15 Ways to Promote Your Website

Once you have a website online and Google has successfully found and indexed it then it’s time to start promoting your site. Promoting your website could be considered a branch within SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), hence there are many other important factors that should be considered in addition to the ideas described in this article.

Some of the benefits of promoting your website include:

o Finding potential new business
o Ensuring existing customers can find your online information
o Maintaining a professional appearance
o Ensuring your competition doesn’t have an advantage over you

Here’s a list of things you can do to help promote your website.

1. Take advantage of existing paperwork and other items that you distribute anyway. That means if you regularly distribute any of the following: invoices, business cards, packing slips, compliment slips, brochures, fliers, calendars, promotional clothing, packaging, emails (in the signature), or business letters, then you should include your web address in all these places. If you are going to send it or give it away anyway, you may as well give yourself some free advertising. Who knows who’ll see it. A good rule of thumb is “more means more” – the more places you advertise your website, the more people will visit.

2. Take advantage of existing advertising. If you already have any newspaper ads, or Golden Pages / Yellow Pages ads, then make sure they include your web address. (Note: make sure the link to your website is functional – misspellings can easily occur so the only sure way to be sure it works is to test it!)

3. Are you a member of a professional association? Many professional associations advertise their members, and if yours does make sure your website is listed. The great thing about professional associations is that they often have some valuable PR (Page Rank – a Google ranking factor which relates to the number and quality of links pointing to a website). Your website may be able to inherit some valuable PR by getting a link from such sites.

4. Online Directories. There are virtually endless amounts of online directories that allow you to advertise for free. Google uses the Open Directory (DMOZ) for generating the information contained in some search results, so if you can get your website listed here it’s potentially beneficial. (Note: DMOZ is notoriously difficult to be listed in because all submitted sites are viewed by editors prior to being listed to ensure they meet certain criteria. This criteria is liberal at best in describing what is being looked for, so it’s difficult know exactly what constitutes a worthy site. It’s free to submit however, so there’s nothing to lose by submitting your site, even if it’s not included). If you do a search for “Free Online Directory” you’ll find there are plenty more directories to list your website.

5. Classified ads. Classified ads are often free and heavily viewed. Again just search for “online classified ads” and you should get loads of places to list your site.

6. Local business listings. Many towns keep lists of local businesses, and your business may already be listed. Make sure there is a link to your website within the listing.

7. Do you have a social networking account (Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc)? Make sure it contains a link to your website. Did you know you can create a company account on many of these sites? These sites will soon be (and may already be) crawlable by search engines and information you post there could be included in search results. These sites can also be helpful to keep a friendly dialogue open between you and your customers by giving them an informal means to communicate with you and your business. If your target audience is younger than 30 you should definitely embrace the social media website.

8. Start a blog. If you know something that you think would interest people then write about it in a blog (making sure to include a link to your website if the blog is not on your website). There are numerous free blogging platforms such as Blogger.

9. Upload a video to YouTube. Google now includes videos, images, maps and news in search results along with regular website results, and studies have shown that viewers are drawn to visual results (videos and images) before standard search results. If you can video some aspect of your business that may be interesting to people (how-to videos are great, and humorous videos are popular), then upload it to YouTube and include some relevant keywords in the video description, and of course a link to your website!

10. Are you active in any online forums or groups? If you create a profile for yourself you can often add a link to your website so that the link shows any time you post a comment. Comment spam is generally frowned upon so make sure you have some intelligent input before leaving loads of spammy comments on forums.

11. Add a Google Maps listing. Quite often the top search result in Google will be a map showing local business listings, so this is a great way to get your business right at the top of page 1 in Google. While there are no clear instructions for how Google determines which businesses to list in the map that it shows in the search results, including relevant keywords in the business description and category seems to help.

12. Pay Google to advertise. AdWords allows you to specify a daily budget for advertising, and this may work really well if you are selling something on your site.

13. Press Releases. Press releases are picked up by news services and can potentially drive a lot of traffic to your website. If you have a new product or service that you’d like people to know about then this is potentially a great way to tell people about it.

14. Do you have friends or business associates that can include a link to your website? If you have a trusted customer, supplier, or perhaps a company that offers the same service in a different geographical region then agree to advertise each others website.

15. Determine which searches you’d like to show up for and see what’s presently showing up. You may find some unexpected places that you can advertise in as well – e.g. it’s not unusual to find free directory listings in the search results.

Promoting your website is just a link in the Search Engine Optimization chain. Be sure to consider all aspects of SEO in order to get great performance from your website.

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