Quality is the New Quantity

“Omit needless words.”
– E.B. White, “The Elements of Style

Answer these three questions:

  • What determines the difficulty of a school writing assignment?
  • What kinds of books are you likely to brag about reading?
  • What is the basis on which a writer should charge for his or her work?

If any of your answers involve pages or word counts, you’re stuck in the mentality that the value of a written work is based on its volume.

Now answer this question: Which are you more likely to read, a short article or a long one? Which are you more likely to value, remember, repeat, or link back to?

Focus on quantity and you’ll create swollen, fluffy content. “Happy talk,” to use a term from Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think.” Lots of words; low value density.

Focus on quality and you’ll create quick, easily-digestible content that makes visitors more likely to read, spread, and convert. Fewer words; high value density. Exactly the way your visitors want it in the age of Twitter-induced information overload.

Quality is the new quantity, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t forget it.

NumberNeal Responds to Digg Bans: Insights in Community-Based Website Strategy

Earlier this month, popular social news site Digg banned a number of its users, citing script abuse. This sparked an outcry from the Digg community, including the following video letter from power Digg Neal “NumberNeal” Rodriguez (the same Neal to whom I recently offered some SEO career advice):

I only started using Digg recently, so my opinion of the ban is nowhere near as well-qualified as Neal’s. However, I’d like to walk through several of his key points and see what can be learned about running a successful community-based website.

“Your user, period, comes first.”
Neal asserts that Digg is penalizing user scripts in order to boost its impression count and advertising revenue. This, combined with Digg’s failure to provide its users with an efficient alternative to scripts, constitutes an unacceptable conflict of interest in Neal’s mind. As he puts it, “You’re not caring for your user by banning your user.”

My Take: Community-based websites live or die on their user base. There’s no debating whether Digg has the right to enforce its Terms of Use. However, it’s worth questioning whether those terms should evolve to accommodate changing user needs. At the very least, Digg should offer its users a better explanation of why such strict enforcement is in everyone’s best interests. Really, any explanation would have been better than, “…we believe that the larger Digg community is adversely impacted by people who choose to violate the TOU.” By failing to address the issue in a user-centric manner, Digg is only fueling negative user perceptions.

“Know your market.”
Neal points out that marketers and new media enthusiasts are the primary audience on Digg. By penalizing networking and self-promotion, he argues, Digg is alienating its most active promoters. He goes on to propose that Digg, “embrace marketers,” by offering users the tools and information needed to succeed on its platform. He even goes so far as to suggest that Digg pay its most active users instead of banning them.

My Take: To me, this may be an illustration of the difference between an actual audience and an intended one. Digg’s desire seems to be a broader appeal. In fact, it’s quite likely that its attractiveness to marketers is the unintended side effect of its success. Whether this is a smart move or not, it seems clear that Digg is trying to recapture its intended user base by doing exactly alienating marketers just as Neal says its doing. I do agree with Neal, though; marketers go where the traffic is. Digg would be better off in the long run by embracing them in the same healthy way that Google does.

“Digg is not the only platform out there.”
Neal presents statistics to demonstrate the effect of Digg’s actions. Unique visitors on Digg appear to be going down, while unique visitors on other social media websites appear to be going up.

My Take: As above, I doubt this is an unexpected consequence. If Digg is out to alienate marketers and make the site more attractive to casual users, they may be willing to take a calculated hit to their popularity to see it happen. Whether they’re killing the goose that laid the golden egg or patiently giving it a chance to lay again is up for debate. Only time will tell if such heavy-handed tactics add value or spell the downfall of the site.

SEO Career Advice for Power Digger Neal Rodriguez

A few weeks ago, my good friend Simon Owens introduced me via email to noted Power Digger Neal Rodriguez. As it turned out, Neal was interested in a career in SEO, and I was more than happy to weigh in with the following advice.

Don’t just be an SEO specialist; be an online marketer.

SEO is a somewhat ambiguous term in the industry, but it’s being regarded more and more as a combination of skills that are independent from SEM (Search Engine Marketing). I’ve got a similar mix of skills that span both categories, and I’ve found the term “online marketer” serves me much better.

Demonstrate past successes with hard numbers.

An important thing to remember is that the focus of any online marketer should always be the bottom line… For example, you achieved page one rankings for ImperialJets.com on competitive terms. That’s all well and good, but how much additional business/revenue did that produce? Remember, we live in a world where black hat SEO companies run rampant and give the industry a bad name by focusing on rankings. It’s often not enough to prove that you’re good at SEO, but that SEO is a valuable marketing tactic. ROI (Return On Investment) should be your bread and butter.

Promote your portfolio.

Whatever your professional skills, in the web industry, it’s becoming more and more useful to have a online portfolio of some kind. It serves the dual purpose of showing off your expertise and demonstrating your ability to create and promote a website on your own. Once you’ve got one, polish it until it shines, then link to it…

Develop a solid understanding of both on- and off-site optimization.

You’re obviously interested in SEO, and your viral marketing and social networking skills are definitely impressive. However, what do you know about on-site optimization? How much do you know about things like keyword research, copywriting, visibility analysis, site architecture, XML sitemaps, link building, etc.? The best results are often achieved by those with both on-site and off-site optimization ability, so if these aren’t things you know much about, they’re skills worth shoring up to further your career potential.

Develop your expertise with web programming.

…do you have any web design or development expertise? (…) In the SEO company where I got my start in the industry, there were about eight analysts who did the heavy lifting in terms of actual optimization (as opposed to copywriters and client managers). All eight of us were also experienced web developers. Granted, many of us got our start as developers and segued into SEO later, but development skills are nonetheless very valuable to the practice.

(Update 11/7/2008: A recent poll on Search Engine Roundtable confirms that programming is second only to marketing as the degree of choice for SEO professionals.)

Broaden your skill set.

Over the years, I have found that my greatest career advances came as the result of a broad skill set. In most jobs, I pull multiple duty as a copywriter, web developer, PPC manager, blogger, and SEO specialist. If you’re serious about a career in online marketing, I’d strongly recommend developing your expertise in related skill sets. Seek out breadth and embrace opportunities to learn something new. It’s worked very well for me.

Pay attention to offline opportunities.

Strangely, during my last few job searches, I managed to land a job out of the newspaper rather than online listings, so I strongly recommend that traditional listing services play a role in your job search. Also, and I know this may sound like the student instructing the professor, but networking does wonders. I have a planned job change in the next few weeks, all thanks to a friendly connection. Given that you found me through Simon, you’re obviously already doing this, so keep up the good work.

Know the demographic of your prospective employer.

…any business can benefit from online marketing, but I find only mid- to large-size businesses have the resources and interest to have their own in-house specialist. Smaller companies have a tendency to outsource such a specialized role.

A Note about Neal Rodriguez

I haven’t known Neal very long, but my advice to prospective employers is this: Power Diggers don’t come along ever day, so don’t wait; he won’t be on the market long. The fact that he wrote a guest post for Marketing Pilgrim should give you a hint that he knows what he’s doing. If you’re interested, you can email him at notifyneal at gmail.com.

Social Media Experiment Update, Week Six

If you’ve been reading awhile, you may remember the social media experiment I started a few weeks ago. Well, after a month and a half, I figured it was about time to check on my Frankenstein monster and see how it was progressing.

Social network search performance over time

So far, most of the readings are negative. It’s not lurching around. It’s not terrorizing peasants. All it appears to be doing it twitching and grumbling on the table. Here are my findings to date.

  • Naymz was very effective. As you can see, my Naymz profile is the earliest and highest result of the lot. It even enjoyed a brief stint on page one during the second week. At the time of this writing, it still ranks at a respectable 17. This is especially remarkable when you consider how little effort it took to set up and maintain.
  • Facebook was also very effective. Although I enjoy a lot of competition in Facebook (419 results for a profile search with “Stephen Ward” in the name), it turned out to be one of the best performers. It never reached page one like Naymz, but it’s held its position on page two for several weeks now. At the time of this writing, it appears to be holding around #15. Granted, I had to put more work into Facebook than Naymz, and it doesn’t do much for links or branding, but it still proved to be fairly handy.
  • LinkedIn and MySpace could have worked. Much like Facebook, there’s generally a lot of competition for name rankings on these sites. More importantly, entries for both of LinkedIn and Facebook consistently ranked on page one or two. The only problem is that they were some other Stephen Ward’s profiles. If I could manage to make Google think that I’m the most important Stephen Ward on those sites, my profile would likely replace theirs.
  • Blogcatalog and Technorati were so-so. I mention them because they were the only other profiles to show up on the radar. Blogcatalog built up from page 15 to page four only to mysteriously fall off and never recover. Technorati languished between pages 13 and 18 before it also fell off. Neither performed phenomenally well, but I was surprised to see blog listing pages showing up at all.
  • Everything else failed. The down side is that most of my monster didn’t so much as twitch. I invested the most time in social news sites like Digg and Reddit and social bookmarking services like Delicious and StumbleUpon, but the profiles never showed up in the top 200. Even my underdog industry profiles, DZone and SEOmoz, didn’t make the cut.

I don’t think I’ll abandon the experiment just yet. As I already pointed out, LinkedIn and MySpace show promise. I’ll keep things going, redistribute my efforts, and maybe add a new part or two. Who knows? With a little patience, I may get my monster up and dancing yet.

A Crash Course in the Streisand Effect

Chrome in Chrome

Picture yourself standing in your kitchen. You shake the last bit of broomed-up crumbs from your dust pan into the trash. It’s taken awhile to clean up for the party, but you made it just in time. Your guests should be arriving soon to enjoy a pleasant evening in your spotless home.

As you wipe the sweat from your brow, you hear a faint skittering sound near your feet. You look down to see a cockroach crawling across the linoleum. In anger, you stamp your foot down on the unsuspecting insect and hear a satisfying crunch.

As you raise your foot to make sure the roach is dead, however, five more crawl out from beneath it. How can this be? You hastily march about the kitchen in a desperate attempt to squash each of the offensive critters. Each time you do, though, five more appear, then ten, then one hundred! Your kitchen is now covered in a disgusting swarm.

Then you hear the knock at the door. A panicked thought races through your mind. “They’re here, and my kitchen is covered in cockroaches!”

You wake up in a pool of sweat. You rub your eyes and breath heavily, trying to banish the reputation nightmare from your mind.

Information is a finicky thing. If you leave it alone, the world at large may never know it exists. The single cockroach may find its way under the fridge and never manage to offend a single guest.

Squelch that information, however, and you give it power. You give it the status of an underdog or a martyr. Others rally to its cause and spread the word. Now what might have done little or no harm to your company is a public controversy. Instead of one cockroach, you have a swarm.

The history of this phenomenon is pervasive and well-documented, affecting businesses, celebrities, religious organizations, and even royalty. Not familiar with it? Well, for the sake of your business’ online reputation, now’s the time to educate yourself about the Streisand Effect.

Barbara Streisand v. Kenneth Adelman

Back in 2003, this phenomenon gained its official label thanks to Barbara Streisand, who sued photographer Kenneth Adelman for distributing aerial photos of her beachfront home. The resulting backlash caused the photo in question to receive widespread attention and distribution.

Daniela Cicarelli v. YouTube

As it turns out, “sex on the beach” isn’t just an alcoholic beverage. In September of 2006, paparazzi footage of Brazilian model Daniela Cicarelli enjoying some quality time with her boyfriend made it onto YouTube. When a lawsuit was filed demanding it be removed, users posted copies all over the place. The Brazilian legal system even went so far as to block YouTube for its ineffectiveness in preventing the spread, which caused Brazilian fans to boycott Cicarelli’s show.

MPAA v. Digg

In April of 2007, an HD DVD encryption key was posted to Digg. The Motion Picture Association of America sent legal notices demanding that it be removed, and the site administrators at Digg complied. When the removal became public knowledge, however, Digg’s users revolted, posting and digging hundreds of duplicates to the front page. The code also made it onto numerous other websites, onto T-shirts, and was even immortalized in song.

King of Thailand v. YouTube

The Streisand Effect even applies to royalty. When a insulting video of Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej appeared on YouTube in April 2007, the Thai government responded by blocking the site. Not only did the act elicit widespread notoriety for the original video, but it spawned numerous other insulting videos, many more offensive than the first.

Scientology v. the Internet

The Church of Scientology has several well-documented bouts with the Streisand Effect, even predating when the term was coined. In 1995, they attempted to remove the Usenet group alt.religion.scientology for posting private documents. In January 2008, they demanded that a video of Tom Cruise be removed from YouTube (which complied), and subsequently from Gawker.com (which refused). In April 2008, they demanded that WikiLeaks.org remove private documents from their site. All of these actions, of course, resulted in widespread distribution of the materials in question.

Tiny Details v. Me

As a side note, I myself have been involved in an instance of the Streisand Effect. In July of 2006, I posted a critique of a business named Tiny Details on my old personal website. In February of 2007, Kristopher Buchan, the owner of the business, emailed me with threats of legal action unless the post was removed. Within two days, news of his threats had circulated on the Consumerist and several other blogs. We managed to reach a peaceful settlement afterward, but not before permanent damage had been done to Tiny Details’ online reputation.

The truth is obvious: Online censorship has a way of backfiring. Often, the bigger you are, and the more blatant the censorship, the larger the resulting backlash.

This goes hand-in-hand with not attacking your critics. There may be sensitive or damaging information about your company or your website skittering around in cyberspace. And there are, of course, ways of dealing with it. But legal bullying is not one of them. Take care when handling your cockroaches, lest you suffer the wrath of the Streisand Effect.

Explaining Social Media Optimization to the Uninformed

One of the major challenges of online marketing is communicating the value of new techniques such as corporate blogging, SEO, or social media optimization. Uninformed superiors are often wary of marketing tactics they don’t understand.

If you think you’re ready to ride the wild wave of social media optimization but your boss is still skeptical, here are a few points that can help increase his or her familiarity and, hopefully, willingness to give it a try.

It’s just another channel. List out the ways you market your website to your customers. You might use PPC, SEO, banner ads, email, online press releases, and the like to drive your message online. Offline, you might use radio, television, yellow page listings, newspaper ads, fliers, billboards, etc. These are all examples of marketing channels. Each has its own unique advantages, disadvantages, best practices, and success metrics. Social media optimization is no different.

It has its own rules. Even though it’s just another channel, social media optimization can’t be treated in the same way. Much like blogging, SMO is collaborative in nature. Branding messages and hard sales pitches are not well-received. The best approach could be described as mingling. Go out and talk to your customers on neutral ground. Get personal. Share something with them that is genuinely exciting, entertaining, or useful outside the context of commercial interest. Praise and reward those who bring attention to you. You may not get conversions (at least, not directly), but your brand as a whole will benefit.

It’s a lot of work. On the flip side of those who doubt SMO are those who think it’s a magic pill to ease all of their online marketing woes. It’s not. Social media optimization requires painstaking content creation and networking to pay off. It’s a lot of work with uncertain returns. Care should always be taken when determining what marketing strategy is best for the goals you have in mind.

It’s volatile. Traffic from traditional online marketing comes in steady streams; traffic from SMO comes in tsunamis or droughts. You may submit a piece of Diggbait only to have it languish and die in Upcoming, or it may hit the front page and bring in tens of thousands of visitors that overwhelm your server. It’s boom or bust; there is no in-between.

Much of its value is indirect. Social media traffic is notorious for low conversion rates. However, it’s important to consider the many indirect benefits of an SMO surge. For starters, it gets thousands of eyes on your brand. If they liked what they saw, that good impression may result in conversions at a later date. These visitors may also link back to your content, improving your search rankings. It’s true that this makes total value hard to measure. Whatever the real value is, though, you can be sure that it’s higher than the conversions generated off of the initial flood of traffic.

Don’t Attack Your Critics; Empower Your Advocates

“If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success.”
– Malcolm X

It’s a fact of life. The more successful your website, the more likely it is to receive criticism. As Malcolm X points out, this can almost be regarded as a good thing. After all, nobody would feel the need to criticize unless your site had some measure of importance. Still, critics often represent a vocal minority that can do serious damage to your website’s reputation. It’s important, then, to know how to deal with them.

Don’t Attack Your Critics

Awhile back, I wrote an article on DailyBlogTips.com about how to deal with flamers and trolls. I talked about remaining calm, accepting valid criticism, avoiding censorship, and never stooping to their level. The common theme among these points is to never attack your critics.

Why? Because, no matter how much damage a critic does to your online reputation, counterattacking will only do more. Consider the following two scenarios:

  1. You attack your critics. Your critics comes right back at you twice as strongly as before. You attack them again. They attack you again. Before you know it, you’re locked into a cycle of negative reciprocity from which there is no escape. After the flame war has passed, your online reputation is little more than a shriveled shadow of its former self.
  2. You attack your critics. Your attack actually manages to stifle their negativity. Because of your approach, however, you are left looking sensitive, juvenile, and/or insecure in the eyes of your audience.

Either outcome results in further damage to your reputation. It’s a lose/lose situation.

Empower Your Advocates

Of course, your audience includes more than just critics. You probably have more than a few advocates as well. These loyal fans will defend your site on its merits and attack critics on your behalf, often without notice or reward.

The only problem with advocates is that they are often the silent majority to the critics’ vocal minority. Advocates are pleased with your site. As such, they rarely feel the need to speak up. It’s just a fact of human nature that dissatisfaction elicits a more outspoken response than satisfaction.

The trick to online reputation management, then, is to engage and empower your advocates. Get them to speak out, either by singing your site’s praises, denouncing its detractors, or both. Don’t force it, of course; you’ll only be seen as less genuine by soliciting positive reviews. By inviting advocates to weigh in on the discussion, however, you can turn the reputation battle in your favor. Here are some ways you can “rally the troops.”

  • Converse Outside Your Site – Your advocates are talking about your site elsewhere on the internet. Seek out these hot spots of positivity and add to the conversation.
  • Facilitate Sharing – Add social media sharing utilities (e.g., Digg, StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, etc.) to your website so advocates can attract like-minded friends.
  • Feature Testimonials – Solicit testimonials and success stories from advocates, then feature them prominently on your website.
  • Get Social – Give your website a face by creating profiles on Facebook, MySpace, and similar websites and befriending your advocates.
  • Send Thank You Emails – Advocates often praise your site without expecting to be rewarded. By letting them know that their positive feedback was noticed and appreciated, you encourage them to repeat it.
  • Sponsor Competitions – Offer a prize for a competition related to your website (e.g., best fan video).

What do you think? How else can website owners encourage and empower their advocates?

My Social Media Frankenstein Monster

Social media!!! Rrrraaarrrr!!!

Since the dawn of search, SEO professionals have dreamed of controlling brand-related search results. Through the power of social media, I intend to do just that. I will wrest my name from the whims of the algorithms and take control of my own destiny.

The Hypothesis

By linking them together, social media profiles can be leveraged to gain a high degree of control over the search listings for a brand with low to moderate competition.

The Experiment

In order to prove my hypothesis, I will create an assortment of active social media and bookmarking profiles that are relevant for the term “Stephen Ward.” I will then link them together in such a way as to provide maximum ranking benefit for this term. If my hypothesis is correct, I should be able to achieve first-page rankings on Google for some or all of my profiles.

The Parts

For some parts of my social media Frankenstein monster, I’ve dug up old profiles that have gone unused for differing lengths of time. For others, I’ve harvested fresh profiles from unsuspecting websites. In every case, stimulation through organic participation and networking will ensure that they remain viable to the experiment’s conclusion. Here are the various parts that I’ve managed to piece together.

The Stitches

Links will be the stitches that hold my monster together. Unfortunately, linking between them in a way that is visible to search engines is a complex process. Some profiles allow you to place any number of links to other profiles in a way that search engines can easily index. Others allow only a certain number of links, or links that are not counted by search engines. Still others do not allow outbound linking at all. Taking all of these factors into account, here is how I pieced them together.

  • Delicious – As a bookmarking profile, adding links is really the point. I made sure that links to my blog and all of my profiles were the first to make it into my bookmarks.
  • Digg – Unlike Reddit, Digg allows any number of personal, customizable links in the About section of your profile.
  • DZone – Despite its nature as a niche social news site for developers, DZone is one of the few profiles that have been active prior to the experiment. It allows a single link back to your blog in the Information section of your profile. Additionally, many of my articles are relevant as submissions, so it serves my purposes nicely.
  • Facebook – It’s a shame that the most prominent social media network doesn’t allow external links that are visible to search engines. Still, no social media strategy would be complete without it.
  • LinkedIn – Like DZone, I’ve been active in LinkedIn for a long time now. Outbound linking here is a bit of a mix. You are allowed no more than three links in the Websites section of your profile. For practical reasons, two of these link to my blog and one to a company website. If one of my profiles begins to perform well, I might change one of these links to point to it instead.
  • MySpace – I’ve had a dormant profile on the much decried MySpace for some time. The good news is that it allows any amount of external linking. The bad news is that those links are sent through a redirection service. Still, they might provide some indirect juice.
  • Reddit – Short of egotistically voting up your own articles (which I don’t recommend), there’s no way to generate outbound links on a Reddit profile.
  • SEOmoz – Like DZone, SEOmoz serves as a strictly niche profile for my industry. It allows a single, no-followed external link in the About section. Fortunately, through community participation, it is possible to remove the nofollow. I will be working toward that goal in my activity on the site.
  • StumbleUpon – Like Delicious, linking is the whole point of StumbleUpon. However, because it can directly influence another user’s browsing experience, purely egotistical linking can be detrimental. I will be adding articles from my blog to StumbleUpon slowly and only as they become relevant so as not to draw the ire of the stumble brigades. For similar reasons, I won’t be adding my profiles at all.

The Lightning

This website already ranks well for the term “Stephen Ward” in Google. By instituting site-wide links out to all of my social media profiles in my side bar, I hope to generate enough juice to bring my monster to life. Since I have complete control over the coding on the site, I’ve made sure to add my name to the title attribute of each of these links to increase their relevancy.

It’s Alive…?

The parts have been assembled. The lightning has struck. Now we wait in the dark with rapt anticipation to see if my monster stirs to life. Will this hodgepodge of social media profiles suddenly lurch up in the search rankings? Or will they lie still and dormant, no more than the overhyped, underperforming dreams of a mad SEO specialist? Stay tuned for the conclusion to our grotesque tale.

Update 8/5/08: At the recommendation of my friend Adam Schultz, I’ve added Naymz to my social media roster and submitted Ward on the Web to BlogCatalog.

Launching a Successful Website, Step Five: 3, 2, 1… Lift Off!

Every step so far has led up to this: Launching your website. Of course, the technical bits should already be taken care of, leaving only the launch itself. If your site is small, this can be as simple as turning the key and hoping for the best. More than likely, though, you’ll need to spread the word to get any attention. As with everything that came before, here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Set a date. Much like a shuttle takeoff, there’s often a lot of coordination involved in launching a website. Pick a reasonable date in the near future to schedule it all. Your promotional experts may be able to advise the most strategic time based on your market (e.g., launching a football paraphernalia website just before the play-offs), or you may aim to launch as soon as possible. In any event, setting a date and sticking to it will help ensure the launch goes off without a hitch.

Submit the site to search engines. This used to mean manual submissions. Nowadays, though, it means compiling an XML sitemap and submitting it to Google Webmaster Tools, Yahoo Site Explorer, and MSN Live Search Webmaster Center, as well as adding it to your robots.txt file for smaller search engines. This should get the spiders indexing all of your content as quickly as possible.

Publish a press release. With today’s technology, you might think that the old-fashioned press release would have gone the way of the dodo, but it can still be a useful method for promoting a website.

Contact reviewers. Nothing can bring a new site up to speed like an endorsement from a respected professional. Just be sure your site deserves praise before soliciting reviews. Remember your manners, too; unless they’re paid, reviewers are doing you a favor, and attempting to forcibly coerce a good review could easily backfire.

Tap social media. One well-placed Digg, Twitter, or Stumble could easily get a new site off the ground. Where appropriate, spread the news of your site’s launch out in these and other social networks. As with reviewers, though, don’t force it; social networkers have a notorious hatred for overzealous self-promotion. Tread with care or you risk provoking a very damaging backlash.

Establish advertising. You might use pay-per-click services like Google AdWords, banner ad placement services like Tribal Fusion, or seek out independent advertising agreements with individual website owners. The key is to know your prospective audience and the kinds of sites they’re likely to visit.

Build inbound links. Listings in relevant directories can provide some modest traffic and the initial link juice needed for your site to rank in search engine results. Even more valuable, though, are links from websites with significant authority in your market.

Launching Ward on the Web

Most of the concept and planning work for Ward on the Web occurred early in May 2008. Thus, I decided to set June 1st, 2008 as my firm launch date. I installed the Google XML Sitemaps plugin for WordPress, submitted my sitemap to the big three search engines, and added it to my robots.txt file. I then hit up some of my blogging contacts, including Adam Schultz, Daniel Scocco, and Simon Owens, with notice of the launch. Lastly, I added social media bookmarking links to my WordPress template and submitted the site to Dmoz. As for press releases and advertising, I intentionally left them out because I don’t have the budget for them.

In my next post, I’ll address how to maintain your site’s upward momentum after launch.