11 Ways to Boost Website Visitors
by Brad Ellisonb.email@example.com
"If a website sits on the web and no one ever sees it, does it actually exist?" – Abraham Lincoln
Honest Abe really raises a good question. For most businesses today, web traffic is one of the leading indicators of sales activity and growth. As more and more marketing efforts go online and leave the physical world behind, it becomes even more important for your overall marketing success to have a place for customers to get the information they need about you or your company in order to make an intelligent purchasing decision. Part of having a vibrant online presence includes people actually visiting your site. Without visitors, all that money you spent on that “fancy” Flash intro to your site will be for nothing (by the way, Flash intros are a BAD idea). So, let’s dive into some proven strategies to drive traffic to your site.
First and foremost, your website must have excellent content. More important than first time visitors to your website is REPEAT visitors to your website. If a visitor is led to your site through any means only to find a barren wasteland of mediocre content, they will leave and never return. Make sure that your site has information that is helpful and valuable to your potential customers.
Apart from good, original content, you could be an information curator, of sorts. If you read an excellent article that your customers could benefit from, share it on your site. Create a whole library of valuable posts and your site could become the go-to place for needed information. Make sure and include citations and links to the author and their original article. You now have a wealth of information to share with your customers without the difficulty of writing them all yourself.
Develop a free resource
Are you a real estate or mortgage professional? Create a mortgage payment calculator for your site. Do you sell insurance? Include a basic quote feature on your homepage for your products. One of the most interesting (and complex) resources I saw like this was from a manufacturing company. They produce hydraulic cylinders. They have a feature on their website that allows you to “build” the exact part you need and you will be provided with an instant quote. A follow-up call from an engineer was all that was needed to finalize an order.
SEO (search engine optimization) is the art of optimizing your website to show up in the results of online search engines like Google. Depending on the SEO effectiveness of your site, you will show up either higher or lower in the search results rankings. Do a bit of research on some keywords that you want to focus in on and start from there. Optimize your Meta data, including page title, headers, keywords throughout bodies of text, ALT attribute of image tags, include keywords in hyperlinks, etc. If you don’t know what any of this stuff is, contact an expert.
While SEO is an organic process, SEM (search engine marketing) is a paid service you can implement for your site. Google AdWords is one option that gives you the ability to bid on certain terms and keywords that you want your site to show up in search results for. A paid search result will show up either in a shaded area at the top of the organic results or in a column to the right of the organic results. Typically, your company will pay a certain fee each time someone clicks on your paid link to go to your website. While SEO typically drives more traffic to your website, a PPC (pay per click) campaign is an effective way to quickly increase traffic while your organic search rankings improve over time.
Another way to improve the search results for your company is to create and implement a linking strategy. Approach other (good) websites in your general niche and see if they would be willing to cross link with you. Your link on their website serves as a “vote” in Google’s search algorithms and allows you to quickly improve your search results. Over time, though, if you consistently provide good content to your customers and prospects, other people/companies will naturally share your links as an endorsement for your services. Avoid any paid linking services or “link farms,” as the results will not produce a valuable return over time. It has been argued that there is evidence to suggest that utilizing these “farms” can ultimately hurt your results. In fact, with Google’s new Panda update to their search algorithms, it WILL hurt your results.
On top of helping to increase your search results, blogging is a fantastic way to generate and share new content. Instead of waiting to issue a press release about a new product or service, use a company blog to share educational material about your industry. Establish yourself as the expert in your field by posting content meant to inform your prospects, not solicit them. Engage with your readers and build relationships with your followers. Relationships sell. Additionally, you could write a guest post on other blogs or newsletters to spread the word about your company and your expertise. Blogs are usually willing to include links to your blog/site if you write a guest post.
Social media is a fantastic outlet to share your information and build relationships. Wrote a new blog post? Post the link to Twitter and Facebook to generate traffic. Network with other professionals on LinkedIn to generate some industry-specific traffic. Share links on Google+ to help increase your search rankings. Be sure to include the URL for your website in the profile of each social media platform so that it is easy for your followers to find your site.
Want to stay in touch with your contacts and generate repeat visits to your site? Once a month, prepare an email newsletter featuring your most recent posts (or links to others’ posts that you found especially helpful) and send it out to your contacts. Instead of including the full articles, include a snippet from each along with a link to the full article. Once they are on the site, they will have the chance to explore the other content you’ve provided since their last visit. More importantly, though, a regular newsletter or site visit keeps your prospects engaged with your business, increasing the chance they will do business with you.
This seems like a simple one…because it is. No matter the email service, you, more than likely, have the option to include a signature line. Use it. Provide your contact information INCLUDING your web address. Personally, I also include a link to each of my social media profiles, but if your website already has links to those services, you may want to only include your web address to drive prospects to your site first.
People love contests and giveaways. Have you ever been to a basketball game where they shoot T-shirts from those air cannons into the crowd? I’ve never seen people get so excited…all over a T-shirt they could buy at Wal-Mart for $4.00 (and that they will NEVER wear). Raffle off a $25 gift card to one of the next 100 people who subscribe to your newsletter. Give away a free sample of your product to one of the next 500 people that tweet your website or blog address to their followers. People love free stuff, especially when it takes something small like their email address to qualify for the drawing.
There are dozens (hundreds?) of ways to boost traffic to your website. These are just a few. Be creative and be consistent. Create good content and draw those customers in!
Respond: What has worked for you? Is website traffic really that important?