Free Website promotion remains a cornerstone of Internet marketing but there is so much mixed and outdated advice available on the topic these days that people can be forgiven if they come away from the SERPs in a state of total confusion. In 2012 I wrote “Promote Your Website – How to Do it For Free” on SEO Theory (and did you notice that the URL spells out “lessons in humility on the query space”?). I provided some practical advice there but let me address the issue from a different angle.
Step 1: Start With Social Media
Well, there’s a new idea. “Use social media” has been done to death but I’ll offer a slightly different angle this time around. As more social media services are now offering or are in the process of launching in-content advertising, you should consider some of those advertising opportunities.
But waitaminnit. Isn’t this article supposed to be about “how to promote your Website for free”? Yes it is. And I have noticed a fair number of free credit offers from some of the social media services. They are trying to get people to sign up for their advertising networks, so now may be the time to strike. Most advertisers don’t yet trust social media advertising. In fact, many people still tell me they have had dismal success with Facebook. But you should explore your opportunities. Here are a few social media services that now provide in-content/in-service/in-platform advertising.
- Facebook Advertising
- LinkedIn Advertising
- Pinterest Advertising
- Reddit Advertising
- Twitter Advertising
If you don’t have accounts with these services you will never see the advertising credit/discount offers they make to members. They may not make any, but you should cast your nets to see what fish you can catch.
If you want to promote your Website on social media services they will be happy to help you do it, and they may just give you some free advertising to begin with. The best time to cut into these advertising networks is when they are just starting out and you need to create brand awareness.
It’s not necessary to actually publish anything on the social media Websites until you’re ready to run your advertising campaigns. Of course, participating in the social media communities is another way of promoting your Website for free — but if all you do is promote your own content you’ll have a limited audience. I do actually have one account that almost exclusively promotes a single site. That account is supported by a very small niche community. This is not considered an effective practice for broad market reach.
Step 2: Work With Bloggers
Oh, you want to shoot me now, don’t you? I just brought up bloggers. That must mean I’m going to tell you to contact strangers and ask them to accept your guest posts or to sell you links or something, right?
But in reality it’s much less complicated than that. Unless you have been living in a cave for the past ten years you probably know a few bloggers. It doesn’t matter how large their followings are. What is important is that they have blogs.
Pick five of your friends and relatives and ask them to let you write five articles for each of them. Yes, I want you to write twenty-five articles. And that doesn’t mean you go out to Fiverr and hire some random stranger to do this. Stay away from Mechanical Turk, My Blog Guest, and eLance and all those other freelancer sites.
If you do this deal you need to be the source of the content. Your friends are allowing you to use their blogs; don’t abuse them.
For each blog you will write about whatever your friends write about. But in each article find a way to relate what you are saying to your business site. That ain’t easy. It’s a form of writing I call bridge content. “Bridge content” has been around for years, decades, heck, the ancient Greek poet Homer wrote bridge content. It’s nothing new but it’s an advanced form of composition and so while it takes a little practice you need to take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I’m just writing something for a friend — it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
A bridge article starts out with one topic — say, how to promote a Website for free online — and it gradually moves over into another topic — such as the theory of composition and how advanced writing works. Your goal is to lead your readers from POINT A (your friend’s blog) to POINT B (your Website) and to make that journey meaningful and memorable. You want the article to be entertaining, not salesy. This isn’t about selling your products and services it’s about promoting your Website.
Bridge content helps people to enter the proper state of mind to think about your business. I began writing SEO Theory years ago because I wanted to show people what advanced SEO is really all about. But to do that I had to fall back on my advanced writing skills, and fortunately I had a background in advanced writing to fall back upon. But writing should not be an obstacle to you. Your goal is to promote your Website for free on the Web and really the only way to do that is to write.
Using other people’s blogs makes sense because you can reach out to different audiences and take advantage of their trusted status in search service histories. You are less likely to burn your friends than you are to burn complete strangers. Hence, you’ll be more likely to treat your promotional content with the respect it needs to succeed and survive.
The cardinal rule of advanced writing is quite simple: it must be interesting.
Remember that you aren’t committed to anything until you hit PUBLISH on each article, so you can edit them a little bit. But don’t fall prey to fearful perfectionism. Any article that is published is far more perfect than any article that “needs just a little more work”.
Step 3: Play With Your Website
You don’t need a blog to get your Website crawled and indexed. Bing and Google make it easy to submit content for crawling and indexing through their Webmaster consoles. But regardless of what your Website is striving to be, if you don’t experiment with it and make constant changes then you’re sacrificing your best opportunity to promote your Website for free.
Changing up your inventory pages, your sales pitches, your incidental corporate content — all of that represents your best opportunity to create the kind of content that you want people to associate with your brand name. You can write generic mush or you can create a Website story that makes you proud.
Imagine yourself standing before an audience of 10,000 marketers and journalists. You have to tell them about your Website. What are you going to say? What are you going to highlight and feature?
The best way to approach Website design and content production is to think of that 10,000-person audience. How will they receive your latest change or addition? Will they miss that content you just deleted?
Don’t let calls to action get in the way of Website promotion. The time for Conversion Rate Optimization is AFTER you have begun drawing people to your Website, not before. Your visitors will show you what works and what doesn’t work. You just need some visitors.
At the end of the day, you’ll realize more success and feel better about what you are doing by keeping your promotional strategies simple and easy-to-manage. If you try to market everywhere at once you’re going to have a lot of limited success, and that doesn’t add up very well.
Free Website promotion serves as the foundation for a successful online marketing presence. Eventually you’ll need to build something atop that foundation; make sure it’s a good, solid foundation with which to work.
- How to Promote Your Website for Free on the SEO Theorist
- How to Promote Your Website for Free on SEO Theory
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