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As a moderator on a young Stack Exchange site, I've been wondering how I can promote my site. This is a general question, so it shouldn't be Stack Exchange specific. Many forum moderators face this question, too.

I don't want to go to places like Reddit and just spam links all over the place. But I'd like to encourage participation, perhaps by linking a useful post somewhere that might enjoy it. I'm not sure.

How can I go about promoting my site without seeming spammy, but still bring people in to look at the site?

  • I think this is similar to How to attract experts of the field to my community?, but not a duplicate as this question is asking about general site promotion, not just pulling in experts. – hichris123 Jul 29 '14 at 19:31
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    Hey do you like puzzles? – Doorknob Jul 29 '14 at 22:39
  • This question needs some focus. An SE site is not (e.g.) a commercial company support forum. Can you replace the 'excluding' remark it shouldn't be Stack Exchange specific with an 'including' definition of what kinds of sites you are talking about? (Yes this is late, the question just got bumped to the front page because of a new answer) – user732 Feb 17 '17 at 11:16
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Word of mouth, spread it to your friends and get them interested. Get it put on social media and ask your friends to do the same, get it to your friends, friends so that it starts to push out. If you have something that is interesting to people, word of mouth will spread it better than anything.

Next visit other sites that are of similar interest to yours. Are there blogs that are in the same field as your website that you read? Can you get them to mention your site? Even better, can you get the bloggers to join your community? Are there other communities you can join that are similar enough that mutual advertising would be beneficial? Once you're an established member suggest it.

Beyond that use the technology available to make sure that your site is visible to people looking for it (Stack Exchange does a fantastic job with Search Engine Optimisation and getting content to the top of Google). You can also use paid adverts to advertise your website.

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As a moderator, you need to be especially weary of promoting the site that you're moderating. Moderation is a strong affiliation, and promotion from you is likely to be considered spam in many online communities. It's often better to leave the promotion to ordinary participants.

Some online communities allow users to have a signature or profile where they can pretty much advertise whatever they want. In these communities, put a link to the site you want to promote, and add a very short tagline that will appeal to your readers. Often, even if the site you're promoting has an official tagline, you'll want to use a different one that's targeted to your audience.

Beyond this, tread carefully. Many communities have rules regarding promotion; make sure that you follow them in letter and spirit. Don't get into technicalities regarding the rules: if it gets to that point, you've lost.

Typically, the more established a user you are, the more you can get away with. If you're new, don't spontaneously mention your site: wait for a directly relevant topic to come up. After a while, the occasional spontaneous mention of a new, interesting item on your site might become ok. Don't participate only to mention your site: be a member of the community in good standing, and people will listen to you. Don't be this guy who keeps harping on about his site, be this guy that everybody respects, and hey I should check out his site, it must be good if he's on it.

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The first step is to ensure your site has a reason to draw in outsiders. Have great content and continue to provide great content. Have a community surrounding your site that can answer questions, interact with visitors, and generate new exciting content.

After that, it becomes your community's job to share that content with the world (in a way that is not spammy). Visit other areas of the internet that have similar interests to your own site. Contribute to the discussion on those sites, but provide links back to yours.

Earth Science has several questions with high scores. Can answers provided on these questions contribute back to other discussions? There are also good questions that no one has answered. Are there sites around the internet that target aspects of those questions? They may not answer the question directly, but by engaging experts on their own site and linking them to a discussion here you are likely to draw them in.

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