Something for Nothing with Free Online Advertising
It may sound too good to be true, but there’s an array of free advertising available online through search engines/directories, banner exchanges and e-classifieds. You can also take advantage of often-overlooked tools like ezines, blogs, forums and reciprocal links to promote your business. This article gives an overview of each of these resources.
Free search engines/directories are a prime spot to advertise products. The reason is: Eight out of 10 people surfing the Web use search tools to navigate their way around online, according to the eMarketing Association. And 54 percent of experienced online shoppers rely on a search engine when searching for a product to purchase online, reports Jupiter Communications.
ExactSeek is one of the few remaining search engines that offer free listings. It receives and indexes more than 30,000 new site submissions daily. To date, more than two million Websites have been indexed and added to the ExactSeek database.
The Open Directory Project is one of the most important directories online. Also known as DMOZ, it is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory on the Web. Getting your site listed with the Open Directory Project can be a major boost because of the highly relevant searches it delivers. Hosted and administered by Netscape Communication Corporation, DMOZ powers the core directory services for some of the Web’s premier search engines and portals, including Netscape Search, AOL Search, Google, Lycos, HotBot and DirectHit.
Online Classified Ads
Almost everyone is familiar with classified advertising. So why not take advantage of the online equivalent. Placing e-classified ads can help you broaden your reach and Website traffic. It can also connect you with people who are eagerly searching for what you have to sell, which can boost your sales.
Websites like YahoolClassifieds, SuperAds and ZipZapAds allow you to post free classifieds in a range of categories and upload photos. Many sites allow listings nationally and worldwide. Ablewise.com, for example, features global ads in eight different countries. Online classifieds are the ultimate way to expand your brand locally and worldwide.
Banner exchanges allow members to swap ads on each other’s Websites. You simply insert a small piece of code onto your Web page and you will display banner ads from other exchange members. In return, your advertisement will be displayed across the banner exchange network.
There are a wide variety of banner exchanges networks available online, including e-bannerx, click4click and 1800banners. All of them have different operating models, with some giving perks like a 10-percent referral fee or 3,000 banners for joining. Many banner programs require a 2:1 or 3:2 exchange ratio.
Overlooked Free Resources
There’s an array of free resources that are often ignored by Website owners. Ezines or online magazines are one of them. Ezines can give you an effective way to establish yourself as an expert, build consumer trust and, ultimately, generate sales. Submitting articles to ezines can result in a byline, enhanced credibility, plus a link back to your Website.
Another subtle way to advertise online is through blogs. A blog-short for Weblog-is simply a digital diary or online forum that anyone can read online. Nearly 80,000 new blogs are created every day, making them one of the most rapidly expanding online marketing tools, according to the State of the Blogosphere report from Technorati, a Website that indexes blogs.
Blogs can be developed to cover almost any topic, and they’re a great channel for publicizing new products or services. You can use a blog for a variety of purposes, including news, education, and commentary. A blog can provide quality links back to your main domain, plus enhance your site’s performance with search engines.
Reciprocal links is a tactic that can allow you to generate free traffic from other Websites. The key is to link to high-traffic sites that complement-not compete-with yours. This can provide you with a steady stream of visitors matching your target market.
Forums can also increase your visibility on the Web. This type of online chatting lets you communicate with audiences directly related to your product or service. You may even be able to slip in the name of your company and link back to your Website.