Ten effective strategies to help brand-new websites get noticed!
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The best way to gain online recognition is to create something so good it sells/markets itself — but even then, how do you get those first few thousand visitors (sometimes more, sometimes less — depending on exactly how influential these visitors themselves are*) that will hopefully lead to your site becoming more popular/successful?
With everybody vying for attention on the increasingly busy interwaves these days, the sad fact is that without doing something really special, being someone special** or having access to an already-established platform from which to launch your new idea from, it’s now extremely difficult for a brand new site to get noticed… Google seems to be making it harder for the unknown (i.e. people with next to no social media connections, etc) to compete with other already-vastly-more-popular sites in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), which means that unless you’re targeting some pretty obscure keywords/phrases (which will likely-as-not be searched for by very few people), you’re unlikely to receive any significant traffic from search engines — at least for a while… So how can you get your newly created website ‘out there’? What avenues are there for people just starting out with a new website/blog/idea to gain recognition online? Here’s a few, some might say relatively innovative ideas to help get things moving:
1. Enter your new site into a few significant design competitions
The online world is buzzing with people looking for innovative new site designs — many of whom hang out on sites like Awwwards. Submissions to some sites are paid, but there’s also a handful of free places to submit to, like Best Web Gallery and CSSelite — to name but two of many!
But remember, there’s little point in submitting your site unless it really is something pretty awesome, because any design competition worth its salt won’t display your site if it’s not up to par. If you’re going to enter a design competition — at least try to win it! lol
2. Guest Post on popular blogs
Guest posting is one of the most popular ways of tapping into another sites audience, not least because it’s usually free (or better yet you may even actually get paid for your article/post), but also because in addition to an often huge heap of additional traffic, it also carries a number of other less-obvious benefits, such as permanent links back to your site, bragging rights and, to a certain degree, instant recognition from other, often very influential visitors who regularly frequent the site you’ve guest posted on.
3. Advertise on popular sites (where you think your potential audience already hang out)
If you’ve gone as far as to create your own website for your idea, you’ll likely as not (hopefully!) know exactly the type of people you think it will appeal to. From there, it’s only a small step further to find out (if you don’t know already) exactly the types of sites these people are already reading/visiting. Some say traditional advertising is dead, but in many circumstances advertising can still be relatively effective — especially if you can advertise to people who will themselves share what they’ve found! A good place to start could, for example, be Google Adwords (be careful to set limits on your specified budget or you might accidentally run up quite a hefty bill) or somewhere like BuySellAds — alternatively you can always email the site/sites you’d like to advertise on to see what advertising options they have open. Advertising is, of course, never free (in fact, it can often be painfully expensive) and exactly how effective your ad will be depends not only on where you choose to place it, but also on a multitude of other factors, such as how appealing it looks and what exactly it is you’re advertising, etc.
4. Get Kickstarted!
Would the idea behind your site benefit from extra funding? Is the idea behind your site something with the potential to sell millions and/or change the world — perhaps a new innovative product of some sort or other for example? If so, one way to quite literally kickstart your idea (which is really the essence behind the existence of your website anyway) into the mainstream could be to create a Kickstarter campaign — after all, helping people fund their as-yet-unknown ideas is exactly what Kickstarter is all about!
5. Buy/take over another blog!
If you’re idea is big enough or if there’s a blog out there that’s relevant to your audience but going nowhere (due to an obvious waning interest of the site owners for example), you might consider buying it — assuming of course that it’s either already for sale or that you can contact the current owner and reach a deal. This is a complicated endeavor though and probably something only best attempted if you’ve already got a heap of online marketing AND web design experience/knowledge under your belt — because not only can buying a website be technically challenging and hugely time-consuming, it will also most likely cost you at least a few thousand dollars! Once completely yours however, you’ll then not only have access to all of the site’s already established audience (whom you should of course have the utmost respect for), you’ll also have the option of either using it to promote your original site and/or openly redirecting all of it’s contents to your new site. With a recent example of this kind of thing done well being the recent takeover of the up-and-coming WordPress News blog WPDaily by Torque (owned by specialist WordPress web hosts WPEngine)!
6. Advertise on Facebook
Although something still not particularly well-known by the general public, ever since a few years ago Facebook has been selling advertisements (no doubt something that’s old news to readers of this site of course), which, depending on what it is your site is trying to achieve, could well be worth considering. Why is advertising on Facebook different from general advertising? — well, partly because a huge number of Facebook users aren’t the kind of people who can be reached through the type of advertising already mentioned above; partly because Facebook advertising allows you to target a number of things that other advertising options can’t, such as gender, age, location and specific interests; and partly because advertising on Facebook can help you build your online social profile!
7. Ask friends to share your content!
Ever heard of the theory of Six Degrees of Separation, which states that ‘everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world’. It just might be the case that although you don’t personally know any highly influential people, one of your friends — or their friends — just might! The important thing here is NOT TO SPAM people with crappy emails/messages saying “please share my content” etc, etc… you should NEVER spam anybody — not even friends — lol! But if you have a number of friends who might be generally interested in what you’re doing, then there’s really nothing wrong with asking them to lend a promotional hand!
8. Buy tweets – from RESPECTABLE advertising agencies/sources!
Buying tweets?! No way!!! Everybody knows that’s not allowed! Or is it? Have you ever seen a tweet ending in *ad before? Ever wondered what the ‘ad’ part means? Yep, it means ‘advertisement’ — it means somebody paid to have that tweet tweeted! What’s more, some highly respectable online advertising agencies, like BuySellAds, deal in sponsored tweets — offered by the likes of some the leading online web design magazines, such as WebDesignerDepot, Designmodo and Naldz Graphics. All such tweets however, must first be approved by the website in question and, as with any form of paid advertising, unless you’re really savvy at it, you may find it doesn’t quite live up to your expectations — although sometimes of course, such advertising can be just the ticket!
9. Get on a few blogrolls!
Blogrolls are somewhat old hat, however, if you know of a few websites with blogrolls (relevant to your niche of course) then there’s a good chance — assuming your website/content is good enough — they’ll be happy to add your site to the list. Some may say this is a long shot, however, it’s a long shot with a pretty big prize should be lucky enough to score: not only will you be getting an all-important first link or two back to your site from an already established website in a similar field (and a constant flow of traffic through said link), you’ll also be making a potentially valuable connection with the owner of the site!
10. Create viral content for others to share!
Infographics are a great example of this. If you happen to have the necessary skills (usually an aptitude for design coupled with a specialist knowledge of something particularly interested and an idea of how to display it in a clear, interesting and clever manner) or know someone who does, bang one out and, once you’re sure it’s absolutely awesome (remembering to put your web address somewhere in the graphic), politely contact a few key people (without spamming anybody) in the hope that they’ll love it enough to share it!
Bonus idea: run an irresistible giveaway!
Why is this a bonus idea? Because it’s probably not going to work until you have at least enough people visiting your site for your giveaway to get enough momentum to make it worthwhile. However, once you’re confident you’ve reached that point, and assuming your giveaway is attractive enough, you’ll almost certainly be able to get an extra boost of traffic to your site by running an irresistible giveaway — just ensure you’re giving away something your audience will want enough to bother entering into through a handy social giveaway sharing system like Rafflecopter, for example.
*for more on this subject, check out The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell!
**i.e. someone with an already huge following and/or influence over others, like Tim Ferris, Seth Godin or Lady Gaga!
Any other ideas/suggestions?