You’ve put in months of work getting your business ready and, finally, you’ve launched your website. All you need to do now is sit back and wait for your customers to put in orders. If only it was so easy. Before that’s going to happen you have to get traffic to your website and then you need to convert those visitors into customers. In our last post, we discussed using advertising and affiliate marketing as a means to drive traffic, in this article, we’ll discuss ten other very effective techniques that businesses use to increase their visitor numbers.
1. Exploit your own expertise
One of the most powerful ways to attract visitors to your business website is by creating a blog that helps people to solve problems relating to your field of expertise. For example, if you sell beauty products, a blog that gives hints and tips on how to wear make-up is an excellent way to get regular readers and to promote the products you sell.
By using a range of media in your blog – writing, images, infographics and video, you can improve audience engagement and get your visitors to sign up for that ever important email list. Good content marketing also works well in conjunction with social media.
2. Harness the power of social media
One of the best methods you can use to promote your business is social media. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are great ways for you to interact with potential customers, showcase your products and define your brand. In return you get people following you, liking you and sharing your content with others. In essence, it’s free advertising.
However, don’t restrict yourself to just Facebook and Twitter. Other platforms offer some exciting opportunities too. If you have visually appealing products or services then Instagram and Pinterest are ideal channels. Pinterest is also perfect for any business that belongs in the design, creative or crafts fields. LinkedIn is superb for B2B networking and Google+ can help your business appear in personalised search results. There are many more social media platforms besides these.
3. Use attention grabbing headlines and meta descriptions
When your business turns up in search results, two things are shown to the person making the search: your page or post’s title and the meta description. These are the only things the searcher has to help them make a decision on which result to click.
To improve your chances of being clicked on and getting more people to your website, you need to write attention grabbing headlines and back this up with a meta description that will be irresistible.
4. Optimise your content for search engines
SEO is a way to help your content rank higher in search engine results. Although there are lots of experts out there who will provide you with highly detailed consultancy, there are some basic things that everyone can do to improve their SEO.
- Put your keywords in the title, meta description and the first paragraph of the text. You should also use them several other times throughout the rest of the content.
- Make sure your subheadings are created with h2 tags – i.e. they are seen as subheadings by search engines, not just bold text.
- Include internal links in your content to other important pages and posts on your website.
- Make sure all images use ‘alt tags’ – this helps search engines understand what all the content on your page is about, not just the text.
- Use external links to high authority .edu and .gov websites when appropriate. For example, if you were selling garden buildings you could link to a .gov page about planning permission.
5. Make sure you have a responsive website
A responsive website is one which changes the way it looks to fit the device it is being viewed on. You can tell the ones which aren’t because when you look at them on mobile phones, the text will be so small you will need to zoom in to read it and you will need to keep scrolling from side to side. Non responsive websites are problematic to use on smaller devices and cause visitors using phones and tablets to leave and go elsewhere. If 40% of your visitors are using these devices, you could be losing a substantial amount of business by not having a responsive website. In addition, as Google now down ranks non-responsive websites, you could see your traffic massively reduced.
6. Get active in conversations
Just as networking in the real world can attract business, networking on the internet can increase traffic. By joining related forums and commenting on other websites you will soon find yourself attracting the attention of others. If you are able to link back to your website on these forums and websites, then you are leaving the door open to get increased numbers of referrals from these sites. Make sure you choose only high authority sites to do this.
7. Grow your authority
One of the best ways to generate large numbers of visitors is to have other high authority websites link to your content. If you find that your content gets linked to by an influencer in your niche area, for example, someone who has 100,000 visitors a day to their site and several million twitter followers, then your website can go viral.
If quite a few influencers and other leading websites link to you, Google and other search engines will begin to take notice that you are seen as an authority in your niche and, as a result, your search engine rankings will increase also.
To do this, you need to write exceptional content; articles which offer expert advice and are highly regarded by your peers.
8. Engage with the influencers
One of the ways to get noticed by your peers and the main influences in your niche is to engage with them. If you are selling beauty products, send samples to the leading beauty bloggers; if they like what they get, they may tell their readers about you.
You can also engage them by writing a post about them, for example, The 10 Best Beauty Blogs You Just Have to Read. Flattery can get you everywhere in some spheres and ‘bigging up’ influential people who can boost your fortunes just by sending out a quick Tweet can be a credible way to improve traffic to your site.
9. Write guest blog posts
Getting the opportunity to write a problem solving guest post and have it posted on a high traffic niche blog can be another way to boost your traffic. If readers are interested in the advice you give, they are likely to visit your website after reading the blog post. If, for example, you sold timber online, you could write a post about which wood is the best to use for different projects and send this to a woodworking blog. Readers of that blog would then be inspired to visit your own website.
Many influential blogs let people write guest posts. For some, you need to email and ask if you can submit an article; others advertise the fact by having a Guest Post Submissions page which will tell you what you need to do to get an article published.
10. Find out what your competitors are up to
Different strategies work better in some market sectors than others. One of the best ways to find out which works in your sector is to see what your competition is doing to attract traffic. How do they use social media? Do they guest post?
You can visit their website, read their blogs and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. You should also visit BuzzSumo, a website which analyses social media and the internet and can inform you which content works best for any topic and any competitor; it’s well worth looking at.
This article will hopefully have shown you that PPC advertising is not the only way to attract visitors to your online business. By using social media, SEO and engaging with influencers within your niche you can improve your website’s ranking and authority and get others to promote your business for you. It may take time to do this, but the effects are long lasting and can be much less expensive than paid advertising.