How to drive traffic to your website

Driving traffic is the name of the game on the web. What good is a gorgeous website if no one visits it? Ironically many of our clients seem to think that once they make their site live that millions of people will know about it, then are stunned when they turn on analytics and see that only their mom and their brother are going to it.

So what do you do?

Here are the 2 basic ways everyone does it:

1) Organic traffic through search engine results and social media.

2) Paid traffic through search engines and social media.

But how do you choose?

Simple. Ask yourself these 2 questions:

1) How much free time do I have?

2) How much available money do I have?

Depending on what your answers are, you will want to use one of 2 strategies:

If you have a LOT of free time, but not much money, then the answer is simple. Organic traffic through search engine results and social media is for you.

With organic search and social media content is king. The good news is that you can write great content yourself. Nobody knows your business like you do, so sit down every day and write one or two blog articles about the most common questions your customers ask you.

Make the question the headline. People LOVE to ask questions online. That’s what search engines were built for. Then post that article or links to that article on Facebook twitter, LinkedIn and any other social media channel you belong to. There are tools to make that easy.

It’s really that simple. If your website is set up properly then this content will percolate throughout the web and you will notice when watching your analytics that traffic is going up and hopefully sales and conversions.

Then soon you will find yourself  ready for Strategy 2!

TIP: Ensure every page on your website has at least 200 words of descriptive text. Search engines like Google crawl and index pages based on what those pages are telling them. If you aren’t including enough words (and keywords you want to rank for) on each page, then you will have a more difficult time ranking for those.

TIP: Use Google to find Bloggers, Journalists and Influencers. Search for blog posts related to your product or service then contact the journalist who wrote the story directly. Chances are that if they are interested in your niche, they will be interested in what you do. The best part is when one Blog posts a story about your product or service, other blogs will pick it up. This is the single most powerful way to quickly build links and authority.

TIP: You’ll find that blogs have a page for you to submit tips. Take a look at Mashable’s Submit News page. There are also outlets like HARO and PressFarm that funnel stories to Journalists that can get you exposure too.

If you don’t have much time but have a little extra money then the answer becomes a little more complicated. Paid traffic is the great equalizer.

If you have a great product or service you can compete with even the biggest companies. For as little as $5 a day you can put ads on Google and Facebook (Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and a whole lot of others too but let’s not over-complicate things). With paid traffic the formula is simple. The more you pay the more traffic you have, and if the ads are written well and people want what you are offering, the more money you make.

The catch: Ads on Google and Facebook only drive traffic as long as you are paying for them. Stop paying and the traffic disappears instantly.

So what can you do?

This is where search engine marketing (SEM) comes in. If you have a LOT of extra money but not much time you can pay someone to write and post articles for you. There are services like Fiverr.com where for as little as $5 people will write and post articles for you. But buyer beware! As you can imagine for $5 you often get what you pay for, so be careful and selective if you go this route. Poor writing can have a catastrophic impact on the credibility of your company because if the articles you post on your website are not very good, sure you might get traffic, but it can leave visitors with the impression that you don’t know what you are doing. Word of mouth travels fast – especially in niche industries – and you could do irreparable harm to your company.

But don’t fear, there are companies like Writer Access and Content Runner that put you in touch with quality journalists with expertise in your area of business. But as you can imagine, the more experienced the journalist the more expensive they are to hire.

TIP: spend more money on more experienced writers and produce less articles. This will pay off in the long run because people will share your content and keep coming back for more. In the long run this will far out weigh the initial traffic you get by having more articles.

The catch: unlike paid advertising SEO takes a long time to see results. Your articles need to be found by search engines and ranked. This takes a minimum of 3 months to see any significant results, and often much more. The web is a big place.

So what if you have a WHOLE LOT of extra money?

This is where Native Advertising comes in. So your organic traffic is good, paid advertising is bringing in sales and SEM is putting high quality content on your site.

Where do you go from here?

Well it so happens there are platforms like OutBrain that can place your articles on high traffic blogs – including big names like CNN, FastCompany, The Washington Post and People . This is what is called “sponsored content” or “recommended content” and if you have an article that is interesting and useful, placing it with a high-traffic publisher can EXPLODE your traffic.

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