How to drive traffic to your website

This topic is one that’s fairly well publicised all over the internet through various sites, and we are no exception. Here is what we believe are the best techniques not only to get as much traffic as you can to your website, but the correct traffic which bring conversions and more business in the long run.

All of the marketing and SEO techniques that will be discussed are “white hat SEO” and legitimate, meaning Google sees these favourably as opposed to “black hat SEO” where if Google finds out that some of those techniques have been used, then you could be penalised and removed from the Google search listings completely like BMW.de did in 2006, using doorway pages. These are pages that get stuffed with keywords but not visible to humans, only to the Googlebot to gain a better ranking and be shown in more search results. Although bmw.de removed the page almost instantly, Google gave them the “Google death penalty” which gave them a page rank of 0.

So the techniques we are about to display are all legitimate and won’t get you anywhere but further up the Google stairway to heaven.

Keywords.

Yes I am sure you have come across this topic time and time again on your searches, but it is very important. When Google crawls your site it picks up on the most used words then uses them to display your site to others that search particular terms relating to said keywords.

These keywords should obviously be related to the kind of business and audience you want to attract. If you put the term “Cameron Diaz” all over your website but you sell bulbs, then the traffic you get from the search engines are going to be people looking for Cameron Diaz and not bulbs. This will result in your bounce rate will be very high and you wouldn’t receive much business from these visitors.  A good tool to help you is the Google webmaster tools, click here to find out more.

Make sure that your keywords flow within the text and not just stuck in anywhere. Although you will have more keywords, when potential clients come to your website and see that it isn’t worded very well and hard to read, they will leave very quickly.

Create a Blog.

Search engines like fresh unique content, the perfect way to do this is to add a blog to your website. There are a few different blogs you can add. The one we have used is a Word Press blog which was supported by our web host and was fairly simple to install and can be directly attached to our website http://www.merlinsoft.co.uk/blog.This obviously helps the traffic to your website as the content is updated more often.

As well as blogs being search engine friendly, they are usually of interest to your visitors who are able to keep up with what is happening within your company and/or industry. Then if your blog is newsworthy or of interest, try and encourage other users to spread your blog around the internet or pass it on to friends and encourage people to comment. Making your blog interactive will make writing on it more appealing to your visitors.

Freebies.

That’s right, everyone loves something for nothing and your visitors are no exception. Here’s a few things you could give away!

  1. E-Book – write about what you know and help others in the process and of course insert your logo and web address. Instead of giving away a physical thing, offer your knowledge. If this information is good and going to help others, then they will spread it around amongst their friends and so on, making your website the place to go find out specific information and inevitably increase traffic to your website.
  1. Demos, freeware, shareware – If you’re a software company like we are, offer your visitors a taste of what you’ve got on offer and again put your logo on it. If they share it around and other use it they will know where it came from.
  1. Discounts and E-vouchers – Offering people money off incentives to purchase from you is a technique that has been used for many years, and the modern day is no different. If you can get people through the door and sell them something cheaper that is quality, this should ensure long term business and recommendations from your new clients.

Advertise.

If people don’t know who you are, then how are they going to be able to know what you do or why they should buy from you? Advertising is important especially at the launch of a new company. Online marketing tends to be a lot cheaper and allows you to target in on your audience as opposed to TV or radio adverts that can be very costly and are broadcast to everyone, most of whom aren’t your target audience. However they are a good way of building your brand identity.

Offline marketing could be things such as TV or radio adverts, leafleting, mail shots, magazine or newspaper adverts and so on. A lot of these are costly and depending on your budget, some of them may not be possible or recommended for you.

If your budget isn’t the one that Microsoft one has, online marketing may be the best start. Things like Google’s Pay-Per-Click advertising. This is where you credit your account and choose keywords and an advert to be displayed when users search said keywords. Depending on the market, this could drain you budget pretty quickly. To narrow down what you think your users may want, be fairly blunt and specific with your advert and keywords. My suggestion is to draw the customer in, but let them know exactly what they are in for when they get there. So when they do get to your site, you’re more likely to get conversions from your clicks.

Other ways are to join online directories, some of these firms usually let you get listed for free, but then try and sell you optional extras afterwards. If you like what they are offering and it would be of benefit, then test it out or maybe ask for a free trial. Others such as Yell.com and Thompson Local are also good sources to be on as well as Google’s own business directory which will also get you listed on Google maps

Be social

I’m sure by now you are aware of social networks. The most popular ones being Facebook and Twitter. These are free to use and are a different approach to marketing your business or website. It’s a gentle way of easing people into what you do. You simply tweet or post on Facebook and allow people to join at their will. The people who join or visit your page may be potential clients that are in the market for what you sell, but maybe not decided or ready to purchase. So you should feel free to write about what you know, what you offer and interact with others, giving yourself more of a personality and eventually inviting people to visit your website and purchase what you sell.

There are many more social networks on the internet like MySpace who’s popularity was lost to Facebook and has now re-launched itself in a way that is now mainly based around music. So music products and such are best placed here as well.

Facebook and other social networks get their money from advertising, and they are a great way to promote your business on a budget and reach out to the right audience. But if your budget doesn’t stretch, nearly all of the social networks that will appeal to your business are free of charge.

As well as social networking, blogging (which we have already discussed) is a great way to let people know who you are and that you do have an opinion. Be proactive in your blogging and participate often and show others that you do have an opinion, it will also encourage other people to visit your blog and give their opinions to you.

Don’t duplicate… Don’t duplicate… Don’t duplicate… Don’t duplicate…

This is something that many people do on the internet but should be avoided. Copy and pasting from another website that is already indexed will not help your ranking in Google searches as duplicate content isn’t indexed well and the original usually takes precedence.

Your viewers want to read content that is new, fresh and interesting and that is what you should give them. Whether it’s a new spin on an old or existing story or just something you want to share with the world to entice people to your site, then write about it. This will be favoured by both Google and your visitors.

Be patient!

These techniques aren’t a quick fix and are to be used to gain a larger audience and better ranking in Google over the long term. Some sites offer to “boost you website traffic by thousands” and to an extent they do, but only by putting your URL into some software for a few hours that pings your website thousands of times, making it appear to have thousands of visits. The true number of visits is often none.

In time your efforts will pay off and you should see an increase in the number of unique visitors you receive and hopefully your conversion rate too.

Analyse.

You’ve put a lot of time and effort into the above, so how do you see if your hard work has paid off? I recommend Google Analytics. It allows you to see a whole array of what people have been searching to find your website, what page they enter and what page they exit, even the geographical location of where your visitors are from.

I highly suggest this to keep track of how your website performs. To find out more, see our blog post on google analytics or visit the  Google analytics home page