The title of this article may create expectations of a boring discussion regarding the pros and cons of international trade or manufacturing tariffs. I will save that topic until a small town in Norway freezes over. In this article I am going to discuss a relatively easy way to promote your website. As the title suggests I am going to recommend that you attempt a free trade. What do I mean by free trade? First take a moment and think about all of the businesses that you purchase goods or services from, sell your products to or have an association with. Now consider trading text or banner ads with these businesses.
At first this may seem like a daunting task but start small and contemplate trading with a business that you have built a strong relationship with. A text or banner ad can be traded between web sites or even placed in each others newsletter.
Banner ads are an effective tool when used properly. A small banner ad exchanged between businesses can offer you new visitors that may have never thought to look for your website. You can even track these ad clicks by establishing unique discount codes that are assigned to each ad. Ask visitors to mention the code to receive the discount and you will be able to track which ad they are responding to.
Text ads can be very effective and aren't as obtrusive as banner ads. A tasteful text ad traded between newsletters can be very effective. Be careful however that you don't go overboard and turn your newsletter in to a commercial. One or two small text ads (with links) are probably about all a one page newsletter can stand.
This type of free trade isn't nearly as boring as a NAFTA discussion and it could pay big dividends.