Publicizing a website is a tricky business. There are people who earn their living by publicizing other people’s websites. You can spend thousands of pounds – if you have them – publicizing your site. Or, you can follow this simple list of suggestions – which will probably work better anyway:
1. Publicize the site offline – meaning, make sure the site is mentioned in the branch’s printed publications including its newsletter, letterhead, envelopes, business cards, posters, etc. This is a never-ending job; don’t think that by once mentioning the website in the branch’s newsletter you’ve finished.
2. Make sure the whole union knows about your site – add it to the CWU’s links database on the union’s website, http://www.cwu.org. (You must sign on to the intranet to do this.)
3. Get listed in the main directory of British trade union sites online (there are now 190 trade union websites in the UK) – visit http://dmoz.org/Regional/UK/Society/Organisations/Unions/ and click on “Add URL”. (There are 18 CWU sites listed there.)
4. Get listed in other trade union directories – visit http://www.labourstart.org/gldod.shtml and click on “Add your URL to all these directories.”
5. Join the UK Labour Web Ring — http://www.labourstart.org/uk/webring.shtml. You’ll be in good company, with other UK trade union sites.
6. To promote your site to all the main directories, indexes and search engines, visit http://www.selfpromotion.com. This service is free and will get your site into all the places it needs to be listed – including such UK only indexes as Excite UK, Mirago, Search UK, Splut, UK Directory and UK Index. I especially recommend that you read the site’s explanation of how to get yourself listed on Yahoo; getting properly listed in Yahoo is the single most important thing you can do to promote your site.
7. Add a mailing list to your site – collect email addresses of branch members and people interested in possibly joining the branch – and from time to time, send out reminders and updates. This will increase traffic to your site. Use http://www.listbot.com.
8. Join a banner exchange program. To exchange ads only with other UK sites, try http://uk.hyperbanner.net. To exchange ads only with trade unions (worldwide), try http://www.linkexchange.com. Classify your site under “Society & Issues : Trade Unions and Labor” and then target your ads to that category. (Your ad will be shown only on the 50 trade union sites participating in the banner exchange program.)
9. Send out a mailing to British trade unionists, telling them about your site. Join the LabourUK mailing list — you can subscribe by email by writing to email@example.com. – and then send out a mailing to the list. (You can also join at http://www.labourstart.org/uk/).
10. Finally, track your progress and find out how many people are visiting your site – but don’t put a counter on your page! (You don’t want the employer to know that you’ve had 6 hits in the last year, right?). A good counter can be found at http://www.nedstat.co.uk/ but the best is to have your web host provide statistics.