Are you on a limited budget and looking for inexpensive or free methods for promoting your website? When it comes to advertising methods for promoting websites, some of the best ones will only cost you some time.
Free stuff hardly ever gives you a lot of value regarding services and products. That isn’t always true for the Internet, specifically for website marketing. That’s because what is completely free to you is still providing marketing value for your business. So if you are a business owner with a tight budget, check out the following freeways of advertising your website:
It might or might not be surprising to you that most traffic on the Internet comes from search engines. Therefore, you should first turn to search engines to promote your presence online. Next, make sure that the search engines know your website exists by directly submitting your link to them. After you have done that, the best way of improving your search engine presence is to improve your SEO. Indeed, this “free” traffic source is not free, and to get the most out of it, you’ll need to either hire an in-house SEO expert or get a part-time contractor.
However, if you do everything right, you will have free traffic for a very long time. If your business is very young and you don’t have a massive budget for SEO, you can still do some SEO activities on a budget. SEO, as a subject, is well over the scope of this article, but if you do the following two things regularly, you will have some success in lower competition niches:
- Make sure your CMS (Content Management System or, in other words, your website platform) is WordPress. This platform has proven itself as one of the most SEO-friendly platforms out there. Your “on-page” technical SEO will be almost perfect if you use WordPress.
- Create high-quality content. Either find a good writer familiar with your niche or write the content yourself. This content has to be about your place; just make sure it is not about your company. Nobody wants to know how great your business is. Instead, write content that is helpful to your potential customers. One of the best ways to come up with topics is Google Auto-suggest. Just type in Google your core business keywords, and you’ll start seeing other suggested keywords on the bottom of SERP (search results page). Use them as topics for your articles. Make sure you write at least 1000-1500 words.
By doing these two things, you will get some decent results. However, if your niche is highly competitive, or your business is located in a highly-populated area, eventually, you will have to hire a professional. The good thing is that if you’ve already created high-quality content, it will be much easier for a professional to get you great results relatively quickly.
Top 5 Search Engines:
- Google – 1,100,000,000 visits a month
- Bing – 350,000,000 visits a month
- Yahoo Search – 300,000,000 visits a month
- Ask – 245,000,000 visits a month
- AOL Search – 125,000,000 visits a month
IMPORTANT – Make sure you submit your sitemap to all of these search engines.
Google My Business Listing
Even though Google My Business Listing could be considered just another citation listing, it has grown to be much more than that during the past few years. Make sure you claim your listing and fill out all information in your profile. I’ve written a detailed post on Claim Your Google Local Listing. Check it out if you need more help.
Tons of websites will let you list your website or business on them free of charge. Why do they do this? Typically, their financial model is based on up-selling you to a premium listing. The basics can be had free of charge; however, if you want to have a listing that lets you add an expanded description of your business and load videos and pictures, you will want to pay for the premium version. The good news is that most free versions will allow you to list your website link, which will help people learn about your business and website. Following is a list of top free directory listings:
IMPORTANT – When you create these listings, be prepared to receive a phone call from their sales reps, who will pitch you their premium listing service. Politely decline by saying that you are not authorized to make that decision yet, but you’ll be happy to discuss it with your boss in a few months or so. Then, ask them to follow up with you in a few months via email. Remember, your primary goal is to get a listing on their site, so be nice to them.
Social Link Building
If you’re attempting to expand your reach online, but you don’t have a Twitter user name, Google+ page, LinkedIn account, or Facebook page, then shame on you! These accounts all provide free listings on sites with very high page rankings on Google. These are the most important social media sites online. You can also have a business page on these websites and link it to your website if you own a business. If you don’t have enough time to really “work” these sites to their fullest extent, there is still some link juice to be had from even terrible fan page profiles.
Following are the most popular social networks:
Article Submission and Blogging Platform Sites
Article submission and blogging platform sites are great ways of promoting your website. You just have to write a unique article related to your business and then submit it to some sites. Although keeping the pieces informative is essential, try to make the tone friendly. Articles that were less aggressive in terms of their marketing tone and that sound genuinely well-intentioned are much more like to generate more interest for your website than self-promotion by itself. Articles and blogs are also excellent for getting links and providing SEO benefits to your website.
Photo Sharing Sites
Photo sharing sites like Polyvore and Pinterest enable you to display visual content related to your business. You can also use it to link back and refer to your site. Photo-sharing websites aren’t just for photographers- any company can use these sites for posting images of news, coworkers, events, and everything in between that relates to your business.
http://www.houzz.com/ – Photo sharing site for designers.
Presentation Sharing Sites
If you have some presentation you pitch to clients, upload it to the production sharing sites. This way, you can pitch to potential clients who would have never known that your company exists. Not only could people find presentations via internal search, but that presentation could also rank in search engines. Furthermore, and here is a kicker, most sites will allow placing a link in the production description, which will reflect positively on your SEO! So, to sum up: you will get exposure to new customers on sharing sites via search engines, and it will positively affect your SEO rankings, and you don’t have to pay a dime for it!
Here are some free presentation hosting sites:
Social Media Bookmarking Sites
These websites allow readers to bookmark their favorite news articles, links, and sites. They are an excellent way to increase your website’s credibility with the search engines, obtain quality backlinks, and spread information about your most recent blog posts. However, you should keep in mind that the SEO value of social bookmarking has deteriorated during the past few years. That is why I’ll provide you with the best social bookmarking sites first, followed by slightly lower-quality sites.
Highest quality bookmarking sites:
Lower quality bookmarking sites:
Press Releases Sites
Do you have a new service or product for which you would like to get some recognition? If so, write a press release and submit it through a PR service. These services, like directories, provide essential free press release submission services. Usually, these don’t include the major media outlets, as most use Business Wire or PR Newswire. However, you can access middle-tier media outlets using a free PR submission service.
Sometimes, the best way to reach out and provide them with something they need is to get somebody’s attention. Offering help or answering questions on forums can help get you noticed, establish your expertise in a specific field, and get the word out about your website.
A podcast is an audio file that has s recorded in the format of a radio talk show. When you post podcasts on your site and other places such as Apple’s iTunes (www.itunes.com), people can subscribe to and then download your podcasts and listen to them at their convenience on their portable MP3 devices or computers. In addition, there is free software available for creating podcasts. Make sure that you include a detailed description of your podcast. Also, use keywords you want to rank for in the podcast’s title.
Collect your customers’ email addresses and send them helpful information, special offers, coupons, and new product announcements. Here is a list of mailing clients that can make your email marketing efforts much more accessible. Keep in mind that most of these software suites are not free but priced very reasonably. Of course, you are free to try others if, for some reason, you don’t like MailChimp.
Also, you will have to have your email list to use this strategy. You can use emails from your customer database or set up some sort of giveaway to collect emails from your blog/site.
Find organizations that issue awards for the services or products your offer. Apply for the awards. Make sure to take this process seriously. Anytime you win, capitalize on the publicity that it generates. Just as with SEO, it is not easy to get awards, and in most cases, it will require considerable effort on your part time-wise and money-wise. However, winning awards will give your business a significant PR boost. Here is a list of the most popular business awards:
http://freddieawards.com/ – Travel excellency awards.
These are the most popular awards, and I’m sure competition is fierce. You should look for prizes in your niche; those awards should be much easier to get.
Donate Resources Or Time To A Charity
Try to get charitable organizations that you are involved with to promote your business involvement and donation. Do what you can to get media coverage for community causes and organizations you support. Search in Google for local churches and charities, call them and ask how to help. Please don’t do it just for PR reasons. When you do charity work, you support a cause; PR is just icing on the cake.
Free Classified Ads
You can post free ads on Craigslist for your services and products. We can also post offers for giveaways, sweepstakes, and free product samples.