How to sell yourself online

HOW DO you promote yourself online? Self-described "online impresario without parallel" Mike Slocombe entertained the April Branch meeting with an account of his rise to Web fame, and gave a few tips to members in the process.

It all started by accident. Mike is a fan of Cardiff City (a soccer team, m'Lud).
Photo of & © Mike Slocombe
Photo of & © Mike Slocombe
Back in the mid-1990s, annoyed by racists attending matches, he started a fanzine, which grew a website, which mutated into Football Fans Against the Criminal Justice Bill, which spawned the exceedingly popular "punch a celebrity" feature (www.urban75.com/punch) and an online discussion board...

Before Mike knew what had happened he was being flown to Manhattan as a consultant on the interweb thingy and acquiring an apartment there. And he fell into freelance journalism.

Success can be embarrassing. He posted a dozen photos he'd taken while drunk - and now Googling for Bristol photos brings that page up first. How does he achieve such an imposing Web presence? Every page on his site has a descriptive title. Every image has a detailed caption saying what it's about. Each page is riddled with links to others - and there are lots of pages with links that contain descriptive text, which web search engines love.

Build a portfolio site page
More free advice from Mike Slocombe: Build a portfolio site

Both the visible design and the works behind the scenes are clean - see example above - and the coding of the pages near as dammit conforms to the official definitions (http://validator.w3.org/) and the guidelines for accessibility for people with disabilities from www.cast.org. Following standards also attracts search engines.

Mike has had a few people try to rip off pictures from the site. But he posts the pictures a mere 400 pixels wide and fairly heavily compressed. One publisher has nicked a picture: he billed them and got paid.

You can preview his book Max Hits, Building & Promoting Successful Websites at www.max-hits.net.

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