How to drive traffic to your website
So you’ve created your site. Now people will flock to it. Right?
That depends. If you’ve built your website using search engine optimisation (SEO) principles or paid for some form of online advertising, then people are more likely to visit your site.
Otherwise, no. There are many cases of websites not appearing on search engine rankings several months after they’ve been launched.
A website is like any other product or service – it needs to be promoted to its intended audience for a chance at success.
To start driving traffic to your site, you need to do a few things as soon as the site is launched:
- Verify ownership of your website. You need to do this for Google to start indexing and ranking your site. It’s not something that will have an immediate impact on your web rankings – it may take a month or so.
- Buy and deploy an SSL certificate for your site. Google decreases rankings of websites without the online security that SSL certificates bring. Go to your domain provider or web hosting service to buy and activate an SSL certificate. You’ll know your certificate is activated when the start of your web address changes from ‘http’ to ‘https’.
- Create a Google account and set up a Google Analytics account. Google Analytics will provide a whole host of web usage data that helps measure the success of your site. This data can also help inform future strategies to increase visitation to your site. For details, read Measuring the success of your website. (link to article)
More web traffic please
More visitors to your website doesn’t just mean greater lead generation and more sales. The added benefit is the ranking of your website on search engines will also increase.
So how do you start increasing visitation? There are two general approaches – unpaid (organic) and paid.
‘Unpaid’ or organic marketing simply means you’re not paying for advertising. Organic methods still require an investment of time (if you’re developing and executing them yourself) or money (if you’re paying someone else to do it).
Search engine optimisation (SEO): This involves increasing search engine rankings by creating ‘search-engine friendly’ websites through such onsite SEO approaches as quality content, aesthetic and usable design, user-friendly information structure and software that improves the customer experience.
The ranking of a website can also be significantly impacted by off-site SEO, which mainly involves increasing the number of links from other sites to your website. Social media or certain high-value online directories are good way of increasing ‘backlinks’.
Content marketing: Some would argue this is just journalism used for marketing purposes. Content marketing involves creating valuable and authoritative information for a target audience that positions a product, service or business in a favourable light.
Think of the many YouTube videos presented by businesses that give useful advice on different aspects associated with their industry. For example, a racing bathers manufacturer sponsoring expert advice on how to improve swimming style.
By creating credible and authoritative information on topics that matter to potential customers, a business has a greater chance of being discovered by its target audience and earning trust and loyalty along the way.
A less transparent form of content marketing is used by some affiliate marketers to influence a sale from which they make a profit.
Email marketing: In the old language, this was direct mail. The method of delivery may have been digitised, but we continue to receive the same spectrum of information – ranging from sales junk to educational and informative content in the form of e-newsletters.
The beauty of email marketing is that you can create links to your website and promote visitation.
If you’ve gone as far as you can with the organic marketing and you’re finding Google rankings are crowded and hotly contested by competitors, then maybe it’s time to consider paid online marketing options.
Online marketing can be highly targeted to potential customers living in specific geographical areas who have specific interests or have been searching online for products and services that you can offer.
Paid online marketing options include:
Google Adwords: These are the entries with ‘Ad’ next to them at the top of a list of search engine results. As an advertiser, you pay every time someone clicks on your paid listing. This is known as Pay Per Click marketing or PPC. For more information, read our article on Google AdWords. (link to article)
Programmatic advertising: You know when you search online for a particular thing and then an online advertisement pops up shortly afterwards promoting that very same thing ... that’s not coincidence – it’s programmatic advertising.
Programmatic advertising is used to ‘push’ promotions in the form of display advertising or videos. The process allows a company to deliver messages tailored to different customer types.
Online remarketing: Online remarketing targets online adverts to people who’ve visited your website or mobile app.
Social media marketing: This can be paid or unpaid depending on which marketing tools you use. Paid options allow promotions to be more targeted.
Affiliate marketing: This involves using networks of sellers to promote and sell your products or services. They receive a share of the revenue on each sale. Affiliate marketers can be found promoting on different online channels such as social media, digital displays, blogs or content marketing.