The Web is growing constantly and anyone who has ever built a website or blog knows how difficult it is to get noticed. The competition to get noticed is ferocious . After all, there’s over 180 million ‘ distinct ‘ websites on the Net and finding you is about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.
Unless, of course, you have deep pockets and can advertise yourself into the front row. Or have a famous cousin like Oprah willing to assist. Or have a successful off-line business that you can translate to online like CNN ( television to Internet ) or The New York Times ( print to Internet )…you get the picture.
For the rest of us, it’s just not going to be that easy. So what can you do to get noticed? Well there’s a lot of things you can do, for little to no cost, but they all require a significant amount of your time.
You can social network on sites like Twitter and Facebook to improve your site’s exposure. But expect to spend every waking moment trying to gather enough friends in order to get that small percentage that will even bother to take a trip to your site to check it out. Maybe, if you’re lucky, 1% of all your followers will become a regular visitor. Translated that means for every 10,000 friends 100 of them will visit your site regularly. Your results may vary, but, for most of us, that’s the way the ball bounces. Personally, I can’t be bothered spending that much time to get those results. I use Twitter and Facebook like a small Net clubhouse of a few intimate online friendships.
Well, you can increase your site’s exposure by Digging, Stumbling, Redditing, etc your posts. But again like Facebook and Twitter you better get used to spending a crap load of time social networking yourself into the brotherhood. These places are infamously ‘ boy clubs ‘. If you don’t network yourself into the fold you’ll never see the front page. Maybe you’ll get lucky but don’t count on it any more than you count on paying your rent or mortgage with that lottery ticket. The regulars on these sites digg each other’s stuff to the point that the front page is almost always exclusively theirs. Is it a waste of time? No. Not if you have a lot of time on your hands.
Speaking of time…many of us have families, jobs, chores, off-line responsibilities, friends, and our own sites to maintain…which leaves precious little time to devote to ‘ upping your numbers ‘ on a social networking site to get into the fold and increase your chances of it being useful to you. However, if you have a lot of free time, places like Twitter and Digg can be a winfall for your site.
You could add your site to directories. Preferably good ones, and not ones that just accept anyone. This will afford you some traffic, albeit probably not much. The real benefit from adding your site to directories is a backlink to your site. But not all directories are just listing directories, some also have forums you can use to get acquainted with other site owners looking for the same thing you are. Again, this involves time, however if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, your results here will likely be better than on the other previously mentioned sites.
Guest posting and comments are a good way to create backlinks and garner some exposure. However this can be very time consuming as well. Because, in order to be effective you need to post a lot of comments and guest posts. And I’m not talking about leaving a comment that says ‘ hey, great post! ‘…but rather a comment that is interesting enough that people who read it will want to follow your link. Preferably you want to target sites that rank higher than you do. So if you’re going to go this route look for sites that can help you rather than sites that can’t.
Another avenue to take is to participate on community papers like Hub or CNNiReport, or here at TheTAZZone. Some people have experienced great results using Hub but again you’re looking at a rather large commitment of time. However, if you have the time, the Hub is probably the best place to be. But don’t expect instant results, it’s going to take a serious commitment of time over the space of months. CNNiReport has one value that the others don’t. If you write an article and it gets ‘ vetted ‘ you’ll find yourself on the regular CNN page. So if you fancy yourself to be a great writer with very good journalism skills you’ll definitely want to go the route of CNNiReport. Then there’s places like TheTAZZone, which rank well, but aren’t in the top 100,000. The benefit is that places like this require only a little time, the occasional post, provide quality backlinks, and give reasonable exposure. Ultimately you want to participate on as many of these sites as you can, mainly because it’s the best value for your time. You won’t get the explosiveness of a front page Digg or getting an article vetted on CNN, but for the amount of time you need to invest, places like TheTAZZone are the best choice for the least amount of effort.
Then, last but not least, participating in forum communities. This takes a lot less time than a social network but again doesn’t produce the same results. Many people sign up, set a signature link, then move on. This doesn’t work, and even though it does give you a backlink, that link doesn’t have much value. To be effective you need to regularly participate, engage other forum members, and be a part of that community.
So it really boils down to how much time you have on your hands, how committed you’re willing to be, and what results you want to achieve. Then participate on those sites that will give you the most benefit for your investment of time and effort.
( image courtesy of edition.cnn.com )