Building your website is just the beginning. All the effort put into setting it up will go to waste if nobody sees it.
At the same time, the world of website promotion can be intimidating and confusing, not to mention expensive. Not everybody has the financial budget to sink into paid advertising campaigns and event sponsorships.

Here’s the good news: in this article, I’m going to introduce some tried-and-tested strategies you can use to promote your website and increase your traffic,linksexpert as well as detail exactly how to execute them.

Plus, you don’t need to spend a cent!

Prefer video? Watch this: (Hint: It contains some additional tips not mentioned in this article :))

Why You Can Trust Us
We’re Ahrefs, an SEO toolset. Driving traffic is our bread and butter–in fact, we’re our own case study. This is what our blog’s organic traffic growth looks like for the past ~2 years:

traffic ahrefs blog
traffic growth from Google

Read more on our story: How to Increase Blog Traffic by 1,136% and Get Thousands of Customers [Ahrefs’ Blog Case Study].

You’re in good hands, so sit back and enjoy the ride!

1. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a great all-in-one method to establish presence within your niche, grow your backlink profile and make some connections in the industry–all of which are instrumental to promote your website in the long run.
How it works in a nutshell: you write for other blogs.

guestblogging tim
our CMO Tim Soulo used to employ this strategy a lot.

When you write for prominent sites in your niche, you’re putting your content in prime places to reach the right people–namely, those who are interested in your topic and who will enjoy your content enough to look for more of it. Translation: more traffic for your website!

While guest blogging is indisputably a good link-building strategy, it isn’t the most reliable method to get consistent traffic. Our own CMO Tim wrote about this at length in a post on Guest Post ROI: The Data Behind 273 Guest Posts
Don’t get me wrong; you’re likely to see some form of traffic come your way with this method. It just may not prove to be the most stable or sustainable.

Joshua Hardwick
Joshua Hardwick
Head of Content
Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Find your targets
Remember: you want to blog in the right places and for the right people.

Let’s start with how to find the best blogs to target. You’ll want to do some research and create a list of well-known blogs relevant to your niche; posting outside of your niche won’t bring you any quality traffic.

For this, a tool like Ahrefs’ Content Explorer can be really useful. Just type in a phrase relevant to your industry to pull a list of the most popular websites that are blogging about your topic. Tick “One article per domain”, set your language and adjust the organic traffic filter (we used 1,000+ here) to trim the list. Then you can export it and begin preparing your pitch!

ahrefs ce linkbuilding

Step 2: Prepare your pitch
Don’t spam your prospects. There are certain techniques to getting a favourable response from strangers on the internet, and mass-emailing a template you created in three minutes is not one of them.

Do your research on the blog and editor you’re reaching out to. Dedicate some time and effort in acquainting yourself with the blog’s content and check out the other guest bloggers already posting there.

Use this information to personalise your pitch, apply some common sense in getting into the editor’s good graces and you’ll see a world of difference in the responses you receive. (For a more detailed guide on how to do this, see our article on outreach.)

Step 3: Write your guest post
Always follow the style and formatting of the blog you’re guest posting for. If every existing article uses lots of headers and bolded text, follow suit. If every article consistently hits the 3,000 word mark and includes tons of screenshots, do the same. You get the gist.

The review process differs for each blog, so follow the lead of your editor. Be courteous and accommodating!

When linking back to your website, remember to also include links to the blog’s existing content. This makes your post a lot less self-promotional and makes your editor happy–for more tips and tactics, see this article on writing a wildly successful guest post.

When writing guest posts for different blogs, you can link to your older posts from your new posts. This way, you avoid excessively linking to your own website, all editors involved are happy and you even get some backlinks to your other guest posts out of the deal.

Thanks to Nick Churick for this tip!

2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO for short, is the process of getting your website ranked highly on search engines like Google. Think: if you were selling flowers, and your website is the number one Google result for “flower delivery”, just how much traffic would your website get?ce flowerdelivery
Average monthly search volume (in Google) for “flower delivery” in the United States, via Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Best of all, this strategy brings consistent, passive traffic to your website. I’m not even being biased here when I say that it’s the best website promotion tactic in terms of scalable, long-term results. Once again, this is what your traffic looks like when employing SEO:

ahrefs organic traffic growth
our blog’s organic traffic growth in isolation for the past ~3 years.

And this is what it looks like using other methods.

06 SME traffic
traffic generation after publishing a guest post.

In the land of SEO, this is commonly known as a “spike of hope”–which rapidly degenerates into a “flatline of nope”. The breakdown: you see a nice boost in traffic when the post is first published and promoted, but this referral traffic soon fades… leaving you scrambling for the time and resources needed to maintain this strategy.

Yes, SEO can be complex beast. But here’s just how to do it.

Step 1: Write content around a topic with organic search traffic potential
The work begins even before you produce your content. Keyword research is essential to your SEO success: you do this to make sure that there’s a market for the content you’re about to produce. When your content ranks for tons of popular search terms, that’s when your traffic begins to soar.

Since there are too many variables involved in performing keyword research (everybody’s goals, resources, timeframes, competitive landscapes, etc differ), there’s no one-size-fits-all method to this.

Instead, here’s a reliable keyword research framework that you can adjust to your needs. You might also be interested in learning how to find the easiest keywords to rank for.

Step 2: Optimise your content
Whether you’re creating brand new content or working with existing posts, you’ll need to optimise them to rank in Google. This involves lots of research, copywriting work and multiple other factors.

Believe me when I say that there’s tons to go into which we don’t have space to explore here. Interested in learning more? Head on over to this post on actionable steps you can take to attract more organic search traffic.

Step 3: Build links
A backlink is simply a link back (hence the name!) to your website from another page. It’s seen as an indicator of how important, or useful, your content is by search engines. In other words, having a high number of quality backlinks is a big influential factor in ranking highly on search engines.

referring domains vs organic search traffic ahrefs content explorer
a study we did shows the high correlation between referring domains and organic search traffic.

Once you have great content, it’s time to begin building backlinks to it. There are plenty of ways to get going–for starters, take your pick from newbie-friendly skills and tactics or learn some methods to loot your competitors’ backlinks.

3. Reddit
The “front page of the internet” has huge potential only if you know how to tap it. For the uninitiated, Reddit is a place where you can share and discuss just about any topic that doesn’t go against the rules with it’s millions of users.
What makes Reddit stand out in particular to marketers is that blatant advertising will not work here. Redditors are an incredibly smart and equally skeptical bunch; they will smell your ad from three blocks away and drop a ban on you.

Think marathon, not sprint, when you’re trying to promote on Reddit. Prove that you have something worth saying before you actually say it.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Identify your niche
Where Reddit is concerned, this is most likely a subreddit–a niche forum with its own set of rules and moderators.

A simple google search for <your niche> -inurl:”comments” should reveal a bunch of options: this is where your target audience hangs out, and the place you’ll need to acquaint yourself with.

subreddits search
we tend to lurk at subreddits like r/seo/ and r/bigseo/.

Step 2: Become one of them
It’s time to integrate yourself! Focus on following the relevant communities; on building reputation, relationships and reddit karma.

Each subreddit is different, so pay attention to what works for each audience (Do they have a fun-loving culture and love gifs and memes? Are they fond of lengthy, wordy discourse? Act accordingly.) Your approach matters a lot and determines whether you quickly become a regular in the community. Post thoughtful, insightful comments, and others will begin to return the favour.

Of course, make sure to read the rules of each subreddit and follow them religiously.

Step 3: Promote—delicately
Once you’ve spent a good amount of time giving back to the community and making some friends, you may start referencing your own website.

Even then, try to go about it in a way that doesn’t scream “blatant advertisement”. Asking for opinions or positioning your website as something that might help out or interest the community are some ways to go about it.

reddit tim post
this is how Ahrefs crowd-sources feedback and insights from Reddit.

4. Quora
Despite also being classified as an online forum, Quora is a very different animal from Reddit. In a nutshell, it’s a question-and-answer site that’s entirely user-generated. As a Quora user, you can choose to either ask questions or to answer them.
Think of Quora as a knowledge market: it’s a great place to respond to questions within your niche, establish authority and generate some traffic for your website along the way. This strategy can take up a lot of your time and requires dedication and some smarts, but can really pay off.

Marketing on Quora can be a little confusing at first – here’s some guidance on just how to do it.

Step 1: Zoom in on the right questions
It helps to think of this tactic as similar to guest posting. It’s all about strategic placement of your content: right channel, right people.

The simplest way to start is by using the search bar in Quora itself. Quora allows you to do both generic searches, as well as searches within a specific topic.

quora search

After which, it’s a matter of sifting out the questions you’re able to confidently position yourself as an authority on.

The next step? Figure out which are the more popular questions to go after. To do this, look at the right sidebar when logged into Quora.

quora stats

At first glance, the above screenshot shows that a question has 129,000 views. Good potential!

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