Once online, a common hurdle faced by many small businesses is being visible and driving people to their website. Making potential customers aware your business is online can be a challenge for everyone; from start-ups to established businesses, both e-commerce and general information sites. How can you get seen online? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Make sure users have a good experience on your site
Before sending customers to your website you need to make sure it’s optimised to be quick and work on different devices. You don’t want to put in the work driving people to your site for them to press the back button straight away because they had to zoom on their mobile or wait a long time for a page to load. Google offers a free Mobile-Friendly Test where you can enter your website address and get a grade for how well your site performs on mobile devices. Google also offer PageSpeed Insights; a tool to test your website’s speed that even gives you some areas you need to improve on. Not only does your website’s mobile optimisation and loading time affect how you appear in search engines, by improving the customer journey you’ll be encouraging potential customers not only to visit your website but to spend longer online.
Create and share content
Create a content hub to engage customers and share your content to drive traffic to your website. You should aim to post new blogs or other content pieces, such as ‘How To Guides’, that appeal to your target audience frequently (try for one post a week). Optimise each content piece by utilising keyword research to improve where your content appears on search engine results and remember to include social sharing icons to encourage customers to share your content. Make sure you dedicate some time to think about the title of your content pieces to make sure they are compelling enough to get customers to click through to your website to continue reading.
Think about SEO
It’s been reported that websites on the first page of search engine Google receive 91.5% of traffic while only 4.8% of traffic goes to the second search page. This goes to show the higher your website appears in relevant search engine results the more visible it becomes to customers. Keywords, content creation and link-building are all key factors to improving your search ranking. Why not start by researching relevant keywords to your business and industry using Google’s Keyword Tool?
Get active on social media
Social media allows you to send an interested and engaged audience straight to your website and can be a valuable tool. Some opportunities you can explore to make the most of your social channels include sharing blog posts, promoting your products or services and showcasing your website link in a prominent location. Set aside some time to spend on social media and actively engage with relevant conversations and your potential customers. It’s worth checking that your website link is in all your business social media bios too.
Investigate guest blogging
If you enjoy writing about your knowledge and industry you could investigate guest blogging, where you write exclusive content for other blogs, and by including a link to your website you could potentially grab traffic from this source. You can search for websites and blogs who are looking for guest contributors by searching for terms such as [“write for us: (industry)] e.g. [“write for us” travel]
Set up social ads
There are many online advertising formats and platforms that can drive traffic to your website, including paid search and social media advertising. For example, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising on Google displays your advert at the top of the search results by bidding to appear for relevant keywords. And social media advertising displays your advert to targeted audiences. Just make sure you optimise your adverts for link clicks in the set-up process as well as including a clear call to action and your website address.
Email your customers
A customer database is a list of engaged customers who have displayed an interest in your business before, so why not send them useful and interesting content? Just remember to include links to your website, where relevant, so that you can drive traffic to your site. Although it can be daunting to start building an email list from scratch, even simple additions such as placing a newsletter sign up on your website, investing in some social media advertising or exploring how to collect emails offline can be a great place to start.
Don’t forget about offline
Are you promoting your website offline? It’s an easy area to forget but promoting your online presence via offline activities can not only increase traffic to your site but can help raise general brand awareness too. Start by making sure your website address is included on all printed material – such as brochures and leaflets – and advertise your website within your physical store (if applicable), so you can tell both new and loyal customers you’re online.
Show you can be trusted online
Can your business offer a free product or service? Giveaways have the potential to generate a buzz, which you can supplement using advertising and offline promotion, which can attract customers and drive them to your website. Once you know the nature of your offer why not start by promoting it on your blog, social media and offline materials (where you can)? Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised by the response you get.
Although not a direct source of traffic in itself, Google Analytics can provide you with a host of useful data about your website including where your traffic is coming from. By monitoring the results regularly you’ll be able to see what platforms and strategies are working best at getting traffic to your site. You can invest more time, energy and resources into these campaigns to increase the amount of traffic coming to your site. You can also gain insights into what pages on your site are performing the best, your visitor’s demographics and the highest performing content pieces, all which can inform your future strategies.
Don’t be afraid to try different ways of getting traffic to your website, different tactics will work for different businesses and websites. For example, businesses with e-commerce functions may find it easier to provide offers to customers, while those with a blog may find it easier to guest contribute and get their website in front a larger audience that way. You don’t just have to pick one way to drive traffic to your website either, it could be that a mixture of these methods work well for your business.
By Jayne Kendall, Product Marketing Manager, www.ourhomeonline.wales