Having a website for your business is only the first step in what will be a long journey toward your online success. Getting people to visit your website is a task you’ll need to perform the entire way. There are lots of ways to get traffic, and the specific mix of activities that is right for your company can vary based on what kind of customers you want to attract. One thing that we recommend is to start small at first and focus on a couple of channels to start driving traffic to your website. Your objective will be to focus on these efforts and then measure whether or not they work. If they do, keep doing them; if they don’t, it’s time to try something else. Below are 3 easy ways that we feel can be applied with success for most businesses.
- Paid Advertisements – This one is somewhat obvious but is often times ignored by new online businesses because it can be somewhat complicated and comes with a financial overhead. However, there are lots of guides out there that can help you figure out the basics, and if you pay attention to the types of keywords you’re targeting you can get a good bang for your buck. The key here is to target popular keywords that are under utilized. This is easier said than done, but with time, patience, and a healthy amount of curiosity, you can find your way. The two platforms that are the most popular for paid advertisements are by far Google and Facebook. Both offer unique advantages and we’ll be tackling some specific aspects of each in future posts. Other great sources of paid promotion can be directory listings or referral websites.
- Social Media – There is definitely some overlap with paid ads here, as many social media platforms monetize their websites by offering paid ads as well. However, you can still get traffic the old fashioned way if you know where to start. Due to recent updates to the Facebook algorithm, many critics are skeptical of the organic (read: free) traffic that you can achieve from their platform. For that reason, we won’t recommend them for obtaining organic traffic (but we still recommend having a page so customers can connect with you). Luckily there are a lot of other options that still do have strong organic reach. Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter can all be great ways to tap into an active audience of potential customers.
- With Pinterest, you’ll want to consistently pin eye-catching content with the goal of getting featured on group boards that your customers find interesting. You can also add ‘rich pins’ code to your website which will help your content get discovered.
- Instagram is heavily image-focused as well, but on this platform it’s all about the hashtags. Make a list of popular hashtags that your customers might search for and apply them to your content each time you post. Mix them up a little from time to time.
- Twitter supports photos and videos as well, but is more about the conversations and direct engagement with users. You’ll want to follow influential people and companies in your industry and engage with them online. By showing interest in their content, the hope is that they will like yours as well and re-share the information. You an also look for questions that people are asking that relate to your area of expertise and provide guidance, which will help build up your credibility and increase your followers.
- Guest Blogging – This is an avenue that is not as apparent as the first two. Guest blogging refers to writing content for other blogs or websites that they’ll use in their blogs in exchange for a link back to your website. In order for this to really be successful, you should have a great blog on your website as well. The more good content you have on your website, the more likely that high-traffic websites will be to feature you as a guest blog contributor. There are aggregation services available which charge a fee and will include your content on various websites, but often times this appears ‘spammy’ to visitors on those sites. The more organic and natural way to build up this traffic is to reach out to companies and individuals directly (either through email, social media, or their websites) and ask them if they have any guest blogging opportunities. You will want to explain what areas you’re an expert in and why your content would be a value to their website’s visitors. They may request a certain topic or provide some direction on how they typically speak to their followers. If you reach an agreement, then it’s time to start writing!
These are not the only ways to create traffic, but we have found that they can often be deployed quickly and with a high degree of success. In at least two of these approaches, the only real investment you’ll need to make is your time. Once again, it is important to keep measuring and trying new things in order to maximize your ROI. Cut the things that aren’t working or are too costly and focus on the things that do work. Your job as business owner, marketer, and all of the other hats that you wear will depend on a healthy flow of visitors coming to your website.