Many people believe that attracting visitors to a website is as simple as setting up a few pages and then sitting back whilst vast numbers of visitors come along. This article explains how to get visits through some of the various free promotional mediums e.g. social media and search.
Promotion, in the context of this article is not about hard-selling (If you want to do hard selling then it’s a far better idea is to pay for advertising such as Google adwords). Promotion in the context of this article is getting your name (and your websites name) in front of a wide but targeted audience however is not about forcing information onto someone!
Content is King
Promotion is essential in getting visitors to a website however the content and ‘look and feel’ of the website are by far the most important aspects to any website. If your content isn’t relevant or appealing then you are wasting your time promoting your site. Sites that generally get the most referrals from search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Live are those where content is updated frequently and where the content is original and appealing to viewers (i.e. viewers visit repeatedly or spend time looking through the site contents). People are becoming ever more selective in what they notice and read on the Web therefore your content and ‘look and feel’ must instantly grab the viewer’s attention.
News sites and Blogs score well in search results returned from the search engines because they both generally have frequently updated content (content may include new posts or stories and even new comments). Before spending time on promotion ensure that you are prepared to keep your site updated!
Web site promotion requires a medium to long term strategy. It is extremely seldom that someone sets up a website and has hundreds of visits within a few weeks. Promotion takes months (if not years) of consistent hard work. Decide how you will promote your site and then keep at that strategy; don’t try various promotional activities or mediums for a few days then try others and keep changing. Consistency is the key however if your strategy isn’t working after a few months then change the strategy.
There are many promotional channels available. The use of the various channels has a lot to do with the time you have available and your target audience. As an example I just don’t have the available time to create videos to promote my site. Many sites use videos posted on YouTube very successfully but this normally takes considerable time.
Twitter is extremely popular and is proving its worth as a promotional tool. Twitter is simple to use and it’s just so easy to find people or conversations which are interesting. As with other social media sites, participants often forms and join communities with others who share similar interests. This encourages participants to learn more about others with similar interests and this is where visits to your website may originate. As an example, with the bushfires in Australia we were concerned that, because we live in a rainforest, we would be affected by fires nearby. Twitter proved extremely useful as others in the area had been commenting on the fires so up-to-date information was available. One of the people involved in the ‘twit’ was involved in pest control and next time I need the house sprayed for spiders I’ll be calling the person from the twit.
Social Media and Voting
Encouraging readers to vote for your site or post serves two valuable purposes; it makes search engines take notice of your new content (as search engines index/crawl the social media sites very frequently) and the sites list the content for others to view. As explained in the section about Twitter, the linking of people with similar interests is often the source of many site visits. Mixx and Digg are examples of these voting sites.
The Mighty Ping
Many blogging platforms such as WordPress use a ‘ping’ mechanism to notify blog directories that new content has been published. The directories love receiving pings as they then are able to list new content very soon after it is published. Pings are great for blog owners because the directories assist in attaining visitors.
Various ping services are available where the blog pings the service which in turn notifies multiple directories that new content is available. The ping services remove the need for the blog owner to keep an updated list of blog directories as this becomes the task of the ping service. For this site I use ping-o-matic and King Ping however there are many others out there. Feedburner now also offers a service where, when a new article is available via RSS, Feedburner notifies various blog directories of the new post.
My strategy involves the following:
1. A ping is sent to ping-o-matic and King Ping whenever I publish a new post.
2. I use and list my site on the following voting social media sites; mixx, digg and Propeller.
3. I use a WordPress plugin that advises Google, Yahoo and Live that my sitemap has changed whenever I add a new page or post.
4. Commenting on others Posts is just ‘good practice’ and it does prompt others to visit your site.
5. I post at least once a week.
There are many strategies available for web promotion using free resources. As explained previously, promotion is not a once off activity but rather a sustained effort. Choose the channels you will engage and start your website promotion. Just remember that even the best promotion doesn’t replace the need for great content!