QUESTION on 10 Free Ways to Promote a Web Site
I have started my website, but I have very little budget. I have tried Adwords but I found it too expensive. Can you please suggest some free ways that I can promote my online business? How can I promote a web site for free?
ANSWER by Isabel Isidro
“If you build it, they will come” is not necessarily true on the Web. Putting a website up is one thing, but getting visitors to come to your site is another. The process becomes even more difficult if you have limited resources to market your business.
Here are some shoestring marketing ideas that can help you get the visitors you need at the least cost possible:
1. Create the best content you can with the best products you can possibly offer.
Your content is your best advertisement – if visitors love your content, then they will go back and spread the word to others. Everything has to start by giving your users the best content possible that will make them come back again and again to your site.
2. Make it easy for users to recommend your site.
Viral marketing is very important — and easy to tap on the Web. There are a number of available tools such as Add This http://www.addthis.com/ that can help you share your content with social bookmarking sites such as Digg or networking sites such as Facebook. Social sharing buttons such as Facebook Likes or Twitter have now become a must for website owners.
You can even go as far as giving incentives to those who recommend the site to their friends. If only 10 people go to your site, but these 10 people invite 10 more – that’s additional traffic that you get for FREE!
3. Rank well in the search engines (organic search results, not the pay per click).
Search engines can be a big source of traffic. The key is to create the best content in your niche. If you have good content, other websites will gladly link to you and offer your site as a resource to their audience. Check the on-page factors and be sure to get linked from authority sites in your topic area.
If you are going to read only one piece on search engine optimization, I suggest you read Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. Google also has a blog that you can subscribe to so that you can keep track of changes in the search engines.
4. Send out press releases.
While outfits charge as much as $650 per release, there are free press release submission places on the Web. Press releases allow you to (a) attract media attention; (b) get more back links to your website without sending each website an email request; and (c) get more visibility especially if your press release gets in Google News or Yahoo News. You can send your press release via our Press Release Submission Form
5. Submit articles.
Write articles and submit them to websites accepting author submissions. You get exposure for your business; establishes you as an authority in your field, and allows you to get backlinks for your website. If 50 websites publish your article and it contains a link back to your website, then you easily get 50 links from a single article. The more links you have, the greater your chances for increasing your search engine rankings.
Note, however, that submitting your article to every single article submission directories out there is no longer as effective as it used to. You need to find article directories with tight editorial guidelines.
An even better approach nowadays is to find blogs and offer them guest post submissions.
6. Improve your conversion.
Getting visitors is one thing; getting them to buy your products is a whole different story. Read the article “10 Ways to Convert Visitors to Buyers” for tips on how to improve your conversion rates.
7. Syndicate your content.
You can auto-pilot your marketing and attract visitors every time you update your content via RSS feeds. Or if you have a blog, you can use it to draw customers repeatedly to your website. Bookmark our Resources for Marketing Your Blogs and RSS Feeds to help you spread the word about your RSS feeds or blog.
8. Use free classifieds.
- Craigslist http://www.craigslist.com
- Google Base http://base.google.com
- Yahoo Classifieds http://classifieds.yahoo.com/
- Kijiji http://www.kijiji.com/
9. Tap Web 2.0 websites to market your business.
More and more users are flocking to social community sites, interacting in question and answer sites, and sharing their bookmarks online. Some strategies to consider include:
Create a profile in Google Plus or Facebook and make friends with people with similar interests, which are basically your target audience. Develop an account in Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Establish yourself as an authority in Q&A sites such as Yahoo Answers, and include a link to your website in your profile, or if the question is relevant, include links pointing to specific sections of your site.
Share your website in social bookmarking sites such as Digg.com or Stumbleupon.com. A homepage inclusion of your link at Digg.com can result in tremendous traffic to your site
10. Contribute to other websites, forums and blogs relevant to your topic.
You can search for topics similar to your site and make a list of websites, forums and blogs that cover the topic. You can then contribute by posting relevant blog guest posts, comments or articles, and including your signature file with your name and website URL. The key, however, is to post only RELEVANT contribution; otherwise, your post could appear spammy and the site owners/moderators can blacklist you. Make sure also to read the guidelines of the forum or website, as some may not allow you to post your site URL or signature file.
Also read the article 15 Online Marketing Mistakes of Small Business Entrepreneurs to know what mistakes to avoid when marketing your business online.
Recommended Books on Free Ways To Promote an Online Business
- THE savvy way to successful website promotion; Attracting on-line traffic; Guide to top positioning on search engines
- The Encyclopedia of Free Online Advertising
- YouTube -Making Money By Video Sharing and Advertising Your Business for Free
- Internet Advertising & Promotion: Free or Almost Free Strategies for Small, Local Businesses
Article originally published September 2006. Updated on February 15, 2012