How to Publicize Your E-Zine
Once you've created an e-zine, how do you get the word out? This guide offers strategies to let a world of readers know about your work. You also should check out these eight great tips from Christopher Pirillo. For more guidance on which promotion techniques are most effective, consider the Poor Richard's Internet Marketing and Promotions.
We'll assume you have created your webzine, or have the basic know-how to do so (if not, two books to accomplish this are Web Sites That Suck and Poor Richard's Website Creation). You'll receive much of your traffic from search engines, which index your pages based on a variety of criteria. Although most of the major engines no longer consider them, it can't hurt to add meta keywords to your pages before submitting your pages. If you haven't already, establish a secondary email account at a free site such as hotmail.com or yahoo.com and use that address when you register to avoid getting crushed with spam. Also, your webzine will rank better with the engines if you have your own domain name, rather than an address at a service provider (e.g. members.aol.com or geocities.com). You can register your zine's name for $6.99 per year at 1&1 Internet, which might be a good idea even if you don't have immediate plans for it. It also offers a bare-bones web hosting package starting at $3.95 per month.
Once you have
your webzine in place, visit yahoo.com and google.com and submit
your URLs (if you have a lot of pages, submit no more than five
URLs per day). Don't pay for services that promise to submit
your site to hundreds of engines. It won't affect your traffic
as much as just hitting the larger ones. For a primer on how
the various engines work, visit Search Engine Watch. It offers a free newsletter
that gets into tons of details about how engines work. Anytime
you make a major change to your site or add new pages, submit
or resubmit the URLs.
Getting visitors is great, but the real challenge is getting them to return. It's important to have interesting and unique content, but you also want to remind people that it's there. Many editors offer an email version of their work that goes out when each new issue of the Webzine is posted, or whenever he or she adds new content. It invites readers to return to the site for another look. You can add a simple mailto: link to your page to compile a list manually, or you can use a free service such as Yahoo Groups, which handles all the subscribe and unsubscribe details for you. Doing an e-mail newsletter also allows you to reach people who don't have Web access. For more information, you won't find a better manual than Chris Pirillo's Poor Richard's E-Mail Publishing.
Most zines have zero ad budget. That's fine. There
are numerous ways to get the word out without spending a lot
of money, such as inexpensive postcards or banner exchanges.
Contact like-minded e-zine editors (chose your friends carefully)
or join banner exchanges such as Exchange Ad. The services offering banner ad
exchanges are getting more sophisticated with targeting where
your ads are placed.
Remember, you have competition. Attention spans
are short. Updating your site is key. Jim Romenesko of the Obscure
Reading Room notes that his visitor count was flat when he let
cobwebs grow on his site. "When I add to it at least once
a week, I've noticed that at least some visitors return for the
possibility of new content," he says. (He's right: I'm one
of them.) Other "reader-friendly" advice: Go through
your publication with a fine-tooth comb and fix all typos (if
you can't read your e-zine twice, why should a reader read it
once?) and eliminate any link rot by checking your links regularly.
report new or dead sites here