How I promoted the site: Creative Marketing
I now know that if I just let the site sit there after I created it, nobody would ever know about it. Since then I learned that I had to get out there and promote the site, being careful not to cross the line into ‘spamming’. This type of promotion is aimed at human visitors, not just search-engine bots and spiders. I think that many new webmasters don’t realize how important “Creative Marketing” is and this is one reason why so many new websites fail.
These are some of the things I did:
- Made posts in related blogs, with deep-links to my site
- Made posts in a related forums with deep-links to my site (I had to be careful, because some forums don’t allow this)
- Submitted the site to leenks.com, stumbleupon.com, slashdot, Netscape.com and DIGG – Be warned: for this to be successful, the site or the page you submit has to be worth looking at. You also have to be careful not to cross the line into spamming. After several tries (over 8 months) I hit it big on Digg.com for BOTH my website and the blog – this resulted in over 100,000 hits in just a few days, and still generates about 300-500 visitors per day a year later. It also resulted in a hundreds, if not more links from other websites and blogs which I think is more important in the long run than those initial 100,000 hits from Digg.
- I called a syndicated radio show related to my niche (helping new computer users) to “ask a question”.. of course, in asking the question I casually mentioned that I have a “computer help website” – I got lucky and the radio show host looked at the site, saw something very interesting and funny on the front page, and talked about it for several minutes! – Something that would not have happened without good, original content – This resulted in a lot of immediate direct traffic, but it also resulted in thousands of people using Google searches to find the site by name – I am convinced that these thousands of searches for the website name increased my Google rankings.
- I Looked for relationships with podcasters and other website owners: I was able to ‘team up’ with a few podcasters that had podcasts with subjects related to my site, but did not have sites of their own – offering to let them talk about my site as if it was theirs, and in return I would post their podcasting ‘notes’, etc. I could then refer to their podcast as “mine” – making my site look bigger or more important than it actually was. I don’t do this anymore because those podcasters have stopped making their podcasts and it was a lot of work, but it was worth it at the time. I also teamed up with other webmasters and did such things as trading links, promoting each other’s sites, etc.
- I tried to create pages that would create a ‘buzz’: At least once a month I tried to make a page at the website or in the blog about something wild, outrageous, or popular in the news at the moment. After doing this many times it finally paid off big time when one of these pages hit the front page of Digg.com – I then created a post in my blog related to the page that hit Digg and it also hit the Digg front page! It took a long time, and many tries, but it was worth it.
- I tried advertising – I tried to use Google Adwords to drive traffic to the site, but I was not successful and gave up after a week or two because I was loosing money. Don’t overlook this option just because I failed though. Many webmasters rely on AdWords or other advertising for traffic to their websites and do very well by it.
- I tried some “Myspace marketing” but that did not seem to generate any traffic to the site. I also started reading that Google Adsense may not like large amounts of traffic coming to the site from Myspace bulletins, so I stopped all of my Myspace marketing efforts after one or two weeks. I still get a lot of inbound links from Myspace pages (as stated in a previous page) but this does not generate a lot of traffic.
Things that I did NOT do:
- I didn’t use any ‘get rich’ or “get lots of traffic to your site” systems
- I did not submit my site to ‘traffic generating’ services. These are sites/services (that you usually pay for) that promise to send thousands of visitors to your website. This kind of traffic is worthless because the visitors don’t really care about what is in your website, and it will probably get you booted out of Google’s Adsense program.
- I did not worry about “keywords” – I did not try to stuff my pages full of ‘keywords’ to try to grab the attention of the search engines or try anything else tricky. I used natural language.
- I did not worry about CPC, eCPM, PR, or all that other stuff. I did not even know what these things were for the first few months! Only very recently have I started to pay attention to these things, removing poorly performing ads from my site, etc.
After the site was up and running with a moderate amount of traffic, I started to focus on the two most important items: Content and Traffic. Once I had those mastered, I felt it was time to move on to fine-tuning and optimizing things.