You can also spend money to promote your site. This is a requirement if you must get traffic to your site quickly.
One key concept is of targeting your promotion. This means that you ensure your message is going out only to those people who are likely to be interested in it.
Targeted advertising should cost less overall, because you don't waste space showing your adverts to people who don't care. However, it may cost more when counted per ad, because the people selling ads know that it is more valuable to advertisers.
Buying search keywords
Search engines sell keywords, so if you really want to appear high in search results for popular keywords, you can pay for a keyword.
Of course, you can expect to pay a large amount if you want a keyword that generates a large amount of traffic. (The cost may be a flat fee for a certain time, or it may be per visitor who clicks a link to you, or per visitor who is shown your link whether or not they click it.)
This can be an effective means of promoting a site, since your link is shown to people who are searching for something related to that keyword, so they are likely to be looking for your product or service.
You can also pay for standard advertising. You could advertise on the Web (for example, with banner adverts), but traditional means of advertising might be more effective.
Make sure to target your advertising appropriately. For example, if you offer a local service, you could consider advertising in the local paper or its Web site; if you offer a niche-interest service, you could advertise in a magazine relating to that interest.
Advertising a Web site is not much different to advertising anything else.
Do not advertise by direct email.
Unsolicited direct email ('spam') is illegal in some areas and many Internet users regard it with a fury usually reserved for crimes like rape and murder. Your firm may be driven off the Internet, out of business, or both, if it sends unsolicited email.
(This is a justified response: imagine if every small business in the world sent emails to millions of Internet users, as spammers generally do - that would be literally thousands of messages each day, probably hundreds of thousands, per person.)
Advertising by spam also puts you in the same category as porn sites, illegal Viagra sellers, loan sharks, pyramid schemes, and many other scams that work by sending unsolicited bulk email. It is not an option for reputable firms.
Some direct email claims to work via 'opt-in' lists, rather than unsolicited email. There are some genuine opt-in email lists, but people were generally suckered into signing up for them by the promise of free stuff, gift vouchers, etc. These cheapskates are probably not the kind of people who will buy your products. More seriously, some firms will claim to send your email to an opt-in list, but actually are simply sending spam.
Of course, you may wish to run your own opt-in email lists, where customers can actively sign up at your site for information on your products. These can be very effective in some cases. (For example, 'Sign up here to receive information when our cool new product is released!', that kind of thing.) Because this is giving customers information that they specifically asked for, it isn't seen as irritating or intrusive like other advertising.