How to advertise your business Online
As most companies have websites these days - it is a critical component of a business to advertise their products and services as best they can online.
In no particualr order of importance, here are some excellent ways of advertising your business online without costing the earth.
Submitting web articles can be a good way of getting the word out about your website, it also has the added bonus of making you appear to be an expert on a particular subject matter, whether you are or not. There are hundreds of article sites out there - you can even buy software to submit your articles for you as well as help create new articles from a single article - using "spinning". All web sites love new content, it creates more traffic for them and they usually get paid by people clicking their ads or clicking on banners. You benefit from getting a back link or links to your website. These can help give you a little boost in the search engines or just give you some natural free web traffic from people who read the article and then visit your website.
If you are having trouble writing an article there are lots of people who are willing to write articles for you for next to nothing...we would advise writing your own though as you are unlikely to know the full source of the articles you are paying for.
Submit your site to the search engines - In ye olden times (about 10 years ago) it was deemed necessary to submit your website to the search engines. This is now completely pointless - if you subscribe to a submitting service that claims to submit your website to 100 search engines or whatever number then quite simply you are wasting your time and possibly money. The search engines will find your site as long as you don't do anything stupid to block the site like modifying the robots.txt file or anything stupid like that. Of course you might want to block certain computers from visiting your website.
Have an online raffle - an online site such as raffle copter can help you create a raffle - you typically give away something and people have to do various things in order for them to win your prize. These can be things such as re-tweeting the giveaway, follow you on twitter/facebook, answer a question and such like. The more things people do the more chances they have of winning.
Get listed locally - search engines are all going local so if you have a bricks and mortar business make sure your business shows up when people search for whatever it is you sell and the location - e.g. if you sell tyres in a particular region - make sure you show up - after all it is free.
PR articles - This is pretty similar to writing your own articles - except there are a whole load of different websites you can submit your press release too - there are quite a few free ones you can use as well as paid press release articles sites. As well as websites if you are doing something local - then it's well worth writing an article for a local newspaper - they are constantly looking for fresh copy and interesting local stories...so if you have something of interest this can be a good joint venture.
Well strictly speaking you aren't doing this online - but it is a good way of advertsiing your online presence and that is too get the t-shirt - Have your business website / phone number printed on a t-shirt - you can be a walking advertisement for your business - a t-shirt costs next to nothing to print up - and you have to wear clothes anyway - so why not advertise your own business...let's face it you can pay a small fortune for sports t-shirts like Nike and Adidas just to advertise their business!
Get a car bumper sticker or decal - With phone surfers on the increase, more and more people are likely to find your website in this way in the future.
Promotional gifts - give away t-shirts, pencils , pens, mouse mats with your company information on them - these can be low cost to produce on mass and who doesn't like being given free stuff?
Focussed forums - There is a forum on pretty much anything you can think of. Simply find the forum that relates to your business the most and get posting - make sure you post good content though - as you want to be reflected in a good light - don't just spam either - if you're first post is - we are great - visit our site - chances are you'll get removed straight away.
Viral Advertising - Can you post a funny video with your company mentioned at the start and end - or even better in the video itself? Videos that make people laugh out loud are the ones that get seen a lot and get linked to.
Help Videos - Can you post a video that shows how your product or service can solve a problem?
Free Directories - There are lots of free directories where you can list your website by simply providing a few details about your site - remember to try to change your copy to be unique.
Writing product descriptions - When you write your product descriptions it is important to include keywords in the title of your products/services. Also if an item has a certain serial number with it then this is a typical thing that people will search for...and by doing that you have more chance of being found in the search engines.
Writing good page descriptions - If you are lucky to be found in the search engine results pages (SERPS), then you are more likely to be clicked on if the description of your page is enticing for your product or description or descibes a good information page.
Blog - Make sure your website has a blog and try to update it on a daily basis, try to get guest speakers to write articles for you with a keyphrase theme as the title - you get an article as well as "an expert" or "celebrity" posting on your website. As an example post lets say you sell golf balls - then it's obvious to write an article about golf balls, when were they invented, who invented it, how many dimples on a golf ball, what is the weight, how big should a golf ball be, is there a difference between tournament golf balls and amateur golf ballls...you get the picture. If you think about something for a while or just put some keyphrases into a search engine - you'll get some information back - it's pretty easy to re-write articles in your own words and put something out which is then original - if you can then get 5 visitors / day from 1 blog article it can soon add up to a torrent of traffic that can keep your business running.
Selling on Ebay - If you have products to sell either physical or digital then selling on Ebay is quite a cheap way to get yourself out there - you can promote your website by adding a leaflet to your goods everytime you sell on there. This way you can advertise and potentially increase your profits at the same time - by cutting out all the Ebay fees. Another way you can advertise on ebay for free (at the moment) is by providing your own website address in the feedback. Other people will look at the feedback for other people (people are nosey you know) and then possibly explore your website.
Vlog - in exactly the same way as a blog - create videos of yourself doing things (that are legal) and put them up on your website. This is also a great way of connecting to your potential customers as they can then see your face.
Networking - Use websites such as twitter and facebook to shout out about new products, sales or anything about your business. It's important to also mention other interesting things that the people who are likely to use your products and services might also be interested - this way you can keep these followers/likers and also add to them. It's also worthwhile attending network meetings where you can meet like minded people as well as having a good time at these places.
Make sure your website has a sitemap - it's completely free to create - it might take you sometime to create if you do it manually or if you have some background software - it may get created for you in the background. This is basically a list of all your web pages - thus you are telling the major search engines which pages exist (you may have no links to some of these pages if they are broken) and the sitemap might be the only way that the search engines can find your pages.
Giving away images - there are lots of sites like flickr and instagram where you can upload your pictures - if you include a URL within the image (if you are allowed to do this), then of course it's an easy and relatively free way to advertise your website.
Podcasts - Talk about your products and services and then give away the mp3 files to places like itunes, customers can subscribe to your podcasts.
E-mail lists - This is going out of fashion a little but it still works. Collect e-mail addresses from your website and use programs like mailchimp or aweber to send out newsletters for you. Try to make sure that the people's e-mail you collect are genuine and not from a spammer - you can use a double opt-in technique to collect e-mails which gets people to verify there e-mail is right. You can then send out coupons / special offers to entice people back to your website.
Coupons - There are lots of coupon sites out there where you can list your coupons for free and thus advertise your website for free - you can give say 10% of orders over a certain amount, or free shipping..or whatever it is you can afford to offer while still making a profit. Read more about coupon advertising.
Word of mouth - This can be a "normal conversation" where you get to know somebody and "just by accident" you mention what your company does and you give them a business card with your web address on it.
Get links to your website from similar themed websites. It's essentially a vote for your site - you can read more about weblinks here.
We are sure if you implement some or all of these ideas then providing you have a good product or service to offer then we believe you will do well.