Starting a business can be a difficult and expensive endeavor, but this doesn’t have to be the case. In this post, I’ll discuss several free and cheap ways to improve your website traffic and create a better online presence for your business. Even if you don’t actually sell online, improving traffic and search engine rankings of your site will help your customers find you!
- Blogs – Free blogging websites like WordPress.com and Blogger.com provide a quick and easy way for you to set up a professional looking blog using pre designed templates. You can make your blog as simple as complex as you want, but you should always remember to include links back to your corporate website and include company information if your blog template allows you to build static pages. Once you have a blog, you can register and “claim” your blog with free services like Technorati, Feedburner, Digg and other blog indexes and bookmarking services to improve your blog traffic. The only caveat here is that you need to post regularly to maintain an audience.
- MySpace – It may sound cheesy, but MySpace.com has an enormous number of users, including adults and businesses. A MySpace profile can generate a significant amount of traffic to your site; in fact, MySpace in consistently among the top 10 referrers to my wife’s company website. I’d suggest setting up two MySpace accounts – one for you, and another for your business. Then search the member and group databases for people with who might be interested in your company or services. Invite them to be your friends, and become a member of applicable groups. Then you can send bulletins about promotions, events and other news. You can also maintain a blog on MySpace, and you should remember to include your company logo and a link to your website in your profile.
- Squidoo – On Squidoo.com you can create a free “lens” about any subject matter. You can include links to your website, an RSS feed from your blog, and company information. You can also earn a little cash through various affiliate programs with Google, Amazon, Ebay and Cafe Press. In addition to lenses, you can create groups which other related lenses can join.
- Craigslist – Essentially, Craigslist.com is a place to post free, online classified ads. You can post services and products for sale, as well as community events, and you can also search for service providers like web developers, graphic designers and photographers.
- Ebay – Setting up an Ebay store is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to increase online sales. For as little as $15 per month, you can list fixed price and auction items, and create store pages that provide company information and a link to your main website. People search Ebay listings also show up on search engines, allowing more people to find you and your company. You can also use traffic monitoring tools provided with your store to see what search terms are bringing people to your site.
This is hardly a comprehensive list, but it’s a good place to start. Next week we’ll discuss more about bringing readers to your blog, and other viral marketing ideas. If you can think of anything I’ve missed, jump on over to our forums and post about it!