Spiderowych has a new web site up. He asked the Answer Line forum how he could make it popular.
Anyone can put up a web site. The hard part is helping people discover it, and then stay with it. Your first priority: Make your site people friendly. Your second: Make it search-engine friendly.
Here are a few more specific suggestions:
Design it well. Make it pleasing to the eye, and easy to navigate. If the site has a lot of pages, develop a structure that people can easily navigate, rather than throwing too many links up at once.
Write well. Re-read your text before posting it. Correct spelling and grammar errors. Use clear and concise language.
Stick to your subject(s). Don't be all over the map with content. Keep the site focused, at most, on a handful of topics that you're passionate about.
Link with words, not pictures. For web navigation, a word is worth a million pictures. A link that reads "The eternal allure of the Three Stooges" says more about the page it leads to than a photo of Larry, Moe, and Curly. That holds true for search engines as well as for people.
Use title and description tags. Search engines give priority to the text in these tags, and usually display their contents in result pages. So think carefully about what you want to put here.
Try to read your title through the eyes of a stranger. It should clearly describe the page. See the comments on this post to see how I messed up in this area.
And where do you put this text? In your page's HTML code, the title text goes between the <title> and </title> tags. The description goes inside a meta tag that looks something like this:
- <meta name="description" content="This is where you put the content of your description. It can be longer and thus more descriptive than a title." />.
Describe your images. When you do use pictures, give them descriptive file names. Also, describe the picture in the image tag's alt attribute. The Alt text is there for people who can't see the images, but it also helps search engines. In the HTML code, that tag looks something like this:
- <img src="http://urltopicture/filename.jpg" alt="Put your alt text here" />.
Finally, links can be extremely helpful in drawing people to your site. That's one of several reasons why I always suggest that people read the original forum discussion. And then I include additional links in the italicized "bio" paragraph below.
Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector writes about technology and cinema. Email your tech questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum. Follow Lincoln on Twitter, or subscribe to the Answer Line newsletter, e-mailed weekly.