Your site is probably one of the most important parts of your business. It’s your shop floor online, it’s where people go to get to know and learn about you, but it means nothing if you don’t have people visiting your site. Getting traffic to your site can sometimes be frustrating but in this post I’ve put together a list of areas worth considering when you are thinking about how to increase traffic to your website (in no particular order).
Before you read on, please note the key highlight is this thought process:
The more visible you are, the more traffic you are likely to receive.
The more traffic you receive, the more business you are likely to gain.
The more business you gain, the earlier you are likely to retire (this is my carrot!)…
You should make sure that your website is optimised for search engines, things like page titles and descriptions, image alt tags, link structure, keyword content and so on are all very important. Offsite SEO i.e. link building and social media will also build up your domains search engine power. SEO is a fine art and it’s always best to get help from professionals if you’re serious about boosting your rankings. Companies like Climb Digital, SEOMoz, SEO Consult and SEO Book provide tools, training and services to help you achieve higher rankings.
Avoid ‘black hat’ techniques at all cost i.e. keyword stuffing, duplicating content, redirects and so on. This is not the way to rise in the SERPs quicker, this is a way to damage your SEO rankings permanently and waste your time and money!
It’s a good way to generate fresh, rich content for search engines but also provides good material to share with others – a chance to showcase your business ethics, portfolio and general points of view. If you make it interesting enough for people to want to share you’re also likely to gain new readership and the increased chance of people coming back to your site again and again to find more interesting articles.
For tips and information about blogging I recommend you check out the Who’s Blogging What Better Business Blogging in 2011 ebook via HubSpot – it’s well worth a read!
Another part of blogging or indeed social networking is to engage via comments on other blog posts that you find interesting and that relate to your business and articles. You can build strong relationships and showcase your knowledge in these comments and by including links back to your site, you can increase discoverability.
Still a very powerful tool for getting people back to your site if used properly, the key is to give a good incentive and stand out from the hundreds of other newsletters people get sent. Try to send regular segmented email communications to your opt-in database with very relevant information but stick to the time frames that you specify at sign up. If you say it will be a weekly newsletter, send one every week, there’s nothing worse than misleading people.
There are many uses of email marketing and many benefits too and if you get a moment, check out the Econsultancy Email Marketing Best Practices Guide for some very useful learning.
You’re home from home, so to speak, the place where you can directly engage with fans, followers and peers… but before you undertake your social media journey, take note and try not to make the same Social Media Mistakes as these guys.
Social Networking sites allow you to have a voice and serious online presence away from your website – just try make sure that “all roads lead to Rome”. Complete your profiles with as much detail about the company as your allowed and include a URL back to your main site within every profile description. Try to join in discussions regularly be it directly related to your business or not, share articles and pages from your website, become a fan / follow other businesses that interest or relate to yours, just get out there and get involved! Statistically the longer you spend on social media for your business the greater the improvements in website traffic.
There are many sites you can incorporate in your Social Media marketing, however as with the past few years the “Big Four” are still the most popular sites. The recent Econsultancy, LBi and bigmouthmedia State Of Social Report 2011 shows just how popular the main social media sites are:
Search Engine Marketing – Google AdWords
Google AdWords can help you put your business right in front of people at the exact moment they are searching for the services and products you offer. There are many ways you can use AdWords and I would recommend you learn the tool inside out before attempting to use it as it is quite a delicate offering.
One way of using AdWords effectively would be to run targeted banner adverts through the display network to raise brand awareness and increase the number of searches for your business. Co-inside this with text adverts on the search network to prompt a direct response and click throughs to the website.
Not only is this very useful for monitoring how effective your efforts have been and how users interact with your site but it can also help you identify any possible partnerships and advertising opportunities with referring websites.
Providing interesting articles to other blogs, which can be featured on their site can help you reach a previously unattainable audience. It’s important you include links to your website in the author description and if possible in the copy, perhaps links back to related articles.
A good way to get started would be to take a look at businesses you already have relationships with and see if you can feature or guest post on their blog. You can also join a guest blogging community like MyBlogGuest to try and get your blogs posts placed. You can also use things like Google Blog Search and Technorati to find related blogs you’d like to feature on and contact them directly.
Mobile is one of the fastest growing marketing sectors and with the availability of smartphones, this area is becoming increasingly important. There are several things you can do with Mobile to increase your site traffic but you must seriously consider creating a web version of your site to ensure the user experience is optimised.
Explore the possibility of QR codes, NFC and Augmented Reality… all have unique and interesting uses which should allow you to find the one(s) that you could possibly use in an creative but effective fashion. You can also build an app, specifically for your business, that works across multiple platforms and devices. There is also the option to run adverts across specific mobile apps and the mobile web using tools like AdMob.
Check out how Tesco used Mobile Marketing in South Korea:
Release White Papers
Something agencies and research companies do quite frequently is release White Papers on key subjects or provide guide / best practice documents. It’s more time consuming and detailed than a simple blog post, however if the content is something fresh and of interest it can draw a large amount of traffic of people looking to download it. It also provides a good opportunity for you to gather new subscribers, fans and followers which can in turn help increase your returning site traffic.
Social and Mobile Games
Team up with social gaming companies to include your brand / business within the game to build brand awareness and links to your site, like Cascadian Farm did with FarmVille.
Or you can generate your own game related to your business and have it branded. A very good example of this is the TimeKiller app released by Scandinavian Airlines which included four small games to keep non SAS flyers busy when their flights were delayed:
Not only is this a fun way to have your brand talked about but with including links back to your site form the app you can increase your website traffic and potential sales.
Unique offline campaigns that really grab people’s attention through the WOW factor. Not only does this help achieve the initial objective for the campaign e.g. to grab attention, but if done well it is very likely to increase online searches for your business. There is also likely to be an increase in links to your site through, blog posts and news articles written about you and the campaign resulting in free media coverage. Here are just a few good examples:
Considered by some as “old school” but still very effective if done properly by targeting the messaging precisely rather than sending out campaigns to all of your contacts. We recently ran a direct mail campaign for IHS. The campaign was so successful that IHS is now running their global direct mail campaigns through Eclipse.
Trade shows & exhibitions
Purchase exhibition space, host a speech/seminar, provide training workshops… all of these will help to raise your brand’s awareness and gives you a great opportunity to promote your business website. We recently helped Premier Foods launch their new product Bird’s Ice Cream at the LACA exhibition where we created all of their banners and stands to make people aware of the product and it’s microsite.
Face to Face
Obvious, I know, but people do forget to do this… talk to people about your website and the articles on it at meetings, networking events and any other applicable conversations.
How do you increase website traffic?
I’m sure there are more ways you can get people to visit your site, so I want to ask you, what techniques do you use? Please leave your feedback below and other tips on how to credibly boost your website traffic.