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Happy Five Month anniversary, Freelancing SE! Now that we're well into our public beta, you've probably noticed our core group of users have run out of questions to ask. This is normal, as a site cannot sustain itself without a steady stream of new users. Every day, we get a question or two asked by users new to the community. It's this new influx of new users which will help sustain and grow the site.

One way to get more traffic into Freelancing SE is to increase the number of referring sites/inbound links. There are blogs, forums, and other websites out there with conversations that are relevant to our site. Many of these will represent unanswered questions, questions that can be answered by posting a brief summary and a link to the thread on our site.

For instance, I noticed we have not submitted any posts to Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/domain/freelancing.stackexchange.com/

Stack Exchange incentivizes us to share these links. Underneath each post is a "share" link. When clicked, it gives you a link that looks something like this:

  • https://freelancing.stackexchange.com/q/3/64

where the first item in the path designates whether the post is a question or answer, the second item is the post ID, and the third item is your user ID.

When you share these links outside of the Stack Exchange network, any clicks on these links from unique IP addresses count towards you earning the following badges:

  • announcer badge - Shared a link to a question that was visited by 25 unique IP addresses
  • booster badge! - Shared a link to a question that was visited by 300 unique IP addresses
  • publicist badge! - Shared a link to a question that was visited by 1000 unique IP addresses

These badges are arguably the most special on the site, because it's not just about you expanding your SE flair. Having a site with users who have earned these badges is a sign that the community is healthy and capable of growing into a sustainable Stack Exchange site. These badges can also be earned multiple times. I encourage you to go out into the world and let Freelancers know we are here! Good luck!

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  • With moderators like you at the helm posting questions like this, the site's got half a chance :) – levelnis Nov 3 '13 at 22:39
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    I should also add that many of our contributors, being Freelancers, have blogs about Freelancing. I encourage anyone with a blog to use this site in your daily work, and if it solves a problem for you, use your blog as a way to convey to the world how we added value for you. – jmort253 Nov 3 '13 at 22:46
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    I'd happily write a blog post about this site, but would it not be seen as self-promotion to wax lyrical about a site that I'm one of the foremost contributors on? Given that most of my contributions to the site are answers rather than questions – levelnis Nov 3 '13 at 23:53
  • @levelnis - I don't see that as self promotion. This site does and can provide value to the Freelancing community. Emphasizing where and how you've helped still attracts others who need help to the site. It can also attract more people who just want to help others. As long as what you write is genuine, I can't see it being taken negatively. Hope this helps! – jmort253 Nov 4 '13 at 0:01
  • Here's another way to help promote the site: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/04/helping-the-experts-get-answers – jmort253 Nov 7 '13 at 8:24
  • What about those old good questions? When shall we turn them into wiki or must-read questions for newcomers? – Peter MV Nov 8 '13 at 22:20
  • @PeterMV - Tag wiki excerpts are a good place to put links to example questions that represent a good example of a question that should have the tag. As for must-read questions, some sites do use CW posts to create a table-of-contents of such questions, such as this compilation on PMSE. I'm not 100% sure how helpful this is though, but I don't think it's hurt anything either. Hope this helps! – jmort253 Nov 8 '13 at 23:23
  • What about advertising on freelancing websites as an additional resource for information? – Canadian Luke Nov 19 '13 at 17:55
  • If there's a specific website in mind, @CanadianLuke, we could take a look at it and make a case for it, but as far as paid advertising goes, I'm sure Stack Exchange will expect us to find more organic means of growing the site. Of course, if folks want to promote us free of charge, that would be awesome! – jmort253 Nov 19 '13 at 18:00
  • Clients from hell comes to mind, mainly – Canadian Luke Nov 19 '13 at 18:24
  • @CanadianLuke - Looks like they do something different than what we do, which means we could potentially share some links there -- without a conflict of interest -- as long as we contribute positively. Have you thought about posting something there? – jmort253 Nov 19 '13 at 18:28
  • Stories, absolutely! I was thinking if we get in touch, and maybe add a link to some posts there with answers on this site – Canadian Luke Nov 19 '13 at 18:29
  • @jmort253 I just noticed: freelancers.stackexchange.com redirects to the Area 51 proposal page for the old site that didn't survive. Perhaps there's value in asking Stack Exchange to have it 301 permanent redirect to freelancing.stackexchange.com. – Chris W. Rea Jan 31 '14 at 14:37
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This post was taken from an OnStartups question I answered in April 2nd, 2011. Answers OnStartups is shutting down, but this is worth preserving because the techniques described below also applies to how to promote any Stack Exchange site.

This is a great example of how we can use our social networks to draw more users to our community:


There is more to social networking than just putting a Facebook like button on your website. In order for the like button to be effective, you first have to have actual, real users using your software so that they will actually be motivated to join your Facebook community.

The only way for you to spread the word about your product offering in the initial stages of your product -- using social networking tools -- is for you to monitor the social networking sites and look for recent, active, conversations that relate to your product offering.

For example, let's say you're promoting a Cooking Q&A Stack Exchange site, and one of your friends posts a question about cooking on a rusted skillet. This is a real time opportunity for you to respond to this inquiry and softly promote the Cooking Q&A site.

(Look at the second response to the question):

Facebook Conversation Demonstrating Effective Promotion of a Service

This same concept can apply to your investment software. If you see posts on your wall or other friends walls about investment portfolio monitoring, this is the time to strike by posting a link to your product or service.

It's important that your post be made in a timely manner so that it becomes part of the conversation. It's a thin line between appearing helpful and appearing spammy.

This same social networking approach applies to recently posted tweets, Linked In comments, blog articles, and other forms of social networking.

UPDATE:

Additionally, here is The Dealer's Guide to Automotive Social Media. On page 8, there is a similar example of how to use Twitter to interact with people and promote your dealership. The techniques here will work for your software as well. The main difference between the Facebook example and the Twitter example is that, with Twitter, the author uses Twitter's search feature to locate active conversations about the topic and then contribute to those conversations.

The advantage of using Twitter to promote your software is that you can reach far more people than those who are only part of your network.

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