The eternal question for website owners is often "how can I get visitors to my website?". The first step should be to make sure your site is designed to maximise indexation by search engines, which you can read about in our SEO (search engine optimisation) guide. Well written pages which are marked up with appropriate code will be easier for search engine spiders and robots to index. However, your website may still not be top of the pops. What else can you do to promote your site?
When we launch a new site, one of the first things we do is to add it to Google Webmaster Tools and submit a site map. Google will almost certainly index it anyway, but it's always worth doing because they will give you valuable feedback on how the site is performing from their point of view, and if there are any problems.
Google My Business
You can also add your business to Google My Business so that it is listed on Google Maps. This is really important, particularly if you have a street address, as your business may be listed in map results above organic search results.
Make sure the details in your My Business listing are kept up-to-date and that you have added the photos you want to be displayed. A map pin will be displayed with your My Business listing, plus your star ranking based on any Google reviews. Whenever you finish a project, make sure you encourage your customers to write a Google review for you.
Google does pay attention to what's happening on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ... and of course on its own social media platform, Google+. Google will create a Google+ page whether you want one or not, so we encourage clients to take control of what's displayed by claiming it or setting it up if it doesn't yet exist.
In answer to the question we are often asked when we build a website for a new website: "Do I need to set up a Facebook page or Twitter account as well?" our answer is usually: "Yes - but only if you can do it right". Read more on our blog about social media.
If you have a LinkedIn profile, make sure your website is linked from there, and that your profile details, skills and experience are fully up-to-date. LinkedIn has discussion threads and groups too so check out relevant communities, either in a similar industry or located in a particular geographic area.
Forums and discussion sites
If there is a particularly relevant forum, Quora topic or Reddit thread about your industry or subject and you're willing to spend time answering questions and discussing issues, this is a great way to promote your website. Make sure your website address is in your signature and/or credentials. If you can provide helpful, insightful and relevant information and people like your answers, it will help to drive people to your own site.
Be careful not to look spammy and only answer if you have something worth saying. If you've followed our SEO guide you'll understand that not all links are equal, and you should be targeting quality, relevant websites.
Say it out loud and proud
It seems obvious but it's easy to overlook. If you take part in a radio interview, create a video, podcast or infographic, publish a white paper or press release, make sure you say or list your website. If you're doing a talk, make sure your introductory and/or summary slides lists your name, website and social media links. If it's not illustrated, make sure you say your website address. It's times like these you'll be glad you chose a short, snappy, easy-to-spell domain name!
Depending on the kind of area you live and work in, it might be worthwhile advertising in a local newsletter or newspaper. With all your information clearly laid out online, your advert can be a brief and eye-catching design which directs readers to your website for full details about all the services you offer.
Be your own billboard
Don't forget the obvious places to mention your website - in your email signature, on your business cards, on banners, compliment slips and letterheads, and even on vehicle signage. If your services are local and you park in a prominent position, you could have a vinyl print made for your car. If your company takes part in sports or volunteers at events, get matching t-shirts printed up with your company name and website address.
Website promotion doesn't have to be entirely online, especially if you can reach your target market at particular locations, events or postal addresses. Putting the domain of your new website on mouse mats, mugs or even baseball caps may seem gimmicky but it's all good publicity. Websites like Cafe Press offer limited runs of clothing and stationery which can be customised with your logo and website.
Word of mouth
It's not what you know it's who you know - utilise your existing network to let them know about your new website. Email friends and family, post it in your social media circles and mention it on your personal website or blog. Tell everyone you meet!