Are you wondering how to promote your website as we head into 2021? I find that people often pour so much energy into producing a website and then sit back and expect the traffic to flow to it. That’s not really how it works but, thankfully, it doesn’t have to cost anything to drive traffic to your website.
Here’s how to how to drive traffic to your website for free.
Free and Effective Ways of Promoting a Website
I’ve put together these tips on how to increase traffic to your website with budget as the top priority. There are plenty of costs involved in setting up a new website but promoting it and trying to increase traffic aren’t among them. Before you start spending, I highly recommend trying each of the tips below.
Promote website. Done.
The Basics – Before You Promote Your Website
Successful website promotion starts even before you try to market your site. Complete these tasks first to ensure you have the maximum chance of success.
Build a Distinct Brand for Your Website
Whether you’re selling products, promoting a cause, providing services or anything else, you need a distinct brand for your website. This will help you to increase traffic in the long run, as your website will stick in people’s memories and encourage repeat visits.
I’m not going to provide a complete course on marketing and branding here – there are plenty of those just a Google search away. These are topics that you can read up on and quickly grasp the basics of, so get researching and define your website’s tone, imagery, colour scheme and content with your brand in mind.
Remember to gear your branding efforts to your audience’s tastes as well as your own. The idea here is to create a website with maximum appeal, so that it’s easier to increase website traffic once you’ve launched the site.
Improve Your Website’s UX and UI
Your website needs to deliver a good user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). Without these, googling how to get traffic to your website will be no help at all.
I don’t think you need to be a UX/UI expert in order to understand the basic principles here. If your website is slow to use or difficult to navigate, that will put people off using it. Would you regularly use a site that took ages to load or where you couldn’t find what you were looking for?
No, nor me.
Focus on page loading speed and how well ordered your navigation menus are. Think about why people are using your website and what they will be looking for as their top priorities.
Sometimes all it takes is some careful thought and a few tweaks to the user interface to make a huge difference to the user experience. Investing time in doing so could reap plenty of benefits when it comes to promoting your website.
One absolutely key way to increase website traffic is to harness the power of SEO. I recommend putting this at the top of your To Do List if you’re serious about marketing your website.
I’ll start with a very quick explanation of SEO, in case you’re not familiar with it. Again, this isn’t the place for a full course on SEO – that would take days. But with a few basics in mind you can do much to help drive traffic to your website.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. At its core, it is a way of making your website more visible to search engines like Google, Bing, Baidu, DuckDuckGo and so forth. The idea is to use words and phrases that people search for frequently and that are relevant to your website.
While search engine marketing involves paying for traffic to your website, search engine optimization is free. You will need a keyword tool to find the best terms to use in your copy. Powerful tools such as Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest are available for free, meaning you can start your adventures with SEO immediately and at no cost.
I should add a quick waning here. Be careful not to over-optimise your website. Your main priority should be to provide quality content, with a sprinkling of SEO to help out.
Optimize Your Content for Keywords with High Search Demand
An obvious point, but I think one that’s well worth making anyway: keywords with high search demand have the potential to bring you a lot of website traffic. Think about the focus of your site and of particular articles, then look up various keywords that relate to them. Use a keyword research tool to assess which are the most searched for words and phrases, then mould your content accordingly.
Of course, keywords with the highest search volumes also tend to have the most competition. It’s not just you who’s using them to promote a website. People promote websites routinely, all vying for attention and using the same keywords, with a particular focus on high density ones.
Thankfully, high density keywords are not your only option…
Targeting Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are specific phrases that encompass multiple words. They can be three, four or even more words long. They tend to have lower search volumes than high density keywords, but the payoff is that they also have lower competition.
This means that your chances of getting traffic to your website as a result of using long tail keywords are often better than if you opt for high density terms.
The balance of long tail and high density keywords that you use will be up to you to determine. I personally think that creating an ecosystem of keywords that includes both will likely serve you well.
Optimizing for Local SEO Searches
48% of searches on Google are now for local goods and services. If you’ve ever searched for “[item/place/service] near me” then the results that have popped up are those that have used local SEO.
If you are targeting a specific regional audience with your website, then local SEO can help those nearby to discover your site. Say you provide business process outsourcing for London businesses. Scattering your website copy with phrases such as, “London BPO,” “London business process outsourcing” and “BPO London UK” will help you to promote your website to the right audience.
Creating a Blog
If you’re wondering how to increase website traffic in other ways, blogging is an excellent option. It costs nothing aside from your time and is a superb way to show off your knowledge and expertise. Here’s how.
Create Shareable and Linkable Content
There are plenty of ways to create a popular blog. You need to find a subject that you know inside out and then create the kind of content that people will want to share and link to. Both shares and links will help to drive traffic to your website and slowly build up its authority (which is in itself an advantage when it comes to promoting your site).
Creating shareable and linkable content centres on delivering interesting information and information that is of value. One way to do this is to produce newsworthy information. Another is to write insightful articles and publish statistics. The latter is particularly good for encouraging others to link to your content. The more you can become an authority on your subject, the better.
Write Original Content
Part of promoting your website through shareable and linkable blog post is a commitment to writing original content. This goes far beyond not plagiarising and repurposing/spinning others’ articles. It’s about creating your own tone and opinions, drawing your own conclusions and, ultimately, giving the reader original, valuable content that they can’t find elsewhere.
Ok, so I can’t claim that Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is free, but it does deserve a quick mention when it comes to a discussion of how to market your website.
PPC is an advertising model where you pay to bring traffic to your website. You bid on keywords in order to get clicks from people who search for those particular phrases. The more popular the keyword, the more it costs.
If you’re planning to use PPC, my advice is to set a budget and stick to it. This form of advertising can get very expensive very fast. It can also be very effective. It’s your call whether the payoff is worth the expense.
Social Media Marketing
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll have heard of social media marketing. Social media marketing is precisely what the term implies – marketing through social media platforms.
If you’re worrying about how to promote your website through social media channels, don’t fret. It’s free to do and you can be as creative as you like in terms of how you promote your site.
Bear in mind that different social media sites require different kinds of posts. Twitter is largely text-based and newsy, while Instagram is all about the pictures. Facebook invites a more casual tone, while LinkedIn is more business orientated.
Think about which website pages or blog posts you plan to share on each platform and why. A social media marketing strategy will serve you well here. Consider not just what you’re posting where, but how frequently you plan to do so.
A spot of research will serve you well in this respect. There’s plenty of data out there about optimal posting frequencies for different social media sites, so I recommend putting some time in to produce a data-driven approach to promoting your site this way. The resulting increase in website traffic should serve as payment for your time.
If you’re only planning to market your website on one social media platform, make it Facebook. As at Q2 2020, the platform had 2.7 billion active monthly users, making it the largest social media network in the world. Of its US users, 74% use it daily, averaging 38 minutes on the platform. That’s a huge potential audience out there just waiting for you to promote your website.
You have two simple options when it comes to promoting your website through Facebook: pay or don’t pay. Paying for Facebook ads can prove profitable and allows you to fairly precisely target the demographics before whom you want your ads to appear. However, as with PPC, the costs can quickly mount up.
Marketing your website through Facebook without paying is less likely to produce results in terms of an increase in site traffic but can still be worthwhile. And, of course, the only cost is your time.
If your website/brand is all about the aesthetics, then Instagram is the ideal place to promote it. This highly visual platform can do wonders for driving traffic to websites that catch users’ imaginations.
Spend some time browsing Instagram to see which images capture your attention and why. Consider how you can replicate those attention-grabbing elements to fit with your own website promotion efforts.
Instagram had nearly a billion monthly active users as at January 2020. Clearly this provides huge potential for your website promotion efforts.
If you plan to use Twitter to promote your website, focus on short, snappy posts and shareable content. Brevity is your friend, so grab attention quickly.
If you’re looking for business to business website promotion, LinkedIn is the place to be. Support your peers by providing relevant, insightful business content that addresses their problems and pain points and your website traffic should benefit accordingly.
Engage in Forum Discussions
Online forums are a superb way to promote your website. Just make sure you’re subtle about doing so. Focus on adding value to the discussion first and foremost and promoting your website as a by-product.
Reddit has communities and discussions for just about every niche imaginable. Join conversations that are relevant to your site and contribute insightful comments.
Quora is a great forum to showcase your expertise and put your website in front of others to whom it may be relevant. Again, focus on providing comment that supports the discussion at hand and avoid blatant promotion.
Whatever your industry, there’s bound to be at one niche forum relating to it. Probably more. Two minutes of research should provide you with a list of possibilities. There’s Stack Overflow for developers, Property Industry Eye for property professionals, ProZ for translators and so on.
Join, contribute and enjoy the organic website promotion that doing so achieves.
Don’t limit your writing to your own blog, when you could also use it to promote your blog elsewhere. Guest blogging is a great way to promote your website with no cost other than your time and energy.
Medium is a great place to share your wisdom and insights. The more interesting your articles, the more exposure you’ll get. This is a great place for sharing content without search potential while building up the reputation of your brand and hopefully clocking up some free website traffic along the way.
Websites with Naturally High Organic Traffic
There are websites beyond count that accept guest posts. Identify those that have naturally high organic traffic in order to get maximum returns on your investment of time.
When pitching your guest post ideas, be sure to make them specific to the audience of the website you are aiming to be published on. You need to produce content that is of interest to the website’s readers as the priority, not write salesy marketing copy.
You can pitch ideas for articles to traditional print media in just the same way as you can for guest posts. Use the internet to find the email addresses of journalists who write about your area of expertise, then send them ideas, statistics and insightful comments. It can be a time-consuming process, but a rewarding one if you end up with coverage in a national newspaper.
Take Advantage of Free PR
I was quite taken aback when I started researching free PR, as it turns out there are plenty of PR agencies out there who will promote a press release for free as a taster of their services. This is definitely an option worth exploring if you’re thinking creatively about how to promote your website.
If you’re writing a press release, it needs to be newsworthy, current and properly formatted. All highly achievable with a little bit of time invested in researching and writing. Once you have a press release, you can send it out via as many PR agencies as you can find, increasing your potential return on investment with each agency that you add.
Actively Promote Your Content Through Email Marketing
Email marketing is another of our free ways to drive traffic to your website. As with all of these methods of website promotion, there is a time cost to be factored in. You also need to read up on your obligations in terms of using email addresses for unsolicited marketing messages, as regulations in respect of this differ around the world. Assuming you’ve taken care of that, here’s my three-step email marketing process.
Step 1: Building Your Email List
To build up a list for email marketing, you should:
- Find a free email marketing platform that delivers the functionality you need.
- Set up your email newsletter and identify the target audience.
- Jump online and find the email addresses of those you want to contact.
- Add the details to your email marketing platform’s contact management area.
Step 2: Segmenting your list
Often, different contacts will need different versions of the emails your write to promote your website. Opt for an email marketing platform that allows you to divide your list of contacts into segments in order to achieve this.
Step 3: Tailoring your content and email for specific audiences
One size does not fit all when it comes to email marketing. Tailor your content and email messages for different audiences. Consider A/B testing to find out what works best.
Promoting a Website to a Global Audience
When it comes to promoting a website to a global audience, it’s important to think about who you are targeting and why. Doing so will allow you to use globalization to your advantage. (If you would like more detail on terms such as globalization, internationalization and localization, please click the link below.)
The key to this is to think global but act local. The world is your oyster when it comes to website promotion, so set your sights high. Take advantage of the global economy and write a list of countries and regions you plan to target.
Next, look at how you can target each of those local areas. This could be through local SEO, as I mentioned above, through targeted (paid) ad campaigns or through reaching out to local online and offline publications. The more you can localize to connect with specific audiences, the more your website promotion work is likely to resonate with those you are targeting.
It’s not just your website marketing that you can localize, but the site itself. You can create different versions of the site for different languages, including for different dialects of the same language (such as US or UK English).
Read more: What Are Localization, Internationalization and Globalization?
Setting Up a Website Ready for Globalization
To prepare your website for localization, you must first undertake internationalization. Known as i18n, this process gets your site ready to harness the power of globalization by stripping out as many location-specific details as possible.
Once the internationalization is complete, you will have a version of your website that is ready to be localized to meet the needs of specific audiences. This can be a tricky area of work, so it might be worth finding a professional localization agency to help you with all or part of the work.
Conduct a Thorough Market Research of the Audience You Want to Target
I should perhaps have mentioned this earlier: it’s essential to conduct thorough market research when you’re targeting specific audiences with your website promotion activity. Find out what makes them tick, how they like to consume information, where they like to shop and which forums they hang out on. The more details you have, the better you can target your website marketing.
Localize and Tailor Your Website’s Content for Your Audience
You can localize your website and tailor the content in a number of ways. Consider special offers and promotions that will drive traffic in each location, as well as content that’s relevant to each. Remember to localize imagery, currencies, date/address/measurement formats, language and layout.
There are two main ways that you can go about this, which I cover below. You can also click the following link to find out about website globalization and localization in more detail.
Read more: Website Localization – The Complete Guide
Bootstrapping Your Website’s Localization
If you’re time rich but cash poor, you will likely want to localize your website yourself as part of your attempts to increase traffic. You can do this by:
- Internationalizing the site by cutting out all region-specific language, such as idioms, popular culture references and so forth.
- Researching each local audience in terms of their cultural norms and marketing preferences.
- Creating a version of the site for each audience, built around the research you undertook.
Employing a Localization Services Company
If you want a professional finish to your localization efforts, then Tomedes is always happy to help. As a provider of localization services, we have experts based around the world who can help ensure that your website promotion slots comfortably into each target country.
You can access our localization services by:
- Contacting the Tomedes team by phone, email or live chat.
- Working with your account manager to map out which countries, languages and audiences are most relevant to your plans.
- Sitting back and relaxing while we take care of the localization for you.
I hope you’ve found these ideas, tips and steps helpful when it comes to how to promote your website. All of them carry a cost in terms of your time, but very few of the will cause you to have to open your wallet.
If you’re ready to start promoting your website right now, here’s a quick checklist to keep you on track:
1. Build a distinct brand
2. Improve your website’s UX and UI
3. Carry out SEO for high density keywords
4. Do the same for long tail keywords
5. Optimize your site for local SEO
6. Create original, shareable blog content
7. Consider PPC advertising
8. Undertake social media marketing across multiple platforms
9. Engage in forum discussions
10. Write articles for Medium
11. Seek out guest blogging opportunities
12. Pitch to traditional media outlets
13. Use free PR services
14. Promote your content through email marketing
15. Globalize and localize your website
Why not leave a comment below to let us know how these approaches worked out for you? And if you promoted your website successfully in other ways, why not share those too?