So… you’ve got a website and great products/services to sell- now what? For many of us, getting visitors to our websites can be a real struggle, so I’ve asked the CarolRoth.com contributor network of experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to provide their best tips for increasing website traffic. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.
You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.
1. Give Them a Reason to Visit
Providing interesting and informative information on your website will give visitors a reason to seek you out in the future. Also, fresh content gives new opportunities for Google to find you. Post blog entries, write studies and white papers, show some industry statistics - give them the good stuff! If they have a reason to visit, they will.
2. Quantity Does Matter
Plaster your website everywhere: business cards, letterhead, brochures, social media profiles, vendor registrations, email signature (originals and replies), blog, note cards, promotional items, postings & comments (on news sites, other blogs, articles you post), signs, posters, banners at trade shows and anything else people may see.
3. Tribes Target Traffic
Use the social media site www.triberr.com and form a tribe of like minded marketing folks. Through cross pollination of your blog and those within the tribe you can target traffic, not to mention increase Twitter Followers, Google +'s, and Facebook Likes. Leverage automation and let dlvr.it do the postings for you through RSS feeds. My traffic has increased 30% just by belonging to one active tribe.
If you already have traffic coming to your website, a great way to easily increase traffic and sales is through retargeting banner advertising. I am testing it now with clients and I am very pleased with the results.
5. Turn On and Tune In
You're the expert and face of your company. The #1 best way to drive traffic to your site is to create a series of videos. Build a YouTube Channel, link it to your site and have your SEO people go to town. The videos are short, upbeat, fun, compelling, interesting clips (about 2 minutes long) telling viewers about what you do - offer information, not selling. Don't have your cousin's kid do the videos either. Hire a pro. Make the video look great and don't use an iPhone. This is your calling card.
6. Tag Those Images
Image tagging: We have increased traffic up to 30% on our client websites by doing this one simple tactic. Search engines (and humans) LOVE images. Just look at the meteoric rise of Pinterest. But can search engines find the images on your site? Not if they aren't "tagged". Go through your site and make sure every image is tagged with a proper "title" and "alt-tag" aka "alternate text". This helps search engines identify and properly index the image, bringing targeted traffic to your site.
7. OPT - Other People's Traffic
Driving visitors to a website is one of my core skills for the last 16 years. One of my favorite methods is to create a related directory on your website. For example, if you are selling camping tents, create directories of well known camping clubs and national parks. Then, whenever someone is searching for the "Boston Camping Club" or "Yosemite", your directory page will appear just above or just below the clubs or park, giving you an unpaid ad in Google.
8. Have Others Write About You!
Public relations is a multi-billion dollar per year industry. But how do you tap into this virtual oil well of fame? By having others write about you. I'm not saying to ask people to write nice things, just be aware- when nice things are written, people get curious and it drives traffic to your site!
If you are doing things right, then others will write about you... and so goes PR. Then, traffic finds the way to your business!
9. LinkedIn Grows Website Traffic
Grow your connections on LinkedIn by joining and interacting in groups. Each week, post your newsletter article in the discussion area of the groups and be sure to comment on the comments of others.
10. Hook 'Em by Addressing Pain
One thing that can drive traffic to your website is expressing a pain that your select market is currently experiencing. Hook them in by offering some information that shows that you have a solution that will not only address this need, but help remove their pain. Remember, most markets and the people in them are looking for solutions to their problems and pain that they can use immediately. Provide that on a frequent basis and people will beat a path to your door every day.
11. Don't Share the Wealth
Offer something exclusive that clients/customers, or potential ones, can't get from you anyplace else. Whether it's a product, service, white paper, report, analysis or anything else, make it available only through your website. Then, use other social and traditional marketing channels such as email, social media, networking, snail mail, and advertising (whatever works for you), to tell them it's available only on your website.
12. Blog Your Way to High Traffic
The one best tip I have for increasing your business' website traffic is to blog. Too often, I think business owners make excuses for why they shouldn't or can't. Yes, it should be well-thought out, grammatically correct, etc. But it doesn't have to turn into this overwhelming monstrosity that becomes too intimidating to tackle. Get something well-written out there, learn the proper ways to promote and you will increase traffic.
13. All Roads Lead to the Website
Although many avenues contribute to website exposure, blogs are the hands down, best deliverer of traffic. I use the company blog, my personal blog and auxiliary blogs to remind interested ones about our main website and how it can benefit them, linking there whenever appropriate. Guest blogging for other popular blogs has also brought a spike in site traffic. I promote my blog and the individual posts via all of the social media avenues and newsletters, which eventually leads to website visits.
14. Getting YOU Noticed!
The number one thing that I tell my clients about building traffic to their website is that it has to come from everywhere. People like choice and the more you give them, the better it is. For instance, we have 10 different websites, each with key words that relate to various parts of our business on the net. Each one is forwarded to a relating page on our website. There are not 10 different sites, they are just urls forwarded to maximize traffic. This also works to increase ranking.
We had a special promotion to run, so we decided to give away a prize. We used Rafflecopter to determine the winner and submitted the page to a number of Rafflecopter contest sites (that publish upcoming contests using Rafflecopter). We were pleasantly surprised with the response.
16. Open Thy Mouth and Mind!
How to get more traffic to the web site? Simple.
1. Get links on other sites to yours.
2. List it on YOUR business cards.
3. Tell people! It's ALWAYS mentioned in radio interviews that I do.
4. Use SEO application software.
5. ALWAYS list it on e-mails sent out. ALWAYS!
6. Do YOU list your website in print ads?
7. BE mindful that YOUR website is part of the overall "product promotion mix". People will NEVER know if they NEVER find out the web site address or URL.
17. Secret to Driving Web Traffic
I believe the number one way to drive prospect and customer traffic to a website is to provide value. A business' prospects and customers care about one thing: what's in it for me?
Provide something that they need, something they desire, something interesting that they'll want to share with their network, or lead them to something new, and you'll likely find increased traffic as a result.
18. Calls to Action
To increase web traffic, you must have one or more Calls to Action on each page. A Call to Action (CTA) can say: sign up for our newsletter, download our white paper, or click here for a quote, etc. When visitors click the CTA button, it takes them to a form where you will collect their contact information, then fulfill their request, i.e. send them the white paper. CTAs increase web traffic and also conversion rates.
19. Buzz and Virtual Champions
Create a buzz, generate conversation and be a champion for others! This will help you build and expand your web presence quickly. When you create conversation on the internet through blogs, articles, commenting on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, your web presence expands; more people join the conversation and become a champion for you. Your message reaches your champions’ audience. You form a community and others share your message. Conversations and relationships create buzz and champions.
20. Website Traffic Simplified
The #1 thing to consider in driving more traffic to your website is "Blogging". Why? Blogging enables you to update your website more frequently. This allows for better SEO results through keyword options. Writing/Posting articles that are applicable to your subject matter and what others are searching for will get you ranked higher on sites like Google. You can then repost your articles to other sites like Facebook or LinkedIn groups linking back to your site. It's a great way to drive more traffic.
21. Hire a Damn Title Writer
Good titles + good content = good site.
Good titles + bad content = link bait.
Bad titles + any content = may as well not exist.
22. Use Rich Snippets
What the heck is a rich snippet? They are excerpts from your website like an author image, review, video, schedule, or recipe. Use rich snippets on your site to entice searchers to click through from search results.
Having a #1 search rank does not automatically mean you get the most traffic. Differentiating your website from the others that appear in the SERPs can have a big impact on the number of click throughs you get.
23. Everyone Loves a Freebie
I realized this when I was signing up for a newsletter just to get the free eBook. I wondered if this would work for my business. I have a website and Facebook page, but Facebook likes don't always translate to site traffic.
I now offer my followers (and website visitors) a free eBook, which is updated regularly and that dog lovers will enjoy, in exchange for signing up for my free weekly newsletter.
I'm building a loyal fan base by giving them a reason to return regularly to my website.
24. Feed it with Advertising & PR
The best way to increase your website traffic is to feed it with advertising, press releases and attention-getting videos on things like YouTube and other social media sites. For PR, send out press releases over some of the paid publicity distribution services, as well as by mail and email to various other media.
Also, in your copy and pitch... make them an offer they can't refuse!
25. Bulk Up Your Email
Create a helpful newsletter and send it to the audience most likely to want your product or service. The more people on the list, the more likely they are to view your site and find out more about you.
26. Improve Your Site Visibility!
My ONE best tip for getting more web traffic is to improve your search engine position by utilizing "tags" that can get your site on the first search page. This will improve one's chances of having people visit their website. You also want to have a catchy title that defines your website that would make someone think, "This looks very interesting, let me click it on so that I can read more about it!" The more visits that one gets to their site, the better chance of their product's visibility.
27. Get a Water-cooler Idea Out!
You know that what happens in Hollywood doesn't stay in Hollywood. Take it from me. Any time you mention something about celebrity casting or celebrity behavior, you get a reaction. You want to be careful to not go all Joan Rivers on people, saying something salacious to get a reaction. But, you can tell your followers what you think about the latest news in Hollywood and not worry. It just makes people stop what they are doing and react. You want reactions? Yes? Just be nice. Juicy... but, nice.
28. Pinterest for Business? YES!
Pinterest is the newest social site and it's hot! With its visual and simple concept of beautiful photos and captions, it's now becoming a great source for website traffic. After doubting what Pinterest could do for my business, I finally dove in. I was surprised to see how fast it drove traffic to my website. In the first two months, it was in my top ten. Now, it's number one. Pinterest is a feast for the eyes with a relaxing spa feeling, but this visually appealing site can rock your business.
29. Google PPC Campaign
The easiest and fastest way to generate traffic to your website is a Google pay-per-click campaign. However, this costs money. If you have the money, this is the fastest way to generate traffic to your website.
30. Humanize Your Character
Show your human personal side more than your cyberspace character. People want you to post personal engagements more than advertising your product or services.
31. TV Drives Traffic to Web
Use direct response television advertising to drive traffic to client sales sites. The greatest volume of traffic is generated via a coupon or special price for a limited time offer. With increased mobile device use, a recent promotion to support product sales in major drug store chains included an online coupon offer presented via TV advertising. The results = over 160,000 website coupon downloads. Retail sales increased by over 600%. Use direct response TV to increase web traffic.
32. Free Giveaways
Tip: give away free samples and/or products on the website. Everyone likes free stuff and it has a huge viral component to it. Every giveaway I have ever done has always brought me a lot of traffic.
33. It's Like Mind-reading, Really
Attracting web traffic is like mind-reading – of your prospects, of your competitors and of Search Engines.
Just 3 simple tricks:
1. Predict what words your prospects could be searching for so that they can find you (“Good Dentist” could also be searched as ‘Painless teeth Care’!)
2. Study what words your top-competitors are using to attract your prospects and copy that (yes, do it!)
3. Map synonyms of your Key Words to get prospects with similar needs (use Google Instant & Google Suggest)
34. Make it Timely, but Relevant
I've found that one of the best ways to get traffic to your site is to keep your content relevant, but timely. If there's something big going on in the world, relate your topic or your expertise to that event. If a big movie is launching or the latest celebrity faux pas is going down, see if you can relate that to your own business or area of expertise - think Charlie Sheen and the importance of branding, or The Hunger Games and knowing your strengths, weaknesses and when to align with a partner.
35. Funnel Traffic Via YouTube
Optimize your videos on YouTube by putting your keywords in the title, description and tags. Put your website URL at the beginning of the video description. Place your keywords as captions in your video. Put your URL on a text page at the end of your video.
36. Create CBRs!
Collaborative Business Relationships or CBRs can grow your business and your web traffic as you help others as well. This is a trend that won't stop. Reach out to find other business owners, bloggers, and creative partners that want to open up to strategic partners and leverage their resources and complementary gifts and skills. Go beyond joint venture, affiliates, and networking to form satisfying, strong, lasting collaborations. Optimize your outcomes and co-creative capacity. It's a great win-win.
37. Be Everywhere
The way that I've been able to see traffic from the web is by being everywhere. I spend 20 plus hours a week interacting with people talking about my industry, I guest post frequently on blogs across the web, and put out an enormous amount of social content nearly every day. The idea is to be unavoidable to the people you're trying to reach! That'll bring in some traffic!
38. You Can't Try Too Many Ideas
We just bought an email list to make local businesses aware of our offerings. We're not sure if this is going to work because we'll start the program later this week. This is being done after we did major SEO, keyword analysis, inbound link building, pay-per-click, a complete rewrite of our site, etc. etc., ad infinatum. My best advice is to try everything and don’t stop until you find programs that work for you. Then, keep trying new ideas...Don't ever quit.
39. Start Your Own Newspaper
A unique way to drive traffic to your website and increase the world's view of you as an expert is to publish your own daily online newspaper full of articles, pictures and videos that appeal to your target market. After the initial set up, you don't have to lift a finger; the paper is published automatically. Publish your paper at Paper.li
Recently, I have discovered the power of Reditt. Each morning, I post a link to a funny or amusing article that appears on my blog and within minutes, the article gets hundreds of hits. Of course, you need to keep coming up with original articles that will amuse the target audience in some way, but it really does work.
41. Videos Increase Web Traffic
Unique videos related to your work get attention when placed on You Tube and linked to your website. Just make the topic worthy of attention.
42. Learn How to Write Linkbait
In my experience, the biggest driver of traffic has been Linkbait articles and for a couple of reasons: Linkbait tends to be longer and therefore, naturally incorporates more SEO keywords - this makes them great for drawing organic search traffic. Also, the topics are more interesting and in-depth, so they tend to get shared a lot on social media sites as a result.
43. Make Your Design Beautiful
No matter what people say, they sometimes do judge a book by its cover. A clean, trustworthy, and fantastic looking site will have people coming back to that site more often than one that looks like it was just slapped together. Sites like these also build links on their own and get sent traffic from design blogs and others who enjoy some good visual stimulation. Make your design notable and people will come.
44. Give Away Your Best Stuff!
People on the internet are looking for answers/solutions right now! Those that provide quick answers that address the new visitors' issues get their attention! Articles can be viral, so posting good articles demonstrating your best stuff will get you visitors (not buy me ads). Blogs, videos and other ways to put your best ideas out there to solve issues will get you followers, subscribers and buyers. I put 52 tips on Body Language on video out there for free!
45. Media Slut
I know that the word slut sounds kind of harsh, but spreading your content or offer around to as many media outlets as you can once you have a good one that people respond to is key!
Make sure you know it's quality before you go spreading it around, but once you do...jump in bed with all blogs, social media, direct mail, apps, mobile, radio, and any type of media that will take you!
Of course, with all of it having a call to action to go back to your website!
Leave monogamy for love instead!
46. Advance, Advocate & Harvest!!
It's rare that someone would want more traffic unless it is website traffic! First, think about why you want more people to come to your website, i.e. to grow your business, to provide information, etc.
ADVANCE - Offer a promotion - info, the chance you win an ebook, etc.
ADVOCATE - Speak in glowing terms about how your website or company can help them.
HARVEST - Make sure that you are able to get their info to help you get to your goal.
Advance, Advocate and Harvest yourself to increase!
47. Pay Attention to Keywords
It doesn't matter whether you are writing an article, a blog post, or posting a video on YouTube, you must add keywords to your text. Adding keywords into your content will lead people to your website straight from search engines. We have learned that although we like captivating and interesting titles, it doesn't matter if nobody can find your material. Your objective is to help people and get your message out to them, so forget about the catchy title and utilize keywords in your online content.
48. Write Quality Articles
When you are writing and submitting articles, people are going to try to tell you to write at a grade 5-7 level. Do not give in to this notion if it does not match your brand image. Instead of reducing the quality of your articles, try to make them more readable. To accomplish this, you can add more whitespace to the article by adding bullet points or by breaking up long paragraphs. This will make your articles easier to digest and your readers will thank you for your high quality content.
49. Utilize Backlinks
When submitting articles online, you need to upload them to a wide range of article bases. When you submit these articles, make sure that you have a link to your blog or website at the bottom of the article. Google will see the diversity of backlinks to your website and will increase your page rank and move your content up in its search results. This means that people will have an easier time finding and accessing your content, which will directly increase traffic to your website or blog.
50. Pitch Your Blog on iTunes
A weekly podcast (even if it's just an audio version of your weekly blog post) can be fed to iTunes and include a verbal link back to your site. If you're running on wordpress, you can use a plug-in to make creating a valid feed even easier. Not only will you be re-purposing your existing content, but you'll be able to tap into the massive traffic from iTunes as well.
51. Link from Your YouTube Video
When businesses use YouTube as part of their marketing plan, they often worry so much about “making it go viral” that they forget the video’s job is to drive traffic to their website. But where do viewers click? Most people will not write down a URL and you can’t put a live hyper link in the video. The solution is to put a link to your landing page on the first line of the description. Be sure to shorten the URL with a tool like bt.ly and use the entire URL address including “http://”.
52. Drive Traffic with Q R Codes
People love playing with technology, so why not try a Q R code out for driving traffic or generating leads for your business? Q R codes are two-dimensional codes that can be read by a mobile phone app and direct people to an URL, a telephone # or show them some informative text or business contact data.
Q R codes can be included on flyers, signs, business cards or even people! You can get a Q R code generated for free at different locations online.
53. Google Insurance?
Want Google insurance? Social media traffic is it. Not only does it give you immediate targeted traffic, but the more social mentions and activity your brand has on social networks actually raises your search engine rankings.
Use Google +, Facebook and Twitter, but don't ignore specialized networks like LinkedIn and Pinterest. With LinkedIn, you can become an authority by answering questions in your niche. Try it- not only will you get more traffic, but it's fun!
54. "Jammed" in Traffic
We have had so much success with short video messages, social media platforms and Twitter. Those video messages build a personal relationship with our audiences and social media keeps us relevant. Twitter "nudges" the world that we exist, along with the hashtag usage that leaves them with our message of the day, even if only for a few seconds. These three have been game changers for our business.
55. It Pays to Speak
To connect more deeply with prospects -- get paid to speak, especially as a Keynoter. Prior to the event, some attendees or those who find your events listed on the web will visit your website. Some join your ezine, email you or read your site and get to know you better. That connection is expanded when you hand out an evaluation form with "check here to receive our emails". Because you have permission, they get your newsletter, share it and bring more traffic to your website.
56. Photos are Key to Web Traffic
For the past 10 years, text has been king - search drove traffic, slow connections limited the use of images, etc. Today, with Stumble, Pinterest, and other social networks giving you a half second to grab a viewer's attention, great visual imagery is essential for gathering "pins" and "likes" which will drive traffic directly, as well as build a foundation for further SEO improvement. Great text is still important to keep visitors and search engines, but great images attract people.
Do you have a tip for increasing website traffic that wasn’t included? If you do, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!