Last month, a friend of mine who works for Silicon Graphics in Switzerland sent me email to tell me that he'd found my URL by querying the "default Netscape search engine." He went on to say that, using the same search engine, he had not found the URL belonging to another, mutual friend, and he wondered why he'd found the one and not the other. I replied that he'd found mine because I'd made it a point to register it with as many search engines as possible, and that our mutual friend had probably failed to do so.
When it comes to successful Web sites, content is king. It's what keeps em coming back again and again. But, what brings them by to check out your site or home page to begin with is marketing, pure and simple. You can join CommerceNet and pay way too much for the privilege of having them put a tiny hyperlink to your site on their subscribers list. You can spend a small fortune to cut a deal with one or more of the major online services to feature your site to their subscribers. You can build alliances with other Web sites by forging hyperlinks to each other's pages. But, absolutely the best (and, coincidentally, the least expensive) marketing step you can take is to register your site or home page with as many of the major Web-based search engines as possible, and then copper your bets by posting an announcement about your site to the appropriate Usenet groups. It will take you surprisingly little work to cover the major search engines, and the effort will pay you real dividends.
Your first stop should be at computer science undergraduate student Scott Banister's extremely handy Submit-It site (http://www.submit-it.com/) at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. You'll need to use a browser which supports forms (Netscape Navigator 1.1 and all the Spyglass-licensed variations on Mosaic do) to add your entry. You'll be asked to fill in a title, URL and sponsoring organization or individual for the linked page, plus entries for a primary category, (health & fitness, sports & leisure, travel & tourism, philosophy & religion, art, entertainment, government, politics, nature & wildlife, news & publication, reference, education, events, personal home page, access/presence provider, commercial/business, internet/web related, adult related or other,) the geographical location of the link, any comments, (i.e.--a description of the resource,) your name and email address as the contact person for additional information about the resource.
When you click the Submit button, you'll be given a chance to review and correct any of the information you've entered before submitting it to Submit-It. The single form you've just completed will then be simultaneously submitted to the very popular and well-known Yahoo, (URL http://www.yahoo.com) as well as to the Apollo Advertising (URL http://apollo.co.uk/), EINet Galaxy (URL http://galaxy.einet.net), Database Support Group WWW Database (URL http://tempest.ucs.indiana.edu/htbin/get_www_site), Infoseek (URL http://www.infoseek.com), JumpStation II (URL http://js.stir.ac.uk/jsbin/jsii), Lycos (URL http://lycos.cs.cmu.edu/), Netcenter Interactive Yellow Pages (URL http://netcenter.com/yellows.html), NIKOS (URL http://www.rns.com/nikos/nikos.html) from Rockwell Communications, Starting Point (URL http://www.stpt.com/), TheYellowPages.com (URL http://theyellowpages.com/homepage.htm), WebCrawler (URL http://webcrawler.com/), What's New Too! (URL http://newtoo.manifest.com/WhatsNewToo/), Whole Internet Catalog (URL http://gnn.com/gnn/wic/index.html), and the World Wide Web Worm (URL http://www.cs.colorado.edu/home/mcbryan/WWWWadd.html) indexes and search engines.
Note that, at any given time, one or more of these services is liable to be offline, missing and presumed kaput or moved to a new URL with any forwarding link long since expired. (This is a universal truth about the Net in general, by the way.) Likewise, if the Submit-It! page itself is down, be prepared to add your site or page to each of these resources manually.
There are also Web-site-only indexes and engines. None of the following accept personal home pages, but they all accept submissions announcing new Web servers: The National Center for Supercomputing Applications "What's New?" list (URL http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/SDG/Software/Mosaic/Docs/whats-new-form.html), CERN's list of new WWW servers (URL http://www.w3.org/hypertext/DataSources/WWW/Geographical_generation/new.html), the Global On Line Directory (URL http://www.gold.net/gold/gold2.html) and ALIWEB (URL http://web.nexor.co.uk/public/aliweb/doc/registering.html) among others. Be aware that ALIWEB, which is in the United Kingdom, requires you to create a specifically-formatted text file in the root directory of your Web server before your submission can be used.
It's also smart to announce your new site or home page in the Usenet interest groups dedicated to keeping people informed about new things on the Web or on the Net in general. Both of them are moderated, which means that your submission will have to meet certain requirements before it can be posted. The comp.infosystems.www.announce moderator insists that the Subject: line of your submission be meaningful and that it include one of a list of key words. More information is available in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) file,"** How comp.infosystems.www.announce Works (FAQ) **" and in "**How to Announce in comp.infosystems.www.announce **", both of which are regularly posted to the newsgroup. Post your announcement directly to comp.infosystems.www.announce or mail it to email@example.com (both have the same result.) If your announcement doesn't follow the moderator's guidelines, it will be returned to you unposted.
You'll also want to post your announcement to comp.internet.net-happenings. The moderator here is Gleason Sackman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the formatting and content guidelines for comp.infosystems.www.announce pretty much apply here, too (although Gleason's keyword preferences are slightly different.)
Finally, you may have noticed that, this time, @internet is a little longer than you've been used to. It's gone from 700 to 1,000 words in length and that increase is permanent. Starting with this one, it's also going to be appearing in every issue of LAN Times, instead of only once a month. I have the continuous stream of letters from you, the readers, to thank for both changes, so I hope you approve of them! Please continue to make your suggestions, corrections and criticisms known. I welcome and respond to all email and I am always on the lookout for suggestions on the topics you'd like to see @internet cover.
See you next issue!
(Copyright© 1995 by Thom Stark--all rights reserved)