Do I Need to Submit My Site to Search Engines?
It depends. Major search engines like Google have roving bots that crawl through the internet constantly to find new content by following links on sites already in their index. While you can submit your site to Google, they will find it on their own anyway if you have any incoming links to your site. And since you need good, relevant incoming links to build your PageRank anyway, it makes sense to just start cultivating those link relationships and not worry too much about submitting.
Specialty search engines and directories, however, are another matter and it pays to seek them out and submit your site. For instance if you are here in Oregon and have a blog, you can submit your site to ignoregon, an aggregator of Oregon-based blogs. If you are female, you can submit your blog to BlogHer.
Speaking of blogs, most blog systems (like WordPress) have an integrated way to “ping” sites like Technorati that are search engines just for blogs. This means any time you write a new post, they are notified that your content was been updated. There are thousands of these aggregator sites which is why blogs are so handy for building link juice.
There are also a lot of niche “link directories” out there that can be a great starting place to get incoming links. Some are free, some require a link back (reciprocal link), and some charge a small fee. Some examples are EcoBusinessLinks and FindGraphicDesign.com. Make sure to install the Google Toolbar so you can see the PageRank of the page you’ll be listed on. If it has no PageRank, I would still list if it’s a free listing, but I might think twice for paying for it.