You’ve probably heard a thousand times that having a web presence is critical to your success in today’s market. You may even have gone so far as to create a website for your business, but that’s only the beginning. Nothing magical happens when you stake out your URL and put a bit of content onto your company site; if you don’t know how to generate website traffic, your investment in building the site won’t bring the returns you’re hoping for.
Fortunately, there are some clear-cut steps you can take to increase the visibility of your website and draw traffic.
First, Create Great Content
Great content is the bait that draws visitors to your website. Generating that content requires that you understand your target market. You don’t just want to increase the volume of traffic to your site, but to increase the number of visitors who are likely to purchase your products and services, share your resources or in some other way help to grow your business. Know who they are and think about their needs and interests when you’re creating content.
- Give your visitors resources they can’t easily find elsewhere;
- Solve problems for them; and
- Present material in a way that’s inviting and easily understandable.
Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Offering great content will expand your audience only if they’re able to find you. Though search engines aren’t the only path new visitors will follow to your website, they are one of the most common vehicles for new traffic. Take the time to learn the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) and integrate it into your website.
- Optimize each web page for a relevant key word or phrase;
- Use key word rich H1 and H2 tags to let search engines know what’s most important; and
- Create meta titles and descriptions that not only contain relevant key words but invite humans browsing search results to click through to your site.
Keep Your Content Fresh
One important factor in search engine rankings is the freshness of content. You may have created a wonderful, content-rich website that visitors love, but if that site doesn’t change for months on end, you’ll see your search rankings begin to drop. In addition to helping boost your natural search rankings, keeping content regularly updated gives past visitors a reason to return to your website, and encourages sharing. To keep content fresh:
- Add a blog to your website for ease of posting new information on a regular basis;
- Create an industry news or similar section where you provide summaries and links to recent developments; and
- Update the pages you’ve optimized for your most important key words on a regular basis.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Content
Social media marketing will be an important pillar in your inbound marketing strategy, and one we’ll talk about in greater detail in a later post. In terms of direct website promotion, there are three core ways in which you can use social media to increase your traffic:
- Establish your expertise, so that people in your target industry will want to seek out your content;
- Directly share blog posts and other content with a wider audience; and
- Make it easy for your visitors to share your content by including buttons that allow direct posting to Twitter, Facebook and other popular sites.
Learning how to generate website traffic is a critical part of your online marketing strategy. To make the most of your website as a sales and brand-building tool, be prepared to start with strong content and continue to expand, update and promote on a regular basis.