So, you’ve got your first website, now, all you have to do is wait for people to visit, right? Wrong!
Unless you’ve already built a cult following on social media or created a community offline, chances are no one will visit your website.
I’m afraid that just building a website is just the beginning of your online journey. In this aftercare guide, we shall take a look at some of the ways in which you can grow traffic to obtain the most out of your website.
We shall examine the following areas, providing information and tips :
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Social Media
- Paid Advertising
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION
I often get clients that come to me with a brand new website and they go “I need search engine optimisation, I need to be number 1 in google. How much will this cost? How long will this take?”
The problem is that there is no definitive answer to this question and one of the major factors of ranking websites (which we will discuss in more detail) is domain age. Something that most brand new websites, unfortunately, don’t have.
There is also the factor of how much competition there is for your keywords. If there are several companies who’ve been around for a while and have implemented their own SEO strategy on your chosen keywords. It could involve a lot of work which is either your time or a large amount of money to pay someone else to do it.
Ranking high in Google for your main keywords produces organic traffic which is free relevant website visits. Google uses a variety of factors to work out if your website is trustworthy and produces quality information that matches the searcher’s query.
SO, WHAT FACTORS HELP RANK A WEBSITE IN GOOGLE?
According to the Telegraph, 20% of businesses don’t survive past their first year. As Google focuses on producing quality results, rewarding established businesses fit their ranking criteria. Therefore having a domain with a few years behind it is ideal for focusing on search engine optimisation. One of the only ways around this is to buy a website domain which has previously been used.
Serpwoo has looked into the impact of domain age and the results suggest that for new domains top 10 rankings are extremely rare. In fact it takes almost a year to begin to impact the top 10 search results.
Whilst it’s important to start building your search engine optimisation as soon as possible. It could take a long time to bear fruit which might not make it the focus of your first stage marketing strategy.
SIZE OF WEBSITE
Established websites generally have a greater amount of content making them seem more knowledgeable about their product or service. The bigger the website and the more relevant it is to your keywords the higher you will rank. One phrase which digital marketers often use is ‘content is king’. Larger sites often outperform smaller sites.
Over time your website will evolve and as your product or service develops so will your website. Another way to increase the size and information on your website is by blogging. We will cover this in more detail below.
In 2010 Google announced that page speed would impact website rankings. The thought behind this is that a faster loading website provides a better user experience. This is likely to lead to lower website bounce rates as people can be drawn to content quicker rather than being drawn to the ‘x’ button.
One Crawl has written a blog about page speed and how you can improve it.
Each website has what’s called a domain authority this is viewed by Google as your website’s reputation. Your domain authority (DA) is a score between 1 – 100, the higher the score the more likely you’ll achieve greater ranking within the search engines.
Domain Authority is affected by link building where website gain links back to their sites. If the linking site has high authority and is relevant to your site it can help increase your position in the search. Therefore link building strategies should be high on the list when trying to rank your website.
A link from a source such as the BBC would provide you with a high domain authority backlink which tells Google that your website is more trustworthy.
Gaining links is easier said than done and it’s important that those links are relevant and your chosen keywords linked back to your website where possible. There are many ways to obtain links, however, Google wants them to be as natural as possible. The more risks you take to beat the system, the greater the chance you have of being punished later down the line. Be careful if you decide to use companies to do this for you.
Another way of gaining links is to offer to provide useful content on other peoples blogs with a link back to your site as part of the deal.
Find relevant bloggers to your niche and see if you can work together. The more relevant to your product or service the better. If for example, you gained a link from a train website to a website about cats it would look suspicious in the eyes of Google’s search bots.
When you search for a term in Google a list of results are displayed. If you go below the paid ad’s you will see the organic results. Each result usually has a page title and description which is your metadata. Google will highlight some of the words from your search query helping to show this website shows the information your after. These are important to get right when you launch your website.
The number of websites I come across where this stage has been skipped or the web designer know little about online marketing. This can cause websites to miss out on a large amount of organic traffic.
If you’re unsure about this we provide search engine optimisation advice and can check on your metadata.
We’re a huge fan of blogging here at Pug Mug Marketing and when we get the chance in between client work. We love to put out information such as this one which our readers could find useful. It can have fantastic benefits and can attract visitors from a wide range of search queries.
Blogging is where you provide useful information, in the form of an article, often including images and videos. It’s often displayed on a separate part of the website. Blogging gives you the ability to talk to your audience and target more specific keywords which are harder to embed into your main website.
Blogging helps keep your site fresh with new content (fresh active sites tend to perform better in google). If done correctly with SEO and targeted towards keywords it’s a great way to attract traffic for long-tail keywords.
For example ‘web design’ would be a short keyword phrase (it would have high search traffic but have a large amount of competition), whilst a long tail might be ‘web designer based in west bromwich’ which would have lower traffic but lower competition. Building a website you’d likely create a web design page but including web designer based in West Bromwich might seem out of place and cause issues with your menu.
Blogging also gives you fresh content which you can share via social media, another way of driving traffic to your website.
There are hardly any financial commitments to blogging, once set up on your site you can add content as regularly as you please. The more time and effort you put into generating useful information the greater your results.
Over time the more your page authority increases the greater these blogs will rank growing your reach.
Listen to your most commonly asked questions, using this information you can figure out what people want to know and are searching.
Do some keyword research and see what people are searching for around your subject.
Social media is a way to connect with customers in a more friendly way. You can use it for customer service, sharing information and engaging with others.
You can grow your following by providing useful and creative content. The more followers you get the greater chance of engagement and posts being seen by a greater number of people.
Social media can be another cost-effective method to gain interest in your product or service. Here are a few platforms:
- Twitter – with a short character limit it’s an easy way to share links, quick news updates and videos/images.
- Facebook – A greater word count allows you to add more information to posts. Generally more business to consumer. It allows you to share images, videos and blog posts.
- Linkedin – Used for creating business connections and building a professional profile.
- Pinterest – If you’ve got a product which could be used in interior design such as curtains, flooring, mirrors, wallpaper etc. It’s likely that you would like a presence on pinterest.
- Instagram – Share images of your product or service and offer an insight into what is happening in your office. Houzz (interior design based social network).
Social media is an area that a lot of small businesses don’t have the resources to maintain. However, they are missing out on building a following of loyal customers who could be engaging with your brand and increasing your reach.
WHAT SORTS OF THINGS SHOULD I POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
- Upcoming events
- New Products
- Behind the scenes
- Customer reviews
- Team Profiles
- Blog Posts
- Case Studies
- Portfolio Work
- Live Videos
Keep an eye on competitors or brand utilising social media well. You can often take their ideas and apply them to your business.
Have fun! It’s a chance to give off a more personal touch to your brand.
Keep personal and company accounts separate.
Resist the urge to use these platforms to direct sell. Interact with conversations but don’t lead with ‘buy this from us’.
Some platforms such as Instagram and twitter rely on # tags. These allow you to include your posts into relevant search traffic to boost it’s visibility.
Did you know the 2nd biggest search engine is YouTube?
Videos are one of the best ways to provide information and as users are more engaged. In fact, research from Animoto suggests 4x more people would prefer to watch a video than read about it.
As video keep users engaged they encourage people to spend more time on your website which in turn tells Google that your website is providing relevant content and can lead to an increase in your ranking.
Smartphones with high-resolution cameras now make it easier than ever to start creating short videos.
Most companies should consider making an explainer video (a video which explains your product or service in a quick and informative way). This should be a short video with research from bread and beyond suggesting that most effective explainer videos are 90 seconds long.
Other video ideas:
- Product reviews
- Behind the scenes
- Customer testimonials
- How your product is made
- Video Guides
Hosting the video on search engines such as YouTube is another way to be found online. With optimised content and channel information, users can discover your brand online and drive traffic back to your website.
Our final way of gaining traffic to your website is paid advertising. Search engines such as Google provide pay per click advertising to send traffic to your website. This is the fastest way to gain relevant traffic to your site, the only problem with this method is that you need to spend money to achieve it.
There is also a strong learning curve with paid advertising where you need to figure out what works best to minimise the cost per click.
In some industries, keywords have large cost per click costs and therefore are unattainable for small businesses.
Your website will also need to be designed for paid advertising, this might include having a dedicated landing page with a strong call to action such as a form. Your web designer unless instructed would not have set one up before, so you might need to pay for one or create one yourself.
Whilst pay per click might cost money and chip into your profits it’s probably the most effective way for new businesses to start getting results straight away.
There are multiple different paid advertising methods the main ones include the following:
- Google Adwords
- Bing Ads
- Facebook Advertising
- Instagram Advertising
- Twitter Ads
- Linkedin Ads
Start-Up businesses usually find themselves in an awkward position where after launching their website they have minimal budgets to promote their websites. This is a catch 22 as they need a website to drive traffic to but without the traffic, the website is never found.
The above information should give you some ideas to get started on some online activity and to start driving traffic to your website. Some businesses perform better on social networks as their product might be considered cool and shareable. Whilst others might achieve success from blogging and sharing useful information. This all depends on your business and where your skills sets lie.
If you’re a good engaging writer then writing content for your website and others could be the best option. However, if you’re good at taking photos then social media accounts such as Instagram could be highly effective.
There is also a learning curve to consider, whilst blogging is effective, to write for the search engines you need to add keywords within the content and add certain links and references.
For paid advertising, you need effective ads either visual and written copy. Then configuring the campaigns you also requires learning, getting it wrong can make your ads expensive and ineffective.
Sometimes it’s best to seek help and advice from agencies like us ;). We can help guide you on the right path and possibly help work out the correct path for you.