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How to Promote Your Business
on the Internet

Michael D. Crawford

Michael David Crawford, Consulting Software Engineer
Solving The Software Problem
mdcrawford@gmail.com

November 27, 2002, updated February 2015

Copyright © 2002, 2012, 2015 Michael D. Crawford. All Rights Reserved.

Various pages on my previous software consulting company's website appeared highly ranked at Google for a number of search terms that are pertinent to the business I was in.

For well over five years, a Google search for software consultant turned up my software consulting homepage and my resume as the top two hits. (Your Mileage May Vary - it didn't happen every time I try it. Eventually my old site's prominence declined when I stopped maintaining it.)

I checked quite a few keywords once and I come up on the first page for about a dozen of the queries I tried.

That's pretty valuable to me - especially considering that a search for software consultant turned up a total of 127,000,000 search matches.

How did I do it?

It's no secret. I've been sharing my marketing methods with everyone for years.

I just post stuff on my website that people want to read. Some of it's related to my business. Some of it's not, some of it in fact is very personal and controversial. Here's some of it:

Gonzo Marketing cover

Gonzo Marketing:
Winning Through Worst Practices

by Christopher Locke

[ Buy at Amazon]
[ Buy at Powell's]

There's more.

Some of my pages are very popular, and keep people coming back. Almost everyone looking for a programming job in Santa Cruz knows about my list of employers - and I get grateful email from employers who hired a new employee after my page referred them. One guy sent me a hundred dollar gift certificate to India Joze after he found a good programing job through my page.

There's no fee to anyone to use my employment page. Not for any of my pages.

Don't just post stuff that shills your product, that's not the kind of thing that keeps people coming back. The programming tips page is directly related to my business, and I think is what's going to most impress a potential client, but I think what is most valuable is that I am very honest and personal in what I post. Sometimes I'm pretty blunt. Read The Valley is a Harsh Mistress.

The Cluetrain Manifesto cover

The Cluetrain Manifesto:
The End of Business as Usual

by Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls and David Weinberger

[ Buy at Amazon]
[ Buy at Powell's]

There's more you have to do.

When you get a new piece of content up, post links to it around the net. Don't just post your homepage, announce the one item and give a link directly to its page.

Post new stuff regularly. Whenever I post a new programming tip, and announce it, traffic to my site doubles for a month, and when it tapers off, it levels off to a level that is a little higher than it was before.

Finally, come right out and ask your readers for links. That has two benefits. The obvious one is that more people will just stumble across your site. The other, less obvious but more powerful, is that the search engines will figure you've got interesting stuff on your site and rank you higher. That's ultimately how I got ranked so highly. Provide reciprocal links to those who are kind enough to link you. I offer them on my reciprocal links page.

Don't waste your time posting links on free-for-all sites. The search engines know those aren't real people interested in your site.

There are many sites that will give you a nice link for the asking. For example, code4u gives me a couple of nice links. I only wish I had more time to find other sites like this.

Don't bother with the search engine submission services. Instead, use my painless page that links directly to the submission pages of a bunch of search engines.

The search engines know to ignore submissions generated by submission bots, and you'll get spammed mercilessly after you give your email address to one (I know, I used iNeedHits once, and now I get torrents of spam sent to the unique email address that I gave to ineedhits.com and no one else).

Yes, it is a lot of work, and it takes time to develop business from doing this, but I think it's ultimately the best strategy. It does not cost anything. The only cost to me is that it takes a lot of time to write my articles, especially the more detailed ones like Pointers, References and Values, and that's time I can't spend working billable hours for my clients. So I don't get to write as much as I would like.

You may ask why I share these astounding trade secrets. After all, if other consultants posted interesting content on their sites, I may not get ranked so highly. Well, for one thing, I think I can stay in front by posting more stuff. And mainly, I think if everyone promoted their business this way, the internet would be a much better place for everyone.

I think it's sad that most people spend all their time at MSN, Yahoo and CNN. It would be much better if the web were more like it was in the early days before search engines and big commercial sites, when people found each other just by following links around.

Now for my last unsolved question: who is Boris Bord and how did he get ranked ahead of me? You have to scroll the window to see my resume, but his site is ranked #2 in the software consultant search.

Thank you for your attention

Originally posted as a comment at the Kuro5hin community website.

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