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Tips to market your website from an accidental expert

There's no magic pill, but hard work does pay off

by Nataly  |  31374 views  |  15 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Before we launched, I pretended to know a lot about online marketing. In my previous career I was an investor and some of the companies in which I'd invested were online. So I learned as much as I could and tried to sound as smart as possible when talking about marketing a site online.

Well, let me tell you something, I knew nothing. OK, not nothing, but very little. After went live online I began my ongoing crash course in online marketing and it has already taught me a lot (including the fact that I knew nothing about this beforehand). I wanted to share some of what I've learned with those of you who have a website or a blog and I hope it can be helpful.

If you build it, they might not come.

You might have the best website design in the world, the most fascinating blog, or you might be selling the best most useful product ever. But just getting it up and live and out there does not mean that people will find you. Marketing is hard work, it takes time, and you have to be persistent. There is no magic bullet.

Know your audience.

When you market a site or a product, you're marketing TO someone -- your target audience. Your first task is to figure out who this audience is. Don't be general here -- narrower is better, believe me. For example, if your site is about healthy recipes, don't say your audience is women. Instead, say that your audience is women who like to eat healthy and are looking for healthy recipes.

Find your audience.

Focusing in on your audience will do two things (well, more than two, but two to start): It will help you design a site that welcomes that audience and it will help you find places online where your audience might be spending time. Women interested in healthy living are probably reading healthy-living blogs and frequenting other related healthy-living websites.

Do cheap or free things first.

We would all love a bunch of money to spend on marketing, but I believe that free marketing is the best kind, especially if you're at the early stages of your website or business. Free things you can do:
  • Offer to swap links with related sites or blogs.
  • Offer to cross-post content with related sites or blogs. Each piece of content you offer should include a one-sentence description of your site and a link back to it.
  • Participate in blog discussions by posting comments. DO NOT post comments just to get people to click back to your site -- this is transparent and will backfire. Become a genuine participant in the conversation.
  • Hold contests and giveaways. A great way to maximize exposure is to partner with a related site to give away some of their products or services as the prize for your contest. (This way they will promote the contest to their audience as well.)

About the Author

I am the co-founder of Work It, Mom!, a freshly minted entrepreneur, and an amateur writer.

Read more by Nataly

15 comments so far...

  • Great tips Nataly! Thank you! I loved reading this.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 29th February 2008

  • Hi Nataly,

    I loved this article and am going to apply your advice!
    I'm new to the Internet marketing universe myself
    and am finding it fascinating
    to gain exposure for my book Birthing the Elephant.

    Thanks for the help!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Karin Abarbanel on 29th February 2008

  • Thanks! This is a great article. I'm finding all of this out myself and always appreciate any advice given. Keep up the good work!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by jformanski on 28th February 2008