HOW DO I GET MORE VISITORS TO MY WEBSITE?
I wish we had £10 for every time we were asked the question: “How do I get more visitors to my website?” I can feel the Caribbean sea lapping at my feet now as I order a cold beer!
It seems a pretty simple question but on more than one occasion the underlying question is “How do I create more online sales?”. Business owners often equate more website traffic with more sales and this is a reasonable expectation, for sure.
However, it doesn’t necessarily follow.
Let’s clear this up first before discussing the actual processes by which you can increase the visitor numbers to your website.
3 ESSENTIALS TO ATTRACT HIGH QUALITY VISITORS TO YOUR WEBSITE
Firstly, sales IS a numbers game but the most desirable website visitors should have a high ‘purchase potential’; they need to be quality visitors if you expect better sales. Quality of visitor depends on WHERE and HOW you source your website traffic.
The story doesn’t end there though. Secondly, once a ‘quality’ visitor has found their way to a website then the product or service has to meet their expectations. Undoubtedly, all of us have followed a link expecting great things only to leave the page immediately, disappointed by what we found.
Why would we be disappointed?
Because our expectations are driven by the description or content that accompanies the link we follow to a website. It could be the words of a sponsored Ad, a description in the organic search results, a Facebook or Linkedin post or any number of routes but if the expectation is not met the visitor will bounce straight off the website.
Don’t describe your business as ‘ the country’s best supplier of German executive cars’ if all you have for sale is a 1987 3 series BMW for £500. Link descriptions should be passionate and energetic and attractive, yes ….. but above all HONEST.
Thirdly, the expectation of the visitor is met by the relevance of the landing page (the very first page the link takes them to).
Even if your product or service does meet every criteria for the visitor to make a purchase this needs to be immediately apparent by the content of the landing page. It should not only be visually appealing and conducive but also appropriate to the content of the link description. A great product with a poor landing page will never reach its potential.
What IS the answer?
So, “How do I get more visitors to my website?”
Before attempting to attract more visitors to your website make sure as a minimum these 3 SIMPLE POINTS are in order. It will save you a lot of heartache and wasted budget.
- Analyse the source of your current traffic. Make sure it is high quality and relevant to your product and service. Where are your potential customers ‘hanging out’ online? Be there!
- Make sure the link descriptions are an honest reflection of your product or service. They must meet the expectations of the visitor.
- The landing page must be appealing, appropriate to the link description and conducive with a ‘Call to Action’.
Once these basics are in place then the Conversion Rate (% of visitors that ‘do whatever it is you want them to do’) will increase.
In truth, analysis and testing to increase the Conversion Rate is never over! There is always something new to try!
So, now that the basics are in order lets explore the options for
Online Traffic Generation.
SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION).
SEO has long been the gold standard of traffic generation.
10+ years ago, along with sponsored Ads, SEO was pretty much the only option to drive significant traffic to a website.
This is no longer the case as there are several other ways to do this as we will discuss later.
That said, Search Engine Optimisation is still the No1 traffic generator for websites. The challenge now is the extended timescales involved with ranking web pages highly in the search results. Any attempted manipulation of Google’s algorithm (the 200+ factors that decide which pages rank highest in the search results) will induce penalties that can be catastrophic for business websites. SEO is a long term investment that can deliver the most exceptional results. A major benefit of Google’s ‘War on Spam’ is that once your web page is ranking significantly highly for a competitive search term it is much harder for competitors to displace!
GOOGLE+ LOCAL SEO
These are the results that Google returns following a local search. They are displayed in the ‘Box of Seven’ just below the sponsored Ads and perhaps 2 or 3 organic results. Google retains a database of local businesses and will show the details of just 7 businesses in its local results listing. These results are accompanied by a map reference for each business on the right hand side of the results page. The map will contain 7 red pins (A to G) indicating the location of each business.
In the example here you can see the returned results for the search term ‘Warrington electrician’. In order to be listed in these results the business address must be relevant to the local search.
As with SEO there are many factors that determine which 7 businesses Google chooses to display in these local results.
Inclusion in these local search results are highly prized and well worth the effort to attain.
Reviews can be seen on business directory sites, social media sites, social bookmarking & blog sites, video sites, Google Adwords and Google+ business pages, dedicated review sites and of course via search engine results.
- 88% of consumers say they read online reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business
- 87% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendation
(BrightLocal.com survey 2014)
- 90% of respondents claim that positive online reviews influence their buying decision
(Dimensional Research Survey 2013)
In a competitive environment, great reviews will drive TONS of traffic to your business.
Your reputation is THE most important factor for your success online and offline.
Everybody has heard of YouTube but did you know it was the second biggest search engine in the UK? Millions of people search YouTube for answers to questions, recommended products and services and product reviews. Other video platforms like Daily Motion, Vimeo and Viddler are also great sources of information.
Of course Google owns YouTube so who thinks it may favour its own video site in the search engine results? This aside, video is such an engaging medium – far more so than text – that when a video pops up in the search results we will almost always click on it. You can also choose to run a Google search to include video results only – this is becoming hugely popular.
- Websites with video are 51% more likely to gain Page 1 ranking in the search results
- Video click-through-rate is 41% higher than text
- Cisco predicts that 90% of all internet traffic will be via video
WEBINARS & PODCASTS are also useful traffic generating methods but tend to be pertinent to specific businesses. Many Internet Marketers will use these methods to promote their services, latest software or training courses. They can be streamed live to the audience and often participation is encouraged.
Creating and maintaining an email list of customers is hugely important for any business. Unfortunately it is widely misunderstood or worse, ignored. Businesses are missing a HUGE opportunity to increase website traffic, create referrals and keep the tills ringing!
The basics are simple:
- Create an email list of customers – past, current and potential. There are many ways to automatically build a quality email list that we will discuss in later posts. For simplicity, offering incentives to join your mailing list is a well tried and successful tactic.
- Give VALUE to your email list – DON’T bombard them with products / sales / discounts / requests etc. All your efforts at building a valuable list will be lost to the ‘unsubscribe’ button.
- DO develop a relationship of TRUST with your list.
- ONLY give relevant and worthwhile information to your list. For example if you are a classic car dealer give updates on appreciating classics, cars to avoid, changes to motoring law, car shows, recommended parts dealers, best insurance advice etc. Every 8 or so emails can be a ‘sales’ email from your business. This way your email list will be far more receptive to your promotional emails.
Other traffic generation methods utilising email marketing are VIDEO EMAILS & SOLO ADS.
Video emails are gaining popularity because the ‘open-rate’ is so much higher than text emails.
Solo ads are when a business effectively rents an email list from an allied business. For example if I was in the fitness supplement industry I may choose to send emails to people interested in weight training or dieting or athletics. I would seek out a business with a list that contains those niches and agree a schedule and payment terms for an email campaign.
The most widely recognised paid advertising platform is Google Adwords although all the search engines will run sponsored advertisements. This is also true for the majority of social media sites including Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.
Advertising on Adwords will definitely bring visitors to your site but at what cost?
Long gone are the days when advertising on Adwords might cost £0.10 per click. In those days it was pretty easy to make a campaign successful. If you achieved one sale for every 100 clicks on your advertisement then that sale has cost you £10. As long as the profit from the sale is greater than £10 then you would be making money.
However, the average Adwords cost per click has risen dramatically. If you achieve the same one sale for every 100 clicks but that click costs £1.00 then you are already faced with a £100 cost. Is there enough profit in your goods to absorb this cost and still make a profit?
There are many ways to brighten the above example. You would certainly start by increasing the conversion rate from 1% by ensuring the Ads are shown to quality searchers only. You would also raise your quality score and listing position. The Ads may need rewriting and the keywords reassessing. Overall, though Adwords is best reserved for goods and services in a higher price (profit) bracket.
Aswell as Adwords CPC which appear in the Search Network you can also purchase DISPLAY ADS that show on the Google Display Network There is also ADWORDS REMARKETING to encourage revisits to your website. It is also possible to simply BUY MEDIA (advertising space on relevant websites). All these tactics are used to drive more traffic to your website.
Here is a FULL explanation of how GOOGLE ADWORDS works and the pitfalls to avoid.
Since 2010 the rise in the influence of social media has been huge. For this Blog there is simply far too much to cover. Suffice to say social media platforms can drive 1000’s of visitors to your website. It does however take a concentrated effort to be ‘social’. Which social platforms harbour your potential customers is also a crucial consideration. Linkedin is well known for its B2B (business to business) services. The more recently introduced platform Pinterest has a large following of women, is very visual and has its greatest number of ‘pins’ in the food and clothing niches. You get the message, right? Concentrate on the social platforms where your customers are.
GREAT BLOG / WEBSITE CONTENT
Create great content for your Blog and visitors will come. OK!
The best way to now regard Press Releases is this: Make sure the release is newsworthy! Simple I know, but there is a lot of junk out there. Most people don’t want to know if you painted the office purple. If the release is interesting it will get picked up and distributed. That way you will see more visitors to your website. DO NOT over optimise you PR, stuff it with keywords and anchor text – you will be penalised. in fact the advice is to add a ‘no follow’ attribute to any links.
OTHER TRAFFIC GENERATING TACTICS
Finally, I am going to mention some SEO tactics that also generate an increase in direct traffic to your website. Employing some of these methods inappropriately in today’s online climate will prove disastrous for your website. You have been warned!
Many of these tactics were widely used as part of SEO programs before Google waged its war on spam via the series of algorithm updates. They were pursued because of the ‘link-juice’ transferred to the recipient site and the subsequent rise in search engine ranking.
Article Marketing – Google has severely penalised article directories for hosting spammy and duplicate content, generally posted by marketers attempting to gain an advantageous backlink with little regard for quality. These sites have generally lost PageRank and authority. Along with others, we think it is pointless utilising article marketing for SEO. We rarely see articles appearing in the search results now.
EzineArticles.com – once the flagship article directory site – has now made all outgoing links ‘no follow’; possibly an indication that they are trying to appease Google. As numbers of visitors drop to these sites the potential for direct traffic also decreases. Not worth the effort or risk. You are better off creating unique content for your own website.
Business Directories – Only list your business on relevant business directory sites. You may get some direct traffic to your website as people search the site, particularly if you have excellent reviews. Listing your business on irrelevant directories is a NO-NO. Paid directories such as DMoz and Yahoo have a high standing with Google.
Blog & Forum Commenting – This is a time intensive tactic and many sites do not allow outbound links within the comments you post because it attracts spam. You can often create a link to your website from within your biography though. If you contribute freely and regularly on these sites you will create traffic to your website as people research you, trust you and follow you.
Guest Blogging – “Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.” MATT CUTTS, Head of Spam at Google, Jan 2014. Enough said.
Social Bookmarking & External Blog sites – Both of these avenues require concerted effort to create a stream of traffic to your website. There is no direct SEO value gained from these sites but the quality of content will drive traffic directly to your website. Again, here we have the scenario that when your content is good, people will follow, link to and recommend your website. This will have a direct effect on the websites search engine ranking.
Link Building – Links placed on high trust websites are like gold dust. They not only transfer ‘link-juice’ to improve your search engine ranking but they will drive traffic directly to your website. However, following Google’s Penguin update your links must be ‘earned’ and created in a timely and realistic manner or your website ranking may be penalised.
Incoming links must come from related websites also or they are deemed inappropriate and ‘paid links’. Why would a gardening website be linked to by a baby’s clothes outlet? In this instance – and if the same website has 100’s of these unnatural links – Google will penalise the site by reducing its PageRank and also dropping its position in the search rankings.
We would only recommend manual link building at to avoid automation all together. The most highly prized links come from educational, government and news websites.
HOW DO I GET MORE VISITORS TO MY WEBSITE?
As you can see there are in fact many ways to increase the number of visitors to your website. We have touched on the major drivers of website traffic but if you want to add something please do!
We haven’t even touched on the ‘offline’ methods. Another day maybe!