Chapter 6: How to publicize your Web site over the Internet

by Richard Seltzer ,,

Copyright ©1997, 1998 Richard Seltzer

This is the sixth chapter of a book entitled The Social Web. Permission is granted to make and distribute complete verbatim electronic copies of this item for non-commercial purposes provided the copyright information and this permission notice are preserved on all copies. All other rights reserved. To correspond with the author, send email to Comments welcome.

My Internet: a Personal View of Internet Business Opportunities by Richard Seltzer, on CD, includes four books, 162 articles, and 49 newsletter issues that will inspire you and provide the practical information you need to build your own personal Web site or Internet-based business, helping you to become a player in this new business environment.

This page has been translated into Spanish (see by Maria Ramos from

When you start a Web site, one of your first steps should be to let the right people know that you exist. Maybe you'll want to send out a printed press release and pay for print advertising. But it makes much more sense and is far less expensive to use the Internet itself to reach an Internet audience.

Search engines

Search engines such as AltaVista ( and Google ( index the contents of Web pages for free for the benefit of people who want to find information on the Internet. They send out webcrawlers -- robot programs that automatically find and retrieve Web pages and add the information to their indexes. They find Web pages from links to them on other pages. If your Web site is new, there are probably very few links to it; and it could take many months for the webcrawlers to find you on their own. So go to each of the search engines and where and how to "Add URL". )For links straight to the free submission pages of the major search engines, go to, (so you don't have to hunt and click multiple times, working your way through the maze at each search engine site.) That article also includes brief descriptions of the strengths and weaknesses of the various search engines.

Enter the URL of your home page, or better still the URL of a "sitemap" of your page. Keep in mind that some crawlers will only go one layer deep at your site. In other words, if you submit your home page and it has links to about a dozen other pages, and then have links from them to other pages and from them to others, etc., the crawlers will only follow the links from your home page. Hence you are best off creating a "sitemap" page, with links to every page at your site and submitting that page, instead of your home page. For details on that approach see the article at

Your information will probably be indexed eventually, don't hold your breath -- it could take anywhere from a month to three months from the time of your submission. Recently, search engines have been pushing hard to convince Web site owners to pay for rapid and/or guaranteed inclusion of pages in their indexes. As part of that effort they have degraded and slowed down their free submission process. If you are desperate and have money to burn, check their offers. But they typically charge for each and every URL to be included (not just for a complete crawl from your home page or sitemap page), and the cost can be astronomical for even a medium-size site.

By the way, if you follow the design recommendations discussed in Chapter Two, your chances of being found and well indexed will be much better.

For more details about how search engines work and how to use them for the benefit of your site, see the tutorial at  For advice about common problems that may prevent you from being well indexed and that derive from misguided notions of "branding" and from Web page design tools that generate unnecessarily complex pages see "How to use content to attract traffic to your Web site, even when branding rules saddle you with a search-engine unfriendly design".  You also might want to check the other search-related articles at


If you want to want your English-language pages to be found by and understood by people whose first language is French, Spanish, Italian, German, or Portuguese, check Chapter 7 for details on how to use AltaVista's free automatic translation service. You might also want to check how I do this at my own site (see the header for this chapter.)

Directory listings

While AltaVista indexes every word on every page, directories like Yahoo and the Open Directory are categorized lists, which help take you to the home page of sites that might be of interest to you. These directories are usually hand-assembled based on information provided by the Web sites that are listed. Many of these directories are subject-specific. Depending on the kind of information at your site, you might want to do some research to determine which of these specialized directories might be important for you. For details, see the article, "Search engines and directories: when to use which" at

For the Open Directory, expect a 2-4 week delay from when you submit your information to when people can find you through one of these directories. For Yahoo, which is the most popular and most important, it sometimes takes longer than three months for a submission to be entered.

If your site is for a school (K-12), then register with Web 66, the Internet's oldest and most comprehensive list of school web sites.

There are a number of sites which are set up to help you submit information to many different general directories at one time. For example, Submit-It ( lets you -- for a price -- fill out forms to submit information about your pages to over 400 search engines and directories. They also have a variety of paid Web-promotion services. Other paid announcement services, such as PostMaster at will send an email press release to a large list of Web sites and print and broadcast media outlets. Web promotion companies change their services and prices frequently, in response to changing demand and also to changes in the Internet business environment. They also often provide useful advice an information at their Web sites for free. Before investing, take a few minutes to check out their Web sites and learn whatever you find there. Here are some other important companies of this kind:

Whatever way you decide to go, make sure that you can tailor your messages for the audience -- you don't want your submission to look the same as hundreds of others and hence go unnoticed. You also want to be able to keep records of who you send your messages to and to track success.

Remember that while it's hard work to do it all individually by hand, you're liable to learn a lot more about the Internet doing it yourself rather than depending on someone else to do it for you.

Many sites are setting up telephone-book style directories that have "yellow pages" sections for businesses and include phone number, address, email, and URL, when that information is available. Some accept and post this information for free. Others post basic information for free and charge for more extensive information. Most of these start with info extracted from regular phone books, but will accept business listings from companies that aren't included in the printed "yellow pages" books. Keep an eye on these sites. The rules of the game keep changing, and new opportunities keep opening up. Here's a starters list of such sites:


Whatever the subject matter of your Website, there's probably at least one and maybe dozens of newsgroups that would be appropriate for a brief announcement.

The group for general announcements of new Web sites is: comp.infosystems.www.announce

Always read samples from a newsgroup before posting there, to make sure your message is appropriate and so you can tailor your message to the audience. You can probably get a list of newgroups from your newsreader software or your Internet provider. Your best resource for finding and reading newsgroups items is Google (which bought the service previously run by Go to and click on "Groups".

There you can search through all current newsgroup items, for instance for topics related to the content at your Web site, so you can see which newsgroups include similar material. (Google boasts that they have a complete 20 year archive of newsgroup postings -- including over 700 million messages.) You can also read the items themselves, familiarizing yourself with the style and culture. And even if you don't have access to newsgroups through your Internet service provider, you can post to newsgroups through Google.

Another source on the Web, which also has useful how-to and netiquette explanations is at the University of Indiana --

If you site is non-commercial and related to education, you might want to try some of the following: k12.ed.soc-studies (social studies), (teachers), k12.library (school librarians), , or 

Email distribution lists

There are numerous public email lists which are similar in content to newsgroups. Typically, you sign up using automatic subscription software (sending messages in fixed format to the appropriate address). Just like with newsgroups, people do not want to be bothered with irrelevant messages and unsolicited advertising.

One site which maintains lists of such email lists and instructions on how to use them is They can tell you the right format in which to send your email messages to subscribe and unsubscribe to these groups. Some require you to be a subscriber before you can post, and others are open to any appropriate postings. Be sure not to post a commercial message to a clearly non-commercial list or you will get inundated with hate mail. And beware of subscribing to too many lists yourself -- a single list might generate dozens of messages a day, which is great if you're very interested in the subject matter, but otherwise soon becomes a nuisance. And if you do send messages to these lists, keep them as short as possible, as a courtesy to others. If you want to convey a long message, point them to a site where they can fetch it, or invite individauls to send you email requesting that document.

For a searchable directory of email discussions/distribution lists, try Topica ( They bought the company that previously provided a terrific searchable list known as Liszt, and unfortunately have scaled back that service. They now seem to primarily promote the lists that they themselves host. If you know of any similar, but more comprehensive service, please let us know.

Some non-commercial lists related to education include:

On-line Forums

Many of the same topics discussed in newsgroups and in mail lists are also covered in public forums (AKA bulletin boards or notes files). The software typically allows you to post a comment as a new topic or as a reply to a previous one, so over time a "thread" of discussion grows.   You'll want to participate in the most active and promising discussions directly related to the content at your site, subtly and politely letting the people there know who you are and what they would find at your site. Once you are established, you may want to start a forum of your own and perhaps scheduled chat sessions to interact with your audience and let them interact with one another. (A company called Forum One used to provide a searchable list of over 200,000 such forums. Unfortunately, that service has disappeared. If you know of something similar that is still functioning, please let us know.

Places to Discuss Internet Marketing Issues

New resources keep coming on line every day. To keep pace, and to benefit from the experience of others who are trying to promote their Web site and market over the Internet, you should read and participate in on-line discussions about Internet marketing, sales, and advertising.

The best of the many email and Web discussion lists dealing with Internet Marketing died in June of 1996. Glenn Fleischmann had done an excellent job of moderating and maintaining this free service, which reached an audience of about 10,000 people. The archives of Internet-Marketing Discussion are still maintained at

The readers and contributors who feel its absence should consider the following alternatives:

Business on the WWW

Chat session scheduled for Thursdays, noon to1 PM (Eastern time in the US, = GMT -5 when Standard Time and GMT -4 when Daylight Savings Time), hosted by Richard Seltzer. The edited transcripts -- with a wealth of information -- are available at

Online Advertising Discussion List

This email discussion focuses on professional discussion of online advertising strategies, results, studies, tools, and media coverage. The list also welcomes discussion on the related topics of online promotion and public relations. The list encourages sharing of practical expertise and experiences between those who buy, sell, research and develop tools for online advertising; as well as those providing online public relations and publicity services. The list also serves as a resource to members of the press who are writing about the subject of online advertising and promotion.

Asian Internet Marketing (AIM)

This is the home site for a listserv for people in Asia who are trying to figure out how to best use the Internet for marketing. (To join the list, "subscribe aim" on first line of an email to

Guerrilla Marketing Online

Forum for sharing marketing ideas.

Web Consultants mailing list (1200 subscribers)

The site have the archive of the mailing list discussion but a directory of consultants and other Internet marketing resources. The discussion is available by email either complete or as a digest. To subscribe to the digest send a message to in the body of the message type: subscribe webcons-digest To subscribe to the complete discussion list send a message to In the body of the message type: subscribe web-consultants

Intranut -- nuts about Intranets (on-line magazine)

Articles plus a (forum) discussion area.

Internet Marketing Communications Mailing List (IMARCOM)

Discussion moderated by Robert Raisch, The Internet Company, and others within The Internet Company and IWORLD/Mecklermedia. To subscribe, send to IMARCOM @INTERNET.COM Subject: SUBSCRIBE IMARCOM Message: Your Name, Your Company's Name

International business discussion group for small businesses (ISBC BDG)

Send e-mail to Include the appropriate one of the following in the body: subscribe isbc-bdg <your e-mail address> or info isbc-bdg Or send e-mail to

The Internet-Sales Discussion List Moderated by John Audette -- over 7000 subscribers.

This is a very active list with some excellent discussions about all aspects of Internet business. John typically sends out one or two issues a day. The archives are posted at To subscribe, send email to and include the word "subscribe" in the body of your message. To submit your comments for possible inclusion, send email to

Marketing Lists on the Internet

List of marketing-related discussion groups.

Internet Developers Association

Intended for Internet content providers, this association maintains a discussion listserv for its members.

Internet Entrepreneurs Support Association

To join a discussion group for entrepreneurs and businesses doing business on the Internet, send e-mail to Include the appropriate one of the following in the body: subscribe iesslist <your e-mail address> or

ISBC Business Discussion Group newsletters

As one of the main aims is to foster international business relations editions in french, spanish, german, dutch, russian and chinese are already in place or are being set up.

Abracadabra! (Charles Puls & Company mailist)

To join in marketing discussion send email to mailist@abracadabracom with the word SUBSCRIBE in the body.

Market-L List

This is the list that Internet-Marketing originally spun off from. To subscribe, send email to in the body of the message, write subscribe Market-L <your name>


This mailing list is a group dedicated to Canadian Internet Marketing. The list is open both to consumers and sellers of goods and services on the Canadian Market. Non-Canadians are welcome to participate. To subscribe, simply send a note to with the word subscribe in the body of the message.


This list is dedicated to New-Age Marketing. It is open both to consumers and sellers of goods and services in this market. To subscribe, simply send a note with the word "subscribe" (without the quotes) to:

On-line magazines and newsletters that focus on the Internet

It seems that new publications of this kind appear every week. Search Yahoo ( and Lycos ( for the latest.

Here's a list of some of them, with the email addresses of editors. Be sure to read the publications before sending them email:

Editors of on-line editions of traditional publications

Many traditional print publications now have Internet editions. Search Alta Vista and Yahoo for the print publications and editors you are familiar with and want to reach.

Also check the online media list which I've started at

Mutual pointers

Find sites that appeal to an audience that is similar to the audience you want to reach and try to negotiate mutual pointers (for free). Search Alta Vista and Yahoo to find such sites. Similarly, contact any natural allies who are already on-line and negotiate.


Whatever you do on the Internet, strive to understand and respect the culture. This new business environment has enormous potential -- don't pollute it. One of the many useful reference documents on this subject is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium They also maintain a detailed "Style Guide for Online Hypertext" 

Chapter 7

The rest of The Social Web by Richard Seltzer

My Internet: a Personal View of Internet Business Opportunities by Richard Seltzer, on CD, includes four books, 162 articles, and 49 newsletter issues that will inspire you and provide the practical information you need to build your own personal Web site or Internet-based business, helping you to become a player in this new business environment.

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