One of the Internet’s strengths is its ability to help consumers
find the right needle in a digital haystack of data.
~ Jared Sandberg
Many businesses assign a large portion of their marketing budget to building, upgrading and optimizing their corporate website, only to find they’re not receiving the results they expected once the project is completed. A common error is to assume that once the website is built and running live on the internet, the customers will start streaming directly to the site. This “if we build it, they will come” mentality has proven to work in a lot of arenas, so why not the web?
The internet is a dynamic, ever-changing entity. Content is added, updated or removed every millisecond of every day. This is what makes the internet such a strong resource and network; however, this also means that if businesses are not keeping up with their sites regularly, they’ll fall behind and get lost in this “digital haystack” of information.
Building your website is a continuous process, starting the moment your site goes live. We’ve provided below a list of twenty practices that will help you keep the building process moving forward and eventually drive more traffic to your website. Each practice involves little more cost than the time and effort to implement them, but don’t expect results overnight. Waiting for your traffic rate to improve can be discouraging at first, but if you’re consistent with both quality and content, the website visitors and improved results will come.
1. Optimize your website to be search-engine friendly. Submit your URL to various search engines and directories. In addition to major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, Bing and Ask, it’s worth submitting to lesser known web directories like DMOZ. If your website is listed in as many places as possible, it can boost your rankings in major search engines as well.
2. Spread the word about your affiliate program by submitting it to affiliate program directories and contacting the owners of related websites.
3. Create a links page that will contain the links to other non-competing websites in the same industry. Contact the owners of other websites with your proposal to exchange links. You will add their link to your links page, and they will link to your website in return.
4. Post in forums. Visit the online discussion forums where people in your target market like to gather. Post useful responses to people’s questions, and include a link to your website at the end of your post next to your name. Although you ultimately want to get your signature file with the link to your site seen as often as possible, don’t overdo it with your posts, otherwise other forum-ites won’t respect you, and therefore won’t visit your site.
5. Comment on blogs. Visit blogs on the topic related to your website. Most blogs allow you to add comments about the issues being discussed. Add insightful comments about the blog topics and leave your website link. Your comment and your link will permanently remain on the blog website. (In fact, you should start by leaving comments right here on DrivingRetention.com!)
6. Create a corporate email “signature” – your name, your website address and a short tag-line describing the main benefit of your site. Set your email program to automatically add your signature to every email that you send.
7. Look into traffic exchanges. There are many types of traffic exchanges but the idea is the same – you team up with other webmasters and they send you traffic in exchange for you sending them traffic. Search the web for “traffic exchange” to find those services.
8. Create something of value that people will pass around. It can be a report with useful information that you allow people to give away. It can also be some kind of cool and unusual web page that people will want to email to or share with all their friends. Of course, the pass-around item will include your advertisement and your link, spreading the word about your website. This is a “viral” strategy.
9. Write articles on the topic related to your website and include a link to your site in your author bio. Submit your articles to article directories and allow people to publish your article in their newsletters and websites. Your articles will spread around the web like wildfire. People will read them and visit your website. The best part is that people who read your articles will regard you as an expert, and they will be much more likely to buy from you when they go to your website and to share their experiences with their friends and family. How’s that for a free publicity?
10. Use accurate keywords for your content. The point of keywords is that they are the terms most people will search with while looking for your article by topic. Check those with free Google terms and use the most popular relevant one in your title – a descriptive title to let them know right away what it is if it’s a word with multiple meanings. Drawing blood for a phlebotomist is not the same thing as a comics artist drawing blood in a fight scene. Be very literal and then use the exact keywords several times in the article where they are relevant, as well as synonyms. Don’t overdo it, or you look like you’re trying to spam Google. Just use the keywords naturally when describing the topic.
11. Start an e-newsletter for your web site. When people read each issue, they’ll be reminded to revisit your web site. Submit it to all the free e-newsletter directories on the internet.
12. Start your own online discussion community. It could be an online message board, email discussion list, interactive blog, forum or chat room. When people get involved in your community, they will regularly return to communicate with others.
14. Join free safe-lists. These are lists of subscribers who have opted-in to send and receive emails to each other. You can instantly reach potentially thousands of people by sending out emails, and you don’t have to worry about receiving spam complaints either because everyone on the list has opted-in to receive emails.
15. Set up pages and profiles on all the major social media platforms – and use them! Interact with your followers and fans. Start a conversation, share updates or offer rewards.
16. Constantly update content on your web page. Having a news section is a great way to keep your site updated and will draw the attention of search engine spiders and crawlers especially.
17. Update your personal Facebook status to let your friends know every time you update your site. Your friend’s friends will see when they join your business page or comment on your status.
18. Submit your website to top social bookmarking sites to create a back link to your website, which will increase you page rank as well.
19. Sign up to Yahoo Answers and other wikis and leave helpful comments to questions people are asking. Leave a link back to your site with more helpful tips on it.
20. Stay on topic. All this socializing, forum commenting and question answering ought to be on your website’s main topic. The more your activity and site content match in topic, the more likely the right people find it. The more targeted your affiliate links are to the topic, the better you’ll do with them too. People don’t mind advertising that’s on topic; it starts to look like a convenience directory rather than irritating commercials.
What other tips can you share on ways to improve website traffic?