Part X - Other FREE marketing resources for your Web site

1) Classified ads - there are thousands of sites offering you the ability to place a free classified ad on their site. If you haven't stumbled on to any, do a search on your favorite search engine. In the Beaufort area, the Beaufort On-Line Mall offers Free Classifieds for anyone listed in the Mall.

2) Link Pages - many sites offer the ability to add your link to their link page automatically. Don't underestimate the ability of FREE links to generate traffic to your site.

3) Reciprocal links - while not everyone offers the ability to automatically ad your link to their pages, you will find many webmasters who will exchange links with you (put their link on your page and they will put yours on theirs). Reciprocal links are especially powerful when used with sites that are compatible to yours.

4) Awards - many of the awards sites were created simply as a tool to generate traffic to the award site itself (wouldn't you go check out a site that gave you an award?). Still in all you can receive some traffic and recognition by applying for an award. Again search for "Awards" in your search engine of choice.

5) Newsgroups - this is an odd area of the Net. Most new users have no idea what newsgroups are or how they work. Another problem is that they are a ripe source for Spammers to grab your e-mail address. Newsgroups can generate traffic if used carefully. Take some time and browse through the thousands of newsgroups available (use the search tools in your newsreader), you will be sure to find several that would be just right for a mention of your site. Some newsgroups are built for announcements, others are discussion areas. Once you find the newsgroups that interest you, read them for several days so that you know what etiquette to follow before you post. Each one is different, but most won't find it offensive if you participate in the discussion and include a signature line about your business.

6) Banner Exchanges - we've touched on this briefly in past issues. Many FREE banner exchange programs are out there. You will need to create a graphical banner about your site (look for many resources on how to create an effective banner) and then use a banner service (Banner Exchange, Link Exchange, etc) to publish it on other sites. The idea is, for every x number of times you show other people's banners on your site, you get x times that your banner is displayed on someone else's site. I personally haven't had great success with banners, but maybe I'm doing it all wrong. Some people swear by their success.

7) If you write a newsletter, such as this, you can announce it for free in the newsgroups. You may also have content that others want to use on their site (some of my articles are displayed on other sites such as Angie Boldwin's site http://www.slife.com/ .

These ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Web Site Marketing. It will take you quite a few hours (weeks actually) to even make a dent in the wealth of FREE opportunities available. If you have a good log analyzer, you will be able to tell just how your visitors reached you and which ads or links are working the best. Please try to spend at least 2-3 hours a week marketing your site. The result will surprise you. Good luck.