Top 10 Ideas for Advertising Your Website on a Budget
Written by: Lindsay Shugerman
Contributed by Lindsay Shugerman, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
You’ve built your website. And it looks great.
Your virtual storefront or online catalog is ready for business. Now how do you get people to come and shop?
Bringing in traffic to your new website is always a challenge. And there are effective ways to do it if you have thousands to spend. But when you need to do it on a tight budget, it can seem overwhelming.
Here are 10 ways for advertising your website, without breaking the bank.
10. Referral lists
Try to get your website listed in industry or community resource lists. Look for lists directed at community newcomers, business owners or industries related to your services or products. These “preferred vendor” lists are a great way to get your name in front of new people every time the list is shared.
9. Twitter and other social networks
Twitter and other social networks are wonderful tools for advertising your website without spending a fortune. Do invest in one of the dashboard programs to help you schedule and manage your posts — tools like Hootsuite start under $10 a month for their professional edition with analytics.
Starting your own radio talk show online is a simple as buying a microphone and some simple sound editing software. Upload a weekly 10 minute podcast to iTunes, and you’ll be advertising your website for pennies a day. Just make sure your content is more informational than advertising. People will subscribe for good content, not for commercials.
7. Niche directories
Forget the advice to list your website in every directory out there. Not only is that expensive, but it can actually hurt your site’s rank. Instead, make sure your site is listed in the niche directories people in your industry are likely to use. The more similar sites to yours, or the more focused the directory, the better. A plus? These niche directories are more likely to be free or inexpensive — a bonus for your budget!
6. Become a resource
A completely free way of advertising your website is to offer your expertise to local print, online and broadcast journalists. Let them know that you’re available to answer questions in your area of expertise, whether that’s fashion trends or indoor air quality. Once you establish your credibility, many journalists will list your site as a source in their content.
5. Portal sites
Listing your online catalog or e-commerce website on a portal site like Catalogs.com can be an inexpensive tool for both advertising your website and gathering qualified leads. Make sure the site you select works well with your target audience, and that you’re prepared to handle the upswing in catalog requests, orders and site traffic.
4. Press releases
If you followed the suggestion to become a resource for local journalists, you’ve also set the stage for having press releases noticed — and if they’re newsworthy, re-released. You can use a free or low-cost online press release service, or target releases to specific journalists based on relationships, target demographics or media type.
A regular newsletter is a time-tested way to advertise your business — and your website — without spending a lot of advertising dollars. Offer your readers solid content, not ads, to build a loyal subscriber base.
2. Valuable content
Make sure your website includes meaningful content and useful information. Provide your visitors with a reason to come back again and again — it’s advertising that doesn’t cost you a thing.
1. Excellent SEO
Nothing on your website can take the place of good SEO (search engine optimization.) If potential customers search for your products, and find your competitors instead, all the work you’ve put into your site won’t matter. Learn the basics like titles, content and links, or hire a reputable SEO consultant to set it up and teach you how to maintain your site’s SEO.