Launching a new website is the hardest task a webmaster has to face. Weeks of sleepless nights culminate in a launch day which might only see a handful of new visitors and a feeling that you’ve wasted your time.
Of course the key is to have several other people beta testing your new site and offering opinions throughout the design process but that still often leaves the promotion of the site down to one person – you.
The first rule of launching a new website is to know your target market. I’ve been involved in internet marketing for a few years now and have become well known on some of the forums and blogs as well as having a few industry contacts who are happy to offer some help on occasion. Unless you can list the top 50 sites in your new niche pretty much off by heart then you are really going to struggle to be able to connect with your target audience.
Of course if you are launching a new website for a bricks and mortar business you might be able to leverage existing relationships with customers, partners, suppliers and even the press to build links and traffic but I didn’t have that luxury.
Phase 1: Cool Content
Building a website is so easy these days that you really need to have remarkable content and linkbait if you are to succeed. On BlogStorm I wanted to have a lot of content to back up the tracker so I sat down and wrote some in depth posts on subjects like Google Analytics. In addition I started keeping a note of my ideas for future blog posts so that if ever the inspiration dried up I would have a list of ideas ready to write some posts.
As it turned out the Google Analytics tutorial was widely read and linked from a lot of popular sites and it really helped kick start the BlogStorm blog.
Phase 2: Emailing Bloggers
Once BlogStorm was ready for action and had been seeded with a few popular blogs I sat down and sent out a few emails to bloggers who I thought might be interested. For the first few hours after the emails were sent I didn’t get any replies and started to wonder if my emails were not working. The tracker tool is clearly a cool service but was it cool enough for somebody to actually sit down and write about it on their blog?
Luckily the emails worked and the site was featured on the likes of TechCrunch and ProBlogger in the first couple of days and received lots of other positive press. There is nothing better than having your new site featured on somebody elses blog and I really appreciate those who took the time to write about the site and link to it.
This works in any niche, I’ve launched websites selling party supplies and even gas fires using this technique.
Phase 3: Social Networking
Hopefully your website design included social networking buttons on the relevant pages. It also helps if you were a user of various social networks prior to launching your site so you know how to use them to your advantage. In the case of BlogStorm the only thing I did initially was to give the site a thumbs up on StumbleUpon and vote for the story on Digg after somebody else submitted it. The best thing about having really cool content is that it promotes itself. Sometimes you can go away for a few days and gain thousands of links without even trying.
Phase 4: Using Forums
After the site was already gaining traction I continued to create some good blog posts and started to use the Digital Point forums to drive some traffic. People on webmaster forums are in general the least spam tolerant and most web savvy group you will find so forum marketing has to be approached with care.
In the case of BlogStorm I created a couple of threads stating that I had a cool script/guide that I wanted to give away for free and received around 500 replies and private messages asking for the details.
It should be noted that using forums only works if you can deliver on your promises. If the products I was giving away were low quality or didn’t help people then my reputation would suffer. As it stands I think that most people were impressed and certainly a good number have become readers of the blog.
If you want to check my 10,000 links you can do so at Yahoo. The figure is 10,000 at the moment but it might change at any time. The actual figure doesn’t matter so much as the fact it is quite a lot for just a few weeks.