16.3 Advertising Your Site

Once you’ve set up your web site, there are a few things you can do to attract visitors to your site.  First, you can simply tell people about your site.  If your site has a memorable name, or if you’ve printed up business cards, you can invite people you meet in the field to view your photos on the internet.  Some internet forums (see Appendix A) allow users to post links to their photo albums, and this can be a good way to get other people to come to your site.  Another option is to join a so-called webring; the sites in a webring link to each other in series, so that viewers can traverse the whole ring of sites easily.  If you belong to any email lists (such as a listserve) for nature or photography groups, including your web site URL in your signature at the bottom of your posts can help to increase your traffic as well.
    A very important method for increasing the visibility of your site is to register your site with the major search engines, such as Google and Yahoo.   Once you’ve registered your site with these search engines, their crawlers (also called spiders) will index the pages in your site by scanning them for keywords; when users search for those keywords via the search engine, your site will then come up in the list of results (though it may be far down on the list, depending on your ranking).  Some search engines will also index the images, based on their filenames or on the alt attribute in your img tags:

<img src="greathornedowl.jpg" alt="great horned owl">

In this case I
ve used the alt attribute to indicate that this is an image of a great horned owl, in hopes that users searching for this species will find my image.