It’s almost 2018, and all the years (so far) that we’ve enjoyed web-based technology have produced an abundance of website builders available to help any of us, from aspiring entrepreneurs to passionate bloggers.
Even if you yourself don’t know anything about web development, spending just a few minutes playing around with a WYSIWYG editor will usually help you figure out the basic functionality of building a website from scratch. The problem is that most website creators take you only as far as establishing that website. And, even if your content is amazing, and your offers competitive, you won’t have enough to be successful.
Instead, the end goal for most amateur website developers is to build traffic numbers (and, ultimately, the revenue that comes from that traffic). And to do this, new entrepreneurs need to realize that this traffic isn’t going to come naturally; people won’t know you exist until they learn about you, or see you on a site or app they’re already using.
That’s why, once your website is created, it’s on you to nurture and promote it. So, what can you do to make that happen?
Your first option is to pursue paid advertising, such as through Google AdWords, a pay-per-click (PPC) ad platform that charges you based on the actual click-throughs you get for your site. This is usually a good method to start with, as long as you have the budget for it, since you’ll guarantee that at least some traffic will get to your site.
The problem is, most new webmasters don’t have the money to spend on this method, and it doesn’t scale as well as some of the other tactics on this list.
Search engine optimization
You can also work on search engine optimization (SEO), a strategy designed to help your website rank higher in relevant searches on Google (and other search engines). Most free and inexpensive website builders offer templates that are structurally sound for SEO, with clean code and a crawlable infrastructure. But, beyond that, you’ll need to create interesting, original content on a regular basis, and attract more backlinks that point to your site (to boost your domain authority and eventually rank you higher for relevant queries).
Blogging is another good strategy, and it ties into several other strategies on this list. For example, blogging regularly is a practical necessity for any SEO campaign, since it creates more crawlable pages on your site, adds to your authority and enables you to optimize for more specific keywords. Plus, if you can build an audience with your blog, you’ll be more likely to retain that audience’s members and introduce them to other sections of your site.
The biggest advantages of social media are its sheer ability to connect with hundreds of millions of people, and the fact that it’s free to use (which gives it a tremendous potential ROI). The idea is to use your content to make your site more discoverable, engage with individuals and groups who might like your site and content and eventually build up a following that stays with your brand and provides a steady stream of inbound traffic.
As a supplementary strategy, you can create personal brands to support your main website brand. For example, if you built a website for your startup, you could start a side blog about your experiences as an entrepreneur, and develop your personal social media profiles in addition to your corporate social profiles. If executed effectively, these personal brands can help you double your visibility, and gain more trust (since people trust other people more than they do brands).
When you first launch your site, don’t forget to write and submit a press release announcing your presence. You can do the work, yourself (if you’re familiar with the proper formatting), and spend a few hundred dollars to distribute it through PR Newswire. You’ll instantly spread the information about your new site, and will probably pick up a few backlinks along the way.
Finally, you can use your personal brand to start guest-posting on other sites. Make a pitch to the editor of a given publication, and try to appeal to his or her target audience. If you earn a spot, you’ll have a chance to expose yourself to an entirely new audience, build up your reputation and possibly build a link that points back to your site.
Experimentation and measurement
No matter what strategy or collection of strategies you use to promote your site, it’s incredibly important to measure your results, experiment with new approaches and tweak your tactics until you have a better overall system. Just because a tactic worked for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you, and just because it’s working for you doesn’t mean it’s the best strategy for you. Take your time, try many different approaches, and stick with the moves that seem to work best.