Planning is an essential part of launching any website as your first visitors can often prove to be the most valuable. The worst thing that you can do is launch your website without a proper marketing plan, and simply hope that visitors find your website. Organic traffic takes considerable time to achieve, and so you must be pro-active, and even aggressive in your marketing tactics right from day 1. In this sense you want to be more pro-active, and more aggressive than your competition, and this just isn’t possible without planning EXACTLY what you’re going to do.
My strategy for this is actually very simple: A list.
There is no easier way to market your website than doing it systematically. In the past I’ve launched websites and had vague ideas about where I wanted to promote it and whom to. However, after trying this technique time and time again it’s proven highly effective.
Start off by doing the usual thing and considering your target audience and how to reach them. In the case of this website I wanted to reach fellow webmasters, designers and entrepreneurs. Now, I thought that a good start would be to target relevant forums, css galleries and blogs. It’s ok to think outside the box at this stage though, really try to rack your brains as to where your potential visitors could be spending time online.
The next step is the effective part. I know many webmasters that simply change their link at existing forums and perhaps ask for a site review. This is useful, but not proactive. Why not make a detailed list of the top webmaster forums and then sign up before you launch? Far too much time is wasted in finding places to promote your website, signing up, posting etc… when you should be writing quality content. Registering however is only the start. To save further time open up notepad, or textedit and list these forums. Next to each forum write links to the various sections where you will be posting (i.e.: website reviews, advertise your services). This will save you a lot of time as you will be able to systematically go through this list posting pre-written threads into the various forum sections. This is not spam, it’s simply working efficiently. What’s the point of asking for a website review and writing out pretty much the same thing again and again? Pasting a pre-written template into your chosen forums will not only save you valuable time but will spare your sanity.
The same thing applies for CSS Galleries. I really do find them to be an invaluable resource in raising your traffic and pagerank. Rather than launching your website and aimlessly trawling the internet looking for quality galleries, why not have a list of your favorite ones already written out? Why not take this further again and next to each gallery list the submit page to enable you to systematically go through and submit your website in no time.
There are of course many other techniques that you can employ to promote your website’s launch: paid ads, competitions etc… However, my point is that whatever strategy you are using, it will prove highly effective to write out a detailed list to follow from start to finish immediately after launching. If you want to receive traffic from blog comments don’t jot down ‘comment on webmaster related blogs’ but have a huge list written out of the exact posts and blog pages where you wish to comments - then simply work your way through the list.
Employing this technique has allowed me to break 500 unique visits on the day of launching several times with my websites in the past. If I hadn’t planned so well it might have taken me 10 times as long to achieve so much promotion.
If you’re interested this website looks set to receive between 300-400 uniques on it’s first day, which isn’t bad considering that I launched it without any real content. I have also been accepted to 2 CSS Galleries within the first 12 hours: CSS20 and DesignSnack. I’ll post updates with the number of galleries that I make it into.
I would love to hear your thoughts and marketing ideas in the comments section. Thanks!