The old adage is it takes money to make money, and you can certainly spend a lot of it promoting your site. Generally, new businesses do not have large amounts of capital to devote to marketing right out the gate. Luckily there are many ways to promote your site with a very limited cash flow. With that in mind, we recently scoured the web and compiled a list of 10 ways to promote your site for less than $10.00.
1. Have your site reviewed by an active forum community
Many large web forum communities have places where you can post a link to your site and have others post feedback on it for you. Not only will you get some advice on your site design, you might also get some new repeat visitors as well. The key is just to get people checking out your site, and if your content is compelling, they’ll come back. Examples: SiteGround, CSSDrive, Digital Point
2. Submit your site to search engines
This may seem obvious, but a lot of sites don’t do it. You can wait and hope Google, Yahoo, MSN et al. parse your site on their own, or you can make sure they will by submitting it yourself. Also, it also doesn’t hurt to use Google Sitemaps to give the engines an idea of how to get at your content. Examples: Google, MSN Live
3. Add comments to other sites with links to your site
Almost every blog or news site has an option for submitting a URL when you add a comment. If you write meaningful comments on blogs in the same subject matter of your business, you will start getting traffic directly targeted at your site. Most sites allow you to include a link when you submit a comment, so by contributing to other sites, you ultimately help yourself at the same time.
4. Submit your site to web directories and article repositories
There are many directories out there with high Google Page Ranks that allow you to submit your site into their listing. Some charge a nominal fee, but most you’ll find cost $10.00 or less for premium placement. Also, you can submit articles that you write on your site, if it is a blog, to article repositories. Many of these repositories will pay you for submissions, so you can actually earn money while promoting your site. Examples: All the Web, DMOZ, PSDTuts
5. Submit your site design to a CSS gallery
This method is often underrated, but can generate a ton of traffic if your site has a unique design. Not only will it gain you more exposure, but if your design is of high quality, you are guaranteed to get a steady amount of traffic over a long period of time. CSSElite, CSSMania, FaveUp
6. Sign up your site to a feed aggregator
Many users can’t be bothered to view dozens or even hundreds of blogs a day so they rely on Feed Aggregators to supply them with the posts they want to see. These are usually easy to sign up with and can open your posts to a wider group of readers. Examples: Technorati, Google Blog Search
7. Exchange links with other sites
One of the more obvious ways to promote your site cheaply is to convince other sites to link to you. You can do this the old fashion way by emailing and suggesting a link exchange or you can try getting links through posting good content. Either way, it doesn’t get any cheaper then that when it comes to spreading the word that you exist.
8. Participate in mailing lists, forums, etc. using your URL in your signature
You’ll find that mailing lists and forums are everywhere these days. If you’re legitimately interested in the topic area and are going to contribute anyway, why not include your URL in your signature? Even better, many mailing lists archive correspondence online, which allows your signature to live on forever. Users searching through Google for your topic area could come across your post for months or years to come.
9. Use social networking websites to build groups and links to your site
One of my favourite methods of promotion is through social networking sites. Sites like Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon allow you to post links in categories which are actively seen by people who are looking for articles on your subject matter. If you learn to master promotion on these sites, the opportunities will be endless. Examples: Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon
10. Push your site offline with business cards, letter heads, flyers, and word of mouth
Sometimes when everything is online, online, online, you can miss out completely on offline opportunities. Little things like handing out business cards, posting flyers, or simply sending documents with your letter head on the paper can bring you traffic you wouldn’t normally receive.