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Frequently asked question:

How do I promote my unoriginal website?

First of all, please don't be offended by the term unoriginal. It is not an insult; it is a description of any website that is based on an existing concept or design. Common examples include proxy sites, file-sharing sites, directories, social networks, etc. However it also applies to any type of "me too" website that doesn't offer much original content.

It usually goes like this...

A web designer/publisher who is new to making and running their own websites decides to build themselves an online empire. They search around for a few ideas, concentrating on the areas of interest they are familiar with (all good so far). Of course this often leads them in the direction of webmaster-related sites and online services. One of the most common first sites for a webmaster is "How to make your own website".

So they make their first site, then go to a webmaster forum and ask how to promote it. All too often the answer is "Good luck — you'll need it". This may result in some argument or resentment, with the OP saying "I didn't ask for criticism, I asked for advice".

If you have been directed to this web page as an answer to a question you posted, there is a good chance that your idea is sufficiently lacking in originality, or competing in such a strong market, that your site has a low probability of succeeding. Be honest with yourself and consider the possibility that this is true. If it is, you may be throwing good time and money into a doomed project. It is better that you accept this now and look for alternatives. Remember that many (if not most) successful Internet publishers made mistakes along the way and abandoned sites they originally had high hopes for.

If you are determined to continue with your site, you will probably need to consider investing money in it. Unoriginal sites rarely get any attention without aggressive advertising. On the other hand, completely unoriginal sites can do very well if you do the right sort of advertising.

Try very hard to create a point of difference. Something as simple as a unique layout can make a site seem different even if it has the same functionality as many others.

In the end, you can promote any site using the tried and true methods: Make the site properly, then promote it through search engines and links. See our Internet tutorials for more information.

Author: ,  Originally published: 2007-08-03
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