A major strength of the Web is also a major weakness. Imagine
living in a city where everyone owned not only a television
set, but a television station as well. To make matters worse,
most of the channels were nothing more than listings of what
is playing at other stations. Of course to make matters more
interesting- half of the stations went off the air a long time
Marketing 101 and the Web
I ended up in systems quite by accident. My undergraduate and
graduate studies were actually in Marketing. The Internet is
very much an advertiser's nightmare. When advertisers set
out to promote a product, they will first identify who they
want to sell their product to. In classifying or segmenting
a market, the savvy ad-person might consider:
Demographic data such as race, age, or sex
Sociographic data like education level and income
Psychographic data like hobbies and interests
Geographic data such as a specific region or rural vs. urban
In the traditional media such as television, radio, and
the printed page- it is not a difficult task to both target a
group of people for a product, or to select the media most likely
to reach them.
Unfortunately, things are not so easy with the Web. Why
do I offer such words of encouragement?
There are no reliable measuring services. Television has
the Nielsens, magazines and newspapers must provide audited
circulation reports, and so on. An advertiser knows what
the bang for the buck or impression cost is. The Web
has no such mechanism. Besides, any good webmaster could
cook the books beyond detection.
The Web audience is scattered all over the place! If I was
selling widgets in Ohio, the odds are I would get almost as
many hits from Scandinavia and Australia as I would from
Cleveland. This obviously is nice from a gee, I'm world
famous perspective, but I'm not selling more widgets
because of it.
The Web audience is very skewed sociographically and
demographically. It sounds very impressive when they say that
20 million Americans have access to the Internet. What about
the 230 Million that do not? Imagine if you were selling a
product targeting a group of people that do not own televisions,
but yet you chose to invest in that medium- what would you
call that decision?
Most of the sites on the Web lack content and simply are
collections of bookmarks. It is difficult to name
a good analogy in the traditional media.
The culture and underlying nature of the Web is
very much anti-marketing. People expect stuff for nothing,
but many people and companies wish to contribute something
for others to enjoy.
Television and radio are for the most part, passive activities.
You tune in and zone out. The net requires affirmative action
on the part of the reader to follow what you want them to read.
So in a sense, we can say that the Web is more of a Public
Relations device than a true marketing medium. It can be
an enhancement to traditional advertising. Placing the good
old http://yournamehere.com in the trailer of a TV commercial
encourages people to visit the web site, not the web site
soliciting business per se.
What is my first step?
Good question. The first thing you need to do is really sit
down and review the following about your site:
What is my main purpose for having this site?
What do I offer that is different or better than what
others are offering?
Did I stick to my original ideas and goals, or have I
Who would really be interested in viewing my site?
Once you have answered these questions, you have a good place
to start in laying out your promotional strategy. Just keep
one important thing in mind.
Aggressive promotion will most likely result
feelings against your site. The general rule of the
Web is to take a more passive approach. You know, build
a better mousepad and the world will beat a route to your
What about using a submission service?
For this site, I decided to do my registrations manually.
This allowed me to take a good look at each place I was
considering listing BigNoseBird.Com. You may or may not
have the time or energy to do this. If you are in a hurry
do consider using such a service.
There are a lot of businesses around that for a fee will get
you listed on a various number of search engines and/or
directories. As sort of a loss leader, a few offer a limited
free placement to the most popular engines using a self-service
set of forms. Two of the more popular ones are:
They also feature a free demo service that posts to the
major engines for you.
like Submit-It does postings and offers great resources.
The big difference is that this site does it for free!
Where should I list my site first?
It would be a good idea to first register your site with the
major search engines. Before doing this, please read up on
the use of META tags. This can
help insure that your page is indexed and described properly.
Here is a list of places to start with:
Yahoo! The big daddy of them all. Be certain to surf
around a bit to figure out the best category to enter
your site in. You can be in more than one category. They
are usually pretty backlogged.
Altavista A very popular search engine. Once indexed,
your page is available usually within 24 hours. This engine
has a lot of dead links listed, but at least they are fast
in indexing new sites.
Infoseek Another popular engine. Submissions can be
made via e-mail or their WWW site depending on their
system status. New additions are searchable instantly!
Webcrawler The AOL engine. Be certain to list yourself
here. Be ready to wait a long time for your link to show up.
Watch out for this one, it doesn't handle text inside of
tables or META tags. Read their instructions!
Excite Another popular search engine that is pretty
backlogged. See Webcrawler.
Lycos Another popular search engine that is pretty
Get the idea? It is going to take a while for people to find your
site if you use the free method of promotion. Several of
the sites listed above will allow you the honor of being listed
immediately for a fee. You can also buy advertising space on
the engines themselves. Some are configured that if somebody
does a search for Lawyers, your law firm banner can come up
coincidently as the advertisement on the results page!
What are META tags and why do I need them?
The following is the top of my main page, index.shtml. Notice
that in the TITLE I have not given my site's name, but
a brief description of the site.
The first META is the description. Many engines will list
this information (or at least part of) it under the title. Try
and get peoples' attention with the first part of the tag.
The second META is the keywords. Forget the hype. Do not
pack in the same word over and over. Infoseek for example will
cream you for using the same word more than seven times! No
matter what you do, you are NOT going to end up at the top of
the list. Just make sure you list the meaningful words and
concepts in this section. Do not put in irrelevant words that
will misleadingly draw people to your site, just to rack up your counter-
you know the words...
BigNoseBird.Com- The Strangest Name in Web Authoring Resources.
HTML,CGI-BIN, and advice for the novice to intermediate web-master.
Everything is free- including the advice!
<META name="description" content="Tired of bouncing through endless
links looking for freeware, shareware, and instruction on
HTML and web design? BigNoseBird.Com exists to help the
novice and intermediate web-master get the most from the
Internet- and more importantly, help you to become a more
meaningful contributor to this world wide community!">
<META name="keywords" content="HTML, cgi-bin, CGI-BIN, unix, perl,
howto, search, web page, shareware, freeware, graphics,
midi, guestbook, forms, source, sourcecode, help, assistance,
beginner, tutorial, beginning, novice,
CGI, SSI, server side, includes, include, instruction,
design, vi, virtual host, lines, icons, gif, jpg">
You can even ask some spiders to come back at a certain interval.
The major search engines show up automatically when they get around
to it, but this may help other spiders along.
What else can I do?
I am sure that in your surfing around, that you have seen sites
that relate to what you are doing. They may have even helped to
inspire you. Write to the webmaster and explain what you are doing
and why. Tell the webmaster that you will be placing a link and
would be honored by a reciprocal link. Do not flood the world
with requests. Pick only sites that you admire and that would be
a benefit to your audience.