If you are looking into ways to promote your website online while not spending any money, here are some ways you can do it. Most of these are generally well known but you might find something new and useful. With the right time and effort, you can find yourself attracting a whole slew of new clients to your great looking site!
Search Engines: It may or may not surprise you to hear that the majority of traffic from the internet is derived from search engines. With that said, search engines should be the first place that you should turn to to promote your online presence. Ensure that search engines know that your site exists by submitting your link directly to them. Once that’s out of the way, the best way to improve your search engine presence is by taking the time to improve your SEO.
Social Link Building : Social sites are where many web surfers spend the majority of their online time. Linking your content on popular social sites is a great way to put your business in the face of your known audience, and also a fantastic opportunity to gain quality back links by exposing your brand to broader audiences.
Start a blog. If you already don’t have a blog you have no idea what you’ve been missing. As we all know, content is king and having an ability to deliver fresh, engaging, and interesting content to potential visitors is crucial for any organic SEO success.
Be guest author on specialized blog or eZine. You can’t just wait to be invited to write for someone. You should contact respected blogs or web magazines in your industry and ask them if you can be a guest author. In most cases they will allow you to link back to your website and thus for you will gain free promotion. Being a guest author in respected media in your industry is also very good for raising the brand awareness of both you, your company and your services or products. Thanks to Dan in comments, we know about a website that enables you to easily find blogs where you can guest post or find guest authors for your own blog
Get guest authors for your blog. By getting other people to write for you you will save time of writing an article of your own and you will be able to spend that time on promoting your website. In most cases guest author will also promote the article on his own, giving you free promotion. To find guest authors you can search for relevant bloggers and contact them or if you already are established website with community of its own, you can ask your community to participate in blog posting.
Comment on other blogs. Most of the blogs will allow for you to make your name on the comment appear as a link to your website/blog. By commenting on relevant blogs you will in most cases bring targeted traffic to your website and raise awareness of your existence to the owner of the blog. If you are investing lots of time and effort into creating valuable content in your comments, the blogger migth decide to award you for the effort and link to you via blogroll. Some of these blogs are “do follow” blogs and commenting on them will provide you with SEO benefit to.
Link to relevant content in your articles / blog posts. By linking to other relevant sources you show your give additional value to your content for the readers. Most of the websites track their visit statistics and referral sources and this way you will also raise awareness of your existence in the eyes of your niche. Some of them might be so nice to link back to you in some cases while some websites have automated systems of showing track backs to their articles.
Ask bloggers for your product or service reviews. Most of the bloggers are actually looking for something to write about. If your product or service is relevant to the blog’s content, the blogger might agree to test it and write a review of it for free. There is nothing for you to lose, you only need to ask nicely. Send an email to as many relevant bloggers as you can find and ask them to write about you. Eventually, you will get lucky.
Create a Facebook page and/or group. Facebook is one of the best social networks out there that you can use in order to bring some targeted traffic to your website. You should strive to create viral marketing effect when dealing with social networks such as facebook. Groups that encourage users to buy your service and / or product will not be very effective. You have to be clever and think of ways to lure people that might be of interest into your products and / or services into your group without being clearly obvious that purpose of the group is to direct traffic to your website and make people buy from you.
Create a Facebook application. Facebook applications tend to create even bigger viral effect then facebook groups or pages, especially if you play the cards right. Make something cool and fun that people will love to share and make sure to have a plan on how will you benefit from the application
Use Twitter. Twitter is undeniably the next big thing in social media burning the web with over two million users right now! The ability to promote your product via twitter almost effortlessly should not be ignored. It’s really easy to gain followers on twitter and once you have a nice number of followers it’s as good as an RSS feed.
Use LinkedIn. While Facebook and Twitter both have huge user base and potential to bring millions of visitors at your website’s doorstep, LinkedIn can sometimes prove to be much more ROI effective. LinkedIn is a network full of highly educated professionals from different industries and in some industries it will send much more targeted audience then other social networks.
Create a LinkedIn group. And by creating a group I don’t mean create a group about your company. Try going much broader and create a group that concentrates on your entire industry. Invest some time and effort to bring people into your group and once you built yourself a nice community you might be lucky enough and your group starts growing on its own. If you succeed you will have an army of your industries professionals at your disposal. You will have ability to send emails to entire group and to make any discussion featured and thus for control where the traffic of your group will be sent.
Be involved in LinkedIn discussions. The discussions on linked in (group discussions and questions and answers) tend to bring really nice and targeted traffic if you place a relevant link to your blog post or article in it. Try not to look spammy and only link to your articles when they solve the problem someone asked in discussion.
Create YouTube channel and post cool videos. YouTube is currently the 2nd largest search engine in the world! Imagine how much traffic you could pull from there especially considering the fact that in most industries competition on YouTube is pretty low compared to the big search engines. You should try not to put on commercials on YouTube (unless they are extremely funny) but instead put something interesting that might go viral. Be sure to always include a link to your website or the relevant article or subpage to the video on your website into the sidebar.
Create accounts on other video websites (YouTube clones). There are really lots of similar websites that don’t actually have as much traffic as YouTube does but they also have much less competition. If you already made a video for YouTube it’s not very time consuming to also upload it to other video websites and it’s really worth of effort.
Publish press releases. This is not as effective as it use to be but it’s still worth the effort. There are quiet a number of websites that allow you to submit your press release for free. Just Google it and you’ll find more then enough to fill your appetite.
Post a Wikipedia article about your company / website / product. Wikipedia tends to rank really well on Google and appears to be really good source of targeted traffic. You’ll have to invest some time and effort into creating the wiki entry as you don’t want your entry to be disapproved (deleted as soon as editor realizes you are just trying to promote yourself). If this is your first time submitting something to wikipedia, you should spend some time researching the similar wiki entries and reading the guidelines.
Exchange links. Use search engines to find relevant websites to your industry and contact them in order to try to establish a link exchange. In most cases both websites will benefit from such a exchange as long as you are exchanging links with websites relevant to yours. Avoid exchanging links with spammy and scammy sites.
Exchange banners. In some cases you will find banner exchange more efficient then link exchange. The same rules apply here as in link exchange case. Try avoiding the big banner exchange networks and rather concentrate on setting up exchange deals on your own with websites you actually wont to exchange banners with.
Submit your website to web directories. There are really lots of web directories that will allow you to list your website on them for free. Try concentrating on biggest ones such as DMOZ and also on really targeted ones for your website’s niche.
Submit your website to CSS / design galleries. If you have a nice looking website design, it’s a shame not to share it with the world. Some of these galleries are really popular and could bring nice traffic. There are also specialized galleries for different type of website such as Magentique (Magentique is showcase of web stores made with Magento ecommerce platform).
Use Digg. Recent stats show that digg’s traffic is declining, however, it still remains one of the most valuable sources of free and targeted traffic you can find online. It’s not enough just to submit the article to Digg, it won’t hit the front page by some magical IT voodoo dance. You have to build yourself a network of friends on Digg which requires a lot of time and effort.
Use social bookmarks. You should use social bookmark services and be active part of community. The most popular ones are also free to use and only thing you invest is your time and effort. You should try with StumbleUpon and Del.icio.us. Also using less popular social networks might bring you some traffic easier as competition is lower.
Be active member of your niche’s forum communities. Most forums will allow you to put a link to your website in your forum signature. Some of them will even allow multiple links in signature which means you can also build some deep links easily. In some cases you will be able to mention some of your blog posts or articles in forum discussions when they actually solve the problem asked in discussion. This will bring highly targeted free traffic to your website.