When you put a lot of time and effort into anything, it shows. The same can be said for a successful web site. Hard work will shine through. But the hard work doesn't stop there. If you fail to put that same effort and time into promoting your site, all is for nothing. First and foremost, you want a site with a lot of good content, cool graphics, easy navigation and something that will pull your visitors back for more.
The title of each page is very important and should reflect the content of your site. Ben's Homepage tells me nothing, while Ben's Free Graphics says a lot. Also, the first paragraph of text on your site should describe what your web site is about and has to offer. Certain search engines use these lines to describe your site in their listings. So before you even begin to think about submitting it for the world to see, take your time in constructing the copy. In other words, don't submit to search engines if your site consists of an under construction sign and an email address.
After your web site is ready to go, put that same effort and time into promoting it. I've learned that being organized and patient pays off in the long run. I keep a file just on web site promotion alone, listing the dates and names of the indexes I've submitted. You would not believe how many times this has come in handy. I read all the search engine requirements, such as a link back or the backup on submissions, and follow the rules. Be patient and wait for your site to be indexed, don't re-apply over and over again. Instead put that energy into making your site all it can be. Most of your visitors will come from search engines, but links on other web sites can't hurt.
When people see something they really like, they will tell others about it by providing a link to your "great" site. Keep statistics on your visitors, and see what keywords they used to find you, this will help with future updates to those all important meta tags. Provide contact information so your visitors can easily correspond with you, and take advantage of email to promote your site. Use a signature file that has both a description of your site and a clickable link to it as well. This extra effort will pay off.
Michele Jinkerson was the proprietor of Michele-Web Webmaster Resources.