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9 Free Ways To Promote Your Website (And How To Get It)
At the same time, the world of website advertising can be intimidating and confusing and costly. Not everyone has the budget for paid advertising and event sponsorship.
Here's the good news: this article is going to share some tried and tested strategies you can use to promote your website, increase your traffic, and I'll go into great detail on how to do them.
Plus, you don't have to spend a penny!
Do you prefer videos? Check out the following: (Note: It has some additional tips that are not mentioned in this article :))
Why you can trust us
We are Ahrefs, a set of SEO tools. Generating traffic is our main business - in fact, we are our own case study. Our organic traffic growth for the blog over the past 2 years or so looks like this:
Traffic growth from Google
Read more about our story: How to Grow Your Blog Traffic by 1.136% and Get Thousands of Customers [Ahrefs ’Blog Case Study].
You're in good hands, so sit back and enjoy the ride!
1. Guest posts in blogs
Guest blogging is a great "all-in-one" method for establishing yourself in your niche, increasing your backlink growth, and making some industry contacts - all of which are useful for long-term promotion of your website.
How it works in a nutshell: You write for other blogs.
Our CMO Tim Soulo used this strategy a lot.
When you write for prominent sites in your niche, you are putting your content in the best places to reach the right people - namely, those who are interested in your topic and enjoy your content so much that they will look for more of it. Translation: More traffic for your website!
While guest blogging is undeniably a good link building strategy, it's not the most reliable way to get consistent traffic. Our own CMO Tim wrote about this in detail in this article on Guest Article ROI: The Data Behind 273 Guest Articles.
Do not get me wrong; you will likely get some traffic this way. It just isn't likely to turn out to be the most stable or sustainable path.
Here's how to do it.
Step 1: find your goals
Note: You want to blog in the right places for the right people.
Let's start with how to find the best blogs as targets. You will want to do some research and make a list of well-known blogs that are relevant to your niche; writing outside of your niche is not going to bring you quality traffic.
A tool like Ahrefs ’Content Explorer can be very useful for this. Just type in a term relevant to your industry to get a list of the most popular websites blogging about your topic. Select “One article per domain”, set your language and adjust the organic traffic filter (we used 1000+ here) to reduce the list. Then you can export them and start preparing your pitch!
Step 2: prepare your pitch
Don't spam your recipients. There are certain techniques for getting desired answers from strangers on the internet and sending a template via bulk email that you can create in three minutes is not one of them.
Do some research on the blog and author you want to reach. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the content of the blog and get to know the guest bloggers who are already posting there.
Use this information to personalize your pitch, use some common sense to resonate with the author, and you will see a huge difference in the responses you get. (For a detailed guide on how to do this, check out our article on Outreach.)
Step 3: Write your guest article
Always follow the style and formatting of the blog you are writing the guest article for. If every existing article has a ton of headings and bold text, do that too. If every item consistently exceeds the 3000 word mark and contains a lot of screenshots, do that too. You understand what is meant.
The review process is different for each blog, so follow your author's directions. Be polite and courteous!
When you link back to your website, remember to include links to existing blog content. This will make your article a lot less self-referential and make your writer happy - for more tips and tactics, check out the following article on writing a successful guest article.
If you write guest articles for different blogs, you can link your older posts from your new posts. This avoids excessive linking of your own website, all authors are happy and you even get some backlinks to your other guest articles.
Thanks to Nick Churick for this tip!
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of ranking your website high on search engines like Google. Remember, if you sell flowers and your website is the number one Google results for “flower delivery”, how much traffic could you get?
Average search volume (on Google) for “flower delivery” in the United States, via Ahrefs Keywords Explorer
The best part is that this strategy is driving constant, passive traffic to your website. I'm not even biased in saying that it is the best website promotion tactic for scalable, long-term results. Again, this is what your traffic will look like when using SEO:
Our isolated SEO traffic growth for the past ~ 3 years.
And this is how it looks with other methods.
Traffic generation after posting a guest article.
In the world of SEO, this is widely known as the “spike of hope” - which can quickly translate into the “flatline of nope”. Broken down: You will see a nice surge in traffic the first time the article is published and promoted, but referral traffic will soon wane ... leaving you with the time and resources needed to maintain that strategy.
Yes, SEO can be a complicated beast. But here's how you can tame them.
Step 1: Write content on a topic with organic search traffic
The work starts even before you even produce your content. Keyword research is essential to your SEO success: you do this to make sure there is a market for the content you want to create. If your content ranks for many popular search terms, then it is when your traffic starts to increase.
Since there are too many variables in keyword research (everyone's goals, resources, time periods, competitive landscapes, etc. differ), there is no general method here.
Instead, there is a reliable keyword research framework here that you can adapt for your purposes. You may also be interested in 'learning' how to find the easiest keyword to rank for.
Step 2: optimize your content
If you are creating brand new content or working with existing articles, then you need to optimize it for ranking in Google. This involves a lot of research, writing, and various other factors.
Believe me when I say that there is a lot more to go into, which we have no place for here. Are you interested in learning more? Head over to this article on actionable steps you can take to get more organic traffic.
Step 3: build links
A backlink is simply a link back (hence the name!) From another page to your website. It is seen by search engines as an indicator of how important or useful your content is. In other words, having a high number of high quality backlinks is a big influencing factor in ranking well with search engines.
A study we did shows the great correlation between referring domains and organic search traffic.
Once you have great content, it's time to start building backlinks for it. There are many ways to get started - for beginners, it is wise to choose some of the beginner-friendly skills and tactics, or learn some methods of capturing your competitors' backlinks.
The “home page of the internet” has huge potential if you only know how to approach it. For the ignorant, Reddit is a place where you can share anything on any topic and discuss it with its millions of users, as long as it doesn't break the rules.
What makes Reddit special for marketers is that obvious advertising doesn't work here. Redditors are incredibly clever and skeptical at the same time; they will smell your ads from three blocks away and ban you.
Think in a marathon, not a sprint, when trying to promote something on Reddit. Prove that you have something worth saying before you actually say it.
This is how it is done.
Step 1: identify your niche
When it comes to Reddit, there is probably talk of a subreddit - a niche forum with its own rules and moderators.
A simple Google search for should bring up a ton of options: This is where your target audience is and what you need to familiarize yourself with.
Step 2: become one of them
It is time to integrate! Focus on following the relevant communities; Building on reputation, relationships and Reddit Karma.
Every subreddit is different, so pay attention to what works for which audience (Do they have a fun culture and love GIFs and memes? Do they like long, verbose discourses? Act accordingly.) Your approach matters a lot and will determine whether you are one of the community will. Write thoughtful, insightful comments and others will begin to return the favor.
Of course, make sure you've read the rules of each subreddit and follow them religiously.
Step 3: Apply — carefully
Once you've spent a certain amount of time giving something to the community and making friends, you can start referencing your own website.
Even then, you should choose a route that doesn't scream "obvious advertising". Asking for opinions or positioning your website as something that may help or interest the community are ways to go about it.
That's how Ahrefs crowdsourced feedback and gets feedback from Reddit.
Despite the fact that it is also classified as an online forum, Quora is to be assessed very differently from Reddit. In a nutshell, it is a question-and-answer page that is completely user-generated. As a Quora user, you can either choose to ask questions or answer them.
See Quora as a knowledge market: It's a great place to answer questions in your niche, establish authority, and generate some traffic for your website along the way. This strategy can take a lot of time, dedication and some cleverness, but it can really pay off.
Marketing on Quora can be a bit confusing at first - here's an introduction to how to do it.
Step 1: Limit yourself to the right questions
It helps to imagine this tactic similar to guest articles in blogs. It's all about the strategic placement of your content: right channel, right people.
The easiest way to start is to use the Quora search mask yourself. Quora allows you to do both generic searches and searches within a specific topic.
After that, it is a case of sifting out questions on which you are able to position yourself as an authority.
The next step? Find out which are the most popular questions to pursue. To do this, look at the right sidebar when you are logged into Quora.
At first glance, the above screenshot shows that the question has 129,000 views. Good potential!
The final step is to look at the recent answers to each question. If they too have a lot of views, then you're on to something. On the other hand, if an answer from 2014 has 8,000 views but an answer from three months ago has 40 views, then it's probably a dead topic. In that case, you should keep looking.
Step 2: Build referral traffic
Write a good answer to each question while linking on your website where possible. Relevance is key here; write to offer the best answer you can give and try not to squeeze your link into it. Be concise and focus on adding value.
Other tips include using images that complement your answer well, along with a great intro (If you're featured in Quora's email notifications, then your answer will get a condensed preview and you need to get your audience excited as soon as possible. )
Of course, it is best if the link goes to content on your website that discusses the topic in greater depth. Note that if your answer wasn't good at the start, no one will click on your “Learn More” link.
Do you want an easy way to find keywords / topics with low competition?
Go to Ahrefs ’Site Explorer > Enter quora.com> Click “Top Pages”> Search for your topic.
Find a low number for referring domains and scan the Traffic + Top Keyword columns. If anything stands out then take a look at the url and find out what the question is about. Then find your keyword based on that.
Thanks to Sam Oh for this tip!
We all know about social media to some degree. However, as you can guess, being an ordinary social network user or actually trying to advertise on the same channel is not the same thing.
Generally speaking, there are two ways to get started with social media marketing: The “organic” way by building communities / marketing and by paying ads (relatively easy to set up and guaranteed to pay in goals.) Since we only focus on the first , let's take a closer look!
Facebook doesn't need an introduction. It's huge; there are billions of people who use it; most of the people you know are there. It's just a matter of how you choose your target audiences and address your ideal audience.
Here's how to do it.
Step 1: Create a Facebook Page
Creating a page is absolutely free. This establishes your brand's presence on the network - which immediately allows you to connect and interact with its millions of users.
Fill your page with details and encourage people to "like" it, then create a consistent content plan to show that you are active and that there is work to be put into your brand.
If the updates you're posting are relevant to your niche, then adding a link to your website shouldn't be a problem. As soon as more of your ideal audience discover your content and page, the traffic will start flowing to your website.
You can find more tips on creating a stimulating Facebook page here.
Recent post statistics from the Ahrefs Facebook page.
Step 2: post in Facebook groups
Facebook groups are made up of people who share the same interests. The great thing is their diversity: there's one for every topic you can think of (and many more that you never could imagine existed!) Of course, finding and joining groups on your niche will allow you to get one Premium access to your ideal audience.
The strategy for advertising in Facebook groups is similar to advertising in forums: after joining, read the rules and invest some time researching the group. See how the existing members interact; comment on other articles while adding value and being useful.
If you've been active for a while and have built some reputation in the community, you can start approaching group admins to see if you can reference your website.
Twitter is known to be an all-in approach to achieving business goals. You can use it to generate leads, promote your website and increase your brand awareness, do customer support, and so on.
It's especially great for reaching new audiences and seeing what people are saying about you. How To Promote Your Website? There are a few tips and tricks you can use.
Here are some of the steps you can take.
Step 1: Publish content that is very stimulating and shareable
The best thing about Twitter is how accessible it is and how fast things travel there - there's a reason hashtags became a trend. When we talk about hashtags, remember to use relevant hashtags so that other users will be able to find your tweet when they search for your topic.
In general, you want to post content on Twitter that includes a link back to your website. Make sure your tweets are as entertaining, informative or (depending on the situation) provocative as possible in order to get shares and retweets.
Another tip: Check out Open Graph Tags or Twitter Cards to give your shares the best look on social networks. When used in conjunction with good, highlighted images, it can really help increase your click-through rates.
Our own tweets are mostly informative and entertaining.
Are you a WordPress user? Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to add Open Graph tags to articles quickly and easily.
Step 2: Make a promise in exchange for retweets or freebies
The boundaries between “free” and “paid” are blurred. However, technically you are not using a budget ...
Asking retweets ensures that your tweet will get exponentially more exposure the more people share it. The more people see the tweet, the more naturally they'll look at your profile and website.
Just make sure that what you offer is worth the number of retweets you ask for and that you end up delivering!
Based on our latest tests, @ahrefs now has a larger keywords index and shows more organic traffic data than any competitor. So we're thinking to loosen up the “top50 positions” limit for standard accounts. Just 1k retweets and we'll open “top100 positions” on Standard ”
- Dmitry Gerasimenko (@botsbreeder) February 9, 2018
When it comes to freebies, a little trick is to make your brand mention mandatory for participation. This means that your profile and website are just a click away from being discovered by curious users who want to check what is being published (human nature is: everyone loves free things!)
You may also want to choose an industry-relevant or topic-relevant hashtag to give both some context to the giveaway and to aggregate entries to make the rating easier.
A simple lightning giveaway we issued to test the reach of our Twitter banner.
Learn more about our Twitter banner experiment in my guest article for Buffer.
7. Blogger outreach
Outreach is essentially a strategy of delivering your content to bloggers and influencers in your industry with the aim of getting them to talk about you and link you.
In its simplest form, it involves contacting and asking for a link for your website. Yes, great outreach is much more than just asking for a backlink.
Still with you? Then let's go through it.
Step 1: Find out who you want to reach
The decision to give you a backlink is made by a real person, not a machine. So, outreach is about communication. Effective communication to be precise. You will need patience, research skills, and to some extent, social empathy and business acumen. You want to close this deal and the deal is a link back to your website.
Do your research. You now know that you need to contact websites that are relevant to your content.
So: make a list of recipients and identify the person you need to contact. Find out as much as you can about her - his position at the company, if he recently posted anything worth mentioning, and of course, don't forget to find out the email address.
Step 2: Create and send your pitch
We have collected our best tips for outreach here, ranging from target types, when to get in touch, to how to write an outreach template that is easy to personalize.
Positive feedback that we received on one of our blogger outreach campaigns
Note: Outreach is only a good approach when you have useful content. Without something valuable to share, you don't have to bother - people won't link to you unless they already love your brand (unfortunately, very unlikely.)
8. Create a free resource
This strategy is all about creating valuable, unique content - ideally aligned around your brand and product - and then offering free access to it.
Whether it's a printable PDF or a tutorial series on YouTube, focus on delivering value to your audience and you'll start to see the magic of word-of-mouth at work.
Actual user feedback for “Blogging for Business”, a video tutorial course on how to get your blog to over 100k monthly visitors. This course was free for 30 days until launch and is now $ 799.
As always, remember that quality is key! Non-original, inferior content doesn't get going, no matter how free it is.
Here are some tips for success.
Step 1: figure out what content should be created
Your content needs to be relevant to your niche or you are unlikely to see a lot of high quality traffic from it.
An interesting way to get ideas is to spy on your competitors. Use Ahref's “Best By Top Link Growth” report to keep track of what and what type of content has received attention and backlinks.
Site Explorer > Enter the domain of a contest> Best links
Step 2: make it easy to share
Extra steps necessary to leave out your content to send to a friend can make a huge difference. So: do yourself a favor and make your resource as easy to share as possible.
For example, one way to do this is to reprocess your content into bite-sized pieces - e.g. the creation of a simple infographic that summarizes the key information and creates talking points for your audience.
Another traffic tip: Use click-to-tweet links to increase the divisibility of your content and attract more attention.
This allows you to customize the specific message your audience will tweet while making the sharing process almost effortless. A win-win situation!
9. Reply to comments and initiate a conversation
This tactic goes all the way back to basics. Sometimes the best way to build relationships with people and get them interested in your website is the simplest: start a conversation.
Research what is being said in your niche in general and about your brand, then strategically enter the discussion where it makes sense.
Here's how to do it.
Step 1: Set up “mentions” alerts
It's hard to join a conversation you don't know about. Thankfully, the solution comes in nice form of tools like Google Alerts, Talkwalker and our own Ahrefs Alerts.
In a nutshell, these tools will send you alerts when your keywords are featured online, making it easy to keep track of what's being said in your niche anywhere on the web.
Ahrefs Alerts > Mentions> New Alert
Mention alerts work for any phrase - you can even add your own name or brand name for reputation management.
Some ideas for keywords to use:
- Your own brand;
- Your competitors' brands;
- Relevant keywords for your niche
You will receive email notifications whenever your keywords are mentioned on the web. From there, it's a simple matter of following links to the articles and scrolling through the comments section.
Step 2: Interact where you can add value
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, don't be a spammer. Only say something when you have something valuable to add to the conversation; whether it is knowledge or advice, or at least a link to another source that will be helpful.
Try to add your website link when commenting - only when your content is highly relevant. The focus here is on building relationships and sharing knowledge, not on leaving your link in every comment column you can find.
Of course, there are many ways in addition to the tactics already mentioned to promote your website. Which strategy is ultimately most effective depends heavily on your unique competitive landscape and your resources: time frame, skills, team size, etc.
However, we stand by our belief that SEO is the best way to generate long-term traffic. It can be done with little (or no) budget and produces passive, scalable results where most other methods are one-off or require constant effort.
What are your thoughts? Have you had great success using any of these strategies, or has a method not mentioned here worked wonders for you?
I would love to hear your story in the comments below.
Translated by: Sebastian Simon.Sebastian Simon has been dealing with SEO since 2009, currently at seven-bytes.de and heine.de.
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