01 July, 2007

55 Best Ways To Advertise Your Website

This entry was originally posted on the omnistaretools.com blog. It is reposted here for reference only.

55 Best Ways To Advertise Your Website

There are lots of great ways to promote your website, but it always helps to have a handy list of topics you can get ideas from. That’s why we’ve compiled this always-growing website promotion tips page. Hopefully it will get you motivated to do one or two small things that you haven’t thought of before to get your site more and more traffic over time.

So, without further ado, here’re a few website promotion tips to give you the ideas you’ll need to increase that all-important traffic.

1. Start an Affiliate Program

I am always amazed at how many businesses go without an affiliate program. Really, it is completely beyond me as to why a business would think that using affiliates would ever be a bad thing. Just think of all the money you spend on advertising, and consider that you pay for ads whether or not anyone responds to them. The difference with affiliates is that you only pay for this kind of ad when you actually get a sale from it. Affiliate ‘advertising’ is quite literally the best advertising you can spend money on for your business. The real reason why most businesses haven’t caught on to the whole affiliate idea yet is not because the idea is flawed, but instead because affiliate technology has traditionally been overcomplicated and difficult to manage. Thankfully, we here at Omnistar realized this a long while back, and created OSI Affiliate as the most user-friendly affiliate software available on the internet. With its powerful features and easy-to-understand interface, it proves itself time and time again. After all, we use it ourselves every single day. Watch this video to see how easy it is to create an affiliate program for your business.

2. Publish An Article

Write a good article in your niche and e-mail bloggers in that niche to let them know. You’ll be surprised at how many may link to you. Just make sure your article is good, or you may get some bad press. (On the other hand, even bad press still ups your pagerank, unless they link with a nofollow tag. But really, who takes the time to do that?)

3. Make a Sig Link

Make sure your signature has a link to your site, whether it’s your email sig, forum sig, or even just a chat profile. (This includes any posts you make in Yahoo! or Google groups.)

4. Post in Newsgroups

Post in Yahoo! or Google groups. Just don’t get addicted to it, or you may never finish going through the rest of these suggestions.

5. Go Web 2.0 with Social Bookmarking Sites

Submit your best pages on major social bookmarking sites like digg and stumbleupon. Just be aware that while social bookmarking sites tend to give high traffic, they usually don’t convert that well, so only submit content that you know is good enough to catch at least a few visitors onto your rss feed.

6. Be Active in the Blogosphere

Comment on blogs! Most bloggers love to see new comments, and if you comment on their blog with a link back to your blog, they’ll be sure to return the favor. (If you’ve got a good eye for which blog topics might support a large audience, you may want to check the upcoming section in digg for blog posts that are about to receive a lot of traffic.)

7. Be In the Blogosphere

That reminds me: start a blog. Having a blog for your site is a great way to train yourself to create new content on a regular basis, and you can later mine your old blog entries for ideas that you can turn into fully-fledged articles for your site. (Just remember not to duplicate your own content!)

8. Be Opinionated

If you notice a blog entry or forum topic where the majority opinion seems to be wrong, be very opinionated on letting them know that you hold an opposite opinion. You may get a few links back saying that you’re wrong. (In fact, why not just hold the opposite opinion every time, even if they’re technically right? In the SEO world, any link back is a good link back.)

9. Answer a Question

Answer some questions in your niche on Yahoo! Answers. Just keep in mind that answering a few questions in depth is much better than giving a lot of single paragraph answers. It’s also best to answer recent questions, since you have a better chance of being voted up that way.

10. Make a Creative 404 Page

Make your 404 page really useful by including links to your most popular content. More than likely the user was looking for this content anyway, and, even if not, they may very well become interested in it by seeing a teaser line when they hit your 404 error page.

11. Tempt Fate with Opt-In Forms

Consider trading links with a company in a similar industry that doesn’t compete with you. Better yet, if you can stomach it, experiment with the idea of trading the creation of a small opt-in form on each of your confirmation pages. That way anytime someone buys from this other company, the purchaser will have the option to sign up for your newsletter, or something else equally innocuous. The drawback being, of course, that you will have to submit your customers into dealing with the dreaded opt-in form on your confirmation page. You might consider minimizing the negative reaction by putting the opt-in form on the very final page, so nothing is lost if the user just closes the window at that point.

12. Review Products

Do a review column in your blog where you review products or companies on a bi-weekly basis. If your review is positive, e-mail the company in question and ask to be featured in their press section. But don’t forget that having nothing but positive reviews is a big turn off for most readers, so mix it up a bit.

13. Publish Articles (part 2)

Compose articles in your niche and submit them to article directories. Just be sure to make the articles you submit top-notch; otherwise you’ll have info dispersed on other sites under your name with no way of correcting any errors in the article. And remember not to duplicate content!

14. Go Public with a Press Release

Write a newsworthy press release and submit it to PRWeb. If it’s genuinely newsworthy, the release may get picked up all over the place.

15. When All Else Fails, Just Pay for Traffic

Use payperclick services (like adwords, adcenter, ysm) to get traffic. But make sure the keywords you sign up for are worth the cost. Just because a keyword costs a lot doesn’t mean it’s a good value—and it similarly doesn’t mean anything if the keyword costs very little. Do a bit of research on which keywords are worthwhile before going the payperclick route. But once you’ve found the right keyword combinations, it can be a good source of supplemental incoming traffic.

16. Start an RSS Feed

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a great way to get subscribers to see new content on an ongoing basis. Once you have an RSS feed, subscribing is easy for web visitors, and generally gets a stronger sign up ratio than email subscriptions. Just make sure to advertise your feed in a good place, so it’s easy to subscribe to. (If you’re looking for a good syndication service, try Y! Pipes.)

17. Start a Mailing List

While getting people to signup for an email newsletter is generally more difficult than getting them to subscribe to an RSS feed, the extra difficulty means that when you do get subscribers, they’re generally good targets for conversion. Just keep in mind that email newsletters have specific laws that pertain to them, and noncompliance can land you in deep trouble. Thankfully, if you use Omnistar Mailer for sending your newsletter, we offer a free ebook that details the specifics on how to market with emails the right way: Email Marketing for Beginners.

18. Include a Bookmark-This-Page Link

Reminding your visitors to bookmark your page is a great way to make sure they come back in case they leave prematurely. Of course, if they’re anything like me, then they have a gazillion bookmarked sites—so make sure to make your bookmark stand out with a well written title and a good favicon.

19. Create a Great Favicon

A good favicon image accomplishes so very much: it increases brand awareness, makes your site stand out from the crowd, and gives you that street cred that comes along with every well-made favicon file. Just don’t make it animated gif style—you may think it makes you stand out even more, but users have been known to delete a bookmark or close a tab solely because of an animated favicon. Just don’t do it.

20. Submit Your Site to Internet Directories

Internet Directories are an excellent way to get high quality linkbacks with just a little investment of time. Thankfully, we here at Omnistar recognize this, and so we’ve compiled a list of the best internet directories to be listed in, each sorted by pagerank. If you’re just starting out, I’d recommend concentrating on the free ones first.

21. Submit Your Blog to Blog Directories

The great thing about blogs is that you can submit them for links both in site directories AND blog directories. Meaning you get twice the linkbacks! Unfortunately, this also means you’ll have to actually submit them twice as many times as your main site. Believe me when I say that it gets pretty tiring around the thirtieth submission.

22. Advertise on Craigslist

If you haven’t heard of craigslist, then it’s time you got out from behind that rock you’ve been sleeping under since the twentieth century. You can publicize your site on craigslist for free—but it’s only worthwhile if you make your posts interesting enough to go viral. A well written craigslist ad consists of a catchy title, a funny and/or mock-serious body, and a well-keyworded link back to your site. But whatever you do, don’t spam with pointless ads, because you just won’t get a return that’s worth your time.

23. Use a Tell-a-Friend Script

By including a ‘tell-a-friend’ link on your site, every visitor you get will potentially advertise your site to a few of their friends. And then each of those may in turn tell their friends, and so on and so forth. This is actually a pretty powerful tool, especially if you use software that follows up the note with a well designed marketing campaign.

24. Submit Your RSS to Feed Directories

You thought I’d forget about this one, didn’t you? I guess I fooled you by making 21 and 22 on non-directory topics. In fact, now that I’m really thinking about it, number 24 should probably be about just submitting to whatever directory you see, for whatever reason.

25. Submit to Whatever Directory You See, For Whatever Reason

In other words, if you sell widgets, make sure you’re listed in the widgets directory. And also the doodad directory, if you can link doodads to widgets in some believable manner in the short description you provide for your link. Remember: every link is a good link.

26. Teach a Class

No, really. If you possess a higher education degree of any kind, you can probably find a part time position teaching a night class at your local community college. It won’t pay very well, but if you can invest in teaching on night a week, it will really help to get your name out in the local community. Colleges love to have teachers who run real businesses because the fact that you run a business at all is enough to legitimize you as an expert in whatever field you’re in. And since most of your students will be adults working in the business world that are interested in taking the class you’re qualified to teach, you will be making contacts left and right. Plus think of the resume building opportunity—when you’re trying to sell yourself to potential clients, it never hurts for them to conveniently notice that you’ve actually taught classes in the field they want to hire you for. You just can’t lose with this one.

27. Create a Cartoon Mascot

Cartoon mascots can be great when they’re used in an appropriate setting. Cartoons attract all kinds of people (not just kids), and studies have shown that the eye tends to gravitate toward cartoon characters more often than simple logos. Of course, not everyone is agreed that that is a good thing; some people make the point that a residual background logo that doesn’t attract attention is more appropriate for your main website, since you’d really rather have readers checking out your content. But others argue that an eye-catching logo is essential to building brand, and more than makes up for the fact that it takes viewers eyes away from content temporarily. Plus, if your visitor happens to have a kid in the vicinity, the child may prevent the user from clicking away from your page too quickly. Of course, this effect will be minimal, but every bit helps, right?

28. Host a Game w/ Your Mascot

Games drive traffic; that’s just a fact. You can actually get a pretty good game made with minimal investment by holding a contest for people to come up with the best game that includes your cartoon mascot. Just make sure to advertise the contest on a site where gaming programmers visit often, and you should get lots of entrants. Right now, flash turret defense games are all the rage, so you may want to try one of those, if it’s appropriate for your business. Oh, and don’t forget to submit your game to game directory sites when you’re finished.

29. Sell on eBay

Selling on eBay not only gets you an additional avenue to hawk your wares, but also means you get lots of additional incoming links for linkback purposes. Of course, only your profile page will be a permanent page, but if you are able to consistently make sales via eBay as well, then keeping some extra links back to your site from there can also work really well for you. eBay is one of the sites that are spidered by google multiple times each day, so you can always be sure that your links will count toward your pagerank. (Not to mention the whole new audience you’ll reach via eBay!)

30. Use Facebook & MySpace

Creating a MySpace and Facebook account can do good things for your business, but be careful. A badly run MySpace page can be a magnet for people to leave negative feedback, and experience has shown that the creation of a Facebook account is a permanent procedure that you really can’t ever take back. Nevertheless, if you can oversee these accounts to make sure they’re always a positive thing for your site, the linkback as well as traffic generation can be quite useful.

31. Create a Facebook App

While we’re talking about social media sites, I can’t neglect the idea that creating a good facebook application can easily go viral. But I must stress that it MUST be well made. If you can manage it, you might be interested in noticing that you can run the application on your site as well. The best apps do something unique for the user and includes high levels of interactivity.

32. Use Business Cards Aggressively

If you don’t have at least ten business cards in your wallet right this very second then you are seriously lacking in your marketing efforts. But if this is the case, don’t opine; instead, look at it as an opportunity, because you’ll be able to see dramatic returns just from getting well-designed business cards made and passing them out anytime you go anywhere. And I don’t just mean at trade events; if you have a really good card made up, then handing out cards will turn from a chore to a conversation starter. And after all, that’s what you really need from a business card. Just don’t forget to put your website address on them.

33. Cross-Promote Your Pages

The bald advertisement for one of our products in tip #32 serves dual purposes: not just is OSI Affiliate a great way to promote your site, but also you should always remember to promote your sites on other sites you control. Cross-promotion can be very powerful, since most people who visit one part of your site will likely never see the other parts. By making sure that every page you run gives links to other pages that offer content a reader would likely be interested in, you will get high-conversion leads. After all, since they came to the page from another of your pages, they already trust you as a source, plus they’re directly interested in the page that was linked. Think about it: maybe only a small percentage of you actually clicked on the link to our OSI Affiliate. But of those who did, the vast majority probably went on to purchase the software. The moral here is that targeted advertising is important.

34. Purchase Misspelled Domains

If you have a few main competitors in your niche that are doing well, consider purchasing misspellings of their domain name and having it redirect to your site. This does not mean that you should pretend that you are that other company—that would be quite illegal. But it does mean that you’ll get hits from people who can’t quite spell rite. This technique is especially useful if you can grab the ‘.com’ version of a competitor’s ‘.net’ (or other) address. If you want to know which misspellings are the most common, you may want to check out the stats on how many google searches were made for certain misspellings, and use it as the basis for an educated guess on which misspellings were most common in people’s address bars.

35. Review a Book

Or anything else for that matter. A well written Amazon review will be prominently placed on a moderately high pagerank site, and a strategically placed link back to your website can do wonders for you. If you need some ideas on how to write a good review, see what others have done for a bic pen or a gallon of milk.

36. Advertise on Bulletin Board Sites

Find boards where individuals who fit into your target market congregate. These are the perfect place to advertise your site, just make sure you aren't violating the site's spam policies. An especially effective technique is posting discount codes or special offers for the board members to use.

37. Donate time or resources

Charities are a great way to help promote your site, simply provide them with services and they will be able to help you, with a mention in their mailer or a link on their site. This kind of promotion is invaluable.

38. Offer web appliations

Build small web tools for your customers, these applications will keep them coming back to your site. This content can also get you listed on indexes of web apps.

39. Develop mobile applications

The advent of the iPhone and iPod touch have made developing applications for mobile platforms a booming business. You can bring in traffic by making apps specifically for mobile users, guaranteeing that traffic keeps comming back to use your product.

40. Partner with other sites

Synergy in advertising is important, and by partnering with another site to offer your services in tandem, you can gain access to each other's customer base, as well as benefiting from the buzz that comes with a partnership. These special deals can help put your product in front of new customers, virtually the best kind of advertising you can get.

41. Go Viral

Viral marketing is popular for a reason, by comming up with clever ways to get your customers interested in your product you reap the benefit of free advertising. This means participating in contests that drive traffic, giving things away, and usually trying to interact with your customers, allowing them to participate.

42. Think Locally

While the convenience of the web allows you to do business arround the world, your local chamber of commerce and other organizations can help drum up local business for your site. These relationships can be really helpful because it tends to also lead to networking with your peers in the area.

43. Update Regularly

Using blogs and podcasts to drum of traffic only works if customers are subscribing, and that means regular updates. How often? You usually want to shoot for weekly podcasts and daily or as close to daily as possible for blogs. Each post doesn't have to be long, but you need to be providing regular content, as that is what the typical subscriber is looking for.

44. Sell Clever Swag

No matter what your business does, it likely will benefit from selling gear with your logo on it. The number of sites selling articles of clothing and other accessories has multiplied greatly, and you can now easily sell your own gear through their sites, with no work besides designing the logo on your end. Cafepress.com is one such example. By offering products with a clever tag line you can promote your site, make a little money, and benefit from free advertising anywhere that product is worn.

45. Hire a Marketing Specialist

In the end, it sometimes takes a professional to take your site to the next level. As your company grows, marketing becomes more important, so you may want to hire someone with marketing knowhow to work solely on improving traffic, allowing you to improve your content. After all, your site has a lot more to it than just how you get visitors.

46. Publish to News Services

There are a lot of sites that want content without generating it themselves, which means sites like ezinearticles.com can provide you with an avenue to provide your content to other sites and recieve links back in return.

47. Join a trade group

Collaborate with people running sites in the same field, advertise with each other, and network to provide customers with better service. Trade groups provide a great opportunity to improve your site!

48. Offer special deals to your customers

You can get great advertising out of your customers by giving them benefits for bringing in new customers. You can also bring in returning business by offering special discounts.

49. Optimize your site for search engines

Search Engine Optimization or SEO has become one of the quickest and easiest ways to drive traffic to your site. Most web browsers are using search engines to find websites. If you focus on optimizing small things on your site, like using keywords and meta tags properly, you can notice a fast improvement in your rank on sites like Google and Yahoo!

50. Hire an SEO specialist

Once you have exhausted your own knowledge of SEO, it may be necessary to hire a specialist who can advise you on how to proceed with your site's search engine needs. They tend to have a greater knowledge of details that will help get your site higher.

51. Break a Record

It may seem like a gimic, and it is, but breaking a world record of some kind is a great way to get your website traffic. News agencies will pick up a quirky story about a site going for an obscure record, and even if you fail you get the benefit of press.

52. Ask your customers

Your customers know one thing, what they want, so get their feedback about what would bring them back. Customer feedback is guaranteed to give you ideas.

53. Look for niche markets

Targeting small groups with dedicated members is a great way to increase your site's traffic. Find a group you would like to market to, read other sites associated with them, then create content aimed at these users and promote it on their sites. This is a great way to expand as well.

In Conclusion…

Hopefully these ideas have given you the impetus you need to get started on promoting your site. If you have a great idea that we don’t have listed here, why not let us know? If it’s useful and/or funny enough, it may just make it in. (With a link back to your site as compensation for contributing, to boot!)

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