Social media. I hope you’re sitting down for this one. Once you have created your website, you need to tell people about it, and the best way to do that is social media. I know, shocking, right? Okay, it’s not even a little bit surprising, but in a world where we are crunched for time, it is easy to overlook the simplest things.
Make sure your website is included in all of your online profiles, and then be an active member of these communities. If you write a new blog post, tweet about it, post a Facebook status with a link, and don’t be afraid to click those social sharing buttons embedded next to every post. It may feel a little gauche to like, Google+, or Digg your own content, but there is nothing wrong with being proud of your work. It also encourages people to do the same.
Social media has largely replaced mass em@ils and has provided a forum for us to foster connections easily. Have fun and make the most of it. Your presence on these sites helps define who you are and exposes you to groups of people that you may not have encountered otherwise.
Join a blogging network. Now, let me be very clear if you have to pay to be included in a network, forget it. Paid link networking sites are in violation of Google’s Terms of Service and cannot only tank your site’s ranking but also cause your site to be deindexed entirely from search engines. Scary, right? That is how it should be, however, and is definitely not worth the risk. There are reputable blogging networks, such as BlogHer, that provide a forum for you to enhance your sites visibility and engage in conversations with other bloggers. Find one that is a good fít for you and become an active participant in the community.
Make unique contributions to other sites. Propagating the web with unique content is an excellent way to boost your visibility. There are a variety of Web 2.0 properties that can expand your reach and promote your website. The key to this is to make unique and high quality contributions.
Duplicate content is penalized by search engines because it can operate like spam. While these posts are done in support of your primary site, they should be able to stand on their own as well developed content. Start small and approach them with the same thoughtfulness you applied to your primary site. You can also do things like upload photos to Flickr and videos to YouTube. Done well, these can drive considerable traffic your way.
Link to other sites. How many times have you read an article and clicked on a link that directed you to another website? Probably far too many to count, but it is a great way to enhance your content, spread goodwill, and build relationships with other sites.
Oftentimes, when you link to someone’s content, they will check you out and if they like what they see, could become regular visitors or link back to you at some point. You cannot go about this haphazardly, however, and the link should be relevant to your content. If something captures your interest, you should not only share it with others by clicking on your favorite social media button, but also write a post about it with your thoughts.
Yes, link building can benefit you with increased traffic, but it is also a great way to generate ideas for your content. We all become stumped at some point. Other people’s content can jumpstart the process and get our own creative juices flowing. Of course we are not talking about plagiarism, which should be considered one of the deadly sins, but being inspired by someone else and having something meaningful to add to the conversation.
Be an engaged and active participant in online communities. The importance of interaction cannot be emphasized enough. The web is one enormous conversation, and the only way to be included is to participate. So, submit comments, participate in forum discussion, share other people’s work, and, basically, try to make friends with the people around you.
Some people make the mistake of treating the internet as an isolation booth, when it is anything but. It is a ginormous room that people are constantly walking in and out of, sharing stories and information. Sure, sometimes you may just quietly hang out and observe, but there are also times you enter the fray to give your opinion, a compliment, or a new perspective. The more you do this, the more complex and vibrant your community will become.
As I said, learning how to promote your website is really common sense. You have all of the tools at your disposal, you just need to make use of them. It requires considerable time and effort, but it is worth it. Being an active member of a global conversation will enrich more than just your site. It will help you grow as a person, and that is the biggest payoff of all.