Once you have a website, you quickly realize having it isn’t enough.
You hand out your business card, or send a couple tweets and realize – people give no fucks about me.
It feels as if you could yell out into the abyss – “Is anyone out there?!” and only hear your own echo.
Then you start to get it, creating traffic is the game – not just having a website. Having a solid and professional website is really important, but these 5 simple tips will help you increase traffic on your website, and get more customers:
1. Increase the amount of content on your site by targeting questions.
You can target your site to the kinds of questions your customers ask, and providing deep in-depth resources to answer them. You can then go and give away a ton of value on forums and places like Quora (a question and answer site), and share an abbreviated version of the post and then link to the whole thing on your site.
By answering questions that are commonly asked about your industry you are increasing the likelihood of somebody stumbling across your site as well. For instance they Google “how to get more traffic to my website” and stumble across this blog post, or in your case perhaps – “how do I trim the hedges around evergreen tree,” or whatever your industry you’re in.
Doesn’t this mean they’ll just do it themselves and not hire me?
This is the biggest concern some clients I have seem to have when I suggest they give away as much value as they can in their blog post. But let’s say you refurbish furniture and offer ‘shabby chic dressers’, yes if you give away the a “how do I make a dresser ‘shabby chic’?” in-depth guide – some people will do it themselves, but you could likely rank very high for shabby chic dressers and offer the products you have for sale next to the guide.
If you have e-commerce on your site, the guide will help the product get more traffic by osmosis – especially if you are linking to it all over the guide.
This is the magic of giving away value and being OK with some people simply taking the value. Some people will also buy from you. This kind of SEO and content marketing is the art of giving – and then receiving later on down the line. Receiving traffic from people checking out and reading your guide: these people increase the ‘dwell time’ on your site and indicate to Google and other search algorithms that this is quality content (and thus a quality site.)
Why are questions so amazing?
Well it’s how we think sometimes when we’re on Google – and it’s where a lot of people expect they will get the most value… it’s a question. Remember ask Jeeves? Maybe many people just got use to asking questions to the internet!
Not to mention, the future of the web may be over voice controlled devices like the Google Home, and the Amazon Echo… so more natural ways of asking questions might be the norm of the future, rather than thinking of some long targeted term to put into Google.
Think of the kinds of questions people would ask and answer them.
The number one suggestion for questions I haveDon’t get caught in the trap of answering questions people in your industry only care about
Dedicate yourself to noting down things clients actually ask during the sales process, or reward your customer service reps with a gift card every time they bring you a god-honest question clients or customers have asked. They might seem simple or dumb to write about, but it doesn’t matter – only by targeting real customer questions will you get the kinds of traffic you want.
2. Find ways to build links from around the web (preferably your niche, but anywhere is great) from high domain authority websites
Use the tool Mozbar and guest posting, creating profiles, and create content on these sites sharing value with people.
There are tons of guides on how to get more guest posts around the web (and some write-ups on why guest posting is dead) though the first important thing to know is why you want to do it. Links from other websites to your website is a huge indicator that your website has something valuable. Guest posting allows you to include a link on a valuable piece of content on someone else’s website – in context links or ‘contextual links’ are considered in a different way then a profile link – or a footer link, etc.
Profile links are still useful, and it makes sense to create a profile and share information about yourself on as many industry related website as you can. Once again, the value here is not so somebody can stumble upon the link and go to your website and then become a customer. The value is that each link is a tally mark in your favor in Google’s algorithm – and if you include a good amount of description, the link is more likely to be indexed.
Every possible way of getting link to your site
Yes… you can buy links – but buyer beware! You don’t want to buy a bunch of cheap links, and the only time I’ve ever seen people buy links and really make a difference for their site, the links were expensive.
So either you have to really offer value to high Domain Authority websites by creating original content, or you’d have to really spend a pretty penny to get those links – there’s really only a few low-hanging fruit options for links:
Using a company like Yext or similar you can get a ton of local directory listings all over the web. On local directories it’s crucial that your Name, Address, and Phone Number are the same on all of them. This is a kind of trust factor that your company is legitimate.
This has been used by SEO focused individuals for a long time to get links, but it also can be good to get into news listing via e-mail roundups/news – and thereby can actually earn you traffic and customers on that merit.
Right now – go and get local listings for your site if you haven’t
Use a service like Yext, MozLocal, or any one of these service providers and pick this low-hanging fruit of link building glory. Immediately after that – get to work on your first press release! Latch on to a trend in your industry and position your company as the hero of the story and then use something like Press Release Jet and get on 350 sites at once.
3. Spend time curating and develop a following on social media channels
From YouTube to Twitter and even Instagram and Snapchat. Always, always be sharing value – whether educating people or entertaining them. Give value, give value, give value, and then invite them back to your site to either buy or check out your in-depth resources.
Twitter is wild, because if you don’t put in some elbow grease either entertaining, curating, or educating – you likely will get very little out it. That’s why so many people think Twitter is a waste of time. They put so little into sharing value and connecting with more people, that no-one follows them and thus no one interacts with their tweets. It simply takes time, but because you can share articles with people on Twitter, and even make offers occasionally (in between sharing massive value) and this way you can drive traffic and maybe even business! I’ve done 22k in business over Twitter in the past 6 months – so I know it’s real, but I also spent a lot of time building my account, by following people that might be interested in me and sharing lots of value on the platform.
Facebook used to be a wonderful wild west for brands with just organic reach, but now you generally have to pay to play if you’re working from a company page. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t occasionally share very solid helpful deep articles on your personal page to reach your ‘base of power’ or friends and family – and that doesn’t mean you can’t simply boost content that helps you generate leads, and offers to people that are strongly likely to be interested. Pay to play kind of sucks yes, but no matter what – you’re paying for social advertising, you’re either paying with your time by trying to build a following through interesting content, or you’re boosting content and offers. One way or another – you pay.
You can’t share clickable links on Instagram unless you’re paying for ads – but you could use short links like yoursite.com/epic or bit.ly/goodshit – so that people could use the link to quickly navigate to what you’re sharing. Instagram is super visual and people don’t generally go on their to read – so my tactics here would depend more on paid ads to solid free offers for lead gen.
The new kid on the block, but not super clear how to knock it out of the park for driving traffic on Snapchat. I’d suggest using this more to build your brand, share value, entertain and then drop in the occasional bad-ass piece of content link, or epic offers.
Just including links in your Youtube videos is helpful for Google respecting your site more, but at it’s best you can create introductory content to lead people to the deeper content on your site – guides, giveaways, and courses. This isn’t the place generally for commercials, but rather finding out what people are looking for that relates to what you sell – how to’s, visual guides etc. and giving them that in hopes they might also use your products or services after soaking up the value.
Follow people in droves and automate liking
The forbidden world of automation and ‘growth-hacking’! Hey I didn’t say these tips were socially acceptable in good company, I just said I wanted to help you drive traffic. Manage Flitter allows you to follow the people that are following people like you, and Archie.co allows you to autolike hastags around what you do – or hashtags you think you’re prime demographic would be using. What is the purpose of all this questionable madness? People follow back and learn about your company.
4. Do your best to engage other people on social media, youtube, forums and in blog comments
Not making it always about you – is the first step to promoting… you?
Sound counter-intuitive? It is, but that’s how humans work – we don’t love it when people just want to promote themselves, but if we pay attention to what people are doing besides us and really show them we’re paying attention, we earn the right to be heard. So yes, I’m saying comment on every blog around your niche, and share value in forums on topics you know a lot about.
Target 3-5 websites where you can actually get involved regularly first
This means – don’t spend a crazy amount of time trying to fling yourself wildly on to every single website community, but rather become a very familiar face on a few forums, groups or channels first. The reason for this, is you need to figure out what the customs are in these types of situations. If you blindly start connecting with everybody and everybody without doing research, you’ll find yourself getting grief from old-timers in these groups – who do no self-promotion and just help the community.
But you do have to have a strategy for how you’ll drive traffic in groups
So what I’m telling you is – we build up to sharing our links and content, but we don’t do it immediately. Find the people who you admire in these groups, and find the people who your content would actually help. If you’ve done the hard work of creating useful content that is targeted at your core demographic and their needs – then there will come a time (at least past the 6th content you’ve left in a group or forum) that you can share it!
If you’re motives are totally just self-promotion, and not being helpful – it will come off badly generally (unless you’ve observed the customs of the group, and that’s common.)
Youtube comments that entertain or add significant value
This is not generally to add a link to your site, but rather to lead people back to your channel if you are doing significant work on Youtube. Links are treated as spam though generally – so not necessarily the best place to do that kind of direct ‘marketing.’
If you’re sensing a theme here, it’s all about sharing value. Skip this, and lose.
Make a daily habit of interacting with 5 blogs, forums or groups in your industry
For me, I have a Facebook group of other web designers I like to interact with and a couple blogs I read on a regular basis, as well as trying to add value on Quora. By trying to make it a habit to get out to these blogs and read and share – I get noticed by the people that run them and their readers, as well as increase my name or brand’s presence and occasionally drop in a link.
5. Do things out in the real world and use your website as your anchor.
Things like hosting events, or going to industry events, volunteering, and sponsoring events and giving away prizes at said events. Create a scholarship, or participate in community programs. The internet doesn’t need to be your only way of drumming up business. And when you run out of new ways to get traffic to your site – you can always print a banner and fly it over the city with a prop plane… don’t give up, there will always be a competitor working to formulate a new idea for how to create more traffic than you.
Creating a scholarship
This is really a very advanced SEO tactic if you do it right. The thing is that it’s not ‘make it and they will come’, it’s make it and promote it like hell to anyone you can contact from colleges so you can earn links back to the scholarship. I use BuzzStream and a personal assistant to do outreach and get the scholarship I offer promoted and in front of the right people. You can do it yourself, but the key is you want to do it in bulk. By the end of promoting my scholarship I should have 30-50 links back to my website and generally those links are .edu sites so they are a bit more exclusive than your average links. In short, they look good and will increase my chances of ranking higher in search engines.
Participating in Community programs
Do you allow dogs in your office? There’s sometimes a .gov site that has a page featuring dog-friendly businesses. Are you vegan, woman-owned, non-profit, or any other niche concern? People care about these things, and besides featuring it in some kind of big visual way on your home page and about pages, you should definitely look into any community pages that feature businesses like yours. Participating in community programs can get you links from high-value websites, and it really does just look good to concerned about the community in terms of one of these interests as well.
How does sponsoring an event drive traffic to your website? Well if as part of the sponsorship – the event or group’s website links to your company you get ‘link juice’ but you also get the exposure to people in your area that may never have heard of you and possibly drive them to check out your site. Create a guide or resource that you’re offering for free to people that attend the event only, and capitalize further.
It’s always important to strike a balance when doing charity work, or volunteering – but if you do this regularly you can work with the organization to potentially be featured on their website, or simply share on social and create a page on your site talking about your work with the organization. This is helpful for people that like to work with companies that do charitable work, and let the community know you care about these kinds of concerns as well as likely garnering some natural traffic through search.
Don’t wait. Create a scholarship now.
Offering $500 dollars in a year when a student is registering is a pretty low barrier to entry. If you can swing it, creating a scholarship + reaching out to colleges that might feature it is one of the best bang for your buck SEO / traffic driving activities you can do.
Thank you for taking the time to read my intense ‘How Can I Increase Traffic on My Website?‘ guide. You are probably rare – in that finishing all the way to the end wasn’t a small amount of effort – but I did my best to share tips that hurt a little bit to give away, so you might have gotten more than I intended to give away. Just keep it a secret, OK?
JK – I’d love if you share a link to this article! 😉