The internet is crowded. It seems as though anything and everything has been thought of. Don’t let this discourage you into thinking no one will ever take notice.
People like you and I take to the internet to find solutions to problems or answers to questions. Often times these problems are answered using content available for free. This in return sometimes leads to new customers for businesses on the web who want to utilize a service, buy a product, or simply discover more content.
How these get visitors to your website will forever be a challenge but in time, combined with this handy guide we’ve put together, you will be able to drive visitors to your doorstep whether it’s in person or online. Continue reading to find out how to drive increasing traffic to your website!
1. Have a Blog
The absolute best thing you can do for your website to increase traffic is to have a blog. You may wonder why? Well, a blog if developed correctly produces dynamic content that is always updated. This content gets indexed by search engines on a regular basis because to make this update to your website.
When this indexing takes place people will have more chances of finding your website based on their search on Google or Bing search engines. All of this tied with good SEO and Social Media (which I’ll cover shortly) will be sure to produce an increase in traffic to your website. The key is to be consistent and deliver content on a continuous basis.
Warning: Blogging is a big commitment
Just because you have a blog doesn’t guarantee spikes in traffic. You’ll still need to have quality content that people will want to read or use to find answers to questions and problems they may have. As I press forward in this guide you be sure to combine what I have outlined with your blog/website to achieve the best results.
There is no exact way to go about blogging that yields an exact return on investment. It’s generally a big trial and error-based process of which you learn as you go. Some tactics will work for your readers whereas many will not. Be sure to document what content you get the most feedback from and continue down that path. I could go on all day about how to set up your blog for success but I will save that for another article.
2. Author Quality Content
When writing content for your audience, no matter who it is or what it is about, I can’t stress enough about being as personable as possible in your tone. I was once given some great advice from another blogger who said:
“Write as though you are speaking to your users directly and imagine them sitting right in front of you as your fingers press the keys on your keyboard. Just be yourself.”
Since that day, this advice has helped me sound less like a robot when I put my thoughts down. In return, writing in this style often helps promote higher quality content.
Your knowledge of something is best spread through your own experiences. People would much rather put trust in someone who has experience in something rather than someone who does not, yet still tries to offer advice about it (which is pretty silly).
By having the personable approach established you can now convey your thoughts and experiences on a subject that will help others. This content, if relevant and written well, will provide your readers with the information they need. Often times those people who find their answers/information will tell their friends or colleagues. This ultimately means more visitors to your website!
3. Spend Time On SEO
SEO can be a great way to get people to your website. Since SEO deals strongly with search engines like Google or Bing you will need to optimize your content to allow these engines to find your website easier.
Using specific keywords in your pages as well as meta descriptions usually allow search engines to crawl the page and display it back to the user based on their search.
If a user is searching for a local landscaper they may google “landscaping near me” or something of that nature. Google (or Bing) will then try to find the user’s geographic location if their device is sharing it as well as using the keyword “landscaping” in the search. If you owned a landscaping service and your business was close to the user AND you used specific keywords like “landscaping”, chances are your website would return high in the results list.
Maintaining SEO isn’t as easy as it sounds. It often means doing work behind the scenes so your website is optimized on a page by page basis. This is especially true for blog posts which should receive the same treatment. Over time, using a collection of good keywords along with meta tags, descriptions, and more you can shift your website up in rankings so it will return in high in search results every time.
Google offers a free tool for Keyword planning . With it, you can compare and contrast keywords in your website’s niche. Typically, you will want to avoid the same keywords everyone else makes use of. If you used the same keywords as many other of your competitor’s websites there is a good chance your website won’t make it high on search results.
For more information on SEO check out the following links:
4. Diversify Content Delivery
As I stated earlier, blogging is a crucial step to drive traffic to your website. In many cases, this is enough to gain attention over time. If you wanted to accelerate traffic you may try alternative types of content. This includes video, audio, and online courses or interactive experiences.
Video could include things like:
- Quick Tips
- How To Guides
- FAQ Sessions
- Customer Feedback (Verbal Testimonials)
and finally, courses could be anything pertaining to your website or business. If you offer something people want or want to understand why not share the wealth in the form of a course?
The onset of social media has taken the world by storm. More people are glued to their devices than ever before. Checking their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat and more has become a habit-forming task many people fall victim to.
That’s not to say that it’s a bad thing. In fact, for businesses it actually opens up more channels in which they can utilize to broadcast more about what they have to offer.
A tactic we use at Couple of Creatives is to share links to relative articles, websites, and inspiration we love. All of this gets fed using Buffer , which is an app that curates content and shares it with you at specific times you set.
By sharing rich content people enjoy reading users start to better trust your opinions as a business or website. In doing so there’s more potential that they may visit your website and utilize whatever it is you have to offer.
Buffer combined with all of the social media accounts I listed before allows us to broadcast to a large audience and it takes very little effort to do. Be sure to leverage the tools we have available. Buffer is free but there is a pro-rated plan for even more customization.
Don’t forget to Interact with your followers
Broadcasting to your followers on social media isn’t enough to always drive traffic to your own website. A great way to gain better impressions with users is to interact with them. Pick a few out and send them messages saying thanks for following and to see if they have any opinions on the content you share or services you provide. People are often happy to voice their opinions be they good or bad.
Also be sure to post more than just links to other content on your social media accounts. In my experience, people appreciate those that post real thoughts and ideas rather than just only curated content.
6. Develop Anticipation
Offering something to your users that aren’t an instant reward is often a good tactic to generate more traffic. It sounds like it shouldn’t work but it does!
Here’s an example:
Say your team, business or you authors an eBook. You could simply write the book and then allow your users to download it when you complete it OR while you are writing the book (and even testing the idea if anyone would want to download it ) you build a simple landing page that displays what you are offering. On this page is a sign-up form that simply captures a name and email (at the very least, an email) .
Using that form you can gain subscribers so at the moment your eBook is complete you already have people interested in what you have to offer to leverage. Those people may even tell their friends and instantly you have a bit of a viral offering which drives visitors to your website very rapidly.
This method works really well if you already have readers, visitors, and subscribers but what if you don’t? Well, there’s no magical solution to sharing what you have to offer but you can find websites, forums, social media and other relative places to share your new landing page for those that might take an interest. You can even choose to run a display ad campaign (more on this shortly) which drives people to you from other websites and applications.
This was only one example of an approach you can take to develop anticipation from your website. Adding the element of time or quantity into the mix often helps as well. If there is a limited number of anything available people will often feel inclined to act fast.
Experiment with different offerings but remember the focus is to make your users anticipate. This often yields repeat visits to your website and may even mean a sale or new client.
7. Solve a Problem
People seek to the web to find out immediate information and solve problems they are facing. If you know how to solve certain problems well you can utilize this knowledge and publicize it on your website. Over time, combined with many of the tactics I’ve listed, you can develop a fairly steady stream of visitors to your website seeking knowledge on that same problem.
8. Optimize Your Website
Optimizing your website isn’t an instant reward but it may allow your site to sit higher on search engine rankings as well as keeping new visitors from “bouncing” before even spending real time on your website.
“Bouncing”, in my own words, means someone found your site but only stayed on it for a few seconds before returning to their search or a previous page, etc…
To avoid “bouncing” you need to optimize your website in such a way that is both engaging as well as fast and easy to use. Paying attention to image sizes, the number of requests that are being made, and where your best content is displayed are vital to keeping users coming back and/or staying for longer periods of time.
Things to think about to better optimize your website include:
- Image size — large images take much longer to load especially on mobile devices. Be sure to optimize these in such a way to that benefits the user.
- Number of Integrations/Requests — Integrated applications (social media apps, newsletter popups, image sliders, etc…) and ads are amazing time savers for you but not your users. Each and every integration often requires extra load times which as a result leads users to “bounce” if they can’t get the information they want fast. The best approach is to be “lean” as possible with integrations.
- Putting the content forward — Those that find your website come to find out more about you, what you offer, or read the content you may have authored. Make sure they aren’t swayed by useless content before being exposed to what they came to see in the first place.
- Accessibility — A common issue often overlooked is support for accessibility. People with disabilities need the same information as you do. Websites need to be accessible so those with these disabilities can still experience them in a unified fashion. Don’t ignore this.
- Responsiveness — People need to visit your website no matter where they are or what device they are using. Providing a responsive experience allows any user to visit your website on their desktop computer and then later on their mobile device while still experiencing the same content. Support for responsiveness now yields better SEO results according to Google .
- Minification of Code — In the technical realm, minifying your code increases page load speeds. Many plugins are available to help you with this if you use WordPress OR if you have a developer consult with them about this practice. It has become the “norm” for good developers to only ship minified code to production websites. Production meaning “live” websites.
9. Display Related Content
Combined with blogging, displaying related content can allow visitors who have already landed on your website to stay longer. This content creates a “stream” users can potentially follow when trying to find the information they are searching for.
Related content is usually displayed based on how you categorize or “tag” your content. Many content authoring tools support this out of the box. By using these features you can create content that keeps your existing users as well as new users coming back to your website.
10. Be Consistent and Patient
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a successful online business or website. Authoring content on a consistent basis can be a definite challenge but many tools and tactics can help spread your message.
New websites/blogs will have next to zero readers. Don’t let this discourage you. The best thing you can do is to just keep going . Over time, your archive of content will grow. Search engines and users on the web will begin to take notice.
To speed up the process you can utilize the other tactics I’ve written in the article to speed up the process and get your content in front of new readers. Leverage social media, your mailing list, forums, comments, and more to help spread your message but be sure to no bombard your users. You don’t want to piss people off.
11. Link to Previously Authored Content
Linking to content you have authored in the past maintains readership on your website. This tactic essentially keeps a user on your website because you called attention to a relative topic they are already researching. If the user found the information you linked to beneficial they may feel the urge to share it on their own networks thus spreading your message instantly. In return, more visitors find you!
12. Interact With Your Users
You should make publishing articles on your blog or content on your website something your users can interact with. By this, I mean offering some sort of way for them to comment or contact you directly regarding what you shared.
Most blogs are very conversational if the content is good. People like to voice their opinions on topics that they can relate to. If your users decide to comment be sure to reply to these comments. This shows empathy and also denotes that you are human.
Within the comments, you can answer questions, provide feedback, and even link to other articles you wrote that are relative to the discussion at hand. I feel that interacting with your users puts more trust in their perspective of your online presence. That “trust” keeps them loyal to your brand and in return may entice them to promote your website to their own networks. Every little bit helps!
13. Comment on other websites and blogs
Chiming in on other websites often establishes your presence and markets “you”. By being part of the discussion elsewhere you can be perceived as a public “authority” of sorts to other users. The more they see your name the higher you are regarded as a professional on the topic at hand.
Over time you can become a go-to person on the topics or experience you share with the world.
14. Provide Ways To Subscribe
Many readers aren’t wild about visiting a website each and every time they want to absorb your content. To help with this you can broadcast on other channels. Channels such as RSS feeds, curated newsletters, and E-mail promotions often yield great results to those who prefer to view content “offline” ( not really offline but not on your website itself ).
Those that subscribe to newsletters or RSS feeds tend to be more loyal visitors. They stay with you and often look forward to your content as it’s published. To these visitors, you can offer promotions, sell to them directly via e-mail, and actually monetize. Awesome!
15. List Your site on Directories, Search Engines, Public Directories
There are many places you can list your website to gain more attention (most of which are free!). We recommend getting started locally (wherever you are located) by using Google Business and Bing Places.
If your entire business is based online you may find it a little odd to list your business locally but trust me it helps!
Aside from locally you can submit to larger sites like Technorati , dmoz , boingboing , and much more to help index your website. This increases your chances of getting noticed but you will still have to do the heavy lifting and create quality content time and time again.
Advertising often yields great results but you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of the expenses involved. If you truly need online advertising you’ll want to do it right the first time and allocate a realistic budget for it ( try not to cheap out ) . I would recommend using a combination of services like Google AdWords , Facebook Ads , Twitter Ads , and much more.
These ad networks discover what users around the web have been up to and display relevant ads to them across many websites. In return, your websites brand and offering gets a lot of exposure. The hope is that the ads provide a quick call to action to your website driving more visitors.
You don’t have to advertise using these ad networks. If for example, you follow a larger website that relates to your own you can often contact them directly about advertising on their website in some fashion. Doing this is lucrative as it limits you to that specific site, but if the content is similar you can bet more users will find you.
17. Offline Promotion
Even though your business or blog may be online that doesn’t mean you can’t drive visitors to it offline. Business cards, stickers, posters, press releases, direct marketing, etc… are all ways of driving offline users online. Try to be diverse and cover a lot of territory with your website URL. If your message/content on these offline forms of promotion is enticing people will likely visit your website to see what you have to offer.
18. Develop Catchy Titles
There’s no guarantee any visitor will read the content you write ( especially if it’s formatted poorly ). To capture interest you need to be creative with how you title your content. Typically, users will scan a website until something piques their interest. If you optimize your content to be compelling enough for them to want to read more, there will be much greater conversion rates.
Catchy titles are also great to leverage on social media. Many titles persuade users to click a link to your website to find out more.
Beware of “click bait”
While catchy titles are often advised, many writers/authors abuse this privilege and use what is known as “click bait” titles on their articles. This is essentially content that really doesn’t support the title at all but rather is only published to get visitors and ratings. Avoid this at all costs. It may get visitors to your website but it definitely will keep them from coming back.
19. Formatting Matters
The way you author your content needs to be easily readable. Your users have next to zero attention spans when on a website so the content you author needs to be easily scannable.
Below are some tips we use when authoring content at Couple of Creatives
- Use headings for new sections of content so the user knows what it entails
- Break up large sections of text into smaller more scannable blocks
- Call out quotes or special sections that require more attention
- Make sure the typography is clear, easy to read, and not too small.
- Use wide margins to promote better readability.
- Use images to support content but **DON’T** use images just because.
- Limit most content in length. Again your users won’t have the attention span so it’s best to summarize where possible. Most of our blog posts are around 1,000 words in length but that’s not to say that some can be much shorter or longer. It’s often good to vary length we’ve come to find.
- Lead users to more of your content whether by linking to it directly or displaying related content following a blog post for example.
- Have clear call to actions. If you have visitors on your website there’s probably a reason you want them there. If you want them to contact you, for example, make it easy by giving them the option to right within the content.
20. Display F.A.Q.’s front and center
If you find you are getting a lot of the same types of questions about your product, service, or online business take advantage of the opportunity to publish these frequently asked questions on your website.
The reason to do this is two-fold. You will answer questions many visitors will already have and also save time by not having to answer each and every user’s question directly.
We published our own FAQ section on our contact page to give visitors who may be interested in partnering with us a chance to clear up any misconceptions or questions they have about us from the start. This is a great filter for us as sometimes new prospects just aren’t a great fit and by displaying a FAQ section we can not waste both our time and theirs.