will make the money to help you grow your site.
Newsletters, RSS, and forums will help you keep your readers up-to-date and talking.
If you need help with content you can look at purchasing content or invite other authors to
help you get started.

44. Launch a Subscription Service

Subscription services can help you gain a constant stream of visitors to your site as they
download the latest news, music or tutorials.
If you are planning on charging for subscription, use an integrated payment system like
Spreedly to take the pain of setting up payment gateways and storing credit card details away.

45. Attend Networking Events

Networking events can be a fun and effective way to promote your website. Armed with your
business cards and an approachable smile, you are sure to meet someone who is interested in
your services or who knows someone else who will be.
The key is in choosing the right event for you and being prepared. Networking events are
normally based around certain types of businesses or they target professionals in specific areas.
Choose what is best for you. Check online event sites like Facebook,Meet-up or the local paper.
If you can`t find one in your area,run your own!
Networking event

46. Push Out Product Updates

Offering regular updates to your product can attract a consistent stream of users wanting to
benefit from the new update. You should notify your users when a new update is available;
this can be done via the software itself or via your website. Consider making your updates
a regular attraction and remember to make them easy to download and install.
Firefox update
FireFox makes it simple to update by making it part of the software. The user does not have to go away, download and install the update, but simply click “OK.”

47. Label Your Work

Be proud of your work and put your logo and web site address on it. For web designers,
write in your contract that the finished site must feature a back-link to your site. This may
not always be possible, but anyone enjoying the site you built will be intrigued to see the
company who built it. For photographers, put a water mark on all your site samples; if you
are a producer, have your website address on your packaging. No matter what sector you
are in, there is always room for a label on your work.
Label your work
Links to a sites design company can normally be found on the footer.

48. Use White Label Sites

A lot of sites, especially in the hotel and leisure industry, use what is called a “White Label”
site. This enables a successful brand to offer a service without having to build the functionality
and databases itself. You can go about this two ways:
  1. Use a white label service such as white label datingsocial networkingholiday and leisure 
  2. to create a site. For more information on white labeling check out this article.
  3. Allow users to use your functionality and database to create their own white label site. 
  4. Lastminute.com, has created a very successful net of sites that utilize their data and functionality.
Last minute

Sites using Lastminute’s database / functionality can be seen on.

49. Hide a Konami Code Easter Egg

A new sensation on the web is the addition of hidden code; when users press a sequence
of keys, they get a hidden surprise (this is called easter egg code). Sitepoint and many other
sites have done articles on this “blast from the past” way of entertaining your users. For more
information go tohttp://konamicodesites.com/; you will need the code to access it: up, up, 
down , down, left, right, left, right, b, a. Enjoy!
Konami game
You’ll need quick reactions to score on this Konami game!

50. Use Social Bookmarking

The last tip is also one of the best and easiest. Stemming from the simple idea of having a
"Tell a friend" form on your website, allow users to bookmark your site on the many social
bookmark sites. That way, you are letting other popular sites do the hard work for you.
Social bookmarking meta-services like AddToAnyare a simple way for users to publish
your site to their accounts on FacebookDeliciousStumbleUpon and many more with
one click. Copy and paste their code on to your pages and you’re away.
Social Bookmarking Icons

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