This article presents a detailed answer to a question we are frequently asked: “How do I promote a new website?”
Promoting a new website is a very real problem. However I’m screaming and shouting – I predict that the problem of promoting new websites is going to become even more topical from year to year. On the one hand, it will become harder and harder to promote new websites, because of the growing competition (every new topical website is a change in its ecosystem and an attempt to win over another sites traffic). On the other hand – again, because of the growing competition – the age frame is going to expand (the time when a website is regarded as new and young). In general, it has significantly expanded during last few years. Remember how 4-5 years ago we told that a new website is around 3-4 months old. Then we understood that a six month old website is also considered a new one. Then this time frame increased a year or more in some topics. Nowadays there are topics where even two or three year old websites face the same problems as recently launched ones.
So, what are these problems? There are a lot of them – poor SERP ranking, significant lack of traffic (feels like you struggle to keep your head above water and can’t get the ball rolling) and bad indexing (slow or partial). Anyway, of all these are an effect, not the cause. What’s the cause? It’s a lack of trust from search engines to a website.
Wherein, this trust depends on the goals and purposes of a project. Trust is easily built for really unique (speaking about purposes) and in demand projects. If you launch a website for an usual and widespread business, then building trust in it will be difficult, sometimes even very difficult. Well, think for a moment – there are hundreds of thousands websites for accounting and auditing services, law firms, dental clinics, PVC-window manufacturers and installers of CCTV systems. Neither a target audience, nor search engines are interested in another site like this. It’s not as easy as it seems to prove that you are worthy of attention. Keep in mind that your competitors (who developed their websites earlier than you) have one big advantage over your website, their duration of presence in the index (as a ranking factor) plays for them and against you.
You must be much better than your older competitors, if you want to “prove” to search engines that you are worthy of search traffic and higher ranking. The main reason for failures in promoting new websites is the conveyor-approach to promotion. It doesn’t work with new websites.
That’s why we recommend studying your competitors carefully – not just competitors, but also the perceived leaders of a niche, when promoting new websites. Search for ideas and try to implement the same things and tricks on your website, but you should make them better.
Here’s the list of 20 tips - what a new website should do to build search engines’ trust enough to start getting search traffic and a higher rank.
- Make your keywords list as large as it is possible within your niche. Develop a correct website structure in order to use all of these queries in certain sections.
- The primary content of a website is very important! Each query from your keywords list must have a relevant page on your website. Write concise, laconic and informative texts as your primary content.
- Launch a topical blog on the main domain of your website. “Launch it” doesn’t mean “create it and then forget about it for two weeks.” It means you should start publishing materials regularly. Don’t publish stupid news articles and boring press-releases! Are you an expert in your subject, or you just went for a walk? Write about things people are interested in. Write on your blog even when there are no results, and it seems like you will never get them. A nicely composed blog will show its gratitude with traffic and potential clients over and over again later.
- Set up small “local” PPC campaigns in Google AdWords. Start gaining experience in using this system, you’ll need to use it a lot. Your budget is not important, the most important thing is positive ROI after finishing a PPC campaign. AdWords is not an investment tool. One can’t just invest a lot of money in it and hope that one day there will be clients from this. Each month you should earn more than you spend on this service – the budget doesn’t matter. Here’s a little secret: don’t neglect informational queries – they are much cheaper than transactional ones, while the conversion rate may be pretty high, if you will show your audience your competences and experience.
- Create official pages on social networks (at least on one of them – Facebook or LinkedIn – see which of them is more popular among your audience). At the beginning, publishing announcements about your new blog posts is enough. It’s much more important to drive quality social signals to search engines than to generate sales leads. The most powerful social signal is traffic from social networks. The task is to gather groups of people around your brand. There is only one way to do this – your content must be high quality (people don’t care about your brand, but they do care about the content you want to deliver).
- Don’t forget about Twitter. Start boosting a Twitter account related to your niche – post links to your and others content related to your niche (third-party content curation). At the beginning you’ll need a boosted Twitter account to drive new pages of your website to the search engines index (leave aside any hopes for generating sales leads and branding – Twitter won’t help here).
- If you sell visual goods (goods for which the visual components are very important in terms of sales) then start working with Pinterest or Instagram. Again, you should get visits from these channels (even if only a few). It’s very important to show search engines that your website can attract diverse types of traffic.
- Conduct an objective research of your market or a specific sub-niche within it, write a quality white paper based on the results of this research. Publish the white paper on your website, share it through social networks, ask industry platforms and popular sites in your niche to publish your white paper.
- Create a step-by-step “How to choose…” guide. If you sell goods, then this guide should be about your core product. If you are engaged in the B2B market, then discuss how to choose a service provider. Don’t praise yourself! Your guide should be honest, useful and objective. Are you providing cleaning services? You should know the main tricks for cleaning companies for sure! Talk to customers about cleaning companies honestly and discuss how to avoid negligent services. Even if they don’t become your clients straight away, they will remember you as an expert and – what is more important – a fair service provider.
- Start hosting periodical webinars on your niche. How do you drive an audience to your webinars? That’s the topic for a different conversation, we’ll try to answer it as soon as possible.
- Launch an email marketing campaign. If your content is interesting and indemand, then you’ll quickly gain subscribers. Email marketing is one of the most underestimated sales tools for small and medium sized businesses.
- Posting topical video podcasts on YouTube is labor-intensive and takes a lot of time, but it’s very effective. Keep in mind that video marketing gains momentum, and that the competition there grows, but there are still chances to build an audience and convert them into clients.
- Start working with reviews. If you provide services, then create a “Testimonials” section and fill it with new reviews. If you sell goods, then give a discount coupon to each customer who gives a feedback. Remember: reviews are one of the commercial ranking factors used by search engines.
- Register your company on Google Local.
- Subscribe to all niche queries for your market on Google Alerts. You’ll be getting notifications about recently published content that contain and relate to these queries. If these materials are published on websites with comments sections, then make sure to share a comment. Your comment should be detailed and to the point. This way you’ll promote yourself and your website much quicker. Moreover, if your comments are helpful, then you’ll get traffic from a link to your website, which should be put in your profile.
- Register on topical forums and become an active commentator. Try to leave comments that are helpful for the community – this way you’ll be seen as an expert in your market.
- Make at least one – even the smallest one – change on your website a day. It must be improved daily, little by little.
- Start building relationships with leaders in your industry. Sounds stupid and baseless? Yeah, you’re right. Ok, let’s put it another way: interview experts in your market. Publish these on your project. If an interview succeeds, then at least it will go viral across social networks.
- Form partnerships with competitors! Co-marketing is very effective and mutually profitable. This field of work can be very wide, guest posting, mentioning each other in email newsletters, cooperative promotion of cooperative special offers on social networks and so on.
- Start working with negative comments, right after the first ones are left. It doesn’t mean that you should delete them, it means that you should give a detailed answer. If it was really your fault – admit your guilt and try to compensate for it.
And the most important thing? You must always remember one mental guideline when promoting a new website:
Never give up!
You should pass through the Sahara of no traffic. It is possible only by focusing on your efforts and implementing your plan, even if you don’t see immediate results. You’ll get them for sure, if you don’t give up.