Your Study Guides and Strategies starts here!

If you're holding out for universal popularity, I'm afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time.
J. K. Rowling, 1965 -
English author
Harry Potter and the
Goblet of Fire

Online learning series

Making your website popular

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Position & optimize your web site traffic
with search engines & directories

Website development

Identify your audience
Is your audience
local? regional? national? international? professional? content driven?

Keep perspective on developing your website:
you are not competing with Microsoft, the United Nations, or the Library of Congress

Review your content
What in your content is valuable to your audience?


  • create intuitive and obvious navigation; enable multiple topical "entry points"
  • clearly present current content
  • published research and items of interest
  • establish credibility with the credentials of authors and list awards
  • include a few items of personal interest (humanize)
  • delete gimmicks or gratuitous technology or distracting graphics that have no purpose to that of the website
  • facilitate contacts and feedback:
    make it simple!

Structure your content
for convenient and intuitive navigation and access

Your audience should easily find what they are looking for
A web site of links has little value compared to search engines and directories

Positioning your web site for search engines, directories, and portals
Do not promote a site that is not well-developed
First (bad) impressions will affect later positioning.

Content development:

  • Competitive landscape:
    Compare your site to similar sites;
    Determine critical keywords/search terms
  • Prioritize keyword density
    Constructively and proactively use keywords in your home page content;
    make sure it reflects the content

Metatags are located in the HTML source code of a web page that detail administrative information about a web site/page. Some information is also scanned by portals, directories, and search engines and listed in the web site's description,
such as < title > and < description >

  • Title metatag
    Displayed in the top line of a browser, and often duplicated in listings of search engines, etc.
  • Description metatag:
    Employs keywords well-reflective of content; duplicated in Alta Vista's listings of your site
    Should be consistent for all submissions: directories, search engines, portals
    Should be descriptive, not hyped: The Open Directory Project (ODP) rejects sites with promotional descriptions.
  • Keyword metatag:
    Generally obsolete but still necessary:
    Google does not index the metatag for "keywords"
  • Add metadata to images
    with the < alt > tag and include/reinforce keywords

Open Directory Project
"The Open Directory Project (ODP) is the most comprehensive human edited directory of the Web, compiled by a vast global community of volunteer editors. The ODP powers core directory services for some the most popular portals and search engines on the Web, including AOL Search, Netscape Search, Google, Lycos, DirectHit, and HotBot, and hundreds of others."

Search engines:

Promoting your site

  • Is the Web site incorporated consistently into all marketing plans?
    Is the URL/address prominent in all print and media publications?
  • Are there professional e-newsletters, listservs, blogs, etc. where the site can be promoted or referenced?
  • Do professional organizations list member Web sites?
  • Are you a part of any Webrings?
    (An Internet site that links web sites that have the same theme)
  • Do you encourage your staff, supporters and enthusiasts to refer to the site in publications, speeches, etc.?
  • Do you monitor traffic on the site, especially its most popular pages for opportune developments?
  • Have you reviewed all search engines, portals, directories for positioning?
  • Do you submit your site for awards?
    and post the kudos?
  • Do you exchange links with appropriate entities?
  • Are there associated resources where you can promote your Website: an electronic newsletter, users group, events alert, blog, etc.

Tools to monitor website traffic and links to your site

See also:

Online learning/communicating:

Online learning: questions | Distance learning | Mobile learning (M-learning) |
Taking online tests | Netiquette | Basics: Website development |
Basics: Website design | Making your website popular