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:

1

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 …

2

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.

3

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. Better yet, create a powerful content marketing dashboard to help you make more informed decisions.

4

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.

5

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.

6

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.

For practical tips on how to search engine optimize your pages, check out my post and cheat sheet on how to SEO your content. Or consider hiring a reputable SEO firm if you want to be sure to do  it right.

Content marketing

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:

7

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.

8

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.

9

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.

10

Experiment with different content formats

Blog posts are just one type of content you can produce for your audience. Dabble in other formats – such as infographicsvideo content, or online presentations, to name a few – to see which ones most appeal to your target audience.

For more content marketing tips, check out my post on content marketing best practices for small businesses.