As professional web designers, most of you may have a beautifully designed website to impress your clients. You’ll also agree that search engines can bring a lot of potential visitors to your site who would become your valuable clients in the future. For your site to rank for your target keywords, you need to build quality back links to your site. Though search engines have made several algorithm updates, quality back links remain one of the most important factors which can drive your search engine rankings.
Very often designers restrict their link building to adding a ‘designed by’ link on their client’s site. Here are actionable tips web designers can use to build links to their site using freebies as a link building strategy. But, you may ask why freebies? Simply because, people will be more open to link to free resources than commercial ones. Though link building is the primary objective, most of these tips will help you attract quality traffic, hot leads and business for you.
1. Offer a free design template
How about offering one or two free design templates on your site? You are likely to get few others linking to it. Apart from offering it on your site, you can submit the same in free design resources which becomes another back link to your site.Further, when someone uses those templates, they might give you design credit which can be another link source. Not just design templates, you may offer an interesting font set, landing page design, e-mail template, e-book template, call to action buttons, photoshop brushes, icons, a useful tool etc. on your site.
2. Offer your skills for free
Think of offering a day of your service in a month for free. Publish this free service offer on your site to let the visitors know that they can hire you for a day for free and list out the things you can do for them on that day (can be even something simple like a free evaluation of their site based on x design principles or designing an e-book template). You can incentivize the users to promote the offer on social media etc and select one or two users based on some criteria like the most influential tweeter etc. The selected user would be more than happy to credit you for the work (credit=links). Needless to say, you are collecting very hot leads who might become your loyal customer.
3. Share free content
You can start a blog to share your knowledge and practical design tips. Some of these posts will get linked from other blogs and resources. Also think of writing guest posts on popular blogs to share your tips on specific topics. Many blogs will accept your content if you send them good articles, and let you add your profile with one or two links. Some of them even allow in-content links. Another interesting content creation model would be to review popular site or design changes by doing which you will get the attention of other bloggers.
4. Content Curation
Creating useful list of resources can be another strategy. List of free design tools, collection of design examples following a specific theme, X shortcuts to save your time, top ten lists, 101 guides etc. will certainly grab the attention of others and they would link to you. If you have linked to others in these lists, let them know about it, they will be open to give you a link. Hubspot’s blog has many good example of this strategy.
5. Offer to fix a design issue
If you come across any problem with the design of a site, it might be a good idea to let the webmaster know about it and offer to help them free. In return, you can ask for a back link from their site or blog.
6. Be a contributor at events
Grab every opportunity if you are invited to speak at a conference or at an industry event. However, that’s not the only way. Offer to do some design work for the event by offering things mentioned in point #1. Another good strategy is to offer to teach or conduct a workshop at a design institute in your town.If they maintain a blog, you could end up getting a good .edu link.
7. Create an awesome infographic
People love infographics. As designers, it will be easy for you to create an infographic. Take a difficult topic related to your domain and try to explain it visually. If you need some inspiration or data source, search for ‘infographic data sources’ and you will find many interesting data sources. Once the infographic is published on your blog, submit it to infographic galleries like visual.ly and Infographic Journal.
Hope you loved these tips. Please add you personal strategies in the comments below to make it more comprehensive. I’d love to hear them.