There is a plethora of posts and articles on the web that list the best practices on getting the word out there about your newly launched website. I’ve read hundreds of them when I launched my own site. But don’t believe what they say – no matter what you do, your site isn’t going to be an overnight success and you won’t get 5,000 unique visitors on day one just because you’ve submitted your site to 100 directories.
Marketing your site is a long, continuous process so here are a couple of things you can do to grow your business’s online profile from scratch:
Create awesome content
No matter what business you’re in, you need to have a blog. If you don’t have a blog, you’re missing out on many opportunities to attract potential readers and customers, to become an authority in your industry and to build the trust of your audience.
So, when you do decide to start blogging (there’s no time like the present, is there?), don’t just write about anything that comes to mind. Write interesting and purposeful content that grabs users’ attention and makes them want to not only share your content but also to subscribe to your blog. Write that type of content that keeps them coming back for new information every week. Transform your blog into that resource that people turn to each time they’re looking for a solution for a specific problem or answers to certain questions.
If you want to make the information you want to share easier to digest and your blog post more dynamic, you can try different formats like infographics, charts and graphs, case studies, educational videos (like our Swift Six series, for example) and more.
This helps turn you into an authority which will make people want to link to your site and share your content, taking you one step closer to success.
Here are some resources to get you started writing that type of content that your readers will love:
- How to develop a Hummingbird-friendly content strategy
- 22 ways to create compelling content when you don’t have a clue
- 9 tips on how to create awesome content that is easily discovered
- Stop sucking at words: content marketing tools & tricks
I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t guest blogging a bad idea with Google’s Matt Cutts declaring the fall of guest blogging?
If it’s done strictly for SEO, then yes, it is a terrible idea. Guest blogging can actually harm your website if you’re doing it just to get your link out there, hoping it will send you heaps of traffic. It can also bring your site down if you create tens of articles on low quality, spammy websites that are in no way relevant or related to your site.
However, if you’re careful with it and are only doing it to contribute to the community, to share your knowledge and expertise and help others do what they do better, then it can be beneficial.
In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts said that there are many cases where guest blogging can be high-quality and useful to a site’s visitors:
“There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there.”
The point is this: The key to success in guest blogging resides in quality, originality and creativity of the blogger’s content. No tricks. It is still an excellent method of marketing your site by publishing posts for other blogs and/or accepting posts from other writers.
If you’re a new business you might want to start guest blogging on less popular blogs with smaller audiences before you work your way up. Not that there’s anything wrong with thinking big and going for the huge, popular blogs, just make sure that when you contact the admins, your pitch is so perfect that they just can’t say no.
But how do you find those high-quality sites to publish your insightful content on?
Sure, you can go to Google and run a search for “places to guest blog” but you will most likely find some spammy sites that will compromise your site, ruin your reputation, and cannibalise your content marketing.
The first step to finding top-notch guest blogging sites is to identify your target audience. Who are the people that you want to attract to your community and your company through your guest blogging efforts?
For example, say you have a business that offers insurance plans designed to cover travellers who travel internationally. You are looking to attract people who travel internationally and help them get a better understanding of the risks of travelling abroad and how an insurance gives them peace of mind and covers them in case of trip cancellation, travel delays, lost luggage, medical emergencies and more.
Now that you know who you’re targeting, it will be easier to filter guest blogging prospects. Start by looking for influential people in your niche and then determining whether they have blogs to which you could contribute.
Go to Followerwonk and do some searching. Run a search using the phrase “travel insurance” or “world traveller”, for example, and then sort the results by Social Authority.
Select your possible guest blogging targets and add them to your list.
Now you’ll need to do a little legwork to make sure they’re the right fit. Here are the most important things you should check:
- Check that they have a blog
- Run a search on that site for “guest post” to see if they’ve ever accepted guest bloggers writing on their blog
- Check for domain authority and link profile. Find out how
- Check for engagement. Do the posts on that blog receive comments or do they get shared?
Once you have your list of sites, don’t send a pitch or enquiry just yet. Here are a couple things you should do in the week or two leading up to your pitch:
- Comment on their blog
- Engage them on Twitter
- Potentially start an email conversation
Check out this insightful post on how to pitch a guest post.
It goes without saying that social media is a huge part of promoting any site. So, go ahead and create profiles on the social networks where you know your audience is spending time. The great thing about social networks is that they’re not just a cheap marketing platform but also a fantastic tool for branding and reputation management. So, use it wisely.
While starting from scratch can be frustrating and tough, just make sure you have your profile filled out with all the important information and then start sharing content that is engaging and valuable for your audience. When it comes to social media, interaction is key so don’t forget to ask questions and start a conversation when you start getting followers or fans.
If you’re just starting out with Facebook and/or Twitter, cutting through the noise can be hard. Most likely your competitors are already there so how can you get noticed?
Running a Facebook ad campaign or a Twitter advertising campaign allows you to reach existing customers and attract the attention of new ones. Nick Leech has written two excellent step-by-step guides on how to get started with Twitter Advertising and Facebook Advertising that you should definitely check out:
- The essential guide to getting started with Twitter advertising
- The essential guide to getting started with Facebook ads
Comments on other sites can be another good source of traffic, especially if they are high-quality sites in your niche and also if your comments are relevant, interesting and smart.
How do you find these sites? You can go with the same technique we used earlier to find authority sites to guest blog on:
- Run a search on Followerwonk using the keyword or keyword phrase you’re interested in
- Make a list of the sites with the highest social authority
- Evaluate the quality of the content on those sites and how it’s being shared by others via social media
- Add them to your feed reader so you’re kept up-to-date with their latest posts.
To avoid being seen as a link pirate, stick with blogs or sites that are relevant to your niche. For example, your shoe repair business shouldn’t be posting comments on a home cooking blog just because it gets loads of traffic.
Also, you should strive for purposeful comments, otherwise yours will be seen as just another bogus, spammy comment from someone looking to nab a backlink. Your comment needs to add to the conversation which means that you should only comment when you have something interesting or valuable to share with the author and the readers.
And before you drop your link at the end of the comment, you might want to know that this common practice usually ends with the comment being marked as spam, no matter how good or insightful it is. So unless your site is particularly relevant to the subject of the post you’re commenting on, it’s best to put the URL in the Website field.
These are just a few things you can do to grow your business’s online profile, especially when you’re just starting out.
Your turn now
How did you promote your newly launched site online? Share your best tips in a comment below.
Image by See-ming Lee / Flickr.com