Jay Conrad Levenson stated in one of his books something to the effect that the internet was a guerilla marketers paradise.
In fact I recommend reading one of his ‘guerilla marketing guide’ books because, being a home-based business owner you probably do not have a sizeable marketing budget set aside for the online promotion of your site. Actually the vast majority of small business owners have no budget at all for these types of activities. With this in mind, you will want to use the built in advantages of the world wide web which can provide a more or less level playing field for the “little guy”. It’s when you begin to promote your home business online that you need to activate your guerilla marketers instinct and use some of the free methods available for bringing eyeballs to your home-based business site.
As you probably already are aware, your website is essentially useless until people see it so this is the arena you need to focus your efforts. The net is getting more and more competitive all the time so you will definitely want to use it particular marketing advantages. After all, if you were to market your home business in print magazines ot TV spots the cost would almost certainly be prohibitive. But compare that to the internet where there are a plethora of promotional activities which are either free or cheap. What has worked the best for me in the past is to spend a little extra time preparing my web pages for the search engine spiders. This process, sometimes called SEO, is just a matter of making certain that the keywords you are trying to rank high for are in your title and body of your website, as well as in your domain name itself if you can. There are also free resources on the internet which let you research keywords (overture term checker tool for example) to help you in deciding which ones are best for your site. This area of research is completely free, except for your time of course. Once you have your site “optimized” or search engine ready you may spend time on free activities like link building and submitting your site to the many general or niche directories.
Trading web links is a time intensive activity that many of your better financed competitors will neglect to fully take advantage of. You simply need to seek out other related yet non-competing websites that are willing to trade. You will have to sift through a number of uninterested sites to find ones that will link to you but it is worth your time. Just don’t overdo it. Google now only wants to see a lesser percentage of your incoming links to be the reciprocal kind so only use this method for maybe a quarter of your overall incoming links. Also keep in mind that your own pages which link back to your homepage count for link popularity as well, so you should spend time producing original content pages.
I also suggest that you spend some extra time submitting not just to the primary web Directories like Goguides the open directory project, but also to the smaller niche directories as well. It would also be a good idea to write an article on your area of expertise and submit it to the many content providers that are out there such as articlecity.com. Webmasters may post these articles in return for your “byline”, which contains your URL. This is extremely effective and is often overlooked by your competitors. Posting to the Usenet, bulletin boards and free classifieds such as craigslist.org are time consuming tasks yet can help give you an edge. Also use the “sig file” in your e-mail to help promote your URL.