25 Cool Ways to Promote your Website

Without traffic, your website is rather worthless, right?   Well, most people think that to get traffic, you need to just optimize for the search engines and let Google give you all the traffic necessary to survive.  Sadly, what many people don’t realize is that there are SO MANY ways to promote your website outside of Google.  As you probably already know, it’s always best to diversify so that your eggs aren’t all in one hat.  So with that being said, let’s take a quick look at 25 very easy and cool ways to promote your website:

#1 Niche Directories

Don’t just submit to the directories like DMOZ and Yahoo!  Sure, while these can bring you some traffic and link juice, focus on niche directories that can help you drive in targeted traffic.

#2 Social Media

Take advantage of Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.    These are great platforms with millions upon millions of people using it every day.  Be sure to update it a few times a week!

#3 Message Boards

Find a niche based message board and add your opinion.  Make sure that you don’t go there just to spam, but instead, add your link to your signature.  If people like what you say, they will probably click through.

#4 Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking isn’t dead yet.  Consider starting campaigns on websites such as StumbleUpon and Digg. While the sites may seem like dinosaurs now, they still do send in traffic.

#5 PPC

If you have the money, start running ads on Facebook, Bing and Google.  PPC takes a while to learn and if you have the time, read up on Adwords, Adcenter and Facebook ads.  If you have the patience, this is a great way to bring in traffic now.

#6 Text Links

No, I’m not talking about buying text links to raise your ratings.  Instead, get text links that actually draw in traffic.  Focus more on the traffic factor rather than the SEO.

#7 Contests

Even if it’s a few dollars, hold a contest on your website.  Be sure to actively promote it through Twitter and Facebook.  A great contest is to have people like and follow you on Twitter and Facebook.

#8 Build a Tutorial

If you’re good at doing something, build a tutorial that is good.  Use videos, detailed instructions and post it on various tutorial sites.  When doing so, just make sure that you link back to your website.

#9 Exchange Links

There’s nothing wrong with exchanging links if you do it with sites that are authoritative.  Try your best to find websites that will send you the same amount of traffic.

#10 Email

If you don’t have an email capture form on your website, it’s time to add one.  This is a great way to capture emails and connect with people down the road.

#11 Video Marketing

Start creating good videos and actively promote them on websites such as YouTube.  Be sure to watermark your URL in the video and place it inside of the description.

#12 Podcast

A podcast is a great way to entertain your audience on your website.  Talk about what your website has to offer.

#13 Press Release

Press releases are an awesome way to reach out to massive media outlets.  Again, don’t be cheap with something like this.  It’s a good idea to make sure that you’re promoting something that is worth promoting.

#14 Write a Book

If you have the time, consider writing an eBook.  Either charge money on Amazon or consider giving it away to your audience.  When giving it away, make sure that you make them sign up with an email to receive it.

#15 Citations

This is a great way to promote your local business on places such as the Yellow Pages, Google Maps and more.  With over 200 websites you can get citated on, make sure that your business is listed on as many places as possible.

#16 Photo Sharing

For those who love to take pictures, you may want to consider adding them to some royalty free websites.  With your permissions, just make sure that people have to link to either your website to use your picture for credit.

#17 Commenting on Blogs

Like the forums, leave good comments on other blogs.  Don’t use your anchor text as your name, though.  Instead, use your regular name.

#18 Guest Blogging

Like I’m doing now, reach out to other bloggers in the blogsphere to see who wants to take your article piece.  Just make sure that you write something that people want to read and also make sure that you’re not promoting some spammy website.

#19 Banner Ads

Banner ads are a great way to brand your website.  While your click through rate may not be sky high, it’s a great way to get thousands of impressions for next to nothing.

#20 Old Fashioned Print Advertising

Don’t forget the old fashioned ways of advertising such as radio, magazines and the newspaper!

#21 Answer Questions

Popular websites such as Yahoo! Answers and Quora are great places to answer questions.  When answering them, make sure that you leave an informative response.  Like the blog comments and forum posts, no one wants to read spam.

#22 Link Out to Others

Surprisingly, by linking out to other people, you’re going to quickly find that these people may take notice if you send them enough traffic.  If they like you, they may link back.

#23 Classified Advertising

If you’re selling some sort of service, consider adding your ad to sites such as Craigslist.  Again, don’t spam here.  Instead, throw up an ad at least once a week. Make sure that you create something creative to draw in eye.

#24 Sponsorships

Consider sponsoring local baseball teams or even a contest online.  This doesn’t have to expensive and a few dollars can do.

#25 Donate!

As our last point, consider donating to local charities.  By doing so, you’re not only going to do good for the local community, they may also link back to you on their site!  Many charitable sites are more than happy to link out if you donate often.

 

About the guest author: Hannah runs Howmuchisit.org – a place where you can find the cost of just about anything. Reach out to her on Twitter @howmuchforit

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Promoted Posts: The Changing Face of Facebook Ads

Mark Zuckerberg may have strategically timed his secret wedding with Facebook’s initial public offering, but that doesn’t mean he got to enjoy a worry-free honeymoon.

Since shares of Facebook began trading as high as $45 each, they’ve plummeted in a few weeks time to below $27. The social media giant is moving fast to restore confidence in the brand, including take a few hints from younger cousins like Tumblr. But for Facebook to right itself, it’s important to recognize how they got here in the first place.

General Motor’s Foreshadowing:

Days before Facebook’s IPO, GM dropped a well-timed bomb on public perception of the company’s value, announcing that they were withdrawing their $10 million Facebook ad campaign due to lack of effectiveness. Although $10 million isn’t all that much when you consider Facebook’s estimated $104 billion evaluation, the public scorn of a major, recognized company doesn’t help their PR efforts.

Ford immediately followed the announcement by calling out GM for poor execution, saying “Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content and innovation.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/facebook-ipo-ford-steers-_n_1521155.html) (Somewhat ironically, Ford gave their defense via Twitter).

Even though the news didn’t seem to slow Facebook’s roll to the third-largest IPO in history, it would be difficult to claim that GM’s analysis hasn’t played a role in its slide ever since.

A Changing Marketing Landscape

The plight of print media and newspapers is no secret. This May, the city of New Orleans lost its daily newspaper, the Times-Picayune, which is moving to a three-times-a-week printing schedule. That’s a direct result of the move to digital content.

Furthermore, many people who read media online get there via links on social media like Facebook and Twitter. Where Facebook has failed, however, is in their mimicry of those ‘traditional’ sites’ advertising models. A content-based website may opt for banner and sidebar advertisements, just as Facebook has thus far.

Readers, in turn, develop ‘banner block,’ glazing over sections of the screen that we recognize as marketing content. A successful click-through rate for a Facebook ad is currently just 0.5 percent. If you’re not ‘successful,’ then virtually nobody is clicking. To thrive, Facebook clearly needs to harness users’ engagement and derive revenue outside of traditional advertising.

Pay to Play: Looking to the Future

This February, blog-platform Tumblr finally caved to pressures to monetize their site. Previously, the sale of customized themes was the site’s only income source. Instead of putting traditional advertisements on the site, however, Tumblr opted to give users the option of paying $1 for a ‘Highlighted Post,’ adorned with a special sticker in the margins and remaining more prominent in other users’ feeds.

Facebook quickly followed suit, launching a beta program in New Zealand that gave users the option of paying anywhere between 40 cents and $2 to push their posts to the top of their friends’ walls and make them remain their longer.

Word of the pilot program spread outside of New Zealand last month, generating fears that our Facebook news feeds would soon become a barrage of targeted status updates urging us to spend money. Those concerns didn’t stop Facebook from launching ‘Promoted Posts’ on May 31, a new feature that allows businesses to reach more of their potential customers with deals and news posted in their status updates.

The program is technically ‘permission marketing,’ meaning that the people a promoted post reaches are those that have already chosen to give the business a ‘Like.’ Facebook’s algorithm evaluates the post and assigns a cost to reach an estimated number of people. If your business has 1,000 followers, your average post is expected to reach about 16 percent of them, or 160 people. Hand over $5 or $10 to promote the post, however, and the reach may jump as high as 75 percent (or 750 followers).

There is clearly more value in those numbers than a sidebar advertisement with a 0.5 percent click-through rate. But what will it mean for the user experience?

Do you plan to use promoted posts to market your business? Will you use Facebook less if promoted posts begin to dominate your news feed?

 

About the guest author: Christopher Wallace is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of personalized pens and other promotional products such as imprinted apparel, mugs and customized calendars. He regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.

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Bigger Friend: New Types of Demographic Data introduced in Facebook’s New Platform

Two of the largest most highly valued companies in the world are in the same business: providing a free service to millions of users in exchange for personal information. Facebook and Google have both risen to the upper echelon of tech companies by brokering information to advertisers and marketers. 

Facebook takes cues from email marketing, which targets people based on interest they have already shown in a product, be it by signing up for a newsletter or automatically being added to a list after a purchase. Facebook sysntehisizes thousands of these cues into a accurate portrait of a user and targets ads accordingly.

Facebook’s ad platform, heretofore, was a kind of photographic negative of Google AdWords. Where Google AdWord targets consumers according to the queries that they type into Google search bar, allowing consumers to—so to speak—come to the product, Facebook goes after consumers by using their massive trove of demographic data to define their audiences with a great degree of precision and then place advertisements on the pages of their ideal audience. Facebook’s, in this sense, is more passive. As people share more information about themselves through various social media, the internet evolves in a direction that is ever more geared towards personalization. Beginning with email marketing, companies could only target people who signed up for their services. With Google’s AdWords, reads your mind in real time, while Facebook ads targets the avatar of yourself that you project on your profile—your ideal or aspirational self. 

Facebook’s new OpenGraph platform offers fully-customizable targeting for advertisers. OpenGraph brings online interactions into Facebook, allowing every Facebook user to stream media and share preferences with friends all while never leaving the site. Popular social music application Spotify integrates with Facebook to see when their friends listen to certain tunes and provides the option of listening to that song themselves. Hulu’s integration allows users to stream from the newly developed Hulu application, which runs within Facebook, leave comments for friends and check out the shows friends are watching or have watched, hopefully prompting them to click notifications and discover new shows. Facebook monitors this new information with eagle eyes, with plans to leverage the new massive amounts of user data by offering even further, more dynamic targeting to advertisers. Because Facebook’s revenue stream is based on targeted demographic marketing, it’s a safe bet that the company will continue rolling out new features to keep users on their site while providing them with more and more information.

 

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