We've all heard the key tips for promoting a website, but this article is guaranteed to have some new ideas for you. Some are clever, some are crazy, a few are farcical (if you wonder whether I'm joking, I probably am!). I think these seventeen unconventional ideas should get you thinking differently about the way you promote your website.
1. T-shirt Marketing. Get a T-shirt made with your website's logo and URL on it. Offer the T-shirt as a prize in a competition. If the T-shirt looks decent the winner will wear it and act as a walking billboard for your blog. (You can get a T-shirt made at http://www.egotailor.com, though there are plenty of websites that do this).
2. Bumper stickers for all. Mail out bumper stickers for your website to readers who want one. The price of an envelope is not much to pay for some advertising on busy roads. (You can get custom stickers made up at Kinko's or your local equivalent).
3. Post some bills. Stick a poster about your website on your work or school's notice board. You probably want to wait until no-one is around before you try this one.
4. The browser trick. Go to your local library, internet cafe or computer room and set your website as the default browser homepage on all the computers you can easily access. I can't help you when it comes to dealing with tetchy librarians, however.
5. Release a free eBook. Link back to your website throughout and encourage sharing. If the eBook is good it could go viral and drive traffic back to you.
6. Go to the beach and write your website's address in the sand (preferably out of the way of the rising tide, and large enough to be seen by passing airplanes.)
7. Run a competition to win items you own and could do without. Instead of auctioning CDs, furniture, art, video games etc. on eBay, why not use them to build your website?
8. Carry around blank business cards with your website's URL on them. You can hand out a card whenever your website comes up in conversation -- or whenever you bring it up.
9. Get your website URL tattooed on a visible part of your body. Warning: this might look a little dated if the no-www movement wins out in future. Scared of the needle? A temporary tattoo or permanent marker will do the trick. Better yet, draw the URL on someone else, preferably while they're asleep.
10. Run a competition and make the prize a service you'll perform. This could be marketing consulting, graphic design, a guest-post, or some other service which utilizes your own individual expertise.
11. Organize a meet-up for webmasters and bloggers in your area and use it as an opportunity to network.
12. Leave fliers for your website at niche hot-spots. For example: leave fliers for a personal finance website outside the economics faculty of your local university, or fliers for a book review website outside a library.
13. Participate in forums related to your niche. Drive traffic back to your website through your forum signature.
14. Run a competition to win advertising space on your site. This is yet another no-cost prize you can use to market your website: free for you but valuable for others.
15. Take out an ad in your local newspaper. They're often pretty cheap and local papers can have a circulation of thousands.
16. Add your website's URL to the signature of each email account you use. If appropriate add a funny comment or quote to draw people's attention.
17. Wear your URL. Make a custom hat, T-shirt or hoodie with your URL on it. This is bound to be a conversation starter.
Have you used any unconventional strategies to promote your site?