If you want more people to visit your website, you need to know how to make your website search engine friendly, and then submit your URL to all the major search engines. This site is devoted to teaching you how to do it yourself, cheaply, effectively, and with a minimum of hassle.


"Tooter," the most sophisticated submission robot on the net, stands ready to assist you in promoting your website! It does all the hard work for you -- for free!
SelfPromotion.com has been providing the basic facts about website promotion in two centuries (barely!). Here you will find all the information you need, plus some nifty automatic submission tools that will help you get the job done quickly, efficiently, and most of all, properly! If you invest a little time into reading and using this resource, you'll not only do a much better job of promoting your site, but save yourself a lot of time and effort in the process -- not to mention, you'll avoid the costly traps that most newbie webmasters fall into.

Important note: the search engine landscape has changed radically in the many years since I first created this site. In particular, the number of sites worth submitting to has shrunk tremendously, and automatic submission is pretty much obsolete. I am maintaining the site for historical reasons, and because the tutorials and articles (links lower on the page) are "evergreen"; the basic advice they provide is still useful and relevant. Enjoy!

99% of Webmasters don't need costly website optimization and submission services. Interestingly, 99% of “Search Engine Professionals” don't mention this -- they're too interested in charging you for their services.

I run this site in a totally different way. You can use almost everything on the site for FREE. If you feel the site is useful, then you can pay me what YOU think the advice and service is worth! And if you ever change your mind for any reason, you get your money back -- no questions asked.

The grey navigation palettes on the right side of each page let you quickly bounce around the site. But please start by reading this page, which will introduce you to the basics of site promotion.

Then, when you're ready to start promoting your site, use the Create New Account form (just below this text on the right-hand side) to get started registering your site around the Net!

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(Or click here to Create New Account)

First time here? Before you begin, you might want to read the Tutorial. There is also a comprehensive Help & FAQ page available.

Forgot your account name or password? Click here to cure your amnesia!

   Secret Net Tools
To give you a taste of how cool the Secret Net Tools are (you have to contribute to get access to all of them), I've enabled your access to several of the simpler ones. Enjoy!

PrettyPrint
Are You Listed?
License Pl8 Genr8tor

Google (my favorite search engine)

   Getting Started
Getting Started:
Welcome (Home Page)
Site Help
Site FAQ
Site Map
List of Sites
Create New Account

Tutorials: (read in this order)
Preparing your Pages for the Search Engines
Using Tooter to submit your site
Getting listed in Yahoo (and the other big indexes)
Paying for Traffic
How to (not) win Awards

Articles:
Trends in Submission
Virtual Vexation
The 500 Sites Fallacy
Page 1 Paranoia
Clickthrough Conundrums
SpamSpamSpam
The Gullibility Virus
A Marketing Course that Works?!
Accepting Credit Cards Online
Links of Interest
Glossary of Useful Terms
Random Nonsense
Woodhead's Law
Cool Domain Names
Why I let you decide how much to pay

Moral obligations?
Be Supportive!
Suggestion Box

About the Site:
How it works
Promotion Monitor
Our Awards
Best User Sites
User Comments

Believe it or not, 11.13% of the people who use SelfPromotion.com support the site!

How to properly promote your site

Site promotion is really not that difficult. It just takes a little bit of effort, a little bit of thought, and a fair amount of patience. It is crucial to understand that site promotion is a long-term, low-intensity effort. You can get into the search engines in days to weeks these days, but it can take years to develop a site that gets top rankings. So don't be overwhelmed by all the tutorials and tips on this site; you don't have to do all of this overnight. The #1 mistake people make is rushing! Take your time, slow down, read the articles, think about how they apply to your website, and then proceed. Many people have told me that they print out my pages and keep them in the bathroom, of all places!

Here's a summary of my "12 step" program:

1.
If you're selling something, make sure you're selling the right thing. The internet is a great tool for selling things, but there's a big gotcha. If you're trying to sell something that lots of other people are also trying to sell, you're facing competition two ways; first, it's going to be a lot harder to get noticed on the search engines, and second, the competition is going to eat away at the profits.

The real secret to making money on the net is to sell something that nobody else is selling. Even if the market is tiny and obscure, if you're the only maker, the net will bring you and your customers together. If you sell cowboy boots, you might have problems getting noticed, but if you specialize in cowboy boots for people with six toes, you'll make money. My favorite joke example of a niche is “hand tools for left-handed lesbians”. If you google for that, many of the pages are blog articles referring to my article that used this as an example (the rest are spam; even spammers think it's a funny phrase).

Furthermore, if you're trying to make money with an affiliate program, in particular those that automatically generate a "virtual" website for you, you should know that in almost all cases, they are a waste of time and money. I've written an article, Virtual Vexation, that explains why. I get emails all the time from people who have wasted hundreds, even thousands of dollars on the schemes. Please do not be one of them. Google considers most of these pages to be spam, but I think in a lot of cases, that's a spelling error; the correct spelling is scam.

2.
Get your site working properly. It doesn't matter how many people you attract to your website if, once they get there, they immediately get turned off by an unattractive presentation or a half-built website. I assume you're already happy with how your site looks, but you may want to read my article on how to (not) win awards, which contains a list of website mistakes you should try to avoid. At the same time, you don't have to get too fancy; simple, straightforward sites work fine, you don't need to pay a web-designer to develop a site that's incredibly fancy (and whose main value is that it's a monument to his skills).

3.
Choose keywords and tweak your site for the search engines. Once your site looks good to humans, the next step is to try to make it look good to the search engines, so you get the coveted high ranking. This involves choosing the right keywords and adjusting your page title, meta tags and first paragraph to showcase them. This is where most webmasters screw up. They choose the wrong keywords because they don't spend enough time thinking about how people are going to try to find them. My article on search engine optimization takes you step-by-step through this process.

4.
Submit to the major search engines. Now that your site is all ready, you next submit to all the major search engines. One of the key components of SelfPromotion.com is an extremely comprehensive automated submission tool that can properly promote your site to all the major search engines and indexes -- it'll only take you about 30 minutes to create an account and promote to the search engines. In recent years, autosubmission has become less useful because the most important search engines no longer permit it (Google held out the longest, and disabled automatic submission in January 2012), but my tool still can submit to some useful sites, and it has links to the submit pages of all the majors.

To properly submit to Google, use their WebMaster Tools. For Bing, use Bing WebMaster Tools. These two sites will generate the vast majority of your free search engine traffic.

Then you just have to wait to be listed,and start the long-term process of improving your rankings -- which is where the real work is these days.
In the old days, it would often take weeks or even months to get listed by a search engine, and new sites would often get penalized as a spam-prevention technique. Today, it's often the opposite; sites can sometimes get listed in days, and may get a temporary "freshness" bonus. But in both cases, the lesson is the same: don't worry about short-term changes in your rankings; concentrate on long-term improvements to your site to make it more useful to your visitors -- in the long-run, the search engines will notice and reward you for being helpful.
To learn how to create an account and use the promotion tool, please read the site submission tutorial, also known as "A Boy and his Website".

5.
Submit to the major indexes. While SelfPromotion.com can automatically submit your site to a lot of places, it does not autosubmit to the major indexes such as Yahoo and Open Directory. The reason is that listings in these indexes are sufficiently valuable that a hand-done, optimized submission is worth taking the time to craft.

Next to Google and Bing, Yahoo is the most important place to have your site listed on the Internet, yet most Yahoo listings are awful. Once you understand how to craft a proper submission to Yahoo, you'll not only greatly increase your chances of getting in, but you'll get many more hits than you would otherwise. If you are already in Yahoo, don't despair; my initial listing in Yahoo was awful, but I managed to double the number of clickthroughs I get from them by successfully requesting a change to my listing. You can learn how to make these all-important submissions by reading How to get listed in Yahoo (and the other major indexes). You'll also learn whether or not you even should submit to Yahoo; since it costs $300 a year to get listed in their index, for 99% of the people who visit this page, it's not a cost-effective use of money.

Writing the site description you submit to Yahoo is the single most important step you will ever take during site promotion, so spending some extra time on this step is highly recommended. If you follow my advice, and your site is decent, you'll almost always get in without any problems. I get emails all the time saying things like "I've been trying to get into Yahoo for 6 months, but after following your instructions, I got listed in less than a week." It's great ego massage, so I want to get one from you too!

Curiously, even if you decide you shouldn't submit to Yahoo, thinking about what you'd do if you did submit is time well spent, because it will help you refine and boil down a good description of your site. You'll end up using that description over and over, in other submissions, in your meta tags, and in your page copy!

6.
Submit to the general indexes. There are many "2nd-tier" indexes that are worth submitting to, though not worth crafting a specially optimized listing for (although the advice in the previous step is still valid). I've broken these down into a variety of categories (including general indexes, british and canadian-specific indexes and search engines, international indexes, indexes that accept adult sites, and special-purpose indexes) so that you can submit to them in small chunks as time permits. SelfPromotion.com can autosubmit to many of these, and provides manual links to hundreds more (mostly the special-purpose and international/foreign- language ones). Once you've read the search engine submission tool tutorial you'll understand how to do this. You can also look at the list of search engines if you so desire.

7.
Send me money! This is the step my wife likes the best. SelfPromotion.com works like shareware. If you like what the site does, you can contribute what you think it's worth. That's right, you set the price. It took me about a year to realize that I had reinvented the concept of tipping.

If you contribute, then I keep your data around for a year (making future promotions easier, since most of the typing gets done for you) and you also get access to some cool tools (see below for more details).

If you don't contribute, then after 4 weeks, your account gets deleted to make room for the next person. But I do keep backups (as every computer user should), so if you later change your mind, I can recover your data.

8.
Consider paying for hits. The good news about listing in the search engines and indexes is that it's free. The bad news is that you don't have much control. While it is certainly worthwhile to tweak your pages in search of high rankings, it's not always possible to get the ones you want. There are, however, several places that can provide you with well-targeted traffic for pennies a visitor. My favorites are Yahoo Search Marketing and Google Adwords, and I have a page dedicated to using pay-per-click cost-effectively.

9.
Learn more about sales and promotion. In the almost three years I've been running this site, I've written a number of articles that you may find of interest. You'll find the links on the right-hand side of the page under Tutorials and Articles. I've also found some good Web Marketing Courses that will help you plan how to handle the traffic you get. After all, if you're selling on the web, it's not how many hits you get, it's how many sales you make. If your wonderful widget website doesn't do a good job of selling widgets, then all the search engine traffic in the world isn't going to do you much good -- and it's much easier to double your site's effectiveness than it is to double its traffic (even better, of course, is to do both!). Next, since knowing who is visiting your site and how they got there is very useful, you should consider tracking your visitors. If you have access to your webserver logs, consider using the free Analog web-analysis software (available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and more). If not, consider a web-based service like Web-Stat. Finally, I have a well-stocked Links of Interest page that contains listings of other great promotion and webmaster resource sites.

10.
Do your research before hiring anyone to do promotion for you. While my site is aimed at do-it-yourselfers, some people may be more comfortable hiring a consultant to do site tweaking and search engine registration. Even so, it's important to understand the basics before doing so; there are a lot of snake-oil salesmen out there, and a little knowledge is an effective "bull$h1t detector". For example, if someone promises to put you on page 1 of the search engines, run away as fast as you can! Getting on page 1 for relevant keywords takes hard work and patience, and is not something that any reputable consultant will ever promise (a common scam is promising you page 1 results and delivering them -- for irrelevant or hyper-specific phrases that will never generate any meaningful traffic).

It's important to understand what you're buying, so take your time, read around the site, and get an education before you hire someone (and before you ask, I don't do this kind of consulting, I simply don't have the time!)

11.
Go get some links! An important component of your search engine ranking is determined by what sites link to you; when an important site gives you a link, it's like a vote of confidence in your site. In the early days, Google rankings were almost entirely based on your “link popularity”, and a link from Yahoo was the most coveted commodity in website promotion. Even today, the major value of that $300 a year listing in Yahoo is the credibility it buys you on Google.

Some people devote their lives to getting links. I assume you have better things to do, so my link building advice is very simple:

1) If you come across a website that you think would be useful to your visitors, add a link to them. I have a links of interest page where I do this. You are making the web more useful to your visitors, and the good karma can't hurt.

2) If you really, honestly think that the site you just linked to would similarly be improved if it had a link to your site, then email the site owner and suggest it. Tell him that you have linked to his site, and that regardless of what he decides, you will continue to do so, because you think his site is useful. The cute thing here is that by explicitly saying this, he'll give your request extra consideration. Isn't it great how being virtuous can be so evil?

3) If you happen to find a site that would be improved by a link to your site, even though a reciprocal link would not be appropriate, email and suggest it.

4) Make all your emails personal, and make sure they demonstrate that you've clearly spent time on their site.

5) The key to successful link building is always, above all, put other people's interests (your users, and the other site owners) above your own. That helps ensure you get good links (and bad links are worse than no links!)

12.
Read the rest of this page! Assuming I haven't completely turned your brain to mush with all of the above verbiage, read on. The rest of this page explains in more detail what the site does, and how it does it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did you build this site?

This site was originally created because I got repeatedly spammed by some scam artists who promised they'd "register my URL at the top 500 search engines." The truth is that there aren't anywhere near 500 search engines, and never were. There are in fact about a half-dozen english-language search engines that are of any value in generating hits for your site. There are also about 200 general and special-purpose indexes that can be useful. The vast majority of the "search engines" the hype-artists will "promote" your site to are Free-For-All links pages that are at best worthless for generating site traffic, and at worst will get your email address on multiple spam lists. Not the kind of promotion you had in mind, eh?

So, having been quite annoyed, and given that there is nothing more dangerous than an annoyed hacker (in the original, honorable meaning of the word), I decided to build a site that would let everyone properly register their URL to all the important search engines and indexes.

What's the difference between a search engine and an index?

A search engine (eg: Altavista) is a database of webpages. You give them your URL, and they read your page, extract relevant information from it, and store it in their database. Many search engines also run "spiders" that roam around the net looking for new pages.

An index (eg: Yahoo) is a database of web sites. Your listing in an index depends on what you tell them in your submission, not what is on your page. Some sites are mixtures; Yahoo has both a search engine and an index, for example. These days, most people use the word “directory” instead of index, which gives you some idea of how long this site has been around!

What does the SelfPromotion.com submission tool do?

Each index and search engine has an "url submission" page that lets you enter information about your site into their database. The problem is, of course, that if it takes 10 minutes to find and fill out the information on one of these pages, and you need to register with 90 sites, that's 15 hours -- 15 very boring hours -- of typing! And since most of the sites want the same information (name, email address, URL of your site, etc), you'll spend those 15 hours typing the same things over and over again!

SelfPromotion.com automates this process. You decide what sites you want to register with, and the site will generate a custom form that asks for exactly the information needed to register with those sites. You fill out this single form.

Then "Tooter," the tireless submission daemon goes around the net and does all the typing for you. Tooter also saves all the information you entered -- when you return to promote to some more sites, it can fill out most of the form for you -- saving you a huge amount of time!
This automatic data entry is one of SelfPromotion.com's most powerful and subtle features. There are many minor indexes out there that might only generate 5 or 10 hits a year for you. It isn't worth spending 5-10 minutes at each of these sites to register by hand, but because the extra information you have to enter to promote to one more site using SelfPromotion.com usually takes you less than a minute to enter, it makes it possible for you to register at more sites than you otherwise would if you were doing it by hand.

It wouldn't be cost-effective for you to spend an extra hour or two of your time doing registrations that might get you an extra 100 visitors a year (and maybe 1 or 2 sales). But if it only took you 10 minutes, it's a different story. Which is the real power of this site. It saves you time.

Embarrassing Comments...

Here's what some of my users (none of whom are my friends or relatives!) have to say about the site:
Subscribing to 'Selfpromotion.com' (in my second year now) was the smartest thing I ever did. All the tools, tips, links and general exposure to the "language" of the search engines and directories has catapulted my website, A Passion for Jazz, into "Yahoo's Most Popular Sites!"

I have been trying for months to get listed on Yahoo, I tried your method, and I got listed in 2 days!!! -- Jill Annette Johnson Kiser

The methodology I learned from [your] site with regards to meta tags, file size, graphics, and the use of keywords and phases in my title, description and body was priceless. -- Bob Vickers

I have been online for years and this is probably the most functional, useful and well designed site I have ever found. It's a blessing for registering a lot of similar pages quickly. -- Sophia Cornet

Great job on this site! It works great for original and re-submissions, and delivers more accurate results than many other so-called "promotion" companies. -- Jonathan Pajion

You should really be impressed you're getting money out of me. I NEVER pay for ANYTHING, but I am THAT impressed with your site. Keep up the good work. Or I'll kill you. -- Jim P Reardon (aka eviljim)

and my current favorite, which proves my mother was right about guilt being good for you:

I know I don't have to contribute again, but your site has saved me so much time and effort that I feel guilty not giving you more money. -- Paige Louise Young

You can read more embarrassingly nice things about the site here.

Is manual submission better than automatic submission?

Some people will tell you that manually submitting your site is the only way to go (and offer to do it for you for a fee). While it's true that some sites should only be promoted to in person (in particular, Yahoo; read my tips on submitting to Yahoo for all the secrets of doing it right), the automatic submissions done by SelfPromotion.com are absolutely as good as manual promotion. For example, some sites only let you have a 10 word description, while others allow 20 or more words. In such a case, you might be asked for two descriptions, so Tooter can give each site what it wants.

My rule of thumb is, if I can't do the submission as well, or better, than you could manually, I won't do it automatically.

Why should I choose SelfPromotion.com?

It's Easy! You enter your information only once. All the information you enter is stored, so you never have to type the same information twice!

It's Comprehensive! Tooter knows how to talk to all the important sites (and a lot of the semi-important ones), and the list of search engines is constantly updated as they are born and die off. I also have compiled a list of over 500 specialty indexes and search engines targeting particular topics and regions.

It's Economical! You can use SelfPromotion.com for FREE! If you like what the site does, then, and only then, help to pay for it by making a contribution. You can "try before you buy," and pay me what you think this service is worth. SelfPromotion.com is a "ShareService™."

It's Faster! Expect to spend a minute or so entering the information for each site you promote to. The more sites you promote to, the more efficient it is, because more and more of your information can be reused. Most of the time will be spent choosing the right categories for each promotion, as each site categorizes the universe differently. Of course, if you return in a few weeks and do some more promoting, it will only take a few minutes, as you'll already have entered most of the information required. It's Different! Other promotion services promote your site to a few search engines and indexes for free as a teaser, then ask you to pay $50, $100 or even more to have them submit to "the top 500 search engines and indexes." Even assuming that they actually have a good list of special-purpose indexes, and aren't submitting your site to a bunch of useless Free-For-All links pages, of those 500 sites, perhaps 50 are appropriate for any particular promotion and will actually generate hits for you.

And by the way, here at SelfPromotion.com, if you have more than one website, you can promote them all (well, up to 10 of them per account, and more if you contribute!), as often as you want, at no extra charge.

And finally, the webmaster has a sense of humor and tries to make this essential process reasonably entertaining.

What extra goodies do I get for supporting the site?

Contribute $10 or more and you'll get priority service (your promotions get done first) and the ability to automatically resubmit urls to some search engines every 45 days (in case they forget about you). I'll also store your data for a year (if you don't pay, your data gets deleted after 4 weeks) Finally, you'll gain access to a suite of "Secret Net Tools" that let you:
People can use the site for Free?! Are you Nuts?

My mom says yes. My wife says it doesn't matter, she loves me anyway. My older son says it depends on how many toys I buy him, and my younger son is reserving judgment at this time. The bottom line is, I'm trusting that you'll make a contribution to support the service once you see how useful it is. And because the last thing I want is a dissatisfied user, I offer an absolute 100% money-back guarantee. If at any time you feel you haven't gotten your money's worth, you get it back. No questions asked.

A lot of people think I'm nuts to let my users decide how much they should pay, but it actually works out extremely well. After a couple of years of doing this, it was finally pointed out to me that what I'm really doing is "working for tips", and that turns out to be a very interesting business model. I've even written a short paper about how it works.

Myths about Search Engine Registration

Many people expect to instantly get a lot more hits after registering their site. This will not happen, and anyone who promises such results is what my son James used to call a "silly peanut-butter" (in other words, a liar).

Registering your site will get you more hits, but it will take weeks or months for the increased traffic to become noticeable. After you register your site with a particular search engine or index, it can take anything from 5 seconds to 5 months for them to actually list you, if in fact they actually do. Registering at a particular index doesn't guarantee that you'll actually be listed; many indexes are very selective and only list a small percentage of the submissions they get. And the major search engines? Well, they're all taking months to add new listings. Furthermore, just because you are listed by a particular site doesn't mean that your listing will appear on any particular search. Even if you're selling something obscure, like, say, Polish Sausage, a search on Google finds over 1.5 million webpages, only 10 or so of which get on the coveted "first page." So registration by itself isn't enough; you have to have web-pages that "rank highly" with the search engines. I've already mentioned my page on website optimization, and there are also tons of great sites out there that can help you learn how to improve your rankings; I particularly recommend Search Engine Watch as a good place to learn about how search engines work.

If you must have high rankings and traffic in the short term, the only way to do it is to pay for the traffic. This can work well, but you have to be careful; I've got some tips on how to use Yahoo Search Marketing and AdWords that will help.

Finally, while registering your site (and getting good rankings on the search engines) is an important part of site promotion, it is important to understand that it is only one part of the process; there are other equally important things you should do (read The 500 Sites Fallacy for more thoughts on that subject).

About Your Host:

BaldSpotCam My name is Robert Woodhead, and back in the early days of the PC era (1981), I was one of the creators of the Wizardry series of computer-roleplaying games. I also created the Macintosh anti-virus tool "Virex." When not pretending to work on this website, I allegedly run AnimEigo, one of the first Japanese Animation companies. Recently, there have been unconfirmed reports that I've been subtitling cool Samurai Films as well. I live in Wilmington, NC, with my beautiful and brilliant wife Natsumi, and my two children, James and Alexander, where we pursue such hobbies as Combat Robotics and World Domination ("A fun, family activity"). To the right, you can see how I react in a crisis, such as when someone emails me asking why the site doesn't work when used in Japanese on the Lithuanian version of Netscape.

Just for fun, you can have my server yell at me! Please try to be creative with your insults! If I'm nearby, I'll hear you, otherwise I'll get a daily summary of your mutterings! Please don't use this to ask questions; for that, sending me an email is much preferred!

Tell Robert:


The all-time best message I've heard someone say is this : "Robert, this is God. Keep up the good work." All I can say in reply is, "Yes sir! Right away, sir!" And I would like to thank the anonymous "speaker" who pointed out that I'd forgotten the "can" in "...you can have my server..." above; that grammar misteak went unnoticed for 5 years!

And finally, my misteak above is intentional - it is an advanced concept called a “joke”.

Still Reading?

Assuming I haven't bored you too much, it's time you got to work! Start by reading how to prepare your site for the search engines.

Oh, and if you're still looking for the link to the Yahoo tips page, here's an extra copy of it.

PS: If you're interested in the unusual payment philosophy of this site (it took me years to realize I'd reinvented tipping!), you may wish to read a paper I've written on the subject: Tipping - a method for optimizing compensation for intellectual property.

About this site...
This site was developed on a Macintosh, programmed in WebSiphon, and served by WebStar. The author, on those exceedingly rare occasions when he does think, indeed thinks differently.

SelfPromotion.com ©1997-2014 Robert Woodhead, All Rights Reserved. SelfPromotion.com™, Tooter™, Secret Net Tools™, MultiSubmitter™, BaldSpotCam™, and ShareService™ are trademarks of Robert Woodhead. To get help, report bugs, or make suggestions, go here.