Posted on October 22, 1999
by Tony L. Callahan
So, you have your web site completed. You have a great product or service, outstanding page content and a dazzling presentation. You have everything you need to become the next Net millionaire, except traffic. How do you go about getting traffic to your site? If you subscribe to the "Build it and they will come" school of web promotion, read no further. I admire those of you who have steadfast faith "miracle" web promotion. If however you are not convinced that the masses will beat a path to your door by themselves, then read on.
There are several avenues of web site promotion available to the web entrepreneur to utilize in their web promotion campaigns. There are banner exchange programs, Free For All (FFA) Links Pages, on-line classified ads, direct e-mailings and the elusive search engine listings. Each of these major categories of promotional tools comes in both free and paid flavors (except FFA Links). In this article, we will explore some of the features of these web promotional tools. In this issue I will cover the first three: banner exchange programs, Free For All (FFA) Links Pages, and on-line classified ads. The last two, direct e-mailings and search engine listings, will be covered in the next issue.
Banner Exchange Programs
Banner exchange programs are set up on the "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" premise. The problem with this premise is you have to scratch someone else's back two or three times as much as they will scratch yours. Most banner exchanges are based on a 2 to 1 ratio, meaning that for every two of someone else's banner that you display on your page, someone else will display one of your banners. This is not a bad deal for a high traffic site, but if your site receives a lower volume of traffic, you don't get much exposure. There is also the issue of providing someone a door out of your business into someone else's, possibly your competitors.
The alternative to the free exchange system is offered by many of the banner exchange programs. They are usually based on a rate per impressions (CPM) basis. This means that you pay a flat rate per number of impressions. This will guarantee your banner will be displayed and is a good way to jump start the traffic flow to your site. This also circumvents the problem of a doorway out of your business as a paid member of a banner exchange program is rarely obligated to display other members banners.
Banner exchanges can be a wonderful way to get the word out about your new web site. All of my web businesses take advantage of one banner exchange program or another. Just do not expect to sign up with a banner exchange program, sit back and watch the traffic roll in. A banner exchange program is only one facet of a complete web promotion campaign.
Free For All Links Pages
The major advantage offered by Free For All (FFA) Links Pages is that they are a low cost way to get the word out about your site. Low cost in terms of dollars, but certainly not in terms of time. First you have to find the pages. Try searching Web Crawler or Yahoo for free for all links pages. You either get nothing or you receive tens of thousands of results (depending on your search terms). Now you must post your link to these pages. Each submission takes between 3 and 5 minutes. You can see how this can quickly add up to be a large amount of time.
The major advantage to FFA Links Pages is that they can get your message in front of many people very quickly and economically. To determine if the FFA Link Page you have found is a good candidate for your message, look at the way the page is set up. Are there categories of links that allow visitors to peruse only the type of ads they wish to view? Are the links refreshed on a relatively short interval? If there are more than 50 links per category, I would not spend the time posting to this site. Your ad will very quickly become buried and invisible in the mass of links. After posting to several FFA Links Pages, watch your web site statistics. The sites that generate traffic to yours are the ones that you should repost to.
If you have some time to spend on it, I recommend that you try Free For All Links Pages as a part of your web promotion campaign. All you have to lose is the time that you invest in them and you have total control over how much time that is.
On-line Classified Ads
My opinion of on-line classified ads can be summed up in two words: Don't Bother. The only people who spend time viewing on-line classified ads are the sellers, not the buyers. Therefore your only hope here is that by some miracle your ad, out of the thousands of others, catches some sellers eye. In addition to this, you have the same issues of time and volume that are present in the FFA Links Pages, as described above.
There are also classified ads that offer, for a fee, premium placement, flashy graphics, colored print and a host of other features to make your ad stand out. My opinion of these offerings is not much better than my opinion about the free on-line classifieds. If you have a very unique product or service, something that everyone just has to have, by all means give this avenue a try. But if you are like most of us, whose products are not that unique or vital to everyone's survival, you would be better off spending your web promotion campaigns time, money and resources in other places.
In the next issue I will cover direct e-mailings and search
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