If a website is created on the web and it’s not linked anywhere, does anyone actually see it?
Chances are, if you’re asking how to promote your website and you’re still in the early stages of your business, you’re worried that the only effective way to drive traffic might be to spend a fortune on ads.
Thankfully, you can promote your website in a variety of ways, either on a budget or without spending a single penny.
How to promote your website online
Let’s take a look at the 10 ways to promote your website in 2021:
1. Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is arguably the biggest thing you can do to promote your website. With more than 2 billion websites on the internet, and more being created every second, you can easily risk your website getting lost in the ocean of content if you don’t make your website search engine friendly.
Thousands of free online guides can help you improve your website’s SEO, so you don’t necessarily need the budget to hire an SEO professional. More often than not, you can fix most SEO problems on your website yourself with a few simple optimizations.
When you’re looking at your website’s SEO, there are two main things to be aware of: on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO is, as you might expect, everything you can see on your website. This covers things like your website copy, images, videos, meta descriptions, responsive design, and even how your website is structured.
Off-page SEO, refers to what’s going on behind the scenes. This covers aspects of your website like who’s linking to it, how authoritative it is, and the engagement it’s getting from readers.
If you’re using Webflow, most of the technical aspects of being an SEO-friendly and responsive website are already done for you. This way, you only have to worry about making great content.
Search engine optimization is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your website because while you will need to make adjustments from time to time, this method largely generates traffic without much input once everything’s been optimized. However, you should also know that it can take months to see results from this method, so don’t expect a quick fix.
Related reads: Website SEO: the beginner's guide to ranking on Google
2. Guest blogging
Guest blogging is an underutilized yet fantastic way of building links to your new website. With this method, you write a guest post for an authoritative blog in your industry (or an adjacent one) to showcase your expertise. With each guest post linking back to your website at least once, you’ll be able to direct traffic from a reputable source back to your new website.
Whether you’re a new business or you’re in marketing, you might find it difficult to secure a guest posting spot on certain websites through no fault of your own. Given that writing guest posts for other publications used to be a massively popular SEO tactic, many websites either carefully vet who guest blogs for them or they don’t accept submissions at all.
The key thing to remember with guest blogging is that it’s less about SEO and more about building relationships, both with the publisher and with your audience. If you can build a relationship with a publisher and regularly contribute new content, it won’t just drive traffic to your website, but it’ll also help you to build contacts within your industry.
3. Content marketing
Content marketing is a great way to promote your website because it both improves your SEO and generates content that your audience will find useful. A common misconception is that to do content marketing, you need to blog, but that’s not necessarily true. While blogs are the tried-and-true content marketing avenue, you can produce videos, create a podcast, or even start a newsletter around something related to your work.
With content marketing, the biggest thing to remember is the content you create needs to be useful, interesting, or entertaining for your audience. The best way to make sure you’re answering questions people have is to do plenty of keyword research before you get started.
If you don’t have the budget to pay for an SEO specialist, or SEO tools, to conduct keyword research for you, a great free resource is AnswerThePublic. By searching for your chosen word or phrase, AnswerThePublic will show you different questions, statements, and location-based searches that users have typed into search engines. This ensures that whatever content you’re making addresses a genuine customer need.
Content marketing is a promotion method that doesn’t work in isolation, however. To get the most out of your content marketing, you’ll need to make sure you work on your website’s SEO and promote your content through other channels like social media or paid advertising. You should also make sure that you continually create new content so your customers have a reason to keep coming back.
4. Social media
Social media is the best-known free method of promoting new websites — and for good reason. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have billions of users each, and it’s easy to connect with other local businesses and promote your own through these platforms.
Before you get started with social media, though, you should consider what your business’s brand voice is, who you’re marketing to, and who you’re trying to reach. Here’s a quick summary of the platforms you need to consider, as well as what kind of businesses they’re good for:
- Facebook: A good all-rounder for both B2B and B2C companies, regardless of brand voice. Facebook has the biggest user base, so it’s good for posting regular updates about your business.
- Twitter: Good for B2C companies that can promote themselves with short, snappy statements. Best for sharing links, creating conversations, and getting involved with your audience.
- Instagram: Great for both B2B and B2C. The best platform to use if your work is highly visual or if you want to reach younger adults as your primary audience.
- Reddit: Best for B2C, but it takes time to cultivate. Before you begin promoting your website on Reddit, you’ll be expected to join in conversations on subreddits (specific interest forums) and only share links to your website where it’s necessary.
- LinkedIn: Best for B2B. Often used as a hybrid social media and blogging platform, so it’s great for reaching other professionals and showcasing your expertise.
If you’ve got some budget available for promoting your website, then Facebook Ads is brilliant for promoting your website through social media. Through Facebook Ads, you have a wide array of targeting options available, making it easy to narrow down your target audience. You can even choose to target users who follow specific other pages or are friends of your current followers.
5. Email marketing
If you’re looking for a tried-and-tested method of promoting directly to your customers, then email marketing is a great option. Once you’ve got your website up and running, it’s easy to start an email marketing campaign, and many email marketing services are available that you can use for free or on a limited budget.
While this article can’t cover everything you need to know about email marketing here, the internet is packed with free guides to email marketing, like this one from DreamHost.
The great thing about email marketing is that users don’t even have to have visited your website to sign up for your email newsletter, so you can start promoting your new website before it’s launched. Most email marketing services will let you share a signup URL with your followers so they can subscribe to your email list without having to visit your website.
Here are some ideas for how you can use email marketing to promote your new website:
- Set a countdown timer for the launch of your website, with one email every few days showing sneak peeks of what’s to come
- Send a coupon to all users who sign up to your email list before your website launches
- Invite users to a scavenger hunt, where they have to find a hidden item on your website, with winners receiving a prize or a discount on your products
- Share your first blog post as soon as your website launches
And once your website is live, you can integrate email signups into the web design so that new visitors can get updates about your business. For example, you can easily integrate Mailchimp’s email marketing automation into your Webflow design with no HTML embeds or added scripts.
Use Webflow's visual development platform to build completely custom, production-ready websites — or high-fidelity prototypes — without writing a line of code.
6. Google My Business
If your business relies on local footfall, or if you’re looking to generate more local traffic for your website, Google My Business is a must.
Creating a Google My Business profile is free, easy, and makes your business easier to find when people make location-based searches. With a Business profile, you can attach your new website to other information about your business like opening hours, contact details, and your location, making it easy for customers to find your business among the search engine results.
One of the great things about Google My Business is that you can see how users are interacting with your business profile, so you can easily change your promotion strategy if you find out it’s not driving as much traffic as you hoped for.
If you’re a regular internet user, then you probably already know about Quora because of how often it shows up in your search results. While Quora can seem spammy sometimes, it’s a surprisingly good place to promote your new website.
For those of you unfamiliar with Quora, this website allows users to post questions for the community to answer. Because this website is so popular with both users and people marketing their business, Quora results tend to be shown on the first page of Google for long-tail keyword searches.
The main reason why Quora is considered spammy is that it’s a good place for promoting your business. And, as with most other promotional avenues, once something is shown to be successful, you’ll always have bots and low-quality marketers using it without any care for the value it brings to the user.
If you use Quora well, it’s a great promotional tool to promote your website and showcase your expertise, and can be a great distribution tool for your content marketing strategy. All you have to do is sign up for an account and start answering questions relating to your industry or niche while remembering to link back to your website at some point in your answer. This could be linking to a blog post where you’ve already answered someone’s question or linking to your About Us page to show other users what qualifications you have.
8. Online communities and aggregators
There are dozens of online communities that let you post content to their site. For example, everyday thousands of people visit Product Hunt to find new and trending products. Posting your website on Product Hunt is a great way to organically get the ball rolling.
Another great community that lets you post content on, similar to Reddit, is Hacker News. This is a great place to share information about what’s happening in tech and the developer community. In fact, some of the first ever Webflow users came from a Hacker News post made by the founders.
Besides just online communities, there are also many different media aggregators where you can post to. These websites focus on creating a directory of content related to a specific niche. For example, Designer News allows users to publicly share links related to design.
The great thing about online communities and media aggregators is that they’re easy to post on, they can give you a link back to your website, and if your posts include content that is useful it has the potential to be shared.
9. Pay-per-click advertising
Pay-per-click, or PPC, advertising, is an easy way to promote your website, even if you’ve only got a tiny budget to work with. Digital marketing in this way might be one of the more traditional channels, but it remains prevalent because it’s a great way to build website traffic as well as target specific demographics.
Google AdWords, the best-known PPC advertising platform, is a great place to get started with PPC advertising. With Google AdWords, you can quickly create adverts around the keywords you’ve found through keyword research, and you’ll only pay for that advertising when a user clicks on the link.
However, there’s no set amount you’ll pay with Google AdWords. When you run an ad through this platform, it’s entered into an automatic auction that happens whenever a user searches for your keyword. Typically, the advertiser who is offering more per click will win, but their ad positioning (or where it shows up on the search results) will be determined by other factors like keyword relevance, your click-through rate (CTR), and your overall ad performance.
If you’ve got a strict advertising budget to meet, then you can easily set up Google AdWords so that once you’ve spent your budget for a certain period, your ads won’t be entered into another auction until that period renews. So, you don’t have to worry about endlessly spending money with little control.
For a small business looking to invest capital into distribution, Google AdWords is one of the best ways to promote your website or blog.
Finally, giveaways are one of the best ways for your business to build a rapport with your customers while promoting your website. While giveaways can often be seen as a cheap trick for driving website traffic, they’re a great way to get people interested in your products, generate interest in your website, and even make other industry connections.
The key thing to remember with giveaways is that you’re doing it for marketing purposes. So, they need to generate a positive return on investment (ROI) for them to be worthwhile. When you’re designing your giveaway, you should keep this in mind when you choose a product or service to offer up as a prize.
Along a similar vein, you also need to make the entry cost equal to or less than the perceived value of the prize, or customers won’t take the time to enter the giveaway. Make sure the rules are clear upfront so you don’t face any issues later. If your end goal is to drive website traffic, then make the entry cost something relating to this. Liking a certain Facebook page, subscribing to an email newsletter, or even visiting a certain landing page are common entry costs that help drive website traffic.
It’s important to run a giveaway focused on the goals you want to reach. Given that you want people to visit your website, it should be the “hub” of your giveaway and where people go to investigate the full details. When it’s over, you’ll find you have a good number of new followers who can’t wait for the next giveaway.
Promoting your website no matter your budget
There have never been more options to promote your website, even if your budget is limited or nonexistent. With free channels like social media marketing and improving your SEO in combination with paid email marketing and PPC advertising, the barrier to increasing website traffic has never been so low. However, you should make sure that you’re exploring multiple promotional avenues to get the maximum benefit from each method of promotion.