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Author Topic: How the hell do you promote a website?  (Read 3832 times)
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ChrisGrenard
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« on: June 12, 2008, 01:25:49 AM »

So I have a website, and it's pretty good I think, but I've sorta hit a wall as far as number of users.  I know there's a lot of interest in it, but I have no idea how to actually promote a web site.  How do you get people visiting your webpage?  Is it all about google ads or something?

The one caveat to my question is that I don't want to spend a lot of money.  My website does not earn any money (it actually costs me money overall), so I can't be spending hundreds of dollars on it.
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Zaxxon
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2008, 01:50:08 AM »

Find commmunities that share an interest with your site, and get it exposure. 
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Magic
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2008, 02:01:04 AM »

Quote from: Zaxxon on June 12, 2008, 01:50:08 AM

Find commmunities that share an interest with your site, and get it exposure. 

and if that fails, boobs.
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Zaxxon
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2008, 02:09:19 AM »

Boobs generally help too; yes.
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rshetts2
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2008, 02:24:56 AM »

Tattoos on B00bS!!!  Instant marketing success!
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Lordnine
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 02:30:08 AM »

Search Engine Optimization is actually one of the responsibilities I have at my job, is the website in question the one in your signature?
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Sarkus
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2008, 02:34:07 AM »

I suspect you could get pictures of someone that most of the readers of OO would visit your site to look at . . .  icon_cool
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2008, 02:36:22 AM »

So far I'm kinda liking the boobs idea...

Lord, yeah, it's my little Rock Band page that I'm thinking about.  I'll pm you about it.
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Ironrod
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2008, 02:43:56 AM »

Links! YGM
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Unagi
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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2008, 02:48:47 AM »

Quote from: ChrisGrenard on June 12, 2008, 01:25:49 AM

So I have a website, and it's pretty good I think, but I've sorta hit a wall as far as number of users.  I know there's a lot of interest in it, but I have no idea how to actually promote a web site.  How do you get people visiting your webpage?  Is it all about google ads or something?

The one caveat to my question is that I don't want to spend a lot of money.  My website does not earn any money (it actually costs me money overall), so I can't be spending hundreds of dollars on it.
Put the name of your website and some key words in your signature on forums, that will get you to show up on more Google searches.
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Lordnine
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« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2008, 02:58:33 AM »

Quote from: ChrisGrenard on June 12, 2008, 02:36:22 AM

So far I'm kinda liking the boobs idea...

Lord, yeah, it's my little Rock Band page that I'm thinking about.  I'll pm you about it.

Responded

$200 please.   icon_biggrin


Let me know if you need any of that elaborated on.  Most of it is pretty simple but will go a long ways in improving your site.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 03:09:18 AM by Lordnine » Logged
Sarkus
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2008, 03:26:18 AM »

Quote from: Lordnine on June 12, 2008, 02:58:33 AM

$200 please.   icon_biggrin

That's going to be a  crybaby or a  icon_mad if in six months you see:

"RBDLC sold to Harmonix for $200m.  Founder buys new scooter."

 icon_lol

Edit: Also, Chris should edit his site into the Wikipedia entry for Rockband.

« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 03:30:28 AM by Sarkus » Logged

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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2008, 03:31:34 AM »

Quote from: Sarkus on June 12, 2008, 03:26:18 AM

Quote from: Lordnine on June 12, 2008, 02:58:33 AM

$200 please.   icon_biggrin

That's going to be a  crybaby or a  icon_mad if in six months you see:

"RBDLC sold to Harmonix for $200m.  Founder buys new scooter."

 icon_lol

Edit: Also, Chris should edit his site into the Wikipedia entry for Rockband.

LOL, that would be so awesome.  I'd buy a 400cc new MP3, that's for damn sure.  I'd probably even buy a few for you guys too slywink

I thought about adding my site to Wikipedia, but it struck me as immoral to do, since, y'know, I own the site.  Almost like shameless self-promotion, you know?
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DarkEL
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2008, 04:19:40 AM »

I used to do Search Engine Consulting and I can tell you that there are a lot of things you could do to help your site.

I don't know what the other guy told you but you should be aware that there's also a lot of "conventional wisdom" out there of things that you should do that don't hurt but don't give enough value for the work. Especially when you have so many other things that you could be doing that would give you better results.

So this is your one free SEO consultation.

1. Your pages lack structure. You need to add a structure to the page where H1 - H4 tags represent most important things, with keyword dense paragraphs underneath

2. You need to do some key word analysis of what are the popular search words and phrases for people who will be searching for your content. Then you need to add those words to your page. Multiple times.  and not just in plain text but in bold, in link names, in Header tags, etc, etc

3. You have a lot of links with spaces in the parameters (i.e. showartist.php?artist=Maximo%20Park) - a simple regex can fix that and replace those w/ underscores.

4. Get people to link to you. As many links as possible all using those same keywords, and get people to link to pages beyond just the home page. A link like this (Maximo Park Songs in Rock Band is worth it's weight in gold (even if you have to buy it and yes there are ways to buy links like that) - especially if it's from a similar site. Don't ever stop trying to get more links to your site.  Also provide more links to your internal content off your home page. Drop down boxes are not the way to get Search Engine traffic

5. If you can make money off the site - then start spending money on building links and buying google adwords traffic to your site. Of course, if you can't make money off the site - then why even bother with it?

Finally - it takes time to see your Search Engine results change. So don't expect that you'll make these changes this week and see results within the month. Slow and steady progress is the key to becoming #1.
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2008, 07:11:07 PM »

Thanks for the information,  DarkEL.  A few notes on your ideas:

1. I have some limited amount of larger words, but as the site is meant to be primarily community data driven, it's not like I'm putting in a bunch of information myself, so that's kinda tough for me.  But I'll see what I can think up.

2. I'm not getting enough searches to even know what to write for this.

3. Actually, that whole thing is gonna be swapped out for a PHP based "URL Encode" system, so that's in the works.

4. I'd love people to link me, but I'm not gonna spend any money on it.

5. I have no want to make a dime off of my site.  It's simply that I thought a site like that was needed, so I wrote it.  It's like how programmers will often write applications that they want, and then share with others.  Same thing.

In other news, I followed up on a bunch of the other ideas and did some validation on the site and whatnot to clean up as much of the code as I could in a few hours.  Nothing visibly has been changed, but it's nice to know that things are a bit better under the hood.
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2008, 07:11:40 PM »

Oh drat, I forgot to add boobs.
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kratz
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2008, 07:32:30 PM »

Don't underestimate presentation... not in getting people to your website, but in getting them to stay, and getting them to come back...

In a nutshell, what I'm saying is this: Don't let any Times New Roman appear on your site. Anywhere.
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2008, 07:53:13 PM »

Quote from: kratz on June 12, 2008, 07:32:30 PM

Don't underestimate presentation... not in getting people to your website, but in getting them to stay, and getting them to come back...

In a nutshell, what I'm saying is this: Don't let any Times New Roman appear on your site. Anywhere.

That's gotten suggested a few times and I keep forgetting about that.  What's a good font to use instead?
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kratz
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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2008, 08:00:16 PM »

Arial seems to the new kind of 'standard' non-retarded font... I like it.  Verdana is also a decent choice.
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DarkEL
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2008, 09:48:53 PM »

Quote from: ChrisGrenard on June 12, 2008, 07:11:07 PM

1. I have some limited amount of larger words, but as the site is meant to be primarily community data driven, it's not like I'm putting in a bunch of information myself, so that's kinda tough for me.  But I'll see what I can think up.
What I'm referring to are putting things like "Rock Band Downloadable Content" in H1 tags, then perhaps the name of the band you're showing on that page in an H2 tag.  Check out the book "designing with web standards" for more information.

Quote
2. I'm not getting enough searches to even know what to write for this.
You would need to do that at a site that specializes in keyword analysis. You can get free trial accounts or conversely set yourself up like you're going to buy google adwords and use their tools to determine good keywords. Obviously words like "Rock Band", "rock band songs", etc are probably going to be good things. The key is that you're looking to find out what words people who would be interested in your content are using when they search in google. Then shaping your page to score higher for those words / phrases.

Quote
4. I'd love people to link me, but I'm not gonna spend any money on it.
You don't have to spend money. It's just quicker / easier if you do. You can contact gaming sites - asking them to create a news story about your site w/ a link to it. Add it to wikipedia or any online directories that you can find.

Quote
5. I have no want to make a dime off of my site.  It's simply that I thought a site like that was needed, so I wrote it.  It's like how programmers will often write applications that they want, and then share with others.  Same thing.
 That's fine, but if you're not making money - then it's probably not worth the time and effort to try and draw more traffic to it. It's a fair amount of work -- which is why I was able to charge so much for it.
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ScubaV
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2008, 10:28:07 PM »

Put porn-related words in tiny text at the bottom of your home-page in the same color as your background.
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2008, 12:00:19 AM »

Yeah, if you think you really want to get word out about it I would send a news bit out to the gaming sites/blogs and they might put up a blurb about it.  Kotaku seems to put up "news" about any damn thing, so why not?
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gellar
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« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2008, 12:15:11 AM »

Quote from: kratz on June 12, 2008, 07:32:30 PM

Don't underestimate presentation... not in getting people to your website, but in getting them to stay, and getting them to come back...

In a nutshell, what I'm saying is this: Don't let any Times New Roman appear on your site. Anywhere.

Indeed.  Your table borders have gotta go too.  Those are hideous.

gellar
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2008, 04:54:39 AM »

Which border?  I have two different classes of tables, so if you could screen shot it and point it out then I could fix it.
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2008, 05:03:31 AM »

Quote from: ChrisGrenard on June 13, 2008, 04:54:39 AM

Which border?  I have two different classes of tables, so if you could screen shot it and point it out then I could fix it.

Personally I would say pretty much every border you have on any table.  Not to be harsh, but it makes it look like something I created when I was first learning HTML, or basically any self-made site from 1996.  If you must have borders make them with graphics of some kind.


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Zaxxon
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« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2008, 10:43:32 AM »

Tables?  What is this, 1999?  slywink 
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2008, 02:23:36 PM »

Quote from: Zaxxon on June 13, 2008, 10:43:32 AM

Tables?  What is this, 1999?  slywink 

Actually, while I agree that the borders need to be knocked out (and some of the layout tables pulled out), I am going to keep the tables for the data output at least.  One of the things I'm working on that's not yet implimented is a thing for highlighting rows and alternating colors, all of which is pretty standard modern CSS table design.

But I'll work on the table here and see what I can do.

Also: I had no idea you could use graphics for table edges.  This is interesting.
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« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2008, 02:42:03 PM »

Well, in your css you could define specific borders, like top border or bottom border.  I use html borders all the time. 

Tables are fine, just use them for tabular data (which for the most part you are)
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kratz
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« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2008, 04:35:28 PM »

Use whatever layout works, but use CSS to style things instead of HTML... nothing uglier than an HTML table border, but CSS borders can be really nice and effective.
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gellar
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« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2008, 04:42:29 PM »

Quote from: Zaxxon on June 13, 2008, 10:43:32 AM

Tables?  What is this, 1999?  slywink 

Tables are fine - so long as you don't notice them.

gellar
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2008, 05:11:05 PM »

Quote from: kratz on June 13, 2008, 04:35:28 PM

Use whatever layout works, but use CSS to style things instead of HTML... nothing uglier than an HTML table border, but CSS borders can be really nice and effective.

Actually, it is all CSS defined stuff (since I set it up for users to change their entire site theme).  It's just that I suck at actually designing things that are nice looking.  My big method is basically to sit here with the developer toolbar and the realtime css editor that it has and I just keep changing numbers around till the site becomes slightly less ugly.
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« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2008, 05:27:45 PM »

Is there an ugliometer? slywink

BTW, I'm happy to see all these people willing to help out someone who isn't trying to profit from a site. GJ. biggrin
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kratz
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« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2008, 07:06:23 PM »

It's getting better...

Couple suggestions...

On that main section that lists everything, try applying the style to the table row instead of to the table cell for that single line border... the spacer TD you have in there looks a little weird.  If you really want a box around each TD, have a separate class for each TD so that it doesn't have a rounded left corner on each of them.

I'd also add some padding to all of your tables, because things look a bit cramped, especially those left side boxes.

Finally, I'd decrease the size of the font a couple of points.
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2008, 10:11:29 PM »

Table design changed up.  Does it look better or worse now?
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kratz
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« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2008, 10:44:13 PM »

Better.
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DarkEL
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« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2008, 10:46:49 PM »

Are you sure you wouldn't rather just go download one of the free Open Source web designs?

Seems like something like this one might work for your site and save you a lot of hassle.
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tjg_marantz
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« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2008, 01:39:05 AM »

Cue Matrix.
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #37 on: June 17, 2008, 03:45:33 PM »

Well, I owe some people some serious thanks.  Since last week I've gone up from around page 5-10 on most searches to pages 1-3.  Special thanks to LordNine and DarkEL for advice on how search engines work, and thanks to many others for advice on general looks.  Thanks to Kratz in particular for finally getting me to get rid of Times New Roman.
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kratz
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« Reply #38 on: June 17, 2008, 03:48:30 PM »

Font is still too big. smile
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ChrisGrenard
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« Reply #39 on: June 17, 2008, 03:49:49 PM »

Quote from: kratz on June 17, 2008, 03:48:30 PM

Font is still too big. smile

I don't get this at all, as the font is the default browser size.  Gah, give me a few minutes here...
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