March 29, 2009
Once you've created a webzine, how do you get the word out? This short guide offers some strategies to let the world of readers know about your work.
* ANNOUNCE YOUR E-ZINE *
Once you have your e-zine or webzine in place, visit yahoo.com, google.com and msn.com and submit your URLs (if you have a lot of pages, it's wise not to submit 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 SearchEngineWatch.com. 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.
The next step is to enter your URL at the major online directories. You'll save yourself a lot of time if you prepare enticing 25-word, 50-word and 100-word descriptions first. "If you can explain your zine in a sentence you have a fighting chance," says George Myers Jr. of LitKit. A one-sentence description can help you focus on the audience you're after, and it helps when you're deciding where to place your e-zine in directories. Yahoo! is the largest directory, followed by Open Directory. A good guide to smaller engines is directorylist.org.
Yahoo seems to prefer sites that have their own domain name; even then you may have to submit several times before you're listed. Don't do it more than once every two weeks, and chose your category carefully (suggest a second category if it applies, but don't get greedy). Submit your webzine under specific topics, such as Travel or Humor or whatever best describe its content. Yahoo! no longer accepts free submissions to Business categories; instead, it charges a $299 annual fee.
Finally, promote your e-zine by sending announcements to various services that alert surfers to new sites. Post a notice to the Usenet group alt.ezines. If you do a non-commercial paper or electronic zine, post a notice on alt.zines. Announce new non-commercial Webzines on comp.infosystems.www.announce, or any e-zine at bookmarkz.com.
You also can add your zine to the many ezine directories, but most don't produce much traffic. If you have the time and patience, start with our free list of zine directories at http://www.zinebook.com and look for the "Directories" category. It includes directories that list specialty zines such as literary zines, fan fiction, indie music and even one-word titles.
* GETTING RETURN VISITORS *
Some zine editors include a sign-up form on their page where visitors can leave their e-mail addresses. This allows the editor to compile a mailing list of people who are interested in the content of the zine, and he or she can send notice when the Webzine has been updated.
Chip Rowe (http://www.chiprowe.com) is the author of The Book of Zines: Readings from the Fringe. An HTML version of this document, including links, is available at http://www.zinebook.com/publicz.html