Creating a website for your business is only a starting point. Once your site is up and running, you’ll need to embark on the more challenging task of actually driving traffic to that website. Even if you have the best web design on the planet, if no one can see it, it isn’t doing you or your business any favors. Just as commercials can’t sell a product without an audience, you site can’t sell your company without visitors.
Here’s the problem – you know that virtually any product or service someone searches for returns thousands if not millions of search results, i.e. competitors. In a probability game, that equates to a next-to-nothing chance of traffic landing specifically on you.
Unless, that is, you do some of these other things creatively. How do you do it? We’ve compiled our guide on how to boost your website traffic in five easy steps:
1. Post Quality Content on Your Website
This point might be bordering on cliche by now. While Google crawlers may be looking for meta tags and the HTML code behind-the-scenes, your human visitors are not. Your human visitors are looking for websites for one purpose: to read content; plain and simple.
Of course, for maximum success driving traffic via great content, you need to satisfy both bots and your flesh-and-blood audience. How do you do that?
- Post blogs regularly. Blogs are the mainstay of web writing. Product descriptions and “Contact Us” pages can only be so engaging. Well-written (perhaps even controversial) blog posts give you an opportunity to be creative, interact with your readers, and share interesting links.
- Send out guest posts. One of the best ways to attract traffic to your site is by submitting guest posts to other sites. Ideally, you can get your article or blog post featured on a site that is well-traveled. The more often you’re able to guest post on popular sites, the more opportunities will come inbound without you having to go out and find them.
- Proofread. This one goes without saying; right? Writing that reads like a C- middle school essay is an instant red flag to both human readers and Google. Not only will content like this fail to rank well – even if someone does land on your site – your visitors are more likely to bounce.
- Be original. You’ve been warned about the dangers of plagiarism your whole life. Not only is plagiarism an academic killer, it can also kill any blog post. Google’s bots scan for plagiarized and seemingly rewritten content, and if they find it, your new blog post will be shuttled into obscurity.
2. Write About What People Want to Read
Give the people what they want. Only play the hits. I suppose this one might go without saying, but, there are some interesting ways that you can find out exactly what people are interested in reading.
- Use Google’s auto-complete feature to dig for topics. Open an incognito window and start typing in a conversational phrase related to the topic you want to write on. If there is a phrase or question that Google suggests using its auto-complete, that means people are searching for it. It’s important to stress that you need to use an incognito window – or else Google will suggest phrases you have used in the past.
- Check your own inbound longtail search phrases in Google Analytics. Another good source of topics is what people have Googled to find your site in the past. Look for conversational-style search phrases or phrases that have a topic in common. If people were coming inbound for those phrases previously, that means that Google (for some amount of time) viewed your site as an authority on the topic and that people were searching for it. If you haven’t already covered the topic in its own blog post, it might be a good topic to write a new post for. If you have covered it but the traffic was from a long time ago, it might a good time for a follow-up post. The title for this article came from this exact strategy.
- Use Google’s Trends Tool. Check out www.google.com/trends/explore to compare the popularity of several different search terms within the same subject. Using the most popular keywords in your title gives you the best chance of attracting the most traffic.
3. Build Up Mentions
In this example: get by with a little help from your virtual friends.
A mention is any link to your site that gets featured on someone else’s site or social media feed. If you run a gardening business, and HypotheticalGardeningWebsite.com links to your page, that’s a backlink. If the website runs a well-followed Twitter feed, connect with it. The Tweet may mention your username as attached to the website’s article. If you can pull this off, you’ve just double-dipped on social and the web for a mention. Instant boost in human-perceived-authority.
Why are backlinks valuable? In the simplest form, Google Webmaster Tools explains:
Links help our crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility in our search results. […] Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B.
A word of caution: not all backlinks are created equal. The more clout a website has, the more clout your backlink has.
Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”
Getting a backlink from The Wall Street Journal is always going to be better for boosting traffic than getting a backlink from a magazine no one’s heard of. This goes for both the human traffic benefit as well as the Google algorithmic benefit. Aim high, settle lower (if necessary). As you build authority on a subject that you can tout, better writing and quote opportunities will present themselves. Websites like Klout can help you connect with other influencers in a niche and monitor your own authority within a niche.
4. Send Your Content Out on Social Bookmarking and Press Release Sites
Writing a press release is the internet equivalent of hiring someone to stand on the curb pointing an arrow toward your business. It’s a way to explicitly tell the internet, “Look at my business!” The funny thing is that if done correctly, submitting to social bookmarking sites can do the same thing.
There are numerous reasons you may want to write a press release. Common topics include:
- A new partner or employee joining a company.
- An announcement of a contest or giveaway a company is sponsoring.
- An outstanding achievement by a company or an employee.
- A new product that’s being released by a company.
Featuring the press release on your own website is helpful, but to really rope in visitors, you want to submit your press release to other websites with a high traffic volume. Sites like PR Web, PR Log, and PR Newswire all feature press releases, provided they pass muster at the submission stage. Be sure to always review the submission guidelines carefully, since every PR distributor has slightly different preferences and requirements.
- Always use branded anchor text backlinks in press releases. This backlinking tactic has been beaten to death and Google is way ahead of trying to game this system.
- Which brings us to our second point – only issue press releases for news-worthy items. Aside from any Google penalties you might incur by using volume submissions, there is also the human component to think about. Since press releases are meant to attract human attention, they should only be used when you have something important to say about your business. Extraneous press releases that cover non-attention-worthy topics will quickly turn into a modern update on the boy who cried wolf, and they’ll stop attracting the attention they’re meant to.
On the social bookmarking (sites like Reddit, Digg, etc.) side, the caution lies in transparency. Users are quick to jump on people only posting for self-promotion. But ultimately, that’s why we’re all here, right? Try connecting with similarly like-minded users and sub-groups. If one doesn’t exist, create your own. You might find that people end up sharing your stuff on their own or they might be more friendly when you do so.
For instance, if you are a photographer, it might seem like a self-promotional stretch to submit your photo to reddit.com/r/pics (Reddit’s most popular picture subreddit). However, let’s say that your work primarily consists of black and white photos or photos of urbanscapes. It wouldn’t be a stretch to submit a photo to a subreddit community focused on one of those things.
Another point of caution is that being completely transparent might free you from being scrutinized for self-promotion… or it might completely open you up to it. Proceed with caution.
5. Promote Contests/Scholarships
People love contests, people love to be winners, people like opportunities. Take advantage of these facts.
Throwing a contest (similar to the contest we’re throwing right now) is an excellent method of increasing your site traffic for a two major reasons:
- Contests generate buzz. The point of a contest is that there’s competition to make the winning slot. If someone is interested in entering your contest, they’re likely to mention it to their friends or family or to share a link to your contest on social media sites. A contest is no fun without competitors, so entrants have a personal motivation to spread the word.
- Contests can reveal useful information. Because contests dispense prizes, the participants can’t be anonymous. When you run a contest on your website, you can ask participants to provide information about themselves. You may find that your primary audience is a different age group or gender than you assumed. Whatever you uncover will help you target your future content.
6. Cross Media Formats
This can be said for media formats both digital and non-digital. If your website is primarily text- and article-based, branch out to places like Pinterest and Instagram. If people you think might be interested in your site listen to podcasts, volunteer yourself for some or create your own. Make your content engaging regardless of what format people prefer it in. You can even open the windows, get out of your basement, and promote your site in the real world.
All of your marketing should already include your website, but there there are some things people miss. For instance, putting a mention of your website in your voicemail or hold music can drive traffic. Feature it prominently on the reverse side of your business card. Include it in everything you touch. Always keep it in the back of your head. There are quite literally a million ways to skin this cat.
As an example, and this might sound crazy, I once met someone whose viral marketing campaign was based around strings of words that Youtube would not return a set of search results for. I don’t think it works anymore, but think something like “Have-a-seat-next-to-roy-in-philly” or something specific like that. He would then have stickers and flyers made up with that phrase and pay people to plaster them all over target cities. Then when confused people got home and Googled it, it would return his YouTube video with the same title as the only search result. He swore it worked well. The point is that being creative and crossing media and delivery formats can help drive a whole new audience of people to your website.
This aritlce is running long, so I am going to cut it. I hope some of these tips helped. As always, happy hunting.
If you’re interested in boosting traffic to your website, Majux can help. Give us a call at (800) 856-5761, or contact us online.