Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Free Web Marketing

by Sharon Housley

Not all web marketing needs to cost money. Aside from website submissions, there are a number of things that web marketers can do that are free, though they may be rather time-consuming. Other marketing tactics are relatively inexpensive, and are often well worth the investment.

Follow these basic steps to market your website and business.

1. Sign It

Include your website URL as part of your "signature" in any online forum and newsgroup posts. It is not uncommon for someone who appreciates the comments to click through to the websites found in the signatures of forum posts. This will not only increase link popularity, but will help establish your industry knowledge. It goes without saying that URLs should also be included in email signatures.

2. Utilize Social Bookmarking

There are a number of social bookmarking websites, where the collective users select the materials that they determine to be popular. If you have created resources that are worthy, be sure to bookmark them in the social bookmarking networks. List of

Social Bookmarking Websites -

3. Niche Networking

Network with key players in niche markets. Schmoozing with authorities in niche markets can often pay big dividends. Learn the "Who's Who" in any given niche market.

4. Donations

Goodwill goes a long way. Donate a percentage of sales to a non-profit organization or charity. If revenue is an issue, consider donating products or services to fund-raising auctions or other fund-raising efforts. Donations will often reach an audience outside the parameters of your normal market, and will show that you care... and aside from all that, your donations will actually benefit the organization or charity.

5. Answers / Askville

Use Yahoo Answers and Amazon's Askville to answer questions. The more answers that are endorsed, the more your advice will be valued. Provide genuine, honest answers and build your reputation. It appears that many "top" answers appear high in Yahoo search results, and Yahoo Answers captures a lot of long-tail traffic.

Yahoo Answers - Amazon Askville -

6. SEO

Spend the time it takes to properly optimize your website for the search engines. This is not an area to cut corners or skimp on. Proper search engine optimization, while an ongoing process and very time-consuming, can pay big dividends and will often result in long-term search engine traffic.

7. Classifieds

There are a number of free classified listing services. Add your products or services to any free classified listings that might be relevant.

8. Recommend It

Add a "Recommend To A Friend" script to the product pages on your website. Nothing beats a referral from a friend. Leverage viral marketing by providing your website visitors with the tools to easily spread the word for you.

9. Blog / RSS / Podcasting

Generate your own publicity using a blog, RSS feed, podcast, or video cast. Use these alternate communication channels to expand your audience. 10. Related Content Site Develop a content website that contains related information and materials. Content sites are often defined as "authority" websites. Authority websites are often quick to garner search engine favor and top ranking for relevant search terms.

10. Wiki

Update wiki listings with useful and helpful content. Good wiki editing will reinforce your reputation and help educate your audience.

11. Forum Participation

Actively participating in related forums will generate goodwill and increase your brand reputation. And be sure to add a company tagline and website link to the signature of your forum posts.

Marketing efforts need not break the bank for a fledgling company or struggling small business. Use the tools available, and build your business through smart marketing.

About the Author

About the Author: Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.