“If you build it, he will come” is a quote from the iconic 1989 American baseball movie, Field of Dreams and has since been used in a wide range of contexts, having evolved most commonly to “If you build it, they will come. It’s even been used when talking about websites, but this saying is in fact not true of websites, not at all. It’s one thing to build a website but how will your target audience know it’s there unless you tell them? The most effective ways to do this and drive traffic to your website include social media, online advertising, backlinks and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Before we get into all that; it’s important that you have some means to measure the traffic you’re getting to your website. The best way to do this is to sign up to Google Analytics and add your website to your account. You will get a unique Google Analytics tracking ID to include in the HTML code on your website.
Get social and keep it that way
Social media is a valuable part of your marketing arsenal and is one of the easiest (and most affordable) ways to build a following and drive traffic to your website. Ensure that you include your website address in your profile or bio, and post engaging content with clickable links that lead straight to your website.
A good way to increase your reach on social media is to tag other pages or people in your Facebook posts and mention influencers in your tweets on Twitter – the more reach you have the more people you’ll be able to encourage to click through to your website.
While it’s free to create and maintain social media profiles for your business, Facebook, Twitter and (more recently) Instagram all offer options for paid advertising, where you can create campaigns which include links to your website, targeted to your key audience.
There are also many websites which ‘sell’ advertising space in the form of clickable web banners. When deciding which websites to advertise on, make sure you’re choosing those with good reputations, quality traffic and that are relevant to your industry.
Another effective way to increase traffic to your website is through paid search, also known as CPC (Cost Per Click). For example, Google AdWords, where you’re able to create campaigns that ensure your website appears at the top of search results or in the sidebars of website in Google’s Display Network.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The SEO value of your site can be boosted in a number of ways. The most obvious and easiest to execute, is to write original and keyword-rich content. Don’t only focus on single keywords, but make use of long-tail keywords. These are 4-5 word phrases that are specific to the product or service you’re selling. You can use free online tools such as Soovle to plug in your keywords and see the phrases people are most commonly searching for on an assortment of search engines.
Another way to increase your SEO is to ensure you are capturing meta tags and meta descriptions. If you’re building a website in WordPress, the Yoast plugin is a popular tool to help make this easier.
Creating internal links from one page of your site to another, and adding ALT tags to your images can also add SEO value so keep a look out for these opportunities.
Guest blogging might be a slightly dated method of increasing inbound links to your site, but it’s also tried and tested and proven to work! Guest blogging involves publishing a blog post on someone else’s blog or website and linking it back to your own.
Don’t give up on email marketing
Many businesses prefer not to use email marketing to communicate with their audience as newsletters are often considered as spam and are generally not as widely well received as other marketing efforts; however, they can be valuable for those who do open, read, and engage with your bulk emails, particularly if you include interactive buttons and links to your website that offer the user something in return, for example, a free guide or e-book download.
Be responsive, be-e responsive
In April 2015 Google announced the expansion of their use of website mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, which was set to affect mobile searches worldwide and have a significant impact on Google search results. What this means for businesses, is that you can’t afford not to have a mobile-friendly website.
The optimal way to design websites these days is to make them responsive, which keeps the HTML code the same for both desktop and mobile devices but allows the display to automatically resize depending on what device you’re using to access it. You can test whether your website is mobile-friendly using Google’s handy test tool.
Have a strategy for increasing referral traffic and backlinks
Last but not least, you won’t be able to increase your traffic if you don’t monitor your traffic. Use Google Analytics to see where your top referrals are coming from and formulate a plan to increase the number of links coming in from quality referrers.
Backlinks are essentially inbound links from other websites. You can use Google Webmaster Tools to identify these and develop ways to increase them as part of your overall link building and SEO strategy.
This article first appeared on Ignite Media.