I get it. You’ve poured time, love and money into making a beautiful website for your business. You can’t wait to see it delivering customers and delivering on your dreams.
But wait, what’s this? Hardly anyone is visiting? No one is using your contact form or reading your clear, customer-friendly copywriting?
‘Build it and they will come’ romanticism doesn’t fly when it comes to getting people to visit your website.
It takes one set of skills to make a website, and quite another to get traffic. And since this is of one my top requests when working with my entrepreneur clients, here are some of my tips to get more traffic to your website, without spending money on advertising.
Tip 1 — SEO or ‘Search Engine Optimisation’
Even as an entrepreneur or freelancer, you still have a boss (or should I say, overlord…)
And this boss is quite demanding.
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the art and science of strategically writing and designing your website in order to get more traffic from search engines.
There’s a good reason why SEO experts are so in demand. Getting your search engine visibility right can make or break your business. While SEO is a fast-changing and often complex topic, there are a few basics to understand.
Search engines such as Google have algorithms built to crawl the world’s websites, scoring them on several factors:
- Site speed: how fast the pages and content load
- Quality content: whether the content is valuable, easy to read and answers actual questions people are asking online
- UX or User Experience: how user-friendly the design is
- Referencing: how many other websites link to yours (this obviously links back to quality content)
The higher your site scores on these points, the more likely your website links will appear in searches or ‘SERP’ — Search Engine Results Pages.
If your marketing and sales strategy is dependent on people visiting your website through organic search, then you need to make sure your website is SEO-optimised. A good place to start is this free SEO for beginners course by Yoast.
Tip 2 — (Quality) Content Marketing
Your website’s content is absolutely key to attracting visitors because it’s the reason why they should come to your site.
Hundreds of millions of people are trying to find answers to questions and problems every day online. Your website’s goal is to try to answer some of those questions for a small group of people: your target audience.
While it’s labour intensive, an SEO-optimized blog is still an extremely effective way to attract organic website traffic. The trick is to write your blog posts to answer specific questions for your niche target audience.
Thanks to my (infrequent) blog posts on my website, I’m able to appear on the first or second page of Google searches for long-tail keywords like “self-employed burnout”, “CEO vs employee mindset” and “small business marketing choices”.
My website is highly unlikely to ever appear on page 1 for “marketing strategist”, but I gain hundreds of visitors per month simply by appearing on page 1 for other more niche topics.
Don’t want to write a blog? Get someone else to do it for you. Alternatively, you can also publish videos, podcast episodes or slideshow content — whatever medium works for you to attempt to answer some of the questions your target audience might be asking.
Quality content is what will get people to visit your site, to trust you or your business, sign up to hear from you again and ideally buy something.
Tip 3 — PR, referrals and guest content
Another way to bring relevant traffic to your website is to seek visibility through third-parties who have a larger audience than you. These could be mentions in the media; podcast, radio or TV interviews with an influencer in your industry; public speaking and brand partnerships, or guest blogging for larger websites with the audience you want to reach.
Start small and get creative.
While it’s challenging to be picked up in the mainstream media, it’s not impossible. Even without hiring a professional PR consultant to sell your pitch in to journalists, you might just get a yes by pitching a compelling story with a unique angle or by offering to speak as an expert on a trending topic.
Bloggers and journalists use the hashtag #journorequest on social media to find useful sources and interviewees for stories, so follow it to look for opportunities.
Once again, quality content on your website will help you out here by demonstrating your authority.
Just remember that the goal of these activities is to bring traffic to your website, so always make sure you get the partner to agree to share your website links. As a former PR person, I have too many painful memories of un-trackable coverage. Ai!
Tip 4 — Social Media
I used to be a social media marketing strategist, so trust me, I know how much harder it’s gotten to build an audience for your business on social media.
But just because it’s gotten harder, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Again, to effectively use social media to drive traffic to your website, you need quality content — lots of it.
Here’s how to increase the reach of your website content on social:
- Use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest that your target audience might be interested in.
- Actively participate in closed communities where your audience is, such as private Facebook groups.
- Think beyond Facebook and Instagram. Answer your potential customers’ questions on Quora or Reddit. Re-publish your blog posts to Medium. Private message your customers using Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp when you have new content to share.
When it comes to social media, it’s so easy to get sucked in by vanity metrics. How many likes? How many impressions? But it’s not about how many people saw it. It’s about the right person seeing it.
A client of mine got two leads worth up to 5-figures each from a LinkedIn article we wrote together that was viewed by about 50 people. Now that’s a good ROI on a piece of quality content.
Building an audience takes time. Building a strong ranking on Google takes time.
Like everything, there’s no free shortcut to getting traffic to your website. But the good news is, you can start today. Start small, but start today.
Want more marketing tips? Read ‘What every entrepreneur needs to understand about marketing’.