You've built your site. You've tested it. You're ready for business. So where are all the people? You need to get the word out about your great site, but with limited resources and no advertising budget, you need some way to attract visitors. What can you do? Recent surveys show that over 85% of internet users find new Web sites by using search engines. Other surveys show that after email, search engines are the most popular activity on the web. Sure you can pay out the yim yang for banner ads, paid directories, etc. But in the last couple of weeks or so that I've been reading up on this, it seems to me that Search Engine traffic is the kind of traffic that's most beneficial... and if you don't have the $ to pay for Search Engine Optimization software, or hire a firm, etc, this is something that you CAN do yourself if you have the time and gumption to do so. Ok back to my premise that search engine traffic (as opposed to banner traffic, email traffic, word of mouth traffic, etc) is the kind of traffic you want. Why? Traffic you receive from search engines is already targeted. Visitors arriving at your site from search engines have entered a keyword relevant to your site, so they are already interested in your product or service. This is the best source of potential customers you can have. Search engines seem to be the number one way that users find new sites. A couple of recent surveys that I studied show that over 85% of users rely on search engines to locate information on the Web. If you optimize your site to do well on the engines, then register your site with search engines, you should see increased traffic to your site. MOST search engines are free to users and users know where and how to use them. One of the first things a novice to the Internet learns, is how to use either Yahoo search or Google search. Search engines are the internet's yellow pages, so to speak. If you need information on "party planning" from the yellow pages, there are several steps to retrieving it. Go to the yellow pages and look under the alphabetized subject list for "party." Note the subcategories: "party planning" "party - children's", "party - rental equipment", and so on. Examine the companies listed under "party - planning" and decide which company best meets your needs. You can repeat this process online using a search engine. Now, the big question is, of course, how to get your website listed in the search engines. Well, let's look at the two most popular ways here. Manual Submission - Use the Add URL form from the search engine site itself. This way, you have absolute control over where your site is submitted. However, this process is a very time consuming and labor intensive activity. Some search engines bury their Add URL form so far down in the site that one wonders if they are intentionally trying to thwart potential applicants. Automated Submission Tool - Fill in the data once and the tool automatically submits your URL to multiple engines. It is a fast, easy one step process and you only have to fill in the data forms once. If you choose to use the automated tool I would suggest that you look for an automated submission tool that will allow you to pick and choose which search engines to submit to. Because most submission services submit to many search engines, you may receive spam email by some of the smaller engines that occasionally sell their email addresses. You want to try and avoid these, because once you submit to them, you're on their email list for life no matter how many unsubscribes you send them. I'm dealing with 3 of them now! But in all fairness, I must add that it is not the submission tool company that is selling the email addresses, it is the search engines themselves. This is why I give the warning. Now, I've been asked by a couple of people how many times you should submit your site to search engines. I truthfully don't think there's any pat answer to this question. For yahoo, google, and ASK, I submitted weekly til my site started showing up in the SE's. I don't know if it was my persistence that paid off or what, but it took only about 4 weeks for my site to start ranking in Google. Surprised me! So, while others may say that it's just not necessary, you'll get indexed when you get indexed... my personal advice is to submit weekly until your site gets listed. Check your listing frequently. If your site disappears suddenly, you may be the victim of a search engine database omission. Search engines frequently have multiple versions of their databases and they aren't always in sync. You may be listed in one version of their database and not in another. Your only recourse is to re-submit your site. To see if you have even been picked up in a search engine, go to the search engine's site and do a search with your company's domain name as the search query. I'm still studying this and hope to add more later. If anyone else has anything to add, please feel free to do so.