How to promote a website for free – 9 ways (and how to implement them)

Shows how many different websites are linking to this piece of content. As a general rule, the more websites link to you, the higher you rank in Google.

Shows estimated monthly search traffic to this article according to Ahrefs data. The actual search traffic (as reported in Google Analytics) is usually 3-5 times bigger.

The number of times this article was shared on Twitter.

Share this article.

Website promotion can also seem confusing and intimidating, not to mention expensive. Not everyone can afford to set aside large budgets for advertising campaigns and sponsor events.

But there is good news as well. In this article, I will show you a few tried and tested methods to promote your website and increase traffic, and explain in detail how to apply them.

Plus, everything is free!

Do you like video format more? Watch this video (there are some additional tips that are not in the article):

Why we are trustworthy.

We are Ahrefs, the SEO toolbox. Our bread and butter is driving traffic. And our case is ourselves. This is how organic traffic to our blog has grown over the past 2 years:

traffic growth from Google.

You’re in good hands, so sit back and enjoy the journey!

1. Guest blogging.

Guest blogging is a great all-round way to become recognizable in your niche, build your link profile, and make connections in your industry. In the long term, all this plays a big role in website promotion.

How it works in a nutshell: You write for other blogs.

Our Marketing Director Tim Soulo has used this strategy a lot in the past.

When you write for famous sites in your niche, you post content in the best possible places, and the right people will see it. Those who have an interest in your topic. They will love your content and will search for more. I will translate: you will have more traffic!

While guest blogging is undoubtedly a good method for link building, it is not very suitable for getting a steady stream of traffic. Our CMO Tim wrote a voluminous post on this topic: Guest Post ROI: Data for 273 Guest Posts

Don’t get me wrong, this method is likely to attract some traffic. But it will not be stable or regular.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Find goals.

Remember, you need to place yourself in the right places for the right people.

Let’s start by finding the best blogs to host. You will need to do a bit of research and make a list of famous blogs that relate to your topic. If you post on non-thematic sites, then the traffic will definitely not increase.

To do this, you can use Ahrefs’ Content Explorer – a pretty handy tool for such purposes. Just enter a phrase relevant to your niche and get a list of the most popular sites that publish articles on your topic. Select “One page per domain”, then filter by language and organic traffic (we took 1000 or more). Next, just unload the list and get ready to write!

Step 2: compose the pitch.

Don’t spam. There are several ways to get a positive response from a stranger on the Internet. Spam with a template compiled in three minutes does not apply to them.

Learn more about the blog and the editor you are writing to. Take some time and effort to familiarize yourself with the blog content and see what topics have been covered in other guest posts.

Use this information to personalize your emails, use common sense to grab the editor’s attention, and see a huge difference in responses. (For a more detailed guide on how to do this, see our outreach article.

Step 3: Write a guest post.

Always try to follow the style and layout of the blog you are writing for. If their articles use a lot of headings and boldface, do the same. If each article has at least 3000 words and a bunch of screenshots, repeat the style. Do you understand me.

Editing before publishing is different for each blog, so follow the editor’s directions. Be polite and helpful!

When linking to your site, be sure to link to existing content on that blog as well. This makes your post less promotional and more useful to the blog itself. For more guidance and tips on how to write wildly popular guest posts, read our article.

When writing guest posts for different blogs, you can link to old posts from new ones. This way you will not have link spam, all editors will be happy, and you will get additional links to your previous guest posts.

Thanks to Nick Churick for the advice!

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process of achieving high rankings on search engines like Google. Think: If you were selling flowers and your site was ranked # 1 for “flower delivery,” how much traffic would you get?

Average monthly search frequency (on Google) for “flower delivery” in the US, screenshot from Ahrefs Keyword Research.

The best part is that this strategy allows you to passively attract constant traffic. And it’s not just that it seems to me. This is what traffic looks like when SEO is properly organized:

Organic traffic to our blog over the past 3 years.

And here’s what it looks like if you use other methods:

Traffic after the publication of the guest post.

In SEO, this is known as the Spike of Hope, which plummets into a “Flatline of nope”. Let me explain: when a post is first published and promoted, you see a sharp jump in traffic, after which referral traffic goes down … forcing you to look for additional time and resources to maintain.

Yes, SEO can be tricky. But here’s how it’s done.

Step 1: Create content on a topic that attracts organic traffic.

The work begins even before the content is created. Keyword research is an essential part of your SEO journey. This is necessary to understand if there is someone to create content for. Traffic starts to grow when content is ranked for a variety of popular search terms.

There is no one universal way to find the right keywords. Because everyone has different goals, resources, time frames, competition, etc.

Instead, there is a robust keyword analysis method that can be tailored to your needs. You might be wondering how to find the lowest competitive keywords.

Step 2: Optimize your content.

Whether you’re creating new content or working on existing posts, you need to optimize them to rank on Google. This includes finding information, writing texts, and many other factors.

Believe me, there is a lot to go deeper here, but now we don’t have enough space to write about it. Want to know more? Skip on to our step-by-step guide to driving organic search traffic.

Step 3: Get links.

A backlink is simply a link that is put back from another page to yours (hence the name). It is seen as an indicator of how important or useful your content is to search engines. In other words, having links is an important ranking factor.

The research we conducted shows a high correlation between the number of referring domains and organic search traffic.

When you already have great content, it’s time to build links to it. There are a bunch of ways to do this. Choose any of the newbie techniques and methods, or explore advanced competitor link mining techniques.

3. Reddit.

The “home page of the internet” has huge potential. But only if you know how to implement it. If anyone doesn’t know, Reddit is a place where you can share and discuss with millions of users almost any topic that does not contradict the rules.

Reddit is different in that head-on advertising does not work here. The users here are extremely smart and skeptical. They detect ads a mile away and ban you.

When you’re trying to promote on Reddit, think long-term. Before you say anything, make sure it’s worth it.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Identify your niche.

In the case of Reddit, it will be a subreddit – a niche forum with its own rules and moderators.

Simple google search site: lt; your niche gt; ‑Inurl: “comments” will show you several options for forums where your target audience, with whom you need to get acquainted, communicates.

we usually sit on r / seo / and r / bigseo /.

Step 2: Become one of them.

It’s time to become part of the community! Focus on building reputation, relationships, and karma in themed communities.

Each subreddit is different, so be mindful of what works for different audiences. Do they like to have fun and use GIFs and memes? Do they like long texts? Follow these observations. Your approach means a lot and determines how quickly you become your own in the community. Post thoughtful, helpful comments and others will start treating you in the same way.

And of course, do not forget about the rules of each community and follow them unquestioningly.

Step 3: Promote, but gently.

Once you’ve spent a certain amount of time giving something useful to the community and making friends, you can start mentioning your site.

And even then, try not to make explicit advertisements. Ask for feedback and mention the site as a useful source of information that the community might be interested in.

this is how Ahrefs asks for reviews and opinions on Reddit.

4. Quora.

Although Quora is also considered a forum, it is a completely different world from Reddit. In short, this is a question and answer site. As a Quora user, you can ask and answer questions.

Think of Quora as a knowledge marketplace: It’s a great place to answer questions that are relevant to your niche, build authority, and generate traffic. This strategy can be time-consuming and requires diligence and ingenuity, but it’s worth it.

Marketing on Quora can be confusing at first. So a quick guide won’t hurt.

Step 1: Choose the right questions.

It will be easier for you if you treat this method like a guest posting. It all depends on the strategic placement of the content: the right channel, the right audience.

The easiest place to start is by searching on the platform itself. Quora allows you to make general queries within certain topics.

Then everything depends on the choice of questions in which you can confidently position yourself as an authoritative source.

Next step? Find the most popular questions. To do this, after logging in, pay attention to the sidebar on the right.

The screenshot shows that the question has about 129 thousand views. Good potential!

At the very end, it is worth looking at the last answers to each question. If they have enough views too, that’s good. On the other hand, if a response has only 8K views since 2014, and a 3-month response received 40 views, it’s most likely a dead topic. Search further.

Step 2: Get referral traffic.

Post good answers to every question and, if possible, leave a link to the site. Relevance is key. Only answer if you can give a better answer, not just to leave a link. Be concise and focus on adding value.

You can also use images to complement the answers, and a good introduction (if your answer ends up on the Quora mailing list, it will be cropped and you need to hook the audience as quickly as possible).

It is best if your link leads to a page that explains the topic of the answer in more detail. Keep in mind that if no one likes your answers, no one will follow the link to “learn more”.

How easy is it to find low-competition keywords and topics?

Go to Ahrefs Site Explorer gt; Enter gt; Click “Top Pages” gt; Enter your topic in the search.

Look for pages with few linking domains and check the Traffic and Keywords columns. If something stands out, click on the URL and review the question. This will help you find your keywords.

Thanks to Sam Oh for the advice!

5. Facebook.

We are all a little familiar with social media. But as you might have guessed, being a regular user and promoting are two different things.

There are two approaches to social media marketing: “organic” (work on the community) and paid, through advertising (set up relatively quickly and are guaranteed to get results). Since we are only interested in the first option, let’s get down to it.

No need to tell what Facebook is. It is huge, it is used by billions of people. Most of the people you know have accounts there. You just need to know how to find and attract the ideal audience.

And here’s how it’s done.

Step 1: Create a Facebook page.

The page is created absolutely free. In this way, you gain a brand presence on the social network, which allows you to immediately interact with millions of users.

Fill in the page information and ask for a “like”. Create a content plan and stick to it. Be proactive and show that you are working on your brand.

With updates that are relevant to your niche, it won’t be difficult to link back to your site. The more interested users view your content and page, the more traffic will increase.

Statistics of the latest posts on the Ahrefs Facebook page.

Step 2: Post to Facebook groups.

Facebook Groups were created to bring together people with similar interests. The good thing about them is that they are different: for any topic you can think of, there is a group (and how many more you could not think of!) By joining these groups, you get access to your ideal audience.

The promotion strategy on Facebook groups is very similar to promotion on forums: when you join, read the rules and take some time to get to know the group better. Pay attention to how the group members communicate, leave useful comments under the posts of other members.

When you have been in the community for a bit and have built a good reputation, you can ask the admins if you can post links to the site.

6. Twitter.

Twitter is known as a one-stop-shop for achieving business goals. It can be used for lead generation, website promotion, brand awareness, customer support needs, and more.

It is especially good for finding new audiences and tracking mentions of yourself. There are some tips and tricks for promoting your website using Twitter.

There are a few steps to take.

Step 1: Publish content that will actively interact and share.

The best thing about Twitter is its accessibility and how quickly it spreads there. This is why hashtags have become so popular. By the way, never forget to use relevant hashtags to get your tweet to show up when you search for a topic.

Twitter content is usually posted with a link to the page. To collect as many retweets as possible, try to make your post as entertaining, informative, or provocative as possible.

Another tip: to make your site links look as good as possible, study the Open Graph markup or Twitter Cards. Paired with a good image, this can greatly improve click-through rates.

We try to post informative and educational tweets.

Are you using WordPress? Use plugins like Yoast SEO to add Open Graph tags quickly and easily.

Step 2: Promise something for the retweet, or run a prize draw.

Here the line between “free” and “paid” methods is slightly blurred. Technically, you are not spending your budget …

By asking for retweets, you will increase the reach of your message. The more people see the tweet, the more they will want to see the profile and go to the site.

But make sure your offer is really worth the amount of retweets you’re asking for. And you must deliver on what you promised.

Based on our latest tests, @ahrefs now has a larger keywords index and shows more organic traffic data than any competitor. So we’re thinking to loosen up the “top50 positions” limit for Standard accounts. Just 1k retweets and we’ll open “top100 positions” on Standard – Dmitry Gerasimenko (@botsbreeder) February 9, 2018.

When running a prize draw, make mention of the brand a must to participate. Thus, it will be easier for users to go to your profile and website, who want to know what exactly is being played out (everyone loves freebies!)

You can also add a thematic hashtag. This will make it clearer what it is about and it will become easier to check the participants in the competition.

a simple contest to test the reach of our Twitter banner.

Learn more about our Twitter banner experiment in my guest post for Buffer.

7. Outreach.

Outreach is a strategy in which you show content to bloggers and influencers in your niche and try to get them to discuss and link to it.

In its simplest form, this is an appeal and a request to leave a link to your site. But good outreach isn’t just about asking for a link. Let me tell you in more detail how this is done.

Step 1: Find someone to contact.

The decision to link to you is made by a person, not a machine. Therefore, outreach is primarily about communication. Effective communication. You need patience, research skills and, to some extent, social acumen and salesmanship. You need to close the trade. And the deal in this case is a link to your site.

Do some research. By this time, you should already know that your target is relevant sites.

Therefore, make a list of sites and find the person you need to contact. Find out as much as you can about them: job title, have they recently published articles that can be mentioned. And of course, don’t forget to find their email address.

Step 2: Work through and submit your appeal.

We’ve collected the best tips on how to do outreach. From what kind of people to look for and when to write to them, to how to craft a template for outreach writing that is easy to personalize.

a positive response that we received in one of our outreach campaigns.

8. Create a free resource.

The essence of this strategy is to create valuable, unique content that is ideally aligned around your brand or product, and then give it away for free.

Whether it’s a PDF guide or a YouTube tutorial series, focus on being helpful to your audience and see the magic power of word of mouth in action.

Real user reviews of our video course on increasing blog traffic to 100 thousand visitors per month “Blogging for business”. The course was free 30 days after launch, and now costs $ 799.

As always, the main thing is quality! Unoriginal content of low quality cannot be promoted, no matter how free it is.

Here are some tips for a successful startup.

Step 1: Think about what kind of content you will create.

The content should be thematic, otherwise don’t expect high-quality traffic.

One interesting way to find an idea is to spy on competitors. Using Ahrefs’ Best Pages By Links report, you can track what and what type of content gets the most attention and links.

Step 2: Make it easy to share.

Remove unnecessary actions that are needed to forward content to a friend. Make your resource as easy to share as possible.

This can be achieved by remaking content into small pieces of useful information. For example, you could make a simple infographic that summarizes key information.

Using data from our search traffic research, we made a small graph.

Another tip: Use one-click tweet links to help spread your content for more people to see.

This way you can control the text that your readers will tweet, while simplifying the distribution process for them. And you feel good, and they are more comfortable!

9. Respond to comments and engage in dialogue.

This method takes us back to basics. Sometimes the best way to connect with people and generate interest in your sites is the easiest way: to start a conversation.

Be always aware of discussions in your niche and about your brand, and if possible, join the discussion.

Commentary with a screenshot of the statistics, which leads to the Ahrefs Site Explorer.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Set up mention notifications.

It’s hard to get into conversations that you don’t know about. Fortunately, there is a great solution to this problem in the form of Google Alerts, Talkwalker or our Ahrefs Alerts.

In short, these tools send you notifications when a keyword is mentioned on the Internet. Thus, you can easily track what is being said on the network on your topic.

Ahrefs Alerts gt; Mentions gt; New alert

Mention notifications work for any phrase – you can even enter your name or brand name.

A few keyword ideas:

Your brand Competitor’s brand Keywords that relate to your niche.

When your keywords are mentioned on the Internet, you will receive an email notification. Then just follow the links to the articles and scroll to the comments.

Step 2: Fit in where you can benefit.

I’m afraid to sound like a broken record, but don’t spam. Only answer if you can add something useful. Knowledge, advice, or at least a link to a source that might help.

Try not to link too often to your site. Only where it really relates to the topic. The point of the method is to build relationships and share knowledge, and not just leave a link to the site wherever possible.


Of course, in addition to the mentioned promotion methods, there are many others. Which strategy will ultimately prove most effective for you depends a lot on the competition and the resources you have: time frames, skills, team size, etc.

We still adhere to our position that SEO is the best long-term method of driving traffic. It can be used with little or no budget and provides passive, measurable results. While other methods are one-off and require constant effort.

What do you think of it? Have you been successful with any of these strategies? Or did some other method work for you?

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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