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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  |  32476 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...

  • Truly, A good article. Detailed and well explained. Surely i will used all things said here. I am not new in this field but I always see to it that I can read and learn new set of information.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Bill Carlo on 29th December 2011

  • Great tips, its certainly worth a try starting a business online, the costs are little compared to other sectors!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Erin B on 24th June 2010

  • Absolutely, LOVE IT!
    I am new to my business and decided to work from home to cut cost from daycare, transportation and others. I have been using some of these strategies but you just confirmed what I was doing was on track. I picked up good pointers, which I feel will compliment my plan of action. Thank you for sharing.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by BizEmommy on 9th September 2009

  • I am glad I found your site...and have found someone who agrees is it hard to market!! My business is growing...but getting the word out about something new and exciting takes time. As a consultant ...I need to maximize exposure within a tight budget...and you have some good tips. My only problem is that my website does not allow links on it because I am a consultant for a larger company. Do you think Facebook or LinkedIn would work for cross promotion in other ways. Thanks again!!!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Rodan+FieldsConsultant on 30th June 2009

  • To Karin--I just discovered a great way to promote a book. It's called a Blog Tour. You can hire a company like for $200 and they set you up with 15-20 blogs that then interview you or review your book. I'm going to try it in January for Katie & Kimble.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Linda Thieman on 14th November 2008

  • Nataly,
    Thanks for sharing! I agree with OrganicMommy, marketing can be difficult. You've offered some great advice that simple to follow.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by K Woollery on 14th September 2008

  • Thank you Nataly, that is some great advice. I have been a little discouraged about not having much of a budget to work with for marketing. Marketiing is hard work!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by OrganicMommyof3 on 5th September 2008

  • Nataly, your list is great!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Zoica on 16th August 2008

  • Many thanks, Nataly. You're a voice in the wilderness for us newbies!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by on 24th June 2008

  • Great article..thanks!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jenni on 10th March 2008

  • Lots of common sense and good advice in this article!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lorena on 9th March 2008

  • Love this article Nataly and thanks for the great PR tip- I will have to look into that company. I wanted to add that article marketing is a great way to get targeted traffic. When you write articles send them to article directories like and other people can pick them up for their sites/blogs and spread the word about your site.

    I have to say this doubled my traffic and even provides me with media opportunities from them finding articles.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN on 5th March 2008