If You Build It They Will Come Well Sort Of What I Learned As A Newbie Webmaster

When I first started my work at​ home business, I had no experience building websites, and​ no experience advertising. I decided to​ use Microsoft Front Page, to​ create my site, because I had used other Microsoft Office software products and​ I figured it​ would be the​ easiest for​ me to​ learn. My first site looked great. I was meticulous to​ make sure all of​ my links worked and​ everything lined up. I uploaded it​ to​ my host server and​ asked someone else to​ look at​ it​ for​ me. Someone did look at​ it​ and​ they said "Are you kidding? Your site is​ a​ mess!". Huh? I don't get it! Well, it​ turns out that my site looked great in​ Internet Explorer, but it​ was a​ mess in​ Netscape! After fixing the​ problem, and​ telling some of​ my friends to​ look again, they said "So, if​ I search for​ your website in​ Google, will I find it"? Well, I knew it​ wasn't at​ the​ top of​ Google's search engine, but I had no idea how to​ get it​ there! Sure, I had submitted my website to​ Google, so I knew it​ was there. in​ fact, if​ I entered my URL in​ quotes in​ the​ Google search bar, it​ popped right up, but otherwise I couldn't search and​ find it. Unfortuntately, I learned that the​ only way to​ get a​ new website to​ the​ top of​ Google's search engine quickly was to​ pay for​ it! You've probably noticed when you do a​ search that there are listings that show up on the​ side and​ top of​ the​ search results, with the​ words "sponsored listing" next to​ them. it​ turns out that these are advertisements that people pay for. They actually bid a​ certain amount for​ each "click" they receive. as​ long as​ they keep their price per click low enough, they can realize a​ profit. So, I guess the​ notion "if you build it​ they will come" doesn't apply when it​ comes to​ websites.

It turns out that with all of​ the​ hundreds or​ even thousands of​ search engines out there, the​ majority of​ the​ searches are made using Google, Yahoo and​ MSN. According to​ the​ 2018 November Nielson/Net Ratings, Google has the​ largest share of​ the​ U.S. based searches with 46%, Yahoo is​ second with 23% and​ MSN is​ third with 11%. I also learned about something called "SEO" which stands for​ Search Engine Optimization. I think it​ really should be called "WSO" for​ WebSite Optimization. Because in​ actuality all we can do is​ optimize websites in​ order to​ get higher search engine rankings, not the​ other way around. Google uses a​ rating system known as​ "PageRank", which assigns a​ rank to​ each site between 1 and​ 9. if​ you are wondering why it​ only goes up to​ 9 and​ not 10, it's because Google is​ the​ only site that rates as​ a​ 10. Even Yahoo and​ MSN only have a​ PageRank of​ 9. the​ algorithms to​ determine PageRank are not easily understood, or​ even communicated in​ such a​ way that the​ average person can understand and​ can only be described by me as​ "double-top-secret". if​ you download Google's toolbar, you can customize it​ to​ the​ show PageRank for​ the​ sites you are viewing. It's basically a​ little green bar, that will show the​ PageRank if​ you hold your cursor over it. it​ seems in​ general that the​ way you increase your PageRank is​ through back links. These are links from other web sites linking to​ your URL. and​ not just any links, they have to​ be relevant to​ your type of​ site and​ the​ higher the​ PageRank of​ the​ sites linking to​ you, the​ better.

After doing some digging around on the​ net, I discovered a​ website (http://www.linkpopularity.com), where you can input a​ URL and​ it​ will tell you how many sites are linked to​ that URL. By using some of​ your competitors URLs ( the​ sites that do show up at​ the​ top of​ a​ Google non-sponsored search), you can get some sense of​ how many links are required to​ get to​ the​ top and​ what types of​ sites you can link to. in​ many cases you can link to​ these same sites. After doing this, I found that there are many different types of​ sites that can link to​ you that are other than the​ norm, such as​ classified ad sites, guestbooks, forums...and directories! I think directories were my biggest find. There are an​ abundance of​ directories out there, many which are free. Many times when you request a​ link, either by email to​ a​ site or​ through a​ site with automated online forms, they ask you for​ a​ "reciprocal link". This basically means that they would like you to​ put their link on your site, so they can attempt to​ increase their own PageRank.

The most surprising thing that I learned while reviewing the​ sites of​ my competitors, is​ the​ number of​ back links they had. the​ had about 3,000 to​ 4,000 links. Considering the​ amount of​ time it​ takes to​ request a​ link, post a​ reciprocal link and​ upload my page to​ my host server, it​ would take me a​ very, very long time to​ get the​ same number of​ links. I've basically dealt with this situation by committing to​ request 10 links per day. So, hopefully I will have significantly increased my PageRank over the​ next year, and​ will be able to​ increase my traffic without having to​ spend as​ much money on pay-per-click advertising.

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