2001: A Web Odyssey
by Bob Nunn
I started off writing for the "DOT" about marketing your web site. Sometimes I get sidetracked from my initial goals for the articles here. This month I plan to get back on track since the world as we know it changed again recently. This first issue of 2001 (the real millennium starts now) should reflect some of the changes necessary for you to market your site in the coming year.
No, not literal Nazi's. I just don't have a word for a business that is run this way. Perhaps gangsters, or maybe politicians, or Microsoft, would be a more appropriate word. If you have read some of my earlier articles, you know that I always say that the first thing you do when getting your site listed is spend time on Yahoo. They are usually responsible for most of the traffic going to your site. They have since changed their policies and if you are a business, they will only accept submissions via Business Express (a new service from Yahoo). Well, okay, I can understand them wanting to make a buck from businesses, but they will take your money now and not guarantee to list your site. I quote from their site:
"Payment does not guarantee inclusion in the directory, site placement, or site commentary. It only guarantees that Yahoo! will respond to your submission within seven business days."
Boy, give me a business where people give me $200 bucks and I don't have to do anything if I don't want to.
I am livid about this type of attitude from a company and personally plan to boycott Yahoo right after I get the rest of my sites listed.
BUT I DON"T WANT TO PAY
This is the web. A web is made up of many links. Knowing this, perhaps one way to get around paying to have your site listed with Yahoo would be to put up materials of interest associated with your business. You would want this to be listed as FREE (a top searched keyword) information. Put a full set of menu's top bottom and side to your business site with appropriate banners etc. Submit this to Yahoo as a personal information site. With good content you might get away with it.
No More Freebies?
Another main place to list your site is LookSmart. They charge the same price as Yahoo and advertise that the LookSmart network will reach 83% of US Web users. I think those numbers are pulled from someone's "ear" (substitute something that many people can't find with both hands for ear if you like), but they do represent a substantial part of the web. I guess I will be spending more of my ad budget with these guys since they provide search solutions for MSN, Time Warner, Prodigy, Excite@Home, Inktomi, British Telecom and many others.
DMOZ.org still offers good opportunities for your web site. Getting listed in the proper categories is usually just a matter of submitting your site and description to the correct categories. DMOZ still is one of the top propagated web indexes on the net and they still do it for free. Unfortunately, you have to be patient as it may take weeks or months for this propagation to reach its peak.
Registering Your Domains
Dotster <http://www.dotster.com> is still my main recommended resource <http://headgap.com/addurl> for registering a domain. With a registration fee of just $15 and good online tools and reliable service, they have sold me. I am working on changing all of my Network Solutions registered domains over to them so I don't have to pay the $35 for yearly renewals.
Someone asked me the other day about the .ws and .tv names. I still recommend that you first register a .com name. The .com is still default in the browsers. If you simply type FORD into the url menu on any browser it brings up www.ford.com as default. Until they change the way browsers handle an incomplete url, the .com is the first name to have.
What if you can't get the name you want? Try going to Nameboy.com <http://nameboy.com> and put in a few of the key terms used for your products or services. Nameboy lets you play word games to arrive at alternative site names. For example, you're a realtor but Realtor.com is taken. Try MemphisRealtor.com or, if it's taken, then Realtor-Memphis.com. Or your company is Century 21; a good name for your web site would be Century21Memphis.com which, as of this writing, is available. Or Century-21-Memphis-Realtor.com is probably available. Most of the time, the search engines disregard the hyphens and count them as spaces. This may get you better placement in many of the search engines.
Don't stop with one name. Why not have your ISP point a couple or three domains at your site. It gives you more ways to list with the search engines and is cheap advertising at only $15 a year. You can always let the less productive ones disappear if traffic doesn't justify continued use. Example: get Century-21-Memphis-Realtor.com, Century-21-Collierville-Realtor.com and Century-21-Cordova-Realtor.com, all of which are available as I write this.
You might think gosh, this is an awful long name for folks to type in. Well, think about it. When was the last time you typed in a domain and even then you probably book marked it right after you did so you wouldn't have to do it again. Most of the time, people find you by clicking on a link.
Bob Nunn - owner, Operator Headgap Systems