You Want More Website Traffic!
Let's face it. The days of 'build it and they will come' are long past. Simply having a business website is not enough. You need a plan to build more traffic. Your website is more than an online paperweight. It should serve as a valued marketing tool, consistently attracting new business. The key is getting more people to visit your website. How is that done?
A sound strategy is needed to build website traffic and attract customers online. Here are 5 low-cost ways (cheap is good) to get more traffic for your website. They require a bit of time and effort. However, they can yield big benefits when done consistently:
1. Build an email list.
Most folks who visit your website will not think to bookmark it and return. Even if they found the content useful, they often need a bit of prodding to revisit. An email list provides the perfect incentive. An opt-in email list encourages a visitor to subscribe to a receive a periodic email newsletter. You can use the newsletter to inform them of new content or offers on your blog or website. These reminders cut through the information overload of the Web that at times causes us to forget websites we find truly useful.
The benefits of an email list.
Providing appealing, relevant website content positions your website as a valuable resource. You become the go-to expert in your market. When the reader is ready to become a buyer, your website will be the one that most likely comes to mind. The key is to send periodic updates by broadcast email that encourage readers to come back for more. That email should contain compelling content and an incentive for people to return to your website.
How to grow an email list.
Email subscription forms (also known as opt-in forms) that popup or popover as you read or scroll down a web page are very popular. For good reason. They are are a great way to grow your email list. You can set how often they appear and on what web pages. In fact, you will likely see one on this page or a related page on this website. I use one for my email list. These forms encourage viewers to subscribe to an email list (a sample popover form is shown above).
There are a number of tools that make this process painless and inexpensive. If you are using WordPress, you have a number of excellent options. Personally, I use the Bloom plugin by Elegant Themes for a pop-up opt-in box that encourages readers to subscribe to my newsletter. It's one of many great email subscription tools available for WordPress users. Update: I currently use a slider style opt-in named Ninja-Kick that slides in from the left hand side of the page as the visitor scrolls to the bottom of the post. It has a clean appearance that compliments the design of my website.
These opt-in email subscription tools range in price from free to over $100 per month for full-featured systems. A list of top quality opt-in plugins for WordPress can be found here. The online marketing guru Neil Patel has some more great tips on using email lists to grow traffic here.
2. Blog, Blog, Blog!
Blogging is perhaps the single most important form of content online today. Many of the most heavily visited websites online (after search engines & Social Media) are blogs and blog content aggregators. Good, free, useful content delivered often, is a great way to attract more visitors to your website. Write often and write in-depth. Search engines love blogs because they generally offer the most up-to-date content online.
What if I don't like to write?
That is the most common objection I hear from clients. Usually, they have someone on staff that is more than happy to handle the task. A number of my real estate agent clients have spouses who do an excellent job of maintaining online content. Is there someone on your team that is enthusiastic about this task? It is fundamental to growing an online audience for your website.
As never before, the quality of your content and its relevance to your online market is critical. Search engines consider it the most important feature of your website. Good content creates authority and builds trust in the reader. The quality of your content will determine if visitors link to your website and recommend it. Those incoming links will, in turn, generate more traffic. This leads us to a third way to increase your website traffic:
3. Promote your content on Social Media.
Using Social Media outlets like Twitter, Google+, Facebook and Pinterest is a great way to attract more website traffic. Usually, you can send a snippet and image from your blog post as a teaser in a link using these various outlets. Rather than tell you how it is done, this link will take you an excellent guide that walks you through the process. Again, WordPress offers excellent tools that can help you to do this very efficiently. I train my web design clients to use these vital Social Media tools efficiently and effectively. You may find that 20-30% of your website traffic (or more) will come from Social Media sources with some basic promotion strategies.
4. Optimize your site for SEO.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital strategy for maximizing website traffic. Wikipedia defines Search Engine Optimization as: "The process of affecting the visibility of a website or web page in a search engine's unpaid results... In general, the higher ranked, and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users."
Modern SEO is comprised of two primary disciplines:
Technical SEO are on-page techniques used to ensure that your website content is technically compatible with search engines. This type of optimization includes ensuring that your web pages load quickly. Web page speed is an important ranking factor with Google. Also, the proper use of meta tags such as page title and description ensure that your website is properly indexed in search engines. The use of an XML sitemap to direct search engines to your web pages is also important. These are strategies addressed in the coding and design of a website that provide technical enhancements to improve SEO.
Content marketing is website content written and promoted to attract potential customers. You write articles and blog posts that answer questions and address the needs of your market. When the content is well written, relevant, and appealing, it is likely to motivate potential customers to take the next step in the purchasing process. Website content includes articles, online videos, podcasts, and infographics, This is a vital SEO technique because it feeds a search engine the best possible content for its users. It also positions your website as a valued resource in the eyes of online viewers.
The two strategies work hand in hand to build your website traffic. This is an area where WordPress shines. It not only provides an environment conducive to writing content, it also has excellent technical SEO tools such as the Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress that can guide you through the process. A good SEO strategy can be put in place that ensures that each post or content you add to your website is set up to get maximum exposure. With a bit of training, any website owner can learn how to optimize their posts and content for search engines. I help my clients to put in place a sound SEO strategy that works. The basics of technical on-page SEO are explained in a series of articles that start here. You may also find my article "The Truth About SEO" helpful.
Creating video content for your website is a powerful way to attract new visitors. When you upload your video to Youtube and embed it into your website, it attracts new traffic in a number of ways. First, your video will be listed in the search results on Youtube based on the keywords you used in your video description. Secondly, videos tend to rank highly in the search results in Google as well. Third, your website SEO benefits when it is linked to from a video uploaded to youtube (in the description).
The proven and low-cost tips will help you to generate more online traffic to your website. Of course, it starts with an appealing website built on sound SEO principles. I can help! Contact Don Peterson, Freelance Web Designer, for a no-obligation discussion. I will be happy to review your website and suggest any changes that will make it more effective.