This is from our February 24 workshops on Internet Marketing, for the busy business owner who wants to know effective strategies for increasing traffic and conversion rates for their websites.
Here is some insight into how you can get more traffic to your website. Some of these things may not be applicable to your situation or industry, some things you may already have, other things will strike you as critical improvements that you may need immediately. Here are some ideas about prioritizing the actions that you want to take and the money you want to spend to increase the effectiveness of your website.
1. Your Website is the Hub
The role your website plays is a big one. In most cases, traffic from blogs, social media, organic and paid search, end up converting into leads or sales on your main website. Without a website acting as an online basecamp, it would be difficult to attract new business to one source. This is why having an effective website is so crucial and that it contains key elements to driving more traffic, leads, and sales.
First is the action that you want your website visitors to take. You need to determine what you want them to do:
- Purchase your product or service;
- Contact you for a meeting;
- Sign up for a newsletter;
- Download a product;
- Plan to attend an event.
This is referred to as the Call to Action, or Action for short. The website around the Action should be focused on what makes you unique. What is your differentiator? What makes you stand out, your Unique Selling Proposition? Why should someone buy from you instead of your competition? For more on this, we recommend the works of Jack Trout, especially Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition.
This is Business Basics 101: You need to determine your differentiator. The rest of driving traffic to your website is either technical or external. Use social media and relationship selling to ultimately drive traffic to your website to perform the Action. Use paid search and offline advertising to drive traffic to your website to perform the action.
Looking Good to Search Engines: Here are some points to keep in mind.
2. Keyword research: This is done using Google Adwords. In doing your research, and in writing content for your website, keep in mind how people search. They may not use the technical jargon you are used to, or know exactly what they are searching for. They may type full questions into Google. They aren’t necessarily searching for your product, they simply want their problems solved.
3. Common Website Issues: Front page doesn’t mention WHERE you are; doesn’t contain ANY of your major keywords`; doesn’t spell out what you do; your keywords are all within graphics; your site has no Alt Image tags. We can carry out a full diagnostic on your website to reveal more issues.
- Write optimized, “search-engine-friendly” text;
- Pick a primary keyword for each page and focus on optimizing that page for that word. Do not over-saturate;
- Place your primary keywords in your headline and sub-headline;
- Include the keywords in the rest of the text;
- Include keywords in the file name of images, or use ALT tags;
- Write for humans first, search engines second, otherwise it won’t read naturally.
5. Domain Name Analysis: Ideally, look for a domain name that is keyword rich, that spells out exactly what you do, and supports your differentiator. You could register more than one domain name. Have one keyword-rich domain name for online advertising, and another for print, that identifies you and is easy to remember. For one client we analysed his requirements and registered shoerepairvictoria.com, because that is what he does – repairs shoes – and used it for his Google Adwords campaigns. We registered stevensonsshoeclinic.com for print, his local signs and business card, because that is how he is known locally.
Note that domain names are mixed case, not sensisitve, so stevensonsshoeclinic.com = StevensonsShoeClinic.com. Be aware how the domain name can be read, which may not be how you intend. One case is the infamous penisland.com. Here is a list of the Top 10 Silly Domain Names. In general it is best to register the .com. If you want a country code (.ca, .us etc.) make sure you also register the .com version.
6. URL Slugs: These are a few key words that describe a web page, which form part of the URL. They are written for people to read and for search engines, and are put in place by the web developer. An example is the keyword rich www.hollychristmas.com/contact-blue-haze-farm-metchosin/ which describes the name and location of the farm, as compared to the keyword poor www.hollychristmas.com/contact/
7. Title Tag & Meta Tags: This is in the background, embedded in the coding of your website that search engines see when they crawl through your website. They need to be unique for each page. The title Tag is also what your website visitors see when they Bookmark/Add to Favorite your page. Most Meta tags are no longer used, but the Meta description tag is still very useful.
8. Mobile Compatible: Your website needs to be fully accessible, to the visually impaired using screen readers, and to mobile devices including smart phones, tablets, e-readers, and the like. This is so important, especially if you use QR codes directing people to your website, since QR codes are usually scanned with smart phones. If you target local searches, such as a restaurant that would be open late in the evening, you want smart phone users to easily find your website and go to your location. Here are some stats from Google Australia about smart phone users for late 2011:
- 70% have used their smartphones while shopping in-store;
- 88% of people looking for local information have taken action within a day;
- 82% of smartphone users notice mobile ads;
- A quarter of Google searches related to holiday shopping have come from mobile devices.
9. XML Sitemaps: These are website maps created for search engine spiders to crawl through your website. Like a subway map, shows the structure of your website and where pages reside.
10. 301 Redirects: For when pages move, so bookmarks/favourites and searches still work. Eg: an order form or online calendar.
12. Blogging (& RSS/guest posts):
- Great way to get traffic and business.
- Creates fresh content and more pages of content, which is great for SEO.
- Helps establish you as an industry authority. Write about what you know.
- Helps drive more traffic and leads back to your website.
- Great way to get valuable inbound links.
- No time? Create an RSS feed containing content from other websites relevant to your industry and guest posts.
- Blogs can be cross posted to appear on Facebook, Twitter etc. to increase exposure.
13. Build Credible Inbound Links: These include Youtube, Flicker, Google Places, Pinterest, directories and link exchanges. Getting other quality websites to link back to you is referred to as link juice and will get you ranked higher. From Google’s perspective, the more sites linking to yours, the more important your site must be, therefore the higher you’ll rank.
What helps? Content that is high quality, educational and entertaining. You should blog, and comment and post on other industry-related blogs. You should do link exchanges with legitimate complimentary sites, not spammers. Examples would be a B&B that links to a local whale watching company. Or an electrician, plumber, painter, that all exchange links. Or a landscaper that links with a garden store or soil yard.
14. Review sites: Get listed. If you can set up a page on commonly used review sites, do so, and get your clients and friends to post comments and reviews. Some examples of where to get your clients to review you are:
- Google+ (These reviews are great as they show up in Google search results)
- Urban Spoon
These are just a few review sites. Your industry might have specific review websites that you will want to set up a profile on. Testimonials on your website are too static and generally customers will look for reviews on 3rd party sites. Interact with clients when they leave a review on these sites, if it’s good thank them and if it’s bad be calm and resolve the problem.
15. Make Content Social and Shareable: Add a ‘Share This’ feature to your website, so visitors can post the page address, or post comments on their favourite social media websites. Providing visitors with excellent content that can be easily shared with their circle of contacts will increase traffic.
16. Google Campaign: A well planned and well executed Google Campaign:
- Ensures higher visibility for certain phrases and keywords on Google;
- Tracks conversions for e-commerce and drives traffic to specific pages (products, special offers, etc.);
- Targets specific device type (mobile, desktop, tablet), geographical locations (cities, provinces, neighbourhoods), languages, certain days and times (weekend evenings, Monday mornings, the last day of every month);
- Can appear on any site or product offered by Google or being paid to run Google ads (such as YouTube, Google Maps, Yelp, certain mobile apps, various blogs, games, RSS feeds; see the Google Display Network);
- Reaches more than 80% of global internet users.
We target Google because Google has 75-98% search engine market share, depending on device, country, and demographic. We can also target Yahoo and Bing, the next two major search engines.
17. Online Advertising: Can be targeted or general. Examples of general advertising include the Times Colonist, Used Victoria, or online directories, both local and national or international in scope. Industry websites, special interest websites and review sites can give a more targeted audience.
18. Offline Advertising: This includes radio ads, banners, billboards, sponsorship’s and promotions. Although these are general forms of advertising, there are demographics most advertisers collect that allow you to fine tune your message.
Keep in mind that the trickiest part of internet marking and owning a website is determining exactly where your money is best spent to drive traffic to your website, to have your visitors complete the Call to Action.