Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Build it and they won't come

It is easier than ever to publish your content on the web. Whether to set up a blog, post a comment or a review, or even to make the effort to learn some HTML and set up your own site, the technology is there to hold your hand and doesn't require an advanced degree in geekdom.

However, the flip side of this liberation in content publishing is that there is not enough thought given to how to actually get people to visit your content, nor, to be fair, knowledge about how to do it.

Given the expansion of the web and the increasing ability to personalise web consumption through RSS feeds and improved web search, it is all too easy for anything from a personal blog to a corporate website to lie undisturbed on a server with only an author and a webmaster to care for it (or about it).

So, what should you be doing about it? A blog post is not the place to write a detailed guide, but here are some pointers:

- The web is full of useful/useless information - make use of it! Google to read up on the basics - learn about how search engines work, about directories, link exchanges, advertising... (If the thought of all that research sends you dizzy, then Web Marketing Today is a good place to start.)

- Research your competitors and peers. What are they doing to promote their website, can you help each other and who links to them? (To check who is linking to any url, you can do a link popularity check.)

- A website is for life, not just for one visit. Consider how you will encourage repeat visits. Think newsletters, reader interaction (e.g. comments, forums), RSS feeds...

- Track, track, track. Use web tracking tools, ask for feedback through polls and surveys and act on the information.

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