Youve just invested in designing a website and you think business is going to increase. You created a website to expand your exposure. Your competition has a website and it works for them, yet you are seeing poor results. Why?
Many business owners are under the impression that their entire target market is going to swarm to their website and the phone is going to ring off the hook. That wont happen.
With hundreds of millions of websites, business owners must understand that a new website starts at the bottom of the list. No doubt – a website can produce tremendous sales results – it takes time and financial investment however.
The world will not magically know your web address, and they will not visit your site unless you have told them about it. Just because you have a new website, it doesnt mean that online users are going to be looking for it. Without a properly planned out strategy for visitors to find your site, your website will certainly remain lost in the mix.
I have been developing websites for over five years and worked with many clients in various industries. Never has anyone disagreed with me when I told them that they needed a website and rarely has anyone disputed that even a basic custom website costs at least $1000. But when I tell them that its critical that they invest in optimizing their website, they sometimes find that to be an unnecessary cost. I really have to explain why this is so valuable. When I check in with clients who choose not to optimize a few months later, they ask me the same question: Why isnt anyone going to my website?
How do you help potential customers find your website? Here are the basics:
1. Is your website interesting?
This is the first thing I look at when helping clients generate traffic. What comprises your content? Is it unique to the internet? Is it different from your competition? Does it make you look competitive? Does it engage the visitor? If someone looked at your website for five seconds, would they want to read on or would they want to hit the back button?
The more interesting your website, the more likely that a visitor will understand your business, spend time visiting the different pages on your site, and share your website with their friends and other online users. Its critical to develop unique content and provide visitors with information they may not find anywhere else on the web.
2. Is your website easy to navigate?
Another very important aspect is that the user can navigate throughout your website with ease. Plan out where a visitor will start, where you want them to go, what do you want them to see, and where do you want them to exit. Most small businesses want them to exit the website after they have made some sort of contact. Does your website encourage interaction?
3. Does your website have any search engine road blocks?
Most of your website traffic will come from search engines. Like a library does with books, search engines will review the content of your website and categorize it. Search Engines will then present your website in its results if it believes it accurately matches the keyword term for which the user was searching. Is there anything on your website preventing search engines from accessing and indexing your website correctly?
You can review our post: Top 9 Search Engine Ranking Road Blocks that Many People Experience, to test your website for major issues that will block your website from search engine results.
4. Have you promoted your website?
OK, so your website is interesting and search engine friendly. Now its time to open the curtains and let the world know about your site. There are many things you can do to promote your website including link building, pay per click advertising, mass-email marketing, social media marketing, and offline website promotion. These are all popular and proven methods to generate traffic.
Pay Per Click Advertising:
You may recognize pay per click (PPC) advertising as those results that appear in search engines next to and sometimes above the true search results. Most PPC programs also show ads on affiliated websites such as Ads by Google. Popular PPC programs include Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing. The pay per click means exactly what is says – you pay when the user clicks the link and follows through to your website. These clicks generally cost between a dime to a dollar, based on how many competitors there are. A PPC advertiser sets a daily budget for how much they are willing to spend on clicks.
The benefits of PPC are that it can be set up quickly and start generating traffic immediately. Depending on your needs and your reach, however, this could be costly. But until your website starts climbing in the ranks of the search engines, this is a great way to get started.
Link building is the single most important thing you can do to improve your ranking in modern search engines. The downside is that its time-consuming. The upside? Search engines count how many links are pointing to your website and modify their rankings accordingly. The more links the better. Even more important than the number of links is the quality of links. A link from the New York Times is a lot better than a link from your kids blog, so keep that in mind.
A great way to get started with link building is through directory submission. I recommend spending at least $2000 on directory submission for a new website. Certainly you will want to submit your site to the top-tier directories including DMOZ and Yahoo Directory. I would also seriously consider Business.com, Best of the Web, Joe Ant, CannyLink, Gimpsy, GoGuides, Americas Best, Rubberstamped, Uncover The Net, Starting Point, and Linkopedia. Along with these paid directories, there are also many good free directories, such as Jayde.
Beyond directories, I recommend:
Swapping links with your customers and vendors (if possible).
Asking your chamber of commerce and other associations to link to you.
Participating in forums, blogs, and question/answer sites (including your link in your signature).
Searching for what sites are linking to your competition and request that they link to your website.
Or as we like to call them, blast e-mails. A great way to generate some quick traffic to your website as well as a message to your target market.
Social Media Marketing:
No joke, Facebook and Twitter are for real – and hyper popular. Businesses are discovering the possibilities of finding contacts, building relationships, sharing interests, and ultimately, driving sales. Make sure you take advantage of the power of social media, its where the internet is going.
And of course, make sure you are promoting your web address on everything possible, including business cards, brochures, flyers, promotional items, vans and trucks, television and radio commercials, sponsorships, and just about everywhere else your company name may be found.
Another quick tip: make sure everyone at your company knows your web address.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below or contact us directly.