Guest post from Corianne Burton from N2Q Consulting
So, you have a website and – you’re proud to say – it’s a sharp one. Now what? Although it would be great if they did, visits don’t always just start rolling in on their own. Oftentimes, it takes strategic planning and careful attention to get the ball rolling at the speed you’d like.
Many of these efforts and checkpoints you can implement right away, on your own. Some of these foundational tactics take a bit longer to see a return on, and it would be best to bring on a professional to oversee the process – but they are worth the extra effort, up front (I’m looking at you, SEO). Here are 8 easy steps to start increasing your traffic, today:
Test drive your website
First, before you try anything else: think like a user that has no prior knowledge of your company and start clicking around. Take note of any external and internal links that might be broken, or pages that might lead you in a frustrating circle. Make sure that every time you click to a new page of your site, there’s a way to get back to where you started, or a clear call to action to keep you moving on. Subscribe to your own blog, send yourself an inquiry on your contact form, and complete a test order if you have an ecommerce site. It’s imperative that you have firsthand knowledge of your site flow, and are confident in the paths you are setting out for users to take.
Search bots scan your website and report what they find back to the search engines. This lets the search engines know what content you have on your site, so they know what sort of organic (unpaid) searches to send your way. Google is all about user experience and intention, and providing results that meet the need of the query. If you provide exceptional, unique content that shows Google you know what you’re talking about, they’ll respond accordingly. You can optimize your site for important keyword phrases and organic traffic by updating important metadata, but you should also be identifying your target audience and researching your competition to find important keyword opportunities you could be missing out on. Doing this helps you to know where you currently stand in terms of organic traffic and opportunity, where you can optimize your messaging to better attract that specific audience, and where your competitors are at in this same process.
Start a blog
Your company should have a blog, and here’s why: Google loves thought-leading content that establishes you as a resource in your field. You should update your blog frequently, and consistently, and you should appeal to your target audience with unique, innovative content that meets a specific need – don’t just republish industry news or press releases, although some of that works, too. Ask yourself: what would your customers want to read? Determine what keywords are sending traffic to your site, find the demand in your line of work, and create an editorial calendar around those topics. Then, get to consistently publishing so Google will take notice.
Get your name out there
Publishing articles on other relevant websites is a great way to build your industry connections, reach a new audience, and drive new traffic to your site. You just need some time, applicable industry research, and a well-written email to show others the value in a content partnership with your site. Look for sites that are part of your industry without being direct competition; readers can check out the article and come straight to your site for further engagement or to reach out with questions.
Engage your social media following
Add social share buttons to your content. This makes it easy for readers to share your content with their own audience and get the conversation started (or keep it going) on social media. You can track your social media referrals in Google Analytics, so pay attention to which outlet has the best return and invest some money into promoting posts or pins or tweets, accordingly.
Check out popular industry websites
Reach out to industry websites that receive a significant amount of traffic and establish a connection with them. Compliment this mission, their messaging, their product, or their approach. Ask about getting added to a directory they have, or to include you in a list of partners or trusted resources. You can also visit the website’s blog and leave some genuine, engaged comments on their articles. This is an excellent way to push traffic to your site.
Join an affiliate program
Affiliate programs work to promote your business to their networks. For each sale your website receives through the affiliate program recommendation, you pay a small fee.
Utilize pay per click advertising or email marketing
Although not ideal for consistently driving a substantial amount of traffic, Google Adwords pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a great investment for some immediate and targeted traffic. If you’d rather not invest additional resources into ads, have an option for visitors to sign-up for a mailing list. Send out newsletters, opt-in incentive for free products, or time-sensitive coupons for subscribers. Each email or newsletter should refer readers to your website for additional information.
If it were easy, everyone would be have thousands and thousands of unique visitors every single day, but it’s all about determining what works best for you in your industry. We highly recommend starting from the top of the list, and working your way down. Sound off in the comments – we’d love to hear what’s worked for you!
Corianne is an SEO Specialist with N2Q Consulting in Seattle, WA. She believes in great content, a well-optimized website, and iced coffee year ‘round.