Do you remember the days when everyone wanted to rank first for expressions like “promote your website”, “how to promote your website”, “promote your website for free”, and “how to promote your website for free”? I glanced at Google’s data for these queries and they seem to have fallen on hard times. Perhaps that is because the quality of the articles that dominate those queries is so low people are just tired of being scammed by bait-and-switch promotion or poorly written linkbait.
I love the “37 tips” article from one well-known Website that basically just slogs through all the simple on-page optimization you can do (some of which is now outdated advice). That’s a really sleazy way to pitch an article, in my opinion.
How To Promote Your Website
Here are a few suggestions on how you can promote your Website.
So this is pretty standard stuff. We used to devote entire articles to this list. Heck, I’ve even read a few eBooks that went through tedious step after tedious step on how to do these things. The point is, we used to milk the “how to promote your website” query space for all it was worth and now it’s dead, dying, and determined not to come back.
In the old days there were a lot of people who wanted to know how to promote their Websites for free. These days many people are more willing to pay for service that provides value. We’ve at least come that far.
How to Promote Your Website for Free
Speaking of “how to promote your website for free”, not all my suggestions above really satisfy this query. Of course the standard answers people used to give included:
Funny how all the free tips for Website promotion quickly became spammy practices, isn’t it? The lesson to be learned here seems to be that if you don’t invest some money and value in promoting your Website or business people will neither respect you nor take you seriously.
So as the economists like to say, there is no free lunch. There really is no way to promote a Website “for free”. But if you have time, maybe a little creativity (or a friend who likes to be creative), and you’re willing to give away some stuff, you can promote your Website without spending any more money than you already have.
Stuff You Can Give Away To Promote Your Website
Seriously, the first thing on everyone’s mind should be guest posts — just kidding. The first thing that would want to give away is the reading experience people enjoy when visiting my Website. That is, before you give anything else away, publish something interesting on your site. This has nothing to do with ranking for the long tail of search, nothing to do with attracting links — it’s just the exercise of creating something with no expectation of reward or profit.
First and foremost, you need to feel comfortable creating interesting stuff — and people are more interested in what you care about than in what you don’t care about. You can go through the motion of linking to your button factory affiliate site but this is really where you are learning to promote a Website by doing something meaningful and worthwhile.
Now that you understand that you have complete control and all the creative talent in the world, unleash the madness. Here are some things you can do to attract attention without worrying about search engines and links:
What you should NOT be doing is following people, +ing people, or in any way trying to attract followers. If you want 100, 000 social media followers you can buy them for as cheap as $10 or so (none of them are real, of course). Real promotion begins when you let go of the need to meet some numerical expectation. You cannot successfully promote a Website if you’re counting followings, hits, clicks, searches, page views, etc. It doesn’t work that way. Measurement has to fall in the middle of a process that leads to correction and adjustment.
You cannot correct and adjust being passionate or sharing what you care about. Your ideas and passions may change over time but they are not things you stop to measure. If you don’t measure how you feel then why should you attempt to measure how people respond to what you feel? There is no return on that investment.
Free Website Promotion Has To Create An Experience
I’m done with the word “value”. Screw “value”. People don’t follow your passion for value — they join in the fun because they want the experience. What sets you apart at this stage of your marketing career is the experience you create for people who encounter you. YOU are the reason why people go “WOW!” — not your Website.
This isn’t a zen thing where you become one with the Website — rather, the Website is the channel through which you direct your energy toward the rest of the Web. If you’re lucky, maybe 1 in 1 billion people will notice you today. If you’re luckier maybe 1 in 100, 000, 000 people will notice you in a year.
You DO understand that luck really has nothing to do with this, right?
If you’re trying to create an experience by leaving a link to your Website in forum profiles, signatures, and blog comments you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re trying to create an experience by asking people if you can write for their blogs you’re doing it wrong.
If you’re trying to create an experience by following 1, 000 people on social media you’re doing it wrong.
How would you throw a birthday party for the person you love the most? How would you set up an office holiday party if you were given responsibility? Would you really run around asking random strangers to come to your party?
Great Website promotion IS the experience — it’s the fun part of being who you are, where you are, and of doing what you love to do. You don’t go through the motions of great website promotion. You live it because it’s an experience.
You may fail, that’s true. But if you’re afraid of failure you’ll probably fail anyway. Most people in the SEO business spend a lot of time NOT doing things (trust me — I have written thousands of emails and articles advising people on what NOT to do). We don’t spam. We don’t violate guidelines. We don’t mislead people. We don’t upset the search engines. We don’t invade forums. We don’t leave gratuitous blog comments.
Really BAD Web marketers do these dumb things. Really GOOD Web marketers find other things to do — things they would RATHER be doing.
I love to write — I spend a lot of time writing. I love building Websites. I’ve torn them down just so I can build them up again. I do a pretty good job of attracting attention, visitors, and links just by doing what I love.
Promote Your Website for Free By Making It Fun
“We’re going to make Accounts Payable exciting again, people!” I love that line from the GEICO commercial where the office worker is so bored out of his mind he mocks his boss (and the voiceover implies he is just about to get fired for doing so).