12 Essential Rules For Building Your Site Traffic
The right attitude
We all want more traffic to our website. The more traffic we get, the more people to convert into paying customers. But there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to traffic building. First of all think about your target market and how to build traffic from that market. You are only ever going to be able to build good traffic numbers if you have a product or service that solves peoples problem and is worth remarking upon. Today as it has been for hundreds of years word of mouth remains the most powerful marketing tool. You’re only going to get word of mouth traffic if you make yourself stand out, do something interesting, offer a better service, have easier to understand content, offer more for free, offer a simple, more enjoyable experience.
Below is a 12 point plan that anyone marketing a product or service via the web should read carefully. If you implement the steps below and do it diligently and consistently then I guarantee you’ll get great traffic improvements. Not all the steps are relevant to everyone, but all are worth understanding and reviewing.
Content, content, content
The most important thing is your website. You need quality, well structured content that people want to read and use. It may seem obvious but there is no point in doing all sorts of marketing for your site if when people reach it they are immediately put off by the design (first impressions count!), confusing structure and complicated copy. So when I refer to content, first and foremost you need to think about how useful what you are writing for the intended audience is. Is it really relevant information? Then think about how you can communicate it it in a really simple, concise and clear manor. On the web short paragraphs, bullet points, images, video and lots of subheadings work well to make information easier to scan.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
There’s a good chance your biggest source of relevant traffic is going to come from search engines, more specifically Google which has 90% of the search market in the UK. There are a few simple things you can do to keep Google happy with your site.
- Have a sitemap (if you’re using WordPress then simply install the Google XML plugin.
- Google really likes the words you put in page titles, headers, permalinks and near the top of a page. These should be carefully chosen and include audience targeted keywords.
- Make sure you don’t have any broken links or error pages.
- Make sure your site loads quickly. If it is slow consider a simpler design, less imagery, or a Content Management System (CMS) e.g. WordPress or hosting upgrade.
- Don’t use Flash. Flash is the technology that creates all the fancy animation you see on websites but Google can’t read it.
- Don’t copy content, Google can recognise duplicated content from other sites. Have something new to say or a better way of saying it.
- Get inbound links to your site by contributing to Q&A sites, review sites, forums (use a signature that people will recognise as belonging to your site), wikis, Squidoo, social bookmarking sites, publishing a digital press release.
- Add your site to relevant directories. Think local, industry specific, club/org, blog directories.
Pick the most relevant, specific, cost effective keywords using Adwords Keyword Tool, Search Keyword Tool and Google Insights. Keep analysing the results and experimenting with difference combinations to find what works best for you.
Join relevant conversations. Find forums that relate to your sites content and start contributing. Comment on other peoples blog posts, answer questions, join online communities in the relevant areas and contribute. Look for appropriate LinkedIn groups, Google groups, Facebook groups – join up and join in. Use your website link in your signature where appropriate. Don’t just hard sell, you’ll create much better relationships and traffic if you join in the most helpful manor possible, answering questions, making recommendations, explaining concepts and so on.
You can’t ignore social media and especially twitter anymore. There are millions of conversations going on and the chances are some of these are relevant to you. Sign up, follow some interesting people, interact, follow people you want to follow you back, search for relevant topics, help people out, where relevant point people to resources on your site and boom! your a social media marketer. Make sure your website is part of your twitter profile and customise your background to help you stand out. Encourage other people to tweet your content by adding a “tweet” button on your blog. I’ve written much more detail on getting started with twitter and using twitter for business so check those articles out too.
Facebook gets more traffic than any other website in the world. Yes that’s right, more than Google, so you can’t ignore it any longer. Create a public Facebook presence for yourself or your business using Facebook Pages. Use your name or company name as the vanity url. Use your company name and relevant keywords in the title and headers and make sure its listed in the right category. Brand your page with logos and photos, publish fresh content easily with the help of the “Networked Blogs” app and the “Selective Tweets” app and invite people to “Like” your page through Facebook, twitter, email or by adding a “Like” button or panel to your website.
If you have a product that can be purchased directly from your site then you may want to offer an affiliate scheme. This means that if people link to your site, and send people who then purchase your products, you give them a percentage of the sale. This can be a great way of getting lots of incoming links from internet marketers and because they are only motivated by converted sales the links usually provide relevant traffic. Take a look at e-junkie, clickbank or for the more serious seller Affiliate Window.
More Social Networking
Although twitter and Facebook are where its at right now with social networking, there are plenty more opportunities for you to get socialising and get word out about your website. Think about your niche and whether there are social networking sites built around it. Also if you have video to share use YouTube, for photos Flickr and Facebook too, and for presentations SlideShare. This way you offer content to large public audiences with the hope of gaining some interest and drawing traffic back to your site.
You’ll get more traffic to your website if you take your marketing offline too. Go to local meetups, tweetups, clubs, networking events and conferences. Tell anyone who will listen what your doing and why it could help them. Better still offer to speak at an event that way you can show off your knowledge to a large number of people. Later you can make sure they know how to contact you and get to your website by using traditional business cards – they still work.
It’s sometimes easier to target your marketing to one relevant niche at a time. One that’s probably relevant is your local community. Local people are easier to meet in person and you have things in common with them just by virtue of where you live. There are plenty of local business directory sites that you can make sure your company and website are registered on and get some more valuable inbound links. Sign up with Google Places, Yell, Thomson Local, FreeIndex, Gumtree and Touch Local and any directories specific to your area.
PR is still a killer technique for getting journalists and bloggers to write about you and link to your site. If you have a good story then you can quickly get 100′s of good quality inbound links, but it can take time and you need to understand what the journalists and bloggers are looking for. They want something interesting, an unusual story and it needs to fit their style and interests. Do your homework, find the contact details for your target journalists and start a conversation. Twitter can be great for this. When you have the right story at the right time get it out to your target journalists in the body of an email if possible. Also digitally distributing a press release is a good way of helping your SEO efforts. You can use PRWeb for around £50 per release or if you haven’t got the budget there are free services available from PRLog and ClickPress.
One great way of attracting links (known as link baiting) is to offer free stuff. Competitions and prize giveaways can get you tweets, articles, Facebook Likes and more. It helps if there is an interesting angle on the giveaway that makes it more worth telling your friends about. iPad giveaways have been hugely popular as it is such a desirable product. It doesn’t have to be a real product either. If you have coding or design skills you could giveaway graphics, icons, software or website themes. One very successful technique for me was offering a free innovative online tool. This got featured on several big blogs and got me some great SEO benefits as well as instant and consistent traffic. Think about a simple tool that could attract your market. My favourite example of this is HubSpot’s super useful Grader.com service which helps enormously with SEO and got HubSpot just the attention and traffic they wanted.
If you go through each one of these 12 steps and think about them thoroughly and spend time on each aspect then you can expect some massive increases in traffic. What are your most successful traffic building techniques? What do you find most difficult to understand above? let us know we are here to listen and help and make this the simplest most effective guide to building quality traffic to your website.