Step 10: Helping People Find Your New Website


OK, you’ve now built a new website. Will anyone come?

So far, all we’ve really done is upload some files onto a server – a huge computer somewhere that “serves” your website to a web browser if someone types in the URL of your website into their browser’s address bar. Or maybe they click on a link that they found on someone else’s website.

But at this point, there aren’t any links to your website, because nobody knows it’s there. If you want people to actually visit your site and see all the pretty things you put on it, you have to tell people about it.

There are two ways to do this. Whichever method you use, you will get better results the more work you put into it. But first, let’s clear something up —

Is Your Site Indexed?

You can get “indexed” in the search engines practically overnight, but that doesn’t mean that the search engines will think your site is important enough to stick it on the first page of the search results when somebody types in your keyword.

Some services charge you money to get your site indexed. Don’t waste your money. You can do the same thing for free by putting a comment on a popular blog, or using the WP Pubsubhubbub plugin I told you about in a previous lesson. Being indexed just means the search engine computers know your site is live. It doesn’t mean they’ll send you any traffic.

I just checked, and this brand new website is already indexed. I know because I asked Google. In their search bar write:

site:yourURL.com

Are You Indexed in Google?

Are You Indexed in Google?

This is a brand new website, and I have not yet done any work to get links to my site. All I did was install that plugin, and already Google knows I’m here. If you aren’t indexed yet, your site won’t show up in the search results. Check back tomorrow. And don’t put much stock in this indexing thing – people still won’t find you until you do a bit more work.

Now, let’s get some traffic.

Finding Your Keywords

Before we get into the methods you can use to build links to your site, we need to think about something that’s rather important: Keywords. A keyword is usually more than one word. It’s whatever word or phrase people are likely to type into a search engine if they’re looking for a site like the one you just made. If you’re a really well-known author or artist or a notorious criminal or something, people will be typing your name into the Google search bar. Most of us don’t have that kind of name, so your name is probably not your primary keyword.

If you have a shop or local store or provide a service to a specific locality, your keywords will include the name of your town. That way, people who want to find a coffee shop in Yourtown, OH will actually find you.

Some keywords are so popular among internet marketers that you don’t have a chance in heck of ever getting on the front page of Google if you use those keywords when you go after links. “Oil paintings” would be an example of that kind of keyword. But “landscape paintings of the Siskiyou Mountains” would probably work. If you can find a way to localize your subject matter, you have a good chance of being found by the people who matter.

If you can’t use a specific location to make your keyword easier to find, you’ll need to find another way to describe your site. Be as specific as you can. It may take some time to come up with the right words that:

  • really fit your site;
  • have a reasonable number of people looking for those words;
  • and have a reasonable chance of getting ranked in the search engines.

One way to find your keywords is to think up an elevator speech about your website. That’s the two or three sentence description that you’d use to explain what the site is about to someone who wasn’t watching over your shoulder while you were building it. Once you have that description, you’ll be able to narrow it down to the two, three, or four word phrase that people might use to find a site like yours. That’s your main keyword.

There are software programs that were designed for just this purpose, but you probably won’t want to buy one for your first site. If you decide to build a lot of sites, or just really want to get tons of traffic to the one site you just built and you don’t mind spending some money for some help, I can recommend the keyword tool I use – Micro Niche Finder.

(That’s one of those affiliate links I told you about in an earlier lesson).

I use this tool only because I make my living as a web publisher. If you’re just now building your first site, you really don’t need to pay money for a keyword tool.

Getting Links

Now that you have your keyword, you need links. The Internet machine is a network, and it functions through links. If you don’t have a link to your website, you might as well not have a website at all.

There are two methods that work to get links back to your site (and the more links you get, the better).

1. Use your URL when you write comments on other people’s sites, or when you participate in a forum discussion.

This works well if you happen to have a site about a subject matter that lends itself to conversation. My site about making paper mache sculptures works for this method, because there are other blogs and  forums where I could add my own comments and get my free links. I discussed this method in detail on a post on that site called Artists – How to Improve Your Website Traffic.

As an example, right now you happen to be on a website that is talking about building websites, and you want a link to your own brand new website. Therefore, it would be appropriate to put a comment in the comment field on this page and get a free link. Since I use the DoFollow plugin, your link will “count” with Google.

But you need to do it right in order to get as much oomph out of the link as you possibly can. Before adding a comment, please read these instructions:

  • Use your keyword in the Name field. Try to also include your name in a way that makes sense. If you show your artwork at fairs or galleries, you may want to use your full name plus a keyword because people may really be looking for your name. Otherwise, use your first name and keyword in a way that looks natural. (You don’t have to include your name, but just typing in the keyword by itself can cause some webmasters to delete your comment as spam). The name you type in becomes the anchor text after you put the URL in the Website field, and Google uses anchor text to know what your website is about.
  • Use a real email address, so you can get notified when someone replies to your comment. Then you can go back and add a response to their comment, and get yourself another link. If they don’t have a subscription option, then it doesn’t matter.
  • Put your entire URL in the Website field. If you leave off the http:// your link doesn’t count because it doesn’t work. I always open a separate browser window, go to my website and then copy the URL as it shows in the address bar. Paste it into the website field. That way, you know it will be a real, live link.
  • Make an actual comment that fits in with the subject matter of the post or adds something to the conversation. For instance, if you leave a comment on this page you would talk about methods of getting traffic to a website, telling people about methods you tried and explaining why they worked (or didn’t work), or you’d ask for clarification about something I mentioned in the text. You would not try to sell an affiliate product, put a link to an affiliate product in the text field, or try any other spammy technique, because your comment would never make it past the moderator (that would be me).
Getting a Link With a Blog Comment

Getting a Link With a Blog Comment

That fellow with the Green Custom Toilet Seat Covers website should have used the second method instead of spamming blog comments. (I would have approved his comment if he wrote something more than “nice post,” but a lot of webmasters wouldn’t let it through just because he used all keywords in the Name field.)

2. Write articles and submit them to ezinearticles.com

Many websites are about subjects that just don’t lend themselves to interesting conversation. Product-related websites are a like this, if the product doesn’t happen to be the latest model of iPod.

To use the ezinearticles.com method, you’ll need to set up an account with them. After you’re a member, you can submit your articles. I think the first articles you submit take a fairly long time to get approved, but after you’ve written a certain number they move you up to Platinum level and approve them a lot faster. I’ve been a member for a long time, so I can’t remember exactly how that all works – just go to the site, sign up, and read through the information they have on their site.

You may think that it’s just as hard to write a reasonable article about those toilet seats as it is to find a blog discussing toilet seats. True – but there’s no rule that you have to write articles about the same subject that your website is about. Go ahead and write about anything that interests you. Then be sure to include a link to your site using your keywords in the anchor text. The link goes in the author box at the bottom of the article submission page.

That gives you your free link. Then write another article and another one, perhaps one a day, until your website starts showing up on the first page of search results for your keyword.

3. Write really interesting and useful posts, so other people link to you.

OK, I know I said there were two main methods for getting links and building up traffic, and that’s true. However, if you write posts that other people really appreciate, they will tell people about it. Those links are pure gold. Some websites attract that kind of attention, and some don’t. When it happens, it’s great.

  • If you just happen to appreciate the information you find on this site and link to it on your website, I would be very grateful 🙂

That’s a quick and dirty explanation of getting traffic to a website, but believe it not, people have paid good money for less information on this subject. Some folks charge as much as $2000 for “methods” that don’t work any better than the two methods I’ve just shown you. You can send me a check if you like (just kidding…).

OK – there’s just one more page I have to write before I start doing those things myself so people can find this brand new website – I need to tell you how to maintain your website. It isn’t hard – that will be the shortest lesson on this site.

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{ 10 comments }

Sandra- artist teacher how to tutorials January 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Jonni, Thank you so much for giving us the information on doing this. I am still not quite sure I did everything right, but I am going to keep working on it. By the way, I found you on your ultimate paper mache site which is wonderful and I went to Amazon and bought your book too. Great information in all places!

Thanks, Sandra

Jonni January 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Gosh – thanks, Sandra. I love the header on your site – who could not stick around and read your blog with a welcome like that? Congratulations.

Kelly-Product Reviewer May 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Hi! Jonni,

As a newbie blogger, your website is a light at the end of the tunnel (smile). I finally made it to step 10! The permalinks, categories and figuring out how to set up the info I want to offer to readers gave me a fit, but I got thru it. I’ve written 2 posts and more is on the way of course (that’s my job!) Thank you for having these lessons available for us.

I appreciate it so much!
Kelly

Jonni May 4, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Nice job, Kelly. I’ve added you to my blogroll. (I like the theme you picked out – it’s very attractive.)

tradeshow exhibits- Downing Displays Boston May 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Hi Jonni, thank you very much for your instructions on building traffic to my new website. I used the all-in-one plugin and wrote content for each image I put in my galleries. Google is picking me up well on searches. I just indexed with Yahoo and will check back with the to see if that did the trick. Thanks again.

Liz May 21, 2011 at 10:17 am

Thanks again! Really great tips. You have inspired me to work hard to get more traffic!

Thanks,
Liz
http://www.toutesuite.wordpress.com
http://www.yourdesignerlooks.wordpress.com
http://www.elizabethbridalboutique.com

Liz May 21, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thanks again! Really great tips. You have inspired me to work hard to get more traffic!

Thanks,
Liz
http://www.toutesuite.wordpress.com
http://www.yourdesignerlooks.wordpress.com
http://www.elizabethbridalboutique.com

William Angelley - Aviation Attorney June 24, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Jonni,

Great info. It is difficult to figure out whom to listen to in the SEO game, but your comments make good sense. I’ll keep checking back.

Penny Overcash ceramic sculptor December 27, 2011 at 9:09 am

Hi Jonni,
thanks for all the information. I have had a website for awhile but need to make some changes and also collect hits to my site to see who is viewing. I have been thinking of overhauling the site eventually and your information will give me the tools I need. Thanks again!

Penny Overcash

Caitlin- Horse Summer Camps February 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU
This is the first blog I’ve been able to read through, fully understand and transfer the information to begin helping me on my quest to build and maintain websites for our horseback riding business in Alberta. I’ll certainly be following you for more useful information to keep improving our sites!

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