Archives for January 2008

So you want to be found on the web? — Web Promotions, 101

The purpose of this article is to answer three questions about various web-based promotion tools.

  • What are web-based promotion tools?
  • Why should I care?
  • How do I use them?

This is not intended as a “how to” guide, though I will provide links to additional information for the more technically inclined. Believe it or not, 90% of web-based promotion is really about making connections — the technology is secondary. Mind you, these are electronic connections, but they still make a significant impact on how people can find and learn about you n the Internet.

For this article, I’m going to assume that you already have at least one web-page. For many people, this might not be true (yet), but there are ample ways that you can actually create one, including paying somebody to create one for you. This article focuses on what to do after that first page exists, such that your page or site becomes more visible to the world.

Topics to be covered include:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

What Is It?

SEO is the constellation of behaviors that you perform in an effort to make it easy for your name or website to show up on the top of the list in various search engines.

Why should I care?

If people can’t find you on the internet, then no matter how good your web-site is, it is not serving you as a promotional tool for generating business.

How do I optimize for searching?

SEO is not something you can accomplish over-night. Nor is there any single, magic bullet that will make your pages pop to the top of search rankings. Instead, SEO is accomplished as a byproduct of using many of the techniques described in the rest of this article.

However, from a LIOSian standpoint, the more connections that you have that point to your website, the more likely that your pages are to be found. In behavioral terms, that means that you should have at least one page on your website dedicated to linking with your peers, friends, or associates, and that you should ask them to do the same. (This is sometimes referred to as Link Love)

If you are LIOS student or graduate and would like to share a link with PrimaryGoals, see the Practitioner Referral page and register yourself.

Other Resources

Google Ad-words

What Is It?

Google lets you purchase your place in the search results page based on what people are looking for. You choose a few words or phrases, along with how much you are willing to pay to be listed in the results. You only pay if people click the link to your site.

Why should I care?

It is often quite inexpensive, results are nearly instantaneous, and you only pay for results. Basically, Ad-Words makes you an advertiser on the internet, with your website being the product. Once people reach your site, it’s up to you to sell them on your services. Note that although this only applies to searches on Google, and that there are a large number of search engines, that Google does have the largest market share. You can also restrict your results to only show up for people in your geographic region so that you don’t pay for clicks where you have no interest in working.

How do I use Ad-Words

Full details on Ad-Words can be found here:

Multiple Domain Names

What Is It?

Domain names are the words you type into your browser to find a website (like They are sold on a first-come, first-served basis from companies like GoDaddy,, and number of other companies called Registrars. Most commonly, multiple domain names refers to getting the .COM, .NET, .ORG, and both the singular and plural forms of a domain.  (Yes, that can be 6 domains or more.)

Why should I care?

Buying multiple domain names increase the chance that somebody who wants to contact you will be successful in their attempts to do so. Imagine that you own (which was still available when I wrote this).  You start building your site to make it valuable.  Then, when you are not paying attention, somebody else buys (with an S at the end).  Now, some people that you hope will go to your site will invariably go to the wrong address.  How many times have you written down the name of a site, only to realize it needed an S, or you were not sure if it was a .COM or .ORG?

For an even more clear example, many people hoping to find information on the US Whitehouse entered the address for Whitehouse.COM.  Unfortunately, the government page is actually at Whitehouse.GOV, and for a long time the .COM address was owned by somebody selling items that were inappropriate for minors.

How do I purchase multiple domains?

Purchase subsequent domains the same way you bought the first one — through your registrar.

Note: You can also set up these individual domains to have different starting points within your site, making one page link to another, thus increasing your own link-love.  For example, compare and

RSS – Really Simple Syndication

What Is It?

RSS feeds provide a means for people who view your site to be kept informed about updates without having to provide you with any personal information or registration. Sites that provide RSS feeds usually have one of these icons:   (Clicking these links should allow you to subscribe to the RSS feed on this site… try it!)

Why should I care?

People subscribe to RSS because they want you to keep in touch with them, while also maintaining theiranonymity. Often, people want to know about changes or updates to your site, but they do not want to register or provide you with personal information in order to get it. After all, anytime one provides an E-mail address to a site, one increase the chances of getting more spam. Putting an RSS feed on your site lets people know about updates to your site, thus inviting them to come back again later to see what you just added.

RSS feeds also provide another mechanism by which you can auto-submit changes on your site to a variety of different search engines (see below).  

How do I use RSS?

RSS works like an E-mail distribution list in reverse.   In a distribution list, people subscribe by giving their E-mail address to the list manager, or joining a group (such as Yahoo or Google groups).  Often, everybody on the list can send messages to "the list" and everybody else will get the message, even though no sender knows the address of the other recipients.  With RSS, there is a single place where updates are posted, and subscribers configure their E-mail programs to go check that place periodically.  Only the site admin can post updates, and nobody knows who else is subscribed.

Other Resources

To put an RSS on your site, all you need to do is put a file on your site in RSS format, then update that file to post new messages.

There are a handful of free and low-cost tools available. I recommend FeedForAll ($40) because it is easy to use, feature-rich, and has a 30-day free trial.

Once you have an RSS feed on your site, you should look at Ping-O-Matic, which will automatically let search engines know that you have a new page.


What Is It?

The definitions for a blog are numerous. In simple terms, most blogs contain a series of web-page, a set of tools for adding to or updating pages, a mechanism for visitors to comment on pages, and an RSS feed.

Why should I care?

If you don’t have tools or experience to maintain your own web-pages, blogging sites provide an easy way for you to publish content that anybody can read. Even if you do have a website, blogging tools can make sequential posts and updates easier to manage. They also provide one more place where you can insert links that point back to your primary website.

How do I create a blog?

Go to any of the blog sites found in the Catalog of common blog sites, create an account, and start writing.


What Is It?

There are two different types of site-maps.  The first is a web-page that people look at to get an overview of all the topics and pages on an entire site.  This is like a table-of-contents.  For example, that menu on the left can also be displayed in a sitemap like this.

That works fine when there are less than 30 pages, but what about when a site contains hundreds of pages (Primarygoals has over 1500 pages).  In that case, there is a different kid of site-map that is intended to be read by search engines.

Why should I care?

If you have a significant amount of content, you want to make sure that the search-engines find all of it. The more of your site that is indexed, the greater chance that a search will find a match on your site. Plus, it also allows you to put a search-box on your own site is based on your entire site’s content.

How do I create a Site-Map?

If you are only dealing with a handful of pages, create the site-map by hand. If you use a professional web-site development tool (Go Live, Dreamweaver), these may be able to create this kind of map for you. If you want to create the XML sitemap, Google has a tool you can download to create one for you.

Other Resources

Social Networking Sites

What Is It?

Social Networking is the practice of people linking to each other via any number of on-line tools. Common examples include LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, and a bunch of others.

Why should I care?

By using one or more networking sites, you increase the number of people that you can connect with, either directly or indirectly. However, these sites do not do that much for promoting your own website. The exception is when you our your associates use those tools as an additional source for creating links to your own website. One good example of this is the "Answers" section of LinkedIn. By providing good answers, you can make reference to material found on your own website. Click here for an example.

How do I use Social Networking

Pick a service that you wish to be part of, create an account, and invite your friends. Note that there are two main approaches to using these networking tools. The first approach is to be very selective in who you link with, such that you actually have a connections with or personal knowledge about all of your linked contacts. This approach is more likely to yield "high quality" responses when you search your network for somebody with a particular skill or background.

The second approach favors linking to as many people as possible in an effort to get much greater numbers of people in your network that you might contact. While your breadth of contacts are higher this way, you really have less knowledge about who these people really are.

Social Bookmarking

What Is It?

Social bookmarking is when you save your bookmarks on a web-page that you can access from anywhere. It is differs from regular bookmarking in your browser, in that the latter are saved on your PC. There are more than 30 social bookmarking sites, with some of the better-known being Digg, Favorites, and DELICIOUS.

Why should I care?

These public sites that store your bookmarks create additional links to your site that search engines can index. If lots of people bookmark your pages publicly, these bookmarks can increase the inbound traffic to your site.

How do I use Social Bookmarking

For the most part, social bookmarking is something that your site visitors use, rather than something that you manage yourself. However, you can make it easier for your visitors who already have bookmarking accounts to add your pages to their own lists. One such example is the "Add This" widget shown here.

addthis_url = location.href;
addthis_title = document.title;
addthis_pub = ‘AshleyGuberman’;

If you are new to social bookmarking, please click here for detailed instructions on how to use the bookmarking button above.

Caution: In theory, you could create your own accounts on the bookmarking sites above and create lots of links to your own pages. That could backfire in that it can easily look more like you are screaming for attention rather than that others have found your pages useful. The practice is discouraged.


What Is It?

You may check a more formal definition for CAPTCHA here, but a CAPTCHA tests are those web-pages that make you type what you see in a distorted word picture. Re-Captcha is a free tool that not only lets you mask your E-mail on a web-page, but it also helps translate books for Carnage Melon. To see how, click on my Contact…

Why should I care?

If your website is intended to generate business contacts, you want a way for your viewers to contact you. But if you put your E-mail address on your website, you will soon be bombarded by spam. G-mail, hotmail, and other free E-mail services do a reasonable job with filtering, but spam is still a never-ending battle. Using a separate address for posting on the web is also just a partial solution. The Re-captcha solution above lets real people see your E-mail address without giving it to automated spammers.

How do I use Re-CAPTCHA?

Go to the re-captcha mailhide site, enter your E-mail address, then use the URL that the site provides in place of posting your E-mail address.