A while back I wrote a brief guide with some of the basics to starting a website. The next step is to decide what you are going to with it, I imagine if you are reading this then you want the world to see what you have written. I don't claim to be any expert in this field but I have learnt a few things that I would like to share with anyone who wants to learn . If you are here then obviously some of it works!
There are currently 3 big search engines they are Yahoo, Google and MSN. You can submit your site on Yahoo an Google for free and it is strongly advisable that you do so. Most of our visitors come via these two search engines, although MSN seem to be starting to make a definite appearance too. You should also consider some of the other smaller engines such as Dmoz.
A listing on dmoz means that many other sites will list you too, and aI mean many other sites! You have to find a category to put yourself in and you should think long and hard about this. As you should about the description of the site.
Selfsufficientish was still finding its feet when I signed up and so only had about 10 articles on it, "Information on growing plants, wild food recipes, and alternatives to lead a low impact urban life." - although sums up some of what the site is about (at the time of writing this) we have precious few wild food articles. We plan to and have always planned to but have concentrated on a different stance. So decide what you are about before you join up.
There are some search engines that will want to charge you for a listing on their sites. I have never seen the point of this it just strikes me as a waste of money as far as I can work out it does not bring you many more visitors.
Another crucial thing to do is have really good content. Don't rip off someone else's site, if you are going to do this then you have to question why you want a web presence in the first place. Think about what you want to see when you browse, you don't want to see loads of regurgitated stuff. Don't be afraid to put a bit of yourself out there, some of the most successful sites will reflect someone's character. Have a look at this site by Joel Veitch, for example it may look familiar as his site has been copied on a few TV programs and commercials that is a successful site in my book!
Something that we always try and do at selfsufficientish is to constantly update the site. We generally aim for about 10 pages a month. This works well for two reasons, people will constantly come back to check what is new. Also google and other search engines seem to like it too. They scan our site pretty frequently and normally any new pages will be listed within four or five days.
We are very lucky in the fact that we have an excellent writer in Nev Sweeney and that Spence the cartoonist is a workaholic with some excellent ideas. Both of them just emailed me out of the blue and asked if they could write for the site. We also encourage others to send us stuff in and probably get about 1 or 2 articles a month sent to us as one off articles. Another way to get articles is to surf similar sites to your own and ask them for some, does not always work but at least you get to keep an eye on your web peers.
Back linking is being paraded around as the best way to get high up in the Google rankings and there certainly seems to be some truth in it. By far the easiest ways to get backlinks is to leave them on a forum like this. I sometimes do this, but bear in mind that it is a bit cheeky and can actually put people off coming to your site.
If you have done your research and know your peers then you should contact them and ask them to swap links. Give some praise about their site first in your email, this usually works if someone wants to swap links with me! Again you should try and be yourself when asking as I think there is a lot to be said about being yourself if building up web peer friendships. Some companies will offer a service to contact other website's for you at a cost. I have started to notice when other sites do this and as such will not swap links, who wants to talk to a computer program?
Also think laterally about where you can put reciprocal links, for example when I realised that being on Dmoz also meant that we were on other similar sites I added this bit to my guide to starting a website. Perfect it meant there were links back.
As Oscar Wilde said, "it is better to be talked about badly than not at all". How right he was, especially when it comes to web sites. At the present moment I have been in the local paper, been mentioned on BBC television and radio, appeared in magazines that cover thousands of people in the South West of England and just recently I talked for half an hour on the radio about how to be selfsufficient 'ish'. Each has had various different impacts on the number of hits we get. Television defiantly gave us the biggest amount of hits! I think it is important to ensure that you are going for your target audience, for example one of the magazines we were in was an entertainment magazine the other one aimed at eco friendly folk. Although the entertainment magazine had a full page spread on us and was a very positive article the four line post in the other eco folk magazine gave us far more hits.
"How do you get in such publications", I hear you cry. Well just ask them! A phone call or an email with a brief bit of what you are about is always good. Do your research and try and make sure that you are talking to the right person, often the editors are inundated with emails etc so try talking to the music columnist if you are in a band for instance.
The way google works is using keywords. We generally come pretty high up for self sufficient but lower down for self sufficiency. This is because we use self sufficient far more. I want go on about key words too much as there are many more sites out there that will. Needless to say make sure that if your site is about shoes that you have mentioned shoes somewhere on it.
As with a lot of success in life a lot of it is down to luck. Hugh Furnley Whitingstall will readily admit that we was lucky to be taken on by Channel 4 to do a series. I have a mate who runs a site that started up just weeks before his main competition closed down so he managed to poach all their visitors. How can you I suggest you get luck? Well I cannot really can I, but I am a strong believer that a positive attitude will add wind to your sails.
You may use parts of this article on your own site but you must reference where you got it from. You may also save it and use it for your own personal use. Please don't just rip the whole thing off.
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GREEN LIVING IN THE URBAN JUNGLE