Promote Your Business for Free on the Web
Can you ever have too much free publicity? Is that even possible? It only costs you some time. Today I am compiling a list of free website promotion ideas to help you boost your traffic. These 10 tips are all things you can do yourself for free. It just takes a little time to boost web traffic. Of course, traffic isn’t the actual goal here. The goal for most businesses I work with is sales.
It might be online sales, or we might be working to rank high in Google so that the retail business gets more foot traffic. Ultimately, the end-goal of our online marketing efforts is sales. Some of these tips below are things we do every day for our clients to help boost search engine ranking. However, you might not be at a point in business where you can devote resources to professional online marketing. If that’s the case, feel free to use these techniques on your own to improve your website.
Take Control of Your Site With Free Promotion
How does it work? What do you need to do? Are there risks? I am going to answer all these below while providing you with concrete steps you can take in a few hours to improve your site traffic.
First, let’s take a look at risks. The biggest risk has to be doing SEO the wrong way. You can actually lower your ranking by building links from low quality sites. I’m going to give you a simple list of good sites to get started with your link building. Avoid getting links from sites that are full of ads or sites that are unrelated to your industry. When in doubt, consult an SEO. Another risk is getting your site delisted from Google or Bing due to a penalty.
Often, you will run into unethical SEO “experts” who use programs to artificially build links and social bookmarks. So, be wary of Internet marketers who promise to do things like “give you 500 social shares” or “provide 1,000 quality backlinks”. It is impossible for a real person to share a post 1,500 times for $5. What you’re getting there is a link building robot. Google hates these techniques. Don’t even bother with these $5 deals. It’s not worth risking your site being practically offline for six months.
Free Website Promotion Ideas: How Does It Work?
To answer this question, we need to take a look at search engine metrics. Put simply, Google ranks sites based on a number of different factors. They look at on-page stuff like how fast your pages load and do you have a valid sitemap. Since we’re focused on DIY with this article, we’re going to skip that and talk about off-page SEO. This is the part of SEO that anyone can DIY. Our goal with off-page is to build relevant links and social bookmarks pointing people back to our site. So, aside from the obvious benefits of having more people visit the site through those links, we get an added boost from Google.
Remember how I said they use different metrics to rank your site? One of those metrics is Domain Authority. The theory is that if a large number of quality sites are referring people to you, you must be a respectable authority within your industry. A few keywords to remember are relevant and authority. Links from spammy sites unrelated to what you do might be counterproductive.
Also, you want to get your links from other sites that also have high authority within your industry. For example, if I am working with a client who does heating and Air, a link from Carrier’s website would be golden. Or, let’s say I am working with a doctor looking to be ranked on page one for the keyword Birmingham pediatrician. If I can score my client a link to his blog post from the American Medical Association, we might get to page one really quick. So, always focus on quality over quantity when building links.
What Do You Need to Do?
- Get Listed Everywhere!
Remember how I told you to only focus on relevant links? Well there is one very big exception to that rule: Business Directories. Google and Bing know that these sites are going to be filled with all kinds of different content. So, general business directories are an exception to my rule from above. Again, we should try to avoid spammy sites and focus on quality. You should also look for local directories first if you run a brick and mortar business. So, here are three places you should list your business at right now:
- Know your forums, but don’t spam them!
Forums are a great way to share knowledge, but they are also an excellent platform for website promotion. Don’t be a spammer though. You need to actively contribute to the dialog on a forum for a few weeks to build credibility. Then you can mention your site or a blog post that relates to a given topic on occasion.
If you provide value to the online community before you even mention your site, it will go a long way towards attracting traffic. Search for your particular industry with the word forum behind it to find some great online communities you can market to. For example, a plumber could search plumbing industry forum in Google and probably find some great sites to post to. Help answer some questions about easy DIY plumbing fixes, and you will build trust on the site.
- Google your local newspaper with the word directory at the end. Here in Alabama, we go to com and sign up for a free listing on their local business directory. If you want even more exposure, you can purchase a premium membership. However, basic listings are usually free. Be warned though that you might start getting marketing calls from your local newspaper.
- Google, Bing, Yahoo local listings. These are all free to either create or claim your business listing. You need to get control of this space early on. Be aware of user reviews on these sites. You might need to check from time to time for negative reviews and manage your reputation.
- Generic listings from high authority sites can often be helpful. We created a directory for one of our clients to use on his popular podcast. You can sign up for less than $1 a month and get exposure to an audience of over 160,000 listeners at the time of writing. Try doing that with print ads!
- Write an e-mail press release or monthly newsletter.
Do you already have an e-mail marketing list? Then this is an easy task. If not, you need to start building one NOW! Most successful businesses thrive off of referrals and repeat business. If people forget about you, they can’t refer their friends and neighbors to you. For example, what if you pumped out someone’s septic tank five years ago? They might or might not remember to call you before they go search Hoover Septic Cleaning service in Google. If your SEO’s not completely on fire, they might click on your competitors phone number and call them instead.
You need your customers to remember you and the good work you did for them five years ago. So, you need to make sure they are connected with you on social media and that you post often. You also need to send out occasional e-mails about your industry. Give customers the options to opt out if they wish, but keep sending those newsletters each month.
- Make Friends Online.
This is a great link-building strategy, and all you have to do is be a decent person and reach out to a few peers via e-mail. People won’t generally just discover your site overnight. You have to put some time into promoting it. So, look for others with similar sites and reach out to them. If you have excellent content, ask them if they would be interested in linking to your site on occasion as a source for their written material.
The worst thing they can do to you is say no! On the other hand, you might pick up a few really good links from relevant sites that have been around longer than yours. Let’s get industry specific to give you an example of how this works. Jane is a florist in Atlanta who just had a killer website built by Webology.
She’s spent a few rainy weekend days writing articles on the site about her industry. Her content is well researched and insightful because Jane has been a florist for over 25 years. One weekend, instead of writing an article she searches in Google for Birmingham Florists. Jane compiles a list of e-mail addresses off their websites and sends out an e-mail to each one inviting them to use her blog material as a source for their own posts.
Since they are in different cities and not direct competitors, three of the webmasters agree. In return, Jane is sure to source some of their material in her next few posts and link back to their sites. In this scenario everyone wins. Jane and her peers in Birmingham both score relevant links. Making friends online only costs you a little bit of time, but it pays dividends in the form of site traffic.
- Write an Article, then Give it Away to a Peer
Commonly known as guest posting, this is one way many bloggers make money on the Internet. Google loves content! Webmasters are always on the lookout for good content to add to their sites to improve their online marketing efforts. So, it stands to reason that the prospect of free, unique content appeals to many marketers and site owners. A key thing to remember here is UNIQUE. You don’t want to use something that you also have on your site, since it will hurt site ranking for both sites.
Take the time to put together a killer article with a high word count. Reach out to a peer site that is not in direct competition with you. Include a brief author bio about yourself with a link back to your site. Ask them to publish your article as a guest post and include your bio at the end of the article. Instant link magic! And it only cost you some time and the effort to send a few e-mails.
- Word of Mouth’s not Dead! Tell People About You.
What’s the point of writing an article about free website promotion without mentioning word of mouth? This has got to be one of the easiest things for us business owners. We LOVE talking about our businesses and how we help people with our products and services. Find ways to interject your website into conversations as you go about your day. If you’re a member of a local referral group, be sure to mention your site URL in your weekly speech. Add exclusive offers and coupons on your site to help drive traffic. While you’re at it, consider collecting e-mail addresses when people claim coupons to help grow your newsletter subscription. Staying in contact with your customer base is critical. Make your website another point of contact.
- Banner-Ad Cross Promotion.
It might not exactly be free unless you’re a graphics guru, but creating a banner Ad isn’t difficult. If you need help, we have an excellent design staff here at Webology. Or, you can use discount sites like Fiverr if you’re on a budget. Create your banner Ad and find peer sites that are not direct competitors. Reach out to them just link you did in #5, but this time suggest banner Ad cross promotion. They add your banner to their site and you reciprocate. Both sites benefit from the cross promotion.
- Social Shares
Do you have an account secured for you business on every social media platform? Why not? It’s free and only takes a few minutes. Another thing to consider is that your business name might be popular. So, you need to secure it now before someone else does! Start by creating a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest account for your business.
Ask all your existing friends and followers on these platforms to like your new page. Every time you post a new blog or page on your site, be sure to share it on all of these platforms. Social shares are one of the metrics used to rank your page. So, take advantage of this free source of marketing. Later on, you can hire a social media marketing agency to handle this for you. When you’re starting out, just get the accounts secured and do as much DIY promotion as you can in the time you have.
- Social Bookmarking
Unlike the previously mentioned sites, these are all about sharing content. Write excellent articles and submit them to the sites listed below. Just wait a week or two after you publish on your own site to make sure Google crawls your site first. You want your site to be attributed as the source of the content. Be sure to post in a relevant category and provide a link back to your site:
- Leverage Your Knowledge
You’ve worked hard to be an expert in your industry. Make use of that knowledge by helping others out. You can build useful links back to your site be being a trusted source of knowledge on the web. Create an account on a few of these platforms, and answer questions to help people out. You might even pick up a client right off the answer site if they see that you are genuine and knowledgeable.
So those are ten free website promotion ideas for your DIY marketing efforts. It doesn’t take any special knowledge or technical ability. All you need is time. If you’re short on time (who isn’t?) or you want help with technical SEO, reach out to us today. We’re SEO experts serving Birmingham, AL and the rest of planet earth. We have SEO packages scaled for every business size and industry. We’re busy studying the web so you don’t have to.
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