The lazy but effective way to promote your site

by Martin Reed on 14 November 2007 in Articles

How to easily promote your website

We don’t need to promote our sites by rushing out to buy megaphones like the guy in the photo above – whilst this could be a great way of attracting attention, you would still need to get out of bed! In this article I will tell you how to effectively promote your site without ever needing to take such drastic steps.

Decide on your message or unique selling point

Before you start promoting your site the lazy way, you need to work out what your unique selling point is. What does your site offer that is different to all the others? When you have that worked out, you need to come up with a tagline to attract attention.

For those of you not from the UK, there is a television show over here where Gordon Ramsay (a celebrity chef) goes to failing restaurants in an effort to turn them around. In the episode aired last night, he decided to make the country pub he was tasked with making succeed synonymous with the concept of ‘Real Gravy’. Now, it didn’t matter whether other restaurants and pubs were using real or granulated gravy, the fact was they were publicising their restaurant under the banner of ‘The Campaign For Real Gravy’. A fantastic tagline, and one that is sure to attract attention – which it did.

Once you have your tagline, you can be inventive and use it as a means of making your promotional efforts even easier.

Sell your site in every communication you make

Are you a member of any forums or other online communities? If so, you should ensure you have a link to your website in your signature – this is where you can use that tagline you worked so hard to come up with! Before adding your site to your signature, check the signature policy of the forum in question. If in doubt, ask before you add your link – the last thing you want is to be accused of spamming. A successful tagline will ensure that the link to your website stands out amongst everyone else’s.

Do you own more than one website? Promote your sites on each website that you own. All my websites contain prominent links to the other sites I run – failure to self-promote is ridiculous, yet I see it happen all the time. Be proud of your websites – if you have more than one you have no excuse not to cross-promote all of your sites.

Promoting your site through email

Firstly, let me be clear that I am not talking about email newsletters or other such mailshots. I have covered the value of email newsletters before. Rather, I am talking about promoting your website in emails you send in response to those you are already receiving.

Let me give you an example. Today, I received an email from someone asking to exchange links with Soap Forum. Their site was a forum, so when I replied to their email approving the link exchange request, I wrote a couple of lines about this blog. Here is what I wrote at the end of the email:

Just in case you are interested, I also run a community building blog that offers help and advice for developing successful online communities. If you have a spare few moments you may like to drop by – hopefully you will find some useful articles there. The URL is:

http://www.communityspark.com/

The message was short and sweet, I outlined why I thought my blog would be of interest and I included a clickable link. I have no doubt that the recipient of this email will have clicked on the link, out of curiosity if nothing else. Regardless, that is one person who visited this blog that would not otherwise have dropped by.

How many emails to you send in response to those you receive every day? Are you taking full advantage of the potential these emails offer? Even if you don’t have another site to promote, you can still add promotional value to those emails by encouraging further investigation into your site.

For example, let’s say you run a forum and there are a few good threads going that are creating a decent amount of debate, or you have written some great content that you are particularly proud of. How about including a couple of lines at the end of your email inviting the recipient to check out the threads and get involved?

Every communication should include some form of promotion

You should be aiming to promote your site in every form of communication you make. When you chat to friends and family, mention your website. When you contribute and get involved in forums, you should include a link to your site (if permitted). When you respond to emails you should include a couple of lines of promotional information – just don’t get too carried away!

Utilising existing communication methods to promote your site is the easiest method of site promotion there is. Even the laziest webmaster can easily utilise the methods outlined in this article – after all, you are not creating new work; you are simply including your promotional messages in work or activities that you are already doing!

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{ 19 comments }

Albergo November 14, 2007 at 11:30 pm

I don’t think email is a good way to promote in term of ranking of your site. You can have traffic and “popularity” but for the time people read emails.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 15, 2007 at 1:25 am

Albergo – This article has nothing to do with ranking; it is simply about easy ways of promoting your website! Of course, simply promoting your site through communication will do little to aid your search engine rank!

kelvin November 15, 2007 at 8:31 am

Good tips, but lazy is not good for promoting your site:)

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 15, 2007 at 1:23 pm

Kelvin – You will struggle to promote your site effectively if you are lazy all the time; this article merely showed you an easy way of promoting your site with minimal effort.

Amish Made Furniture November 15, 2007 at 3:53 pm

These are great suggestions. I quite like the email idea and the example that you have given. Thanks.

Smiley November 15, 2007 at 10:34 pm

I agree about promoting via your other sites. I’ve used the banner rotation on my chat client to advertise the forums, for example. “Click here to join NOW!”

Online furniture store November 16, 2007 at 7:05 am

Thanks those were very useful insights. Shall file them for future reference as well.

Smiley November 16, 2007 at 6:58 pm

Offtopic – but I have just found out that Google has been COSTING me money.

I’ve gotten rid of the Google ads on the chat page, and just stuck with Paidonresults.com banners rotating on the client.

I’m now getting 200+ per week via the Paidonresults banners. But when I had Google ads on the page, I was getting nothing from the banners, and only 40-50 a week via Google. My revenue was quadrupled just by removing Google ads !!!

I thought Google was supposed to make you money. Hmmm!

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 16, 2007 at 7:01 pm

Ramana – Glad you liked the suggestions; if you use any be sure to keep in touch and let me know whether you found them effective.

Smiley – It’s all too easy to be overly focused on advertising other sites on your website and forget about your own! Well done for not falling into that trap!

Your experiences with AdSense do not surprise me – that’s why it’s always important to experiment with various revenue streams.

Reena – Good luck, let me know how you get on.

Hirsutism November 20, 2007 at 8:41 am

Excellent article. Martin thanks for sharing your piece of knowledge with us from time to time. I will surely use the above tips for promoting my site.

News Bandit November 21, 2007 at 3:39 am

Great tips I’ll definitely take them and apply them to how I advertise my sites. Thanks for the post!

web tools November 22, 2007 at 5:45 am

New bloggers really need sound tips like that. Cool tips.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 22, 2007 at 8:26 pm

Hirsutism – Thanks for your comment; let me know how you get on with your site.

News Bandit – I am glad you enjoyed the article. Can you offer any tips for lazy but effective ways of promoting a website?

Web tools – I think these tips apply to those involved in promoting any type of website; not just blogs.

Smiley November 27, 2007 at 4:05 pm

Hi,

I just remembered this article while responding to a user complaint via e-mail. One of my staff members banned him for winding up the chat room natives. I advertise other parts of the site via e-mail without even realising it!

—–
“Hi, Spencer.

No apology is needed. We’re a young community, so some of the regular members are new to chatting in general, not just to the site. This means they’re not too used to wind ups and the such. The staff members have to act on behalf of the majority of the members for the best interests of the site at the moment to help it grow.

You’re more than welcome in the community. I think you’d enjoy our discussion forums located at http://www.friendly-forums.co.uk more than the chat rooms at the moment – they’re much more banterful and jokative than the chat client and enjoys the odd playful wind up.

Take care – I look forward to seeing you on the forums.

Thanks,
Tom.
Smiley[Host]
Discover your friendly e-Community.”
—–

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 29, 2007 at 1:47 pm

Smiley – Thanks for the example; you have shown another way that we can not only show a member we care about them but promote our site at the same time.

TigerTom December 4, 2007 at 12:40 am

I don’t know about lazy ways to promote web sites, but I’d recommend you avoid ‘real world’ promotions like leaflets, newspaper ads and the like.

The best place to promote internet goods is on the internet.

Martin Reed - Blog Author December 6, 2007 at 2:28 am

TigerTom – I am not sure I completely agree with you on this one; offline advertising can be effective for websites – you just need to make sure you are using the right form of advertising to reach your target audience.

DebtFreeDave May 21, 2008 at 4:26 am

I was very active on Zillow before I started my forum. Once I put the word out I was starting my own, people came over in droves. I had built the relationships online first and didn’t go in like a bull in a china shop. It took me a few months to do this. It didn’t happen that quickly.

Martin Reed - Blog Author May 25, 2008 at 4:30 pm

Dave – I think your comment highlights how important it is to keep your forum members happy. If you don’t, you may just find that your members decide to go elsewhere!