You spent months building your website. And, now you are spending hours each day researching, creating new content and administrating your page. Every morning you wake up, open your Google Analytics and nothing happens. No visitors… You are getting anxious and you spent all your budget on developing your site, so there’s none of it left for promotion… What to do?
The answer is simple – look for strategies that do not require any budget. There are many ways you can promote your website effectively without spending a cent. Often these techniques are not so well-known to the wide public, but they are very effective and could provide incredible results.
The main objective of this article is to save your time for research and provide the list of strategies I am familiar with. Some of them are probably well-known to most of you and some might be totally new experience. The list is quite long, so it would be too complicated to apply all these strategies to your campaign alone. You should choose wisely only few of them and only that suit your business best. So, get a cup of coffee and let’s get started.
- Submit your website to blog and RSS directories.
One of the first things you should do after launching a website, is submit it to blog directories. This way you will increase your backlinks and be visible to people who might be interested in your content. It won’t bring you lots of traffic, but targeted audience will always be able to find you. You can easily find lots of web directories through Google. However, I would like to recommend you an article with over 100 directories listed. All of them are carefully tested and verified.
Also, to make the submission easier, I recommend you to create a text file and write down some information about your website:
- Name of your website
- Website URL
- RSS feed URL
- A short description about your website
This will make everything much easier because you will be able to just copy/paste all the information to submission forms.
- Include a link in your email signature
Everyone is using email these days. Many of us even have more than one email address. Integrate a link of your website in your signature. That way, every time you send a letter to the recipient he will see your signature at the end of the letter.
- Attend relevant events and conferences
Attending events and conferences is a good idea for promoting your business. Even better is to speak during these events. You have a chance to present yourself as a specialist and gain significant exposure for your website.
- Blog Commenting
Usually, blog commenting is one of the most overlooked strategies for generating traffic, because many people are unable to write quality, insightful comments which could develop into longer conversations. What you should do is find blogs that are similar in topic to your website and start commenting. By commenting it does not mean leaving 2-3 words with no meaning. You should actually read the article first and leave your own insights, questions or additions to the article. That way you will be building relationship with others that later will develop into steady traffic to your website.
- Participating in forums
Forum is a place where lots of like minded people gather in on place. There are forums with thousands of visitors discussing about business, marketing, technology, science and many more topics. So, why shouldn’t you join it and build connections there? Usually, individuals that contribute to these forums with great insights are quickly recognized and soon become well respected. From that moment you can start building your own community and drive them to your website.
- Participating in Q&A websites
Q&A websites like Yahoo Answers, HARO and Quora provide a great opportunity to generate highly targeted traffic. All you need to do is find questions related to your niche and give clever answers. Best if the solution is located on your website so that you could link the answer to it. That way, you not only provide help, but also build traffic with targeted visitors that might become your customers for life.
Note: Never spam these sites by asking and answering your own question or leaving links everywhere even if the question is not related to your website. Your main goal should be to reach only targeted audience.
- Join blogging communities
If you are writing a blog, then joining blogging communities should be one of the main objectives. You will not only be able to drive massive traffic to your blog but also build strong connections with other fellow bloggers. These connections are very important when developing your blog further. Here is a list of most popular blogging communities. It might be difficult and time-consuming to manage every one of them. You should better choose 2-3 websites and concentrate only on them.
Triberr is one of the top blogging community with many influential members. You can meet many top bloggers and share your opinion and knowledge with them. The main goal of this community is to help you share your excellent content in your “Tribes”. When you create new content, it is shared with other Tribe members via feed. Every Tribe member can leave a comment or share your article through their social media channels.
Bizsugar is another very popular blogging community used by numerous professional bloggers. When you join it, you will need to get your first article confirmed. Once it is approved you will be able to share your next post. Usually, it allows only one article per day unless your “karma score” goes up.
DoSplash is relatively new blogging community very similar to BlogEngage or IndiBlogger.
Members have a possibility to interact with other bloggers, up-vote and comment their posts.
Many well-known bloggers participate in this community. However, its disadvantage is the registration process. It might take up to 2-3 days to get approved because everything is done manually.
Klinkk is another still new free blogging community created for like-minded bloggers. More and more bloggers are joining this community and giving positive reviews. Like other websites mentioned before, Klinkk allows members to share their posts, get up-votes, comment and engage with other fellow bloggers.
This blogging community was created by Twitter co-founder, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone. One of the benefits of Medium is that it offers readers a time rating system. Each post has a label where reading time is written. That way every reader knows how much time they have to commit to read an article. Also, the platform is user-friendly – ideal for beginner bloggers.
Inbound.org is well-known for its simplicity. It doesn’t have any complicated functions or other fancy stuff. You just simply submit your article and try to engage with other fellow bloggers. If your post receives a good number of vote, it will be featured on the homepage.
Kingged is a blogging community where bloggers share their articles and interact with each other by commenting. This community is very engaging and helpful. Also, one of its unique features is that Kingged has plenty of giveaways for the most active members.
- Social Media
Today, social media is a big part of our everyday lives. There is no surprise that it has become one of main marketing channels for almost every business. Many people are looking for answers through social media, so why not to direct them to your website? The strategies to drive traffic to your website range from the basic things everyone should be doing to very sophisticated methods that might take much more time and effort. Every year the list of social media sites grow and it becomes hard to administrate all of them, unless you can afford to hire a social media specialist. Otherwise, you should choose those that are most suitable for your business. Here is a list of the most popular:
Facebook is one the most popular social networking site. Almost everyone has created an account there. That’s why this social media platform is so popular amongst marketers. However, you do not need to spend lots of money to drive traffic from Facebook. Even though some controversial changes were made, it is still possible to receive lots of visitors from Facebook without having a budget for it.
Twitter is another very popular social network. Its uniqueness is that you have only 140 characters for your message. This social platform is very popular among bloggers, but business has found its place here too. Also, you do not need any permissions to follow other accounts and you can freely monitor your competitors’ conversations with customers.
Despite the fact that Google+ is not as popular as Facebook or Twitter, yet you cannot ignore this social network. It is deeply linked to SEO and local business listings. Also, Google+ is connected to Youtube which allows you to engage with even larger audience. The social network is improving rapidly and more Google products are being associated with this platform.
LinkedIn has evolved from an online resume to one of the biggest social networks. It has become a default global network for professionals. Many serious business people join this platform to connect, engage and share their ideas with others. Numerous companies use this social network not only to promote their brand but also to find new employees.
Pinterest is totally different social network. Other platforms provide you the possibility to share text messages hoping to start a conversation. However, Pinterest is all about sharing images that interest you. People are sharing their favorite food, fashion, technology and many more pictures.
Instagram is one of the hottest social media applications today. We all have noticed that photos on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are driving the most engagements and even more traffic to your website. So, all you have to do is take a good picture, share it to your followers and engage with them.
StumbleUpon is one those under radar social networks which does not receive so much attention in the media, however is an incredible place to drive lots of visitors to your website. The principle of this network is when a user likes or stumbles a particular web page, it is added to the special lineup. When other users are searching for new articles on a specific topic or keywords, any page from that lineup list is displayed to them. Useful content can drive hundreds or even thousands of visitors.
Tumblr is another great social network often overlooked by the marketers. It is a mixture of good micro-blogging site with Facebook and Twitter functionality. Besides writing articles, you can follow other members, share and like their posts and use hashtags. All you need is to build a community and link posts to your own website.
Digg is a very powerful website where you can get a significant amount of traffic. It is a place where all the latest stories and news are posted. In order to receive an incredible increase of visitors, your content should appear on the main page, which is very difficult. Also, SEO specialists pay a lot of attention to Digg for getting strong backlinks to websites.
- Email Marketing
Probably you are already using some of the techniques listed above and your website is receiving some new visitors each day. However, from that point your main goal should be to keep those visitors returning to your website. That’s where the email marketing takes its part. This strategy not only helps you remind about yourself, but also reach new visitors as well. Since launching your website it should be carefully optimized for gathering email addresses of your visitors for newsletter campaigns.
- Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a process when you write an article, but instead of posting it on your website it is published on other blogs. Using this tactic regularly you will gain recognition from other bloggers. You will be able to promote yourself as a blogger on much bigger blogs and receive links to your website which will turn into new visitors. This strategy might be time-consuming, but it is totally free and very effective.
- Make readers famous
Making readers famous might be the core of building strong and highly engaged community. For example, “reader of the month” posts could provide a significant rise of engagement. Readers are encouraged to share your content more often and constantly leave comments under your articles. Many blogs are using this technique successfully and getting great results.
- Cooperate with other websites
Search for websites in your niche that have similar popularity and offer them a partnership. Partnership could be in many different forms. It could be links from articles to each other’s website. It could be post sharing on social media platforms. It could be e-mail marketing, promoting each other’s website. Actually, it is a matter of your imagination and agreement with fellow website owners.
Everyone loves getting something for free. Give visitors an opportunity to get a free chapter from your book, free website templates, pictures or any tool you are using to make your work easier. People tend to share this kind of information when you can get something for free. By the way, you can even ask to provide personal email address in order to get the free content.
Scoop.it is a platform built to help curate content. You can create different topics and add useful and interesting content by each topic. Each topic has a separate page where all the content related to this topic is shown. Choose the most interesting topics to you and start curating your content through scoop.it. Promote it through your other marketing channels and your pages will start to grow.
Youtube has almost limitless capabilities to drive traffic to your website. Unfortunately, most people are afraid to start video marketing due to fears of standing in front of the camera. Others think it is technologically too complicated to prepare a good video, it costs a lot of money and is very time-consuming. But it is not. Many successful bloggers are producing tons of popular video content on Youtube that drives a good amount of traffic to their websites.
Contests are those activities that always attract visitors and tend to go viral. If you offer something that costs money, don’t forget to give some of it for free through contests regularly. Contests could be in different format: from simple fill-in forms to provide an email address to creative tasks or even the best article contests. Everything depends on how valuable the prize is. The more people want it, the more they are prepared to do.
- Squidoo and Hubpages
Squidoo is a part of Hubpages now, so if you are new, then you will have to join Hubpages. Hubpages is a blog-like website where people create their own hubs (something like personal web pages) where they write articles about interesting topics and share to other members. If you are crazy about writing you should definitely join this place and write articles linking to your personal website. It could drive lots of traffic and have a very positive effect to SEO.
Writing a book might be a very challenging task. However, writing an e-book gives you more freedom as you are not dependent on any publishers and you do not need to write hundreds of pages to be published. 40-60 pages would be enough. The most important thing is that your book would be worth reading. Good e-books can go viral very quickly, so you need to pay a lot of attention to the information you provide. Perfect content and lots of links to your website could make miracles.
If you are writing a blog, you should try to interview some experts in your industry. Everybody likes reading articles about influential people. It builds trust with your audience and people always like to share this kind of content. Experts will also be interested into sharing your article to their audience after the interview, which will boost traffic to your website.
Reddit is another content-sharing community similar to Digg. You can post links, ideas, pictures, videos and any other content that you think is worth sharing. After your submission, members are voting your content up and down. The voting determines the rank of your post and position on Reddit website. If you manage to rank high, you have a possibility to get thousands of new visitors to your website.
- Press release
Press release could be that only factor that raises your business to the top. Being published in a popular newspaper and magazine or being interviewed by the top news website can significantly boost your online presence as a brand. However, the real art is being noticed and published. You will have to work hard and very patiently to find that one strategy that helps you appear on any media channel.
- Content aggregators
Content aggregators are the place where news feeds from many different websites are collected in one place and published to the audience. Websites like Alltop, Growth Hackers, Hacker News, Affposts, AffBuzz, and AffDaily are leaders in this niche. However, it might be a problem to join some of these platforms because of a very strict rules. But being accepted to, for example, Alltop could turn into a huge traffic spike.
Social Buzz Club is a service where members share each other’s content through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, StumbleUpon, Digg and Google+. By sharing a content, you earn credit points which later can be used to share your own content. The service is not very well known by many bloggers, but those who use it often report about an increase in traffic after joining this syndication.
JustRetweet is a place where you can get more Retweets, Facebook likes and Google+ ones for your blog posts. This platform works on credits. The more you share other members’ content the more credits you earn. Later, you can use them to share your own content.
Viral Content Buzz is another interesting content sharing tool. The difference from other similar websites is that your content needs to be approved first, before it appears on the dashboard. Additionally, all content is published as anonymous, so members won’t share it just based on who you are. A good place to create attractive and catchy headlines.
Flipboard is not another content aggregator you are used to seeing. Its main feature is that all your content is compiled into visually very captivating digital magazines. Visually attractive content always catches readers’ eye, so it could be a very powerful traffic generator to your website. Just carefully curate the content, promote your magazine and link everything to your website.
- Ads exchange
Search for websites that have similar popularity or better than yours and offer a banner exchange. Usually small website owners are open to such an offer. That way both sides will benefit. The main objective is to do a good research first. You need to make sure that traffic a website is getting is not spam and that most of it is active visitors. Otherwise, you will not get the impact you want.
- Referral or Affiliate Traffic
If you are selling products or services on your website, it is a common practice to have referral or affiliate programs. In exchange for delivering new customers to your business you can offer discounts or commissions to referrers. It might be hard to implement the system without having programming skills. But, most of the popular CMS have already built referral or affiliate modules to utilize.
- Submit your blog posts to tutorial sites
Another easy way to get some extra traffic is tutorial websites. Submit your latest blog posts to tutorial sites like Tutorialized.com, Pixel2Life.com, Good-Tutorials.com or CraftGawker.com. Make sure your articles are useful and readers will be able to learn something.
Hope you all found something useful that will help improve your website traffic. If you know more tactics that were not mentioned here, please send it to me and I will be glad to investigate them and include in this list.