How to Promote Your Website on a Shoestring Budget


Most people believe that promoting a website requires either a massive PPC budget or a good SEO strategy (and some money too). That’s partly right because to compete with the biggest brands out there, you’d need a lot of cash to test and grow. On the other hand, if you are just starting and you have some free time on your hands, there are a few alternative ways which you can use to generate traffic to your website. Check out the below methods and start getting unique visitors to your site.


1. Get Social – Start a dialogue with your customers on social media

Social Media of all kinds are considered a great alternative to SEO and PPC. While they require a lot of time, it’s possible to build a huge audience, especially if you target well and use social media networks that are full of people that might be interested in your product. You don’t have to focus solely on Facebook – there are many more, much better-targeted options. Keep in mind that while it’s usually cheaper to drive traffic using social interaction, the people there are most of the time not ready for purchase. That’s why it’s important to build a longer relationship with your visitors - this is where e-mail marketing comes into play so don’t forget to collect emails from your visitors at some point.


2. Become active on forums

Active does not mean you should spam. If you own a niche website focused on a certain topic, show that you are an expert. Build your reputation by helping others and slowly promote your site using the forums. This can be in the use of a signature or by linking to it in the posts. If your reputation is high enough, you may even be able to bend the forum rules a little bit – but ask moderators before you do something unusual. If the forum strictly forbids any external links or self-promotion, just forget about it. There are tons of forums focusing on every topic possible, so you don’t have to stick to one option.


To get even more benefit from this method, you can “introduce” each of your high-quality posts. Simply announce a post each time you publish it – but make sure these are posts which are at least a few thousand words long with a lot of value and on topic - which would justify linking to your blog instead of copy-pasting the content.


3. Guest blogging – it works both ways

Building a website is not only about traffic – but it’s also about building a brand. That’s why you should actively seek opportunities of securing guest posts on reputable blogs. Again – don’t spam. It’s all about quality content. Invite other bloggers to guest post on your website, but stay picky – you don’t want to publish trash on your site and lower its quality. In fact, you can use guest blogging as a jumpstart towards #4 - networking with bigger and stronger sites in your niche.


4. Find businesses and websites that you can cooperate with

Apart from guest blogging, you can find relevant brands and businesses and offer them cooperation that will give mutual benefits. Think of something that you can offer them and ask for promotion – this can be a free service for their readers/customers (or a rebate), an excellent free eBook targeting the needs of their visitors/customers. Anything that they can advertise through banners, content marketing or email marketing on their website that benefits their readers but is complimentary to their offer and not a substitute for it. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can and get creative. If you don’t know how to approach bigger blogs, and you are already getting traffic, link to their sites in your articles anyway. If they notice traffic coming from your site they can share the link to your site with their audience without you ever asking for that.


5. Invite people who write for other websites for interviews

Interviewing other people gives you two things for free. The first one is a great, 100% unique content for your website. The second one is free promotion – all people whom you invite will immediately share the interview on their websites, giving you free publicity. Of course, invite only people who are relevant to your niche and make sure that you can benefit from the traffic that they will send you. This method can also be used in reverse – but it can be harder for you to convince others to interview you unless you already generate some traffic or have a lot of expertize. In this case, you are the one who is offering the “free content” in a form of answering someone’s question for a free link to your website. It’s quite similar to guest blogging, but since the post is an interview with you, it’s much more personal. And as such, can be much more attractive.


6. Try some good old relevant blog commenting

Many people associate blog commenting with spamming. If you own a WordPress blog and you don’t have Akismet or some other anti-spam plugins activated, you know what it is to have tens or hundreds of comments on your site waiting for your moderation. And if there’s no admin confirmation needed to comment on your site – then you have all these comments already published. To be successful with this method you have to distinguish your answers from the flood of spam and take part in a discussion on the blog posts. Your answers have to be meaningful and relevant; these can’t be just random spammy comments. If you engage in conversations with others, you should be able to sneak in links to related posts on your blog quite easily. Voila – free traffic.


The great thing is that you don’t have to limit yourself to blogs – you can look for relevant conversations on YouTube, Facebook or anywhere else. Keep in mind though that commenting is a popular way of generating traffic, willingly utilized by spammers – so make sure that your comments are meaningful, unique and provide value. Otherwise, you will get blocked in no time.


7. Build a sense of “leadership”

Although it has been said that using social media is a great way to drive some free traffic, especially if you can speak with your audience well, there’s another thing you can do with portals such as Facebook. To increase your social proof, you can create a special Facebook group (or choose whatever social media suits you and their substitute for groups if any) in which you’ll share special insight with your readers, not available on your blog. This is an excellent way to pull more readers, especially if you encourage your current followers to invite their friends to your group. The same goes with free webinars and anything that helps you build authority and following for free.


8. Create shareable content and actually ask people to share it

Creating a good, thoroughly-researched content on an interesting topic is not enough. Today, people have very little time to process all the information that they are flooded with on a daily basis. That’s why you should make your content as accessible as possible. Find out what are the most shareable types of content to increase the probability that your work becomes viral. Choose forms which are easy to digest such as lists, colourful and interesting infographics or even turn some of your posts into audio so that people can listen to them while on the go. Images and video sell much better than text, and the chance that they get shared is much higher.Don’t forget to ask your readers to share your posts or videos with their friends.


To increase the chance that your content gets shared, you can use special plugins (easy especially if you are using WordPress) that ask your visitors to share your site before they can download some extra files from your site. Mix that with collecting email address and you can get both a share and a way to contact them in the future. Make sure that what you give them in return is of top quality, because otherwise they may get angry (remember that doing two things – share + email – to get a short .pdf can be too much for a modern internet user).


Bonus: Advertise your website offline

Although not entirely a free method, if you can target your audience locally it can be quite profitable. You don’t have to invest in TV ads or rent any billboards for this one to work. Instead, look for places where people interested in your site/what it has to offer can gather. Invest some spare change in flyers and leave them in the spots where you can meet your site’s potential readers. This method is especially profitable if you target your customers well and if your product is converting well with a good profit margin. This way, a simple flyer method can give you a very good ROI.


Promoting your website when you are on a shoestring budget can be a very daunting task. You will have to invest a lot of free time into it but if you play it smart, you can build yourself a great source of long-term passive traffic without even touching SEO or PPC. That’s why, if you have some free time on your hands, you should definitely consider some of the above methods. Good luck!


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