If a tree falls in the wood and no one hears it does it make a sound? If your website is on the web but no one ever reads it, do you really have a website? A website without an audience is far less fun and useful than a website with a big audience.
Luckily, there are several free and easy steps that will help audiences find your website. I’ll walk through the details of each step:
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Google Analytics
- Forums, etc.
- Web Directories
- Analysis tools (like Website Grader)
- Insight for search keywords
Google Webmaster Tools
Setting up Webmaster Tools is as easy a following the instructions. You first verify that you own or control your website buy using a Google-supplied key. Once your website is verified, you will be able to submit a sitemap which will help Google find and explore your website content. You can also submit a robots.txt that will tell Google what not to “spider”.
After a couple weeks you’ll start getting some useful data about searchs and search keywords. Webmaster Tools will also identify problems that limit website SEO potential. The keyword data provides insight into how search is seeing and sharing your website with the world. Use that data to emphasize trends you like, and reduce effort creating content that isn’t getting traction.
Setting up Google Analytics is similar to setting up Webmaster Tools. Once it’s had some time to collect data you’ll be able to see how much web traffic your site is getting and where it is coming from. There is a ton of data from Google Analytics, and rather than blog about it, I’ll let you discover it for yourself.
Create a twitter account that matches your website as closely as possible. For example @websqurl is the twitter account associated with this website. Then tweet a little bit. Don’t just spam your site, simply talk about it. And talk about related topics that you find interesting. Try and find like-minded people and follow them. Engage and have dialogs. You’ll promote your site (subtly) and build your social media presence.
Find forums, websites and discussion groups that relate to your site and post to them. For example on of my other websites, Balhiser.com, is about investing. I signed up on a couple free investing sites, fool.com and seekingAlpha.com and started posting. It wasn’t long before Google Analytics was showing traffic to my website from these forums.
Getting listed on a web directory can be a powerful way to 1) get direct traffic from the web directory, 2) establish links to your website which boost “organic” search traffic. Many web directories charge a fee or collect personal information (like phone numbers) to sell you on SEM/SEO services. But there are a few decent ones still out there, like DMOZ and WebSqurl.
Analysis tools (like Website Grader)
Insight for search keywords
As you become more familiar with keywords, you’ll want to explore more keywords. A great way to evaluate keywords before you even use them is to look them up on Google Insight. You might find that “website directory” has a bit more popularity that “web directory”… I just learned that! Time to start using the term “website directory” more often!