If you’ve launched a new website, or simply never had much traffic, you may be wondering how to get more people to visit it.
There a several avenues you can go down here, but first of all it’s helpful to have a look at where those visitors might come from.
Building it does not mean they will come.
So you’ve put your heart, your soul, countless hours of intense concentration and a fair bit of investment into your website. The day comes and you hit launch. You excitedly fire up Google Analytics and anxiously await your first customer.
Minutes tick by. Then hours. Then days or even weeks. No clicks. Maybe a couple of brief visitors but no where near enough sales to cover the cost and effort of putting the site together in the first place.
This is because websites are different. Out in the real world, if you built a shop, people would walk past. They will pop in to see what you’re doing. Website’s simply don’t work in the same way. There is no “foot traffic”. You may be thinking something along the lines of “but surely someone will stumble across my site”. Perhaps. Lets have a look at the different ways in which someone might stumble across your site.
Ok, this is kind of the opposite of finding a website by accident, but it’s the most likely way someone is going to find it in the very beginning. Direct traffic is from people who type in your website address. Doing this manually is pretty archaic and only likely to happen if your website is discovered out in the real world. Perhaps you’ve bumped into someone and told them about your awesome new website, so they go home and dutifully type in your website’s address. Or maybe you have a business card with the website link on it, an advert in a printed magazine, a nice big billboard or a happy customer tells their mate down the pub. When was the last time you typed in a website’s full address the first time you visited it?
If there is a strong awareness of your brand then there are some things you can do to make it easier for people to get to your site, setting up dedicated URLs for landing pages for example. This means you can distinguish between people who visit your site from having seen your billboard, from those who have seen your magazine advert.
These days, if someone hears about your business for the first time they are quite likely to put your business name into Google rather than laboriously enter every character of your website’s address (if they even know it), so you’d better be ranking at the top of the Google results for your own business names. Which brings us to the next way in which people might find your website.
There are a number of ways in which someone may visit your website from a search engine. As above, if someone types in your business name, or something close to it, you’d hope that Google would guide them to your site, but you can’t take this for granted. There are rather a lot of businesses with websites these days so it’s certainly possible that another business with a similar name actually appears above yours for some searches. If your website is very new, or badly optimised it may not even appear in search results that are very close to, or even exactly your business name. Again, typing in your business name is hardly “stumbling upon” your website.
if people can’t find your website when they are looking for it how can people be expected to stumble across it?
The next stage is to start getting found by people who are looking for the things that you sell. For example, if you sell coffee beans in Manchester, then you can get more visitors when someone searches online for “coffee beans for sale in Manchester” and then visits your website from the results they see. The trouble here is that there will already be a lot of websites at the top of the list which have put in a lot of work to get there. To get a significant number of clicks, you need to be towards the top of that list… But getting there is tricky.
Google measures over 200 factors about your site and the digital footprint of your business on the internet when deciding where to place it in those results, the top 5 or so get the vast majority of clicks. If your website is new, these high ranking websites are probably performing better in some of these areas, the top website will have more pages, more content, more links and overall, more authority. When was the last time you went through to page 7 or 8 to find something? The purpose of SEO is to improve where your website sits in these results.
Regardless of your business and your goals, investing in SEO is always a good way to get new visitors, but it does take time and technical expertise. In short, this is an important type of marketing that most businesses should focus on. It’s a hugely complex and, in our opinion, fascinating topic. We won’t go into any more detail here, but there’s loads more info in our blog. In our experience, investing in good SEO is more cost effective in the medium to long term than other marketing strategies.
On a slightly different note, more and more businesses and websites are now getting customers from social media. This could be where you get a significant proportion of your visitors. But how could someone end up visiting your website from social media?
The most likely situation is that someone is browsing their newsfeed where a friend has shared, liked or commented on a post of yours. Remember that most platforms like Facebook won’t show everything you post, even to people who follow you and engage with your content. As there is so much content being posted, you need to be keeping active to avoid being completely buried, posting once a day is the minimum for most platforms. More than that, you need to make sure that what you post is interesting enough to catch peoples’ attention. Once you’ve started doing this you can begin to direct them towards your website.
Individual posts can include a link to your site and business profiles on some platforms can integrate a call to action that helps initiate someone. However, your content still needs to be crafted to herd people from your profile or post onto your website if that’s your plan – in some cases you may want people to get in touch directly from within the platform. Having “likes” in itself doesn’t normally make people money, so you need to find a way to get people on to your website or somewhere you can generate sales.
Another way for people to find your website is if they click on a link from another website. Depending on what your business does and the other types of marketing you are doing, this could come from a number of places.
For local businesses, having a listing in all the top directories, such as Yell and Freeindex can help drive web traffic. People often search for reviews of local businesses and having these listings is also highly beneficial for local SEO. If your website is new, or you haven’t checked up on your listings for a while it’s certainly worth spending some time getting them up to scratch.
On a larger scale, it can be really useful to get links from other, high authority websites. Whether this is a review in an industry online publication, a link from a blog which is related to what you do, or a newspaper website doing a piece on your business. Not only can this put your business and website in front of these audiences, but again, the link form these high authority sites is looked on favourably by Google, helping SEO further. The sort of work to generate these kinds of “PR” links is slightly different. You may need to create and provide some kind of content, or do something that’s interesting enough to make it into a local or niche news publication.
This is kind of a mix of all of the above, plus a bit more. The core concept of content marketing is to create content that people want, rather than advertising designed to persuade. You might write a blog offering helpful advice, create an infographic with a recipe, or offer an ebook with more in depth information. This is a key component of almost every marketing campaign now, as it benefits SEO, gives you engaging things to post on social media and is more likely to be shared by other people and website. So while creating content in itself won’t drive traffic, it is an essential component to any online campaign.
PPC (pay per click advertising)
If you’re looking for a quick solution to boost your website traffic you may have already looked into pay per click advertising. This covers Facebook Ads, Google Adwords and so on. In fact, you may pay per thousand views rather than per click, but we still call this strategy PPC. Marketers now spend more on online advertising than on TV advertising so it’s kind of a big deal.
As we’ve mentioned before, PPC can be a very useful quick fix for promoting a specific product or service, but it quickly gets expensive if it becomes your main source of sales. If you’re dipping your toe in the water, you may spend say, £200 and an hour or £20 a day on this for a week to see what happens. It takes a little time to fine tune the setup, refining them according to the data you collect, but keep in mind if it’s a cost effective use of your own time and budget.
You may be starting to wonder which of these tactics is the best fit for your website. The short answer is: all of them. No single approach is going to be able to generate much traffic compared to when these tactics are used together. Even better, they all support each other. As mentioned, getting links also helps with SEO. Doing better social media advertising can also increase your visibility in search rankings. Offline marketing can reinforce what you do online even further.
All of these approaches will take a bit of time to kick in and drive real traffic to your website. If you’re keeping an eye on the analytics for your website you might not notice a substantial increase for a few months, however there are other things you can look at to see if your work is helping or hindering. Improvements to engagement on social media or rankings in SERPs are early signs of life. Once you’ve started to drive traffic to your site, the next step would be to start looking at how many of those visitors go on to become paying customers with conversion rate optimisation.
Of course the precise balance of these different types of marketing will depend on exactly where your business is and what you want to achieve. For example, different social media platforms work better for B2B compared to B2C marketing and SEO, even just local SEO should be carried out according to the geographical area you wish to target. Here at Alloy we carry out all these services individually, or as part of an all inclusive marketing retainer, so that you can get more from your marketing budget.