Build a Website
Then they’ll come, right?
The short answer is “No”. If you just build a website and nothing else, then they may not even find you. There’s other stuff you have to do.
Build a website by all means but it won’t automatically generate masses of traffic.
Even if your site is written with SEO in mind (to allow Google to more easily find you) these days it doesn’t guarantee loads more traffic. Or even higher rankings. You can even be penalised by Google for writing for search engines. (Read more about search engine optimisation here). Such are today’s pitfalls of website content creation.
What a lot of people don’t understand is that building a website is like having an entirely separate business with vastly different needs and demands to your bricks and mortar shop. Like any business venture, you have to market, update regularly and advertise.
Having a website gives you a way to work on your business, rather than in it.
They won’t come if you just build a website unless you tell them where you are.
Promoting your website
Having a website won’t give you an edge on the competition. Every single one of your competitors also has a website, so driving traffic to yours (i.e. away from theirs) is a constant battle. You need to advertise.
Social Media Awareness
Social is big. Posting random thoughts to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn isn’t a terrible idea, but linking back to a fresh article on your website is more likely to lead to a conversion.
You need to have a Social Media plan in place for this to have any effect at all.
Read about our content marketing plans here if you’re keen to outsource your content writing by utilising a team of professionals and SEO experts.
Google Adwords & PPC
Google makes most of its money from its Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Google Advertising program. More than one million dollars every day. Anybody with a website can join Adwords and if you do, an ad for your site appears in the sponsored area on Google search results pages. If someone clicks your ad, you pay for the click. It can cost anywhere between 30c and up to $25 for one in-bound click.
So you better make that ad landing page a really good, converting one.
Usually, in-bound clicks can be bought for between $1.50 and $3.00 (depending on industry) but it really depends on how many competitors you have and the kind of industry you are in. Search engines such as MSN and Yahoo have similar systems. You can pretty much guarantee that people who visit your site by clicking on sponsored ads on any network are more likely to be buyers rather than browsers. Having said that, the few hundred dollars you spend on an ad campaign is not a bad investment when you compare the number of eyes you will get when you compare it to print advertising.
In 2012, I wrote an article about this whole process with a few examples : Yellow Pages or Google Ads. I just recently updated it for 2016.
Pay-per-click advertising is not necessarily for everyone.
If you have a personal Facebook account, you can create a business page for free. Once you’ve done this, you can then advertise that business page to various demographics across Facebook. The ad will also run in Instagram – which is getting more popular these days. FaceBook owns Instagram. These tech companies are always buying each other.
Facebook ads tend to be cheaper than Google Adwords, but it’s a good idea to experiment. Rather than spending $15 per day, try $7.50 per day on each platform for a small business. You can also pay for likes (which is what I do). This builds a general list of people who might even vaguely be interested in your service. Then, every time you post to your business page (I use www.bufferapp.com to post interesting links) will show up in their feed.
With Facebook, make sure that you don’t post ads too regularly. Intersperse your ads with useful articles you find around your subject. Also be aware that who clicked LIKE on whatever you promoted (either your business or a particular product) – is now expecting similar posts from you about a similar subject.
Old-fashioned Banner ads
Another (dated?) form of advertising on the web is banner advertising. Banners are usually posted on complementary product sites and they link back to the site placing the banner. You can pay to have your banner included in the Google advertising program or you could simply swap banners with another (complementary business) website for free.
Commenting on others’ website posts
(like this one)
We have to be very careful about alternative ways of getting people to link back to your site. Google has came down hard on link-building schemes – schemes which have been abused for many years by ruthless and black hat SEO companies. Adding your website to a low quality link farm is not what you want. Google judges you by who you link to.
Tread very carefully when trying to attract in-bound links. Above all, try to be very genuine.
If Google feels that you are gaming the system – they will ban your site from search results until you rectify the issue.
Leaving a message on a complementary business website which has a lot more traffic than yours (with link back to your own site) is another great way to garner web traffic. Make sure the site is in your industry and that your comment has relevance and is adding to the general debate.
Note also that your comments may not be followed (as this can be turned off) so in most cases it’s likely you will be adding to the general discourse around that particular issue. People can always click on your avatar to see what you’re about.
Guerilla Advertising Techniques
If you are on a very tight budget, there are some cheap, but effective ways to get your site seen and start generating traffic. Some of these might sound obvious, but I bet there’s at least one here that you haven’t thought of (or forgotten about).
- put your web address on all stationery and signage
- put a link to your website in the signature file of your email account
- write your web address and what you do on your car (or office signage)
- swap banners with a complimentary (non-competitive) product or service company
- give something away for free (with your web address on it)
- write an ebook for your industry and give it away free on-site (you can include links in PDF files)
- write an article (like this one) and then tweet the link
Finally, and perhaps the most important and essential aspect.
Website Vistor Retention
You don’t just need to get visitors, you have to retain them – and retention has to do with how often you update your site with products, photos, blog posts or reviews. If you don’t update very often, you can be sure that repeat custom will never happen.
Updating daily is the best way to go. Even just one photo lets people know there’s a person behind the website or business. Updating with thoughtfully written articles will slowly push your website up the search engine lists.
Search engines love to eat words, so get into the habit of feeding them. Commit to writing a weekly or fortnightly article. Writing something on your website monthly is, well, much better than not updating your site at all.
Doing something on a regular basis, at a regular time, on a regular day, generates a lot of traffic over time.
It’s hard (not even I do this) but people invariably come back just to see what is new on your site. As most people in the advertising industry will tell you . . .
It’s seven times harder to attract new clients than it is to get work from an old one.
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