I’ve seen it again and again.
You’ve spent ages planning out your new website. You’ve poured tons of energy and money into getting it up and running. And now, you’re hoping to see your web traffic flow like the Mississippi.
But most of the time, it doesn’t work that way.
Unless your industry is very specialized, you’re probably facing intense competition from other, more established companies. So when you first create your new website, people searching for products or services like yours are unlikely to find you at the top of search engine results.
Unless you actively promote your website, it may take a long time for the right audience to find it. And creating a website that doesn’t get traffic is like planting a billboard in the desert: It doesn’t do you much good.
The trouble with paid advertising
The knee-jerk reaction of some business owners who find themselves with a website to promote is to throw money at the problem and buy online advertising.
While it’s true that paid advertising can quickly drive traffic to your website, it may not be your best long-term solution. At least not on its own.
Why? because online advertising can be expensive. What’s more, it doesn’t create lasting value. Paid promotion is like water from a tap — You shut it off and it comes to a dead stop.
Some of the best things in website promotion are still free
Fortunately, paying for advertising isn’t your only option. There are free ways to drive lasting traffic to your website — traffic from the right people, people who are likely to become your customers.
And many of these free tactics are pretty easy to implement: Even if you aren’t a professional marketer, there are many things you can easily do to increase your website traffic and turn your visitors into what you really want — new customers!
In this post, I’ll share some marketing strategies we use with our Blog in a Box customers. I hope they’ll help you promote your business website and get the results you want.
Free Website Promotion Strategies
Before you get started…
Before we launch into the web promotion tactics, here are a few basic steps you need to take as soon as you launch your website.
These tactics on their own won’t necessarily drive traffic to your site, but they will help you avoid some pretty costly missteps and monitor your progress so that you can fine-tune your promotional activities.
Here we go:
Make sure your site is not actively blocking search engines.
I know. That sounds like lame advice. (I mean, who would do that, right?) In reality, it happens more than you’d think.
Web developers often hide a new website from search engines while they work. Unfortunately, they can sometimes forget to unhide it when they’re done, which means that Google’s crawlers are not able to index your site.
Make sure your site is configured to be indexable by search engines. And on that topic …
Sign up for your free Google Search Console account and verify your website
The Search Console helps you optimize the way Google sees and displays your website on search results. Among other things, the Search Console will help you make sure that your pages are being properly indexed, show you which sites are linking to you, and alert you of issues on your site.
Sign up for your free Google Analytics account and verify your website
Setting up Google Analytics as soon as you launch your site will make sure you have visibility on your site’s complete traffic history. Once you have signed up for your free account, embed your tracking code onto all the pages of your website.
Use GA to stay on top of your site’s traffic, engagement and conversion metrics so that you can continually optimize your web promotion strategy.
Connect your Search Console and Google Analytics accounts
Both Google Search Console and Google Analytics are powerful resources in their own right. Integrate them with each other to gain plenty of additional advantages.
For example, you’ll be able to see Google Search Console data — such as the terms your ranking for and their ranking position, impressions, clicks and click-through rate on Google’s search results pages — right from your Google Analytics reports.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
If you’re able to snag a top spot on Google for relevant and highly searched terms, you can drive lasting organic search traffic to your website. But, again, getting a new website to rank for competitive terms can be near impossible or, at the very least, it can take a very long time.
The following steps will help you get there.
Start your SEO early to give it time to bear fruit
As soon as you launch your new website or—even better—while you build it, conduct keyword research to find out which search terms your ideal customers are using to find products or services like yours. Then, optimize your web pages for those terms.
Create new content around long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are multi-word search phrases that are less competitive and tend to be more specific to what you are selling. You’ll probably rank faster for these long-tail keywords than you will for the primary keywords you target with your sales pages.
One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website’s sales pages is to create quality content that attracts visitors. Content marketing helps you generate brand awareness and build trust with your potential customers.
What’s more, studies have shown that content marketing generates leads much more cost-effectively than traditional marketing. (If you need more convincing about the importance of content marketing, check out this post on 14 reasons why content marketing is the only marketing left.)
If you haven’t yet reaped the benefits of content marketing, don’t waste another minute. Get started the right way today and take the following important steps:
Set up a new blog on your website
Your blog will be the home of all the fresh content you create to help establish your authority and attract additional traffic to your website.
Choose the right topics to write about
You need to create the right content to attract the people who are likely to buy what you have to offer and to nudge your ideal customer through their buying process.
Need help coming up with great content ideas? Don’t miss this post.
Produce quality content that provides value to your visitors
Content marketing isn’t about self-promotion. It’s about helping your audience and answering the questions they have on their path to purchase. When you provide value, you position yourself as a voice of authority in the eyes of your potential customers.
Also, avoid credibility killers like typos and grammar mistakes by carefully proofing every new piece of content.
Social media marketing
It’s not enough to create great content and hope for web searchers to find it organically. You need to actively work to drive web traffic to that content.
Unless you have money to pour into pay-per-click advertising such as Google ads or Facebook ads, your next move should be to invest in growing your social following and promoting your web content on your social platforms.
Choose the right social platforms
Find out on which social media platforms your ideal customers spend time on. Whether they’re on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, that’s where you need to be.
Establish your social presence
If you haven’t already, set up an account on the social platforms you choose. Don’t forget to work on your profile and create attention-grabbing cover images, and to include your URL wherever the opportunity arises.
Add social buttons to your site
Add two types of social buttons across the pages of your website and blog: invitations to connect with you on social media, as well as buttons to make it easier for visitors to share your content.
Share content on social media
Share great content on your social channels (both your own content and other people’s content) to increase social traffic and build backlinks from other websites to earn referral traffic. Don’t forget to include eye-catching visuals in your social posts.
Engage with influencers and followers
The more you engage with influencers and followers on social media, the more likely they are to share your posts, and the more traffic you are likely to get from social channels.
Use popular and relevant hashtags in your social posts to make it easier for people to find your social content. Check out this hashtag generator to uncover popular hashtags around your topic.
Incoming links from other high-traffic websites that target the same audience as you do can drive high-quality referral traffic to your website.
And there is another benefit to building backlinks to your website: When relevant, high-authority websites link to your content using Do-Follow links, it sends a signal to Google that your content is valuable, and it increases the probability that your site will rank on Google’s results page.
When you create and promote great content on your website, the number of incoming links to your site will naturally begin to grow over time. But there are other steps you can actively take to build backlinks more quickly.
Here are a few:
Reach out to websites with links to similar content
Use a tool like BuzzSumo to find websites that link to content like yours and reach out to them to tell them about your own version. Make sure your content is better or at least more up-to-date than the article they link to.
Publish guest posts on carefully selected sites
Tap into a larger audience by producing guest posts for other websites — preferably high authority sites who serve your target market.
Engage on Quora
If you want to boost your referral traffic, consider answering questions on Quora, and including contextual backlinks to helpful resources that live on your website. (Check out the many other benefits of using Quora in your content marketing.)
Turn unlinked citations into links
Online mentions of your brand are beneficial in their own right because they increase your brand awareness. But if you can turn those mentions into links, so much the better.
Start by asking any partners who cite your business on their website to also provide a link to your website.
Then, look for other sites that mention your brand without linking to your site and contact the site’s webmaster to suggest that they also link to you. This simple guide on Ahrefs will walk you through the specific steps.
Do some broken link building
The idea here is to capitalize on broken links on your competitors’ sites. Use a tool like AHrefs.com to scour your competitors’ blogs for broken links to content with a high number of incoming links from quality sites.
Then, create a new-and-improved version of the deprecated content and contact the webmasters of the sites that link to that content, pointing out the broken link and suggesting your page as an alternative to link to.
For step-by-step instructions on broken link building, check out this guide.
Other website promotion no-brainers
I’ll cap off my list with a few tactics that may seem old-school and obvious, but that are often forgotten. I think they’re worth the mention.
Include your URL on all your corporate business cards
Embed a link to your website from your email signature and that of your team members
Print your URL on all your marketing collateral
Prominently display your URL on signage and the marketing one-pagers and handouts that you distribute at conferences, trade shows and other events.
Turn your team members into brand ambassadors
Encourage your team members to link to your website and to share your content on their own social pages.
Over to you
I hope you’ll find this article provides helpful tips for promoting your website. If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you below.
And if you need help implementing some of these website promotion tactics, please get in touch. We’d love to help!
Carole Alalouf is the President and founder of Exaltus, and primary contributor to the Exaltus blog. In her Content Marketing role, she focuses on turning her clients’ complex information into a compelling story. Carole particularly enjoys visual storytelling in the form of presentations, whiteboard videos, websites, and infographics. Sign up to her email list and get powerful marketing tips in your inbox, 2-3 times per month.