After building an awesome website, the next step is to build awareness and generate traffic to it. There are many ways to do this—most of which are free. You also don’t have to limit yourself to just one option. By implementing these website marketing strategies now, your business will reap the rewards later.
Here are 21 easy (and mostly free) website marketing strategies to generate traffic:
1. Submit Your URL to Google
Best for: Every new website
Upon launching your site, go ahead and submit your URL to Google. This initial step will help Google recognize your site online more quickly than if you were to wait for Google to find your site on its own, which can take months. When you submit your site, Google indexes your website, which enables it to consider your site as a potential result in relevant search queries. It’s also free and easy to do, so there’s no reason not to give your site the chance to get found in search faster.
Check out the step-by-step details on how to submit a URL to Google.
2. Create a Google My Business Account
Best for: Businesses with a physical address
When a user searches Google for a local business, whether that’s a restaurant, salon, or paving company, Google will display local search listings before all other search results. For your business to land within these search results, you need to create your own free Google My Business (GMB) account. There, you can also provide details about your business, such as location, hours, photos, and reviews, serving as a free local marketing tool for your business.
Interested in creating your free GMB account? Follow the step-by-step instructions on using Google My Business.
3. Create a Bing Places Account
Best for: Local businesses, with a physical address
Just like creating a Google My Business account helps you get found in Google, creating a Bing Places account helps local businesses get found on Bing. It has 126 million U.S. users, and it also has a slightly different demographic, which for many businesses can prove to be more in alignment with target audiences. Again, like GMB, Bing Places is free, and it will help you land at the top of search results, making it a smart investment of a little time.
4. List Your Business on All Relevant Directories
Best for: Service-based businesses (e.g., restaurants, construction, and tourism)
Think of online directories like new-age phone books. They’re used for finding local service providers, and these days, they’re also generally used to illustrate a business’ quality of service, given that most include user reviews. No matter which service industry you’re in, there’s most likely a suitable directory to list your business in. Then, when people use those directories, your business will be listed in search results, and in return, can generate traffic to your website.
Here are a few of the most popular online business directories:
- Yelp: A directory for everything, from restaurants and hotels to auto body shops and pet groomers
- TripAdvisor: For all businesses within the travel and tourism industry
- OpenTable: Specifically for food service providers, such as bars and restaurants
- Houzz: Any business (service or retail) home-related, from plumbers and interior designers to real estate photographers and wine storage manufacturers
- Angi Business (formerly Angie’s List): Geared toward home services, such as electricians, pool services, and pest control
There are tons of great industry-specific directories, from WeddingWire or TheKnot for businesses that offer wedding-related services to AntiqueTrader.com for those in the business of selling vintage goods. It’s worth finding the directories that serve your industry, as those will be the ones that help your business get found online the most.
5. Display Your Website on Printed Materials
Best for: Businesses that use printed marketing materials (e.g., business cards or menus)
Marketing materials, whether business cards, signage, postcards, or anything else you put your business name and logo on, should also include your web address. This will help build awareness and generate traffic to your site. There are also ways you can get creative about this. For example, a bar could include its URL on coasters and invite patrons to vote for the next brew of the month, and then releases that beverage at a promotional discount.
6. Promote Your Site In-person
Best for: Brick-and-mortar businesses
If your business has a physical location or a physical presence (e.g., a home cleaning service), then you should take advantage of the many opportunities to market your website in-person. This strategy could be as simple as handing out flyers or business cards to putting your website URL on receipts, or displayed beside your cash register. If you go this route, give incentives to customers when they visit your site by advertising special discounts or notifications on sales.
Learn how to add custom messages with your website’s URL to your receipts using Square Payments.
7. Network With Local Associations & Businesses
Best for: Nearly any business
No matter which industry you are in, there’s likely an association related to it. While many assume associations are for those in the areas of medicine, law, and education, there are all sorts of associations you can join. In doing so, you’re able to not only network and use it to increase your credibility, but many associations have member directories, so they will often link to your business website from their site. This process helps to increase visibility and also builds links.
A good place to start can be your local chamber of commerce. Find yours using the U.S. Chamber of Commerce directory.
8. Participate in Online Forums & Discussions
Best for: National businesses (e.g., online retailers)
There are countless online forums and discussion boards covering just about any imaginable topic. Whether you’re a dog food manufacturer or a corporate event planning business, there’s a relevant forum where people are talking about subjects you’re likely an expert in. By getting involved in these conversations, you’re helping to build brand awareness for your business. Moreover, you may generate traffic to your site by including a link in your bio or in responses, where applicable.
Here are a few of the most popular online forums:
Pro tip: While forums such as Quora and Reddit cover nearly every topic you could imagine, there are also forums built specifically for certain industries and niches. To find those, simply search the web for forums in your niche (e.g., an organic supplements business might search for “holistic nutrition forums”).
9. Start Your Own Blog
Best for: Long-term search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to improve (and maintain) your site’s ability to rank
We’re all familiar with the 21st century blogging success stories, from food bloggers to travel bloggers. How did these people do it? Well, they started by frequently writing and publishing high-quality and authoritative blog content (in other words, articles). Blogging is an SEO strategy—a long-term strategy to build a web presence by writing articles that users are searching for online.
For example, a company that sells travel gear (e.g., backpacks and luggage bags) might create a blog and write articles, such as the best U.S. road trips for couples, tips on traveling with infants, or a guide on luggage size and weight limits by the airline. After writing these articles, when people search, say, “what is the baggage limit on Hawaiian Airlines,” the business’ blog article may show up in search results. Users then click on it and go to the site, resulting in traffic.
Ready to get started with a blog? Learn how easy it is to set up a blog.
10. Write Articles for a Medium Publication
Best for: Gaining exposure to an existing audience
Like the idea of blogging, but want to increase online visibility faster? Try becoming a contributor on a Medium publication, a popular blogging platform with monthly traffic of over 62 million. There, you can apply to write for existing publications, which essentially act as their own blogs or media channels. Because these publications have their own reader base, your blog posts will automatically get views, giving your business another source of online exposure.
11. Keep Your Site Up-to-date
Best for: All businesses
Keeping your website content updated does two major things to keep your site marketable. First, it eliminates outdated information and keeps your site information accurate. Second, sites that are updated frequently are often considered to have better search results. Search engines assume that up-to-date sites are more relevant and accurate, which in return, helps your site rank in search results. This includes updating your webpages, but also blog posts have the same effect.
It doesn’t mean you need to update your site daily. What you need to do is to make sure you refresh old blog content that has become outdated. Furthermore, ensure all web pages continue to include accurate information, from your contact information and hours to your services and pricing.
12. Get Press Coverage
Best for: Any business with newsworthy content
Media outlets are on a constant mission to find stories and content to share with their massive audiences. If you can give them a story to talk about, your business will get a lot of publicity, which can help your site build links, but can also lead to increased website traffic, and in return, sales.
Luckily, getting press coverage no longer requires paying large retainers to public relations (PR) firms. Instead, a good writer can craft your message into a compelling story, which you can then distribute using a press release distribution service. Top press release services can help you write a great story and land you in the media for around $99 to $199.
Learn more about how you can effectively market your business with press releases.
13. Bake SEO Into Your Site
Best for: All businesses that want their site to get found in search engines
Search engines like Google work to display the best websites based on a user’s search query. That’s why when you search for a car wash near your location, you don’t get results for car washes on the other side of the country. And so, while your site might be a great search result for keywords your target audience is using, that doesn’t mean your site will rank if Google isn’t able to comb your site and understand that it’s a good result.
To help your site get found in search, optimize your site for search. In other words, use search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, such as including your keywords in meta tags (e.g., title tag, meta description).
Here are key places to include keywords on website content for better visibility:
- Page titles: When coming up with a title for your blog posts, if you can do so with natural-sounding language, use the keyword you’ve chosen for the piece in the title. Do the same with product and service pages.
- Subheadings: Another place to signal to a reader where to find what they are looking for is to break up your content using subheaders that identify different sections of your site.
- Images: Search engines cannot see the images on your site, but you can include an ALT text description of your image so that when Google scans your site, it reads what your images are. In return, this further helps Google identify sites that best match a user’s search query.
- Permalink slugs: A slug is whatever comes after your domain name in a URL. For example, the slug in www.business.com/services is “services.” This helps indicate to search engines what each page is about by including relevant keywords in slugs where applicable.
14. Include Your Site URL in Your Social Profiles
Best for: Businesses that use social media
While this may seem obvious, many businesses on social overlook the opportunity to market their website by simply adding their URL to their social profile. If your business has social media accounts, such as a Facebook Business Page, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Pinterest account, then be sure to include a link to your website in your profile or bio. Why? First, it gives users an easy way of navigating to your site, but it also increases awareness.
If you don’t already have a Facebook Business Page, be sure to set one up. In doing so, you help your business get found online and on Facebook—a great opportunity as Facebook alone has over 2.8 billion users. Learn more about using Facebook for Business.
15. Ensure Your Site Is Mobile-friendly
Best for: Businesses that haven’t designed their site for mobile
Over half of all Google searches are performed on mobile devices. As a result, Google factors in whether or not a site is mobile-friendly to determine search rankings. In order to not only rank in search, but to serve those users on mobile, it’s important that your website looks good and works well on a phone. This does not mean simply choosing a fully responsive website theme or template, but customizing your site so it provides a good user experience from any device type.
Pro tip: Use the viewport metatag to help enhance your site’s mobile experience. This will adjust your web pages based on the type of device website visitors use when accessing your site, ensuring that it always looks good and works well.
16. Help Your Site Load Faster
Best for: Sites that are slow to load
No one wants to be left waiting for your site to load. After all, there are probably dozens of other sites they could choose, so if you make them wait, they will simply exit out and find a new site to visit (one that loads quickly). Since slow-loading sites create a bad user experience, slow sites typically do not rank well in search. Unfortunately, it’s easy to end up with a site that loads at a snail’s pace, but the good news is that there are a number of simple things you can do to help.
Here are a few easy ways you can reduce website load times:
- Compress images: Compress elements that take up a lot of space (and take a long time to load, like large images). Use a compression tool to easily and quickly compress images with tools like Compressor.io or a WordPress plugin like ShortPixel Image Optimizer.
- Remove unnecessary plugins: While plugins are great, they’re not all created equal, and you’ll likely find some that really don’t do anything for you—yet they do take up storage, which can slow your site down. Check your active plugins and deactivate any you’re not using.
- Enable caching: Website caches store site elements so that next time the visitor goes to your site, it loads much faster. It may sound complicated, but there are a number of free WordPress plugins you can use to enable caching, such as W3 Total Cache.
- Enable lazy loading: With lazy loading enabled on a website, if a visitor opens a web page, only the images within the visitor’s screen view will load, and the others will load if and when the visitor scrolls to their point on the page. Fewer image loads equate to faster load times. Use a plugin like Lazy Load to enable this feature on a WordPress website.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN): The farther you are from where your site files are stored, the slower your site will load. To combat this, use a CDN such as Cloudflare, which distributes your files across a number of server locations so that no matter where visitors are, files are stored near them.
- Choose a faster web host: If all else fails, consider choosing a different web host—one that provides features specifically designed for fast website load times. To find a faster service, learn more about the best web hosting companies.
Not sure if your site loads quickly or not? Try one of these free website performance tools to find out. If your site needs help, and you don’t have the technical expertise—or even just the time—find a web expert on Fiverr who can help boost your site’s speed for as little as $5.
17. Use Online Marketplaces to Build Exposure
Best for: Businesses selling products
If you are in the business of selling online, then a good way to start getting seen on the web is to start selling through an online marketplace, such as Amazon, Etsy, or even Facebook Marketplace. These platforms have millions of users searching for products your business sells, giving you another way to get found online and increasing your brand’s exposure. As a result, it drives traffic to your site and so you can land sales.
18. Create an Eye-catching Email Signature
Best for: Any business that communicates via email
You’re not doing your business website any justice by using a traditional email signature. Instead, use a modern signature that is eye-catching and clickable. This way, every time you send an email, your website will get exposure, and be more likely to be visited. As daunting as a fancy email signature might sound, it’s actually surprisingly easy thanks to platforms like WiseStamp and prebuilt templates from Fiverr for as low as $5.
For ideas and inspiration, check out the 15 best professional email signature examples.
19. Use Email Marketing
Best for: Existing businesses with a new website
Nowadays, people are often talking about how a website can generate leads or build a contact list. The challenge is, how do you build a contact list to market a website if your website isn’t getting much traffic? Well, there are a number of ways, and the best way for you will depend on your business and its unique audience.
For example, you could collect leads at a trade show or hold a social media promotional giveaway. Once you have contacts, use that list to promote your website. To get started, learn more about email marketing.
Pro tip: Track how your email performs and optimize your campaigns accordingly so that your emails become more effective. Learn more about how you can use data to build better campaigns with our guide on email analytics.
20. Generate Traffic Quickly With Paid Search
Best for: Quickly getting found in search for businesses that offer something users need
Want to appear in search results ASAP? Try paid search advertising. Paid search is a form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, where businesses can create an ad on search engines, such as Google and Bing, that appears as a top search result. It gives you a way to rank highly in search—even if your site doesn’t yet rank in search organically. Because you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, it’s considered a cost-effective marketing strategy.
Here are the top paid search platforms:
Interested in learning more? Get the complete breakdown, including cost and step-by-step instructions on how to build PPC campaigns.
21. Increase Visibility Quickly With Paid Social
Best for: Promoting a new brand that offers something users will want
Social media ads target people who are unaware of a product or service or aren’t specifically looking for it. Social media ad campaigns aim to build interest in products and services to attract new visitors from social media feeds to the company website, where they can learn more. There are a number of social platforms where you can create affordable PPC ads, from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Facebook is the leading social media advertising platform, and with billions of users, it’s easy to understand why. Learn more about what’s involved with Facebook advertising.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best tools for marketing a website?
There are a ton of great tools for marketing a website. The top tools include Google Analytics for free website data and analytics, Ubersuggest for free keyword research, Spyfu for competitor research, Vistaprint for print materials from business cards to menus and signs, Mailchimp for easy-to-use and free email marketing, Leadpages for creating high-converting landing pages for digital ads, Freshmarketer for tracking site visitors, and HubSpot for a robust marketing suite.
Which is better: SEO or PPC?
SEO and PPC are two very different marketing strategies to get found in search. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the long-term strategy of building content so that in time, your site gets found organically online. PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is the short-term strategy of paying for ads so that your site ranks in search results and displays on social media. Not sure which is right for you? Get the head-to-head comparison on Facebook Ads vs Google Ads.
Do you need to build a website with WordPress to get found in search?
Luckily, the answer is no. You no longer need to depend on the WordPress content management system (CMS) to build a site that can rank in search. While this used to be the case, now the leading all-in-one website builders, such as Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify, have built-in search engine optimization tools to help your website rank. For more information and to find the best platform for you, check out the best website builders for SEO.
Sometimes marketing a small business website is easier said than done. If you’re still finding that you really don’t have the time to invest in marketing your site, consider outsourcing your website marketing efforts to the experts. By using a professional marketing agency, such as Hibu, many businesses find that their return on investment increases, making it a worthwhile investment and one that can help grow a new venture into a successful business.
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