Thanks for your question! I found myself in the same situation
recently and learned that website promotion isn't costly or difficult,
it just requires a little creativity.
There are a number of no- to low-cost steps you can take to
dramatically increase your website traffic. Some of the most popular
and effective include:
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION AND SUBMISSION
Before doing anything else, you must prepare and manually submit your
website to major search engines - while some novice webmasters assume
sites are indexed automatically, this isn't the case.
To get the best returns possible from search engine listings, you must
first optimize your site's HTML tags. These tags are contained in your
page's behind-the-scenes code and don't appear to visitors, but will
make or break your success in the search engines.
According to the Smart Webby Website Promotion Guide,
( http://www.smartwebby.com/website_promotion/default.asp ), "the
golden rule for effective search engine submission is that all your
important keywords should appear in your title, description, content
and alt tags of your web page. This increases your keyword density and
helps in boosting your ranking with the search engines."
Your Title tag is the most significant tag as far as search engine
rankings are concerned. Your challenge is to guess which specific
keyword combinations will bring the web searching public to your site.
With thousands of similar websites competing for hits, a title tag
reading "Joe's Dog Kennel," for example, would be much less effective
than one reading "Joe's Jack Russell Terrier Rescue League." For more
information on optimizing HTML tags see Submit It's Search Engine
Optimization Tips: < http://www.submit-it.com/subopt.htm >.
Once your site is optimized it's time to tell the world. You can
submit your site for free to most major search engines via sites like
( http://www.addme.com ) or Submit It! ( http://www.submit-it.com ).
Most of these sites also offer paid packages for more comprehensive
submission; numerous companies will also do the legwork of marketing
your website for a fee (simply search on "website marketing").
Once your site is optimized and registered with search engines you may
wish to consider link swapping (also known as reciprocal linking), a
process by which you trade links with like-minded websites. For
example, if you're a dairy farmer, you can approach the webmaster of
another farming website and propose a link swap - on agreement, he/she
posts your link and vice-versa. Since search engine ranking is
determined in part by the number of sites linking to yours, you should
see a significant payoff from reciprocal links. You can search for
appropriate sites on your own or use a service like LinkPartners
( http://linkpartners.com ), which lists websites seeking link swaps
ON AND OFF-LINE ADVERTISING: signature files, newsletters, discussion
lists, business cards and more
Obviously, you'll want to make your web presence as potent as
possible. If you're selling a product, offline options include Yellow
Pages listings and magazine/newspaper advertisements featuring your
website URL. Whether your site is for business or pleasure, add the
URL to your business cards and hand them out like they're going out of
style. This low-tech approach can generate a surprising amount of
Online, you'll attract more new and repeat visitors by frequently
changing your site content to maintain interest. This could include
posting feature articles on a periodic basis or issuing your own
e-newsletter. Some webmasters offer free ebooks to site visitors and
encourage them to circulate the text to friends and contacts. If you
don't wish to publish your own material, you can always advertise in
existing ezines on subjects relevant to your website's focus.
An extremely easy way to promote your website is to include its URL in
the signature file of your outgoing email. In most email programs
you'll find "signatures" under "options" or "preferences." You might
also wish to find a newsgroup or listserv that caters to your
interests and casually mention your website in polite conversation.
You can find thousands of special-interest groups at Yahoo! Groups (
http://groups.yahoo.com ) and Topica ( www.topica.com ).
The following links have tons of useful information:
How Google Ranks your Web Page
< http://www.wowbrand.com/articles/google-link-popularity.htm >
Increase website traffic with articles
< http://www.apromotionguide.com/increasetraffic.html >
Marketing Articles for Growing Websites
< http://www.busymarketing.com/marketing.shtml >
Submitting to search engines
< http://www.thewebseye.com/articles/submitpro.htm >
Submitting your site to search engines
< http://www.wowbrand.com/articles/search-engines-submission.htm >
I used the following keywords in my research:
maximize website hits
All the best!