Johanna took a great brief, understood exactly what I wanted and made it so much better
-- Gary Betts, Sculptor
Posted by Chris on March 08, 2014
One question we often get asked is "How do I promote my website?" There are many ways of doing so, many of which will cost you nothing other than time.
The first thing you need to do is put aside some time for all the various tasks you will need to undertake, the first of which is to keep the site "fresh" by adding new and relevant quality content. Nothing works to promote your site like quality content. This will not only increase your own credibility and that of your business, but also boost your search engine visibility and encourage visitors to return. It will encourage visitors to create one-way links to your site which are very valuable in getting it ranked in the search engines. Check each page carefully for grammatical and spelling errors which would otherwise give visitors a very poor impression of you and your business.
This is a really powerful way of drawing people in. The offer need not be a product or service of your own, nor even cost you anything. For example, if your site targets local boat owners, incorporating weather and tide info would be useful. For anyone involved in commercial shipping the ship tracking system from marinetraffic.com is very useful and can easily be embedded on your site. If you do decide to offer a physical or electronic product or service for free, ensure the offers change regularly to keep potential customers for the rest of your offerings coming back. If your offer is not free, ensure that all three elements of a bargain are included – the offer must have a limited duration, a limited quantity and a genuine reason.
Blogs can be an engaging way of promoting your site. Keep the content relevant and engaging and, whatever you do, keep it up once you start with it. Few things give a worse impression than an abandoned blog. You can set a blog up for free using WordPress or similar free software, or we can do this for you. Make your posts keyword rich and engage with other members of the blogging community whenever the opportunity arises.
We install Google Analytics on the websites we create. Google Analytics is an immensely valuable tool giving you a wealth of information about your site. For example it will tell you the search terms people use to find your site, which pages they visit and how long they stay on them. Use Google Analytics to establish which are the most popular pages on your site and make more like those.
Google Webmaster Tools goes a step beyond this by looking at how search engines see your site. We use it in the initial promotion of your site – for example by submitting a site-map which Google and other search engines use to find the latest activity on your website. Google Webmaster Tools discover whether the search engines can "crawl" each of your new pages which is vital to their ranking. It will also tell you when errors occur on your site, such as broken links, which could reduce its visibility and detects some kinds of malware.
Google Webmaster Tools provides a great deal of information on searches used to find your site, how many searches returned pages from your website, the total number of pages shown in search results, the number of times a search result yielded a click-through, the percentage of times a search resulted in a click-through and the approximate position a website is showing up on searches. You can set up Google Analytics so that it includes Google Webmaster tools information in its reports.
It may sound obvious, but do ensure that your web address is in your email and forum post footers, your business cards and displayed on any company vehicles.
This is a wonderful free way to get your product or service out there. Again the article needs to answer a frequently asked question in an engaging way without being overtly commercial. Embed the video on a new page on your website. Including a transcription can also be very useful and an opportunity to get keywords/phrases onto the page.
Press releases still have a part to play in advertising a business. Seek out relevant outlets for your press releases – you will almost certainly find many such sites that will value your input as they too seek to boost their visibility and generate traffic. Don't forget local media outlets if your business is has a limited geographical footprint.
You may want to initiate contact via email, but "spamming" (sending unsolicited commercial emails) is one of the worst things you can do and will backfire on you badly. Most of the sites we create include a "Mailchimp" system which enables visitors to sign up to receive a newsletter or other information. Your mailing list is an immensely valuable resource – be sure to use it best effect. Sending mailshots out via Mailchimp should prevent your domain being labelled as a "spamhaus" and it being put on a list to which most servers refer when screening incoming emails for spam.
We set our websites up so that they feed your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts directly with content from the News page of your site. It is very important that your website feeds to your social media account as this will reduce the amount of time you need to spend on both and increase the effect of your efforts. Find at least one social media 'group' or 'page' relevant to your line of work and helpfully participate there.
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